It is a very simple story (fatally so for many critics) told in pure style- extremely experimental visually
First off, there is a ton of parallel editing as the film is really a matching of two lovers who break up and come back together
Clearly influenced by gene kelly’s 1950’s era films and the demy musicals of the 60’s- specifically the umbrellas of Cherbourg. In that vein, it has much in common with la la land
The whole movie seems to float like few films since or before it (perhaps la la land, birdman, gravity, and a few before like rules of the game, rope and rear window– you lose time)
It’s a marvel of artificial lighting (set on the strip in vegas) and sound-stage work—some great venetian blinds scenes—it reminds me of the play scenes in mishima and some of the neon light work we’d see in peter greenaway’s the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover in 1989
Tom waits wrote the songs, does the vocals and did a wonderful job with the music in general- I wish there was more of it
Shot by Vittorio Storaro- one of the masters
A very inspired credit sequence with a detailed miniatures look at las vegas
One scene is split by foreground and background action but shot almost like a split screen. I’m not sure I’ve seen it before- it plays almost like one long beautiful dissolve
The entire film is one takes and lighting
Now for the problems and there are a few. The film stars frederick forrest and teri garr. They’re not up to the challenge. The writing isn’t the best and I could definitely do without the one out of place comic foil towards the end when forrest electrocutes himself
Ford Coppola is one of my favourite directors.But his work outside the 70’s like this one tend to get overlooked.He directed 23 feature films I believe.And out of these 23 I highly doubt there is anything redeemable in Twixt(2011),Jack(1996) and Tonight for Sure(1962).But you should try to watch the other 20 films starting with Dementia 13(1963) to Tetro(2009).They are quite good.
@Malith- I’m only one or two I think of the 23.
I didn’t really understand what you just said.But of the films that I think not in the archives Tetro is especially faboulas.Coppola is a genius and most of these films are extremely rewatchable and deserve a second and closer look
@Malith-It means I’ve seen all but one or two- they just didn’t make the archives. I have seen Tetro, yes. I’m with the consensus here after one viewing- 64 on metacritic and off the consensus top 1000 of the 21st century list. Coppola definitely is a genius. And I think the TSPDT consensus has him wrong with only four films in the all-time top 1000. But his depth of filmography is certainly not like Scorsese or Bergman. That 11-20 list of his best films is pretty ugly, especially for a top auteur.
That’s a big miss by the Consensus on Tetro.His depth is certainly noway close to Bergman or Scorsese.But having said that there is a trend going on here with people underrating Coppola films.Rumble Fish and one from the heart don’t make the TSPDT top 1500 and actually you can see Cotton Club ranked at 11197 on the TSPDT page for Coppola.That’s atrocious.He is a generally underrated auteur aside from his 1970’s work.And some films from great auteurs work better on a second viewing.I’m pretty sure some of these films like Tetro will get into the archives after a second viewing.Although it is better to skip a film like Jack(1996).
[…] One from the Heart – F. Coppola […]
@Drake – would you say Storato is #1 of all time in terms of cinematographers or has Lubezki passed him?
@Harry- Those two would be there on that top tier- but I would have to dedicate a ton of time to sit down and see who actually has the stronger resume- sorry. Quiet stretch for Lubezki- and Amsterdam wasn’t the “hey that was worth the five year wait” we were hoping for from him.
@Drake-So what about Amsterdam(2022)? Is it a one and done film? Will it get better over time? What went wrong?
@Malith- I think it’s about the 30th best film of 2022 – destined to be #50 when it is all said and done and we’ve had a chance to see everything from 2022. It’s ok- even good- it is just hard to get past modesty of the accomplishment with all the talent behind and in front of the camera.
Is it better than Russell’s previous film Joy(2015)? Maybe he is in a career slump/decline
@Malith- they’re on the same level- I still have not been back to Joy after the theater in 2015. This is a rough sort of comeback attempt after such a long gestation period and a ridiculously talented ensemble cast.
Lubezki’s next project is on a TV series directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Disclaimer. Hopefully they can recapture the magic of Children of Men or Gravity.
Hey Drake, on that note, just wanted to chime in: I’d be thrilled to see your rankings of the greatest cinematographers of all time, if you were inclined to do that at some point.
@Logan- It would be fun- maybe the next time I updated the yearly archives I’ll note some of the standouts year by year and that’ll add up to something that could work as a list. We do discuss it a little more on this page http://thecinemaarchives.com/2020/08/17/the-250-best-directors-of-all-time/ – and then the comments from November 23 2022