In these Trumpian times, what better way to relax than to take a trip back to the Belle Époque, you know, the one which Woody Allen’s nostalgic characters in his romantic 20s film Midnight in Paris wish they were living in? In Bíó Paradís last weekend, you could do just that. Well, almost.
Slack Bay, set in a French Coastal town in 1910, revels in what to modern eyes seems like the ridiculousness of the period, when men piloted strange flying contraptions (see also Woody Allen’s Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy) and the women wore dead birds on their heads (perhaps inspiring Björk’s Oscar dress decades later).
Despite boasting Juliette Binoche and some nice scenery, the film, unlike its characters, fails to soar. The same cannot be said of Fantômas, an actual 1913 superhero (or villain) flick. Beautifully scored on the stage by sometime Sigur Rós collaborators amiina (now I’ve mentioned both Sigur Rós and Björk in a very brief article), this is Belle Époque cinema as it should be, silent, stunning and set to live music. We tend to think of these as more innocent times, and yet the moral complexity is probably greater than in much of mainstream cinema today.
We can only hope Bíó Paradís will treat us to more such events. Meanwhile, the amiina album and score to the movie, Fantômas, is out now. Try to find a copy of the film before you bring it home. It’s almost like listening to Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz, as if the two were made for each other.
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