Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chat: The Golden Coach

Tracy: Let me get my Golden Coach notes. They are sparse, seeing as the title pretty much tells you a bunch about the movie.
  In that there is a Golden Coach.

Natalie: Ha! Yeah, I have no notes.

Tracy: Okay, my first is "Slaves! Awesome!" so this is sort of where I'm operating.

Natalie: HA! Oh dear. This movie. I kept trying to wrap my head around the nationalities involved. So it was an Italian-style story with an Italian troupe of "actors" in a Latin American country of no name (although Wikipedia says Peru--I don't remember that) where they all spoke English except when a joke was being made about there being a language barrier and all directed by a French dude?

Tracy: I know! My second note is, and you know how unusual this is for me, "this shouldn't be in English." It seemed like a really strange mix. And some stuff was just too obviously a SYMBOL. Like, for instance, the golden coach. It did teach me a lot about commedia dell'arte, though. I looked it up after, and I guess it was associated with the rise of the actress as a profession, and the attendant possibilities for power, money, self-sufficiency, etc. So I guess that makes sense thematically. Because though this is another woman who is obsessed with jewelry and bad at having an affair, at least she doesn't take it so seriously.

Natalie:  I know! I was surprised that there were no subtitles. It felt strange. So, re: golden coach. Is this just a retelling of the Golden Goose fairy tale? And, huh, re: commedia dell'arte. I wish this were a more interesting movie about those things. Because, YES!, goodness, how many movies are we going to see about women who are terrible at affairs? Although with this past week's news about Petreaus' mistress . .

Tracy: Oooh. Remind me of the Golden Goose fairy tale. I thought the c d'a was angle was the most interesting, as it also appeared to be extremely racist. But yes! Maybe people are just terrible at having affairs and movies are reflecting that! What did you think of the "stage-iness" of the movie itself? The way the curtain kind of opened at the beginning? Reminded me of Wes Anderson a bit.

Natalie: The Golden Goose per wikipedia (because I couldn't remember the specifics): "The hero is the youngest of three brothers, given the nickname Simpleton. His eldest brother is sent into the forest to chop wood, fortified with a rich cake and a bottle of wine. He meets a little gray man who begs a morsel to eat and a swallow of ale but is rebuffed. The eldest brother meets an accident and is taken home. The second brother meets a similar fate. Simpleton, sent out with a biscuit cooked in the ashes of the hearth and soured beer, is generous with the little old man and is rewarded with a golden goose. The goose has been discovered within the roots of the tree chosen by the little gray man and felled by Simpleton.

With the goose under his arm, Simpleton heads for an inn, where, as soon as his back is turned, the innkeeper's daughter attempts to pluck just one of the feathers of pure gold, and is stuck fast. Her sister, coming to help her, is stuck fast too. And the youngest, determined not to be left out of the riches, is stuck to the second. Simpleton makes his way to the castle, and each person who attempts to interfere is joined to the unwilling parade ranging from the parson, his sexton, and two laborers.

In the castle lives the King with the Princess who has never laughed. But the despondent Princess, sitting by the window and glimpsing the parade staggering after Simpleton and his golden goose, laughs until she cries. Some versions include an additional three trials. Simpleton succeeds in all with the help of his little gold friend and finally wins the princess, living happily ever after."

J walked in at one point and said "Is that a dude in black face?!" Because one of the players had a mask on that did, in fact, give him a black face. Sigh. And, yeah, everything about the Latinos was racist. It didn't remind me of Anderson then but I see what you mean now. At the beginning it was kind of interesting; at the end it was just, really?

Tracy: I can see some parallels there--this thing that stands for riches being coveted by everyone. So, according to le book, apparently :this is the first in Renoir's loose theatre trilogy." I'm sure we'll have to watch the other ones eventually. Most of it is summary, but at the end it says "The movie's surface frivolity and farcical plotting camoflauge a mature, even melancholy film about the fraught relations between love, art, and life." I guess. Francois Truffaut called it "the noblest and most refined film ever made." That I'm not so sure about.

Natalie: Three?! Sigh. At least it's a "loose" trilogy. Apparently one is a French musical and the other has Ingrid Bergman--both already sound better than this one. I see the melancholy (more so than the frivolity really) but not anything noble or refined. Eh. I wouldn't keep it.

Tracy: Me either, since I know we're going to watch more Renoir before this project is over.

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