CINEMA CLASSICS 2007
"The perfect man. The perfect story. The perfect murder"
[Track 1] SCOOP
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Hugh Jackman (Peter Lyman), Scarlett Johansson (Sondra Pransky), Woody Allen (Sid Waterman), Ian McShane (Joe Strombel)
Throughout his career both as actor and director Woody Allen has been so closely connected with New York and particularly Manhattan that it comes as a mild shock to find out that both of his latest movies are in fact set in England. Whether this is due to the well-known fact that his movies do better with the general public and critics in Europe than they do in the United States is open to speculation. While Match Point was one of Allen's very best in recent years, Scoop is just a pleasant enough bagatelle about an American journalist who comes to England to interview a famous actor and hopes for the scoop of her life. Murder and love ensue.
Music: 'Morning Mood' from Peer Gynt by Grieg
Also featured in: Love Honor and Obey, Raising Cain.
"It ain't over 'til it's over"
[Track 2] ROCKY BALBOA
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa), Geraldine Houston (Marie), Burt Young (Paulie), Antonio Tarver (Mason 'The Line' Dixon)
This Rocky film, the sixth, hit the theatres thirty years after the first, but still has more in common with the original, than with those in between. Of course, there is boxing and action, but this film is more concerned with feelings and dialogue. Rocky is now retired from boxing and instead runs a restaurant, living a quiet life and mourning his dead wife. Then comes the opportunity for one final fight – should he take it or not? As expected, this is a movie filled with tense moments, captivating music and classic 'Rocky wisdom', like when Rocky talks to his now grown-up son about life. "It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward".
Music: 'La donna è mobile' from Rigoletto by Verdi
Also featured in: Analyze This, Backstreet Dreams, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Family Man, Haunted Castle, Hellgate, The Inheritors, Kiss Toledo Goodbye, My Favourite Martian, New York Stories, The Punisher, Two Family House, Yes, Giorgio.
"Meet The Men Who Are Making History!"
[Track 3] THE HISTORY BOYS
Director: Nicolas Hytner
Cast: Samuel Anderson (Crowther), James Corden (Timms), Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin), Richard Griffiths (Hector), Frances de la Tour (Mrs. Linott)
In the 1980s, at a fictitious grammar school in the north of England, Cutlers' Grammar School, a group of pupils are preparing for their Oxbridge entrance examinations. Their two teachers are complete contrasts, and this leads to conflicts. The movie is based on a play by Alan Bennett, one of England's best-known playwrights, and adapted for the screen by himself. It opened in 2004 at the Lyttelton Theatre in London, and was an immediate sell-out while on Broadway it was accorded six Tony Awards, including one for Best Play.
Music: Adagio sostenuto from Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2
Also featured in: Brief Encounter, The Seven Year Itch, Dead Again, Center Stage.
"At 15 she became a Bride. At 19 she became a Queen. At 20 she was a Legend"
[Track 4] MARIE ANTOINETTE
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette), Marianne Faithfull (Maria Teresa), Steve Coogan (Ambassador Marcy), Judy Davis (Comtesse de Noilles), Jason Schwartzman (Louis XVI)
Marie Antoinette (1755–1793) was born Erzherzogin Maria von Österreich, later becoming Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. At the age of fourteen she was married to the future Louis XVI. In 1793, at the height of the French Revolution she was executed by guillotine, charged with treason. A bit unfairly, she was long remembered for her supposed excesses and extravagances and her reply to starving peasants who asked for bread – "Give Them Cake" – has often been quoted. It now seems there is no evidence that she ever said this, and on the whole today's historians give a more multi-facetted picture of Marie Antoinette. The film is loosely based on the historical biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser, and ends with the fall of Versailles. It is the first full-length biopic of Marie Antoinette to be made in English since the 1938 Oscar-nominated film, Marie Antoinette, starring Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power. The new Marie Antoinette won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design (Milena Canonero). This is Sofia Coppola's first movie after Lost in Translation and a bigger contrast is hard to imagine.
Music: Overture to Castor et Pollux by Rameau
"Tradition Prepared Her. Change Will Define Her"
[Track 5] THE QUEEN
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Helen Mirren (HM Queen Elizabeth II), Michael Sheen (Tony Blair), James Cromwell (Prince Philip), Sylvia Syms (HM The Queen Mother)
A week in the life of a queen. Queen Elizabeth II is on holiday at Balmoral when news reaches her of the fatal car crash in Paris and the death of Diana. She is at a loss as to how to handle the situation and this is interpreted as indifference. Popular feeling is turned against her, but her new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, persuades her to return to London and join in the mourning. Princess Diana, her estranged former daughter-in-law, has what amounts to a state funeral. When the crisis is over she returns to her normal duties and her restricted style of life.
Helen Mirren was awarded an Oscar (Best Actress in a Leading Rôle) for her brilliant portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.
Music: 'Libera me' from Verdi's Requiem.
"A partially true story about lies told, virtue lost and love found"
[Track 6] CASANOVA
Director: Lasse Hallström
Cast: Heath Ledger (Casanova), Sienna Miller (Francesca Bruni), Jeremy Irons (Pucci), Oliver Platt (Papprizzio), Lena Olin (Andrea)
Don Juan and Casanova have both entered many languages as names for The Great Lover, the main difference being that Don Juan is a work of fiction and Casanova history. He was born Gian Giacomo Casanova in Venice in 1725 and pursued several careers, among them soldier and priest, before being arrested and charged with espionage. After managing to escape from prison, he spent time travelling round Europe as a conjuror, gambler and diplomatic secretary. The latter allowed him to indulge his favourite pursuit, that of seducing women. In between he wrote a highly entertaining book, Histoire de ma vie (The Story of My Life), which is considered one of the best sources on social life in the eighteenth century. It also mentions how many women he had sex with, although the movie centres on his love for Francesca against the backdrop of beautiful Venice.
