Wednesday, 27 June 2012

In the mood for Love

....and he played the piano.

She listened.
He watched.
She soothed.
He played.
She healed.

They loved.

And what about moi?

I devoured.

And continue to feel warm and flushed, with goosebumps and I tingle at the very thought of the scene from Madonna's movie, W.E, that I watched on board my flight. The scene I was particularly moved by, was when the Russian (dream boat - Oscar Isaac) plays the piano for the tormented and wounded woman, sitting in front of him.
It gives a girl hope (and also lets her build a dream) that this Man does exist. A man who will be there for her to watch her and to protect her. A Man of Honour.

W.E is such a deeply romantic and wonderful movie that simply transported me out of my present reality to another world. I often have to fight myself because I am very old fashioned when it comes to matters of the heart. I shout at myself for this simply because I have to learn that the times have changed and an old-school romance doesn't exist. There is no courtship. The gentleman doesn't waltz with the lady, unless of course, it is right into the bedroom!

Madonna is so, so talented and the world refuses to give this creative force her due credit. This movie directed and co-written by her is another one of her masterpieces and the critical and commercial world slammed to bits. I wonder why it didn't do well commercially as the subject (Duke and Duchess of Windsor) and the theme (romance/drama) is of universal interest. From start to finish, there is not a detail out of place...Madonna-the-perfectionist has spared no means to ensure the styling, the makeup, the sets, the vehicles, the locations, the outfits and the jewelery are perfect. So perfect in fact, that she made sure that the Duchess's renowned collection of jewels (and crucifix charms) were not costume and the legendary jeweler Cartier, re-made them for the movie. (Only to be promptly destroyed, to preserve the value of the originals)

Even the outfits were re-created by fashion houses like Dior and Chanel. The Duchess of Windsor was a great patron of couture and Madonna insisted, along with her award-winning costume director, Arianna Phillips, that there would be no compromise.

All of these efforts would have been redundant, if it were lost on a poor starcast. And wouldn't that have been a shame?

The best part of the movie was the brilliant cast and I would owe this to Madonna herself once again, who made rather astute and bold choices of casting (rather unknown) English actors Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy as the lead couple. Not to mention, the smoldering Oscar Isaac (The Russian) and Abbie Cornish (Modern day Wallis) who just became the characters they were playing.

The movie alternates between 2 periods and 2 realities of 2 bright and ambitious American women. In the year 1998, Wallis, a desperately neglected and lonely Manhattan house wife, seems some what crazed and possessed by an important auction held by Sotheby's in New York featuring the prized and precious possessions of the world's most famous romantics. 
King Edward VII, renounced the throne of the British Empire, to marry the woman he loved - Wallis Simpson. A woman loathed and despised by the world for her apparent lack of morals and sly ways to ensnare the world's most desirable and powerful bachelor into her evil trap.
She went on to reinvent herself as an international style icon with a love for haute couture, and famously coined the infamous phrase: 'You can never be too rich or too thin'.
 As tokens of their love and affection, the couple bestowed generous gifts upon another, commissioning what would result in a huge collection of jewels from the sought-after European jewellery houses such as Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpels. Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier's high jewellery director, produced several avant-garde designs for the Duchess such as the onyx and diamond panther bracelet, as well as a colourful flamingo brooch, made from rubies, sapphires, emeralds, citrines and diamonds, both of which are expected to sell for over £1 million each at the auction.
After renouncing the throne and marrying her, they lived in exile, mostly in the South of France. He only returned to his home in 1977, in a box - his coffin. And the only time the world acknowledged her as his wife, was when she was buried next to him in the year 1985.

Going back to 1998 - young Wallis is in a hapless and hopeless marriage and is drawn to this auction firstly because she was somewhat obsessed since birth by W.E; being named after her. She is at a point of deep melancholy in her life and by studying the antique pieces on display, Wallis is trying desperately to come to a conclusion about love and life.
During these long hours spent at the auction house, silent and strong, Evgeni (the Russian), meets her and for some unfathomable reason(lucky girl, I say!)  is drawn to her.

The movie slides through these 2 parallel love stories, often not very smoothly...drawing parallels in the lives and circumstances of these 2 women.

The movie is deeply romantic, as you can tell by my description, with a brilliantly haunting soundtrack composed by Abel Korzeniowski, is so lyrical and powerful in its ultimate message.

The movie tells the tale from the point of view of the Duchess, whose story has remained untold and unheard.

With the pitter-patter on your window pane, grab a cup of hot chocolate, or rather a tall glass of wine, and indulge your senses in this movie...

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