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Aria

by

Roger Davidson

Aria
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I can't say one way or another if Aria is good or bad. I can say that it's uneven. The film is made up of ten short vignettes from ten internationally known directors, who feature arias from certain operas. Bill Bryden's film is a connecting thread to the other films, showing, in between segments, a has-been opera star (John Hurt) preparing for his next performance, which turns out to be an empty theater, but he goes right on singing. This in it's own right is a tragic story, as are most of the tales in Aria. Nicolas Roeg of The Witches directs a story, centering around the assassination attempt of King Zog of Albania in 1931. Roeg's wife, Theresa Russell, plays Zog quite convincingly. Charles Sturridge (Where Angels Fear To Tread) shows, in black-and-white, three young children, who steal a car and end up in an accident. Robert Altman directs a tale of an opera house, which seems to be crawling with vagabonds and mental patients. Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) shows the seemingly dead city of Bruges.

French director Jean-Luc Godard presents a truly bizarre tale centered around bodybuilders. These are some of the lesser moments of Aria. The best come from Julien Temple (Earth Girls Are Easy), Franc Roddam (The Bride), Ken Russell (Women In Love) and Derek Jarman (Edward II). Temple's is a funny tale of a producer (Buck Henry), who is spending a night at a hotel with his lover, which is the same hotel where his wife has come with HER lover. Russell's is a visually stunning tale of a woman, who believes she is being adorned with jewels, only to wake up and find herself being treated for a car accident. Jarman's shows a old woman remembering her youth and her youthful love. Finally, Roddam's is a sad tale of two lovers (one of which is played by Bridget Fonda in her film debut), who travel to Las Vegas, check into a cheap motel, make love and kill themselves.

The last two from Roddam and Jarman are the most touching of the film. The arias performed work well with those tales. The problem with the entire film is that there is no real point to all of this. Good visuals and good music from Verdi, Puccini and Wagner, don't help the movie one bit. However, you should review the short films separately. Now for my special ratings of each film.

All in all, the films shouldn't have been jumbled together like this. The films could have done well as longer films. I only recommend this to the opera buffs, as well as lovers of the above-mentioned filmakers.

Footnote:The rating below is for the movie entire.

My Rating = Two Stars


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