Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
And While We Were Here: Now in Lifelike Color
Camorra has not ruined all of Naples yet.
There are still some picturesque historic neighborhoods. They will make a lovely backdrop for the
scuttling of a marriage in Kat Coiro’s And
While We Were Here (trailer
opens today in New York.
this movie is in color. Most are these
days, but if you caught AWWWH on the
festival circuit, you saw it in an arresting black-and-white,
intended to evoke the look and vibe of classic Italian Neo-Realist films. However, it is standard procedure to shoot in
color and convert to black-and-white after the fact (even the had to be B&W
The Artist followed this practice),
so it was no great technical feat to revert back to color for its theatrical
release. DVD consumers will have the
ability to chose, but considering everything is digital these days, why not let
the audience decide before each screening?
It would be a little William Castle-ish, but it would be a real novelty.
sun-drenched Naples looks lovely in the colorful AWWWH (which also picked up an additional article along the way). Leonard is a handsome and accomplished viola
player who has come to Naples for a high profile concert engagement. His somewhat younger wife Jane is beautiful,
but that’s about it. Some unspoken
tragedy weighs heavily on their marriage, but on their first night in Naples
they try to get in the romantic Italian spirit.
Unfortunately, the very next morning, Leonard the wet blanket insists on
going to the rehearsals he has committed to attend, leaving Jane at loose ends.
wanders the streets, listening to her grandmother’s lusty audio diaries that
she will supposedly incorporate into some sort of vague writing project, until
she encounters Caleb. He looks like a local beach bum, but he is actually an
American tourist gone native. Caleb
immediately gets ideas about Jane, but she temporarily holds him at bay. Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time
before she indulges.
are two long established cinematic clichés that stick out like sore thumbs in AWWWH.
While men who cheat in movies are invariably portrayed as lecherous
heels, adultery is almost always an act of New Age self-actualization for women
like Jane. If its good for the gander…?
Perhaps even more problematic, when a young male romantic rival is a little
light in the masculinity department, he is often given more tattoos than the
general population of San Quentin. Meet
Caleb, who appears to have a heavy metal album cover inked on his chest. The
idea that a womanly woman like Jane would castoff a manly man like Leonard in
favor of an immature boy like Caleb is difficult to buy into, no matter how
dysfunctional their marriage might be.
it is all lovely to behold. Kate Bosworth is stunningly gorgeous as Jane,
looking like a porcelain doll, but unfortunately giving her the personality to
match. There are a lot of longing stares
in AWWWH that do not add up to
much. However, Iddo Goldberg nearly saves
the day as Leonard. His big
confrontation scene with Bosworth is smartly written and scathingly
honest. It pops, while the rest of the
film mostly ambles in the sun.
Arguably, the sum of the film’s parts is greater
than its whole. Whether in color or
black-and-white, cinematographer Doug Chamberlain can certainly frame a striking
image. The classical score is also richly
lush yet emotionally resonate, representing career best work from composer Mateo
Messina. Despite the sophisticated sights
and sounds, as well as Goldberg’s powerful performance, AWWWH never rouses from its lethargy or overcomes the by-the-numbers
elements of its familiar narrative.
Mildly recommended for those who love Italy and 1960’s Italian cinema, And While We Were Here opens today
(9/13) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Kate Bosworth, Naples