A remarkable fantasy film about Peter Carter, a World War II RAF pilot who is forced to bail out of his crippled plane without a parachute. He wakes up to find he has landed on Earth utterly unharmed…which wasn’t supposed to happen according to the rules of Heaven.
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Probably the most assured P&P fantasia with a firmer narrative than usual to contain the metaphysical treaties and romantic whimsies - all realised by some of the most gloriously assured and apposite technical solutions imaginable. Despite a longeure eulogising egalitarianism, this is a tightly logical and witty affair on the way of things and repays repeated viewings.
When I first saw it, it was called 'Stairway to Heaven'. It's a remarkable title and so much better than 'A Matter of Life and Death'. Isn't it always a matter of life and death? Might as well call it 'Things Happen'. I like David Niven, but Marius Goring as the French fop was outstanding. "There's a lady who's sure \ All that glitters is gold \ And she's buying a stairway to heaven."
The cut-glass RAF accents. stiff upper lips and endlessly lecherous comments certainly reduce the timelessness of this classic - I half expected to see 3 silhouettes giving the film a good roasting during many of the early scenes - but this is such a singularly beautiful and surreal flight of wish-fulfilment fantasy that it hardly matters.
Version 1956 de "Dieu existe ... il habite à Bruxelles" ... non c'est pour rire ! Une fantaisie aussi poético-philosophique que 0rphée (1950), un peu d'humour anglais en plus ... mais super long & emberlificoté. Interesting colorization job. A fantasy as amiable & poetic than 0rphée (1950), a bit more fun but such a long & tangled story.
This is a highly unusual film. Not only the confrontation of lucid technicolor and b&w sequences (each one with its own musical style) and the whole visual architecture is great, but also the ironic elements during the final confrontation of American and British argumentation and - of course - the different possibilities to read and understand the story.
What I loved about this movie is that, even though it illustrated the same "love prevails all" bullshit you find in most movies, it navigated in a different light where the cosmos contains order and law and earth is chaos and senselessness. Where love exists without reason and universal law can't governor it. It the most literal fashion, that is. Oh yeah and the movie is absolutely enchanting!
“The British cinema is made of dullness and reflects a submissive lifestyle, where enthusiasm, warmth, and zest are nipped in the bud. A film is a born loser just because it is English.“ —Francois Truffaut. Screw that. 5 stars.
When a British soldier cheats death during WWII, he is granted a heavenly trial to argue that his life should be extended on the grounds that during his extra time he fell in love. Beautiful technicolor cinematography by Jack Cardiff (his first feature film), and brilliant direction by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, A MATTER LIFE AND DEATH is one of cinema's great emotional spectacles.