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Karie's Blog

June 2005

Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 27, 2005
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IN THE MIDDLE OF A MOVIE at the Los Angeles Film Forum

Her travels included Helsinki (Finland), Hamburg (Germany), Los Angeles (USA), Seydisfj?rdur (Iceland), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Tallinn (Estonia).

In watching these, I noticed that apartments look pretty much the same no matter what corner of the world you are in.  People are also interested in sex and violence pretty much everywhere.  In one scene, Tellervo (the Finnish woman) smeared ketchup all over a guy who then acted out a violent suicide scene.  In another scene people were walking around naked and acting like they were in a David Lynch movie.  Another thing I thought about was the universality of human emotions.  People may live on the other side of the world, but we ALL share many of the same hopes, dreams and fears.

I found myself doing a great deal of eyeball rolling during the scenes that were shot in Los Angeles.  It seemed that EVERYONE had a film, band, art gallery or something they were trying to shamelessly promote.  I love living here (honest) but sometimes people here can be SO shallow, self-serving and narcissistic that it drives me insane.  The Los Angeles films were really hard to watch.  I found the other ones far more interesting.

Overall I think that Tellervo Kalleinen captured some really interesting ideas through these people.  I would definitely be interested in seeing more of her work in the future.

 

 


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 23, 2005
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SON OF THE SHEIK

I’ve always loved Rudolph Valentino.  Four years ago I decided to take up the mantle of “Lady in Black.”  I wasn’t doing it for attention or press or anything like that.  My motives were simple.  From the first time I saw his image flashing on the screen, I was somehow in love.  Silly to fall in love with a man who died almost 50 years before I was even born, but there was just SOMETHING about him that grabbed a hold of me and never let go.  Besides I love history with a passion and I saw being the “Lady in Black” as a way to keep Valentino and his film legacy alive for a whole new generation of people my age and younger.
So every year on August 23rd I show up at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with my black vintage dress and roses and I speak at the memorial service about the women in black of the past.  I’ve also introduced his films at the Silent Movie Theatre and the Old Town Music Hall.


Valentino was a unique screen personality that has never seen an equal.  He was lightening in a bottle….a brief flash of something powerful and wildly unique.  He was sexual, exotic, romantic, alluring and valiant all at the same time. 


Sitting in the balacony of the Orpheum seeing his image flicker once again on the big screen transported me right back to the 20s.  It was a place in time where silents were golden and as Norma Desmond / Gloria Swanson famously declared, “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces. There just aren’t any faces like that anymore!”


Indeed.

 


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 11, 2005
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James Dean Double Feature

EAST OF EDEN (1955)
The film is set around WWI and takes place in Salinas, California.  Cal Trask (James Dean) feels angry and frustrated that in spite of his best efforts, his father loves his brother Aron much more….and makes that painfully clear.  He tries to win his father’s favor, only to be thwarted at every turn.


James Dean is terrific!  He seems to play the role of a wounded angry youth better than anyone else ever has before or since.  Considering he had a broken relationship with his father in real life, this had to have fueled his performance.  I’ve read that he also hated Raymond Massey (the actor who played the father.)  Director Elia Kazan apparently encouraged their animosity knowing that it would serve them well on screen.  He was right.



REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
Once again James Dean plays the troubled youth, only this time the setting is Los Angeles in the 1950s.  James Dean plays “Jim Stark” whose parents keep moving around and he must constantly try to fit in.  He is naturally angry, troubled and confused about his life and about how to be a man.  His father (who is beaten down by the overbearing wife) is not much of an example.  He befriends Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo) and the three form a bond that they could never find elsewhere.  Tragedy ensues as they are chased and threatened by the local thugs and then the police.  While the film feels very much like a product of the 1950s, in other ways it feels timeless.  Even though the clothing styles and cars have changed, the feelings of alienation, loneliness and teenage angst still ring true.  Clad in blue jeans and a crimson red jacket, James Dean seems to come alive as a walking talking ICON.  He was (and is) the personification of rebellious youth.  Time has done nothing to diminish that.


Warner Home Video just released a James Dean box set with all three of his film and a documentary included.  EAST OF EDEN had been unavailable for years, so if you missed it in the theatres, this is a great chance to see his work.


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 5, 2005
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Silent Film Gala—Charlie Chaplin’s THE CIRCUS

This is my 3rd year running to attend the yearly Silent Film Gala and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!  It is a lovely evening and a chance to see a silent film with an orchestra at UCLA’S Royce Hall. 


THE CIRCUS (1928)

According to the program notes, this film was made during a very difficult and tumultuous time during Chaplin’s life.  A storm had destoryed part of the set, his second wife was divorcing him and he was in trouble with the IRS.  The film took two years to make during which time he suffered a nervous breakdown.  Fortunately the strain doesn’t show on film and the comedy is excellent.  Charlie Chaplin as “The Tramp” wonders into a traveling circus and inadvertently becomes the main attraction.  He falls in love with a girl who is the abused daughter of the circus owner.  Naturally chaos and comedy ensue…but so does heartbreak.  In the end, Chaplin walks off into the sunset alone.  This is a beautiful film and the orchestra sounded magnificent!



Chaplin is the only comedian I can think of who makes me laugh AND cry.  When I first saw CITY LIGHTS I wept openly.  Every time I see THE KID I cry.  There is just something so touching and human and heart breaking behind Chaplin’s eyes.  Many people use the word genius rather freely, but Chaplin is one of the few people the word sincerely describes.



If you haven’t picked up the Chaplin boxed sets on DVD, you should really check them out!  Sure it is not the same as seeing it on a big screen with an orchestra and all, but it is still a great way to discover his work!

 


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