Tuesday, 18 June 2013

there go the warm jets

Hollywood studios refused to finance Soderbergh's - totally brilliant - Behind the Candelabra - a biopic of Liberaci, as seen through the eyes of his lover/employee/[almost]adoptive-son - because of its subject matter. In Britain, you can watch Matt Damon getting it on with Michael Douglas on the screens of mainstream cinemas, but American cinemas have decided they aren't ready.

According to Soderbergh, 'they said it was too gay.' Maybe they imagined walking through a foyer that advertises Man of Steel & Pacific Rim & decided they'd overdone it. Anyway, the result is that it's gone straight-to-TV in the USA, premiering on HBO. Some critics have said this 'may mark the moment when TV overtakes film in the cultural relevance stakes.' I guess it might; some people think that's already happened [well, in my mind, TV's kind of on the way out too, & I'm just hoping some really good books get written soon, & that everyone starts coming to see theatre productions & gigs a lot more].

Aside from my sadness at the conservativism, bigotry & pessimism that such a decision implies... I'm just sorry that many people will miss the glory of the sound design in this film. TVs & laptops aren't going to do it justice. The moment when applause begins just a few seconds before the scene in which the crowd is clapping - but starts on the left speaker, only to pan across gradually as the shot changes - alienating us as listeners, making us deal with the sound as this strange, rippling, disconcerting thing; the subtle shifts between sound quality in the schmaltz-virtuoso piano-playing; the moment when a long take - one of many beautiful long takes in this film - follows Liberaci out of the jacuzzi but then stays with his lover, Scott Thorson, as out-of-shot Liberaci switches off the water jets - so the gorgeous bubbling that had underscored their conversation abruptly vanishes into a kind of stunned silence...

I urge people to go hear this film in cinemas.

[NB - the Eno's only here because of the coincidental title - as far as I know, he had no involvement in this film - this is a beautiful song though]

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