Friday, November 25, 2005


As part of my Thanksgiving day relaxation-isolation from tradition ritual I watched some movies on my TiVo that had been sitting there for some time.

I started with the epic, Lawrence of Arabia. Wow, I was shocked at the enormity of this film. Its so well done on so many levels. First off the script is in a word, succinct. Dialogue is brief and to the point and simply tells the story, no flowery language that dramatizes the production. The drama comes from the sweeping camera shots and the remarkable cinematography of the desert. To really appreciate the gravitas of the story that is being told, the Arab revolt of 1916-1918 against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, I think its essential to highlight the desert as a player in the story. Although some of the shots and camera sweeps seem a bit grandiose and longwinded, I think that they are appropriate for the telling of the story. Being that I am fascinated in all things WWI, I think its one of the most fascinating times in the industrial era and its ramifications are still plaguing us today, I was enthralled by this movie and actually found some of the topics amazingly contemporary.

The next film I tackled was the multilingual French film, L'Auberge Espagnole, translated as the spanish hotel but in the vernacular means something of a pot luck. Its the story of a straight-laced young frenchman that goes to Barcelona for a year to improve his spanish and learn the spanish markets so that he can land a job at some french economic ministry. He winds up staying with a mix of europeans: English, Italian, German, and Spanish and the story more or less follows their year together and how they cope with one another. I read some other reviews for this movie and one in particular caught my eye. One person suggested that the film is a metaphor for the creation of the EU and its effect on each nation that the EU would encompass. I thought about it and there are themes in the movie that would support that claim. One of the recurring themes is the loss of one's mother tongue and how native language is important in self identity. The movie need not be watched through such an academic eye as it also serves as a charming and well done coming of age story. A big draw for me was that the film is set in Barcelona and really uses several parts of the city as its backdrop. I love Barcelona and think its one of the most beautiful, alive cities in the world; seeing all the places was a real treat for me. I also enjoyed how the movie is in multiple languages, native to each of the characters nation of origin.


Blogger tornwordo said...

I liked that movie too, but I never considered the metaphor angle. Makes me want to see it again. Glad you had a relaxing Thanksgiving.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks for the reviews Adam. I havent seen either. Clicking over to Netflix now to remedy ...

5:39 PM  
Blogger Hypoxic said...

Lawrence of Arabia was a great movie and definitely worth seeing. Great review!

9:25 PM  

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