Saturday, May 14, 2011

"My Own Love Song" ~ Olivier Dahan

I felt in need of seeing some more up-to-date movies than our usual diet of junkstore-bought old tapes and DVDs. However, having carefully perused the many yards of floor to ceiling shelves filled with DVDs at our local Hastings store I felt distinctly underwhelmed. Eventually I chose a documentary, a biopic, and an indie movie. The latter is affectionately fixed in my memory, in spite of its rather quirky, jerky yet still charmingly melodic feel.

"My Own Love Song".

Written and directed by Olivier Dahan who's better known for directing the acclaimed biopic of Edith Piaf, "La Vie en Rose". "My Own Love Song" is his first English language movie and stars Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker, with a carefully drawn cameo part for Nick Nolte. Music and songs by Bob Dylan. Written especially for the film, his "Life is Hard" becomes the core of the movie's theme.

With a line-up like that how could the movie fail?

Some critics have ruled it a definite fail - but they simply didn't "get it".

It's subtle - open to a variety of interpretations. The basic storyline is secondary to the character studies and general "feel" of the film. No reviewer whose opinion I've read so far has seen in the movie what I saw, though a couple were positive in different ways. That's the stamp of a good movie, a good piece of art, poem, song or novel. True talent lies in the ability to leave strands, or trails, open to readers/viewers to mentally and emotionally follow in a variety of directions, depending on life-experiences of viewer or reader.

One of my first impressions was that the movie must be an adaptation of a novel or short story. The theme reminded me of something Carson McCullers might have written. But it appears that it was written, as well as directed, by Olivier Dahan.

As I interpret the movie, it's a pastiche of characters, all victims of "the strings and arrows of outrageous fortune". They're ordinary, yet extraordinary. They have little in the way of worldly goods. When the movie pans to a scenario filled with run-of-the-mill middle-class-ish folk I began to feel irritated, and wanted to return immediately to these strugglers and stragglers, battling both their pasts and their presents in the best ways they could, and helping one another in ways big and small.

The aforementioned "slings and arrows", not always fully revealed at first, include car wreck resulting in devastation of a family and successful career; horrendous fire resulting in loss of family support system; the after effects of losing everything in the floods after Katrina struck; the knowledge that a loved one is dying; and the angst of experiencing the unexplained disappearance of a partner.

That's enough to put anyone off this movie - but it shouldn't. That's the bottom line, the foundation, the soil from which beauty arises, and thanks to the talent of the actors and director involved, what might otherwise have come across as a schmaltzy, self-indulgent mush turned out to be, for me, an inspired piece of movie-making. Not perfect by any means - but the best things never are. It's the imprefections which give anything its character.

A look at Olivier Dahan's natal chart:

Other than the fact that Dahan was born on 26 June 1967 in La Ciotat, France, and in 1991 received a diploma in art at the Art school of Marseille, I found no further biographical information online.

When asked in interview what interests him most about filmmaking he replied:
I don’t think it’s an interest in one thing or another. It’s my way of talking; it’s just a question of communication. I don’t like to talk so much in life, I’m more comfortable with pictures. When I’m on the set I don’t feel like I’m working, I just feel natural

Time of birth is unknown so a 12 noon chart is shown. Moon position isn't reliable, as here, but Moon would have been in Aquarius to around 5pm, if born later, Moon in Pisces.

Sun and Mercury in gentle, ultra-sensitive Cancer matches well the feel of the movie I've featured here - and probably his earlier well-received biopic of Edith Piaf (which I have yet to see).

Moon in either Aquarius or Pisces would fit what we can see of him through this movie equally well - quirky and out of the ordinary (Aquarius) imaginative, dreamy (Pisces).

His Sun and Mercury are flanked to the left by semi-sextiles to Jupiter and Venus.
semi-sextile (30*) isn't an aspect much vaunted by astrologers, but I've noticed often that, when Sun, Mecury or Venus are closely involved there's a definite blending which modifies both signs. Here bright, shiny, show-bizzy Leo modifies gentle, shy Cancer and vice versa.

Neptune trines Mercury in Cancer from Scorpio, adding Neptune's creative force to the mix. Neptune is often found closely linked to personal planets in the charts of film-makers.

It'll be interesting to see what this young director/screenwriter comes up with next.

Here's a snip from the movie showing Renee Zellweger singing (who knew she could?) Woody Guthrie's great song "This Land is Your Land" (PS: We should never forget that, whichever land we relate it to !!!)


Wisewebwoman said...

this sounds like a movie I'd like to catch, T. I love those quirky ones that don't quite succeed as box office but draw their own fans.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes I think you'd enjoy it.

We went to the flicks yesterday evening, saw "Bridesmaids". If you don't mind a bit of gross-out humour it's a fun film. Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live co-wrote it and stars in it - she's one for the future - great comic timing, we've been saying so ever since we first saw her on SNL years ago.

R J Adams said...

Renee Zellweger can dance as well as sing. Although the storyline was not to my taste, the movie, "Chicago", was superb for her performance and that of Catherine Zeta-Jones. Like WWW, I prefer the occasional movie that never quite made box office success, perhaps because it's threads were too muted for most casual cinema goers to comprehend. I may well give this one a try.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ I saw Chicago, but didn't enjoy it much. I probably wasn't fully aware of who Renee Zellweger was then. She's one of those artists who sort of creep up on you after starting to recognise the face in movie after movie. Bridget Jones put the stamp on RZ for me, I think.

I hope you get to see this one.