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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
As a teenager, just beginning to explore the history of film, I was very taken with the films of Alan Parker.

Working as an usher at the time when Angel Heart was released, I went to see that film at least five times with my father and different friends. We all thought it was a very cool picture. Mickey Rourke was rarely better than here, as a sweathy, smart-talking '50s gumshoe with a real greaser hairdo, whose services are enlisted by the sinister Louis Cypher (played by Robert DeNiro with a raven beard, pony tail, and a manicure job, the thought of which still makes me cringe) to find a missing crooner with a debt unpaid. Charlotte Rampling is a frosty Southern belle, quietly growing bitter over her tea leaves and tarot cards, and, of course Lisa Bonet made her final bow in the limelight as a colored girl with a lust for dancing in the moonlight with headless chickens.

Angel Heart had me chasing for video copies of other Parker films. I really fell hard for the story of Birdy. The image of Matthew Modine perched on the floor of his cell, looking up at the small, barred window of his cell, and Cage with his bandaged head trying to pull his childhood pall out from behind the veil of the trauma of having seen action in the Korean war. Peter Gabriel rearranged a number of tracks from his albums up until that point, and delivered a haunting soundtrack that made me believe that I too could fly, when I turned out the lights in my room, and had it playing at maximum volume on my little stereo.

Midnight Express and Pink Floyd: The Wall were the next films I came across, and again, these were powerful films to watch alone on the novelty of VHS as a 15/16-year-old. In truth there was a brief moment, when Alan Parker was my favorite director of all.

A year or two later, Mississippi Burning came out. I remember being slightly disappointed. The locales were the same as Angel Heart, the cinematography oozed the same atmosphere, the soundtrack was good, the cast was good, but somehow it did not fire my imagination... I was of course hoping for Angel Heart 2.

Another couple of years passed, by which time hundreds of other films had entered my imagination, and I had started to grasp the immensity of film history, and the relatively minor place of Alan Parker within that history. So, when Come See the Paradise was released in the biggest theatre in Copenhagen, the entire family went. And since my expectations did not run that high, I enjoyed this film a lot more than Mississippi. Having also become very enamoured of Japanese literature and culture by that time, I remember I was truly taken aback by the chapter in American history that the film depicted -- I never knew up to that point that Japanese-American citizens were placed in intern camps, once war broke out between Japan and the United States.

Be all that as it may, and I am sorry for rambling on about personal history, but I just discovered that this film was released on DVD recently, and I am of half a mind to pick it up. Yet, it would be interesting to hear from people who have a clearer memory of seeing the film -- who have seen it more recently and do not share my personal nostalgic experience of watching the early films by Alan Parker. how does this one measure up to the rest of Parker's films?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK
Scharphedin2 wrote:
As a teenager, just beginning to explore the history of film, I was very taken with the films of Alan Parker.

Well, I'll give you points for originality if nothing else.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am
This was released fairly quietly by Fox but they put quite a bit of effort into it. It is a double-sided disc with the film on one side along with a full-length commentary by Parker. The second side includes a featurette entitled Images of Come See the Paradise, an essay by Parker, and an interesting documentary called Rabbit in the Moon. I've been waiting for years to replace my expensive laserdisc of this title and was very happy to get an excellent version for $10.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
dmkb wrote:
This was released fairly quietly by Fox but they put quite a bit of effort into it. It is a double-sided disc with the film on one side along with a full-length commentary by Parker. The second side includes a featurette entitled Images of Come See the Paradise, an essay by Parker, and an interesting documentary called Rabbit in the Moon. I've been waiting for years to replace my expensive laserdisc of this title and was very happy to get an excellent version for $10.


Thanks for you posting this dmkb. At $10 there is no reason not to get this. It will be interesting to see the film again. As I remember it, Come See the Paradise followed on from Mississippi Burning in focussing on a chapter of infamy in modern American history. However, Parker seemed to take a softer approach in his storytelling and use of cinematic means. Again, it may just be my memory, but the films up until Come See the Paradise all had scenes that were quite violent and shocking, and more thought was put into creating atmosphere, both through the images and the music/soundtracks.

Maybe it is simply time for me to go back and view all of Parker's films again... A new special edition of Angel Heart is being (or has recently been) released as well.

Have you by any chance seen any of his work after Come See the Paradise?


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