The British officer who authorized his men in the Burma camp to give their best in building the bridge has begun to lose sight of his ultimate allegiance, and tries to protect the bridge from the bombers. In a contest of nation against nation, man against man, will against will, good men die for riches, rituals and rules, all in the madness of war. Is any ideal or principle worth the sacrifice of the complex, messy plenitude that is human life?
The low landscape and light of Louisiana are unique, and Treme (pronounced Tramay), a serial program focused on Treme and other New Orleans neighborhoods, such as the French Quarter and the Garden District, captures that and the delight and dignity and despair of the New Orleans populace.
Some films are like dreams or secrets, complex, delightful, strange, and revealing; and one inclination is simply to savor them in silence and another inclination is to share them with those you feel close to: and, the black-and-white sound film Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day is like that, a dream, a secret, original, gorgeous, and wise.
This is a world of economic strife, hunger, mass protests, militant policing, automatic weaponry, great tanks, constant television reportage, rumor and suspicion. Coriolanus stands out in a competitive, hostile world; and whereas others—activists, politicians, and soldiers—come together to converse and conspire in order to achieve goals, Coriolanus is able to act alone.
The Conspirator is a film of surprisingly fresh beauty. Its locations are impressive. Whether scenes were set in a private home or a large but bare prison, they had a visual richness that fed the senses, the imagination.
Audrey, a homemaker who likes cooking and woodworking, is a woman who expects a certain logic of her life, and, though she knows instinctively and intellectually what decent behavior is, her pain, judgements, and selfishness sometimes make her punishing. Halle Berry’s performance is shaded with anger, dismay, and grief in various combinations and intensities; and it is a deep, truthful, impressive performance.
Clift’s performance is austere and sensitive, and he is so deep inside his character that one cannot see a false moment or move. Michael Logan seems like a man who has found a way of being himself by being a priest: he is alert, direct, frank, moral, and sensitive, contemplative, sacrificing, and of service.
In light of the fact that little could be said to be at stake—the son of a major criminal becomes a criminal, and he and other criminals try to kill each other, one would think that the story would have less grasp of the imagination of the viewer, but its grasp is secure thanks to the attitude, atmosphere, and tone of The Godfather.
Burt Lancaster is the patriarch, Don Fabrizio Corbera, the prince of Salina, and his way of life is threatened by revolutionary change: the struggle to unify Italy, and the rising commercial middle class, are at his door. There are predictions that the aristocracy will lose its status, the prominence of its values, and possibly its lands, and that the church may lose as much too.
Are they happy or unhappy? Are they afraid or resigned? Are any of them ready to die? The simplicity of the lives of the people in the village gives them a dignified, mysterious quality verging on myth: can they stay alive forever, simply because they choose to? The film achieves its power honestly, plainly, slowly, but power—and finally charm—it does have.