Renaissance of cinema

When did you have that feeling, if you ever had it at all? I think it is part of the ageing process, you have to be over 50 to get it. You see, we see Netflix and we often see Bluray’s (or DVD’s) of the old master, but in both cases, at present I still cannot get the real masters. Claude Lelouch’s ‘Les uns et let autres’, the bluray of Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton), or even ‘My little Buddha’ with Keanu Reeves. They are all masters, all in their own right they brought an amazing story to the screen. I was there at the premiere in the Hague when Les uns et les autres made everyone jump to their feet at the end giving a wide applause, it as the first time I saw that happen, it was the first time I experienced it. Not merely the music by Francis Lai and Michel Legrand. The cast which included James Caan, Geraldine Chaplin, Robert Hossein, Jean-Claud Brialy and so many others, a story for the ages. Tim Burton gave new live and a much stronger life to Sleepy Hollow, yes Johny Depp played the big role, but he was surrounded by others and when you see Christopher Lee play the small part of the judge, a small role by a giant, you should figure out that you are hading to something amazing. I have more reasons for this, apart from seeing it 3-4 times on the big screen when it came. It also introduced me to the teaser trailer to the first Harry Potter film, a name I had not heard before that day, but the crowd went insane that night. Sleepy Hollow, with amazing music brought to life Washington Irving and his Legend of Sleepy Hollow. These to giants are not alone. In all the need to reinvent the wheel the streamers are all forgetting the originals, or perhaps the originals as I remember them, Keanu Reeves as Siddhartha, a story of Buddhism, a religion I knew then, and optionally still now know very little about. Yet the movie showed more, it opened a door (for me) and that part is important, to all. When a movie, or a story makes for an open door in your mind, you get to peak at what is out there. Me? I am a pranking person. So I would like to go into the office of Jean-François Mirigay of Monaco and introduce myself as police commissioner Ludovic Cruchot of the St. Tropez police department to inspect the troops no less (fake papers required, and fluent French knowledge too). Why? Because Louis de Funes was that funny, we forgot about him did we not? The old masters are almost forgotten, but I will not let that happen whilst I still live. It is also the need to see Belmondo in Flic ou voyou (or Le guignolo) again. Yet there are no discs, there is no Netflix version. One would hope it will be remastered, perhaps a new version of those movies, but these movies are about the not so PC 70’s, 60’s and in some cases 80’s. 30 years of cinema almost forgotten, mainly because Hollywood does not care about what passed, it cares about the next quarter. Yes, it does and in the Covid age, I get that, I do not oppose it, but is that enough of a reason to forget the greats? When we see ‘French’ and movies, some will revert to Emmanuelle and Silvia Kristel, but French movies had so much more. There was Catherine Deneuve with Indochine (1993) about the age before Vietnam became a reality. Cinema has so much to offer, but I fear that too many have forgotten how we got there and that is such a shame, because I have not even scratched the surface of what was. Even in my native Netherlands, I was (until I moved to Australia) unaware of Rutger Hauer’s Bride Flight. That made sense as it is a 2008 movie, but the movie told me a lot that was not taught in the schools. I knew about the 1953 London to Christchurch air race, all Dutch kids hear the story of the race, but the race was merely the beginning and we get to see more, also how the Dutch moved and took their values with them, some never embracing the local values and cultures. And I am not asking you or telling you to embrace it all, I merely offer the idea that you consider the old master, old masters of cinema. A group of people that are too soon to be forgotten as we see another batch of Netflix and Disney plus releases. So when we see names like Timothy Spall, we tend to grasp straight to the Harry Potter series, yet we forget that he stood out in Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (aptly renamed by me as death of a vacuum cleaner salesman), it is actually there that I saw in him an optional Lucius Malfoy (I had just read the third book), a stage that is not set against Jason Isaacs (who did a brilliant job), it is merely the thoughts that we entertain when reading a book is much wider than the cinema offers, the cinema offers the view of the director (optionally filtered by the producers), the book let the mind work it all out and the filtered views of the past still matters, especially when experts in their own field like Louis de Funes, Derek Jacobi or Jean Paul Belmondo give their view for us to see. I feel that players like Netflix and Disney are forgetting that, when we merely focus on the spreadsheet and what needs to be achieved, the past is lost and that is never a good thing. The funny part is that this impacts games and movies to a similar degree, which is an odd revelation, but there you have it. So whilst we are all debating how precise Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven really was, we forget that, or perhaps never knew that Balian of Ibelin (c. 1143 – 1193), also known as Barisan the Younger was a real person who surrendered Jerusalem to Saladin on October 2, 1187. Until the movie was made, I wonder how many knew what the setting of Jerusalem in those days were. Books are not merely the foundation of movies, movies are a source to investigate what was and in this Les uns et les autres stands out, it is pure fiction, but the story touches on real musical icons. People like Édith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Herbert von Karajan, Glenn Miller, Rudolf Nureyev and a few more are given life in this story in the most eloquent way, the old masters have so much to teach us, lets make sure that we do not lose these lessons before it is too late, a spoonful of Alain Delon anyone?

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.