Categories One-by-One: Makeup

ITALIANO
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:02 am

Keep in mind that, unlike for most movies about important contemporary politicians, in this case the man, while very old, is still alive, still in the Parliament, still remarkably active and often on tv, and that, in the countless trials he went through (including, most importantly, the one in the movie), he was always - except once - for some reason declared innocent. So the director, while quite obviously very critical, ultimately leaves to the viewer the right to decide; "connecting the dots" may be easier for an Italian viewer, certainly, but not much easier, because, unlike in other countries, there are still so many mysterious, unexplained things here - things that probably will always be unexplained, too many complicated connections - politics, mafia, the Vatican, a game of power which is close to a puzzle, and can be both exciting AND very frustrating - and in this sense, of course, the movie is very Italian; it captures perfectly these feelings; being too clear, too tidy, would mean, in this case, being too banal, and it wouldn't mirror, like Il Divo does, this intricate web which is really truly Italian.



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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:45 pm

Well, you guys succeeded in getting me to take the DVD of Il Divo off the shelf and finally watch it.

To me, the film is not "slow", it moves at a rather "fast" pace, but it crams so many scenes and so much detail in its slightly less than two hour time frame that it does seem "long".

I did not have any problem with the subtitles. Once I discovered that the red text at the top of the screen was saying pretty much the same thing the white subtitles at the bottom of the screen were saying, I ignored them and only looked at the subtitles on the bottom.

I found the story engrossing but I thought the screenplay could have done a better job of connecting the dots. I understand there is still an ambivalence in Italy about whether or not Andreotti was guilty of all that he was accused of but I would have like a better explanation of why he allegedly had all those diverse characters - rival politicians, mafiosi, journalists, Vatican officials and so on - murdered and why women were supposedly so attracted to him. Who, for instanced, was that woman his secretary told to watch his hands and what did she have to do with anything?

The makeup on Toni Servillo, the actor playing Anreotti, was excellent but if there was extensive makeup done on the other actors it wasn't obvious. That being the case, I suspect the other two nominees will garner more votes in that they involve lots more obvious makeup on lots more characters.

As an aside, I thought the DVD quote form Roger Ebert, "The Godfather meets Nixon" was rather accurate. Amusingly, the Wikipedia page on Andreotti has the real Andreotti and his wife in a pose with the Nixons and Frank Sinatra who also spent a good deal of his life denying his Mafia connections.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:30 pm

Ok, I agree with you.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:51 pm

Art may have objective elements, but the appreciation or like/dislike of art is entirely subjective. While objectively, the makeup effects in Il Divo are accurate, subjectively, the film is slow. One is an observation of a factual element whereas the feeling of slowness is entirely subjective.

One's opinion of a film is composed of parts subjectivity and parts objectivity. But, the overall appreciation, love, like, dislike, hatred, etc, of the film is mostly subjective.

For instance. I think the makeup effects in Bram Stoker's Dracula are creative, mesmerizing and one of the best the Academy has selected. Tripp happens to disagree with me on that point. We've both looked at the same makeup. We've both looked at the technical aesthetics of the application of such makeup, but when our subjective opinions are laid to bear on the topic, we disagree on the quality of the achievement. Again, this is a subjective evaluation of an objective element.

And all this argument over the fact that I didn't love the film (please note that I didn't dislike or hate it) and found it to be slow and oftentimes dry, and you disagreed.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:29 pm

OscarGuy wrote:And I don't think it shows any lack of intelligence to dislike a film.

Of course not. Let's be clear: intelligence doesnt have anything to do with judging a movie or any other work of art.

For example I'm not stupid I think, but my opinion on, say, a classical ballet would be completely worthless, and I don't see why I shouldn't admit it - it's a question of intellectual honesty. What's the problem? I don't feel humiliated if I confess my limitations.

As for art being subjective - it's a long story and we already discussed it in the past. It's easy and comforting to believe that it is, but unfortunately it's not.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:17 am

I will disagree, I think Il Divo is easily a worse film than The Orphanage. But it's a matter of OPINION, not a matter of fact.

