Cold Bishop wrote: It also another case of his bitter irony: the Jews fleeing post-Nazi war ravished Europe for the promised land, and finding the same thing there.
Right, but the whole thing about the Jews going to Israel has nothing to do with the rest of the story. None of the Jewish characters is given any prominence in the film, we don't get to know them, and they seem only like a sort of 'backdrop' on which the story of the two main characters continues. And that simply doesn't make any sense to me, and that's why I can't read that much of a political point in the whole thing.
Cold Bishop wrote: And if you're not a sucker for excess and hysteria when its done right (I am a Ken Russell, after all!), then there's probably no converting you.
Oh, I have nothing against excesses, after all I do like most of Veit Harlan's work... But the ending of Manon
has a totally different tone compared to the rest of the film, which is quite nuanced in its portrayal of the characters. So the excessiveness of the end sits not well with the film as a whole, it almost seems to come from a different film. And that's what I find irritating.
Tommaso wrote:But not listing all of the Powell/Pressburger films seems unfair to the Archers.
Oy. I'm aware that P & P have rightfully risen enormously in reputation among cinephiles but somehow this goes a bit too far. Some of the criticism launched in the 40s was and still is spot on. Just because they are bold and cinematic they aren't necessarily preferable to the more classical British films of the era. Often it#s a lot of ballyhoo around slightly vacuos vehicles and very very rarely does the great elements jell into a cohesive film. Nobody would contest that sequences are outstanding like the ballet from Red Shoes
or the bomb deactivation in The Small Black Room
but they tend to dwarf the rest of the films.
First of all, I've said already that I will only list six of the ten P&P films of the decade, and incidentally The Small Back Room
isn't among them. But I disagree if you say that those famous sequences tower so much above the rest of the films, or that the films are not cohesive. On the contrary, I can't think of many other films of the decade which are written as well as the P&P films. It's just that their 'unity' and 'meaning' often does not come from the plot or the narrative itself, but is achieved by different means. I think of the elaborate colour coding in Black Narcissus
for instance, or the way that all of The Red Shoes
evolves from the central question of art vs life. The ballet sequence is a concise summing up of that theme, not an independent 'showpiece', even though it may work as such, too. Even an apparently loose film like A Canterbury Tale
is perfectly glued (ahem...) together by the script's constant exploration of the acts of 'seeing' and 'representation'.