Friday, June 25, 2010
Dassin's under-seen, under-valued THE LAW gets a week's run at BAMcinématek
THE LAW. Rich, thick and ripe are a few more, should you need them. Jules Dassin's melodrama-cum-comedy-of-manners takes place in a small Italian village located amongst some drop-dead gorgeous scenery that includes hills, architecture, art and ocean. (The grand, black-and-white cinematography is by Otello Martelli, whose work for Fellini is legendary.) From the cooing pigeon that opens the film, waking up an Italian villager and then walking into the hands of the writer/director's son Joe -- who would later become a pop sensation in France, and whose voice and song you can hear on the wonderful soundtrack of Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited -- the camera then climbs up and into the windows of a building that houses many of the characters we'll soon know. Dassin, shown below (in a scene from Brute Force), doesn't miss a beat. Though his movie is two hours long, there's not a moment that doesn't delight and fascinate.
Gina Lollobrigida (on poster, top, and two photos down), Marcello Mastroianni (at bottom), Yves Montand (below, left), Melina Mercouri (below, right), Pierre Brasseur and Paolo Stoppa -- only Lollobrigida was well known in the states at that time. Montand had done The Wages of Fear six years previous, but his best-known work would begin the following year (starting with Let's Make Love, opposite Monroe) -- as would Mercouri's (Never on Sunday) and Mastroianni's (La Dolce Vita). In retrospect, Dassin appears utterly prescient in this casting coup.
ies opened this past Wednesday for a week's run at the BAM
cinématek. You can find upcoming playdates for other cities here.