Tag Archive: Heritage Films


Today, the 14th of July, 2014, happens to be the 96th Birth Anniversary of the most famous Swedish Film director ever, Ernst Ingmar Bergman. He is recognised as the most accomplished and influential auteur, to come out of, one of the most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful Scandinavian countries in the world, Sweden.

Ingmar Bergman with the two Ingrid Bergman's. Left - The Hollywood Actress Middle - The Director  Right - The Director's Wife

Ingmar Bergman with the two Ingrid Bergman’s.
Left – The Hollywood Actress
Middle – The Director
Right – The Director’s Wife

Ernst Ingmar Bergman, was born on the 14th Of July, 1918, in Uppsala, Uppsala Län, Sweden. Bergman’s father was a Lutheran minister (later chaplain to the King of Sweden) and his mother a nurse. Though brought up in a conservative religious setting, with an older brother and sister, Ingmar Bergman lost faith when he was just eight years old. Bergman was the black sheep of the family, and was later estranged from his father for years. His love for the theatre began around the same time he lost his faith. By nine, he was making his own scenery, marionettes, and lighting effects and giving puppet productions, in which he spoke all the parts. In 1937, he entered Stockholm University College, from which he did not graduate, but was involved in their theatre group at the time. He was an out and out film buff by then. At the time he wrote many plays, an opera, and became an assistant director at a theatre. By 1941, Bergman began his film career by rewriting scripts, and soon he wrote his first screenplay, for the Alf Sjöberg film, Hets (1944) a.k.a. Torment. A couple of years later, Bergman directed his very first movie, Kris (1946) a.k.a. Crisis.
Scenes from a MarriageYear 1999, there was an ‘Ingmar Bergman film festival’ going on in South Delhi, New Delhi, India. I had completed my (Bachelors) final year at DU (University of Delhi), and was still residing in North Campus, Kingsway Camp, North Delhi. We students went all the way to South Delhi after a quick lunch at ISH (International Students Hostel), at 1p.m, and reached the gates of the Festival Hall by around 3p.m, and queued outside for the movie, Bergman’s Scener ur Ett Äktenskap (1973) a.k.a. Scenes from a Marriage, which was to start at around 6:30pm. The movie was free, first-cum-first basis. The queue was full of youngsters, both from DU and JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Luckily we were right in the front of the queue.

The whole time to travel, and hours waiting outside in the hot sun, finally paid off. Scenes from a Marriage was an excellent movie, and one of my all time favourites till date. Scenes from a Marriage is exactly what the title suggest. It’s literally scenes from a marriage, of a couple who separate, divorce, meet again years later, meet yet again years later, meet again in their middle age, and talk. Yes, the whole film is an analysis of marital (un)bliss, through excellent dialogue delivery and superb acting skills. For the length of the entire movie we mostly just see two people, the husband and wife, fighting, pleading, discussing, and trying to understand one another. The movie stars Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann as the husband and wife, respectively.
Autumn SonataThe following day or so, they were showing Höstsonaten (1978) a.k.a. Autumn Sonata, starring Hollywood actress, of Swedish roots, Ingrid Bergman (no relation of Ingmar Bergman), alongside with Liv Ullmann. Unfortunately I could not make it for a movie I was really keen on, especially as am a fan of actress Ingrid Bergman. Some of my fellow Indian University students managed to catch it though. And they had fun taunting me at missing out on such a fine film, cause I was late at our rendezvous point at the Bus Stop. This was long before students could afford mobile phones. My loss, and am yet to watch this 70’s Ingmar Bergman gem.

However, some years later, I did manage to watch Khalid Mohamed’s, very well made, Bollywood tribute to Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, i.e. Tehzeeb (2003), starring Shabana Azmi, Urmila Matondkar, Arjun Rampal and Dia Mirza. The story, credited to Ingmar Bergman, is about a tense reunion of a modern day mother, Rukhsana (Shabana Azmi) and her estranged elder married daughter, Tehzeeb (Urmila Matondkar), due to a misunderstanding on the part of the daughter. Tehzeeb keeps blaming her mother for everything assuming the mother never loved her children, while the exact opposite is true. By the time the truth comes out, it’s too late. The Hindi movie is beautifully made, one that Bergman would be proud to be credited with.

Khalid Mohamed’s Bollywood tribute to Bergman

Khalid Mohamed’s Bollywood tribute to Bergman

In June 2002, while working as a journalist here, for the ‘Daily News’ newspaper, I paid tribute to Ingmar Bergman, when Bergman donated his manuscripts, notebooks, plot summaries, unpublished books, and much much more, to the Swedish Film Institute. You can see the online edition of my old article, if you Google out my birth name/full name ‘Nuwan Senadhira + Ingmar Bergman’ (Link – http://archives.dailynews.lk/2002/06/22/fea09.html). During this period, Bergman was working on a sequel to Scenes from a Marriage (1973), i.e. Saraband (2003).

