Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Soundtrack: Maladie D'Amour

It looks as though the soundtrack to Maladie D’Amour was indeed released in France upon the film’s release in 1987. I have unfortunately not been able to find any other information on it and as such can’t really write on it in depth. I do quite like much of the music in the context of the film, although it does suffer from the same overly glossy production that plagued a lot of music in the mid to late eighties.
Romano Musumarra was born in Rome in the summer of 1956. Even though he was born in the year that Rock and Roll first exploded, it appears that Musumarra has always been more interested in classical and pop. A child prodigy on the piano, Musumarra scored his first Italian hit just before his 20th birthday with the track, “La Bottega delll’Arte”.
He found a lot of work in the late seventies and early eighties as a composer and arranger for many Italian and then French acts, including Jean Mas’ first two albums. 1986 marked the first year that he began his film work with a song for Andre Techine’s terrific Scene Of The Crime and his first full film score for Regis Wargnier’s Women Of My Life.
These popular works would lead him to a dozen or so different productions ranging from a song for Jess Franco’s Faceless (1988) to a couple of complete scores for films from Jacques Deray including, of course, Maladie D’Amour.
Musumarra provides Maladie D’Amour with a solid if not completely memorable score. I would be most curious to hear the complete soundtrack on its own as my opinion of it might rate higher then. Visit Romano’s official website here for much more information.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Maladie D'Amour Exclusive Screenshots

Recently I got the capability to create my own screenshots so I will be offering more exclusive images for readers to enjoy. Here are the first batch of MALADIE D'AMOUR captures. I will be offering more when I write on the film in detail later this week. Please excuse the quality of these. This is a very rare film and my copy comes from an old VHS tape.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shooting Kinski: Jean-Francois Robin

Born in France during World War Two, Cinematographer Jean-Francois Robin has had a fascinating four decade career behind and in front of the camera. The Cesar nominated Robin got his start in French film in the early seventies on a couple of horror shorts. He made his feature film debut as cinematographer on the legendary Jean Rollin’s haunting and influential Lips Of Blood. Robin’s excellent work for Rollin would mark him as one of the most talented, if lesser known, photographers that came out of French cinema in the seventies and his work has only improved since.
Like most of Rollin’s greatest works, Lips Of Blood didn’t make much of a splash at the time so Robin wasn’t able to immediately capitalize on his excellent work on it. He spent the rest of the seventies and early eighties shooting a variety of relatively minor French films for directors like Alain Cavalier and Patrice Leconte before landing a huge assignment for famed Polish director Andrzej Zulawski with 1985’s L’Amour Braque in which he was able to photograph Sophie Marceau.
The demanding Zulawski got the best out of Robin and his work on L’Amour Braque received a lot of attention from critics and other directors. One director who was most impressed by it was Jean-Jacques Beineix who was prepping his follow up film to Moon In The Gutter, 1986’s Betty Blue. Robin was hired for Beineix’s iconic and popular film and immediately became one of the most sought after French cinematographers due to his work on it.
Maladie D’Amour would be one the first films that Robin began shooting after completing his work for Beineix on Betty Blue and it is also one of his best. Like a lot of key French films from the eighties, his work was an intriguing mix of stylish ‘cinema du look’ inspired video photography mixed with a rich film tradition from many of the sixties best photographed works. With some ingenious lighting and a deceptively simple style, Maladie D’Amour benefits greatly from Robin’s work and Nastassja looks fantastic through his lens.
Robin would continue to work with Beineix on his next couple of films and also struck up a partnership with the great Claude Sautet. This collaboration would prove to be a fruitful one and it produced the career best work of both men, the glorious 1995 film Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud.
Robin continues to be a successful cinematographer and has even acted in a couple of films for some of his directors. Maladie D’Amour would unfortunately mark the only time Robin and Nastassja would work together, but he can rightly claim to be one of her key cinematographers as he caught her at one of the most pivotal moments in her career.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nastassja On Ebay

These very striking and original paintings of Nastassja have just popped up on Ebay. They hail from France and are credited to Neal Turner. The auctions can be viewed here and here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Odds and Ends: Revolution

REVOLUTION could have been such a powerful experience. The idea of telling the tale of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of a talented British director and starring three of the most iconic actors of their respective generations seemed like gold, but REVOLUTION stands as one of the biggest failures (financially and critically) in all of modern cinema.
I have decided to hold off on my long review of the film until the DVD finally hits the states, which it eventually will. I am doing this for a few reasons. One is that I want to highlight the DVD when it does finally come out, as it is now the last Al Pacino film to not be available and also I want to view the film in the best way possible. If nothing else, the splendid photography in the film deserves to be seen in the best format possible, and that is something I haven't seen yet. Finally I really want to get started on Nastassja's next film, a European production that would team her with two of France's greatest actors and one its major director.
If HAREM and REVOLUTION were two of Nastassja's most disapointing films, then MALADIE d'AMOUR is one of her most special. My look at this underseen little gem will begin shortly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Composer John Corigliano's Revolution

