Celluloid Dreams

Tragedy tomorrow, Comedy tonight!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Bake your sweets, cuddle up and enjoy movies about love. For this day, romantic comedies of the lesser-known variety. Representing England, America, Italy, Ireland and France: Georgy Girl, I Was A Male War Bride, Wish You Were Here, Gregory’s Girl, Seduced and Abandoned, The Snapper, Cousin Cousine.

“Love hurts Love scars Love wounds and marks” – movies for the month of love: Ju Dou, Notorious, Black Narcissus, Solaris (the American remake by Steven Soderbergh and the original Soviet version directed by the superlative Andrei Tarkovsky), Damage and Confidence.

The Night Porter

Movie for the end of January: in keeping with our theme of love – The Night Porter with the incomparable Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde. Certainly an atypical love story, The Night Porter is controversial. I was hesitant to choose this film, with all the sensitivity prevailing, but microaggressions be damned. The movie explores a sadomasochistic relationship. On the surface it is indeed sensational, but when I saw it again I observed deeper layers which hold a truth about our darker selves. What’s fascinating is how the pair revert immediately to their former roles even after many years of assuming new identities. It’s a smart movie that acknowledges that love isn’t simple at all and possesses many guises.

I am so grateful that I have lived in towns and cities that had revival movie houses which I, my family and friends frequented weekly. It was an education in film; often I had no clue what I was to see, only to be delightedly surprised.

The movie of last week is below. We’ll figure out how to organize this in due time. In the meanwhile, you may find a streaming service that has The Night Porter. Nothing is free, but expanding one’s frame is worth the price of admission.

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Movie for the third week of January: The Royal Hunt of the Sun with Robert Shaw and Christopher Plummer. Conquistador Francisco Pizarro’s final conquering of the Inca Empire. A little conversion and a whole lot of gold. Pizarro takes prisoner the Inca king, Atahualpa (Christopher Plummer), and there begins a complex relationship between these two men.

Both powerful and a little wacky, the screenplay by Peter Shaffer is subtle and memorable. Also these two men are at the height of their beauty and it doesn’t hurt that Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music!) is barely dressed throughout.

Happy hunting.