Later in 2002 itself, when I was studying for my MA in International Cinema (2002-2003), at the University of Luton, Luton, UK, I watched Såsom i en Spegel (1961), a.k.a. Through a Glass Darkly, at the University Library. Another Bergman film I fell in love with instantly.
Through a Glass Darkly (NS)One of Bergman’s greatest works, Through a Glass Darkly, is an exploration of the psychological whirlpool into the world of schizophrenia. The film takes place within the span of 24 hours, in a remote island (filmed entirely in the island of Fårö, the largest island in Sweden). Karin (Harriet Andersson), has just been released from an asylum where she had been treated for schizophrenia. Karin’s family; which include her husband, Martin (Max von Sydow), her father, David (Gunnar Björnstrand), and her brother, Minus (Lars Passgård); take a vacation to this remote island. The film is a three-act ‘chamber film’, an allusion to both; the chamber plays of Swedish playwright/novelist/poet/essayist/painter, Johan August Strindberg; and to chamber music in general, in which four family members act as mirrors for each other. A chamber play, was a popular type of play, from the early 20th century, which consisted of three acts, performed with a small cast, with hardly any sets or costumes, in a small space. It was adapted to German cinema in the roaring 20’s, and later on by Ingmar Bergman to Swedish films.
Getting back to Through a Glass Darkly, it’s really interesting to see the close relationship shared by the two siblings (pictured above), in the beginning of the movie. In fact the whole movie is an excellent character study of all four family members.

Through a Glass Darkly won an Oscar for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’, and was nominated for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ at the 1962 Academy Awards Ceremony. It also won the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’, and was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival. Famed American film critic, Roger Ebert, in 2008, added the film to his ‘Great Movies list’.

Later in 2003/2004, whilst residing in Oslo, I watched Den Goda Viljan (1992), a.k.a. The Best Intentions, an autobiographical film, about Ingmar Bergman’s parents, written by Ingmar Bergman, but not directed by him, instead directed by Danish film director Bille August. Another beautiful movie, this time, set in the early Edwardian era. The Best Intentions, won the ‘Palme d’Or’ at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, and it’s lead actress Pernilla August, who played Ingmar Bergman’s mother, won the award for ‘Best Actress’ at the same film festival. It’s a pity, besides having lived in Norway, I have only been to the Norway/Sweden border. I never really got to travel in Sweden, besides having travelled around Northern and Western Europe extensively.
SarabandIn 2007, while doing my MA in Painting (2006-2007), at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia, I got to watch Saraband (2003), when it was shown on a television channel down there. Saraband takes place about thirty years or so after the couple, played by Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann, divorce in Scenes from a Marriage (1973). This is an excellent sequel. It’s very rare that sequels are anywhere near as great as the first, but Bergman manages to be triumphant in bringing out a touching story, of the old couple’s latest meeting. Beautiful !!! what more can I say.

Despite being an avid film buff, it’s a pity I’ve only seen very few Bergman films till date. Only the ones I’ve spoken about. And I’ve only seen Scenes from a Marriage on the big screen, the rest, with exception of Saraband, were via video tapes. Thus, except for Scenes from a Marriage, everything else mentioned here were on the small screen. I’d love to watch Autumn Sonata (1978), on the big screen someday, if possible. Autumn Sonata was nominated for two awards at the Oscars, one for ‘Best Actress’ for Ingrid Bergman, and one for ’Best Original Screenplay’ for Ingmar Bergman.

Am really keen on watching some of his other great ventures as well, such as, his very first movie, Kris (1946) a.k.a. Crisis, A Ship Bound for India (1947), Sommarlek (1951), Sommaren med Monika (1953), Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Det Sjunde Inseglet (1957) a.k.a. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries (1957), Jungfrukällan (1960) a.k.a. The Virgin Spring, Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Cries & Whispers (1972), Face to Face (1976), Fanny och Alexander (1982) and many many more.

To one of greatest film directors ever, Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). Ingmar Bergman died peacefully in his sleep, on July 30th, 2007. He was 89 years old. Yet he will live forever through his movies. Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), was about cheating death, through a game of chess, with the personification of Death. In a way Bergman too has managed to cheat death by being remembered through his movies.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
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Last night I watched a beautiful British Heritage film called Hyde Park on Hudson (2012) on ‘Star Movies’. A much awaited, must see, movie for me, and am glad I finally got to watch it.
Hyde Park on HudsonHyde Park on Hudson
The Biographical/Historical drama, is based on Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley’s private journals, letters and diaries, which were discovered after the death, of the 99½ year old, Suckley, in 1991. The movie is about her secret love affair with President Roosevelt, including some very intimate moments they shared, that took place during the British Royal visit to the United States, in Spring/Summer of 1939.

Spring of 1939. Europe is on the brink of a second world war. United States, having gone through almost a decade of survival, post the Great Depression of 1929, is being ruled by crippled president. One day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s mother , asks a distant cousin of his, Daisy (Laura Linney) to visit the ailing President of the United States (Bill Murray). Before long the two are involved in passionate affair, and Daisy becomes one of the president’s several mistresses.

