Irish Film Studies: The Crying Game

This semester, I’m attending a course on Irish cinema. Each week, we are expected to write a blog-like journal about the film we watched in class and/or our class discussion about the film. I’ve decided to include those entries to my blog, so it would be more agreeable to read than a Word document. This is my journal entry for The Crying Game (week 10).

***

It’s a funny coincidence that we watched The Crying Game on week 10 as I had just recently watched a video where the film was mentioned. I had never seen it before, but this movie poster with a lady looking like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (film made AFTER The Crying Game) was one that had a mysterious appeal and, to me,  and an aura of mystery just the way I like it.

The film is one that didn’t disappoint me. I have to say, I think it’s one of my favourite ones we watched in class. The subject of transsexuality is one that is not often exploited in cinema,so this film remains a significant one on that level. On this subject, what we could call the situation reversal is something that is significant in The Crying Game. I’ll explain. The relations between the characters definitely are an important element of this film. When Fergus (Stephen Rea) discovers that the beautiful Dil (Jaye Davidson) is, in fact, a man, his reaction (throwing up) is the most shocking element of the situation. But, as the film advances, Fergus manages to see the situation from another angle as he is, despite all, still attracted by Dil. So, it’s interesting to see how this element of the plot is developed in a favourable light (to a certain point).

The_Crying_Game_5

Aesthetically, the film remains a very special one by borrowing touches of film noir as the smoky poster à la femme fatale proves it. But, as it is not a black and white film, the colour cinematography is used to its full potential, with images that sometimes almost like paintings. This colour becomes particularly majestic, thanks to Dil’s sparkling costumes. There’s also something about this colourful cinematography (and the subject of transsexuality) that also made me think a bit of Almodovar movies.

MCDCRGA EC002

Despite its mainly dramatic background, there are some touches of humour in The Crying Game that are agreeably appreciated and make the film less heavy. Of course, it is far from being a comedy, but this scene where Dil throws the aquarium of her ex-lover by the window doesn’t fail to make us laugh.

Now, one last thing I wonder: why is this film called The Crying Game? Sure, Dil sings the song of the same name at one point of the film. But wouldn’t there be a deeper meaning? Could it evoke the sadness of the characters? There are probably many possibilities.

***

Words: 410

Image sources

Gracenote, ” Movie Photo: The Crying Game.” Cineplex, 2015, https://www.cineplex.com/Movie/the-crying-game/Photos.

“The Crying Game.” Coral Gables Art Cinema, n.d, http://www.gablescinema.com/events/the-crying-game/.

“The Crying Game.” Roger Ebert.com, n.d, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-crying-game-1992.

Irish Film Studies: Hush-a-Bye Baby

This semester, I’m attending a course on Irish cinema. Each week, we are expected to write a blog-like journal about the film we watched in class and/or our class discussion about the film. I’ve decided to include those entries to my blog, so it would be more agreeable to read than a Word document. This was my journal entry for Hush-a-Bye Baby (week 6).

***

Week 6’s subject was a more “difficult” one, but it allowed us to understand a darker side of Ireland because no place is perfect. As we saw in class, growing as a woman in Ireland once didn’t seem to be a part of pleasure, for the reason that Church and State were closely working together. As a result, sexuality has long been a taboo subject and something that was only considered to be “a tool to have children”, but don’t you dare having a child out of wedlock! As a result, homosexuality was considered a crime until the late 20th century and contraceptives were illegal until the 80s-90s. Still today, abortion isn’t allowed. We’ve seen in class that, as a result of this strong connection between Church and State, sad stories of young teenage mothers having to give birth to illegitimate children in recluse places weren’t uncommon.

Hush-a-Bye Baby seeks to show us this difficult reality. The film was released in 1990 when such questions and problems concerning female sexuality were still at a culminating point. A woman, Margo Harkin, directed the film, and its main stars are feminine ones (including singer Sinéad O’Connor, whose song can be heard in the ending credits). As a result, we feel that this movie was really made to denounce something and tell us “enough is enough”. It’s a film made by a woman and for women, but, hopefully, men will get something out of it as well.

bes_hush_02.jpg

What I found mainly interesting about Hush-a-Bye Baby is the fact that it is narratively presented to us as a general downfall. At the beginning of the film, the teenage girls just “want to have fun”, like it says so in Cyndi Lauper’s song that is heard in the film. They dance, meet boys, have fun, etc. They live the typical normal life teenage girls must live. One of them, Sinéad, seems closer to religion. For example, in an interesting scene, she prays dressed as the Virgin Mary, until her friends arrive. The beginning of the film also contains a certain subtle humour that is appreciated, such as this scene where the girl students are sexually provoking their priest teacher. This creates a balance with the rest of the film that is much more dramatic and where real troubles surface.

