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Love is...13 movies dedicated to love


One of the first cinema frames in the cinematograph history is a kiss scene in a moving photo of the inventor, Thomas Edison. This event of 1896 laid the foundation to creation of a romance genre in international cinema. Aspiration to beauty and perfect moved and moves whole this process. Expression of love according to traditions of all world nations is a kiss. But there is plentitude of Platonic processes, accompanying love theme, causing hearts beating faster and touching upon the most secret strings of our souls. And over hundred years the screen became a mediator, capable convincing audience if the power of true love! It is everpresent and endless, its power may be experienced both by the creator and by audience, independent on age, sex, class, race etc. And the history of international cinematograph is a continuous endless, love story …

1. Film “City Lights”, the director is Charles Chaplin, 1931. Thanks to the genius of silent, like many young Soviet cinema-goers, I learnt elements of Platonic love, while watching this cinema masterpiece, which is ABC, both of romance and tragicomedy genre. A constant dialogue with audience is accompanied in Chaplin's dramatic art. The motion picture with poetic and magisterial interpretation of Chaplin’s cross-cutting theme of a «little man» narrates about unanswered love of a tramp to a blind girl, a florist. This “little man” searches for happiness and with aim to live another day he needs to fall in common and passionate love with someone. And to light up the whole megacity with his tiny happiness! Stepping on the international screen in oversized shoes and swinging with his walking stick, this iconic «little man» through laughter and tears caught even Stalin’ fancy.


2. "Road" (La Strada) the director is Federic o Fellini, 1954 In filmography the maestro Fellini is the first worldwide triumph, crowned with Venetian «the Golden lion» and "Oscar" award in nomination «For the best foreign film». Magic of this film for over than 50 years, like a wine, becomes even better. Nonverbal love in sentimental and simultaneously tragic film plot about vagarious circus actors of post-war Italy, wandering in pursuit of fortune and a hard cash. Rural eccentric woman Gelsomina and a circus athlete with beast grin, Zampano try to move closer to each other. Their relationship is penetrated with the subtlest thread of naivety, belief in frustration and tragedy of true love. This film is a farewell song to the Italian neo-realism, which maestro sees off jointly with eternally favorite three companions - road, circus and sea…


3. «Death in Venice » the director is Luchino Visconti, 1971 the Film about tragic love, communicating main message, which sounds, as a hymn to passing beauty of the epoch of the second half of the XIX century, a hymn to love towards angelic creature, as if descending from the heavens, to love turning into intolerable torment , which leads only to  death of the free artist. Screening of Thomas Mann’s homonymous novel is meditation about transience of beauty, love, youth and inevitability of death. Film’s synopsis, cautiously like gondolier, sweeping an oar in slow, monotonous dash of waves of Venetian channels, immerses us into forbidden, sinful theme of unanswered homosexual love. In final scene, the hero of a film, yielding to devil’s temptation to rejuvenate artificially at the hairdresser’s  by means of hair dye and make-up, seems tragically ridiculous. His passion to the blonde young man is, as if, a pale angel’s foreshow, sweeping away fallen soul of a composer, who died from deadly virus, which seized Venice...


4. «The man and the woman» the director is Claude Lelouche. 1966. The highest grossing film. This film collected, namely, in the USSR on diverging wave of dissident thaw of 60th beginning of 70th. Audience of Europe and United States watched film on a winning streak of the Palm d’Or of the Cannes film festival and Oscar and then forgot it simultaneously. And close to intellectual post-Soviet people order and listen moderately haunting sentimental melos of Francis Lay with back-vocal« sha-ba-da-ba-da». In the eyes of Soviet audience life threatening, but very romantic profession of the lead character, a stuntman and a racing car driver of brand fetishes of foreign cars attained non intentional sternness to romance. Self-admiration by triumph of Lelouche’s self-educated person played low-down trick with him and for the rest of his life he quoted heroes of this brand Jack and Jill and even shot a class B sequel « A man and a woman: 20 years later»,where repeatedly director’s lucky charms, handsome Jean Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aime met.


5. «Empire of passion» the director is Nagisa Oshima, 1976 This erotic romance is namely, the very same sweet fruit of porn culture, which came to be prohibited and was separated from participation in the competitive program of the Cannes film festival, 1976, and it has been under prohibition for public show in Japan hitherto. Oshima demonstrated endless possibilities of art of the film, by embodying erotic part of intimate human life into object of high creativity. A film, which is abundant with love exposes existential bases of concealed feelings and sexual desires. Namely, large-format screen allows perceiving hugs, kisses, love act itself, as a symbol of absolute penetration into each other, transforming bodies of lovers to some kind of uniform fire breathing body of a dragon, derived from Japanese miniatures. Author's genuine name expresses very precisely artistic contents of the film. According to archaic ritual, bullfighting is, namely, sacrifice for the love’s sake. Fatal orgasm of acting characters and bodies is a result of non observance of balance in fantastic "love bullfight».


6. "Ghost" DIRECTOR JERRY ZUCKER, 1990 Oh, my love! These words of loud tune of soundtrack to the film up to now, a quarter century hence, make a person experiencing the mystery of love in the mise-en-scene with the fingers of lovers’ hands, trying to mould a fruit of love from clay mass. Sudden death of the main character at the hand of a murderer becomes the beginning of subsequent events. Thus, a romantic story of ghost’s love to alive girl starts, where screaming and inimitable Whoopi Goldberg acts, as a medium. To write about this film equals to retelling of eternal fairy tale about love, struggle, retaliation and sad rescue. The film touched souls of the audience so deeply, that even in 90th during the process of world film distribution the film got to be considered, as a classic of romance genre, and Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are living legends and icon of unbreakable love.


