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[FILM] Empire Of The Sun


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#1 Stefancos

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 08:26 PM

Empire Of The Sun

 

One of Spielberg's most undervalued films. Often accused of lacking both emotion and a clear narrative. Unusual for a director who is very well known for not shying away from either in most of his films.

 

 

This is very much a film seen through the eyes of a young boy. So Jamie (or Jim as he later calls himself) it lacks a sense of a larger narrative, a clear understanding of the politics involved, and who is good and who is bad.

Jim develops a hero worship towards the Japanese pilots close to the camp he is interned in, and also to Basie. An American "adventurer" of sorts. Basie befriends Jim because Jim is useful to him,and at various points is ready to ditch him when he thinks that usefulness has ended. Jim doesnt see that, or refuses to, because he doesnt have anyone else to learn from, or care for him, in his mind. John Malcovich is impressive in a role that requires him to be both charming and calculating.

 

And so is Christian Bale as Jim. In essence he is already playing the kind of role that he would play later in his career. A character who isnt actually all that sympathetic, not in a traditional way that most kids in Hollywood films are. Yet you do care for him. Despite the fact that he talks all the time, trying to curry favor of people who might benefit him, often to extreme annoyance. Like the kids in The Goonies, but this time in an internment camp, malnourished with death creeping ever closer. His feverish talking is his brain constantly working, trying to stay alive. Despite his abrasive ways, A sudden emotional scene where Jim breaks down and says he can't remember what his parents look like hits like a hammer.

 

His fascination for aircraft takes on an almost religious devotion throughout the film. Every scene featuring an aircraft contains shots of immense beauty. From the sight of Japanese zero's in the distance, early in the film, to the close pass-by of a "Cadillac Of The Skies" much later.

 

In fact the whole film is a thing of beauty. Spielberg's veneration of David Lean's epic's was already shown in the crowd scenes of Close Encounters. Here he takes a film that Lean wanted to direct at one point and fills it with shots that are a loving homage to this director.

It's weird. Spielberg is that most American of directors, yet makes a film that very much feels English. (even the Americans in this film surely arent portrayed as particularly sympathetic). Spielberg eschews much of the "easy"emotional sentiment he is known for. And also leaves a hell of a lot unsaid.

One of the weaknesses of Spielberg is that he doesnt always trust the audience to "get his point", so he hammers it home with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. With Saving Private Ryan as the greatest example of that.

Empire Of The Sun allows the viewer the freedom of their own interpretation. While there is a narrative of sorts running throughout the film, many scenes feel like a patchwork. Like parts of a greater whole that we aren't prive of.

 

The style is very interesting, and puzzled many reviewers. It is both an unflinching look at the realities of war and interment (while not very bloody, it doesnt shy away from death and violence), but also an adventure story seen though the eyes of a boy, who was abandoned and NEEDS hero's, a father figure, the sense of a normal life. The internment camp essentially becomes his home, much like his house in Shanghai ones was.

But because much if this wasnt really SPELLED out like everything was in SPR, or the ending of Schindlers List. A lot of the film was seen as barren or confusing. I don't think Spielberg would ever take such a risk again.

 

John Williams' score is the icing on the care. Used quite sparingly, but with moments of genuine fight and almost religious beauty.

 

Both a visually stunning film, one of the directors best looking, and a film that invites you to actually ponder about what you've seen, and to...at a future date re-watch.

I could watch SPR again and be amazed about the visuals, and it's depiction of the horrors of war, but take nothing new away from it.

 

But I think watching Empire Of The Sun again would be far more rewarding.

 

I can't rate it yet, oneday maybe.



#2 hornist

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:22 PM

I'm ready to rate it.

 

*****

 

 

Both,  film and score.


One of the weaknesses of Spielberg is that he doesnt always trust the audience to "get his point", so he hammers it home with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. With Saving Private Ryan as the greatest example of that.

