avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Last night we watched "The Triumph of Love" on Front Row, and I was quite surprised.

It's a film by Bernardo Bertolucci of an eighteenth-century play by the French writer Marivaux, which looks to be just about the last hurrah of the commedia dell'arte[1] in France. (There's a vestigial Harlequin.) The plot has echoes of Twelfth Night and Love's Labour's Lost, the settings and costumes are beautiful, and Mira Sorvino makes a very pretty boyet.[2] There are a few perfunctory shots of the actors boggling at the modern-day audience watching the play just to remind us that this is an arty Italian director, but not enough to break the mood.

[livejournal.com profile] axylides found it slow and the main character unlikeable, but I enjoyed it anyway. Odd Credit dept.: as well as the usual dialect coaches, there was a credit for "Marivaux coach for Mira Sorvino"...

[1] Commedia dell'arte, in its original form, was a type of comedy improvised around a stock plot or scenario, featuring a set of stereotypical characters--young lovers, old man, braggart soldier, comic servant and so on--and performed by travelling companies around Europe. It started about the time Shakespeare was born, and finally faded out around the French Revolution (by which time the improv element was pretty much out of the window), though echoes of it survive to this day in the form of, say, the Goon Show. I find it fascinating, possibly partly because I'm hopeless at improvisation. There's an interesting site on the subject here.

[2]A while back I invented a street tribe of (mostly young) women called "boyets" who affected an approximation of male dress, speech and manners of the seventeenth and eighteenth century upper classes and aimed to be better men than men could be. They called men "churls" and non-boyet women "slatterns" and viewed them with amused pity. They, like so many others, are sitting in the big waiting room in the back of my head waiting for a plot...
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
In the sixties, the actress Barbara Hershey appeared in a film called The Seagull, and was so moved by it that she changed her name to Barbara Seagull. After a fairly short time, probably in some embarrassment, she changed it back.

Suppose some of our other, more recent cinematic luminaries had been similarly moved? We could have had Bruce Twelve Monkeys. Uma Kill Bill. Jack Batman. Jamie Lee Halloween. Ewan Trainspotting. Kate Titanic. You get the idea.

This is the part where you jump in...

In other news, if you wear your grey hoodie with the hood up over your red baseball cap, then from the back and sides you look like a duck. Presumably this is the intention...


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