Speaking Parts (Atom Egoyan, 1989)

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In a hotel where an uncanny reality makes moves against the isolated desires of the characters, Speaking Parts (Atom Egoyan, 1989) is a cold trip. It is loaded with unrequited love, quiet anguish, subtle and not-so-subtle power plays, technological alienation and the consequences of unruly passions.

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This film is full of curly black hair. Gabrielle Rose gives a wonderfully measured performance as a writer who is losing control of her work to a film production. Arsinée Khanjian, Egoyan’s wife, plays the insular and dreamy housekeeping staff who is obsessed with her colleague, an aspiring actor played by Michael McManus, whose blankness is chilling. Although the film shares a great deal with the spooky dreamscapes of David Lynch and the weird modernity of early David Cronenberg, Speaking Parts seems most closely akin to the kinds of crises we find in Joseph Losey’s Accident (1967). Having painted this quiet grey picture, I must add, the film is not without humour and the sentimental speeches made by the stoney faced David Hemblen as “The Producer” are golden.

This film gets bonus points because it has scenes set in a video shop.

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Check out the amazingly vintage website of Speaking Parts star Michael McManus:

http://www.michael-mcmanus.com/

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posted by Tom Moore

 

Poster of the Day: BOOM! (1968)

Polish PosterPolish poster from 1970 by Maciej Hibner.

“I NEED MYSELF A LOVER”

Directed by Joseph Losey (The Servant, Don Giovanni), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Noel Coward and based on a play by Tennessee Williams – could the camp value be any higher and could the potential for disaster, fantastic, diamonte encrusted disaster, be any stronger? Probably not. Joseph Losey said he hated the film and Tennessee Williams was delighted, saying it was the best film adaptation of any of his plays, and when you consider what some of the other films are – Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana etc etc – that’s a pretty strong statement. Of course the film flopped at the box office and is indeed a mess in many ways – but it’s such a fantastic mess that it really is worth it.

DON’T REACH FOR A SMOKE! WAIT UNTIL I OFFER YOU ONE!”

POSTED BY DIXIE TURNER