Showing posts with label cinema. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinema. Show all posts

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Waiting For That One High White Note Moment- “As It Is In Heaven”-A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the Swedish film, As It Is In Heaven.

DVD Review

As It Is In Heaven, Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren, in Swedish, English subtitles,2004

The overwhelming number of film reviews in this space in the recent past has been about film noir classics, especially crime noir classics from the 1940s and 1950s. The exception has been a couple of the films in the Swedish crime novelist Steig Larrson’s trilogy and now this Swedish film (with English subtitles) film, As It Is In Heaven, starring the same male performer who was a lynchpin for those other films, Michale Nyqvist. Here he plays the same understated role, with plenty of studied bewilderment which seems to be his specialty (and coolness under duress as well). Although his trials and tribulations are central to the plot this is more of an ensemble cinematic operation.

A little plot summary is required to motivate that last statement. A hard-driven, world-renowned symphonic conductor is on his last legs physically after pushing his career envelope in search of that perfect musical sound. What is called in jazz reaching for that high white note. In order to get back to his old self (or just live his life out) he needs rest and no more world-historic reaching. So naturally, naturally for a Swedish audience I assume, he goes go back to his boyhood township to get back to his roots, or to find some peace since this place is definitely off the main road, the mainly snowy main road. Of course, as described via flashbacks, his roots were rather attenuated with the town since he left originally under duress, his and his mother’s, at an early age in order to become something in the musical world.

Here comes the ensemble part. His old home town is nothing but a hell’s broth of broken people, thwarted love, unkindness and the like. I thought immediately of something out of Peyton Place or the now dwindling day-time American television soap operas. But this town also had a church-based chorus, as many towns in this world do. So put together one world-renowned conductor trying to find his roots, love and that high white note that has eluded him in earlier days and one motley group of choral wannabes with every social and physical pathology an isolated small town can produce and of course you will in the end uncover that high white note, literally. A nice film, a nice foreign film, a nice change of pace vehicle for Nyqvist (although I don’t have to see his studied whatever for a while which means holding off on watching that third part of the Larrson trilogy that has just come out).

Thursday, January 06, 2011

*Not Ready For Prime Time Class Struggle- Chloe- A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of a movie trailer for Chloe.

DVD Review

Chloe, Liam Neelson, Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfied, 2009

No, I am not reviewing this film, Chloe, based on the story line of this rather mundane (and theme done before) psychological thriller (maybe) about an upper class American family (slightly dysfunctional, of course) who when doctor mom gets “signals” that professor dad is cheating on her in his (and her) old age (40-50 something, okay) who gets catch up in the thrall of what is euphemistically called a high end escort (a.k.a. “hooker”, call girl, etc.). That’s enough detail about the plot.

What really interests me about this film is the sub-theme, the inter-generation lesbian theme that is rather graphic in its depiction. Here escort Chloe, through a series of machinations, beds doctor mom. And old lady doctor mom (and Chloe) likes it. Now the only reason that that theme resonates with me right now is that I have recently read Lillian Hellman’s play The Children’s Hour and seen the film (the 1961 version under that same name). That play and film with a very different plot line nevertheless deals rather more obliquely with lesbianism, almost as if it dare not speak its name (and it doesn’t in the first film version of Hellman’s play, These Three). So what makes Chloe of interest is as an example of how far, at least cinematically, we have come from the days when such topics, especially the “hot button” one of inter-generation sex, hetero, lesbian or otherwise, were relegated to underground movie houses or private viewings.