Cinema and the arts are more paramount than ever in these times when Covid-related rules have meant the arts have suffered during the past year.
Cinestef at The Savoy has now reopened and offers three movie showings a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. You can enjoy the comfy couches and seats, a meal and drink while watching the films on a big HD screen and 5.1 sound system.
Every week, Stefan Rousseau, the curator of these movies nights, will offer you a short review of each film shown.
Here is this weeks line-up…
Tuesday 4th May at 6.30pm – A Fistful of Dollars
A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone (1964) with Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte and Marianne Koch
This now world famous and proper cult movie by excellence marks the beginning of four major events in the history of cinema:
- the advent of the Italian westerns, quickly coined ‘Spaghetti western’.
- the beginning of the movie director career of Sergio Leone.
- the start of the cinematographic career of Clint Eastwood.
- the first proper movie soundtrack composed arranged and conducted by Ennio Morricone.
It is also the direct remake of the Japanese masterpiece of Samurai film that was shown last week, Sanjuro (1961) by Akira Kurosawa. This film already found part of its inspiration in the classic American western.
The Americans created the western genre to talk about the founding myths of their nation. When this genre started to decline in the US, Japanese cinema picked some tropes and structures from it and infused some of its Samurai movies with it. The Italian exploitation cinema made a mix of both and created its own ‘demythifying’ style of western which paradoxically became and still is the reference for most spectators.
A lot of Italian movies of this era were truly European as they used actors from all nations acting in their own language to then dub the movies in different languages. Thus, there is no original version of these movies which explains some approximate sync between the actors lip movements and the dialogue. This also allowed Leone to play Morricone music on the set to give his movies an even more operatic feel as the actors acting and movements were directly influenced by the rhythm of the soundtrack.
Do not miss on the big screen as Leone’s emphatic style composed of the craziest close ups contrasted by the widest vistas was solely designed to be seen in cinemas and if you only ever saw it on a TV, you have never really seen it!
Thursday 6th May 6.30pm – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Blake Edwards (1961) with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal and Mickey Rooney.
In my ‘book’, Blake Edwards made the best and classiest romantic comedy ever with this one. But it is not just that – the movie is darker and more subversive than one would think at a quick glance.
Holly Golightly and Audrey Hepburn are world famous and proper pop icons as many know about them without having seen the movie itself , which is no small feat from the director. Edwards found the almost perfect equilibrium between romance, comedy and subjacent darkness. Holly is not just the beautiful feminist free spirit party girl but also linked with the underworld and in essence a call-girl. George Peppard’s character is an unsuccessful writer who makes a living as a gigolo.
In the 60’s, this was really pushing the boundaries and it makes their romance all the more touching. Especially when the sublime music of genius composer Henry Mancini (The Pink Panther theme) and particularly the title song Moon River kicks in.
The only negative point about the movie is the character interpreted by Mickey Rooney. He is meant to be Japanese, so acts in ‘yellow face’ and displays all the clichés related to the nation then in the US. Edwards was not xenophobic one bit and used cultural tropes as successful comic element in The Pink Panther movies with the French Inspector Clouseau or his Chinese valet Cato. Rooney is no Sellers and simply put, this comic relief source is never funny, even without the 60 years distance.
The movie compensates by offering one of the very best party and most exhilarating party scene ever filmed. This a true bittersweet masterpiece of cinema in its own right that will be really worth discovering or rediscovering on a big screen in ideal conditions.
All image rights acknowledged.