Empire Of The Sun allows the viewer the freedo

 

I just watched A.I. with the kids. I love the movie but I hate those "Spielberg moments" ; ----"What did you say?", "MOM!" ---"did you say Mom?" ---"Did you say Mommy?   Jesus!!!!



#3 Red Rabbit

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 04:01 AM

One of the beard's most character-driven films, following Christian Bale's Jim throughout. He's in nearly every frame of the movie and the fact that it's a child as the center piece makes the performance and structure quite impressive. It's a study about a child's experience and perspective on war and as such is idiosyncratic and strange in some ways, but deliberately so. Spielberg has made three character-driven films like this that's focused on a particular child, E.T. and A.I. being the other two. Those are fine movies but this one is my favorite. 


Do you like John Williams? His early work was a little too jazzy for my taste, but when Jaws came out in '75 I really think he came into his own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and an air of consummate professionalism that really gives the pieces a big boost. He's been compared to Jerry Goldsmith but I think John has a far more leitmotif-driven style of composing. In '82 John composed this, E.T., his most accomplished album to date. I think his undisputed masterpiece is "The Magic of Halloween", a theme so catchy most people don't listen to what it means. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of childhood and the importance of friendship, it's also a personal statement about the man himself. Hey Paul!
- Patrick Bateman on the Maestro

John Takis' Complete Hook Analysis


#4 Stefancos

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:08 AM

I love the fact that the film is told from both an impartial POV and that of a young boy's rose tinted glasses, and doesnt always make it clear at what point we are in Jim's world's view, and when we aren't.

 

In one scene Jim single handedly saves the hospital from being thrashed. Is that an exaggeration seen though Jim's eyes or did it really happen?



#5 Richard

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 07:54 PM

I'll rate it for you, Steff: 10/10!

An absolute gem of a film (and score!!!!!!!!!!)  and probably SS's most underrated piece of work, which got lost in all the "ooh, isn't The Last Emperor great" shenanigans.



#6 Stefancos

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:56 PM

Steef!



#7 Jay

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 10:51 PM

You know, I REALLY need to see this movie.

#8 Stefancos

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:02 AM

I agree.



#9 Incanus

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 11:28 AM

Absolutely! A masterful film on so many levels.


Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#10 Stefancos

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 11:57 AM

So Spielberg's most underrated film?

 

The Color Purple was a big hit and a critics darling, but it's all but forgotten now. This one seems to be the opposite. More or less ignored at the time, but subject to re-evaluation. and appreciation.



#11 Mr. Shark

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:29 PM

THE COLOUR PURPLE's definitely in my Spielberg Top 5.
'To cinematic purists we can apply Nietszche's characterization of Wagnerites: "Wotan is their god but Wotan is the god of bad weather." Then suffer, wail, and weep as you replace "Wotan" with that corrupted child prodigy "John Williams."' -- Andrew Grossman

#12 Stefancos

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:43 PM

Ummm...ok.

 

Why?



#13 Mr. Shark

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

It's an effin' masterpiece, that's why.
'To cinematic purists we can apply Nietszche's characterization of Wagnerites: "Wotan is their god but Wotan is the god of bad weather." Then suffer, wail, and weep as you replace "Wotan" with that corrupted child prodigy "John Williams."' -- Andrew Grossman

#14 Hlao-roo

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:37 PM

Indeed, it proved that Spielberg is a master manipulator of his audience with or without Williams.



#15 Stefancos

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:57 PM

You mean with Quincy Jones doing a JW impression?



#16 Mr. Shark

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 04:15 PM

Indeed, it proved that Spielberg is a master manipulator of his audience with or without Williams.


It's Spielberg's THE BIRDS.
'To cinematic purists we can apply Nietszche's characterization of Wagnerites: "Wotan is their god but Wotan is the god of bad weather." Then suffer, wail, and weep as you replace "Wotan" with that corrupted child prodigy "John Williams."' -- Andrew Grossman

#17 mrbellamy

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Posted Yesterday, 06:38 AM

Nah, that's Duel.



