Wednesday, 29 December 2010

"I have always believed that fashion was not made only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence."

Although at first film and fashion seem like completely disparate art forms, the influence of fashion in film throughout the decades is self-evident. Here are some of my favourite partnerships:

01. Sabrina and Hubert de Givenchy

Rumour has it that when Givenchy heard a "Miss Hepburn" was in his outside offices, he assumed it was Katherine and not Audrey. Nevertheless their professional collaboration - and personal friendship - blossomed. Sabrina is the first film they worked together on, and the costumes have become classics - both in cinema and la mode.

02. Belle de Jour and Yves Saint Laurent

Another personal collaboration between actress and designer, this time Catherine Deneuve and YSL. After seeing a YSL retrospective in Paris featuring hundreds of his designs I fell absolutely in love with the classic shapes, clean lines and emphasis on elegance yet comfort. His signature style is never more evident than on Belle de Jour - absolutely stunning.

03. Black Swan and Rodarte

I haven't seen this yet - I'm really scared but so so curious and excited at the same time. But from pictures I have seen, well - ballet + Rodarte + Portman must = genius.

04. A Single Man and Tom Ford

OK, so technically Ford didn't design the costumes for this, but his personal style and vision is stamped on every costume and indeed every frame. If ever someone from fashion made an impact on cinema, this is it.

05. The Devil Wears Prada and...everyone


Monday, 27 December 2010

"Is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?"

My utterly sensible parents warned me off Who Framed Roger Rabbit for a long time - they thought it was ridiculous, confusing and stupid. Once I reached the age where I realised my parents are usually wrong about this sort of thing (and also that I like the ridiculous and stupid) I tried it for myself. And...I absolutely loved it.

It tells the story of Roger Rabbit who, worried his wife is cheated on him, has his studio send Eddie Valiant - a private detective - to snoop on her. But when the man she was supposedly cheating with (Marvin Acme himself) ends up dead, Roger Rabbit is chief suspect and has to team up with Eddie to clear his name and uncover the truth behind the mystery. It's part film noir and part zany cartoon and although it at first seems that these two genres should never be paired together, it works amazingly well.

And I think one of the reasons it works so perfectly - aside from the usual great casting and sharp, witty, creative script - is that it is so comfortably familiar. It's filled with a host of characters we recognise such as Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck, yet taken outside where we are used to seeing them and placed in a new environment together, which is just so excitingly cool. The film also reverses roles and truly mixes up the world of toon and human, and not only visually. It often cleverly plays on stereotypes and familiar features of cartoons, such as the Tom and Jerry like injuries and accidents that befall cartoon characters, the unbelievable laws of Physics and (most obviously) the gadgets that come from ACME, but these affect the human characters too. And I don't think I need to go into how the toons are not mere 2D characters but are well rounded and play brilliantly off each other and the actors.

To sum up, it's a beyond entertaining film, truly clever and really interesting as well. A true classic.

"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Oh, and film news. Awards season is coming up: Golden Globe nominations and SAG award nominations have been announced and I must say they look far more interesting than last year when I was completely apathetic to almost everything. Very excited to see a lot of these (although it does look like the HFPA has made the usual cock-ups in terms of comedy films. I love Johnny Depp. But The Tourist? No.)

Sunday, 26 December 2010

32. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Directed by Billy Wilder, based on a play written by Agatha Christie, this film takes the best from both of these geniuses to create a classic masterpiece. Witty, clever, stylish and suspenseful - it is a true product of its unique and brilliant parentage and features great turns by Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and in particular Charles Laughton - the top barrister who insists on taking on a case of murder despite his doctor's advice. One of Wilder's best - it's two hours of the best of old-school entertainment with a completely unexpected twist at the end. A definite must-see.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

'Twas (almost) the night before Christmas

A little festive edition of the songs I've been listening to most over the last week in the run up to Christmas.

01. O Come O Come Emmanuel by Sufjan Stevens
This has long been my favourite ever Christmas carol, and Steven's low atmospheric voice really brings it to life.

