Saturday, 23 November 2013

"Blue Jasmine" by Woody Allen

“One minute you’re hosting women and the next year measuring her shoe size and fitting them.”

An airport. Jamine, a blonde posh woman talks to an older lady who was sit next to her in the plane. Jasmine visits her sister’s house where she is going to live from that moment.

So is the beginning of the feature film Blue Jasmine (2013) written and directed by Woody Allen. This American multi-faceted author, aged 77, has a wide experience of making movies. He has directed more than forty films, apart from writing and starring lots of them. Blue Jasmine has already been nominated for British Indie Film Awards.

It tells the story of Janet, who likes to be named Jasmine. After having split with her husband Hal, she travels to San Francisco to live with her sister because she has lost all her money and has just some clothes and jewels remaining. She is ruined and finished. Furthermore, she is mentally ill because leaving her former life has produced her a trauma. On the other hand, her sister Ginger, lives happily and in a humble house with her boyfriend, and they are about to marry. Jasmine is supposed to live temporarily with them until she gets a better life.

This story is actually about love, money and crisis. Also about success (or the lack of it). “You choose losers because that’s what you think you deserve and that’s why you’ll never have a better life.”

Regarding the directing, the first thing to mention is the characteristic style that defines Woody Allen’s productions. Not only the stories he tells are different from common films, but also the way he tells them is relevant.

This is related to the cinematography, carried out by the Spanish Javier Aguirresarobe. There is only one detached colour along the running time: yellow. It is in fact a light yellow that remains to champagne. This is an alcoholic drink especially common among wealthy people because it is quite expensive. Indeed, the Jasmine drinks a glass of champagne in one sequence.

Obviously, the screenplay is also remarkable. It is not a mainstream American fiction film. It is, in fact, a very personal script, where Allen leaves his step. It has a certain costumbrism as he represents everyday situations and events, but of course narrated in an unusual way.

The plot is, in this case, built in two different temporal degrees. That is to say that there are continuous flashbacks to show what was the cause of the happenings that are shown. This narrative resource is quite appellant.

Sadly, Woody Allen does not make a cameo appearance in this film, as he usually does. However, the cast is an absolute wise decision. Jasmine is played by the Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who makes an outstanding job in this case. Alec Baldwin is Hal, her ex-husband. Sally Hawkins plays the part of Ginger, her sister and Bobby Cannavale her boyfriend. Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard, Max Casella, etcetera, also make their appearance.

Women have a fundamental role here as they really are the main characters because they take decisions and manipulate other characters.

There is something paradoxical. There is not explicit sex in this motion picture. There is implicit sex because it’s the story of two couples and their adventures, but it is not shown. This fact is not common at all, because most films use sex as a way to attract the audience.

To put it in a nutshell, Blue Jasmine is a crazy film from a director that has his feet on the ground. It does not need special effects because it has a special story and a special actress.

“Mum said you used to be okay, but you got crazy. Yeah, and then you talked to yourself.” Blue Jasmine


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