Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie of the Week - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This week’s movie is Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).

The comedy is about two best friends Vicky and Cristina who travel to Barcelona for the summer, each with their own ideas about relationships and love. Those ideas and what they want for their lives are called into question when they meet a handsome painter Juan Antonio, who takes an interest in both of them. The film is written and directed by Woody Allen (and is the final entry in his so-called Scarlett Johansson trilogy, with Match Point and Scoop). Allen’s dialogue, characters and scenes are fabulous and among his best. Working on the film with Allen are Spanish cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe and production designer Alain Bainee (both new to Allen’s films).  Their work gives the film a wonderful immersive aesthetic, especially the brilliant shot composition and use of light and locations. There is a beautiful look to the film with messy relationships occupying space in the grand setting – much like the work of the artists in the film. Allen always uses found music to score his films. Here, he uses Spanish guitar music and the song Barcelona to great effect. The cast in the film is excellent – Johansson and Rebecca Hall star (as Cristina and Vicky respectively), while Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz (for which she won an Oscar) co-star. There are also great supporting parts from Patricia Clarkson and Chris Messina, and tying it together is the playful narration of Christopher Evan Welch. The film is a must for fans of Johansson, Hall, Bardem and/or Cruz, and well as Woody Allen fans. His work in Europe (for the most part) continues to be very good (as can be seen with his recent film Midnight in Paris). As one of my favorite films of 2008, I love the dialog and dynamic between the characters. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming, and to Rent

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