#18 Alexcremers

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Posted Yesterday, 09:20 AM

Read this, Steef!


Empire of the Sun: Spielberg's Overlooked, Misunderstood Masterwork

excerpted from "The Outsider: A Shadow On the Sun", 12/7/1999

essay
by
ernest rister

EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987)
(d. Steven Spielberg, scr. Tom Stoppard, ph. Allen Daviau)

JAMIE
I was dreaming about God.

MARY
What did he say?

JAMIE
Nothing. He was playing tennis. Perhaps that's where God is all the time -- [in our dreams] -- and that's why you can't see Him when you're awake, do you think?

MARY
I don't know. I don't know about God.

JAMIE
Perhaps He's our dream...and we're His.

--------

In the short documentary, The China Odyssey, Steven Spielberg talks about his take on author J.G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun. Ballard's book details the author's own true-life experiences as a British child of privilege separated from his parents by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai in 1941, and one of Spielberg's boldest opinions of the work was that half of the book was a lie -- half of it true in the broad strokes, certainly, but it was Spielberg's belief that the details and vignettes were completely warped by Ballard's childhood perception.

This is crucial to understanding Spielberg's work on the film - which has long been dismissed or completely, fundamentally misread - not a single shot can be trusted.

Consider the scene referenced in italics above. Spielberg concludes this passage with a shot of Jamie in bed while his mother and father look on fondly. Spielberg's editor Michael Kahn then does something strange - he performs a quick dissolve of this same shot onto itself, which at first glance appears to be a gaffe. It isn't a gaffe. It's intentional. Spielberg wants you to remember this shot for an important reason.

Only later - and only if you remember that odd dissolve - do you see the payoff to this moment. Jamie becomes separated from his parents and spends the remainder of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. He's spent years idealizing his parents to the point where he finally admits - in a scene of tremendous power - that he can't remember what his parents actually look like any more. Subtly illustrating this point, hanging next to Jim's makeshift prison bed is a Norman Rockwell painting torn out of the pages of LIFE Magazine. The painting is of a Mother and Father looking fondly at a child in bed.

It is the exact same image from earlier in the film.

The implication here is that the earlier scene never happened, or at the very least didn't happen in the way Spielberg presented it to you -- the reality of the moment has been skewed by Jamie's fantasies. Either way, Spielberg's camera lied to you, and in 1987, there wasn't a film critic in America who noticed.

Spielberg's camera is a font of dishonesty in Empire of the Sun, a blazingly original, criminally ignored film. Nothing in the frame can be trusted. Consider the first appearance of John Malkovich as the stranded maritime con man, Basie. When we first meet Basie, he is one cool customer, strongly backlit, his face obscured by dark sunglasses and a G.I. cap. This is all fine and good, except Basie's appearance has already been foretold by the cover of the "Wings" comic book Jamie reads in the first moments of the film. The cover of the comic details a back-lit G.I., wearing dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed cap. When the camera sees Basie, we see him as Jamie sees him -- a figure of salvation and skill. Spielberg even cuts from this version of Basie to the image of the figure on the comic book when Basie first meets Jim. If there is such a thing as blatant subtely, well, that's Spielberg.

In the closing moments of the film, Jim confronts Basie, and finds him a thin, shell of a man with bad skin, still pursuing his dream of being the pirate "lord of the Yangtzee". Is his physical condition simply the result of malnutrition? (unlikely, since at this moment Basie is in seemingly ample supply of Hershey's Chocolate bars)? No - this is the real Basie. Not the idealized Basie, but the real Basie. Jim's days of hero-worship are over. We finally see him as he is.

The truth is that Steven Spielberg made a film that toyed with reality as much as Rashomon or Blow Up. In 1987 he was critically regarded as a sort of live-action Walt Disney, a commercial filmmaker who distilled complexity down into mass-market product, and so Spielberg's work in Empire was taken at face value, and the film was dismissed as a pointless failure. No one looked deeper because no one thought they were supposed to look deeper.

