Tuesday 25 January 2011

Of Kings and Swans

There are two blockbuster cinema houses in Cambridge, but only one tiny Picturehouse Arts Theatre, nestled behind a missable doorway, next to a very bolshy pub. It contains the pulse of the best art house movies ever made. I didn't bother to see a trailer of The King's Speech. I knew it would be brilliant. What I didn't expect was to laugh as much as I did! Every performance is refined, nuanced and timed comically to perfection. I wanted to watch it again even as I was falling into the story. I had a killer migraine, and I was hungry (such queues for popcorn and glasses of wine - posh theatre!), but I wanted to be nowhere else. Colin Firth as King George VI, the anguished, unfortunate sufferer of a stammer, and Geoffrey Rush as his invincible, irreverent Australian speech therapist, conduct their relationship so magnificently onscreen, that they must have the most sublime friendship in real life too. Go watch if you can. And you can!

The migraine passed. And the ballet moved in.
Black Swan is a microcosm of New York City; intense, sexy, claustrophobic, unpredictable and at times, extravagantly violent. (I hid my face away several times - pathetic, I know.) It is also beauty personified; the kind that is rooted in the classical sense, of Natalie Portman's exquisite face, her disciplined hauteur, and the rare occasions when she tremulously smiles; but also in the terrible avenging beauty of ambition, of demanding bodily perfection, and its ensuing psychic chaos. There is no simplicity here. And I don't think anyone will associate the ballet with fluffy white tutus anymore. This swan grows black scales!

p.s. Happy 35th anniversary to my beloved parents and Happy Burns night to you all :)


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I SO want to see both of those films. I likely have to wait till they come out on dvd. Our ridiculous town only gets killer type films no one in their right minds would want to see. Thank you also for posting about Somaly Mam. I hadnt heard of her but will be tracking her book down for certain. I hope YOUR book arrives soon - sigh - and watch for a second small package after that. Our postal service is pathetic.I'd have more luck with a carrier pigeon, hee hee.

Ruth said...

I need to see "The King's Speech" before it leaves the theater. Can't wait.

So sorry about your migraine, I'm glad it passed though.

Wine at a theater. Wow. Then I would really fall asleep . . . well I haven't fallen asleep in a theater yet, just at home. Talk about pathetic!

Ruth said...

Oh, and Happy Anniversary to your parents, they are so sweet. Now off to find out what Burns Night is . . .

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

If there is anything more pathetic than hiding your face during violent scenes, it has to be getting all moist-eyed during the touching sentimental scenes. I know, I do both. Sometimes at the same time even.

It's been a long time since I have seen such a fine film as The King's Speech, the story and acting are marvelous. I really second your recommendation. And I'll have to go see the Black Swan, now. Happy anniversary to your parents.

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