February 18, 2008

Movies ain't what they used to be

With all the political correctness - viewed in a broader sense - that censors most of the western culture's possible offensive parts, it's quite difficult to enjoy a movie that allows the director to display his ideas exactly the way he meant to show them, without any artificial barriers, all in the name of art.

This is what came to my mind after having seen ... ...novecento, a remarkable epic movie depicting generations of the same family of peasants in rural Italy living their anguished life throughout the politically divided environment at the beginning of the century.

The movie that lasts 5h in the uncut version, is molded on the lives of peasants and their fight for their rights and has some very raw scenes that make it so believable and natural. And believe me you can hardly get bored watching this movie. I had to do it in 3 stages because of the lack of time but it is quite captivating.

There were scenes in the movie that would be totally unacceptable in a contemporary movie in the name of political correctness or whatever you might call it, or even suppose the scenes would be allowed, it would be with the price of a very strong advisory rating.

I haven't seen many old movies so far, but i was surprised and bewildered at some of the scenes such as the slaughtering of pigs or a duck hunt that showed the agonizing birds which fell in the water. I bet quite a bunch of animals were seriously harmed during the making of this film, and if you come to think of it, why wouldn't they be if it's in the name of art? Why would we feel better knowing that ducks didn't die in a movie while we thrust our teeth in a juicy roast duck sitting in our comfy chairs? If this isn't petty hypocrisy then what is?

If countless animals get killed for food daily, why wouldn't a couple die on the screen? It doesn't look good? It's better not to know how that salami got to be in the fridge, or maybe that fur coat on the hanger? You betcha! (I haven't converted to be a vegetarian, but i was just thinking about this no-harmed-animals-in-movies policy)

Moving from the animal issue, there were scenes such as menage-a-trois with an epileptic, naked children, de niro naked, and other stuff more or less shocking such as massaging a horse's ass. I think these things spice the movie just at the right moments so you don't get bored watching.

One down side of the movie was the dubbing, because it was quite obvious none of the versions had the original voices (there's a stew of actors of different nationalities in the movie). I had the first 2h in Italian and the rest in English. I'm inclined to say the Italian part sounded better since it all happened there it makes it more believable, however DeNiro and Depardieu's original voices were dubbed. The English version allowed young DeNiro to talk but canceled most of the other characters' original voices which made them sound rather funny.

Another downside is that the director insists too much on the political aspect of the movie, himself being an advocate of communism in his youth. This results in pathetic scenes towards the end of the movie showing how the communist proletariat vanquishes the last trace of 'despotic ' ownership of the bourgeois ruling class. I was a bit disappointed by the movie ending this way, but I warmly recommend it nevertheless, at least to see the surprisingly young DeNiro and Depardieu(same big nose though)


Ovline said...

I really have to see it!!! But it's not that easy to find it, even the pirated version, damn it!
2h in Italian, 3h in English, hehe that's funny! Well, at least you saw it.

You shouldn't be surprised with the commie'stuff. People from Emilia Romagna are known to be like that, even today(they are also known to be very hospitable and generous). If you go there as a person from an ex-communist country you would find them very sympathetic and paying you a high dose of respect. They'll definetely open an old bottle of wine from their cellar.
Well, I admire them whatsoever. When talking to them you can tell that they share the genuine ideas about communism, the pure doctrine, and they are not shallow about it, it's not only about their hatred to the experienced fascism. OK, maybe I'm generalising too much, but that's what I felt over there...