Meanwhile, in June 1939, the stammering King George VI (Samuel West), of England, and his wife, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman), visit the United States. The British Royals stay with the Roosevelts, in their country estate, in the town of Hyde Park, in New York, along the Hudson River. The Royals official visit is to form an alliance between the two continents and gain help for the brewing war in Germany.

Beautifully filmed; with great set décor and skilfully capturing the breathtaking scenery, or rather capture the spirit, of the America’s Hyde Park; the film is a nostalgic trip back to the British Heritage films, especially the Merchant Ivory productions, that were so popular in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. One of the most interesting scenes for me was the disastrous dinner, given in honour of the King and Queen, which the King politely turns into joke as not to embarrass the hosts.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth and Samuel West as King George VI, in a scene from HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012)

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth and Samuel West as King George VI, in a scene from HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012)

The Actors
The whole cast of the film is brilliant. Bill Murray was spot on for the role of the President. A good President, though not to condone his wayward ways, is shown to be kind towards the young uncomfortable royals. Samuel J. West does a superb job playing the nervous and ever stuttering King, who became King, in 1936, only because his elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne, to marry the divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson, in turn pouring down a ton of responsibility onto the unprepared, younger, ‘Bertie’, King George VI. Olivia Colman is wonderful as the constantly concerned Queen Elizabeth. Concerned for how her husband would be treated in this unknown land, on their very first visit, and frequently fearing that her Bertie would be compared unfavourably to his predecessor, King Edward VIII. Olivia Williams is great as the tough Eleanor Roosevelt, the American First Lady, as is Elizabeth Wilson, as the President’s mother, who runs about organising the household for the Royal visit. Last, but not the least, Laura Linney gives a touching performance as Cousin Daisy, who is overwhelmed with the Royal visit, and shattered when she discovers she’s not the only other woman in the life of the President.

Laura Linney as Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley and Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt in HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012)

Laura Linney as Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley and Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt in HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012)

My Verdict
I don’t really get the negative reaction and low rating associated with this movie. I personally thought it was a very well made movie, though not necessarily an excellent venture. Reminded me of two other excellent biographical screen adaptations I watched within the last decade. The television movie, Warm Springs (2005), with Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon playing Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt respectively. And the big screen Oscar winning cinematic wonder, The King’s Speech (2010), starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (parents of the current reining Queen of United Kingdom), respectively. Both of which I gave 10 star rating each. Hyde Park on Hudson, however, though a very good movie, doesn’t get such a high rating.

Hyde Park on Hudson
Rating 8/10. Very Good!!!!

The film was entirely shot in England, and production designer Simon Bowles has done a magnificent job creating upstate New York in the English country side. Bill Murray was nominated for a ‘Best Actor’ Golden Globe. A movie really worth watching.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense.

Hyde Park on Hudson to connect

Guess these international films, from around the globe, released between 1949 and The Year 2000 :-

Q1. Q 40'sQ2.Q 50'sQ3.Q 60'sQ4. Q 70'rQ5.Q 70'rsQ6.Q 70'rszQ7.Q 70'sQ8.Q 80'sQ9.Q 90'sQ10. Q 90'z……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Clues:-

  • Check out Tags for hints on various genre’s, stars et al

Answers:-
I shall provide the answers myself, once some of my fellow bloggers have given this a try

Have Fun with the quiz

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Audrey Hepburn, one of the classiest actresses Hollywood has ever seen, with an impeccable dress sense, is among rare actresses of her time, along with Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, who rarely, or never, appeared in a Musical. Hepburn has appeared in only two musicals in her career.

Audrey Hepburn in the classic 'Funny Face'Pix: ; In front of the Winged Victory of Samothrace (a 2nd-century BC, Hellenistic, marble sculpture of the Greek goddess ‘Nike’, a.k.a.‘Victory’ ), at the Louvre, in Paris, France; in a scene from Funny Face (1957)

Playing Eliza Doolittle
Even though not a musical star, Audrey Hepburn played the lead in one of the best musicals ever made, which also happens to be my all time favourite musical ever, and my favourite ‘Best Picture’ Oscar winner from the 1960’s. The film was My Fair Lady (1964); directed by George Cukor, and co-starring Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper and Jeremy Brett; which took home eight Oscars, including for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Actor’, ‘Best Cinematography’, and ‘Best Costume Design’.
My Fair Lady was based on a Broadway musical starring Julie Andrews, which was based on a play, Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw.

Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison), Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) & Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White): at the ball from ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964)

Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison), Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) & Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White): at the ball from ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964)

The first time I watched My Fair Lady was when I was about 8 or 9 years old, way back in the 1980’s, in New Delhi. And I’ve watched it a zillion times since then. Among my favourite musicals, we (my little sister, friends and I) use to sing and dance to these songs, especially “Lot’s of chocolates…” and “Just you wait”, and cycle to “Do a Deer…” from The Sound of Music (1965), and pretend to be Topol from Fiddler on the Roof (1971). Ah! The innocence of childhood and good movies we use to watch. These films are timeless and age well. I can’t think of any musical today that could have the same effect on a child. Sure Chicago (2002) and Nine (2009) are two very stylish musicals, but those seductive numbers are hardly suitable for little innocent minds.

