1964: 2 movies


Becket
Directed by Peter Glenville
Written by Edward Anhalt
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Music by Laurence Rosenthal
Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth
Editing by Anne V. Coates
Production design by John Bryan
Art direction by Maurice Carter
Set decor by Robert Cartwright and Patrick McLoughlin
Costumes by Margaret Furse
Starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole

   The first time I watched this movie, the Technicolor hues and comedic supporting performances, made the movie play like a couple of chums running through a series of Disney-style shenanigans. But by the end of the movie, the story got so dark that the direction got on track, and my eyes could finally realize that this was actually a grand story of racist domination, feudalism, and how one man's individualist antipathy evolves into populist activism. The dramatic writing and stellar acting by the two leads takes what could have easily been dreary unpenetrable politics into something most of us can easily relate to. Peter O'Toole gives one of the most wicked performances to ever grace the screen. Yes, it's not a perfect movie because it suffers a little from the corny sets and supporting performances, but the core is too strongly centered in the writing and acting to be dragged down by the mis-led adornments. And in the end, the overly bright colors and supporting performances do make for a campy  and shocking contrast to the ultra sober colors and performances in laters scenes like the beach scene and the final showdown.
   Ultimately, the movie is about justice, surviving with dignity in hellish circumstances, and not swerving from the law, or from one's duty to the masses. The shots from behind bells in towers, behind tents, pillars, and long curving staircases, makes us feel as if we are illicit but privileged viewers of intimate matters that the powers that be would rather not have us be audience to.

Comizi d'amore
Direction and interviews by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by Alfredo Bini
Cinematography by Mario Bernardo and Tonino Delli Colli
Editing by Nino Baragli
Production management by Eliseo Boschi


   Reporter on the street asking a wide array of people their opinions about various aspects of sex, love, family, and society. Sounds basic enough, but the fact that it is a contender for being the first such movie is an honor. Add to that, the elegant structure, the bold selections, gripping editing makes it stronger. But most delicious of all is that the interviews are done in ultra-conservative, ultra-Catholic Italy of the 1960s, and that the interviewer himself is a towering figure of the arts: Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the founders of cinema's neo-reaiism, a poet, an auto-didact, a genius, a fiery iconoclast, a rebel, a gay man, a communist, and eventually, a martyr to greed insolence and ignorance. Not all his questions or reactions are perfect, but a few mis-steps can be overlooked, like a smudge in one corner of Da Vinci's Virgin on the Rocks. You can see the masterpiece regardless. 
   The title translates from the Italian to "Conference of Love".







2021 March 12 added Comizi d'amore
2014 December 2 updated

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