Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eros




Eros is an omnibus film from three different filmmakers that explores the world of eroticism in three different continents from its filmmakers Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Soderbergh, and Wong Kar-Wai. Each segment explores the world of love and sex in various different ways told by these three filmmakers. The result is one of the most fascinating anthology films that features two incredible segments from two of its contributors but also a disappointing one from Michelangelo Antonioni.

The Dangerous Thread of Things

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Screenplay by Michelangelo Antonioni and Tonino Guerra from a book by Michelangelo Antonioni. Starring Christopher Buchholz, Regina Nemni, and Luisa Ranieri. Cinematography by Marco Pontecorvo. Edited by Claudio Di Maurio Set design by Stefano Luci. Costume design by Carin Berger. Sound editing by Gianluca Carbonelli. Music by Enrica Antonioni and Vinicio Milani.

The first segment explores a bickering couple (Christopher Bucholz and Regina Nemni) who spend the day together as they deal with their disintegrating relationship as the man later meets a beautiful woman (Luisa Ranieri) whom he wants to have sex with. It’s a segment that is essentially all style but very little substance. While many of the compositions are beautiful and definitely recalls a lot of Antonioni’s great work from the 1960s that includes Marco Pontecorvo‘s lush cinematography and Claudio Di Maurio‘s stylized editing. It feels more like this bad mix of pretentious art-house cinema mixed in with vapid soft-core porn though nothing really wrong with that. Plus, the acting isn’t very inspired while the music is also very off as it adds to the sense of pretentiousness that is rampant in this very terrible short.

Equilibrium

Written, shot, edited, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Alan Arkin, and Ele Keats. Set design by Philip Messina. Costume designed by Milena Canonero. Sound editing by Larry Blake. Casting by Debra Zane.

The segment revolves a man (Robert Downey Jr.) who talks to his psychiatrist (Alan Arkin) about a recurring fantasy he has with this mysterious woman (Ele Keats) while dealing with the pressure he’s having working as an advertising agent. It’s a film that explores a sense of repression and fantasy where it mixes reality and fiction where the psychiatric sessions are shot in black-and-white while the fantasy scenes are shot in color. It’s filled with many ambiguities about what is real and what is fantasy where it also involves voyeurism as Soderbergh puts bits of humor as the psychiatrist is also a voyeur who is more concerned with what’s outside rather than this man’s problems. With great performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Alan Arkin, the segment is easily the most entertaining.

The Hand

Written and directed by Wong Kar-Wai. Starring Gong Li and Chen Chang. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle. Edited and set/costume designed by William Chang. Sound design by Claude Letessier and Du-Che Tu. Music by Peer Raben.

The third and final segment is about the relationship between a high-class prostitute (Gong Li) and her tailor (Chen Chang) as the tailor makes dresses for her yet keep their relationship professional no matter how troubled she may be and the desires they have for each other. This one is easily the most sensual in not just in its story but also in the performances of Li and Chang as they play into people who care for each other but are separated by circumstances. With its exotic soundtrack filled with old Chinese music and dazzling images courtesy of cinematographer Christopher Doyle and editor/set-costume designer Wiliam Chang. Kar-Wai creates a piece that is just intoxicating to look that is backed up by a very heartbreaking and enthralling story about love.

The film is essentially an exploration into the world of eroticism and how it can delve into the psyche of individuals. With inserted artwork by Lorenzo Mattotti that is filled with these gorgeous images of people making love that comes in between each segment that includes some bossa-nova music in the background. It all reinforce the idea of eroticism as both Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar-Wai each manage to create interesting takes on eroticism. Soderbergh in a lightly-comedic fashion that is filled with ambiguities while Kar-Wai adds a melancholia to this love story about a tailor and a prostitute. The one person that definitely seems to miss the mark is Michelangelo Antonioni as he seems to want to reach into the great work he did in the 1960s to comment on loneliness and sex but ends up making something that just feels very empty despite the gorgeous visuals he creates.

Eros is an excellent omnibus film thanks in part to the contributions of Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar-Wai. Fans of the two filmmakers will no doubt enjoy their segments as it represents some of the best work they did. Especially Kar-Wai whose segment is easily the best of the three for his sensitive portrayal on love. The film sadly also features a very disappointing segment from the late Michelangelo Antonioni in one of his final contributions to cinema. In the end, Eros is an extraordinary anthology film that explores the world of eroticism.

Michelangelo Antonioni Films: (Story of a Love Affair) - (I Vinti) - (The Lady Without Camelias) - (Le Amiche) - (Il Grido) - L'Avventura - La Notte - L’Eclisse - Red Desert - Blow-Up - Zabriskie Point - (Chung Kuo, Cina) - The Passenger - (The Mystery of Oberwald) - (Identification of a Woman) - (Beyond the Clouds)

Steven Sodberbergh Films: sex, lies, & videotape - Kafka - King of the Hill - The Underneath - Gray’s Anatomy - Schizopolis - Out of Sight - The Limey - Erin Brockovich - Traffic - Ocean's Eleven - Full Frontal - Solaris (2002 film) - Ocean’s Twelve - Bubble - The Good German - Ocean’s Thirteen - Che - The Girlfriend Experience - The Informant! - And Everything is Going Fine - Contagion - Haywire - Magic Mike - Side Effects - Behind the Candelabra - The Auteurs #39: Steven Soderbergh Pt. 1 - Pt. 2

Wong Kar-Wai Films: As Tears Go By - Days of Being Wild - Chungking Express - Ashes of Time/Ashes of Time Redux - Fallen Angels - Happy Together - In the Mood for Love - 2046 - My Blueberry Nights - The Grandmaster - The Auteurs #28: Wong Kar-Wai

© thevoid99 2013

2 comments:

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I agree the Antonioni segment was terrible. But I do love that location where they filmed it.

thevoid99 said...

Same here. I love where it's placed but man, the segment was just so boring and full of itself. It has no idea what it wants to be.