Luisa Ranieri

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Luisa Ranieri Sunday 15th February 2009 Patricia Field celebrates her birthday at Amalia New York City, USA

Luisa Ranieri

Eros Review


Weak
A triptych of short films, all on the subject of eroticism, sounds tantalizing, so it's too bad none of the shorts contained in Eros actually hits its mark. This despite the fact they were separately made by three of the most renowned directors of the past 40 years: Wong Kar Wai, Steven Soderbergh and Michelangelo Antonioni. What they manage in their individual shorts in Eros are but minor variations on themes and aesthetics already well explored in their own full-length films.

Wong Kar Wai's bluntly titled "The Hand" and set in his recurring milieu of early '60s Hong Kong, follows Zhang (Chang Chen), a humble tailor's apprentice, over his years-long infatuation with a beautiful socialite-turned-prostitute, Miss Hua (Gong Li). Kar Wai's treatment is aesthetically fussy, in keeping with his well-known style, but dramatically bland. There simply isn't much at stake here as the timorous Zhang must be content with the, ahem, hand jobs (see title) he receives all too rarely from the object of his infatuation. Now, hand job scenes (even in non-porno cinema) can be extremely erotic because of what they offer and what they only tease at (for a convincer, see the relevant scene in Michael Heneke's otherwise awful The Piano Teacher. Wow!). In any case, the segment's manually operated pseudo-erotica provide the only spike in an otherwise indolent story that never substantially conveys its central concern: Zhang's steady sexual awakening and his unshakeable devotion to an unavailable woman. Still, Kar Wai's fabulously crafted sound and imagery are both par for the course for this director and his world-class cinematographer, Christopher Doyle.

Continue reading: Eros Review

Eros Review


Good
Three world filmmakers team up for this anthology exploringthe ways in which people connect sexually. The strongest segment is WongKar-wai's "The Hand," starring Gong Li as an elegant courtesanwho engages a tailor (Chang Chen) and, with a single stroke of her hand,keeps him at her service for years. Wong takes his fetish for form-fittingdresses to new heights, delighting in the delicate sighs of human handson silky cloth. Steven Soderbergh's odd, funny segment, "Equilibrium,"takes great joy in the bantering performances by Robert Downey Jr. as aseller of alarm clocks and Alan Arkin as a shrink. Soderbergh shoots inbeautiful, moody black-and-white and teases with a couple of tingly sidebarmysteries, but eventually gets too crafty and loses his way.

Finally grandmaster Michelangelo Antonioni returns to thecinema with "The Dangerous Thread of Things," an overly artsyand confusing metaphor, not helped by its odd and clumsy Italian dubbedsoundtrack. In it, a man (Christopher Buchholz) fights with his wife (ReginaNemni) and then sleeps with another woman (Luisa Ranieri). Some scenesfeel like dreams and others do not. This makes it difficult to grasp anypassage of time, rendering the characters mere ciphers. Nevertheless, takenone at a time, many of the film's images are fascinating and strikinglybeautiful; not many living filmmakers could match them. After all, it wasAntonioni who inspired Wong and Soderbergh to make this film in the firstplace.

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Eros Movie Review

Eros Movie Review

Three world filmmakers team up for this anthology exploringthe ways in which people connect sexually....

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