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Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha


This John Irvin movie premeried in 2005 Venice festival and is disturbing to say the least. As someone mentioned this is a movie made by men and for older men that enjoy seeing young girls. Yes, in a sense I do agree as the way Irvin handles his actresses suggest more a titillating experience than the drama that probably is behind the story.

Have to share with you the following paragraph from the Variety review, as I am not familiar with the background of this story and I want to record it here.

“Nearly 20 years ago, the late scripter Alberto Lattuada wrote a treatment based on Symbolist author Frank Wedekind's rich distillation of the fin-de-siecle burgeoning understanding of psychology, decadence and the power of sexuality. Actress/producer Ida Di Benedetto resurrected the screenplay a few years ago, brought Irvin on board and hired more writers to tweak the material. The results don't remotely approach the mysterious hothouse quality of Lucile Hadzihalilovic's pic "Innocence," adapted from the same material, which preemed at Toronto last year.”

The above gives an idea of what the original material is about and definitively I’m looking forward to be able to see Innocence as some praise its Tarkovskyesque images of flowing water. It also says that this one is a bad adaptation.

Think that the best way to describe this movie is as belonging to the horror genre (0kay I may be exaggerating a little), where you have Jacqueline Bisset as the sinister headmistress of a school of girls in an unnamed country set in the early 20th Century. Girls come here since they are babies and as they grow they receive the proper education (how to set a table, how to dance ballet). For most of the beginning you wonder what’s going on until you notice that a little girl has a crush for the only nice teacher in the school and later that Irene loves Hidalla and to be honest, this part of the story is truly beautiful.

Unfortunately the story continues and when reaches the first incident (the library) you know that this won’t continue to be a nice story and gee, you have no idea of how disgusting it gets, even when the director chose to titillate instead of developing the characters more or motivate his actresses to perform better; if had he developed more the characters, perhaps the movie could have been more disturbing.

This is a lesbian interest story but if you are impressionable and do not like to see disturbing stories, I suggest that as soon as you see something you do not like, stop the movie. Perhaps you will pleasantly see a little more than half the movie, as you will enjoy the love story as well as beautiful cinematography.

As a movie is quite impressive as all the settings like the house, the prince’s palace are spectacular (was filmed in the Czech Republic) and has some unbelievable beautiful framing for some scenes, nice costumes and has nice slow pace; but the directing and the acting is more on the bad side.

Absolutely not for all audiences, but I know that is a must be seen movie for the genre as the first half is very nice.

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