Saturday, August 28, 2010

Teenage Kicks

A Fistful of Dollars: Another rewatch; what I noticed this time around was the ethnic politics of the town. Both of the gangs that the Man With No Name sets against each other, the Baxters and the Rojas, are clearly mixed-race, but the Baxters emphasise the Northern European section of their ancestry while the Rojas emphasise the Hispanic, suggesting a further racial dimension to an already-complicated situation.

The Lover: Fifteen-year-old French girl, living in 1930s Vietnam, has sexual affair with thirty-two-year-old Chinese man. This could have been a powerful, erotic tale of love forbidden on many levels, but unfortunately it's just boring.

Spider-Man: A rewatch, but one of the few superhero movies I can stand rewatching; it actually does something interesting with the concept by making Peter Parker's transformation into Spider-Man a metaphor for adolescence, both physical (as Peter's body gains new powers, but everyone still treats him like a dork), psychological (as Peter comes to grips with the moral issues surrounding the use of his new abilities) and social (as Peter struggles with the tacit class issues underlying his friendship with Harry and his love for Mary Jane). Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin is amazingly Grand Guignol, but makes it work.

Cyrano de Bergerac: This was one of my favourite films when I was a teenager, and watching it again after many years I can kind of see why. Both Cyrano and Roxane are deeply adolescent individuals, with Cyrano obsessed with his image as a tragic lover and rebel against the system, and Roxane a superficial woman who spends fourteen years locking herself away in a convent after the death of her husband rather than grieving and getting on with it. Unfortunately this adaption, while beautiful, well-cast (hooray Depardieu) and nicely researched without making that background research too intrusive (coughgangsofnewyorkcough), cuts out some of the dialogue from the original play which indicates that the author regards Cyrano as a bit of a self-obsessed manchild, meaning that the audience has to take the characters here at face value.

Movie count for 2010: 97