And I wasn't referring specifically to Il Divo when discussing "In the know", etc. I was referring to The Blind Side itself.

And I don't think it shows any lack of intelligence to dislike a film. I understand the movie well enough. Just because I understand the movie doesn't mean I have to like it. I understand the Coen brothers. I understand Martin Scorsese. I understand Wes Anderson. That doesn't mean I have to like them.

Art is a subjective medium. I don't have to love a film in order to understand it. And just because I don't like a film doesn't mean I don't understand it. You want me to not "understand" it because that would help explain to you why I didn't like it, but it's just simply not the case.

And I didn't say I hated it or anything of the kind, just like I've never said I love The Blind Side. I like it well enough, but it's not even in my top 20 films of the year, so I would hardly consider my liking the film as any sort of subjective escalation of the film to the level of high art.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:11 am

Mmm... Ok, I see. But not only Italians liked Il Divo, so I guess it's not just a question of those "in the know" vs "common people". The movie can be liked and appreciated even by those who don't know too much about the (admittedly complex, I know it even too well!) details of Italian politics.

Also - this, again, isn't a statement, just a doubt I have - isn't it sometimes OUR fault, and not the movie's? I mean, if we don't uderstand something about a certain movie, if we find it for some reason obscure, are we really sure that this means the movie is flawed? Or maybe - again: MAYBE - it's just that WE are flawed, not open-minded enough, not well-informed enough? It's easy to accuse a movie (or a book, or a painting, or any other work of art), but shouldn't we sometimes, more honestly, accuse ourselves, as viewers I mean? And maybe get from this a signal about our - MINE, even, because for example The Blind Side opened a new world to me, one I didn't even suspect could exist - limitations, and maybe lead us to change a bit? Because frankly I don't think that a movie, to be really good, should necessarily be understood by anyone, or by the so-called "common people". I know that what I'm saying would be considered "condescending" in America, but most true masterpieces aren't that easy, and shouldn't be. Just a doubt, as I said.

But now it's time to be the old me. OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING The Orphanage is a worse movie than Il Divo.

Ooops, I knew I couldnt have resisted for ever! :(

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:39 am

It's the heavy-on-information aspect that makes it feel so long. It may be easier for you since you don't have to read subtitles, but I spent more time reading subtitles than watching the movie. There wasn't enough visual representation of what was being said on screen, which helps give you time to read subtitles, but which makes it more tiresome. It's perhaps why I like films like The Orphanage quite well because it's not overly verbose, moves by quickly and reveals much of its plot through visuals and not through words.

And I wouldn't ever call The Blind Side a challenging film. It's quite the opposite. It's filled with traditional narrative cliches in an attempt to broaden its appeal to wider audiences, hopefully giving those who don't already think and respond the way people around here do an opportunity to understand more complex issues. So, I don't look at the film as anything remotely challenging or deep.

It's like Will & Grace to me. A lot of people here ripped on it for being too white-washed, not gay enough, lightly touching on topics of gay culture, but the way I saw it was as a muted way to bring the subject to broad audiences and not threaten them. Sometimes beating someone over the head with an idea is the worst way to bring about change. Subtlety is as much about how something is presented to those who AREN'T "in the know" or "in that corner" as it is about complex emotional concepts that would fly over the heads of most "common" people who watch it.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:34 am

Ok, I am very ignorant - too many Americans to know them all. I checked and he actually looks a bit like Carlo Buccirosso, and like the character he plays, Italian former politician Paolo Cirino Pomicino.

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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:21 am

Larry David is a TV writer (Seinfeld) turned actor who has had a successful show on cable TV for the last ten years called Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also starred in Woody Allen's 2009 flop, Whatever Works.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:02 am

I don't want to defend this movie because it'd seem I do it only because it comes from my country - and my culture (it's a very Italian movie). I honestly think it's one of the most "fast", exciting examples of moviemaking in recent memory - so fast, in fact, that it gives the viewer almost too many informations in such a short time. But at least it DOES give informations, it's a roller coaster ride with a content, and a profound content; it's about very important issues, yet it's never preachy or heavy-handed.