Initially Audrey Hepburn had refused the part, stating that the role of Eliza Doolittle belongs to Julie Andrews and Andrews alone. But Warner Brothers weren’t that keen on taking Andrews as she wasn’t yet a famous film star, thus once Hepburn refused they were asking around to take some one else as popular as Hepburn. Soon Hepburn accepted when she realised Andrews wasn’t going to get the part anyway. Audrey Hepburn is brilliant as Eliza, in this story of an ordinary ‘Flower Girl’ who is transformed into an ‘Hungarian Princess’, with the help of a snobbish professor of phonetics, Professor Higgins (). Professor Higgins’ Edwardian library with a spiral staircase is one of my favourites, when it comes to set décor, and I’ve wished to have a library like that someday, since childhood. It still remains a dream, unfortunately.

Professor Higgins’ (Rex Harrison) Home Library from ‘My Fair Lady’

Professor Higgins’ (Rex Harrison) Home Library from ‘My Fair Lady’

Sadly unaware to Hepburn, her voice was dubbed for the songs by Marni Nixon. Hepburn, initially furious, had walked out of the sets when she found out, for she had practiced hard to sing the songs to perfection, with lengthy vocal preparation. But the next day she came and apologised, yet she mentioned that she should have been told. So except for one line in “I Could Have Danced All Night”, first verse of “Just you Wait” and it’s repetition, and the  partial singing n’ talking parts of “The Rain in Spain”, the rest of the songs are all dubbed by Marni Nixon’s operatic vocals, who supposedly had stated that Hepburn’s voice was too “low-mezzo”. What rubbish???? How can one forget Audrey Hepburn singing all her songs in Funny Face (1957). And Hepburn’s rendition of Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” in Sabrina (1954) and Hepburn lending her vocals to Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). Plus I saw Hepburn’s original rendition of “Lot’s of chocolates for me to eat” in an old Television documentary, over a decade ago. She was magnificent, the songs did not need dubbing. Jeremy Brett’s songs too were dubbed, by Bill Shirley.

What was worse was, that at the Oscars the following year, Audrey Hepburn was not even nominated, in the ‘Best Actress’ category. Julie Andrews won for Mary Poppins (1964). Andrews was superb as the flying governess, but Hepburn was a zillion times better as Eliza. The Press had a field day concocting up a fictional rivalry between the two contemporaries. Yet, Andrews herself believed she won the Oscar out of sympathy for losing out on the role of Eliza. In fact, Andrews later mentioned that Audrey Hepburn did a great job and should have won the Oscar instead of her.

Professor Higgins bribes Eliza Doolittle with ‘Lots of Chocolates’ in ‘My Fair Lady’

Professor Higgins bribes Eliza Doolittle with ‘Lots of Chocolates’ in ‘My Fair Lady’

Playing Jo Stockton
The first time I watched Funny Face (1957), was as a teenager in 1994, in New Delhi. Roman Holiday (1953), which too I watched, in 94’ just before Funny Face, 20 years on, is till date, not just my favourite Hepburn movie ever, but also my all time favourite movie. Back in September 2003, after handing in my final dissertation, a 30,000 worded book titled Marriage in Hitchcock Films: From Rebecca to Marnie, for my M.A. in International Cinema, I treated myself to a video box set of Audrey Hepburn films which included Roman Holiday and Funny Face, from the main shopping complex in Luton, UK, close proximity to my University there. Thus I have watched those tapes a zillion times since then.

Unlike in My Fair Lady (1964), Audrey Hepburn sings all her songs in Funny Face (1957). An enjoyable musical set among the fashion elite in Paris, contrasting to the Parisian underground where the existentialist meet. Hepburn plays a young existentialist, Jo Stockton; with high belief in ‘Empathicalsim’, and Empathicalsim being the only way to move forward and to achieve world peace; who is lured into a modelling contract for a lead American Fashion magazine by fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) and the magazine editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson). The only reason she takes the job is so that she can go to Paris and meet Professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair), one of the lead modern day philosophers behind the existentialist movement in Paris at the time.

Audrey Hepburn’s bohemian style dance number in ‘Funny Face’ (1957)

Audrey Hepburn’s bohemian style dance number in ‘Funny Face’ (1957)

Audrey Hepburn also displays her dancing skills along with her singing talent, especially with the bohemian style dance number she does in the underground night club where, modern 1950’s, existentialist meet. She brings life to the movie. Check out the black attire she wears in most of the movie. An attire with ankle length black pants, white socks and black shoes, which ended up being a trademark style of an 80’s pop icon, i.e. Michael Jackson. Ironically Jackson’s love for dance was inspired by the older star of Funny Face, i.e. actor/dancer Fred Astaire. Sadly none of them are alive today.

