quel rat! (a real phony)
I sort of meant for it to be a comparative analysis between the book and the movie, and it very loosely is, but it accidentally ended up being a bit personal as well. Quel dommage.
Anyway, I’ve been writing a lot lately, and you should read it if you’d like.
How should we consider art when its financial success will contribute to exploitation of LGBT peoples around the world?
The online gay geek community Geeks OUT!, argues for an outright boycott of that art in the case of Lionsgate’s upcoming film Ender’s Game.
I was curious, so I did my research. I wrote about the Skip Ender’s Game movement and investigate the debates surrounding it—you can read it here.
Gatsby and Daisy in this film are doomed and tragic, and when he eventually dies and she doesn’t attend his funeral, the sense is that she has given in to her sense of trapped misery, that she wasn’t brave enough to leave her terrible husband for the man she really loved. What doesn’t come through is the book’s clear sense of Daisy’s flighty irresponsibility, her entitled emptiness, and her ultimate willingness to walk away from all she’s done and keep dancing.
In the film, the only real villain is Tom, Daisy’s husband: he’s the cheating, spiteful bully who sends his lover’s spouse to kill his spouse’s lover, not out of grief, but out of expediency. He hovers menacingly over Daisy’s exit from the story in a way that drains her of blame and underscores the notion that Gatsby and Daisy are doomed victims of the same cruelties.
Luhrmann bestows upon actress Carey Mulligan such cinematographical adoration — he seems at times to be worshipping her every mole — that Daisy becomes paradoxically too genuine, too alive. At one critical juncture, where the book’s Daisy simply says that she’s crying because she’s never seen such beautiful shirts and the interpretation is left to the reader, the movie’s Daisy is allowed to suffer and stammer and extravagantly feel, while Nick explains how she’s weighted down by her love of Gatsby, before she makes that rather silly statement about the shirts. Daisy in the book is a figure of vexing remove, which is part of what makes her so hard to get right in a film. And while Mulligan plays some pained, tormented woman quite beautifully at times, it isn’t really Daisy Buchanan."
from Linda Holmes’ review of Luhrmann’s Gatsby, on her NPR Monkey See Monkey Do Blog
Precisely how I felt about this film, too. I know a lot of people scoff at the book, but each time I read it, I devour it, and I always interpret Daisy the same way that Holmes does.
I love love loved the film’s music and costume and party scenes though.
The Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, 2003
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like this film. That isn’t to say that I don’t like Les Misérables— I read Hugo’s book twice, when I was 13 and 15. Along with The Hobbit, it was my favorite book in junior high school, and I was so hopelessly in love with Marius. Further, I’m not the type of person who always falls back on that retort, “The book was better than the movie,” because I enjoy both forms of art as different interpretations of a story.
First of all, I wasn’t a fan of the music. I’ve never been fond of sweeping, heavy, or soaring songs, and this was essentially the entire film. I hated how the audience was fed information through the song lyrics in such a glaringly obvious way within the first five minutes. Number one rule: Show, don’t tell. I didn’t like how the cinematography was stylized. And every damn moment had such a heightened sense of drama; it was like three hours of super-concentrated moral dilemmas. Besides a few lines, I didn’t find the few moments of comic relief with the Thénardiers to be terribly clever either.
But I think the part of the film that left me with a sick feeling is the resolution, the implication that the material injustices could be resolved through some sort of spiritual transcendence, which of course is an incongruous solution. I haven’t read the book for about seven years, and let’s just say that I’ve read a lot of theory since then, but I don’t remember Hugo being so blatantly an idealist. The novel seemed much more nuanced and complex than this movie-musical version.
And as much as I adore Redmayne, he just wasn’t doing it as Marius for me. Oh well.
Spice World was a cinematic masterpiece and fuck you for thinking otherwise.
from Trois Couleurs: Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge de Krzysztof Kieślowski.
At one point Krzysztof Kieślowski was filming Trois couleurs: Blanc (1994) while editing Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993) and writing Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994).
Three of the most beautiful films I have ever seen, and not just because they are filmed in the two other languages I know. Niech żyje Polska! Vive la France!