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Daily Archives: 03/09/2006

Mrs. Henderson Presents

If stage world with all its romps is always interesting to be brought up as a subject in the big screen, perhaps the best reason to explain it is that the stage world mirrors the glamour, glitz, and the gloomy life a film world also has, or to some extent, even longs to have. As one world connected to the other, often a film about stage life is vividly interesting, thanks to the ability of film in capturing the subject through the filter of lens, resulting in an indirect response from audience as they get blocked by the huge screen in front of them, as compared to the stage performance where the event is presented right in the very own of our sights.

From The Producers to Stage Beauty to Being Julia, these films capture what’s beneath the fabricated life of stage, and present the interpretation as carried by actors on film, doing stage acts. Isn’t it interesting how we get to appreciate the beauty of proscenium-arch stages in a flat white screen? Thus, Mrs. Henderson Presents is presented in the manner, with a satisfying result.

The satisfaction is relied heavily on the shoulders of the two leads, Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, the latter being one of the producers as well, who ferociously exhibit their enjoyable performances, suspiciously resulting from their rigorous experience as actors, both on stage and films. Thus, seeing them behaving like children playing around in a giant field, teasing and tricking each other in some silly games, as sampled by having Hoskins doing full frontal nudity and Dench donning a giant bear costume, is a rare pleasure amidst the current serious-minded films that even branch to comedy genre.

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Alas, the genre is preserved well by Frears who kept the romp jokes intact, both through verbal and visual presentation throughout the entire 120-minute duration that seems short. Even when seeing Hoskins and Dench dance the night away toward the closing act of the film, we are already taken to their world of leisure and fun, regardless the surrounding one sets his place in.

 
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Posted by on 03/09/2006 in English, Film

 

Brokeback Mountain

In the mind-numbing waves of disposable love stories where the presence of characters, backdrops, and more importantly, plots seem to be interchangeable to one another, Brokeback Mountain stands tall thanks to the film’s firm stand to recreate a genre on its own.

Having successfully conquered vast genres ranging from domestic themes of East (Eat Drink Man Woman) and West (The Ice Storm), or a mix of both of them (The Wedding Banquet), to literary adaptation (Sense and Sensibility), to wuxia (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) to faithful comic adaptation (Hulk),Ang Lee marvels in his attempt to redefine a genre notoriously hard and preserved to an elite class of a very few directors ever existed in the course of cinema history. The genre as associated with cowboys is called Western.

And as much as Western often goes with subtle, or rather, repressed, homoerotic subtleties, the film pushes the envelope by breaking the bound loose while surprisingly preserves the dignity of machoism in even subtler way than what we have become familiar with in any sling-and-shot cowboys flicks.

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For sure we get to see Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal do what arguably the most tender making out scene in any films, but how the scenes manage to pull through without shrieking response from audience (not the least that I know), is something Lee excels in treating the subject of all his films tenderly, seriously, and carefully nuanced to be contented. As enhanced by gorgeously photographed landscape by Rodrigo Prieto imbued with melancholic score by Gustavo Santaoala, the mountain has become a landmark of testament that love and machoism work well with one another to a mind-fulfilling result.

Alas, the words of praises offer nothing new to the film that I begin to think this will be drowning to any stronger, more stellar reviews that have arisen. Yet, to be in awe by the majestic presence of a mountain and its keepers is an unforgettably heartfelt experience a filmgoer should always yearn to have.

 
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Posted by on 03/09/2006 in English, Film