Saturday, August 15, 2009

Left Alone?

1. a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.

Watching "Reds" I began to question the notions that have defined romance in cinema.
This movie is often included in "Most Romantic Movies of All Time" lists (including AFI's "100 Years, 100 Passions") and the truth is that if this movie is considered something to shed lovesick tears for, then I really don't see why did people oppose so much to films like "Cold Mountain" in recent years.
My point is that "Reds" in no way delivers the kind of butterflies-in-the-stomach feel we've grown to expect from "romantic" movies.
And that's not precisely a bad thing...actually the movie sticks to the definition of romance in dictionaries-and the only one I do believe in.
I was expecting the movie to be an all out weepy and instead was pleasantly surprised with the realization that it's about love, but not the one we'd imagine, but one that is in fact looked down on by Hollywood most of the time: love for what you do.
Warren Beatty plays John Reed, the famed journalist who wrote "Ten Days That Shook the World" and helped in establishing the Communist party of America.
Diane Keaton plays his wife Louise Bryant and if you're expecting some sort of "Romeo and Juliet" thing with them you'll be seriously disappointed.
It's more of a "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" situation as they fight, scream and throw things at each other, yet stick togteher until the end.
But Beatty makes the acute, even bold, move of revealing that Reed's greatest love was is work. This is his movie, let's not be fooled. It's all about Reed (if you're expecting a history lesson you'll be disappointed as well...).
Remarkably the film never hesitates to show us Reed's hierarchy of priorities and Louise is always left in the back.

Vittorio Storaro's cinematography-perfect in every single way-let's us see the way Louise is alienated by Reed's protagonism.
She is usually shown surrounded by men and rarely occupies the prominent shot, especially not before men.

Except when she must testify before a judge, who is above her (physically and in a power situation) which pretty much makes her lone shot obsolete.

Even in the end when he dies, Reed is more important in the shot than poor Louise.

Not that there's anything wrong with Reed's huge self love, but why is this kind of love so feared by Hollywood?

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