Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Scarlet Diva (Asia Argento, 2000)

I have a ridiculous girl-crush on Asia Argento, so it's always hard for me to be honest about what I feel about her films, but here goes. Scarlet Diva is Argento's directorial debut, a transparently autobiographical film about Anna Battista, a popular Italian actress who actually wants to direct, gets pregnant, and experiments a lot with sex and drugs. Asia Argento, a popular Italian actress who wanted to direct, got pregnant, and experimented a lot with sex and drugs, wrote and directed the film on digital video, giving it a voyeuristic and home-movie feel. While the dialogue and scenarios are at times incredibly stilted and awkward, Argento really gives all of herself to this movie, something that is to be admired and rewarded, I think.

Most of the power of this film lies in Argento herself, who is a pleasure to watch (visually), and also is almost magnetic with the intensity with which she devotes herself onscreen. It's almost as if we are watching a documentary on Argento's lost years, and it's a fascinating one. The reason I can most recommend this film on is because Argento is a female experimental artist, and I respect and seek that out. She's more mainstream, obviously, than experimental artists in the art field, but in film, it's to be admired. Scarlet Diva is a radical (feminist!) document on female sexuality, vulnerability, culpability, love, and, most of all, artistic power. Battista (as Argento herself) is treated as a sex object by every man she knows, when all she wants to be is an artist. It's almost painful to watch Anna almost get raped several times, when all she wants is to discuss the film she wants to direct. Are being a sexual female and an artist incompatible? That's one of the questions Argento wrestles with in the film, and in her life. (The more I write about the plot, the more painfully obvious that there's nothing fictional about it!) But for Argento fans like myself, or someone interested in a particularly sexually charged, radical feminist interpretation of postmodern life, I definitely recommend it. It's not (visually) bad for a first-time director, not at all.


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