Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Towards a Revisionist Cinema






Many classics of the European cinema could easily be turned on their heads with relatively minor tweaking of their scripts. Let’s consider a sequel to Bertolucci’s The Conformist entitled, The Nonconformist. The film would be a revisionist work that takes the theme of the Bertolucci classic and turns it into an essay about a good guy who refuses to go along with fascists and suffers from no psychosexual problems. You wouldn’t need a beauty like Dominique Sanda in this low budget production since the main character would never flee from his pleasant inauspicious surroundings and his plain Jane wife. After the war, our central figure, Massimo, is rewarded by getting a bureaucratic job filing papers for the ruling Christian Democratic party.  L’Avventura Redux  could be another another revisionist classic. In this sequel, three fashionable Italians, contemporary versions of Monica Vitti, Lea Massari and Gabrielle Ferzetti (who starred in the original Antonioni movie) play a threesome who go off on a pleasure cruise. The Masari and Ferzetti types are an item and the Monica Vitti look- alike is the odd man or in this case woman out. She triangulates and is intermittently seductive as she sunbathes topless on a rock, but only in an innocuous way and at the end of the movie the boat returns to port. In a final shot, the three are shown driving off to dinner in an Italian restaurant, which is not surprising since the movie is set in Italy. Why do we need revisionism in cinema? Why can’t we simply be happy with the restored prints? The answer is simple. The Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, but the great old dinosaurs of modern cinema, which were products of their eras, never budged. It’s a new world and one in which films, in order to remain relevant to their audience, must be remodeled like old houses in which 50’s appliances are replaced with up to date refrigerators and stoves.

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