Friday, December 17, 2010


I picked up Heaven largely because of its status as the final script from the two Krzysztofs. So it's somewhat surprising that I ultimately found the direction to be more rewarding (if one can really separate the two).

The script has a straightforward quality, very much reminiscent of White. Phillipa proves to be an unusually decisive protagonist, navigating the moral and practical quandaries she finds herself in with a high degree of confidence and surety. Furthermore Filippo proves to be so devoted that he does not question her decisions in any way. The result is that the moral issues surrounding them are, for the most part, kept simple. If the audience wishes to probe or complicate them they must do so on their own - and the film hardly encourages them to.

Tykwer's direction, on the other hand, reminded me why I love film as a medium. There are, of course, those two stunning, show-offy shots at the end which had me gasping in awe. But there are also many smaller touches throughout the film. My personal favourite being the scene in the church where the camera circles the protaganists - changing our perspective so that the distance between their faces is shortened and lengthened at just the right moments.

Arguably the cinematography and mise-en-scene are a little on the nose. The number of aerial and crane shots, the number of times characters stand in dark rooms with beams of light coming in from windows or in which a bright outside is shot from a dark inside, makes it difficult to forget that one is watching a film called Heaven. But for whatever reason I didn't feel that way about them - perhaps because the script is strong , even if it doesn't give me exactly what I wanted/was expecting.

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