Friday, March 8, 2013

Anna Karenina: A Study In Theatrical Cinema

Let me begin by explaining that I am not a big Keira Knightly fan, and yet I seem to LOVE the movies she is in. I get it, she's British, she's gorgeous, she's cheeky... there's just something about her that irritates me. HOWEVER... apparently when paired with a classic storyline, a BRILLIANT director and the most fabulous sets/costumes in... ever... she's a winner!

It's no secret that I am a sucker for great packaging and I will sit through multiple viewings of really tedious films to take a closer look at hairstyles, corsetry and set design. There is no question that Anna Karenina is opulent and extravagant in it's gilded and carved props and backdrops, but since we have now "been there, done that" a few times too many for that to be a draw in 2013, this film relies on an ingenious use of motion through the sets and scenes that is at once fluid and fractured to create a visually innovative masterpiece. Sets are manipulated on screen the way a theatrical play would be on a stage but with the actors moving through the sets as well as through the scenes.

As a Russian socialite in pre-Bolshevik Moscow, Anna travels to visit her philandering brother in an attempt to explain to her sister-in-law that it is in the woman's best interest to let him have his cake and eat it too while she cares for the brood. In one of those cinema norm string of coincidences, she meets the fabulously moustached Count Vronsky, who is near as well dressed as she is and almost as cocky. The two fall head over fur lined boots in love with the first glance and so begins the ruining of Anna.

The IMPORTANT part of this film is the return of the veiled hat, train travel, creative ballroom dancing and blue silk wallpaper. I'm not kidding, the tragedy of the storyline, the intensity of the passion... all well and good, but the choreography! It's gorgeous. And the blue room where Anna eventually loses her sanity, that alone is worth whatever they paid to have the film produced. Also I am taking up Ice Sledging. 

Anna Karenina isn't a new tale, but in the light of our fairly recent fascination of over the top grandeur and bolts of silk a la The Duchess, Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette et al... the way this movie was filmed is what sets it high above the rest of the aristocracy. Joe Wright isn't a name that I am overly familiar with, but surprisingly the man of the house knew immediately who he was, based on his direction of Hannah, which was equally refreshing, albeit a genre as far from opulence as one is likely to get. So I suppose it's fair to say I dig this guy's style. In 2007 he became the youngest director in history to have a film open the Venice Film Festival with Atonement. There also seems to be rather an obvious link between Wright and Knightly... which is sort of ironic.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Digs... and New Perspective

Has anyone else had a crazy life for... say... the last eight months? I have been working through some of the craziest stuff since last May, so maybe even more than eight. Completely random and unforeseen and not necessarily bad... in fact not bad now that I can look back at it all in hindsight. Chaotic, yes. But all in all really all necessary to find the place I didn't know I was looking for. I moved. For five months. I know... THAT's a long time... but I somehow got it into my head that the place we were in was costing too much, and wasn't worth the investment of fixing it... which was true. What I didn't realize was that my area has an insane shortage of decent housing. So we started to make preparations for moving... and started packing... and looked and looked.......

...and looked and looked. Months, literally MONTHS of looking for a new place while needing to be out of the old place and living month to month with less of an idea of what was going on every day. It took us to the point where we were out of our place without having a new place ready. Everything in storage, trying to sort out what was "important" to keep close and what to put away for what was looking like an increasingly long time. We rent, so it became a bit of a juggling act to pay month to month and to not know where we would be in the coming month. Trying.

In addition, while I was still in the mindframe of the beginning thought that it would take a month to move, I decided to take on the planning of a wedding show. Because that's what I do. I have this innate ability to take something uncomplicated, make it more complicated... and then make it the most complicated it can be... and then add a few things to the To Do list. You know, just for fun. I actually enjoyed planning the show intensely, and it went over well considering all the things that happened behind the scenes. I love having a project, and for me the bigger the better. But I wasn't supposed to be moving for the ENTIRE planning and execution of it. I literally landed in the new place  two weeks after the show.

In the end, (or the beginning, depending on how you look at it) I can see that it has all worked out better than had I simply moved the way I had intended. I was far more careful about where we moved TO and have in a round about fashion created some amazing connections and built a support network that I think is so important in any business... and in life! So I am now breathing again and today is the first day in... an awful lot of days that I get to sit here and write something. SO I turned my computer on and had no idea what to write about. So this is it. Now that I have this off my chest I shall get back to our regular scheduled programming. Tomorrow I will write about my NEW favourite movie, Anna Karenina.

Thanks for being patient :)