sabato 17 ottobre 2020

The Neon Bible (Serenata alla luna) - Terence Davies

tratto da un romanzo del "per sempre giovane" John Kennedy Toole (suicida a 31 anni, le opere non vennero pubblicate in vita, "Una banda di idioti" è un libro grandissimo).

Terence Davies gira per la prima volta negli Usa; la storia è quella di un ragazzino in una famiglia non bella come tante, dove la luce e la gioia sono portate dalla zia Mae, nel profondo Sud degli Usa.

Mae (Gena Rowlands) è una donna dalla dubbia moralità per i bigotti, è invece una seconda madre per David.

non è un capolavoro, ma un gran bel triste film sì.

non trascuratelo, sarà tempo ben speso - Ismaele


 

 

 

This adaptation of John Kennedy Toole's novel returns to the concerns of Terence Davies' acclaimed autobiographical work: the joys and agonies of family life; the onset of adulthood; the oppressive hypocrisy of organised religion. Here, however, instead of Liverpool, the setting is small-town Georgia in the '40s: life is quiet for young Tierney, son of struggling farmer Leary and hyper-sensitive Scarwid, until the sudden and not entirely unwelcome arrival of his aunt (Rowlands), a has-been but eternally optimistic nightclub singer whose devil-may-care ways sit awkwardly with the town's conservatism. Though the writer/director is working abroad and telling a linear story, it's immediately apparent - from the measured pacing, the immaculate compositions and elegant camera movements, the audacious ellipses and the inspired use of music - that this is a hallmarked Davies film. As such, it is extraordinarily moving, notably in a simple, underplayed death scene. Gena Rowlands' performance is a marvel of subtle nuances.

hda qui

 

E' come se Davies avesse vampirizzato il romanzo di Toole, trasportandolo completamente nel suo universo e attirandosi così molte critiche di ripetitività, forse non del tutto infondate. Tuttavia, anche se resta un'opera un po' minore nell'itinerario artistico del regista, "Serenata alla luna" non manca di motivi di interesse, come la bella interpretazione della Rowlands (che canta splendidamente My Romance di Rodgers e Hart in una scena), o alcune sequenze piuttosto forti come il meeting evangelico-revivalista del predicatore Bobbie Lee Taylor, dove Davies critica ferocemente ogni tipo di religione che anteponga gli interessi economici ai bisogni della gente. Questa sequenza è particolarmente stimolante perché, nel mettere a nudo l'ipocrisia e il fanatismo di questa religione-spettacolo, Davies si scaglia anche contro l'ottuso maschilismo di cui era impregnata la cultura del Sud degli Stati Uniti di quegli anni, poiché il predicatore vede il concetto dell'autonomia delle donne come una prostituzione del peggior tipo. In questo modo, Davies si ricollega al discorso "femminista" di "Voci lontane", approfondendolo da un'altra prospettiva. Comunque, talvolta nel film si respira quasi un'atmosfera alla Tennessee Williams, e vi sono dichiarati omaggi a "La morte corre sul fiume" ("The night of the hunter", 1955) di Charles Laughton, soprattutto per il forte puritanesimo religioso e l'onnipresente senso del peccato che caratterizzano la mentalità della gente.

da qui

 

As in Scorsese’s film, the rituals of memory offer to Davies a guarantee of personal identity; almost a glue that holds one’s self together. To lose these impressions of the past would be to dissolve that self entirely, it seems. Davies more than merely sympathises or empathises with little, passive David: we feel that, from behind the camera, he becomes this character in a total and overwhelming act of projection, vampirically absorbs him. In order to make his movies as he does, Davies must identify completely with the melancholic, half-life position.

A key aspect of Davies’ poetic universe, and hence his glued-together artistic identity, is a certain portrayal of the adult men and women who surround the dazed, omni-seeing (and hearing) child. This universe is overwhelmingly feminine. Women swathe the little boy in sounds, song, perfume, the fabric of dresses and the touch of hair (cf. John Boorman’s 1987 screen memoir, Hope and Glory). The woman’s world is a great, maternal shell – and if even if David’s biological mother, Sarah (Diana Scarwid), isn’t quite up to the task, there’s always Aunt Mae (Rowlands) on hand to provide the ever-gentle mothering (and smothering). Davies’ men, on the other hand, are strangers, intruders – brutal, barbarous patriarchs, who get drunk and go mad and lash out with their fists at their women. Denis Leary, a generally comic actor with a vicious edge I greatly admire, is superbly cast as David’s dark, disappearing father.

Now, it will sound reductive and simplistic to say it this way, but a certain thought is inescapable to any sensitive viewer of Davies’ collected film work. His public identity is that of a gay man, a gay artist – even though this identity is only rarely explicitly marked in the movies themselves (as with many gay artists, the sensibility expresses itself via many masks). When gayness does come up as a subject, as in the early, short autobiographical pieces comprising the so-called Terence Davies Trilogy (1976-1983), it’s depicted with an extraordinary, almost overwhelming degree of shame and self-loathing. But everything in every moment of his oeuvre seems to be reaching out to tell us that his gay identity is obviously bound up with this primal experience of feminine love and masculine terror within the patriarhcal and heterosexual nuclear family unit – as if his sexual self finds its origin in, and was created by, this particular, very psycho-sexually specific crucible of remembered, formative moments...

da qui


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