One of the great ironies in the story of Hugh Hudson’s ill fated REVOLUTION is that one of its greatest assets, the rather breathtaking score by Academy Award winning composer John Corigliano, has never seen the light of the day on a soundtrack release. The score to the film is never less than effective in the film and is at times truly sublime. Pacino’s mentioning of how he wished REVOLUTION would have been more like a silent film (i.e. with less dialogue and more of the score) seems pretty dead on as the film’s biggest problem is the script.
Corigliano was born in the winter of 1938 in New York City. Since coming into prominence in the sixties, Coriglian has rightly been hailed as one of the most important modern composers around, winning multiple awards and mountains of respect from his peers.
His first film score came when he was hired on by classical music buff Ken Russell for his creepy and masterful ALTERED STATES in 1980. This would garner Corigliano a lot of notice which led him to Hugh Hudson and REVOLUTION a few years later.
He has only scored one feature since, 1998’s THE RED VIOLIN, but it would be that film that would garner him his first Academy Award.
While Corigliano’s score for REVOLUTION is currently unavailable, he did use portions of it in one of his acclaimed classical pieces after its release. For more on this and Corigliano’s career, please visit the following link.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shooting Kinski: Bernard Lutic

The absolute highlight of the poorly scripted and blandly directed REVOLUTION is the beautiful photography by frequent Eric Rohmer cinematography Bernard Lutic. For all of its failings, REVOLUTION is never less than gorgeously shot and the late Lutic’s work in it is worth celebrating.
Lutic, a lifetime photographer, came to the world of cinematography a bit later than most as he was already nearing his forties when he shot his first film, 1979’s I’VE GOT YOU, YOU’VE GOT ME BY THE CHIN HAIRS. Born in France during the tail end of World War Two, the talented Lutic’s career would really kick into gear just a couple of years after his debut when he first collaborated with legendary French auteur Eric Rohmer on the wonderful THE AVIATOR’S WIFE (1981).

Lutic’s first work as Rohmer’s cinematographer was just the beginning of a very rewarding and fruitful collaboration that would continue throughout the eighties. Key films that resulted from the partnership were A GOOD MARRIAGE (1982), and BOYFRIEND’S AND GIRLFRIENDS (1987). Lutic marked himself with Rohmer as a very down to earth and intelligent photographer who was able to take sometimes mundane and neutral settings and turn them into often something extraordinary. The films he shot for Rohmer remain some of the best and most memorable of the eighties.
Lutic’s other key collaborator after Rohmer would turn out to be REVOLUTION director Hugh Hudson. Academy Award winning Hudson is of course capable of making good films and he and Lutic would score some well deserved recognition for 1999’s MY LIFE SO FAR, a film that remains one of the fallen director’s finest. Less successful was their follow up production, 2000’s I DREAMED OF AFRICA.
Lutic was tragically killed in the late part of 2000 in a plane crash while scouting a film called THE RAID. His last completed work was the stunningly shot WINGED MIGRATION, a film that proved a wonderful closing point to his distinguished career. REVOLUTION would prove to be one of the most disappointing films Nastassja ever filmed, but at least she had another great photographer shooting her in it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Nastassja On Pacino and Revolution

Nastassja was thrilled to be working with Pacino on REVOLUTION. She had called him one of her favorite actors before the production and has said the same thing since. Here are a few quotes from Nastassja on Pacino, Hugh Hudson and the most ill fated film of her career.

“For me, Al has been incredible. He’s very communicative. He’s not one of those actors who comes on the set and then leaves. We’re doing a lot of improvising and talking about the work. So in the end it just flows. I can’t tell you to what extent he’s helped me. He lets life come into the work, little accidents, things don’t wind up just the way they’re written.”

“I took the film REVOLUTION because the title sounded great to me, because that’s how I felt. Revolt against what’s wrong, revolt against what’s unjust-revolt against what’s half and half.”

Director Hugh Hudson had this to say about Nastassja after completing REVOLUTION:

“There’s something about her face that captures the rebel spirit of the young. No, she wasn’t difficult; she asked questions she had every right to ask. And in the end, she was willing to try everything”

Pacino On Revolution

The most disappointing aspect of REVOLUTION is that it wasted what could have been a wonderful meeting between two of the most iconic actors of the seventies and eighties. While the scenes between Nastassja Kinski and Al Pacino are chief among REVOLUTION'S highlights, one wishes that the two would have had another opportunity to work together in a more worthwhile production. Perhaps a future film will bring that. Here are some quotes from Pacino on the film that proved to be the biggest failure of his career:

"I'm not wary of that sort of thing (the financial failure of REVOLUTION). I've made other movies that weren't successful and made as loud a noise on the way down."

"That film wasn't finished, it had another six months of work. It was like selling somebody a car without a motor. The audience saw something incomplete."

"It affected me tremendously. I loved playing a guy who had to take care of himself and his family, living off the land, making his own fire, just surviving. It made me understand my roots and what it was like here two hundred years ago...I feel as though I've experienced it."

"I was a bit disillusioned by the way a movie I made called REVOLUTION was treated. The right narrative and more cutting-viewing the movie more as a silent film-would have helped. REVOLUTION was one of those things that happen in a career, where you learn so much from it because it was such a disorienting experience. After that kind of work and energy and the talent put into it. I expected that they would have worked on that film, but they just let it go. They put half a film out. I was appalled and shocked by that. I didn't know what to do. It was that single film that took the rug out from under me; I lost interest for a while...I went back to the drawing board."

"REVOLUTION was the biggest failure I've ever had...it has stuff in it that's very good, so that's the failure."

Several of the above quotes are taken from the essential and excellent AL PACINO: IN CONVERSATION WITH LAWRENCE GROBEL.