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OK, what with all the moneyed passion that biblical film is generating, how come no one seems to have noticed the grammatical curiosity of calling it the Passion of THE Christ. Is this an arch overstatement of proper noun/one-man institution or a sub-editor’s spasm given godly directive by the director himself? It's like saying the Passion of The Carrot, or the Passion of The Beard, or even the Passion of The Oprah (unless of course you truly are a gargantuan figure). Maybe Mel’s using an apocryphal style guide. Alternatively, as the Onion says: “After watching Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ Monday, Jesus Christ announced that He will demand creative control over the next film based on His life.” Or Steve Martin’s take.

Note for the movies: if you can’t see the film you want to see (Mystic River), then don’t take second best. What a delayed disappointment The Dreamers was. Bertolucci has reached the age where young breasts come to take a distorted importance in one’s life. Let me facilitate your enjoyment of them, he says, let me guide your eyes. Remember what it’s like to be young and blooming, to be lusty? So we have these teenagers doing a bit of mealy cinephilia with a pinch of Les Enfants Terrible and lots of busty shots. For background we’ll put them in Paris 1968, though the film strives to be simultaneously of the event and aloof from it. There’s some token New Wave drops and repetitions of movie repetitions which were themselves repetitive homages of other films. There’s an idea that only in France can busty girls sleep with their brother and still be virgin; that people will riot for their cinema, and that illuminated busts of Mao are a pretty neat idea. And then, to sew it all up, whilst not really claiming to be about young bodies or May 68, it nonetheless turns the riots into an adolescent family drama, of young kids rebelling against their authority figures, like a binge party at home whilst the folks are away, and yet secretly yearning for their return. One positive element: the bilingual household. This was believable.

I like Alain de Botton not because he is a great philosophical technician (he isn’t), or because he is balding admirably, but because he is a clear explainer, a great interviewer-slash-conversation man. Anyone brave enough to walk into a nudist tennis match and talk philosophy with the calmest of English accents is doing something right. He is good at clarifying, within limits, the importance of ideas and perceptions and interpretations in life. And he is not afraid to call advertising ideology.

Also, what’s going on with Intolerable Cruelty, which finally made it out on DVD in Ireland? How can so many good intentions and precedents suddenly gurgle away like so much flushed water? I was put in mind of the Hudsucker Proxy many times, feeling some comedy-filmmakers suddenly made a relationship flick and couldn’t help trying to make it funny. Clooney phones in a performance that is script-driven but just on the cusp of intimacy and drama, whereas Zeta-Jones is remoter than planetary bodies in space, I mean she is astrally absent, and couldn’t fax in an interpretation of her lines. And somehow… they come together, fall in love. Without causality, without drama, without anything that even in 40s films would be considered a relationship of sorts. Without suggesting how they’ve crossed the distance. How did the Coens get away with being so banal in their execution? For filmmakers who understand genre inside and out, who can make it work for them, this was a trying experience. The one positive element: the lifetime achievement award for daytime television.

posted by rino breebaart  # 12:05 pm
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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