Thoughts on 8 1/2 Women

Sunday, December 12, 2010 1:12 PM By Simon

-After the death of the mother, a wealthy, middle-aged man and his playboy son (John Standing and Matthew Delamere) take in a harem of women in the father's Geneven mansion, all of whom with a gimmick/archetype of a Fellini film: a nun, a businesswoman, a gambler, a whore, a maid, a mother, a kabuki performer, etc.), signing one-year contracts.

-Dry European humor, with the father and son exchanging intellectual conversations on film and love and death and sex and whatever (their idea did spring from a viewing of 8 1/2). Their debates are actually really funny, sarcastic and all that.

-Among the harem is Toni Collete as the nun and Amanda Plummer as a vaguely Eastern European women on the run from a Middle Eastern dude who she stole a horse from, and has an intimate relationship with a pig. So yeah.

-Many wide shots. The Wes Anderson setup kind, but more often.

-In the son's quest to comfort his father, they have offscreen, but implied, sex. This may be Netflix being pussies, but their are really no sex scenes at all, except for one that's kind of important.

-I don't care what Roger Ebert says, I like it. Gallows humor above all else.

-Some things that hurt my poor little brain: the beginning of an act is superimposed with a page of the script, implied father/son sex (mentioned), the fact that there's this big buildup to who the half woman is (barely shown in the beginning, never again until the end, subject of a lengthy conversations between some maids as they clean the pool), it turns out to be an amputee. How startlingly obvious. Or maybe there's some deeper meaning I have to go to film school to get.

-Which gets me thinking, have you ever gotten the feeling some movies were made solely to prompt people to go to film school? Not this one, necessarily, because it still has many aspects you don't need some further understanding to enjoy, at least on a surface level.

-But I should not be taken for authority, on either Greenaway or anything to do with film. In fact, I'm fairly sure I'm in the minority of liking this on a non-intellectual level, just simply enjoyed it.

-I like Vivian Wu. I watched Kinamand to go with this.


Mike Lippert said...

This is minor Greenaway but the film school comment is interesting because, love him or hate him, if one wants to study film style, one should look to Greenaway as a major talent in that area.

December 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM
Simon said...

Mike Lippert: Him and all the other European directors, its like they're fully-functional NYU brochures.

December 13, 2010 at 5:26 PM