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Green Book (2018)
Are We There Yet?
A journey of reawakening in a Country like ours - Gore Vidal called it the United States Of Amnesia - the absurdity of the behavior in the Southern communities even the kindest ones have a jarring effect. Viggo Mortensen is sheer perfection as the all American Italian. The opening of his heart and of his mind is a total joy and Mahershala Ali provides another magnetic character to his already rich list of magnetic characters but what makes this film fly so high is the humanity that Mortensen and Ali infuse their characters with. I loved them and Green Book provided me with one of the most satisfying endings of 2018. It leaves you with the hopeful thought that perhaps we're not there yet but that we are on our way. Happy New Year!
The Little Foxes (1941)
The Little Foxes Fatter than ever in 2018
I always loved Lillian Hellman, way ahead of her time - she may have been controversial with powerful enemies and treacherous groupies but I'm always reminded of the stuff the lady was made of by going back to the letter she wrote to the House Of Un-American Activites that she wrote knowing that she was risking everything. She paid a heavy price but now we know who the real, patriotic Americans were - Lillian Hellman right up there - I saw The Little Foxes last night - first time in two decades - and I was enveloped in its relevance. Lillian Hellman herself wrote the screenplay based on her play about greed, the banquet of the 1 per cent and the blatant social injustice. Class, race and all the rest of it. As if that wasn't overwhelming enough, William Wyler and Bette Davis - what an brilliant combination - Davis was only 33 when she played Regina - Astonishing performance. This must be one of her very best, The film also has the extraordinary Patricia Collinge as Birdie and Teresa Wright. This is a film to visit and revisit for its historical relevance and cinematic brilliance
Separate Tables (1958)
I don't know why, sometimes I think it may have to do with previous lives, otherwise why do I feel so comfortable within the discomforts of this English seaside hotel. But the fact is that, often, I want to put it on and sit at one of the tables myself. I believe that Terence Rattigan is the main reason. What a wonderful writer. Then, Gladys Cooper of course, how can such a perfidious mother be such a pleasure to watch? Maybe is that explosive combination of Rattigan/Cooper. Wendy Hiller in one of her few meaty roles in movies, she won an Oscar for it and every nuance, every look is worth pages and pages of exposition. Exquisite. Cathleen Nesbitt is a joy to behold. Deborah Kerr,
David Niven who also won the Oscar for his sad impostor, Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth bring a dash of Hollywood to the grayness of Bournemouth. Okay, now, dinner is served. Don't let it get cold.
La dolce vita (1960)
The Warning In Mastroianni's Eyes
Great artists are like prophets whether they mean it or not. Think of H G Wells and Ray Bradbury or Paddy Chayesfski for that matter. Here Federico Fellini warns us about the disenchantment of plenty. So, at the end, this scandalous film of 1960 is a morality tale. Marcello Mastroianni is superb, a beautiful exterior with an interior that is dying, slowly but surely. The term "paparazzo" was coined in this film. The hunters of the banal grew in numbers over the years but not in scope,
Anita Ekberg became a symbol of the sixties and who was she? A fantasy, impossible to reach. Real is his wife, the splendid Yvonne Fourneaux. Real is his father, played with heart breaking resignation by Annibale Ninchi or the suicide of his close friend, the intellectual played by Alain Cuny. La Dolce Vita is almost 58 years old and I imagine that the its message, like in most art, will live forever.