What I enjoyed most about this musical, was the sub-plot of the existentialist philosophy and Audrey Hepburn’s rants about ‘Empathicalsim’. But being a commercial venture, and that too a musical, the movie mainly revolves around the fashion industry, along with the breathtaking views of Paris and some catchy song and dance. Though not an excellent movie, it’s still very enjoyable, especially thanks to Audrey Hepburn.

Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), have an existentialist dispute on the subject of ‘Empathicalsim’, at the underground Parisian Bar, in ‘Funny Face’ (1957)  NSFS

Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), have an existentialist dispute on the subject of ‘Empathicalsim’, at the underground Parisian Bar, in ‘Funny Face’ (1957)
NSFS

Musical Verdict
My Fair Lady (1964) Excellent 10/10
Funny Face (1957) Pretty Good 7/10

Today happens to be, my all time favourite actress, Audrey Hepburn’s, 85th Birth Anniversary. She was born on 4th May 1929, in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium to Dutch-Irish parentage. She departed this world on the 20th of January,1993, aged 63. (also see Audrey Hepburn’s 20th Death Anniversary)

The legend lives on through her movies and philanthropy, especially her contributions to the UNICEF since 1954, and later work as the UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, until her death.
She was awarded the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’; in recognition of her work in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992, as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; in December 1992, a month before she died.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

I watched five films within the last five days, on TV5 MONDE. All French; Three feature length, two short films; One Canadian-French, four French-French Films. Here are five fast film reviews.

Nicola-Frank Vachon in and as 'Ésimésac (2012)'

Nicola-Frank Vachon in and as ‘Ésimésac (2012)’

Monday: 31/O3/2014: A Man without a Shadow, An Angel Feathering and A Smokers Detoxification.

Ésimésac (2012)
Ésimésac is a magical realism, Canadian-French, Feature Film. The story revolves around a fully grown two year old man, Ésimésac (Nicola-Frank Vachon) who resides in Saint-Élie-de-Caxton. A kind gentle man, with strength enough to pull a massive rock on his own. A man who was born without a shadow, the only reason for him to have an inferiority complex.
In this hunger stricken village, Ésimésac suggests that all get together and build a communal garden. Soon rumours are spread of a new railway stop in their village. Seeing the chance to make themselves rich, lead by the innocent Ésimésac, the village people abandon the garden and set to making cheap railway tracks instead. Only person who isn’t happy with this decision is Ésimésac’s sister. Meanwhile Ésimésac, unhappy at being shadowless, gets the village witch to help him get a shadow of an acorn. Soon that shadow starts to branch out, but at the cost of his sister turning ill and starting to feather, into an angel.
A beautiful piece of magical realism, by director Luc Picard, who also acts in the movie. 7/10

Detox (2012)
Detox is a nine minute short French-French movie, which I watched on Monday night itself, soon after Ésimésac finished. It’s about a man, an ex-smoker (played by Benoit Thiébault), going through a detoxification. While a mechanic (Fabrice Colson), smoking a cigarette, fixes the ex-smoker’s vehicle, the ex-smoker is outside, seated in a bench, under the scorching sun. He is waiting, with his brain boiling, anxious, nervous, tense, as everyone around him in the street smoke away. Will he give in, or won’t he???
Excellent and funny short flick, directed by Julien Bittner. 10/10

Detox and The Supper

Tuesday: 01/O4/2014: A Dialogue between Two Famous Individuals

Le Souper (1992), a.k.a. The Supper
Le Souper, set in France in 1815, just three weeks after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. While Napoleon is in exile, on July 6, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand (Claude Rich), a shrewd politician, invites the chief of police, a revolutionary, Joseph Fouché (Claude Brasseur) for a meal. The two sit down for a private late night dinner, as a revolt is brewing just outside their window. Their conversation ends up being a verbal duel, where they ferociously insult one another, while the political future of France is at stake.
A very enjoyable dialogue between two greatly notorious, power hungry, figures in France. At times boring, at times suspensefully intriguing. Directed by Édouard Molinaro. Based on a play by Jean-Claude Brisville. 8/10

Arthur Dupont as Manu  in 'Bus Palladium' (2010)

Arthur Dupont as Manu in ‘Bus Palladium’ (2010)

Thursday 03/O4/2014: An Eighties Rock-Group, A Blind Artist and A Naked Model

Bus Palladium (2010)
Bus Palladium (2010), is about an eighties rock group, that ends up being destroyed, when two men fall for the same woman. Arthur Dupont is excellent as Manu Pedraza, the lead singer of the group, LUST. The music is mind-blowing. I was just a kid growing up in the 80’s, and the music had a very nostalgic feel. Added to their own music, there were a few famed English background songs from the 70’s as well.
Enjoyable movie, with not necessarily a great story. It wouldn’t have been so good if not for the music. Directed by British born Christopher Thompson. 8/10