In retrospect, the film is so loaded with provocative and startling irreverance, it would seem to be almost sitting up and begging for analysis -- it is stuffed to overflowing with visuals of fantasy and reverie in the midst of suffering. This film - ultimately - is about the human need for escapism and denial in the face of a harsh reality, and how that escapism is pounded out of a child forcing him to become an adult. The tragedy is that critical prejudice led many to view the film as a Shanghai version of An American Tail by way of a David Lean imitator suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. This was incorrect. Wildly incorrect. Many critics, in fact, directly faulted Spielberg for the unreality of Empire of the Sun and they took him to task for it. They missed the point.

Spielberg literally lifts the subconscious interpretation of events by a 12 year-old boy and prints those memories onto film. The prison camp - which was criticized for being a fantasy construct and not a real environ - exists as the child remembers it. Since children can have quite a fine time with a cardboard box, you can imagine how much fun Jamie had living next to an airfield. Spielberg puts that interpretation on film.

It is said that there are two types of media -- lean-forward media and lean-back media. Lean-forward media asks you to participate, to do your own work, to sort things out. Lean back media does all the work for you, the film acts upon you. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a lean-back movie. E.T. is a lean-back movie. Jaws is a lean-back movie. Even The Color Purple is a lean-back film.

Empire of the Sun is a lean-forward film -- but because Spielberg had created so many masterful films in the classic lean-back mold of Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, John Ford, and Walt Disney, lean-back films were what people expected from him. Empire of the Sun was something completely new from Steven Spielberg - a film that worked on multiple levels of reality, with one informing the other. Audiences and critics did not know what to make of it, and few went back to the film for the answers. The film was dismissed as a stunted failure.

Spielberg had become a victim of his own success. Having proven himself a master of fantasy and special f/x, audiences and critics took his visuals in the film - some of them subtle, some of them wildly abstracted - at face value. Empire of the Sun is jammed full with impossible moments that clearly are not happening, including a toy glider that stays impossibly aloft, the aforementioned scene involving the family, a trio of pilots who salute the young boy in a hail of welding sparks, a pilot of a P-51 who waves to Jim, a refrigerator that bursts open revealing - instead of food - glitter and toys...there's a gesture that Jim sees his father perform, rubbing his finger across his upper lip. Later, Jim will have a new father figure, Dr. Rawlins, who will repeat the same gesture. Film critic Patrick Taggart actually asked what the point of this gesture was. Ten years later, I'm happy to tell him the gesture is the result of Jim's fading recollection of his parents. Dr. Rawlins becomes his "new" father, Dr. Rawlins continually repeates the gesture, and so the father we see in the beginning of the film is a corrupted memory -- Jim's memories are corrupted by his later experiences, and they superimpose themselves onto the reality "seen" as the beginning of the movie. Again, nothing can be trusted.

Spielberg reveals to us this inner life in an enormously subtle way. The standard practice is to clue the audience in by the use of hazy wipes and dissolves, or cross cutting between "interior pov" and "actual "pov". Spielberg discarded these devices completely, trusting in the intelligence of his audience. He does use slow-motion and the occasional absurd image to try and drive his message home, but in Empire of the Sun, he's more apt to lead you to the truth from the edges. One quick throw-away spotlights the British POWs reading from "A Midsummer Nights Dream" as Jim races by, a little clue to the movie's intentions that Spielberg slips by you, almost subliminally.

The film is about escapism, how immature fantasy and hope can kill, and how escapism and childish hope must be hammered out of Jim in order for him to survive. Time and time again, Spielberg and his screenwriter Tom Stoppard serve up an entire cast of characters who choose to ignore the reality of the world around them only to end up emaciated shells of their former selves or worse. In the face of a serious reality, denial and escapism are deadly, and the world must be dealt with on its own terms. Jim's Great Dream - other than flying - is to reunite with his parents, and he carries all of his childhood memorabilia in a small suitcase. Jim must forsake this fantasy and grapple with reality - this suitcase that contains his dreams will later be seen floating alongside the dead in the Shanghai Harbor.

