Utpal Borpujari

December 6, 2009

DVD reviews: Mala Noche, A Heart in Winter

By Utpal Borpujari

A subtle romance

Directed by Claude Sautet, A Heart in Winter (Un Coeur En Hiver) is a delicate love triangle with music as a strong leitmotif. A take on fragility of relationships, the story takes one into the lives of talented violinist Camille, her boyfriend, the extrovert Maxime, and his partner, the introvert Stephane, in a violin repairing business. Stephane’s rejection of Camille’s overtures leads to a situation in which the relationship among the three goes for a spin. Sautet’s characters manipulate one another’s emotions, and as the story progresses, the music assumes a character of its own. Considered by many as Sautet’s best film, it won the Silver Lion Award at the 1993 Venice Film Festival. A subtle film with exceptional performances by Daniel Auteuil, Emamanuelle Beart and Andre Dussollier.

A Heart in Winter / dir: Claude Sautet / 105 Mins / Colour / Shemaroo World Cinema / Rs 349

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A different, gritty America

Mala Noche (Bad Night) is the debut film of Gus Van Sant, a powerful voice in American independent cinema, who in later years has made acclaimed films like the Cannes Palme d’Or winner Elephant, and Academy Award nominees Goodwill Hunting and Milk. This 1985 film, based on an autobiographical novel by poet Walt Curtis, is mostly in black & white and was shot in 16 mm. The film tells the story of a homosexual store clerk and his relationship with two younger Mexican boys. A complex study of race, sexuality, class and relationships, this gritty, no-frills film established Sant as a powerful voice in the American film firmament. It is a film that shows an American different than what the Hollywood studio films show us day in and day out.

Mala Noche (Bad Night) / dir: Gus Van Sant / 72 mins / B&W-Colour / Moser Baer-Palador / Rs 399

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 06-12-2009)

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/39641/dvd-reviews.html

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