March 19, 2007

Topsy Turvy

Mike Leigh's "Topsy Turvy": watching a late 20th century take on a late nineteenth century take on early 19th century Japan… (but The Mikado’s not about Japan any more than Apocalypse Now is about Vietnam, is it?). "The Commitments" for grownups. The beautiful rich complex coloured art deco backgrounds of so many scenes, not a beige wall in sight (reminds me of the way American Beauty works visually in internal scenes, all colourfields and planes of texture — wood, walls, lights, drapes, tables…). Imperious fun. A fluent riot of subtleties, good-natured, good-hearted, rich in language and reference. As always, Sullivan’s music gloriously tuneful, supple, lithe, anachronistic, totally tonal, light-footed; Sullivan himself anarchic, fun, cheerful, smiling eyes; Gilbert’s gruff lugubriousness can’t quite suppress a sense of surrealness and humour (watching Gilbert watching Japan in the London expo, those sad distant eyes lighting up a little)… As always with Leigh’s films, the chorus and supporting cast keep catching the eye — the accents, the off-kilter faces, the usual Leigh ensemble work. Endless good-natured humour, Victorian commonsense, camaraderie… "Maude: Never bear a humorous baby". "The more I see of men the more I like dogs". "I don’t know quite how to take praise. It makes my eyes red."

(Part of Flix).



At 3/22/2007 3:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy, I enjoyed the film too. The Mikado is an indisputable masterpiece with a bunch of cracking tunes and wickedly ingenious lyrics. My parents only had about five LPs but one of them was a D'Oyly Carte recording. Bellowing "Three Little Maids" now as a 187cm, nearly fifty year old man can raise eyebrows but it MUST come out! Once it's stuck in your head you have to sing it. I notice Larry David uses that tune occassionally in CYE. So I get a fresh infection every so often from him.


At 3/24/2007 9:02 pm, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

Thanks "anonymous" for the image of your bellowing out "Three Little Maids"… :-). Back in my Sydney days I actually had a "Best Of" G&S LP somewhere, but rarely had the guts to listen to it. Oh well — I can't sing at the best of times, so maybe it's best that I still don't play my G&S iTunes collection too often...


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