The unique feature of this genre and what also represents the undisputed strength of the cinema is its ability to represent on screen, imprinted on film, the irrationality of human feelings. Pain, joy, fear and love are intrinsic instincts to the man that books, songs and poetry have always tried to show on a concrete level. But the cinema industry has adopted different ways to represent these feelings, especially love. Precisely the link between the seventh art and love is the theme we will face today. How does cinema represent love and what are the strategies adopted by different directors to do it?
A bout de souffle, Godard, 1960
Exponent of the famous French movement of the Nouvelle Vague Godard, has always had a thousand ways to represent love, the real one, the pure one but not without deception. In the film the two protagonists Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg) find themselves at the mercy of love without conditions, they don’t know too much about the other but just a room, a bed and their looks are enough to connect them. The long takes of Godard resume the two walk to Champs-Élysées as if the world around them had stopped and instead they continued to live. The final scene in which Michel, before dying, tells Patricia she is disgusting goes against the style of classic cinema but leaves us breathless. Surely this is the film that represents one of the posters of the French film movement that more than once has become a promoter of art but at the same time of love.
The story is divided into three phases (Paradise, Earth, Hell) traces the moods of the two boys protagonists Dan and Candy. The dependence on heroin that metaphorically represents the descent into the inferno of the couple, which in turn, will also bring down their relationship. A film made by sights, moments and breaths… those are the true force. The director manages to capture the feelings of Dan and Candy in an extraordinary way. The soundtrack often seems almost to be a character (the opening scene in the carousel with the song named “Song To The Siren” by Paul Charlier and Paula Arundell in the background). The film highlighted Heath Ledger’s acting maturity before his death. The images shown on the screen are collected directly from the heart of the characters and shown to the public with a unique elegance.
Romeo + Giulietta, Baz Luhrmann, 1996
Postmodern remake of the drama of the famous Shakespearean tragedy. The Australian director Baz Luhrmann manages to transform the tenth re-adaptation on the big screen of the opera into a cult of love films. Of course, everybody knows the plot but the Sydney filmmaker has had the talent and courage to give a new, modern face to the most famous love story. Luhrmann decides to introduce them to a costume party and the scene that sees them together for the first time is a cinema treasure. He wears a knight mask, she has chosen a white dress and angel wings, the true love in the times of modernity, in which Verona becomes Verona Beach and where Leonardo di Caprio is perhaps the most talented Romeo of all time.
Hong Kong Express, Wong Kar-wai, 1998
Almost surely the highest point reached by the collaboration between Wong Kar-wai and Christopher Doyle, this film has invented a new kind of romanticism in a modern way. The main theme is love in the great metropolis where chaos and suburbia are the masters. Divided into two episodes, but closely linked, it is a great film about love and how we relate to it, devoid of banalities that usually mark the theme in question, especially cinematographically speaking.
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson, 2012
Anderson’s film magnificently shows the love story between two preadolescent kids in a context that is anything but trivial and schematic. In addition to photography from pure aesthetics of the image with symmetries at the limit of the maniacal, Anderson investigates into adolescence and directs a film about the first love that each of us has felt at least once in life. Moonrise Kingdom is the story of an escape of love from the peaceful family hell, the encounter of two entities who recognize each other and decide to go away together bringing with them all the possible feelings, one of the most convincing stories of amour fou in recent years.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Jacques Demy, 1964
French film completely sung that signs the affirmation of Catherine Deneuve. A shop assistant in an umbrella shop falls in love with a mechanic repairman, but her mother refuses to marry them because they are too young and he is not wealthy enough. They carry on the relationship, then she becomes pregnant, until the departure for the service of his lever where the possibility of reunification becomes almost impossible. Jacques Demy’s work produces a luminous trail that places it outside of time: all the elements combine to give it the impregnable charm of the great contemporary fairy tale and the 60s love seen in an unconventional way.