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Saturday, November 8, 2008


Great movie, sez I. Critics be damned. I absolutely avoid such creatures when it comes to making a choice, but sometimes I inadvertently become aware of a bit of their spewing. To wit: one of 'em said this movie lacked any real story, jumped around too much. You know, I bet the folks who had to live through the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution, kinda wished things were a little more easy to follow, too. It was a terribly chaotic set of circumstances to be caught up in, and the director of this movie did an excellent job in conveying this feeling by a seamless and expert employment of cinematic technique. When chaos and upheaval are properly expressed, the viewer experiences a bit of that. It can, and should be somewhat disorienting.
The only problem is, I'm thinking, the director assumes a higher level of intelligence in his viewers than what is commonly encountered in your average critic.
OK, enough of that. (although it was kinda fun!)
I was stunned by this movie. Sat back on the couch all the way through the credits 'til the main menu came back up, and still I just sat there, unable, it seemed, to return to . . . my simple, easy version of what I call life. At once disgusted to be 'human' and elated that I have the opportunity to do it now, instead of then. In spite of all that, there is actually a somewhat lighthearted undercurrent to this thing, as if the respect for reason, rationality, that helped us make so much progress in pulling ourselves up out of such muck as is seen here, is beginning to rear it's positive - even a little playful - thinking head.
I can't say more without giving stuff away, and that's one of the things I hate most about the critics: they blab too much.
Below, a very famous portrait by Goya, Senora Sabasa Garcia, who looks a lot, it turns out, (when she's decked out the same way, at least) like Natalie Portman. That's not who she plays, but the similarity is visually employed, I guess to strengthen the idea of Portman's character, Ines, as Goya's muse. Natalie's phenomenal in this. You won't believe it.

Well, they're all really good. The movie is great. Here's the trailer:

One of the most delightful scenes, for artists at least, is a sequence portraying the production of a print by manually pressed etching, from the preparation of the plate all the way to hanging the wet print up to dry. The picture above is what we see being made.
The one below seems like a good end piece, and besides, I just like it.

Finally, I want to offer the Wikipedia article on this flic, just for those who have already seen the movie, 'cause it's got all the spoilers. I only present it here because the writer's cut'n'dry rapid fire summation of just about everything that happens in this movie, cracks me up. Like somebody challenged him to tell this whole movie just as fast as he(or, in all fairness, she)could. Sorta reminds me of some book reports I heard in grade school. So, if you've already seen it or just don't mind the spoilers, that's HERE.


FANCY said...

Critics can be given in many ways - the critic who give you the opportunity to move forward and that one who insult you...I go true my "stomach feeling" and create my own opinion...;)

A.Decker said...

Fancy, I agree. A good critic is a teacher, who's interested in seeing you progress. It's the professional critics that irritate me. The ones whose priority is self promotion, who don't mind destroying the artist or the viewer's experience to make themselves look good.

But even with a good critic, a teacher, you still have to "...go true my "stomach feeling" and create my own opinion..." I couldn't agree more.


goodnevilguy said...

I'm looking forward to checking this one out ... sounds like it is going to make me somewhat unhappy about the human condition but I reckon that that is just a part of living.

I guess that I have to remember what Allen Wheelis said, "We don't have a right to be happy but we are entitled to the right to pursue happiness."

Whiskey and cheese time. Later.

A.Decker said...

Keith, I'm afraid you may be right on the first count. The positive bit I tried to extract may have been reaching a little on my part. Even so, the perspective it gives is well worth while.

I believe Mr. Wheelis pegged it just about right.

Whiskey and cheese, for sure, would be great with this one.

Aggie said...

I always like to make up my own mind about movies. It's all personal choice anyhoo. I'll look out for this one.

A.Decker said...

Aggie, good for you! And I totally agree. I hope you find it, 'cause it's a good 'n.'

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Thanks for the recommendation-I never heard of this film. I can't think of the name of the art channel we get, but I just watched documentary on Picasso and Matisse. It was refreshing. I may disagree with critics, politics and morals of society or even the artists themselves, but I revere the creative process.

Plugadão said...

Moro em pombal, Paraíba, meu professor de Filosofia passou este filme na escola, e todos da minha sala adoramos! Depois que assistimos ficamos curioso sobre as obras deste brilhante ator que retrata uma época bastante difícil para os países europeus, ótimo post este teu! =)

A.Decker said...


Thanks for your visit. Yes, Mr. Skarsgard is a very talented actor who has played a wide variety of roles. You should check him out. He chilled me to the bone as a marauding Saxon in the 2004 King Arthur.

Thanks again. I appreciate your comments.