Beyond the fragile geometry of space
Oh, I'm a happy boy today.
Nic Roeg's "Don't Look Now" is my favourite film of all time. I must have seen it six or seven times. But each time, it's been on TV, on video, and most recently, on DVD.
But after about five years of no cinema in town, one opened up at the end of last year. It's your usual multiplex affair, but over the last two weeks it's also hosted a film festival. Today was the last day. And this afternoon I got to see my favourite film on a big screen for the first time.
It's hard to say why I love "Don't Look Now" so much.
The bleak, decaying beauty of Venice in winter, a universe away from the usual tourist postcard. The hallucinogenic dreamworld of the peeling distempered houses and bridges, the spaces between them inhabited only by pigeons and cats. The scene in which the two main characters get lost in the gloomy labyrinthine alleyways, and the only sounds they hear seem to come from another world.
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, giving one of the best portrayals I've seen in a film of what it means to be a *real* couple, much of it unspoken, in little glances and small gestures, a look, a hand placed for a moment on an arm. And the famous sex scene, one that unlike most actually adds to the film, and the most moving parts of which are the intercut scenes of them dressing after, pausing, thinking back, glancing at each other as they walk past.
(A digression: When I was a kid I thought two men were possibly the coolest people on earth. One of them was Donald Sutherland. I have absolutely no idea why that was. The other one was David McCallum aka Illya Kuryakin)
The increasingly disturbing shots of water, of broken, fractured glass and mirrors distorting sight. And everywhere, red, reminding them of the past and predicting the future. The sense of menace and unease that grows and grows with every scene. The simple, understated score by Pino Donaggio. The bizarre minor characters, and the touch of humour they bring to a film that is so full of grief and poignancy.
I'm sure you can argue that it's not the best film ever made. But I don't care, it's the film that I love the most.
So, if I could sum up my time blogging here, it would be three things: if you haven't read Rupert Thomson, read him. If you haven't seen Don't Look Now, watch it. And if you hear scuttling sounds in your house at night, its the automata, and they're coming for you.
And that's about it from me. Thanks Jeff, for the opportunity, I've really enjoyed it. Thanks to Neddal for all the great posts in your half, and to those of you who have have commented on the posts - and to all of you who have had the patience to read them. If you want to go on doing so, my blog is here.
Now it's back to the man himself.