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When I first went to see Les Mis in what must have been 1991, my program confidently assured me that “in 1992, she will going to the cinema” (image of little Cosette holding theater tickets). I was very excited, and I waited eagerly throughout 1992 and 1993 and 1994.... They are twenty years late, but they got there, and it was worth the wait.

[personal profile] louderandlouder has already evaluated the Les Misérables movie very comprehensively in terms I would mostly agree with here and here.

I will try not to retread too much, but here are some overall thoughts:

* I was surprised by how much I liked it. My reaction in scene 1 was to stare quizzically at fake-looking galley stuff set to what seemed a rather quiet musical track (vs. seeing the play live). But early on, it carried me away, and I cried a lot. In fact, I had an odd dual sensation of being emotionally engulfed while simultaneously running precise technical criticisms in my head. Portrait of a true Les Mis fan maybe.

* It’s a great story. Victor Hugo was an exceptional writer, and Schönberg and Boublil did a very solid adaptation--as one friend said, better than most of the movie adaptations in terms of capturing the novel.

* It’s a very 19th-century story, not just set in the 19th-century but very 19th-century novelesque: the unironic praise for noble, good people and religious faith; the obligatory boring romance; the “lets lie to the womens for their own good” thing; the coincidental meetings with long-lost acquaintances; the almost complete absence of women as power players--all very 19th century. And oddly, I found this refreshing. I would certainly not want to live in that world, not in 19th-century France and not in a 19th-century novel, but after a long, long stretch of wading through indifferently written contemporary novels, just the taste of a real, consummately written classic was like a glass of water in the desert. Indeed, the unironic 19th-century moralizing seems to fit very well with the over-the-top Broadway musical-style narrating. This might be a large part of why the whole thing works.

Read more... )
labingi: (Default)
Wherein I gripe about one song and praise another, with X-Men: First Class as a common thread (with a brief digression into Mirage of Blaze).

This Charles/Erik vid, by KaseytheJudge, was one of the early XM:FC vid recs I came across, and it remains one of the better Charles/Erik vids I've seen. The song, "Losing Your Memory" (Ryan Star) has a elegiac feel perfect for the arc of the Charles/Erik relationship in XM:FC. When I first saw the vid, however, I was jarred by its abrupt stop, in the middle of Star beginning the wail the next verse. Having acquainted myself with the song, I have a much more sympathy for the vidder's difficulty here.

It is close to being a good song... )

On a happier note, I have found the quintessential Charles/Erik song, and it is Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Now, this is a very famous song precisely because it speaks broadly to many people's experience of love. There's no shortage of stories it could apply to. But I truly have never encountered a story it fits so perfectly as it fits the trajectory of Charles and Erik.

Finding a really good version of this song with more than the original four verses is frustrating in the manner of looking for a Hamlet fan vid that is not a re-enactment filmed for someone's Shakespeare class. But after much listening, I have settled on Jeff Buckley's cover as the best version I've come across. It cuts two verses, including (happily) the one fits Charles/Erik least ("You say I took the name in vain..."). It also cuts the verse that is usually last ("I did my best; it wasn't much..."). This is a bit of shame but no great impediment.

I'm not going to bother to gloss this one for Charles and Erik because it's obvious, isn't it? Here are the lyrics.. I will love forever someone who would vid this... but I suspect there's not currently enough material. Maybe if they get another movie or two out of the XM:FC franchise?
labingi: (Default)
Rambles in which Gungrave and the Iliad are a central examples for thinky thoughts on the nature of narrative, archetype, modal displacement, history, and personality typing.

Now that I've lost all my readers...

Gungrave has made a whole lot more sense to me since I figured out that its theme can be summed up as Achilles and Patroclus if they broke up. Of course, Achilles and Patroclus don't break up. Why? This begs comparison between ancient Greek epic and contemporary seinen anime.

Enneagram, Wheel o' Modes, Nature of Tragedy, Tori Amos, with Spoilers )
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Last in my spate of journal updating, thoughts that have been long brewing about the career trajectory of Tori Amos, who, let's be clear, is my favorite pop singer/songwriter ever, ever, ever by a mile. I'm not going to say anything not abundantly said on comments on her recent releases, but I want to chew it over in my own words.

Laziness )
labingi: (Default)
I have been rediscovering Tori Amos lately through Venus Orbiting, which has a fantastic re-visioning of the song, "Waitress." And it came to me that this song is just about the perfect L and B song, that is, B's POV of L.

Lyrics and Further Thoughts )


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