Wednesday 2 September 2009

Inglourious Basterds and my mum.

(C) Wheeler Systems Ltd

If my earliest cinematic memory is correct it is a surprise that I ever returned, the trauma inflicted by the senseless murder of Bambi’s mother scarring me permanently.

However, when I check Wikipedia – fountain of all things knowledge – I learn that the film came out in the 1940’s and thus IF I saw it at the cinema, and don’t just suffer secondary torment passed on through my elder sister, it was part of a retrospective projection.

So my earliest CERTAIN celluloid experience was watching The Swiss Family Robinson at the Commodore Cinema in Orpington, just outside London.

Even though it was tame in comparison to the tragedy at the heart of Bambi, I watched most of the film with my head buried in my Mum’s lap.

I was 5 years old.

My most recent movie attendance was three days ago at the local Le Querlys Cinema in St Antonin for Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds.

The Le Querlys Cinema is one of the reasons why I live here, a picture palace run by a couple who clearly love films and welcome each person who buys a ticket as if they were a long lost friend - but I am not an outright fan of Mr Trantino’s work.

I came late to his films, starting with Pulp Fiction, which I enjoyed without understanding what the fuss was about. I thought the story was interesting, it was great to see John Travolta again all those years after Saturday Night Fever and I still laugh at Bruce Willis’s tale of his Dad’s watch.

But when people told me that this was brilliance - because of the script - I was confused - I thought a good script was a pre-requisite of any film.

When I started to go through the back catalogue I had more trouble, Reservoir Dogs left me needing no more, after the first five minutes of buckets of blood and fuck and later I couldn’t get into Kill Bill.

In the interim I did enjoy Jackie Brown, but is this typical Tarantino?

Is Inglourious Basterds?

You would have to ask the Tarantino scholars about that, but if you want to see a good movie, with some (particularly one) great performances and a good story - I recommend his latest work.

The opening 25 minutes, part in French part in English has to be one of the best things he has done on film.

A simple scene, apparently innocent, is underpinned with a cruel and manipulating tension personified by Christoph Waltz as the Gestapo Jew Hunter.

If I have to be critical then it would be to say that towards the end of the film the director tries to recreate this Hitchcokian tension in a scene in a tavern. Most reviews agree that he is less successful and that the scene is too long.

But the story line is strong, the acting solid, the direction snappy and the tone dark comedy.

Great sets, lots of inter-film references to keep you playing “did you notice….” - and three episodes that should have you reeling in disgust.

Three times during Inglourious Basterds I was unable to watch the action on the screen and since my mother was unable to come her lap was not an option - so I chose the blank walls for solace.

It is difficult to watch a film with your neck twisted at ninety degrees and it seems stupid to go to a movie, where visual communication is paramount, and not see everything – but it seems to happen to me a lot.

My mother was unable to be there because, like the Commodore Cinema in Orpington time has ceased her to exist and whereas the Commodore was eventually reduced to ash and dust and replaced by a McDonald’s restaurant, my mother remains dust and ashes, and will forever be irreplaceable.

Glouriously irreplaceable.


Janet Bianchini said...

Once again, a great posting full of facts (film review) and poignant personal memories.

popps said...

Thanks Janet, now go and see the film - i think you will enjoy t too.