Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guido's Muse

Fellini's classic Eight and a Half begins unconventionally but breathtakingly hypnotic. It may take several viewings to begin appreciating the work of this master. This clip is at the very beginning of the movie when the movie director is getting treatment in a health spa where he gets the first vision of his muse Claudia. In Nine, the muse is Nicole Kidman. As can be seen in this clip and throughout this movie and many others of Fellini, religious undertone is quite prevalent.


Asa Nisi Masa

To give Eight and a Half equal time, this clip is one key scene of Fellini's famous movie. The title is the "magic spell" cited by the little girl. According to some account, the children of Italy play a game of word, adding "sa," and "si" alternately to fragments of a word to form secret messages. Here, the word is Anima, for "soul," thus the secret spell "Asa NIsi MAsa" that Guido was projecting to the mind reader. Sort of Felliniesque telepathy. This is my favorite scene. There is another one that introduces Guido's muse... coming soon...

Asa Nisi Masa

Monday, May 24, 2010

Musical Italiano

OK, this is my last clip for Nine, then I'll move onto something else... may be Chicago? Hmmm...? I'm not sure what this scene is about as it does not seem to have any relationship with Eight and a Half. But the novel black and white intermixed with color shooting, and the energetic dancing are mesmerizing. Where do the dancers get all the energy? My final verdict: Nine is no Eight and a Half.


A Call from the Vatican

The earlier clip about Saraghina in Nine was "Ti Voglio Bene/Be Italian." While I have this video at hand, I might as well finish what I wanted to do: comparing Nine and Eight and a Half. This one is "A Call from the Vatican" where Carla/Penelope Cruz who is Guido's mistress shows the hot for him. Nine is Eight and a Half plus a Half which is the music. Got it?

Rob Marshall directed the movie Chicago in 2002, and that was a great musical. Nine, his next musical gets less enthusiastic reviews, but I think the song and dance choreography are quite good. I can't really say the same thing about Cruz' singing talent, but you've got to admit that she's quite hot. She's got the nomination for best supporting actress in this role. You be the judge.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sheryl Crow

I'm on a rare roll, so I am forging ahead with some of the clips I wanted to put here but could not get to them... until now. It is not so simple to extract clips from a long video and make them stream on the internet. I don't know how the others post their clips on Youtube, but it is quite a bit of work for me, and this clip is worth it.

It is from the movie DeLovely, telling the life of American music composer Cole Porter (1891–1964.)

"Begin the Beguine" is one of his work that is so famous and well-liked that any notable singer must include it in his or her repertoire. Porter composed the song at the piano in the bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. In October 1935, it was introduced by June Knight in the Broadway musical Jubilee produced at the Imperial Theatre in New York City.

So, because it is so famous, you can find this tune played and sung by every band, and every singer, but I think Sheryl Crow by far gave the best performance in this movie. The song in this clip is edited to be shorter than its longer version that is more than 4 minutes. The last refrain, whose lyric sounds a bit cheesy to me, is left out, so this is just perfect. Enjoy!

Sheryl Crow

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saraghina - 8½

Because I already was committed and showed you the 2009 version of Saraghina, I feel obligated to also show you, for comparison, its genesis: Federico Fellini's 8½.. For those of you who are not old enough to know and appreciate, 8½ (pronounced Otto e mezzo in Italian) is a 1963 film directed by Italian director Federico Fellini. Co-scripted by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi, it stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a famous Italian film director. Shot in black-and-white by cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo, the film features a soundtrack by Nino Rota with costume and set designs by Piero Gherardi.

The film's title refers to 8½ being Fellini's eighth and a half film as a director. His previous directorial work consisted of six features, two short segments, and a collaboration with another director, Alberto Lattuada, the latter three productions accounting for a "half" film each.

This clip is about 1 hour into the movie, introducing Saraghina. If you pay attention, Marcello Mastroianni's glimpse of a large woman descending a slope precipitated him back into his childhood and a memorable encounter with Saraghina.

8½ won two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Costume Design (black-and-white). Acknowledged as a highly influential classic, it was ranked 3rd best film of all time in a 2002 poll of film directors conducted by the British Film Institute.

What do you think? You like better Nine, or 8½? I think it's a slam dunk for the older master of the 60s. I love Nino Rota's music in films, such as in this clip. Haunting and it stays with you.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Saraghina - Nine

Nine is a musical based on a book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. The story is based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical film 8½. It focuses on film director Guido Contini, savoring his most recent (and greatest) success but dreading his imminent 40th birthday and a midlife crisis blocking his creative impulses and entangling him in a web of romantic difficulties in early 1960s Venice.

The original Broadway production opened in 1982 and ran for 729 performances, starring Raul Julia. The musical won five Tony Awards, including best musical, and has enjoyed a number of revivals. One of which is Nine, a 2009 American/Italian musical film directed and produced by Rob Marshall. The screenplay of this film is by Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella. Maury Yeston composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the songs.

The 2009 Nine premiered in London and was released in the United States on December 18, 2009, in New York City and Los Angeles, with a wide release on December 25, 2009.

Despite mixed to negative reviews, Nine was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Penélope Cruz who gave a really hot show stopper in the movie... you wanna see it?), Best Art Direction (John Myhre (AD), Gordon Sim (SD)), Best Costume Design (Colleen Atwood) and Best Original Song ("Take It All" Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston.)

To fully appreciate this movie, you must know Fellini's Eight and a Half well. Many of Fellini's movies cast women of dubious appearance and characters. They are usually large and voluminous. In Eight and a Half, one such character is Saraghina, who fascinated the kids living nearby her beachfront adobe. Nine did not follow that tradition in that the 2009 Saraghina is as sexy as sexy can be... but you can see the sand from the original Fellini's beach scene. Watch how young Guido is punished after being caught red handed in his fascination with the forbidden Italian fruit.

Should I show you next the original Saraghina of Eight and a Half? Come back here... give me a little bit of time...


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Brand New Angel

Hello blog.... I can't believe one year has gone by... and this blog has been completely neglected. I have too many excuses, but ... who cares. I am now ready to go again anew. Here is a short clip from a recently released Oscar winner. In general, I do not like country music, but this clip changed my mind a bit. Jeff Bridges sings and acts all the way to earn his 2010 best actor Oscar award. You be the judge after you go see the movie Crazy Heart. Many complain that he mumbled the words he sings, and I agree. I had to look up the lyrics of this song to know exactly what he is singing about. I think it's about someone who died and went to heaven, if there is such a place, a rather sad song. The lyric? Here they are:

Well it rained last night
and the stars shone bright
and way off yonder
we heard the whippoorwill.

At the first light of dawn
we heard that he was gone.
Our hearts were empty
and our eyes were filled.

Open the gates;
welcome him in.
There's a brand new angel,
a brand new angel
with an old violin.

In music we heard
all the songs of the birds.
And he said that some songs
are like clear fall days.

But he played his last refrain
oh but the song will remain.
Though he's put his bow down
and closed his case.

Open the gates;
welcome him in.
'Cause there's a brand new angel,
there's a brand new angel
with an old violin.

In this clip, only half of the song made it to the movie. If you are interested in listening to the entire song, click on the "Play" button below:

And here's the clip. Click on it to see the video that is about 3 minutes long for half of the song.

Brand New Angel