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Glamour cinema

By: Máté Csóka

I read a quote by Verhoeven in his mubi page: “The human being […] can’t stand more than five minutes of happiness. Put him in a dark theater and ask him to look at two hours of happiness and he’d walk out or fall asleep.” While I love some of Verhoeven’s films, I think this quote shows great inattentiveness toward cinema. Glamour as a popular filmgenre does exist and it celebrates human desires. Happiness itself transgres the norms of what David Bordwell calls classical cinema though, by (partly) replacing the narration with choreographies and thus gaining some qualities of avantgarde films.

1A. Glamour 1. Musicals of the thirties:
Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley: Footlight Parade (1933)
Lloyd Bacon: 42nd Street (1933)
Mervyn LeRoy: Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Mark Sandrich: The Gay Divorcee (1934) (o)
Gaál Béla: Meseautó (1934) (o)
Busby Berkeley: Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
Mark Sandrich: Top Hat (1935)
George Stevens: Swing Time (1936)
Busby Berkeley: Hollywood Hotel (1937) (o)
Mark Sandrich: Shall We Dance (1937) (o)
Victor Fleming: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Busby Berkeley: The Gang’s All Here (1943)
Vincente Minnelli: Meet Mee In St. Loius (1944)
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Jacques Demy: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
Jacques Demy: The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

2A. Glamour 2. Sexfilms of the seventies:
Pier Paolo Pasolini: Teorema (1968)
Russ Meyer: Vixen! (1968)
Russ Meyer: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
Radley Metzger: The Lickerish Quartet (1970)
James Bidgood: Pink Narcissus (1971)
Radley Metzger: Score (1974)
Just Jaeckin: Emmanuelle (1974)
Russ Meyer: Supervixens (1975)
Francis Giacobetti: Emmanuelle 2. (1975)
Bitto Albertini: Black Emanuelle (1975)
Itza Fine: Tarz & Jane & Cheeta & Boy (1975)
Russ Meyer: Up! (1976)
Radley Metzger: The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)
Nagisa Oshima: In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
Jancsó Miklós: Private Vices, Public Pleasures (1976)

3. Glamour 3. Masala:
Ramesh Sippy: Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)
Ramesh Sippy: Sholay (1975)
Babbar Subhash: Disco Dancer (1982)
Rakesh Roshan: Khoon Bhari Mang (1988)
Sooraj Barjatya: Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Devdas (2002)
Rakesh Roshan: Krrish (2006)
Priyadarshan: Billu (2009)

1B. Fading glamour of musicals:
Howard Hawks: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: Guys and Dolls (1955) (o)
Stanley Donen: Funny Face (1957)
Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise: West Side Story (1961)
JL Godard: A Woman Is a Woman (1961)
George Cukor: My Fair Lady (1964)
Jancsó Miklós: The Confrontation (1969)
Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Randal Kleiser: Grease (1978)
Bob Fosse: All That Jazz (1979)
Henry Selick: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Paul Verhoeven: Showgirls (1995)
Alan Parker: Evita (1996) (o)
Tsai Ming-liang: The Hole (1998)
Lars von Trier: Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Baz Luhrmann: Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Rob Marshall: Chicago (2002)
Joel Schumacher: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Tsai Ming-liang: The Wayward Cloud (2005)
Adam Shankman: Hairspray (2007)
Lee Kang-sheng: Help Me, Eros (2007)
Joss Whedon: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008)
Tsai Ming-liang: Visage (2009)

2B. Fading glamour of sexfilms:
Just Jaeckin: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1981)
Pedro Almodóvar: Matador (1986)
Pedro Almodóvar: Tie me up! Tie me down! (1990)
Jean-Jacques Annaud: The Lover (1992)
Paul Verhoeven: Basic Instinct (1992)
Atom Egoyan: Exotica (1994)
David Cronenberg: Crash (1996)
Peter Greenaway: The Pillow Book (1996)
Lars von Trier: Breaking the Waves (1996)
Stanley Kubrick: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Larry Clark and Edward Lachman: Ken Park (2002)
Wong Kar-wai, Michelangelo Antonioni and Steven Soderbergh: Eros (2004)
Tsai Ming-liang: The Wayward Cloud (2005)
Pascale Ferran: Lady Chatterley (2006) (o)
John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus (2006)
Martin Gero: Young People Fucking (2007)
Gregg Araki: Kaboom (2010)
Steven Soderbergh: Magic Mike (2012)

 

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