Monday, May 05, 2008


Frida. Now this here is one movie where the impossibly hot Salma Hayek manages to make you gawk at her purely because of her performance. Not to take away from her other roles, but seriously, she does an amazing job as the strong-willed and controversial Frida Kahlo. Her physical transformation through the movie is spot-on, uni-brow, mustache and all. The movie itself tells the story of her life, simply enough, starting with the schoolgirl Frida and ending with her death.
Salma cries, loves, suffers, dances and lives through the movie in grand abandonment, carrying it solely on her shoulders. Her husband Diego Rivera, played by Alfred Molina, and the others are able as the supporting cast. Oh, and there is a one-scene appearance by Ashley Judd and Antonio Banderas . Judd gets to do a sort of drunken girl-on-girl tango with Hayek that is a masterful scene; Banderas says his one piece of dialog in his knee-melting accent and is never seen again, more's the pity.
The movie is definitely great. Especially touching were the scenes of Frida's rehabilitation after the major accident she has while still a schoolgirl, leaving her bedridden. And the one in which she discovers her husband's infidelity with her sister. Also captured perfectly are the tumultuous times of the '20s and '30s; my knowledge is hazy at best, of course, but the movie was very well-constructed.
In the end, the film belongs to the leading lady. Salma, you are not only a goddess, you are also an amazing actor!
The Sheltering Sky. Ahem. Now, at the outset, let me say that I had put on my objective viewer's mask, which is to say, I did not expect to understand this movie but was fully prepared to try. And it turned out exactly as I had envisioned.
Let's see about the plot. Husband and wife Kit and Port, played by Debra Winger and John Malkovich. Traveling around in North Africa, trying to salvage their crumbling relationship, accompanied by their rich friend Tunner played by Campbell Scott. To show how crumbled their marriage is, Port spends a night with a bootylicious Arab prostitute in her desert tent in the company of live chickens. Kit spends a night with Tunner after too much champagne. Port suspects, then manages to plan their tour so Tunner isn't with them anymore. Then, Port falls ill. Dies. Kit loses her mind, takes up with a black-clad nomad of some sort and his camel-caravan. Lands up in some strange village, has a roll in the hay with Nomad-Guy, then is rescued by an American Embassy official who has been contacted by Tunner. The End.
Note: The couple's last name is Moresby. So that makes him Port Moresby. I did not get the context of this little joke- the character is connected to the capital city of Papua New Guinea how?
Like I said, Ahem. I truly appreciate the grand cinematography, the luscious desert scenes, the fine performances and the air of sadness- this is a Bertolucci film, after all. I could have done without the needless shots of Winger's butt or Malkovich's what's-it, but that's just me.
This is a pretty film- pretty incomprehensible. I'm one of those philistines who needs an actual plot, or storyline, and a somewhat satisfying ending. So, while I did not hate it, I didn't swoon with ecstasy either.

1 comment:

George Philip said...

Well I watched Bertolucci "The Dreamers", did not get it.

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