Because of his pre-occupation with exploring this theme, Empire of the Sun is unique in the Spielberg canon in that it is a film less concerned with plot than it is with examining an idea - the danger of denial and escapism, how children suffer in war, and all the ways the human animal lies to itself. The unfortunate result is a film that winds down emotionally by the end of its 2nd hour, and it has been called a somewhat distant film. Movies are things we go to for many reasons, but, as Roger Ebert says, primarily we go because we want to feel something. Works like Empire of the Sun in the wrong hands can funtion like a parlor-game -- they're a great work-out for the left-side of your soul and a litmus test for how you view film, but they're also a bit emotionally cold. Spielberg escapes this distance through passion and a point of view on the subject matter that can only be called transcendant. The oft-repeated criticism of Empire of the Sun - that it fails to engage in its latter scenes - isn't something so easily dismissed away. But Lawrence of Arabia also sported a hole in the center of its drama in the shape of a man who was a total enigma. Citizen Kane has the same dilemna. Empire of the Sun - which David Lean himself was attached to at one point - has a protagonist at its center who is emotionally distant, keeping the viewer at arm's reach. In Lawrence and Kane, you had a men of fathomless contradictions at there fore, and in Empire of the Sun, you have the corrupted memories of a spoiled child who loses his innocence. Jamie simply can't compete with Charles Kane and T.E. Lawrence, but he gives it his best.

To me, Empire of the Sun represents the death of the Spielberg I grew up with, just as much as it tells the tale of a child who must shuck off the best parts of childhood in order to survive. It’s my personal belief that the failure of this film was a giant blow to the man, whose career went into an artistic tailspin even as it was generating ever-higher box office returns. Spielberg's public quotes around this time are the most self-loathing of his life, referring to works like Hook as "hamburgers" and himself as little more than a McDonald's fry chief.

Spielberg would be reborn in 1993 with Schindler's List, and he has since proven beyond little doubt that he is at the top of his game when he tackles new and challenging material, at his worst when he is making films that are familiar to him - like a gifted student sleepwalking through 6th grade reading. Works like Last Crusade, Always and Hook clearly show a man who had grown frustrated and/or dissatisfied with his own style. In 1993, he would find his passion for his own voice again.

The great thing about video is that it gives films a second chance, and it is never too late to rediscover a buried classic. Empire of the Sun deserves your attention on home video, but what's more, I think Spielberg's work in the film deserves your open mind and your further contemplation.
Television is way more interesting than cinema now. It seems like the art-house has gone to cable. - David Lynch

#19 Stefancos

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Posted Yesterday, 12:54 PM

Thank you Alex. A great read.

 

I wonder if the fact that no one "got" the film in 1987 contributed to the fact that Spielberg, in his subsequent films, drove the points of his films home in far too obvious a way.

Perhaps his tendency to underestimate his audience is a result of this film?



#20 Mr. Shark

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Posted Yesterday, 02:34 PM

Nah, that's Duel.

 

THE BIRDS is a Hitch's masterstoke, and a powerful social allegory. DUEL is just a tribute act.


'To cinematic purists we can apply Nietszche's characterization of Wagnerites: "Wotan is their god but Wotan is the god of bad weather." Then suffer, wail, and weep as you replace "Wotan" with that corrupted child prodigy "John Williams."' -- Andrew Grossman

#21 Alexcremers

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Posted Yesterday, 03:18 PM

Thank you Alex. A great read.
 
I wonder if the fact that no one "got" the film in 1987 contributed to the fact that Spielberg, in his subsequent films, drove the points of his films home in far too obvious a way.
Perhaps his tendency to underestimate his audience is a result of this film?


Like Ernest Rister wrote, everybody took it at face value (and thought that it was Steven Spielberg imposing his soft and mushy vision of the war upon us). Also, I think they were expecting a lovable young Indiana Jones character who would take the audience by the hand on his cool WWII adventures. Instead they got an almost exclusively theme driven film about the defence mechanisms of children.


