La vie en rose

la-vie-en-rose-posterFrench language biographical movie from 2007.
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory
Director: Olivier Dahan
Writers: Isabelle Sobelman, Olivier Dahan
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Édith Piaf grew up in extreme poverty in in 1920’s Paris and Normandie but ended up as one of France’s most loved singers. Sadly during her short life Édith had several sorrows that broke her heart and body.

Reactions

There were many remarkable features of “La vie en rose”, but none more so than the music. The movie used tapes of Édith Piaf where that was avaliable, and other singers such as Jil Aigrot and the young girl below; Pauline Burlet. Marion Cotillard who portrays the adult Édith lip syncs. Luckily she does it well. Well enough so that I could not tell, at least. In the mean time, enjoy the scene where we hear the young Piaf sing for the first time.

Contemplations

The audio is of course important in a movie about the life of a singer, but they do it well, and the songs are placed in the movie at good intervals and accents the story well. The songs are well integrated.

Visually the use of the stage before Piaf goes on is especially powerful and we get to feel the joy, anticipation and passion of performing. There is also other pretty and strong visuals in “La vie en rose”. Well crafted cinematography.

The story is told in several timelines intertwined and we get to see defining episodes of her life rather than a linear story from birth to death. Sometimes we are also presented with a back and forth between scenes in different timelines.  This could have been messy, but often it showed reasons for her actions and a connection between events in her life. The movie had few enough unnecessary elements and lines to handle the movements in time and space.

The star of this movie is, even more than the songs, is the acting. Marion Cotillard shows such raw emotion that I was in tears through half the movie and the Academy award was well deserved. The other actors were also a credit to their profession.

Judgement

I definitely do not regret watching this movie. It showed me love and life. This is the best movie I have watched so far in my experiment.

Epilogue

I recommend that everyone see this movie.

In addition to everything else, Édith Piaf is sometimes called the soul of Paris. In my opinion, that is most evident in this song. Enjoy.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “La vie en rose” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

38 movies down. 327 to go.

If you want to get “La vie en rose” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The help“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

The Wizard of Oz

wizard-of-oz-posterAmerican fantasy adventure from 1939 in both black and white and technicolor.
Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
Director: Victor Fleming
Writers: L. Frank Baum, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Dorothy tries to run away from home, but is caught up in a tornado and passes out. She awakes in the land of the munchkins, somewhere over the rainbow, and must try to find her way home, and avoid the wicked witch on her way.

Reactions

This is a joyous movie that engages the viewers heart, courage and brains. I have seen “The wizard of Oz” many times before, and it was important to me as a young child. That might color my reaction to today’s viewing (if you, dear readers, will pardon the pun), but there isn’t very much I can do about that. I will try to stay objective.

Each time I watch the movie I seem to have forgotten just how many munchkins there are, and how many citizens of Emerald city and how many troops the wicked witch has. It is a populous movie, and it does seem to make the lands over the rainbow fun and enjoyable, all be it a little scary, to visit.

Contemplations

I love the story in this movie. It is a fairy tale in many ways, and it is well presented. The childlike problems and worries of Dorothy and how she superimposes the people in her life on the adventures with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, is perfectly filmed.

The music is unforgettable and several songs are in the public consciousness even now, 78 years later. Below you can get a reminder of one musical number from “The wizard of Oz”: “Somewhere over the rainbow”.

The most striking feature of the movie is the contrast between black and white and color. How it is the fantasy over the rainbow that is colored is in some ways puzzling, and yet perfect.

The set in the lands over the rainbow seem artificial and is clearly not filmed outdoors. I wonder if that is a consequence of filming in color or a choice of look for these lands.

Judgement

A simply wonderful movie that I have enjoyed every time I see it. Well made in every respect.

Epilogue

I recommend this movie to anyone, of all ages. It is well worth watching for it’s adventure, but also for the imagery that is simple enough for children to understand as well. It might be worth mentioning to a child about to watch the movie for the first time that the viewers in 1939 might not have seen movies in color before, or at least not many. They might get an understanding of just how much of an impression that would have made.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The wizard of Oz” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

27 movies down. 338 to go.

If you want to get “The wizard of Oz” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The red shoes“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.

munna-bhai-posterIndian comedy from 2003.
Starring: Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Writers: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Lajan Joseph, Abbas Tyrewala
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Murli Prasad “Munna Bhai” Sharma is an Indian mafia leader, but has told his parents that he is a doctor. When they suddenly decide to visit from their village Murli and his crew must make their regular headquarters look like a clinic for the needy. The parents are fooled until they set up a meeting with a prospective bride for Murli, and she turns out to be an actual doctor. From there hilarity ensues.

Reactions

First of all, I liked the movie, there were however some culture clashes for a regular westerner viewer. For instance the parents of Murli setting him up on a date, and with a prospective bride to boot, was completely alien. The mother’s overly dramatic plea to see grandchildren before she died, seemed quite familiar though.

I have not seen this or any other Bollywood movie before, and this was a nice intro to the genre. I don’t really know how representative it is, but it is the highest rated Indian movie on IMDb so I assume it is regarded quite favorably by the target audience.

A little bit into the movie I realized that the title was a joke, so I will try to explain the concept to any other foreign viewers. “Munna” is translated to English as “Brother”, and is a moniker that only members of the mafia calls one another. And M.B.B.S. is a medical degree, so “Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.” means “Doctor mafia brother Bhai”.

This movie did not have the Bechdel-test performed on it on the Bechdel test site already, but there were no scenes with two named women without one of the male characters having center stage. I will say that the movie does not pass the Bechdel test.

Contemplations

The story is typical for a light hearted romantic comedy; far fetched and entertaining. They do try to get a message across, that doctors should see patients as individuals and not become bureaucrats.

All the actors were just fine in their roles and they also had to be able to sing and dance, which they did well. That is what makes this movie fun; the colorful musical numbers. It is everything that I would expect from a musical; people suddenly bursting into song and folks in the streets joining in complex dance choreography. Brilliant.

The remainder of the music, the regular film music, was reminiscent of the 80’s though. It didn’t fit with the movie and was quite a bit to dominating on several occasions.

The main character, played by Sanjay Dutt, has a more ordinary look than the polished Hollywood actors which makes the character relatable. This might not be the case for Indian viewers though, as they might have a different ideal for male beauty.

The musical numbers were fun and catchy and the choreography was visually inventive and fun. (At least to someone not used to Bollywood.)

Judgement

I would definitely watch this movie again. There were many weird things, maybe especially regarding gender roles, but it was fun and entertaining. In fact I was so entertained by the movie that I will try to find the time to watch the sequel where Murli goes on another adventure. This time he is helped by Mahatma Gandhi who only he can see. The concept of that plot is just crazy enough so that I have to see it.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to others, pretty much regardless of who they are. I think everyone knows what to expect from a Bollywood movie, even if they haven’t seen one before, so there should be no need to explain much beforehand either.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Munna Bahi M.B.B.S” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

14 movies down. 351 to go.

If you want to get “Munna Bahi M.B.B.S” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The Elephant man“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.