09th Nov2015

Pasolini (DVD)

by timbaros

PastedGraphic-1-2PastedGraphic-1-24623673045Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.

Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.

Pasolini (DVD) (DVD)

Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Willem Dafoe stars as visionary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in this drama examining the last day of his life. Having just completed work on his latest film 'Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom' (1975), the 53-year-old director lives in Rome while preparing for his next project. But the intellectual film-maker faces opposition from many portions of Italian society including his own family who try to dissuade him from making his next picture due to its overly controversial nature. After he gives what would prove to be his last interview, Pasolini picks up a young street hustler (Damiano Tamilia) and takes him out to dinner shortly before his tragic but mysterious death.
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09th Nov2015

Lovesong of the Electric Bear (Theatre)

by timbaros

_w_kIINyrk05qdvM9oQeNsgc_E-rrWF6pR0x6LwtCE0,At35341H8GxfRT4nit3Pi0Zu5kCAadcd9TsaN6zDqm8Alan Turing’s life is told, with the help of his teddy bear, in the new play ‘Lovesong of the Electric Bear.’

Yes, you read it right. It’s a teddy bear called Porgy (Bryan Pilkington in a teddy bear suit) who guides Turing (and the audience) through the events in his life. From his life as a young boy in France, where he was a bit different from the other boys, to his time in Bletchley, where he created his machine which broke the German code during World War 2. It’s a strange and unusual little show, currently playing in the small studio upstairs in the Arts Theatre on Great Newport Street, redesigned to look like a codebreakers bunker.

It’s a true story, written by the late Andrew Wilson. Turing evidently did have a teddy bear, and it’s the teddy bear in the opening sequence who awakens Turing from his deathbed and takes him through the journey of his life. It’s an incredible journey, a journey we all know very well from last year’s hit film ‘The Imitation Game,’ which starred Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing. Not much new information on Turing is provided in this production, but it’s the viewpoint of the teddy bear giving advice and opinion on every move Turing which makes is interesting to say the least. And it’s quite funny, and surreal, especially when Turing (played stoically and confidently by Ian Hallard) starts ‘dating’ Joan (an excellent Laura Harling), and he takes her to meet his parents, but it’s always the bear who is in the background giving advise and musing about Turing’s wrong decisions. And it’s also the bear who advises Turing to get far away from the rent boy (Chris Levens, very good in all the roles he plays in this show) that eventually brought upon Turing’s downfall. And of course we all know how it ends, and that’s the sad part, there was nothing the bear could have done for Turing, in the play and in real life. Turing’s was a life cut too short, he was a man too far ahead of his time.

09th Nov2015

In The Grayscale (DVD)

by timbaros

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.53.56 AMTwo men, who seem perfect together, fall in love in the new Chilean gay film ‘In the Grayscale.’

We first meet Bruno (Francisco Celhay) in his grandfathers’ workshop studio where he is living. He’s an architect, and has been assigned by the city commissioners to design a new monument in Santiago. Bruno is introduced to Fer (Emilio Edwards), a history teacher who knows Santiago inside out and will help Bruno look for a unique spot for the monument. Bruno is recently separated from his wife Soledad (Daniela Ramirez) and they share custody of their young son Daniel (Matias Torres). Soledad is very depressed about the breakup of their marriage, and there are days when she can’t get out of bed, even when she’s supposed to be watching Daniel.

Bruno, a handsome quiet type, and Fer, who’s very goodlooking, perky, full of jokes, very energetic with a perfect smile and perfect hair, spend their days together riding their bikes around Santiago. And over the course of their tours of the city, Bruno slowly starts to fall for Fer. It’s a love affair that Bruno finds surprised to be in; he always had doubts about his sexuality but didn’t realize he was going to find someone like Fer. But Bruno has responsibilities with his family, plus he’s ignoring the work that he’s been given so he’s under a lot of pressure to please everyone. And word is out that he’s been seen spending time with, and kissing, another man. Can Bruno handle the pressure of his new relationship while trying to be a role model to his son?

‘In the Grayscale,’ which literally translates to being in a state of flux, or being in a range of gray without any color, is pretty much a depiction of Bruno’s life, and is an impressive debut feature from Claudio Marcone. It’s an eye opening film depicting one man questioning his sexuality pitted against another man who’s very comfortable with his. The two male leads are very good, confident in their roles, making the story very believable. But the best bit of the movie comes at the end in the form of a song called ‘Disfruto’ by Carla Morrison which rolls over the closing credits. Morrison’s voice is angelic, and the song, which translates to enjoy, is an ode to secret love, where she sings (in Spanish) ‘be with me during this time, to guard the secret, and to be careful with these moments.’ It’s a beautiful song that wraps up the love between the two men in the film.

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