Monday, July 11, 2011

750. Caravaggio (1986)

Running Time: 93 minutes
Directed By: Derek Jarman
Written By: Derek Jarman
Main Cast: Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, Spencer Leigh, Dexter Fletcher


Damn! It had always been my intention to save the 750th film from the book and watch it at the point when I actually got to 750 movies watched. It wasn't until just now that I realized my flub. Oh well...I've watched it now and what's done is done, I won't cry about it. Let's talk about "Caravaggio", shall we?

Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio (Terry) was a famous painter in Rome during the late 16th century and as the film opens, he is dying. With his young, man-servant by his side, aiding him in making his death more comfortable, Caravaggio reflects over his life. From the time he was a young boy, painting a basket of fruit on a street corner to his days seducing a couple, Ranuccio (Bean) and Lena (Swinton) into a wicked little love triangle. I'm going to halt myself there in relaying the plot, because in all honesty this wasn't really a film where I used to plot to advance my enjoyment, but instead simply watched.

For me, this film was more like a "view master" and much like a Caravaggio painting, I simply gazed upon it as a piece of art in motion. It's not to say that I overly enjoyed the film, or even enjoyed it at all, but for me it was more the images on the screen, than the performances of the actors or the story of Caravaggio that moved the picture along. The film was rife with sexual energy and such scenes as Lena and Ranuccio sitting in a hammock and flirting to the brink of sexual attack were quite exciting and all done without dialogue. In fact, this is a film where the delivery of dialogue came to me like nails on a chalkboard, whether it was the annoyance of the actor's voices or simply a disturbance to the view of art, like a screaming child in a library, it didn't appeal to me and I could've enjoyed myself a little more thoroughly had the actors not spoken.

The film was a very boring film though and while I'll describe it like a painting, the film itself was nearly as dull as watching paint dry. I won't be giving it a high rating, but I have a feeling I won't soon forget this picture and with some time it could grow on me. I'm not one to beg for nudity or sex, but I think a healthy dose of nudity could have really been suitable here and it seemed the perfect setting for it. Maybe I'm thinking too much in the vain of Federico Fellini, but we're in the 16th century of Rome and we're dealing with artists, nudity only seems necessary. I think a showcase of the art of the human body could have served well to immerse the picture with a more raw, poetic quality. So many of the scenes in "Caravaggio" yearned for some sexual intimacy, but the film has a complete lack of nudity and sexual situations and merely screams sex, while never delivering it. Another scene that seemed to give off a strong odor of erotica, was a scene where a party goer and man of certain royalty, kneels to kiss the feet of Lena, as he makes a compliment about her beauty and follows her into the next room.

RATING: 3.5/10 Like I said, it may grow on me with time, but for now I'm going with my gut and going low.


July 11, 2011 12:47am

1 comment:

  1. You are always very good at giving films you dislike their fair report arn't you?
    Oh Derek Jarman.. I should like his stuff, I'm on his side with his political and his sexual political stand..and he has a point to make.. but his way of putting things.. you feel like you have been beaten up by the end of his films with a political sledgehammer.
    You know the point I made about Spielberg, and his overly cute kids that make me root for the T Rex? Derek Jarman at times can have the same effect..


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