June 28, 2003

What Would You Risk For Love?


After somehow missing its theatrical run last year, PCC finally got a chance to see Tom Tykwer's latest film, Heaven, starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Since PCC is a fan of a)Cate Blanchett (who isn't?) b)Tom Tykwer c)the few Krzysztof Kieslowski films PCC has seen and d)the rather odd, but strangely appealing Giovanni R., PCC had high expectations for this film. This is a dangerous thing, since such films often don't perform to PCC's satisfaction (case in point: Karen Montcrieff's abysmal Blue Car). But Heaven was different; for 96 minutes PCC was glued to the screen. As CB explained in a segment of "The Story of Heaven", the story is simple, but its subtle philosophical and poetic depths are what cause us to take a closer look at the characters, and by extension, ourselves.
The simple story, though PCC wants to re-iterate that simple here is a good thing, is complimented by gorgeous, sweeping cinematography by Frank Griebe, who also worked on Tykwer's Run Lola Run. Griebe's ability to blend the actors into the landscape, and vice versa, is truly amazing. An especially beautiful sequence occurs near the end of the film, when CB and GR are facing each other on a hilltop in the Italian countryside. They are filmed from quite a distance away, so that all the audience sees are two almost identical black silhouettes against the rising sun. Slowly, they come together and merge into a single shape. It's incredible. Griebe was nominated and won several German cinematograpy awards for his work on Heaven.
Finally, a note on the acting. Cate Blanchett is perhaps one of a handful of extremely talented actors that could pull off what she did in Heaven: make a woman who bombed a building, killing four people, and shot a man in cold blood look sympathetic to the audience. We root for Philippa, even though we know what she has done is wrong. Perhaps what makes her so compelling is the fact that Philippa herself does not pretend that she should go unpunished for her deeds. She tells Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) that she cannot live with what she's done, that she knows she must pay for her crimes. Giovanni Ribisi is equally compelling as a young carabinieri (policeman) who falls in love with CB during her interrogation. GR mixes just the right amount of puppy-dog devotion with genuine love in his portrayal of the seemingly weak and mild-mannered Filippo who risks everything for love.

Posted by jordan at June 28, 2003 2:25 PM