The film touches the themes of out of wedlock wedding and abortion. One of the girls is pregnant, but her boyfriend is in jail and she can’t reach him because she writes in Irish and Irish letters aren’t allowed. We feel her distress because we know she can’t keep that for her and, as out of wedlock babies are not well seen, it’s a case of constant stress. The film that started in joy with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” ends with a painful scream, reflecting what the film mainly tries to denounce: the difficulty of growing in Ireland as a teenage girl. On a side note, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be credited as a feminist song, so its use in the film is quite relevant.

***

Words: 514

Images sources:

“Hush-a-Bye Baby.” Besom Productions, n.d, http://www.besomproductions.co.uk/hush.html.

“Various Artists: Hush-a-Bye Baby.” Thank You for Hearing Me, n.d, http://www.thankyouforhearingme.com/releases/hush_a_bye_baby.html.

Top of the World: 9 Leo DiCaprio Films

leonardo-dicaprio2
Just… too adorable ahah ❤

Today, one of my very favourite modern actors, the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio, turned 42! Young and still full of talents!

For the occasion, I’m presenting you my top 9 of my favourite movies of his! Why 9? Sounds a bit odd I know, but the simple reason is that I’ve seen 11 of his films, and there’s two of them that I didn’t really like, so I don’t see the use of including them in the top! It was The Revenant and The Great Gatsby. Leo is not the reasons why I didn’t like those movies! More like just the movie itself…

Of course, these are my personal choices and just list my own favourites. 🙂 Don’t hesitate to share your choices with me!

Ok, here we go:

9. The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006)

Quite a cast.

kinopoisk.ru

8. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

Not sure I understood everything, but despite that I liked it!

c142d4e8723d6c0bffae70a046ef4791

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

A bit long and a bit too much, but overall I appreciated it.

146df279b6bd51f9ed3fd6d4b7c1de6f

6. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)

Weird film, but one you don’t forget!

a3e7c7f2de132ad3662f66b58f4276f6

5. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)

Normally not a fan of Tarantino’s films, but I exceptionally loved this one. Leo is delightfully evil!

ea8ccaa7559e895e843da38d637ac27c

4. Catch Me if You Can (Steven Spielberg, 2002)

Gotta love Spielberg 🙂

8d7a0dcac61455a495e0d36b01bba30c

3. The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004)

IMHO, what the best DiCaprio-Scorsese’s collaboration

b767e57b66cc2175113a84ab6ab98c3e

2. Titanic (James Cameron, 1997)

Well, a  Leo DiCaprio’s top without this guilty pleasure wouldn’t be a real one. Anyway, I love this film, find it entertaining and Jack is such a cool character 🙂

f905738457b395c55a006374a374c01d

and

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Suspense….

.

.

.

.

.

.

..

More suspense….

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

  1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape! (Lasse Hallström, 1993)

I think it’s for this film or The Aviator that Leo should have won his first Oscar! Gilbert Grape is a delightful film. Love it.

bff7b45a67f7738232a82af33ce2c17e

Hope you appreciated the top!

Happy birthday Leo! 🙂

leonardo-dicaprio-33

The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon: Ever After

LeonardoDAVINCIINSPIREDPORTRAIT.jpg~original

Today, I’m participating to The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon, the very first blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood, one of the best blogs about classic films. How exciting is that! 😀 We all know that the Barrymore family was a notorious family of actors on many generations, with actors such as Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, John Drew Barrymore, Diana Barrymore, John Blyth Barrymore and, of course, Drew Barrymore. I can’t say I know the Barrymores very well, because I haven’t seen many of her films, but from what I’ve seen, I agree they are great actors. However, I still have to see some John Barrymore films… Twentieth Century is definitely on my list. Well, for this blogathon, I’ve decided to talk about a Drew Barrymore film: Ever After (Andy Tennant, 1998). I remember, first time I saw this film I wasn’t too much enthusiast about it, but I saw it a second time, a long time ago after, and appreciated it. It’s very simple, it’s an improved version of Cinderella.

feb70026ea0730f8b1bcfefc09eceab3

The story takes place in France during the 16th century. Danielle de Barbarac (Drew Barrymore) is a young girl who has never known her mother as this one died when Danielle was very young. She since lives with her father (Jeoren Krabbé) that she loves very much. This one is about to get married to the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston). This one has two daughters: the blond Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and the brunette Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey). Danielle is very excited about having a new mother and new sisters. One day, her father has to go to  another town for business. When he’s just leaving the house on his horse, he has a heart attack and dies. Poor Danielle is now an orphan and the Baroness is now a widow. The years go by and Danielle has now become a beautiful young woman. Unfortunately, who soon discover that she is poorly treated by her stepmother, the baroness, and her step-sister Marguerite who had made a maid of her. They call her Cinderella. So, day and night, she has to obey those two jealous women’s orders and do everything for them. Danielle wants desperately to be loved by her step mother and tries to do everything to please her, but in vain. Fortunately, others servants of the house are on her side and Jacqueline is also compassionate, unlike her sister Marguerite.

