Back Row Banter

From explosions to pathos

Friday Favourite: Cinema Paradiso – Kissing montage June 4, 2010

Each Friday I write a bit about something small I really enjoy. I hope you enjoy these little things as much as I do.

   Since the dawn of cinema the on-screen act of kissing has played an integral role in the art form. Early films such as The Kiss from 1896 and G.A. Smith’s Kiss In The Tunnel are amongst my favourite examples of how sumptuous and beautiful cinema can be as a medium. Clearly I am not the only one that shares that view.

   No-one, however, has ever been able to describe the majesty of the on-screen kiss as well as Giuseppe Tornatore in his sentimental classic Cinema Paradiso. Through the simple act of creating a montage of cinema’s most luminous kissing sequences, Tornatore has managed to create a scene that simultaneously reminds the viewer of the most ecstatic moments in celluloid history, the small scenes that transcend art, whilst creating a sense of nostalgia and warmth. The scene reminds the viewers of the very best that film has to offer, the romance, the passion. At the same time the sequence is transportative; it gives a proustian rush to the very best times of the viewer’s life – the scene places the viewer in their own life’s most romantic scene, the time when they were closest to Cary Grant or Ingrid Bergman. Tornatore, with the help of a swooning score by Ennio Morricone, has crafted a beautiful love letter to cinema as a medium as well as an accurate representation of love and the feeling of being head over heels in love.

   Below is this weeks Friday Favourite. If you don’t melt a wee bit watching this scene then I don’t believe you having a heart capable of love.


Friday Favourite: Robin Hood – Love May 27, 2010

Each Friday I write a bit about something small I really enjoy. I hope you enjoy these little things as much as I do.

   With the recent release of the Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood, I decided to look back on past filmic representations of the famous outlaw. The most suprising fact brought to my attention doing this was that by far the best version of the tale is the Disney animation. The first release since studio head Walt Disney’s death, Robin Hood represents something of an anomally in the Disney canon. The film, featuring shots repeated more than once and tracings from earlier features, is shockingly low fi and bleak. Similarly the narrative dispenses with Disney’s traditional focus on one protagonist who reaches self awareness as part of the story’s arc; here the tale is centred on a community and a roster of characters. The end result is a kind, soft feature that is both gently moving and delightful. Somewhat overlooked, Robin Hood was a huge inspiration on the latest Wes Anderson feature The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Texan director even went as far as placing the Ocar nominated song Love, originally recorded for the Disney film, on his Mr Fox soundtrack. The lilting melody, beautifully recited by Nancy Adams, is this week’s Friday Favourite. Embedded below is the wonderful, unashamedly romantic, montage sequence featuring Robin Hood and Maid Marian taking a loving stroll through the most picturesque of forests. Enjoy.