Argile (2012), a.k.a. Clay
Argile is the second short film I watched this week. It was shown soon after Bus Palladium, yesterday evening itself. An eighteen minute short film. We see an old woman (Edith Scob) sculpting a figure out of clay. A young male nude model, Alex (Laurent Delbecque) poses. The old woman is blind, thus she has to feel his body with her wrinkled soft hands. Soon it’s not her art that satisfies her hunger.
A aesthetically nice little erotic film, minus any actual nudity or sex. It’s only his shoulders and chest she touches with her clay stained hands, the rest is left to the imagination. A beautifully done, excellent, short film. 10/10

Laurent Delbecque as Alex in 'Argile' (2012), a.k.a. 'Clay'

Laurent Delbecque as Alex in ‘Argile’ (2012), a.k.a. ‘Clay’

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Untitled

B.Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci & I
My introduction to Bernardo Bertolucci was as a teenager, back in the early/mid 1990’s, when I was awed by the spectacle that was The Last Emperor (1987). A movie I was reprimanded for watching, as supposedly it was not suitable for a 16/17 year old. Even at that age I was aware that I had actually just witnessed an artistic piece of cinematic excellence. What I should have realised at that age, but didn’t, is that I did not belong in this aesthetically depressive dump hole. But I knew that my taste was a bit high for these so called older and wiser idiots to ever comprehend. If they had a problem with me watching such a fine piece of cinema, ’twas because of their own perverted mentality, not mine. None the less, till date, I think The Last Emperor is the best film Bertolucci has made, and my second favourite, besides all the bad memories associated with watching it.
Next, still in my teens, was Little Buddha (1993), in 1994, when we went back to live in New Delhi, after an unpleasant hiatus of six years away from my country of birth to the country of unfortunate roots. Coming from a Buddhist background, minus the deep blinded faith of the religion, instead having a more open minded modern acceptance of the philosophical aspects of Buddhism, Little Buddha was a must watch for me. Though no where as near as excellent as The Last Emperor, I really enjoyed Little Buddha, and thought it was a very good movie.

Bertolucci (80's & 90's)

Bertolucci’s Childhood
Bertolucci was born in the region of Emilia-Romagna, in the city of Parma, in Italy, on the 16th of March 1940. His mother was a teacher, and father, Attilio Bertolucci, a reputed poet, art historian, anthologist and film critic. Bertolucci, also has a younger brother, who is a theatre director and playwright. Thanks to his family background, Bertolucci, started writing at a very young age and as a teenager, received several prestigious literary prizes.
Wishing to be a poet, like his famous father, Bertolucci, attended the ‘Faculty of Modern Literature’, at the University of Rome, from 1958 to 1961. But meanwhile, his father having helped, famed Italian film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, to publish his first novel, Pasolini reciprocated by hiring Bernardo Bertolucci, as a first assistant in Rome for Pasolini’s film, Accattone (1961), thus Bertolucci left the University without graduating.
At 22, Bertolucci directed his first movie, La Commare Secca (1962), for which the screenplay was written by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Post that, Bertolucci decided to leave behind ‘s poetic ideals, and make it on his own. Giving birth to his second, and more acclaimed, film, Prima Della Rivoluzione (1964), a.k.a. Before the Revolution. The rest, as we know, is history.

Prima Della Rivoluzione by Bernardo Bertolucci

Before and After The Sexual Revolution
After having watched two Bertolucci films, in my teens, the next one I watched, was The Sheltering Sky (1990), in 2002 in London, eight years after watching Little Buddha. A beautiful drama set in the deserted landscape of the African continent, where an American couple travel aimlessly searching for new experiences in the late 1940’s. The Sheltering Sky stars John Malkovich, who is superb as always, Debra Winger and Campbell Scott.
And then I watched the acclaimed, Prima Della Rivoluzione, mentioned above, in 2003, in Oslo, I loved this Italian classic, the only Italian language film of Bertolucci I’ve seen till date. The story is about a May/December romance, set in the backdrop of Italy’s ideologies (much like protagonist’s) torn between their comfortable Bourgeois lifestyle and flirtation with communist theory, released just before the sexual revolution of the 60’s. A study of youth at the edge of adulthood. The lead actress, Adriana Asti, was married to Bertolucci, later divorced.
Soon, in 2003, Oslo, itself, I got a chance to watch The Dreamers (2003), on the big screen there, when it premiered for an Oslo film festival. That was my first and only Bertolucci on the big screen till date. I fell in love with this film about three innocent film buffs, with liberated views, living in a dream world, as the 1968 riots unfold outside in Paris. Thus, set during the height of the sexual revolution. The movie starts with the sacking of famed French film archivist, Cinephile and co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, Henri Langlois, and ends during the Parisian ‘Student Occupation Protests’, of May 68’. The Dreamers, is my favourite Bernardo Bertolucci venture till date. And I’ve seen it numerous times since then. Post that I watched the controversial Last Tango in Paris (1972), in Oslo itself, and Besieged (1999), while residing in Portsmouth, UK, in 2004.
BB's The Dreamers (03')The Last Scandal of Bertolucci
Last Tango in Paris (1972), was a movie I didn’t really enjoy that much, but happens to be a very good movie, and worth checking out at least once. Made, based on Bertolucci’s sexual fantasies (apparently he once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she was), it is the most scandalous movie Bertolucci has ever made till date, especially due to the graphic rape scene using butter. Actress Maria Schneider, was unaware of such a scene, and was told just before the take that her character was to be raped. She felt she was manipulated and forced to do a scene that was not on the script, and she later mentioned that in that scene, she was not acting but, ‘‘I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon (Brando) and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologise.’’ She also added much later that her biggest regret in life was making this movie, and that it ruined her life. She never spoke to Bertolucci after that and never forgave him, even in death, for what she considered an emotional rape. Maria Schneider died of cancer, in February 2011. In 2013, Bertolucci, expressed sadness of his treatment of Maria Schneider stating that, Maria was just, ‘‘a 19-year old who, had never acted before. Maybe, sometimes in the movie, I didn’t tell her what was going on because I knew her acting would be better. So, when we shot this scene with Marlon using butter on her, I decided not to tell her. I wanted a reaction of frustration and rage’’. Yet Bertolucci also mentioned that even though he felt guilty, he did not regret it.
Marlon Brando too felt emotionally raped, and avoided contact with Bertolucci, but reconciled 15 years later. About Marlon Brando, Bertolucci had said that he is, ‘‘an angel as a man, a monster as an actor’’.

