Bob Fosse’s musical Cabaret is included in multiple lists of the best movies of all time. The film holds the record for the most Oscars for a film that does not win the Best Picture award. At the 1973 ceremony the movie won 8 statuettes, including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli and Best Director for Fosse.
Loosely adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, the film takes more from the novel “The Berlin Stories” and the play “I am a Camera”. Both the novel and the play were in turn the source for the musical. The main difference is that Fosse only took a couple of musical numbers from the original work for the film. John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote new compositions that brought the celluloid version of Cabaret to life.
I wish it was 1986 too. At least someone else would have to worry about the bills. Before getting to Top Gun: Maverick (2022) we must get into the DeLorean and travel to 1986. Tony Scott (1944-2012) gave the cinema great movies, films that transcended the screen and became entrenched in popular culture, Top Gun (1986) is the perfect example. It’s impossible to imagine the eighties and nineties without Maverick, Ice Man and the F-14s taking to the skies to the tune of Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone. Or maybe listening to Berlin’s Take My Breath Away and not imagining Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis doing their thing. Beyond its value as a cinematographic work, Scott’s film stands out thanks to its ability to connect with the audience and permeate it until it becomes a currency of regular use in society.
Each movie is a universe. If we are lucky, those stories that are told in frames that follow each other with narrative coherence will lead us to discover a unique world into which we enter hopelessly thanks to the power of the script. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) is a perfect example of this. Like Dorothy when swept away by the tornado, we realize that we are no longer in Kansas when the script by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert disfigures reality and introduces us to the premise of the parallel universes through which its protagonist Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) must travel. Although Marvel and Disney have made the concept of the multiverse fashionable, here this element has a justification that goes beyond mere entertainment. Conceptually, these parallel universes are channels those directors use to separate the emotional layers of their central characters.
If man is endowed with judgment and creative force, it is to multiply what has been given, and yet, until now, far from creating anything, what you are doing is destroying…
(Uncle Vania, Anton Chéjov)
It is from the loss that the characters of Drive My Car (2021) build their lives. Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Happy Hour, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy) crafts a subtle yet sharp drama that uncovers layers in each of its characters to engage the audience with all of their senses. There is much that Hamaguchi wants to tell us, and his characters have plenty of depth, but there is no rush. The slow and energetic rhythm takes us through those three hours of footage without us noticing the passing of the seconds.
The camera is to cinema what the brush is to the canvas. It is from the lens that the story is written, the narrative pulse is dictated by the shots, the sequences, and the way they end up fitting into the final montage. All the elements of cinematographic language must be perfectly aligned so that the director’s voice can reach the audience. In Òran na h-Eala (2022), director Steve Exeter takes advantage of every tool that cinema provides to conceive a film that is both a tribute to the seventh art and a way to re-imagine a classic.