Monday, November 01, 2010

Here is Looking at You, Kid

Pic souce: internet

The other day I was watching The Holiday and realized that Jude Law is kinda cute, plus Kate Winslet is a beautiful actor. There is a reference in that really nice feel-good movie to Casablanca, one of the finest pieces of art in cinema. I knew I had to watch it yet again.

So Sunday afternoon was spent in the manner I mentioned in the post below, feet outstretched, with my back against the wall, watching Casablanca for the umpteenth time with the volume turned up and the curtains drawn. I watched it like it was the first time, such is the art of that film.

It's a very simple story, a love triangle that has been explored in cinema at least a million times. Rick Blaine is the cynical sentimentalist (Humphrey Bogart plays the oxymoron to perfection) who runs a saloon in Casablanca, Morocco, the transit point for people escaping from the war in Europe to free America during WWII. He wrinkles his forehead, lights up a cigarette and sips on gin through most of the film, managing to look intensely handsome all the while. Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman, so so beautiful), an ex from his days in Paris walks in one day with her husband, an underground revolutionary leader, both seeking the letters of transit that Rick is in possession of. What follows is the most gripping story with not a slack moment. Every frame of the film is a masterpiece, the pace of the story, the camera work, everything. There is a reason why Casablanca is in the list of every ten top movies ever made. Simply that it is one of those perfect products. I love the music too, love the way 'As time goes by' is played throughout as a leitmotif.

That and other Frank Sinatra is what is constantly playing in my house at the moment.

I miss Poorna sir, my college professor who taught us Film Studies, the one subject we were all absolutely in love with. There cannot be a better teacher than him. I miss his classes because that one year was when I learnt all that I know about good cinema. We watched the best movies then, some of the finest in Bengali, German, French and world cinema, from Kurosawa to De Sica to Ray to Makmalbaff to so many others. That was the time we saw into the techniques of cinema, dissected every frame and noticed every nuance. I no longer can do that. I miss it.

I wish I could watch Casablanca as a class again (I think we did..I forget) and spend a hot afternoon in the campus discussing the whys and whats of the film. But then, it is one film that you can watch without going into details like that and still marvel at its brilliance. There is probably more written about Casablanca than any other film, that is the kind of interest the movie has continued to evoke ever since its release in 1942. If you haven't already, watch it today.

There are rare times when it all comes together perfectly, the cast, the music, the story, the dialogues, the direction. There are rare movies that manage to appeal and still stand after the test of time, even nearly 70 years after it was made. Casablanca is one such.

Meanwhile, some quotes I love from it:

"I am not fighting for anything any more except myself. I'm the only cause I'm interested in."

"Play it again, Sam." (though these exact words are never spoken in the film, it continous to be associated with it.)

" Here is looking at you, kid." (But of course!)

"We will always have Paris."

...and so many others....

Here is what a reviewer online had to say:

There's a reason the world loves this wartime film, now digitally restored: more memorable dialogue than should be strictly legal, heartbreaking performances from the two leads and a plot that works with Swiss-watch precision.


Giribala said...

And you had a subject called Film Studies in college! *envy*

Deepa said...

Yes!!! Was the best class I ever went to.

Captain Nemo said...

And my eternal favorites - "With the whole world crumbling, we pick this time to fall in love..."
and "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine..."

Good write on one of my all time fav movies.

Deepa said...

Ah, that too! The film has just too many fantastic lines. Like a reviewer online said, it contains more memorable dialogue than should be legally allowed!
One of my all time faves too!