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Academy Awards & Recognition
Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Partner (1968), entered the 29th Venice Film Festival and the 22nd Cannes Film Festival. Amore e Rabbia (1969) entered 19th Berlin International Film Festival, where he was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear. Il Conformista (1970), earned Bertolucci, many award wins at prestigious ceremonies, including the Golden Berlin Bear, and Bertolucci was nominated for ‘Best Screenplay’ at the Academy Awards in 1972. His very first Oscar nod. Yet it was the controversial Last Tango in Paris (1972) that gained him international recognition (and notoriety), along with two Oscar nominations, for ‘Best Actor’ (to Marlon Brando), and ‘Best Director’ for Bertolucci. Many wins and nominations followed his work then on forward, but it was Bertolucci’s bio-pic, The Last Emperor (1987), gained him an even greater, better reputed, recognition, as one of greatest film director’s ever. It was the first feature film authorized by the Chinese government to film in the Forbidden City in Beijing. The film won all the nine awards it was nominated for, at the Academy Awards, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’. Bertolucci’s biggest Oscar triumph yet. He also won two awards at the Golden Globes. Post that he had many other wins and nominations for various films at various ceremonies, yet nothing broke the his record wins of The Last Emperor. Definitely the best film he’s ever made, and my second favourite Bertolucci. In 2007, Bertolucci won the Golden Lion for his career at the Venice Film Festival, and in recognition of his work, he was presented with the inaugural Honorary Palme d’Or Award at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

BB's Last Emperor

The Last Emperor (1987)

Bertolucci appeals for a fellow Film director
Director Bernardo Bertolucci, was among the people who signed an appeal to the Swiss government to release Roman Polanski, who was being held while waiting to be extradited to the United States, in September 2009.
(Also see my post Roman Polanski & His Films from September 2013)Director Bernardo Bertolucci - On the sets of ...

Bertolucci Films am yet to watch
I have so many Bertolucci, films I haven’t seen yet, including La Commare Secca (1962), Il Conformista (1970), Novecento/1900 (1976), La Luna (1979), La Tragedia di un Uomo Ridicolo (1981), Stealing Beauty (1996) and Io e Te (2012), to name a few.

Io e Te (2012)

Io e Te (2012)

Belated Birthday wishes to Bertolucci
Bertolucci celebrated his 74th Birthday on Sunday, the 16th of March, 2014. Wishing him all the best for his future endeavours. (Also see my list BB: Set Of Seven On IMDB, made on his 73rd Birthday, last year)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

My Favourite movie by decade, My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade (Oscar 2014 Special)
RH NS
Back in April 2011, I made a list titled My Favourite movie by decade, and in November 2012, I made a list titled Why I love …., comprising of my TOP-10 all time favourite movies, and critiquing on each one of them, on IMDB.
This evening, prior to watching this years Oscars, which will be shown live tomorrow early morning (i.e. tonight in the United States), I decided to do a post, both about my Favourite movie from each decade and my Favourite Oscar Winner per decade. For my Favourite movie from each decade is not necessarily the Best film of the decade, neither is it necessarily an Oscar Winner for ‘Best Picture’.

