The sensually provocative images of internationally acclaimed photographer David Hamilton again move and breathe in Laura. A delicate journey through innocence, beauty and sensuality involving a 16 year old ballet dancer who falls in love with her mother’s former lover, a 40 year old sculptor. A classic cinematic treatment of mother-daughter competition and the first stirrings of sexuality. With utmost taste and talent, Hamilton presents the gratification of budding womanhood.
1979 – Certificate: 18 – French Film
5.0 out of 10
For reasons that mostly baffle me but probably point to a severe breakdown in the decision-making process somewhere, I’m trusted with the management of nine people at work, plus another two or three that are ‘incoming’. I’ve never received much in the way of training to accomplish this, but I do my best. I try to work them all to within an inch of their lives, make them feel worthless and in awe of me, blame them when something goes wrong and take the credit when something goes well. I provide them with impossible deadlines and grass them up to more senior people when they fail to meet them. I invent or overcomplicate existing procedures, to make their lives as difficult as possible. My managerial catch-phrase is, “if you don’t like it you can leave”. In fact the only book on management I’ve ever read is “The Art of Demotivation”. I’d heartily recommend this to anyone who manages staff. I keep my well-thumbed copy by my desk at all times. Despite my obvious lack of emotional intelligence, in a strange way I consider these ‘resource units’ as my family. (In that sense I care for them deeply, in the same way that Captain Janeway on the Starship Voyager cared for her crew, but still managed to nearly get them killed most weeks.) Consequently, I get very distressed when any of them decide to fly the nest or take maternity leave. (Mainly because of the extra hassle it’s going to cause me.) In the next couple of months I have to recruit three or four new members of staff. From experience, I’m pretty sure that interviewing is about as close as a man can get to giving birth. The only difference is that we interview during office hours to a sensible timetable that minimises the disruption it causes. It is however a painful experience, in which you deal with things as best you can, when all you really want to do is scream and moan about how long it’s all taking, as you wait for the candidate(s) to come into the room so to speak. And my top tips for interviewing? Always have the interview panel with the light behind its back. I find it helps to put interviewees at ease if you silhouette yourselves. I also find that starting off interviews with the question, “what’s the worst question we could ask you today?” often helps to put candidates at ease too. If I don’t see tears by the end, I know I’m facing a tough son-of-a-bitch, who might one day challenge my Alpha Male status, an attribute that at work we call Wow; strangely, these people always score really poorly and consequently never get appointed. There’s nothing Wow about this film either.
David Hamilton made a few films like this and they’re all crap. This is probably because I know nothing about art and can never relate to anything or anyone in them. And I hate the ‘soft focus’ (i.e. out of focus) photography that always seems to get used too, so it’s not just the people, plots and places I don’t get. I guess if I was cultured enough I’d think this movie was a cinegraphic masterpiece that “presents the gratification of budding womanhood” and unrequited love, rather than some child porn dressed up as art. But what do I know? I’m probably just an ignorant, Mail-reading Brit, who thinks anything foreign is rubbish (unless it’s American or curry). I guess if I go out and kill someone on purpose, as long as I do it tastefully it’s art, not murder. Having said that, there is a story of sorts (a somewhat pervy love triangle) and a bit of action when something catches fire. There’s also some ‘fun’ with weed-killer too. (It’s a good example of what happens when you don’t store and use chemicals correctly.) I guess if you can work around all its technical and plot foibles, then you could get something positive out of it. (It’s not unlike a trashy B-movie in that respect.)
The soundtrack is mainly plinky-plonky ‘emotional’ piano or dated prog rock. It’s not something I’d miss if it was somehow erased for existence by time-travelling, intergalactic film critics.
Trailer. Well if there is one I couldn’t find it. Yes, the Internet has let me down. The best I managed to locate were some clips, so I’ve picked out an especially action-packed one for here.
Recommended for sculptors, dancers and anyone with a very open mind.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I guess it’s another reason for me to be sent to Hell, but Paul (40) manages to get off with Laura (15). It’s not that I approve or would want to be in his place; it’s just that he could, which makes it badass, although mostly just bad. What’s he got that I haven’t? Other than he’s good looking, French, talented, sexy and (in these post-Saville times) “a sinister pervert who used his fame to get close to young women and girls”. No wait, that’s Rolf Harris.
I’m a bit fragile today. I got ‘dragged around’ the Ashmolean Museum (of art and archaeology) in Oxford yesterday. After two hours of looking at random bits of broken china in glass cases, bent bits of metal in more glass cases and portraits of people I’ve never heard of in rooms hotter and drier than the Sahara, I had a desperate need to ‘refresh’ myself in one of Oxford’s fine alehouses, to recover from this ordeal. The museum was interesting enough, if you like that sort of thing, but when someone says “painting” to me, it’s normally a spot of DIY that comes to mind; and if I see bits of broken pottery, I tend to swear a bit and get a brush to sweep up the broken mug I’ve just dropped. Neither of these things featured very heavy at the Ashmolean, although I did see a pound note; it’s amazing how quickly you forget about these things. My joke about giving all the old Greek coins there back to Greece as it might find them useful now, fell on somewhat stony ground too. I don’t suppose I’ll be allowed back in there anyway, as the person I was with first got told off for carrying her bag on her back (they don’t like small rucksacks in museums, in case you turn around and trash something with it); then one of her shoes developed a really loud squeak, which in a museum of ‘quiet stuff’ probably annoyed just about everyone there. Yes, I needed to recover afterwards; it was all way too exciting for me. I don’t think I’ve got that drunk for a long time and I’m trying not to remember what my companion for this adventure did in the middle of the high street in Oxford on the way back to the station; thank goodness it was dark. For the first time in my life ever, I also managed to leave my mobile phone on the seat in the train when I got back to Reading, but fortunately some community minded spirit saw it and ran after me to return it; what a nice guy! So what’s all that got to do with this film? Well, there’s a couple of scenes in it (including the first) where some small figurines are featured, which later get broken; if that had happened to them 3,000 years ago they might have ended up in the Ashmolean Museum. It also features a conversation about a mobile phone too. Yes, it’s tenuous, I know.
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Strong sex and language
This is a great and rather cleverly written and acted drama, a real train-crash of a story, (as subtlety portrayed in the trailer). Plenty of dysfunctional families and individuals. Kate Winslet having sex. A dark and depressing story. Yep, all boxes ticked. Just as well really, as it clocks in at 131 minutes. Discover what goes on in the dull lives of a bunch of reasonably well-off people dissatisfied with their existence and relationships. For a fairly mainstream Hollywood film, it does manage a high WTF quota too, which is good. The ending is a bit inexplicable, but does sort of make sense in terms of the story and provides some suitable closure to things. Yes, it’s well worth watching, even though it doesn’t have any aliens or explosions in it. (I realise that this is a somewhat dull paragraph, but I’m struggling a bit today with basic things, like thinking.)
Recommended for people who like intelligent, great films. It’s as simple as that.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Larry overcoming his own problems and his hatred of pervert Ronnie. Okay, so first Larry had to all but to kill Ronnie’s mother and then the latter castrate himself before he managed to do this, but I suppose he got there in the end. Overcoming deeply held prejudices is badass; and generally a very good thing too.