Now is a good time for movies. Some might still be showing. Most are currently available on DVD.
“The life of Pi” is particularly charming even if it might not be so accessible to kids without adult company. Thirteen-year-old Linya and 10-year-old Elias enjoyed it even so. But their father was around to watch with them.
The animation was absolutely enchanting and much discussion resulted from just observing formal issues like composition and how visual elements might be arranged on a picture plane. Issues of balance and pictorial planning are now interesting to Linya who draws and takes photographs. Elias was more excited with the sea life depicted in the course of the movie. And of course the Bengal tiger was a beautiful hit for the both of them.
But this movie is all about different organisms living together in a single planet even if they are natural enemies. It is a good study of religion and faith and how disparate religions may live together not just in the world but more importantly in each other’s hearts. This is a movie about loving somebody else’s religion. This is not a movie for those who would rather prefer single-universe fundamentalism. And they might come out of it happier for the inaccessibility of this moral lesson in the movie itself.
Even so, Linya got this immediately needing no assistance at all. And she took it one step further by commenting on the structure of the narrative. The concept of the relativism of truth is repeated at least thrice in the narrative. She got all of them.
These are not complexities you will find in “Les Miserablés” whose great value is found in the acting and music. Especially because these were done by some very unexpected people. Think Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Hathaway actually comes out for just a small part of the movie but she does her one complete song so well you cannot help but say you have seen and listened to her in a different light. And from here on, people will see Jackman as a dramatic actor instead of simply as Wolverine.
And yet, it seems almost a shame that these names supersede the other members of the cast. This is a movie that is well played by everyone. And then one can only imagine how it does actually look like onstage instead of onscreen. Thankfully, the movie manages to keep for us its stage-set quality for much of the scenes all the way until the dramatic finale.
But the surprise reaction came from 40- or so year-old Estela who wondered how faithfully “le mise” keeps faith with Victor Hugo’s original novel. Are there English translations available for this now? Better check the Net.
But if these movies prove to be a treat, take it two steps further by watching first Quentin Tarantino’s “Django” then following this up with Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Both are remakes of old themes. But precisely because of these, they give us a view of current temperaments and sensibilities.
“Django” is nothing you would like your children to see least of all by themselves. Indeed, after enjoying the film you might feel a bit discomfitted, even guilty, for enjoying it at all. But you cannot help noting Tarantino’s tongue in cheek artistry. He is still there.
But for acting and just crafting good film, “Lincoln” is the movie you hope against hope more people will watch and appreciate. It is a long film filled much with dialogue and very little else besides. But once you get into the story it is quite exciting and emotionally gripping. Especially as you have seen it after seeing “Django” which would be its conceptual opposite.
The both of them taken one after the other might move you to tears. And this might open you to a bit of embarassment especially if your hard-nosed 15-year-old son, Isagani, suddenly comes in out of the blue exactly at that pivotal time when the great emancipator makes his final speech for the film ending it with that by now ironic catch-phrase “…a just and lasting peace…”