1972: 3 movies

posted 2015 March 22

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
Directed by Adrian Maben
Cinematography by Willy Kurant and Gábor Pogány
Editing by Nino DiFonzo and José Pinheiro 
Sound mixing by Paul Bertault
Sound engineering by Charles Rauchet and Peter Watts
Starring Roger Waters, David Gilmour,
Nick Mason, and Richard Wright

   This is where amazing music meets amazing visuals. Director Maben envisioned rock band Pink Floyd playing in an empty ruined amphitheatre in Pompeii, and so the four English lads brushed off a handful of their best tunes to offer. As they play their transcendent music, which is alternately sad, bluesy, contemplative, and violently passionate, the cameras glide around the players, get close-up on their faces, their gestures, their hands, their postures, their collaboration, and their gear, orbiting around the amphitheater like an enthralled but nervously shy fan. Intercut between each song are little snippets of conversation and interview with the band, all together and individually. They talk about their motivations, their challenges, money, in-fighting, the pros and cons of technology, talent, and staying relevant. We also see work being done on their, at the time, yet to be released album, "Dark Side of the Moon." There is no audience during the music, there are hardly any other people present in the entire movie, and so the feeling is very intimate and yet feels as wide open as an entire galaxy.
   Yes, it's true that the music is primary, but it is some of the best music, and the way its presented with all the techniques available at the time, such as split screen, 12 mini-screens, alternating black & white, crisply lit night-time color, and capturing the unique personalities of one of the most complex bands in history makes this an easy and essential addition to the Canon.

Ultimo tango a Parigi 
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci 
Written by Bernardo Bertolucci and Franco Arcalli
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Music by Gato Barbieri
Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro
Editing by Franco Arcalli and Roberto Perpignani
Production design by Philippe Turlure
Set decor by Philippe Turlure
Costumes by Gitt Magrini
Music by Gato Barbieri and Oliver Nelson
Starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider,
and Jean-Pierre Léaud

   It's a dissection of love that leaves me speechless for days. It's cool in its humor, hot in its sex and honesty, and warm in its lonely, mourning old soul. The actors carry it all brilliantly. The story and editing make it so all the characters could be sides of the same couple, and it all tells the story of a couple's sexual arcs, from before they even meet to after they have each passed through each other's lives. It also comments on cinema, on actors, on costumes, make-up, names, and the foolishness of contests. In the end, after all that is stripped away, what is left is yearning, desire, and the vain grasping at past moments of connection between souls thrown together by chance. It's a brilliant and miraculous poem.
   The title translates from Italian to "Last tango in Paris".

Play It Again, Sam
Directed by Herbert Ross 
Written by Woody Allen
Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs
Music by Billy Goldenberg
Cinematography by Owen Roizman
Editing by Marion Rothman
Costume Design by Anna Hill Johnstone
Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton,
Tony Roberts, and Jerry Lacy

   A fun movie, and practically the first "Woody Allen movie", in that the mood, themes, and dialogue-rhythms are similar to the ones he has been employing for more than forty years since. It deals with a man who is living half-way in reality and half-way in the movies. His best friends try to set him up with different girls, each with comedic results since he is so out of sync with the physical world. Then, the movie takes on a deeper strain when the best friend couple starts to find a rift in their relationship, and the movie seems to become other movies instead of someone's life. It's the well-written story, dialogue, and the chemistry between Woody and Diane Keaton that keeps this one fresh.

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