domingo, marzo 04, 2007

Notes on a scandal

Really a Great, great and intense Movie!!!!!!!

"Her fetish for the boy was simply her snobbery manifested. He's a working class boy who likes art; as if he were a monkey who had just strolled out of the rain forest and ordered a gin and tonic"

"It is the beginning of a new term and the pubescent proles come flooding through the North London school gates, much to the disdain of senior history teacher, Barbara Covett (Judy Dench) who sardonically sneers at the next generation of ‘plumbers and shop assistants’ passing underneath her icy shadow. Barbara is a lonely closet lesbian who lives alone and it is her acerbic wit, which provides Notes on a Scandal with an irrational and highly unreliable narrator. Her mediocre school is an unruly and underperforming institution, a politician’s nightmare and one lingering just above the relegation zone of their local government league table. The contempt held by Barbara for the school is manifested in her cynical diary excerpts, where she remarks how ‘in the old days we used to confiscate cigarettes and wank mags; now its knives and crack cocaine, and they call it progress.’

The new arrival of a new art teacher, Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) a strawberry blonde beauty with peach white skin was to change everything at the grubby comprehensive. Barbara quickly became infatuated with Miss Hart and everyone within school was besotted by the torch of glamour she shone in their direction. Sheba’s fey bohemian manners and middle class values did however make her a vulnerable creature inside the testosterone cesspit of the school, where Barbara described teaching as being like a cattle prod and that they were obliged to educate their pupils to "read, listen and write and not learn about basket weavers in Chile". Sheba of course was still young enough to maintain some idealism about the virtues of education and eventually invited Barbara over to her leafy Victorian townhouse for Sunday lunch.

Barbara in her role as a moral guardian listened to Sheba’s teaching anxieties; although this didn’t stop her cuttingly observing their family’s post-dinner dancing routine with a series of hilariously scornful observations. In a revealing and intimate discussion, Sheba’s dreamy idealism came to fore and she confessed to Barbara about how being married and having kids gave you "an imperative in life but it doesn’t give you meaning". Sheba frustration at the emotional hollowness in her life revealed a naïve romantic woman, who despite being blessed with a loving family and material wealth, there was a still a yearning for the passions of her artistic youth.

This unfulfilled rebellious streak simmered over with her catastrophic relationship with Steven Connelly, a fifteen year old pupil at the school and only then did Sheba expose herself to Barbara’s manipulative clutches. Steven had a natural flair for art and received after-hours lessons from his art teacher because the hard nosed school administrators forced him to drop the subject in order to receive additional tutoring in English and Maths. Barbara’s closet infatuation with Sheba had by this point only been confessed to her erratic diary and with her knowledge of the affair she cunningly decided that she could ‘gain everything by doing nothing’ and that her young protégé would now forever be in her debt. Despite Sheba being warned by the ever vigilant Barbara that the affair must end, she kept on sleeping with her handsome Irish pupil and openly revelled at how "she hadn’t been pursued like this in years".

Barbara’s manipulative and uncontrollable loneliness then exerted itself upon Sheba, who quickly became a beautiful pawn entangled inside her spider’s web. There was a human tragedy behind Barbara’s hysterical behaviour, whose diary entries revealed the embittered scorn of a woman desperately clinging to her sense of moral and intellectual superiority. She spoke of a solitude so overwhelming that she would regularly find herself ‘organising an entire weekend around a trip to the laundrette’ or how her lack of intimacy would allow the ‘accidental touch of a bus conductor’s hand to send a tingling sensation directly to the groin’.

Barbara believed only she could comprehend the true meaning of loneliness and this repressed desire for emotional companionship led towards a melodramatic and self-destructive conclusion. Sheba had everything she wanted but the shallowness of her early mid-life crisis created a series of emotional waves on what had previously been a stagnant middle class pond. Barbara however deserves to have the last word on Sheba and acutely asked at the beginning of the film ‘is she a sphinx or simply stupid?’ The answer of course is that she was both."


2 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

aa si me dijiste, me tinca ene. pero no hay money para cine .

me gusta comoa actúa la cate blanchet, en babel ufffff.

te recomiendo dear wendy, es buenisima! ademas el guion lo hizo lars von trier.


june dijo...

Mmmmmm,no me gustó mucho Babel, aunque es cierto que Cate Blanchet actúa excelente en estas dos películas.
¿De quién es "Dear Wendy"?