With February’s arrival we can feel winter is on it’s way out and springtime beckons.
February also brings us Valentine’s Day, and so the Monico Movies team thought we’d like to share with you two films that show the different ways that love can be expressed on screen.
The delicate and movingly tender love between a Parisian couple who have shared a lifetime together. And the exuberant energy of Hollywood romance.
Successful screenwriter Michael Haneke has a reputation for making hard hitting thrillers during his lifetime; but in Amour, made in 2012, he made a delicate and tender story of a lifetime of love in this immensely touching movie.
Anne (Emanuelle Riva) and Georges Laurent (Jean-Louis Trintignant) live a life of affectionate retirement in an elegant, Paris apartment. After attending a concert one evening, Anne suffers a stroke the following morning as they pour each other tea in their simple, cosy kitchenette. The story continues as Anne’s health deteriorates, whilst Georges shows his undying love for his wife.
Haneke and Emanuelle Riva do not shy away from showing Anne’s gradual deterioration as she descends into a terrible shell of her former self. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays a gentle, compassionate role as he patiently cares for Anne whilst living with his own frailty. Though dealing with a difficult subject, this film is uplifting in its portrayal of true love.
Amour won many awards including the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for the best foreign language film at its 85th awards. Emanuelle Riva became the oldest person to ever win a Bafta for best actress; she and Jean-Louis Trintignant offer stunning performances in this film and we cannot recommend it highly enough.
Singin’ in the Rain (U)
“What a glorious feeling!”
Was the line strapped across the promotional posters for the 1952 musical romantic comedy, Singin’ in the Rain
And this movie more than lived up to its advertising.
The phrase classic movie is used so often it can be a cliché, but Singin’ in the Rain is a solid gold classic. Filled with great performances from song and dance maestros Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, established stars at this point they are joined by Debbie Reynolds a young actor with only a few minor movies to her name, this was her big break.
The film is joyous, light-hearted, and happy. Filmed in “Glorious Technicolor” with lavish sets, catchy melodies, wonderful dancing and some very funny comedy.
There is a great performance from Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont, the blonde bombshell with the voice like fingernails on a blackboard.
The standout moment is of course Gene Kelly’s brilliant dance routine for the title song, it comes in at the point in the movie when he and Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) realise they are falling in love. That explains the dance: He doesn’t mind getting wet because he’s besotted with romance.
There is also a high energy slapstick dance routine from Donald O’Connor “Make ‘em Laugh” and a wonderful fantasy dance sequence, “Broadway Ballet” between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charise.
The story is a framework for the song and dance routines, but it is also a story about the real challenge to the movie industry moving from silent movies to the talkies.
This is a movie about making movies and as such is a reminder of how important Hollywood and cinema going was to everyone in the 1950s.
The magic of “Singin’ in the Rain” lives on.
“What a glorious feeling!”
Special bonus Valentine fact:
The medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.
The painting at the top of the newsletter is The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and is in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence https://www.visituffizi.org/artworks/the-birth-of-venus-by-sandro-botticelli/