Sunday, May 24, 2009

Two Movies

We’ve watched two movies in the past two days. This is pretty unusual for us, but subscribing to Netflix and using their instant play feature makes watching movies pretty easy! I love our new setup. Lee bought a Mac mini-computer and hooked it up directly to our television. We can use it both as a DVD player and to watch things on the internet through our TV AND to watch our Slingbox! We actually used our Slingbox yesterday too – to watch the Cardinals play the Royals, since of course that game wasn’t carried in Texas. We’re really going to end up using the Slingbox a lot to watch Mizzou sports come this fall. It wasn’t too bad either…the picture is kind of blurry, but when you think of the technology involved its fairly mind-boggling. I’m sure we’re right at the beginning of this latest tech-twist. TV over the internet is the next big thing…

ANYWAY, back to the movies! As luck would have it, these movies turned out to be the antithesis of each other. Not in quality, they were both very good in their own ways. Not in style either, although they were both very different. But in the ethical and moral treatment of relationships, well they couldn’t have been farther apart.

The first movie we saw was called “Once”. Directed by John Carney and starring two unknowns, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, it’s the story of two musicians in Dublin and what happens when their lives intersect. It’s basically a musical. I thought the music was great; I plan to buy the soundtrack. The story involves this girl from Czechoslovakia and a Dublin man. The man has broken up with his girl friend, but still misses her and has written all these beautiful songs about their relationship. The girl has a husband back in the Czech Republic and her mother and her little girl live with her in Dublin. They end up finding a few more musicians and making a demo CD from the man’s beautiful songs. They really like each other, and are attracted to each other, but they control their passions and end up doing the right thing. The man goes to London to promote the CD and get back together with his girlfriend. The girl talks to her husband and he comes to Dublin where they will try to make their marriage work.

This story was beautifully done, and as Lee said, it was MORE romantic because they didn’t give in to their passions but were responsible to themselves, to each other, and to their families. They actually acted how people usually act, except in the movies! It was refreshing.

To see the second movie after seeing “Once”, was really disturbing. The second movie was called “Damage” and boyoboy was this an appropriate title! The director was Louis Malle, one of my very favorite directors. It starred Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche. Everyone in the movie was gorgeous, as was their houses and their cars. Irons plays a member of the British Parliment. Throughout the movie he looks positively depressed and barely clinging to life. Binoche plays a very disturbed young woman. She is haunted by the fact that her brother killed himself because he was in love with her. She and the minister start an affair, and a gruesome little thing it is. Their sex is certainly passionate, but there is also something ugly and depraved about it, even while everything is shot very seductively and beautifully. She becomes engaged to the minister’s son, but that doesn’t slow things down at all. Eventually of course the son finds out, accidently dies in his shock (by falling over a banister), the man’s family and career are destroyed by his unfaithfulness, and the girl goes back to an old boyfriend (God help him).
Although Damage is a very highly rated movie and like everything else by Louis Malle it’s truly beautifully shot, it basically disgusted me. I’m certainly not a prude and I like sexy movies and even strange disturbing movies, but coming on the heels of Once I just had no patience for people acting this badly. The protagonists in this movie were no better than animals, and frankly they got what they deserved.

Of course it was interesting to think about the girl and how she was so self-destructive, and how she managed to wreck such havoc, but then again, although Juliette Binoche is beautiful I found it hard to see what made her into such a home-wrecker. Oh well, I guess she’s just not my type!

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