Music: 'Bourrée' from Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel.
"Lies. Betrayal. Sacrifice. How long will you take it?"
[Track 7] THE DEPARTED
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy), Matt Damon (Colin), Jack Nicholson (Costello), Martin Sheen (Queenan), Mark Wahlberg (Dignam), Alec Baldwin (Ellerby)
This is Scorsese's highly acclaimed remake of the Hong Kong film Wu Jian Dao (Infernal Affairs), a tense and action-packed thriller with an all star cast. Billy (DiCaprio) is a long-time undercover cop trying to get to Irish gangster boss Costello (Nicholson), while Colin (Damon) is Costello's mole in the police force. Soon enough, people start getting killed on both sides and the impostors become aware of each other. To survive, they must reveal the identity of the other without blowing their own cover, a deadly game that gets increasingly difficult as both of them get caught up in their rôles and start losing track of who they really are.
The movie received four Oscars, including Best Achievement in Directing (Martin Scorsese) and Best Motion Picture of the Year.
Music: 'Song to the Moon' from Rusalka by Dvořák
Also featured in: Driving Miss Daisy, Bicentennial Man, Strange Luck.
"Are you watching closely?"
[Track 8] THE PRESTIGE
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Hugh Jackman (Robert Angier), Christian Bale (Alfred Borden), Michael Caine (Cutter), Scarlet Johansson (Olivia Wenscombe), David Bowie (Tesla)
Set in Victorian England, this is the story of two rival magicians (Jackman and Bale), whose rivalry turns to enmity when a magic trick goes awry. As the game grows increasingly deadly it becomes a study in single-mindedness and obsession, where loved ones are reduced to mere pawns. This is another highly intelligent movie from the director of Memento (2000), with enough clever twists to make your head reel and leave you completely baffled at the end. Unless you are watching very closely.
Music: 'Butterfly' Étude by Chopin.
"Time brings all things to light"
[Track 9] ALL THE KING'S MEN
Director: Steve Zallian
Cast: Sean Penn (Willie Stark), Jude Law (Jack Burden), Anthony Hopkins (Judge Irwin), Kate Winslet (Anne Stanton)
This movie is based on a famous novel by Robert Penn Warren about a populist Southerner, Willie Stark, who has much in common with real-life governor Huey Long of Louisiana. He is absolutely ruthless, extremely manipulative and lets nothing stand in his way. As time passes, even those closest to him see through his beautiful phrases and back away. Willie Stark is left on his own to face his fate. The book has been filmed once before, in 1949, when it brought home Oscars for Broderick Crawford (Best Actor in a Leading Rôle), Mercedes McCambridge (Best Actress in a Supporting Rôle) and Robert Rossen (Best Picture).
Music: 'Una donna a quindici anni' from Così fan tutte by Mozart.
"When Andy met Edie, life imitated art"
[Track 10] FACTORY GIRL
Director: George Hickenlooper
Cast: Sienna Miller (Edie Sedgwick), Guy Pearce (Andy Warhol), Hayden Chrstensen (Billy Quinn), James Fallon (Chuck Wen), Jack Huston (Gerard Malanga)
As everybody's beautiful 'It Girl' a bright career seemed to lie ahead of Edie Sedgwick. But all the publicity and appearances had done little to change her. She was still a lost fragile little girl, and when she met with anti-hero pop artist Andy Warhol she was swept off her feet into a maelstrom of sex, drugs, style and rock 'n' roll. Edie soon becomes the star of Warhol's movies and the idol of The Factory crowd, not to mention the darling of the media. Everything is great, but when she falls in love, she gets caught between her new love and Warhol's world and ends up being turned away by both.
Music: Andante from Piano Concerto No. 21 by Mozart
Also featured in: Elvira Madigan, Metroland, The Spy Who Loved Me, Seven Monkeys.
"Everyone needs someone"
[Track 11] THE GIGOLOS
Director: Richard Bracewell
Cast: Sacha Tarter (Sacha), Trevor Sather (Trevor), Susannah York (Teresa Harrington), Anna Massey (Edwina), Siân Phillips (Baroness James)
A gigolo and his valet search for love and friendship in the twilight world of the male escort industry. Sacha is the favourite young gigolo of the over fifties set of Mayfair and Piccadilly neighbourhoods. His clients are wealthy, smart, successful and willing to pay exceedingly well for sex. His day begins at dusk. Behind the closed doors of late-night London he works to give pleasure to lonely women.
Music: Duet from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet.
"Remember, remember, the 5th of November"
[Track 12] V FOR VENDETTA
Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Natalie Portman (Evey), Hugo Weaving (V), Stephen Rea (Finch), Stephen Fry (Dietrich), John Hurt (Adam Sutler)
In the near future, the totalitarian rule of High Chancellor Adam Sutler (Hurt) casts a dark shadow over an England gripped by fear. To be different has become dangerous and dissidents are made to disappear. Enter the mysterious V (Weaving), a masked terrorist with a flair for the theatrical, and his unlikely ally Evey (Portman). As the plot thickens we realize that not only does Sutler rule by fear, he has gone to great lengths indeed to instigate that fear. V is set on revealing the truth and giving England a fresh start, but there's something else as well. A personal vendetta.
Music: 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky
Also featured in: Caddyshack, Blown Away, Detroit Rock City, Down With Love, Gorky Park, The Music Lovers, National Lampoon's Men in White.
Notes by Lars & Martin Johansson