Freitag, 22. November 2013

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

A death obsessed young man encounters a crazy, but spirited elderly lady and a most improbable love story unfolds.

After "Being there", I felt pleasured recognize the director's trademark. Slow editing, a penchant for very long shots and an incredible attention to production design. The story is rarely cut for punch lines and once in a while I felt that he would linger around a bit too long after the point was made. (Most notably in the shot where the 'date' runs off after presumably having seen him burning himself in the garden)

Although it is too early to derive anything from only having seen two of Ashby's films I had the impression that the films don't take place in the US, but they seemed to fit the general mental landscape of the quirky English upper class whose brains deteriorate in lavish mansions somewhere in the countryside as the growing grass on their perfect lawns watches them wither away morally. In any case, both films have an extremely strong sense of class and class divisions.

Also, this film, has breathtakingly beautiful camera shots - and there is a certain prevalence of symmetry in many shots, although not as dominant as in "Being there". Again, there is some beautiful production design, especially on the interiors. Exterior long shots are often framed that the characters completely disappear in their chosen landscape, making them a bit insignificant sometimes.

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