9d2951a61d4335484de428b755b84ece1njh2qsy

One day, Danielle accidentally attacks the Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), son of the king Francis (Timothy West) and the Queen Mary (Judy Parfitt), who has escaped from the castle because his parents want him to marry a girl he doesn’t know and doesn’t love. Not a long time after, Danielle has to go in town to save Maurice ( Walter Sparrow), an old servant from her house who is about to be deported in America. She then disguises herself into a noble lady and go to the royal court. She convinces the prince to give freedom to Maurice. The prince has not recognize her and wonder who she is. She lies and tells him that she is the countess Nicole de Lancret (that really was her mother). The prince and Danielle will spent time together and eventually fell in love with each others, but that’s not without problem as Danielle really is a maid, not a countess, and the baroness desperately wants to marry Marguerite to the prince… Fortunately, Danielle’s friends, including Leonard de Vinci ( Patrick Godfrey) (yes yes!) will always be there to help her.

ever-awfter

So, I said that this was an improved version of Cinderella. Why? Because it’s more realistic. Of course, it remains a movie, but there is no magic in this film and Danielle and the prince don’t fall in love with each other only after the first time they met. Remember, in Disney’s Cinderella, she goes to the ball, dances with the prince. She falls in love with him. Ok, love at first sight is possible, but then they marry each other not a long time after. That’s less realistic. But don’t get me wrong, despite that, I love Disney’s Cinderella! There’s nothing wrong with fantasy! 😉 Of course, Ever After is a good film. I won’t say it’s a great film, because that would be too much, but it’s a good one. However, like every Cinderella‘s adaptation it remains a little cheesy, but not as much as A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff for example.

Ever-After-1

This is also a worth watching film if you like Drew Barrymore. I haven’t seen many of her films, but this one really made me like her. She really is a dear as Danielle de Barbarac. She plays with a real softness and a great sensibility. She is, of course, very beautiful and very lovable in this film. We certainly don’t want bad things to happen to her. Anjelica Huston is perfect as the stepmother. She has the great physic for this and knows perfectly how to play a character we love to hate. Of course, we don’t hate Anjelica herself! In my opinion, the other great actor in this film is Patrick Godfrey as Leonard de Vinci. Leonard is one of my favourite characters of the film. Of course, the way he is presented in the films is not historically perfect, but he remains an appreciated character. He is really funny and is present in some of the best scenes of the film.

ever_after-2

But let’s get back to Drew as this is a Barrymore Blogathon. When this film was released, Drew Barrymore was still a young actress. She only was 23 years old. We know that Drew Barrymore didn’t have a very happy childhood. She discovered drugs and alcohol at a very young age and tried to kill herself when she was 17th. She describes this dark part of her life in her autobiography The Little Lost Girl. Of course, we are happy that sweet Drew is still with us today. She started her career in 1982 in Spielberg’s E.T as Gertie, the little sister. She was only 7 at the time and was already able to prove that she was a good actress. Except for E.T, in the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, she starred in a series of not too well remembered films. She makes her come back in the middle of the 90s with movies like Scream, Batman Forever and, of course, Ever After. Drew Barrymore is also well known for having starred in Charlie’s Angels (2000). Drew Barrymore never received an Oscar, but she received many awards, including some for her brilliant performance in Ever After: The Kid’s Choice Award, The Saturn Award and The Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Those were certainly well deserved.

16813drew-barrymore-600x450

Drew Barrymore had the chance to wear some very beautiful costumes when she starred in this film. Of course, the most beautiful dress is the one she wears during the famous ball scene. A dress that belonged to her mother the real Nicole de Lancret. She, of course, also wears the famous glass slippers in this scene. However, she will have to run away from the castle, but not for the same reasons as The Grimm brothers’ Cinderella. No magic pumpkin or good fairy in this film!

Wallpaper-ever-after-32189711-1280-720

Well, I was happy to participate to this blogathon. If you want to see a good Cinderella’s adaptation, I highly recommend you to watch Ever After. I’m sure you will also appreciate Drew Barrymore’s beautiful presence. With a family like hers, she can’t be nothing but a good actress.

Don’t forget to read the other entries for the blogathon:

The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon

blogath

Coming Soon: The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon

blogathon-barrymore

I’m so glad to participate to The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon, the very first blogathon hosted by Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood! The event will take place on August 12th to August 15th 2015 for the occasion of Ethel Barrymore’s birthday.

The Barrymore was a notorious family of actors and stage actors: the three siblings John, Lionel and Ethel , children of Maurice Barrymore and Georgianna Emma Drew (both stage actors); John Drew Barrymore and Diana Barrymore, children of John Barrymore; John Blyth Barrymore and Drew Barrymore, children of John Drew Barrymore.

For the blogathon, I’ve decided to honour Drew Barrymore and write about a more modern film, which is quite rare on this blog. Ever After, a beautiful movie based on Cinderella’s story, will be the film I’ll write about.

url1saxeiuufsumkxoegiyggzwog4agved0cakq8wcusgafqjcnf7r-s2viunlfurodlkgfnwnstzfg

If you wish to celebrate de Barrymore just like me and write an article, I invite you to read the informations on Crystal’s blog:

The Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon

blogathon-2