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Author Topic: Why do we love OUATIA so much?  (Read 12290 times)
guybrush
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« on: May 02, 2003, 02:40:38 AM »

Thanks to Aaronson for giving me the idea for this new topic.
No doubt, this movie has plenty of crude scenes and sexist behaviours. Nevertheless it is said to be 'my favourite movie ever' by a lot of people.
Why is that?
OK, Leone and De Niro are great, Morricone's themes are sublime, and the story is truly epic.
But there must be something else, and I'm not able to say what that something is...

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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2003, 02:57:17 PM »

Try to read the article by Roberto Bartual on the site, I completely agree with him in many of his ideas. The article is really excellent. Here goes a paragraph from his article, I have exactly the same opinion that him but I don't know how to express my thougts as well as he does:

 "This second reading is based in the meta-cinematographic qualities of the film, the narrative understood as allegory of what is been happening with the occidental culture and by extension with the so called "cinematographic industry". The same way as all the previous films by Leone, good or bad have been guided by a tremendous love to the cinema, demanding in numerous occasions intertextual elements to the spectator, the title of the film could be read as "Once Upon A Time In The American Cinema" and we could observe the film as a question opened to the audience referring to the occidental culture: Why there isn't place for the sensibility anymore? ; Why is not possible now the searching of our own values? ; Why have we ceded to the subordination to pragmatism?. Coming to the end of the film Leone is unable to give himself an answer to these questions he has made, but he manages to flee from turning the film into a lamentation of the lost romanticism, teaching us that the existence of people with memory is still possible.

Also this reading states the vision of the film as pure meta-cinema: the association of Noodles with Leone admits the interpretation of the film as a speech about the difficulty of making a film. The impossibility of Noodles to give sense to his surroundings takes us to the classical postmodernist problematic of the impossibility of the author to make a work of art; we have to remember the period of more that fifteen years that took to Leone to make this film, period which he had to spent sheltered in publicity, highest expression of the artistic will subordinated to the commerce. It's difficult to ensure the conscious intention to introduce the "problematic of the director", but a fact to consider seriously is the spatial proximity of the most representative referent: Federico Fellini and the admiration the director of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly professed to his country-fellow, nevertheless it has always been observed a progressive tendency towards hyper-realism and an especial penchant for the surrealism in Sergio Leone. The undeniable is that Once Upon A Time In America, as well as all his films, is a paradigmatic example of cinema within the cinema as long as it implies a declaration of the artistic and moral values by the director and as a consequence ,the same as Woody Allen in Manhattan, a rejection of the occidental pseudo-culture based in the narcissism and the cult to the self: a declaration of love to the cinema, the kitsch and the innocence.

An elegy for an art, the cinematographic art that Leone is seeing vanishing, an elegy for a land of opportunities we have lost, which neither exists in America anymore, that mental country of hopes, nor in another place. But the memories remain."

I insist, try to read all the article.


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Jon
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2003, 04:37:18 AM »

Why do I love OUATIA so much?I could spend hours on this,as could probably many of us,but I'll say a few things which maybe some of us could add to afterwards.

A    Robert De Niro-his best performance-he expresses so much even with just his eyes

B  James Woods-wonderfully dynamic,perhaps the only actor who could have held his own against De Niro

C  Morricone's music-less 'showy'than much of his other Leone music but absolutely beautiful

D  The way Leone tells his story,moving around in time.I like other films which do this,such as Citizen Kane and Immortal beloved.I think it's great when a director 'plays'with chronology.OUATIA was the culmination of Leone's increasing use of flashbacks in his films,begining with For A Few Dollars More[and excepting GBU],flashbacks became more and more important until OUATIA,a film which is 75%flashbacks.

E  The way Leone keeps the essence of his style but slightly adapts it to this different genre.Many of Leone's best scenes combine action scenes with music,without dialogue.OUATIA is slightly different,the music is more often used in quieter scenes.For example,the scene of the old Noodles looking at pictures of Deborah while her sad theme plays,carrying on as Noodles looks through the peephole,until we see the young Deborah and the music becomes 'Amapola'.The combination of music and the slowactions described creates an all-consuming mood of sadness and regret which I find very moving.

F  The last 45 mins.contain no action,and the climax is just De Niro and Woods talking to each other,but it is the perfect climax to the film,a more conventional 'action'climax would have been out of place.

G  Incredible period feel and detail,especialy in the childhood scenes.

H  The 'hallucinatory'feel of the film and the fact that many questions are unanswered-I think it's great when the film maker offers a film up to various interpretations.

I  Despite the nasty side to the treatment of women in the film,some scenes are really romantic in a slightly dark way,for example the restuarant scene with Noodles and Deborah.

J  The overall,melancholic mood of the film which always leaves me considerably moved despite most of it's protagonists not being very nice.


Thats all I can think of for now,I'm sure some of you can add to these.

