Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Break

Finally, finals are over and it is once again time to go home to Council Bluffs. This break I am going to keep it simple; I brought a bunch of old movies home, a few classics that are a must. It is refreshing to a great movie out every once and a while and rewatch it. So far, I have refreshed myself in the genius of Sergio Leone. I watched his western epic, Once Upon a Time in the West. Although I only saw this a little over a year ago, it is still just as striking today as it was the first viewing. There is something so operatic and compelling about the story, something that is so profound and mystical. I am most struck by the style and essence of Harmonica, one of the lead characters. He is slow and methodical in his actions, a trait that I like in my heroes, making his actions seem planned and thought-out. Another character that really strikes me is Frank, played by the great actor Henry Fonda. Yes, I said Henry Fonda. He usually plays good guys, but in OUTIW he is as dark as the night. Now to get away from the characters, the style of the film is another area worth looking. Now most films need to have constant action or sound, OUTIW doesn't need those. Sergio doesn't need to fall back on those crutches, he uses Ennio Morricone. Morricone uses sounds of everyday life to create a beat, a rhythm that take over and become the soundtrack. The first 17 minutes of the film have only 2 sentences in it and is still kept interesting. That is talent. The soundtrack of the film has themes within it. When a character dominates a scene, his own theme music comes along with it. Landscapes is the next area of Leone's genius. He creates amazing landscapes of the west and also the face. Most directors are afraid of having an actor's face dominate the screen, but he makes it so there is nothing but the face, and you can see into the pores of their skin. That is why he is great.
The list of films that I took home with me to watch is quite large, in fact I wonder if I will be able to watch them all in this short three weeks. The Godfather Trilogy, Team America: World Police, Silence of the Lambs, Once Upon a Time in the West, Platoon, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and Casablanca.


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