Friday, 25 January 2008

Breaking Away

There's something deeply honest and cinematically gorgeous about Peter Yate's 'Breaking Away'(1979). The close shot of the father startled by his son's progression into adulthood is a classic moment of resolution and hope,tinged with humour and that tingling sense of a continuing story.As a child the experience of cinemagoing was always enlivened by the ability to wait in your seat and rejoin the film as it played for the next showing. This sense of 'knowing' the characters and their world and greeting them like old friends is lost in today's screen(screaming?) universe where people leave before the credits are complete and shuffle away from the final scene as if leaving an accident site.
'Breaking Away' has a wholeness and sense of audience involvement at its heart that still touches ,particularly in its presentation of a father and son relationship. The exploration of the father's journey - his returning to 'cut' stone and connect with his own past being an essential part of the film's back story/backbone.I guess it will struggle for an audience over time,however if you have yet to see it then make that time.It will reconnect for you,too.Plus you get to see the young Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern wisecracking away the pain of adolescence pretending it doesn't hurt......

What is striking about the film now is its 

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Actually - a masterpiece?

Is 'Love Actually', actually a genuinely great British movie and unfairly media maligned with its three star cachet?

 Consider the iconic use of Bill Nighy in a performance that deliberately satirises the film's theme, setting up both its humorous credentials and one of its most endearing explorations of the power of love - devotion to what others view as a lost cause. The film's ending where ordinary people meet and greet at an airport,extending the film's happy ending to one achingly possible for its own audience, seems inspired by a passage in Ian McEwan's 'Enduring Love'.In McEwan's vision of this scenario the process becomes dehumanised by repetition, in Curtis' film it sets the seal on his  avowedly  determined 9/11 response - that human connections,based on love and trust, forever define our hopes and dreams,representing the best we have to offer.

The movie has reference points for discussion that must play endlessly in universities and workplaces where some take Andrew Lincoln as a hero and others as a destructive nuisance.As time goes by I see its status increasing as 'A Great Escape' or 'Italian Job', a movie that will somehow define its sense of time and place more and more.The way 'Love Actually'  nails Blair's greatest mistake and returns to its audience,his audience, a primeminster who fights for integrity rather than posterity, will forever be associated with a sense of momentary wish fulfillment that will always make viewers wistful.

Its ambition,scope and clever political undertow makes this movie both deeply hopeful and a classic - looking out of the car window as it rains hoping for something better type of experience - that always earns this viewers imaginative engagement.