Three Centuries, Ten decades (I’ve omitted out the first two decades of the 20th century, for I don’t have a favourite from those two decades so far)

PRE-OSCARS
The 19th Century
1890’s
L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1895)
French Film (Silent Cinema)
The very first moving picture made, by the two Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière. It just showcased a train coming to a platform and stopping. Sadly, like the Birth of a child, which starts with a frightened baby crying his/her lungs out, the Birth of Cinema, was marked with tragedy. People had never seen a moving picture before, and when the audience saw a train approaching towards them, on the Big screen, they started to run. So Lumière Brothers’ L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat resulted in a tragic stampede.
I saw this film, most probably somewhere in the 90’s, when I accidentally came across a documentary about cinema, on the telly. I don’t recall the documentary, for it was late one night, and I couldn’t watch the rest of the programme, but at least I got to watch the very first film ever made, and learn about the tragic aftermath. I haven’t seen this movie since, worth checking out for any movie buff.

The 20th Century  
1920’s
Metropolis (1927)
German Film (Silent Cinema)
An excellent German Expressionism, avant-garde, surreal, science fiction, cinematic wonder. I got to watch this classic on the big screen, back in 2007, at the Sydney public library, Sydney, Australia. I fell in love with this movie, set in a futuristic urban dystopia, almost instantly. And in 2008, when I was in Paris, France; I saw the metallic costume worn by actress Brigitte Helm, who played the lead female character, and the female android; when I visited the Cinémathèque Française there.
Metropolis (1927)
POST-OSCARS
The very first Academy Awards was held in May 1929. The winner for the most ‘Outstanding Picture’ Oscar (which was later, after going through many a name changes, from 1944 to 1961, known as the ‘Best Motion Picture’ award, and from 1962 onwards, till date, is known as the ‘Best Picture’ award), went to the silent venture, Wings (1927). Am yet to watch this silent classic, that bagged the very first Best film award. The oldest Best Picture winner I’ve watched is All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), which was excellent. Thus, my favourite Oscar winner from the end of the roaring 20’s, and the best, is All Quiet on the Western Front, which was the first film to win awards for both, ‘Outstanding Production’ (award name for Best Film at the time) and ‘Best Director’.

1930’s
Gone with the Wind (1939), my favourite movie of the 1930’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My second all time favourite movie.

1940’s
Casablanca (1942), my favourite movie from the 1940’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My third all time favourite movie.
1950's
1950’s
Roman Holiday (1953) – My Favourite movie from the 1950’s, also happens to be my all time favourite movie. Audrey Hepburn, my all time favourite film star, bagged the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar for Roman Holiday.
Special mention: Ben-Hur (1959), my Favourite Oscar Winner, and the Best Film, to come out of the 1950’s. (Also see my lists 50-50’s, The Foxy Fifties, These are a Few of my Favourites, Hepburn flicks through pictures and many more on IMDB)

1960’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – My Favourite movie from the 1960’s.
My Fair Lady (1964) is my favourite Oscar Winner from the sizzling 60’s.
Special mention: I think François Truffaut’s, French new wave flick, Jules et Jim (1962), is the Best film of that decade, which also happens to be my second favourite film from the 1960’s. (Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60), The Late 60’s (1966-1970) öö, My Top 5 Musicals from the sizzling 60’s & 70’s and many more on IMDB)
60's
1970’s
A Clockwork Orange (1971) – My Favourite movie from the 1970’s, and the best film of that decade.
The Godfather: Part II (1974), is my favourite Oscar Winner from the suave n’ sophisticated 70’s. A very masculine decade for film, with a blend of classy and thuggery. The Godfather: Part II, also happens to be my second favourite from the 70’s. (Also see my lists My 70’s Top 5 and The Great 70’s Picture Show on IMDB)

1980’s
Rain Man (1988) is my favourite movie of the 1980’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade.
Special mention: Another Oscar winner, which I feel is the Best Film to come out in the 1980’s, is, the epic scale, bio-pic, of a modern day saint, directed by Richard Attenborough. The British film, Gandhi (1982). The 1980’s were a great decade for British, Historical and Heritage, films.
The 1980's
1990’s
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), is my favourite movie from the naughty 90’s.
Forrest Gump (1994), which also happens to be my second favourite from the 90’s, is my favourite Oscar Winner from that decade.
Special mention: Schindler’s List (1993), my third favourite from the 90’s, yet another Oscar winner, I feel, is the Best Film of that decade. (Also see my list The Nineteen Nineties (Top-5) on IMDB)

The 21st Century  
2000’s (2001-2010)
From the first decade of the 21st century, my favourite flick happens to be,  Closer (2004).
A Beautiful Mind (2001), my favourite Oscar winner from the last decade.
Special mention: Brokeback Mountain (2005), is the Best film to come out of the noughties. The Biggest mistake the Oscars made, this century, was not handing the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to this gay themed epic.

This Decade
From this decade, which is only just over three years old, so far my favourite film, favourite Oscar winner and the Best Film, happens to be, The Artist (2011), a great tribute to early cinema and the roaring 20’s. One of my favourite silent films with sound.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(Also see nuwansdel_02 , for the menu page, for all my list on IMDB)

Loving Film