Cinema Rendez-Vous #2

I am easily moved to tears and rarely survive a visit to the cinema without shedding them, racked, as I am, by the most perfunctory, meretricious or even callously sentimental attempts at poignancy (something about the exterior of the human face, so vast and palpable, with the eyes and the lips: it is all writ too large for me, too immediate for me.)” – Marin Amis

Among the most recent films that have moved me, there are the latest Disney/Pixar Coco, a typically American musical that does so much good, The Greatest Showman, and the stirring Clint Eastwood’s latest non-fiction, The 15:17 to Paris

Coco 

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. [Written by Disney/Pixar]

☁ Flowing, cheerful, and colourful, the new Disney/Pixar movie is a delight for the eyes, the ears, and the heart. In the middle of this field of bright colours, a touching story takes shape and does not miss a chance to make you shed a tear at the end credits.  

The Greatest Showman

Orphaned, penniless but ambitious and with a mind crammed with imagination and fresh ideas, the American Phineas Taylor Barnum will always be remembered as the man with the gift to effortlessly blur the line between reality and fiction. Thirsty for innovation and hungry for success, the son of a tailor will manage to open a wax museum but will soon shift focus to the unique and peculiar, introducing extraordinary, never-seen-before live acts on the circus stage. Some will call Barnum’s wide collection of oddities, a freak show; however, when the obsessed for cheers and respectability showman gambles everything on the opera singer Jenny Lind to appeal to a high-brow audience, he will somehow lose sight of the most important aspect of his life: his family. Will Barnum risk it all to be accepted? [Written by Nick Riganas]

☁ The La La Land lyricist has stricken once more with this new musical, giving it a more joyful, and more hopeful note. The Greatest Showman is an explosion of colours, glitter, and humanity. It is a celebration of our differences – making us who we are – which is carried by a soundtrack that is as rhythmic as it is touching, and an exceptional cast led by Hugh Jackman. This film is also a decent American comedy as it reminds us of always believing in the beauty of our dreams and in our possibilities to make them come true. 

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

The 15;17 to Paris 

In the early evening of 21 August 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris – an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends’ lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.

☁ It’s real, it’s raw at times, and it’s touching. The mix of archive pictures with filmed material as well as the calling on the actual protagonists of the true story make this latest Clint Eastwood’s film a very unique non-fiction – the realest non-fiction I’ve seen. The 15:17 to Paris is based on a true story and features the real heroes in their own roles; it is the story of ordinary people doing exceptional things – and it carries a very clear message of peace and hope and love, notably outlined by the repetition of Saint Francis Prayer, ‘Make me an instrument of your peace’. 

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me saw love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; 
where there is sadness, joy. 

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
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