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aaronson
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2003, 06:15:21 AM »

 Jon,  thanks  !
What could we say more ?.
OUATIA offers us three wonderful stories and the art of the cooker Sergio was to mix these three components with  intelligence and sensibility.
If he started his career preparing spaghetti, he jumped quickly to a    
four stars level  chief .
 Smiley Smiley Smiley

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guybrush
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2003, 09:15:54 AM »

The way Leone keeps the essence of his style but slightly adapts it to this different genre. Many of Leone's best scenes combine action scenes with music,without dialogue. OUATIA is slightly different,the music is more often used in quieter scenes.For example,the scene of the old Noodles looking at pictures of Deborah while her sad theme plays,carrying on as Noodles looks through the peephole,until we see the young Deborah and the music becomes 'Amapola'.The combination of music and the slowactions described creates an all-consuming mood of sadness and regret which I find very moving.

You've got it.
I think that 'all-consuming mood of regret' is felt not only by Noodles, but in part and in different ways also by Deborah and Max right at the very end of the movie.
To put it in another way: all along we are living the story from Noodles' point of view. Only in the end we learn that also Deborah and Max are regretful, each of them in their own way. And the movie ends right after that, with so many things left unsaid, while we spectators realise -perhaps at first only on a subliminal level-  that the other two main characters had been suffering all along as well. This somehow re-establishes a balance with Noodles' sadness and regret, while we spectators reach a climax in that very moment, and we get to be more involved in the end, even more than in any other point of the story.
That was very tricky of Sergio: needless to say, when spectators grow to be involved and moved enough to reach their climax at the very end of the movie, after leaving the theater they will probably retain the story -and hopefully will love it- for a much longer time.




« Last Edit: May 05, 2003, 10:22:54 AM by guybrush » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2003, 02:07:18 AM »

You've got it.
I think that 'all-consuming mood of regret' is felt not only by Noodles, but in part and in different ways also by Deborah and Max right at the very end of the movie.

I agree, Deborah and Max called their son " David" as Noodles.It's significant. Cry

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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2003, 02:57:23 PM »

In essence I count OUATIA as more than a movie. It is an intimate personal critique of a man's life and that has a pretty universal appeal. The pathos is all consuming but noodles does not ask for pity and that imbides him with a certain dignity as his life flashes before his eyes, our eyes. This is one of those handful of cinematic experiences that is faultless and is the culmination of a lifetimes dreaming and endeavour. Leone, Morricone, the actors and technicians gave this everything they had and more.  Method man de niro even tried to meet his characters (Woods?) inspiration Meyer Lansky but was refused.  This is a no trick movie. There is no forced exploitation of the viewers emotions. Just an awareness that there are some things best left unseen in all our lives and past lives. The past is indeed another country.

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guybrush
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2003, 01:06:44 AM »

This is a no trick movie. There is no forced exploitation of the viewers emotions

Hmm..
please believe me when I say I didn't mean to blame SL for maliciously exploiting viewers's emotions.
What I was trying to say with my mediocre English is that my emotional involvement with the story reached its highest peak right at the end of the movie, and this contributed without any doubt to bring those emotions with me while I was leaving the theater.
As a matter of fact OUATIA is -and probably will always be- my favourite movie in view of all the reasons stated above. Besides, I'm the happiest man in the world when more and more people get to enjoy the movie for the first time, and become addicted to it since.


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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2003, 08:17:38 AM »

Try to read the article by Roberto Bartual on the site, I completely agree with him in many of his ideas. The article is really excellent.


Pardon my ignorance, but how do I find this article?

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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2003, 02:08:41 PM »

On this very site,    http://www.fistful-of-leone.com       Then, on your left, click on "Featured Articles".

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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2003, 03:59:44 AM »

Thanks for that.

Please take time to look at my new thread 'Melancholoy and regret', a few of my thoughts on OATIA.

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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2005, 10:49:28 AM »

We love ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA so much it's one of the most hopeful films ever made.

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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2005, 10:51:59 AM »

The cinematography, the score, the plot, the direction all these make for one great film and one I love very much.

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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2005, 11:24:37 AM »

the 3 major reasons I believe OUATIAmerica is the greatest film ever made...

1. Leone's direction is flawless
2. The nostalgic and hallucinatory feel of the move... basically the most atmospheric film ever made, and to my knowledge nothing is more important than atmosphere
3. the use of the beatles "yesterday"... at the bus station, and by morricone in the final confrontation between noodles and woods, it's almost as if the song was written for the movie, and even though not many lyrics are used, the melody fits perfectly and gives the final confrontation a really nostalgic and 'all or nothing' feel to it. One of the greatest songs ever written, used flawlessly in the greatest film ever made... as good a reason as any.

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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2005, 02:35:02 AM »

Gramps, you think OUATIA is better even than OUATITW? Since when???

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