A Film For February: Wings Of Desire

I wonder if angels really do live among us? That’s the premise of this ethereal romantic fantasy directed by Wim Wenders and set in pre-unification Berlin. Henri Alekan famously filmed with an old silk stocking covering the lens to give a sepia tone to the black and white of the angels world.

The angels are pre -history and immortal, their role is to observe and record. They move around the city watching, listening and comparing notes, bringing comfort to those in distress. The pacing is languorous and meditative, picking up snatches of conversations and thoughts as if we’re listening to a radio being tuned, but the roving aerial and ground level shots show a desolate city bound by the wall. A hard edge that’s mirrored by the lyrical, poetic dialogue and the post punk Nick Cave music.

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A Film for January: Magnolia

January’s been a funny month. For the first time I couldn’t finish either my Classics Challenge read or this months film and I think in a way The Sound and the Fury and Magnolia have a lot in common. Both are multilayered with each characters story told in their own style as they interweave with each other. Usually I would say this is a style I enjoy, but not this time I’m afraid.

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Magnolia has a large ensemble cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore and William H. Macy who create a mosaic of interrelated stories centred around their connection to Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) a big shot tv producer, who lies in bed about to die.

Julianne Moore plays his wife Linda raging with raw anger and Tom Cruise his estranged son Frank Mackey; a motivational speaker giving a series of sex advice seminars to single men entitled ‘Seduce and Destroy’. His evangelical strutting and posturing made me feel as offended as I was supposed to and gave his sinister line to a female journalist, ‘I’m quietly judging you’ a horribly chilling resonance.

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