"Slow", "fast", are very subjective terms. One may find The Blind Side or District 9 (which I finally saw yesterday) less boring, and I respect that. But arent such movies (maybe - it's a question, not a statement) less boring at least partly because they are more superficial, less daring, more confortable to watch - in one word, less challenging? It's a possibility.

And now, most importantly - one of those names Oscar Guy always comes up with and I spend sleepless nights wondering who on earh they are and feeling ashamed for wondering - WHO IS LARRY DAVID???




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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:36 am

I think the makeup job is quite good, as I said. I like aspects of the film, but it felt like it dragged on forever, but that may be because it was overly verbose. I almost felt like I was attending a dry professorial lecture on late 20th Century Italian politics. There are a couple of bright spots SPOILER ALERT (notably Andreotti's confession soliloquy), but the rest just laboriously listed off details.

I don't mind historical documents, but it just seemed like director Paolo Sorrentino went out of his way to be stylish, yet old fashioned. The red lettering, occasionally appearing and disappearing behind objects, swirling around in relation to the subjects on the screen was interesting, but got redundant after awhile. I can't read Italian as easily as I can French or Spanish, so when there was a superfluous amount of text flying by later in the film, I couldn't keep up with the red lettered descriptions.

The reason I say it was slow was that it felt longer than the two hours it was. Coco Before Chanel was almost the same length and at times felt as lengthy, but it felt shorter than Il Divo. And, expanding on that, without having much interest in the outcome of the film (we were told the historical elements right up front, removing any measure of suspense for those unfamiliar with the subject) made it feel even longer. Not to say that it wasn't a sometimes interesting document, it was.

I did learn something I hadn't known before, but even American films that go so intensely into detail as to provide little but historical reference don't really excite me. It does remind me a bit of Scorsese in some stylistic ways, but I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Scorsese fan either, so that likely compounds the matter.

And, on a completely tangential note, I can't remember the actor or character's name, but every time I saw him, I kept thinking I was watching Larry David.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:05 am

Yes, slow isn't the term I'd instinctly apply to Il Divo. I think the make-up is excellent, and Toni Servillo's Andreotti face succeeds in being both realistic AND grotesque, which wasn't easy (though of course the real Andreotti IS a grotesque character, and not only from the physical point of view). All the other actors in the movie have been made to look like the real-life politicians, or journalists, or mafiosos they play - an amazing job, really, and very subtle. Even more, though this is difficult to explain, they look both like the characters they play (the Totò Riina of the movie is almost a carbon copy of the infamous mafia boss) and like the inner "image" they projected on the Italian people. All of them, including those who appear just for a few seconds, for example in the wonderful, quickly edited sequence of the "mysterious deaths" - I've never seen anything like this.

It's especially impressive if one considers that not only this is "contemporary make-up" (and as Damien rightly said about costume design, such a job is easier when it's about the past - or, I'll add, the future), but that most of these people are still alive, still on Italian newspapers every single day, so any mistake would have been very easy to catch. It was risky, but they succeeded, and brilliantly so.

The point is, of course, that only few members of the Academy are Italian, and while the Make-Up Branch may have been submitted images of the originals so that they could appreciate their colleagues' job, all the others (and they DO vote) probably won't even know what this movie is about - unlike us, they will never watch a strange, subtitled Italian movie just because it got a minor technical nomination. So in the end the winner will be either Victoria or (more probably) Star Trek.

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Postby Damien » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:39 am

Wow, Wes, you really found Il Divo slow? I thought it was one of the most kinetic, energetic and stylish films released last year -- sometimes to own its detriment.



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Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:13 pm

Perhaps having just watched this this afternoon, I'd have to say that Il Divo's nomination, while partially because of the Andreotti transformation is not the only makeup. The rest is perhaps subtle, but this is a film that was nominated additionally for its aging makeup. Not elaborate or attention-getting, but noticeable if you're looking for it.

I still prefer District 9, but I don't think I'd be upset with a win for this film (though the film is dreadfully slow)
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