Sunday, 21 March 2010

THE INVENTION OF LYING - For a Good Cause...

In a world where lying is not conceivable the ads for Coca-cola say "Drink it because it is the most popular beverage in the world" while the competitors are happy to go with headlines such as "Pepsi, when you can't find Coke".

In the amusing "The Invention of Lying," written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson there is not even a word to describe the well-known bad habit of this space-time dimension in which we are living.

A beautiful Jennifer Garner is in search of the perfect man to generate genetically flawless children but can't follow her heart's call to give in to the attentions of a man who does not match the idea of the perfect husband.

In the world without lies, rudeness, as we understand it, has a lifetime passport. All against all since there are no communication boundaries to contain what turns out to be hurtful towards others.

It is the first lie by the main character, perceived by others as truth, to clear the road to reach the divine. That's how lying reveals the way to salvation and becomes the only hope to survive a ruthless candor. So the one individual to lie becomes the spokesman of the "man-in-the-sky" and spreads the ten modern commandments which basically allow anything while safeguarding the respect for others.

Ricky Gervais moves with his British figure in a world of perfect American smiles but it is by deceit that he can get through a society unforgivable towards imperfection. So lying for a good cause contributes to a better world and gives hope to a cynical humanity without perspective. And the idea of a possible reunion after death with those who have abandoned us inevitably makes life more bearable.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

UP IN THE AIR - The Thickness of Air

"Up in the Air" by director Jaison Reitman is a light movie with a not so light subtext to it.
While it pleases most with an easy scheme and big star George Clooney it also winks at all others with its unexpected non-happy-ending-like final twist. But if we take all plot bends out and we stick to some of the dialogues and a fantastic title sequence we get to go home with a big satisfied smile on our faces.

Just like its almost omonimous "Up" by Pete Docter, airthin made movies carry the substance of dreams and lightness, the humour of the uplifting and the weight-free feeling of the "everything is possible".
Nevermind that George "Mr. Bingham" does not get what he wants. What matters is that he shows the guts to try. Just like it does not matter that things are not exactly as they appear, what counts is what we get from them while we have the chance to experience them.

"Up in the air" starts by showing off the images of beautiful U.S. skylines all over the country. A superb vision for all map freaks like me. A challenge for world connoisseurs to recognise even the tiniest and less talked about Omaha (Nebraska) or the domestic flight wings of modern american airports like the one in St. Louis. Following the notes and rythm of "This land is you Land" by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings the images of this opening sequence run before our eyes along with the beat and they interlace hypnotising visions of clouds and landscapes as only seen from the skyes. A good start to put you in the right mood to swallow the next two hours of the film with the best intentions.

Then follows actress Vera Farmiga's speech to a younger and cynical-but-romantic Anna Kendrick (all interpreters in the film were Oscar nominated) about how taste changes, at an older age, when it comes to men. That's when the movie brings in some poetry. Which collects extra value once we get towards the end of the film and we discover who this lovely mature lady really is and what she really is on about. But I won't spoil it for the ones who have not seen this light but interesting feature on how everything is as thin as air, and how we'd better savour it before it goes.

Monday, 8 March 2010

THE HURT LOCKER - Revolutionary Academy Awards

Just like at the movies. On 8 March women win. Deservingly.
15 years have gone by since I last did an allnighter to watch the Oscars. Last night I was unable to sleep and I repeated the old script: tracksuit, a blanket, a cup of tea and Sky (Tele + for us Italians at the time) tuned on the Academy Award Ceremony, now at its 82nd edition.

Nothing new this year. All prizes were awarded as predicted. The real surprise for me was to see the heroine of the evening. No, I am not referring to drugs or giant women with blue USB tails but to the award-winning film director Kathryn Bigelow. I had never seen Kathryn. But I had always imagined her: strong, muscular, dynamic, policeman inside and definitely black. Like the character played by Angela Bassett in her excellent "Strange Days" (1995).

But the very pale Bigelow, tall as a Na'vi (population of Pandora's world ... for those who had managed to escape the vision of "Avatar"), elegant and beautiful with all her 59 years of age, looking 40, is not at all as I had thought until last night.
It was probably her weak spot for action scenes, for the military, for races of surfers/thieves/con artists (see "Point Break", 1991), for the apocalyptic scenarios, in short, for those worlds that usually smell of male and muscles , that made me think of an unfeminine woman.
Bigelow takes home the Oscar for best director ("The Hurt Locker," about bomb disposal experts in Iraq and their dependence on adrenalin, addiction they obviously share with the director judging by her films). First woman in history to win the coveted statuette, she also gets one for best picture (and what a picture!) and her boyfriend Mark Boal wins for best original screenplay (for the same movie).
All in the family when one considers that her most likely contender for the awards was the ex-husband James Cameron, whose naive "Avatar" is fortunately only comforted by the well-deserved Oscars for special effects and similars.
A simple but fair ceremony this one of 2010 with awards given out to non commercial movies. A woman went home with hands full of golden men as did many black artists for stories about the difficulties of being African American in the States.
In the era of Obama everything seems possible. 
Just one more gay side to this all and it's a Bingo!!