Thursday, October 26, 2006

sigh sigh sigh

there's something about old b&w movies, pictures....something so romantic and poignant...making even the ugliest mug look ethereal...it just pushes the 'sigh!' button inside somehow...

last night, saw a beautiful old movie c1945 by david lean...a lovely heart-tugging romance...'Brief Encounter'....two married strangers meet at a station and fall in love and how they keep meeting despite being comfortably settled in life...and how it ends tragically.
Both of them are pretty ordinary looking and yet the illicit affair transforms them silently. Stolen happy moments, lies, excuses, walking with the other till the platform, the train chugging away, the smoke billowing through the screen, the shadows, the corners...it was beautiful, all the more because there was something so decent and restrained in the whole treatment of the story...
its all narrated in flashback by the heroine to her sweet hubby...the dilemma she finds horrible will be laughable in today's flicks. today, she would just dump her spouse, get a hefty alimony and shack up with her lover who would have left his family too or not and if they were serious about the till-death-do-us-part bit they would sign a pre-nup. cynical but true!

Sadly I feel romance is dead in the cinema today, be it in the West or in India. everything is so in-your-face and blatant, there is no subtlety, no chemistry in the movies anymore. the black and white era didnt just not have the loudness of colour, it also was all about, at least in the beginning, an understatement in the depiction of emotions...and thus mirroring the intensity within.

casablanca was another b&w classic....the works.

but then the early colour age had its high points too...an epic spectacle like mughal-e-azam had its immensely tender moments which are immortal now....that was beauty...that was romance. the lamp-lighting scene in sholay was romance. so many others...

still, black and white. sigh!

9 comments:

Nee said...

I totally agree with you with everything being so in-your-face nowadays. There's no romance in the movies anymore, just sex. And the constant "booty-shaking" that's being sold as sexy is just plain boring!

The old B&W's, well, you've gotta be in the mood for them though, no?
Don't kill me, but sometimes, the old flicks can be a tad...long...?

Phoenix said...

Nee - well, that there was a gush-over-b&w moment :-)) now I'm back to the real digital millions of colours per bit world! that was me between mood-swings :-D

but you can't discount that fact that black n white has its own charm, whether its photography or cinema...and you're abso right about what passes for sensuous today...! sad.

Sundar said...

ahh...think i have ehard something abt beauty lying entirely in the eyes of the beholder...

Phoenix said...

sundar - thanks! entirely subjective, I agree...

Claire said...

Ohhh, I love 'Brief Encounter'. Sigh is exactly right!

Cxx

Phoenix said...

claire - isn't it?! :-) and to think I just stumbled upon it while channel-surfing!

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ffflaneur said...

stumbled upon it only last year in some DVD-summer sales, watched it spell-bound. Realistic romance without fake glamour (they're indeed endearingly plain looking, compared with Hollywood's glossy actors & actresses!)
anyway, you give us a perfect evocation .... "the train chugging away, the smoke billowing through the screen, the shadows, the corners...it was beautiful, all the more because there was something so decent and restrained in the whole treatment of the story..."

makes me want to play it again tonight!

(for your next birthday present you should claim: the complete Humphrey Bogart .... loads of B&W and early color to swoon about....!)