02. Baby, It's Cold Outside by The Glee Cast
Um, the cutest scene in Glee ever?

03. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
This incredibly unorthodox Christmas ditty is one of me and my friends' favourites.

04. Santa Baby by Marilyn Monroe
This really is what Christmas is all about...

05. Twinkle Twinkle By Fredrika Stahl
Not exactly a Christmas song, but anything with twinkles in the title will put me in a festive mood.

And finally, things that never fail to get me in the festive mood:






Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

While I was in Paris there was a certain photographer that popped up everywhere I turned. His pictures were in galleries, his books were in museum gift shops, his postcards were at every street seller's stall. And when you look at his photos it's not surprising. Robert Doisneau was a pioneer of photojournalism, recording shots of day to day Paris on his camera and thereby creating some of the most iconic shots of the city of lights. His photos have a charm, realism and a sense of time - they truly feel like a snapshot of a moment in history. Despite having been to Paris so many times, each time I look at his photos I just want to go back.

"A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there -- even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity."

Sunday, 19 December 2010

33. A Single Man (2009)

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Anahit and I am a disorganised mess. Michaelmas term was just so busy and I'd signed up to so many extra stuff that I started to fall behind on work let alone this blog and argh. OK. New start. Grand.

So term's finally over and I'm home. England is chock-a-block full of snow which is very picturesque and all that, but also means that although I was meant to be spending this weekend in Germany with a friend going to Christmas markets and other exciting things, I'm stuck at home sadly contemplating my reading list and watching repeats of Top Gear. I wasn't going to restart doing this blog until the New Year so it would have a truly fresh start, but I am so damn bored that I may as well start now.

I've already gushed about this film here and to be honest, I have nothing more to really add. It is a truly spectacular masterpiece, quite underrated, and one that everyone should watch. Indescribable.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Prince of Persia

I watched this an awfully long time ago but haven't got round to reviewing it until now as I have nothing better to do (this is such a lie. I could be reading. I could be catching up on sleep). I first saw this back in May with a friend, when we were bored of thinking and pretending to be clever and just wanted some mindless fun.
And that's exactly what we got. Now, don't get me wrong, Prince of Persia is not a good film. The script is over the top and silly and so full of clich├ęs and stereotypes about the Middle East that, as an Iranian, I was just cringing a little bit inside. I mean, ostrich races? REALLY? The storyline itself is slightly convoluted - although as these type of films go, not too bad (hi POTC 3) - and just slightly random and far fetched. The characters also tend a little towards the 2D and typical, Ben Kingsley in particular being wasted in the cookie cutter role of "evil uncle".
However, despite all this, I genuinely enjoyed this. Partly - I'm not going to lie - because Jake Gyllenhaal is very good looking and just incredibly charming. Indeed, I think this is the key to the film's success - albeit commercial rather than critical - it's just a charming, fun film. The two leads, Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton make the most of their fairly unexciting characters by playing off each other perfectly and giving their characters lots of chemistry and magnetism. And the director, having perhaps realised that the script was veering into the ridiculous, chooses to play it all slightly tongue in cheek, making it enjoyable rather than simply awkward to watch. Plus, it's just pure entertainment. It's set in a mystical time (admittedly made all the more mystical because so much of the historical accuracy is bullshit, but still), features princes, princesses, betrayals, sorcery...everything required for two hours or so of no-brains fun.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

"You don't kiss boys. Boys kiss you."

This term (by the way, did I mention I'm back at Oxford? Well, I am), I somehow managed ot land myself the role of deputy fashion editor for the university newspaper - something that alternately thrills and terrifies me. One of the shoots we're planning on doing this term is a 50's Mad Men-inspired spread - so I duly gathered some screenshots for inspiration...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

34. Charade (1963)

It has Cary Grant, possibly at his most charming, Audrey Hedpburn at her sweetest, it's romantic and witty yet manages to be incredibly sharp and clever at the same time with about ten thousand unexpected twists and turns and a very thrilling denouement - so much so that until a couple of years ago, I wholeheartedly believed this to be a Hitchcock. Such a classic, absolutely adore it.

"Of course, you won't be able to lie on your back for a while, but then you can lie from any position, can't you?"