Monday, August 7

nothing dreadful ever happens

I don't have a TV (which isn't a problem really because I'm not fond of addiction), but I do so like movies.

If I like a movie especially well, I tend to watch it as often as possible, usually right after I wake up or just before I go to sleep. It's in these spaces that the lines between reality and the dreamworld are blurred, where the underlying essence of the movie is distilled and absorbed by your subconscious.

In particular, I've really enjoyed:

Donnie Darko

Spirited Away

and most recently, Dancer in the Dark.

Although Dancer didn't grip me in quite the way I'd expected while I was watching it, I was fascinated by the Von Trier adaptation of fifties musicals to that crunchy hard-reality thing he has going for him.

You see, I love musicals. It's a little soft spot I have. My favourites include High Society, Silk Stockings, Easter Parade and White Christmas - to name a few.

The fascination is not difficult to understand. In musicals, Selma (Björk) tells us, nothing dreadful ever happens. The Villian is never consequential, the problems never insurmountable and only the Communists are poor. It is, I think where Woody Allen drew most of his movie lifestyle inspiration from. In the city, everyone is rich, drinks whiskey and smokes cigars; the woman wear fur and drop diamonds from their lips when they speak. There are values with a comedic hint at liberalism. In the country everyone is happy, healthy and mannered.

Nothing dreadful ever happens.

And even if someone or something hints at destroying the perfect equilibrium of peace and humanity, one doesn't have to wait in terrible anticipation for some outrageous dues ex machina to fix the problem, because there is always a hero - who is morally if not physically infallible - to smooth the edges, calm the storm and dance the dear lassie's problems away.

And everyone - always - lives happily ever after.

Though, saying that, I've always felt a little uncomfortable at the ending of My Fair Lady. Whatever happens after that last scene where Eliza brings him his slippers? Do they become lovers? He's a little old and patronising isn't he?


Dancer also reminded me of an idea I toyed with a while back - a modern day South African remake of The Sound of Music. Set in The Apartheid Era, we can swop Captain Von Trapp for Meneer Van Tonder and Maria for Beauty from Kayelitsha.

It throws a whole new light on 'Favourite Things' -
When the dog bites, when the shacks burn, when we're being beat...


Sparky said...

admittedly, the only musical I've ever enjoyed is The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

In sound of music, I always found myself secretly wishing that during the opening strains of "the hills are alive", a Stuka would drop out the sky, dive siren wailing and cannons blazing.

This would be because my sister watched it every day for six years after school.

spasticfantastic said...

Donnie Darko rocks on so many levels, an underrated movie. Spirited Away... one of the best ghiblis, I'm a big Miyazaki fan. Thought Dancer in the Dark was the bleakest thing I ever saw though, but all said those are excellent choices for movies to blog about! Once again, I salute you.

As my three 'must sees' I would add Soldier, Dune, and a tie between The Crow and Ichi the Killer.

btw John Cleese once mentioned setting fire to Julie Andrews, I think it was in How to Irritate People. Now I carry a zippo wherever I go.

marita says said...

Lovely idea Dorothy. Let's do it! I wish I could watch Dancer again, but it left me so drained the first time. And when are we watching Donnie Darko together. A's back you know...

dorothy said...

I'm up for donnie darko any day!!

Sparky said...

I really need to give you Ford Fairlane to watch.

but I want to watch the expression on your face when you see it.

dorothy said...

who's ford fairlane? is that a stupid question?

Sparky said...

I'll bring it through when I come sort out your computer.