Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Movie Reviews - Crimson Gold, 8 1/2

Crimson Gold

Another Iranian movie. Made in 2003 and directed by Jaffar Panahi and written by Abbas Kiarostami (who wrote and directed 'Ten'), the movie starts off with a jewellery store robbery, and then shows us all the events leading up to that point. We follow the life of a Pizza delivery man, his relationship with his fiance, would be brother in law, colleagues, customers, and other people he encounters over the course of a few days. Each of these encounters serves to highlight the contrast between the rich and poor in the city, showing us how a perfectly normal and mild man might be pushed over the edge.

8 1/2

This 1963 black and white Italian movie deals with a director who's facing director's block, and as such, is having a hard time trying to begin shooting his massive science fiction movie. He doesn't have a clear cast or script and his expenses are apparently skyrocketing, not that he can do much about it. He seems to have little or no creative input or interest in carrying the movie forward though he realises the seriousness of his situation and knows it must move in some direction.

The fact that he has a half hearted, hesitant approach towards the movie and his awareness of his helplessness form the main story. This is interspersed with scenes from both the director's actual past and his imagination and fantasies, that show how the director sees and interacts with people from his present and past in an alternate world, in such a way that we can't always identify which scenes in the movie are really happening and which ones are merely flashbacks or figments of the director's imagination.

The movie is about making a movie, and many other things. One perspective in which to see this movie is as a parody of itself. Towards the start, we view an exchange between the director and his writer. The writer says that the film they're making is a series of complete senseless episodes, which is what many would describe 8 1/2 as. Another perspective is to see this movie an an evolution or roller coaster ride of the director's expressions of love and how he deals with the fact that he cannot form proper relationships with people and if he manages some form of reconciliation towards the end.

The second Frederico Fellini movie I've seen after La Strada. Unlike La Strada, which was a movie that told a simple story, I'm not entirely sure what story I'm watching here. As a reviewer said, as a movie that leaves you with answers is preachy, most good movies leave you with questions and no answers, leaving you to discuss, think and figure the answers out for yourself. At the end of 8 1/2, however, you're still left wondering what the questions are.


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