A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)

Nessun maggior dolore / Che ricordarsi del tempo felice / Nella miseria -- There's no greater sorrow than remembering happy times in misery. What was true of Paolo and Francesca, Dante's lovers in hell, is also true of 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) in Inside Out. This extraordinarily clever Pixar animated movie, written by Docter, Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, takes an ancient premise and does wonderful things with it. Though it purports to be a whimsical treatment of modern psychological theories about the role of emotions in the formation of personality, it's a kind of moral allegory, not unlike the moral fables of all eras, including John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Riley and her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) have moved to San Francisco from Minnesota. The shock of adjusting to a new home and a new school plunges Riley into misery, made worse by her remembrances of the happy times when she felt secure, had friends, and was a star on her hockey team. Her emotions -- Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) -- lose control of her personality, and things begin to fall apart. It's an astute and original (despite its ancient precedents) look at the way we learn to face life, brilliantly animated and skillfully voiced by a great cast.

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