Archive for November, 2007

Review of the film “The Comedy of Innocence”

Friday, November 30th, 2007

The Comedy of Innocence (Comedie de L’Innocence) 2000 Directed by Raoul Ruiz (Subtitles)

Critics are widely split on this film by Chilean-born director Raoul Ruiz; the fault lines seem to run somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic mid-way between Europe and the U.S., with the former highly praising the movie and the latter panning it. It all comes down to viewer preference: Americans like their movies neatly packaged and shrink-wrapped, with all ambiguities sorted out by the end, and peopled with strong, clear personality types. Europeans are more concerned with the director than the actors as the principal creative force, and are more comfortable puzzling out clues and worrying away at untidy endings the way some people enjoy undoing troublesome knots in shoe laces.

The basic story line is this: A seemingly typical upper middle class Parisian family, consisting of a mother, a father, the mother’s brother, a 9 year-old son, and an au pair are having a birthday party for the boy. Suddenly he begins insisting that something is wrong, that this is not his real family, and his apparent delusion escalates over the coming days. The father goes off on a business trip, seemingly indifferent to this strange development, but the mother is increasingly unnerved by the boy’s assertion that she is not his real mother. Not knowing what else to do, the mother goes along with the delusion, and eventually ends up taking her son to an address in a part of town that he has supposedly never visited, where he insists they’ll find his mother. Sure enough, a young woman living there who lost her own son to a drowning accident two years earlier insists that this is indeed her dead child. It gets weirder and weirder.

The film is packed with atmosphere and a sense of foreboding and perhaps even supernatural occurrences. Puzzles and mysteries are hinted at but not overtly mentioned: Is the au pair having an affair with the uncle, a psychiatrist who is trying to help the mother deal with her son’s strange behavior? Why does the uncle, who is otherwise gentle and rational, treat his assistant so harshly whenever she approaches him? Why does the mother go along with the other woman’s manipulative and controlling behavior? Is the son’s special friend, a boy his age, a figment of his imagination or a real child that the parents just don’t happen to have met?

If you can handle ambiguity, unusual camera angles, evocative images, and a slow pace, then you will be rewarded by this fascinating film. However, if you like your stories straight on, with everything gradually explained and fully resolved by the end, you may find The Comedy of Innocence an exercise in frustration.

–Alan Zuckerman

Name that tune…

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

We have all done it… hummed a tune for a friend to see if they know what the song is? Now, you can do it online! Midomi will help you find the song you forgot or your friend can’t remember. All you need to do is sing or hum into your computer microphone, and Midomi users will help find your song! On Midomi, you can also discover new music or be discovered and develop your own fans!

Big in Germany…

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Have you ever wondered what people in other states or countries are listening to?? Check out the Gracenote music map. Just click on a country or state to find out the top ten artists and top ten albums people are listening to! It is a fun site!!!

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

This is fusion music at its liveliest: two young Mexican musicians decide to explore their more indigenous roots. They travel to Europe, end up hanging out in Ireland, allowing their mutual interest in flamenco to draw them on, and finally cutting a studio disc that ends up number one on the Irish charts. Now their music reputation is spreading to the UK and the USA. Thom Jurek of allmusic.com calls their music “…smoke and fire…[burning] across genres and traditions.” It’s wild and passionate and full of life. Rodrigo y Gabriela is tango and rock and flamenco and much more, fused together into one wild, joyful celebration.