Alex
Television is way more interesting than cinema now. It seems like the art-house has gone to cable. - David Lynch

#22 Stefancos

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Posted Yesterday, 04:46 PM

I'm quite intrigued by the role of Sergeant Nagata in Jim's perceptions.

In the camp scenes, he's the most prominent Japanese character. And there's a sort of duality about him. He is the person who beats up both the doctor and Basie, and almost shoots Jim twice (as he touches the plane and during the pheasant hunt). Yet there are other moments when the character shows an almost paternal admiration for the boy. For example when he salutes the pilot's or sings the hymn at them.

 

There's a shot in the pheasant hunt scene where Nagata seems to be almost standing on top of Jim, yet he can't see him. (a fact Ebert complained about in his review)



#23 Hlao-roo

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Posted Yesterday, 05:03 PM

And there's a sort of duality about him. He is the person who beats up both the doctor and Basie, and almost shoots Jim twice (as he touches the plane and during the pheasant hunt). Yet there are other moments when the character shows an almost paternal admiration for the boy. For example when he salutes the pilot's or sings the hymn at them.

 
Arnold Spielberg.


#24 Incanus

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Posted Yesterday, 05:47 PM

 

Thank you Alex. A great read.
 
I wonder if the fact that no one "got" the film in 1987 contributed to the fact that Spielberg, in his subsequent films, drove the points of his films home in far too obvious a way.
Perhaps his tendency to underestimate his audience is a result of this film?


Like Ernest Rister wrote, everybody took it at face value (and thought that it was Steven Spielberg imposing his soft and mushy vision of the war upon us). Also, I think they were expecting a lovable young Indiana Jones character who would take the audience by the hand on his cool WWII adventures. Instead they got an almost exclusively theme driven film about the defence mechanisms of children.


Alex

 

At this point Spielberg would either chuckle and shake his head at these attempts to find deeper meanings or nod in approval that someone finally got his film. Who knows. But at least it is a film that still keeps people intrigued and seeking for different interpretations. :)


Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#25 Stefancos

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Posted Yesterday, 07:18 PM

The point is that the film allows people to seek different interpretations of scenes. Unlike SPR that has everything all nicely wrapped up in a neat bowtie, all set out without contradictions.



#26 Incanus

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Posted Yesterday, 08:13 PM

The point is that the film allows people to seek different interpretations of scenes. Unlike SPR that has everything all nicely wrapped up in a neat bowtie, all set out without contradictions.

Yeap although I hardly believe every film has to be open to million intepretations of what it represents or what its message is but for a Spielberg film certain ambiguity and room for viewer interpretation is certainly welcome from time to time. It is nice to mull over these things on your own without a big underlining pen pointing out how you should be thinking all the time.


Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#27 Red Rabbit

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Posted Today, 04:31 AM

I don't usually like to say that someone didn't "get" a film or whatever but in this case I think it's largely probably true. Had Spielberg employed a flashforward framing device like in Saving Private Ryan his intentions about showing the events through the tinted eyes of a child would have been much more obvious, but it would also have robbed the film of its subtlety and mystique. I actually find some very loose similarities with Wizard of Oz there, in the sense that most of the movie is arguably a kind of dream had by the main character. Only in this film there is no explicit reveal that that was the case, leaving it with a lingering dissonance. 


Do you like John Williams? His early work was a little too jazzy for my taste, but when Jaws came out in '75 I really think he came into his own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and an air of consummate professionalism that really gives the pieces a big boost. He's been compared to Jerry Goldsmith but I think John has a far more leitmotif-driven style of composing. In '82 John composed this, E.T., his most accomplished album to date. I think his undisputed masterpiece is "The Magic of Halloween", a theme so catchy most people don't listen to what it means. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of childhood and the importance of friendship, it's also a personal statement about the man himself. Hey Paul!
- Patrick Bateman on the Maestro

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