Tuesday, June 12, 2007
FORTY SHADES OF BLUE
"Very little plot and so much life," is the director's own -- very accurate -- comment on his film, Forty Shades Of Blue, the story of a (beautiful) Russian woman living with a (much older) music producer and their young son in Memphis.
I liked this film a lot. (If it had more plot, so it moved ahead like a freight train going down a hill, it would be a great film, a classic.) Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the film is sensitive, interesting, moving and perceptive.
Directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, this is a film that has been carefully constructed word by word and shot by shot. It was written and re-written several times, and developed in part at the Sundance Institute. The commentary by the director exposes in great detail the process and the thought behind the writing, directing and acting of almost every scene, together with the antecedents in film history. For any student of film making, this is one very valuable DVD.
Especially interesting is the exceptional acting by Dina Korzun, a Russian actress. Her Russian style of acting lends a special kind of intensity to the film. Her behaviour is very different from the way an American would behave. Her English is excellent, and accented just enough to give her strangeness a grounded reality of Russian detail. Rip Torn also gives one of his best performances.
It seems as if every shot, every costume, every set, every word has been planned to enhance the resonance of a story of love and lovelessness, happiness, sadness, discovery and loss.
The careful construction, though, has it's own pitfalls. It is both a strength and weakness of the film that is well described by the director's last words on the DVD: "It's a movie -- whatever you say, it's a movie. It's not life."