7. "Damage" director is Louis Malle, 1992. A love story of a well- respected politician, a man of of the oldest old to a vamp woman. In his end of life film Louis Malle demonstrated how sometimes the feelings of heroes overstep the boundaries of permissible. Especially, when a son of honorable gentleman, turning out to be a hostage of connection of his dissolute wife with his own father is one of parties of the love triangle. The head of the family, falling into complete bondage from his passion, excites only pity by his inability to influence the course of events. And the revelation of his father’s reproachful passion causes death of his son. In that mortal world, there are various love formulas, however, sometimes there is such all-consuming passion destroying everything around a person, inflicting irreparable damage to loved ones...


8. "All About My Mother" the director is Pedro Almodovar, 1999. The thirteenth film of the alive classic of European cinema narrates about love to desperation, devouring heroes of this film. It is a bitter and a tragic story about human weaknesses. It is a story about separately taken family, which is in a complex dramatic situation, about collisions of fates of different unisex characters. And inside whole this labyrinth of passions, Pedro Almodovar creates almost biblical miracle - birth of a healthy baby from HIV-infected parents, a gay transvestite and a lesbian. The narration is filled with exquisitely expressive dramatism, with moderate love pathos to matriarchy and idea of returning of humanity to the world in its genuine broadness.


9. "Indecent proposal" the director is Adrian Lyne, 1993. It is possible to purchase if not everything, but almost everything ... Everything, except heart, which can’t be ordered! A woman sometimes gives in to temptation, however, clever one will return to her beloved man in time, flesh is sold and not the heart - no ... This is just a small part of the set of life aphorisms about love and family happiness, which are reflected in this film with dramaturgy, which is irreproachable and topical one at all times according to all canons of the love genre with traditional Hollywood final of happy end. Heroes of the wonderful tandem Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson turned out to be too self-assured in the inviolability of their love idyll. And at the most vulnerable point of tests, the devilish temptation in the person of inimitable Robert Redford comes into the play. The film still excites the imagination, as if, E.M. Remarque’s spell: "... what a terrible thing to love a woman and to be poor"


10. "Dolls" the director is Takeshi Kitano, 2002 After his criminal yakuza saga with branded fireworks from spattered brains Takeshi showed himself in "Dolls", as a mature academician and an Oriental master, who could adapt classic genres of Japanese poetry-tanka and hokku to the cinema. The film contains three novels with six characters (three pairs of lovers) - dolls in human disguise. The Japanese poetry about love fits smoothly into skeleton of film, where dramaturgy is construed, as a magic combination of theatric and poetic space, as if, flashback to the past and the present. The film's message is evident, and dolls are embodied in today's heroes and characters display their involvement into ethnographic space of Bunraku and Kabuki theaters. Uncommon dramaturgy is emphasized by daring light and color, unpredictable rhythm of movement of characters with lively sad eyes in painted disguises.


11. "Dreamers" the director is Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003 Film a dream with iconic name "Dreamers" about elusive love of three teenagers of student riot times in the second half of 60th. Meeting of the film’s characters forms the classic French triangle - l'amour à trois, drawing them from the square of demonstrations inside the apartment, where revolutionary spirit from Paris streets is transformed into passion of sexual experiments. These experiments are lined up Bertolucci through imitation of mise-en-scenes from cult films of the world cinema. However tripartite love is in danger destruction due to choking from carbon monoxide. Until a stone hurled by crowd of demonstrators breaks the window, bringing salvation May air of a student revolution. The love triangle is thrown to the streets of insurgent Paris and immediately collapses: each one goes his own way ....


12. "Reconstruction" the director is Christoffer Boe, 2003. Through subdued lighting of night Copenhagen, reminding infinity of Scandinavian polar nights, the author creates a reconstruction of the love square, where the world of heroes is raised to the Kafka’s absurdity. Charming atmosphere of the film accompanies us through the director’s puzzle maze in search of harmony within chaos of the love flow of consciousness. The patient audience finds an answer in dialogues and in parallel linear mounting, where Boe was able retelling about the love in such way, which almost nobody told previously. Judging by the film, this "Reconstruction" was a success - the award of the prize "Golden Camera" to Christoffer Boe for the best full-length debut of the Cannes Film Festival of the Year was regarded, as a convincing triumph.


13. "LOVE" the director is Michael Haneke, 2 012. Mystic "Love" by Haneke is a plain laconic plot about fate of elderly married musicians George and Anne and test devolved upon them on their ninth decade to take the near-death exam. After reanimation Anne returned home, however her consciousness began decaying. Georges with hopeless optimism went through all stages of despair, illusion, self-deception. As a result, he faced inevitability of the only possible way out – killing of his beloved wife, regarded by the audience, like a disputable existential mercy, crime, blind spot, euthanasia ...However, everything is for the love’s sake! The agony of senile imbecility, on its own, is considered, as tabooed one and it is rarely encountered in art cinema. Master Haneke leads the whole process by destroying origins of personalities of heroes up to full documental one.

AUTHOR Ulvi Mehti PHOTO Press materials