Sils Maria

 

Last weekend was a busy one in these parts (and even a long one), so that took a bit of a bite out of my movie-watching. Hopefully I can make up for it during the week ahead.

Who’s to say?

I do know that I have at least two screenings to look forward to, so that will change. Then again, if I were to have another down week, I could do far worse than a slate filled with first-timers!

 

#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with THE PRINCE OF TIDES directed by Barbara Streisand.

 

Barbara is a legend in Hollywood, and if you’re like me you sometimes have a hard time squaring that circle. For anyone my generation and younger, Babs has forever seemed like the woman who is perpetually on overpriced concert tours (which may-or-may-not be a “farewell tour”), and showing up in movies aimed at much older audiences (and MEET THE FOCKERS).

About a year ago, I finally backed up and watch Streisand in her prime in films like FUNNY GIRL and WHAT’S UP, DOC? It’s like watching Ali fight Sonny Liston, and if I was a film-goer at the time I would certainly have a tighter bond to that sort of talent…that sort of presence.

In the mid-eighties, Streisand began to direct and got off to an amazing start with YENTL. Eight years after, she came back with her follow-up – the Best Picture and Best Director nominated PRINCE OF TIDES.

THE PRINCE OF TIDES is straight-up, flat-out, not for me.

Thirty films into this series and I have finally arrived at an entry that did precious little for me. That said, there are things about it to consider, and even things to admire.

The story is one of classic melodrama, the sort of thing I could see someone like Douglas Sirk or Todd Haynes directing. It’s tale of legacy, emotional burdens, old ways in a changing world, and familial bonds. The film, and the book it is based on both feel like a throwback to a previous era of storytelling. However, Streisand chose to approach the film with a 1990’s sensibility. The colour palette, the photography, the music, the action…it all feels very “Miramax”. At the time, this probably would have been just fine since this was the beginning of the Miramax dominance of America’s indie film circuit…however, coming to it 25 years later is a different story.

(Note: Even though I’m referring to this film as “very Miramax”, it should be pointed out that the film was produced by SONY…back when they were capable of producing Best Picture nominees).

Streisand’s portrayal of Georgia in the past are really something. They evoke both the beauty of the endless summers of youth, and the terrible things that were going on behind closed doors. Even with the disconnect between how these scenes are captured, and how they might be captured now, there’s no doubting Streisand’s eye and her handling of her actors. It’s when the film comes back to the present that things feel a bit more dated. There’s a 90’s sheen over everything that hasn’t aged all that well…a sheen that lacquers both the look and rhythm of this melodramatic story.

Much like Streisand herself, THE PRINCE OF TIDES feels like a film I needed to be there for at the time. It’s not bad, it just comes filtered through a curious lens. If I was a certain age during a certain age, it might have hit me harder. Coming to it late though, I feel like I’m watching a 74-year-old sing “Memories”.

 

Here’s the week at hand…
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK – In a weird way, I actually wish THE PRINCE OF TIDES was more like this.
THOUSANDS CHEER – MGM’s excuse to get three-quarters of their star roster into one film
GINGER SNAPS – Why did it take me so long to catch up with this gem?
THE PRINCE OF TIDES – Certainly handsome during the scenes set in Georgia.
THE PIRATE – I’m going to have “Be a Clown” stuck in my head for a week.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION – I will wonder for a good long time why Will Smith stopped making this sort of movie.

 

Boxscore for The Year
144 First-Timers, 93 Re-Watched
45 Screenings
237 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?