Song of the Day: Django (by Luis Bacalov)


So, over the weekend I was finally able to catch the latest from Quentin Tarantino. To say that I enjoyed Django Unchained would be an understatement. Review of the film will be coming forthwith. One thing I really loved about this film was how Tarantino continues to pay homage to the very films he has used to inspire the ones he himself makes. This is clearly evident when one hears the original title song from the original Django play out in the beginning of Django Unchained.

Simply titled “Django” this song was composed by Luis Bacalov with lyrics by Franco Migliacci and sung by Roberto Fia. For fans of the spaghetti western this song is just as iconic as those composed by Ennio Morricone for Sergio Leone’s “The Man With No Name” trilogy of spaghetti westerns. Where Ennio’s compositions were more in line with Leone’s more serious take on the Italian view of the western, Bacalov’s “Django” definitely has a much more grindhouse feel to it. It sounds like something that would be heard in a western, but also has that 60’s era folk rock sound.

For those who have been loving Tarantino’s spaghetti western should really go search out Sergio Corbucci’s original Django and also Bacalov’s score work.

Django

Chorus: django!

Django, have you always been alone?

Chorus: django!

Django, have you never loved again?
Love will live on, oh oh oh…
Life must go on, oh oh oh…
For you cannot spend your life regreatting.

Chorus: django!

Django, you must face another day.

Chorus: django!

Django, now your love has gone away.
Once you loved her, whoa-oh…
Now you’ve lost her, whoa-oh-oh-oh…
But you’ve lost her for-ever, django.

When there are clouds in the skies, and they are grey.
You may be sad but remember that love will pass away.

Oh django!
After the showers is the sun.
Will be shining…

[instrumental solo]

Once you loved her, whoa-oh…
Now you’ve lost her, whoa-oh-oh-oh…
But you’ve lost her for-ever, django.

When there are clouds in the skies, and they are grey.
You may be sad but remember that love will pass away.
Oh django!
After the showers is the sun.
Will be shining…
Django!
Oh oh oh django!
You must go on,
Oh oh oh django…

Poll: Which Films Are You Most Looking Forward To Seeing In February?


Last month’s results can be seen here.

As always, you can vote for up to 4 films and write-ins are allowed.

Happy voting!

Lisa Marie’s Favorite Film of 2012: Anna Karenina (dir by Joe Wright)


For the most part, 2012 was a bland year as far as cinema is concerned.  The most acclaimed films of the year (Argo and Lincoln being two obvious examples) were well-made and often entertaining but they were hardly revolutionary.  2012 was the year that the establishment told us what we should enjoy and, for the most part, film critics slavishly hopped on the bandwagon.  As you can probably guess, 2012 was not my favorite year as far as the movies are concerned.  That said, there were a few films that gave me hope.  As the year ends, despite being underwhelmed by most of the films that were released, there are a few that I truly did love.

My favorite film of 2011 was a criminally underappreciated film from director Joe Wright.  That name of that film was Hanna.  My favorite film of 2012 is another criminally underappreciated film from director Joe Wright.  The name of this film?  Anna Karenina.*

History has a way of repeating itself.

Anna Karenina is, of course, based on the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy.  Anna Karenina (played, quite brilliantly, by Kiera Knightley) is the wife of the noble (but somewhat boring and judgmental) Russian statesman Alex Karenin (Jude Law, who is also quite brilliant and rather tragic in a role that, in lesser hands, could have become a stock villain).  When Anna’s good-for-nothing brother (played in a wonderfully comedic performance by Matthew MacFayden) is caught cheating on his wife, Anna leaves her safe home in St. Petersburg and travels to Moscow where she helps to save her brother’s marriage and meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Among the members of the Russian high society, it is well-known that Vronsky is pursuing the hand of the young and beautiful Kitty (Alicia Vikander, who generates a lot of sympathy for a character who, at the start of the film, could easily have been portrayed as just a spoiled brat).  However, at the ball where it is widely expected that Vronsky will ask Kitty to marry him, Vronsky creates a scandal by dancing with Anna instead.

Vronsky loses interest in Kitty and instead, he now obsessively pursues the married Anna.  Though Anna is resistant at first, she finally gives in and embarks on an adulterous affair with Vronsky, resulting in scandal and tragedy.

Again, history repeats itself.  The story of Anna Karenina is a familiar one that has been told repeatedly over the ages.  That’s one reason why Tolstoy’s novel has remained one of the greatest novels ever written and why it has been adapted into so many other mediums.  Director Joe Wright begins Anna Karenina with the assumption that the majority of the people in his audience already know the story of Anna’s ill-fated love affair with Vronsky.  As such, he puts less emphasis on the story itself and more on how the story is told.

Anna Karenina is a masterpiece of style.  When the film opens, Wright has his actors literally performing on a stage.  When Anna travels to Moscow, a miniature train is seen rolling across the stage.  When the scene changes from a factory to a high society ball, the factory workers walk backstage, change costumes, and then step back onstage, suddenly transformed into noblemen.  At one point, we even see a janitor nonchalantly cleaning up the now-empty theater while the story continues to play out on the stage in front of him.  When Anna and Vronsky dance for the first time, the other actors freeze in place and a spotlight shines down on the dancing couple.  It’s an amazingly romantic moment, one to which anyone who has ever been infatuated will be able to relate.  Finally, a door opens onstage and the characters (and the viewing audience) are able to step out into the “real” world but, throughout the film, we occasionally return to that stage.  While several critics have criticized this aspect of the film, I thought it was brilliant.  By literally putting his actors on stage, Wright both acknowledges that this is a story that may be familiar but can be interpreted in many different ways and he also drives home the point that, ultimately, we are all just actors on a stage, being observed and judged by a society that is often hostile to any sign of individual desire or unpredictable  emotion.

Needless to say, the film’s extreme stylization is not for everyone.  That’s actually one of the reasons that I love this version of Anna Karenina so much.  In a year that was almost excessively safe, Joe Wright took a risk and, as a result, encouraged us to look at a familiar story in a different way.  For that reason, Anna Karenina is my favorite film of 2012.

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* For the record, my second favorite film of 2012 was The Cabin In The Woods.