Music also surges through the aptly titled "Tango," another in Spanish director Carlos Saura's long string of dance-based movies. This one is at its best during (you guessed it) the tango sequences, with attractive dancers leaping about to Lalo Schifrin's lively score in exquisitely lighted images captured by Vittorio Storaro, perhaps the world's greatest living cinematographer. By contrast, the picture's dramatic scenes are trite and dull, centered on a hackneyed love story and an underdeveloped political conflict. In all, Saura's recent "Flamenco" was more successful, focusing entirely on performance with no superficial nods to narrative. "Tango" is a visual knockout, however, and fans of the sultry dance-and-music genre shouldn't miss it.
"The School of Flesh" is based on a work by Yukio Mishima, an
author I've always found much tamer than his image (or personal
history) would have us expect; and filmmaker Benoit Jacquot is
accordingly mild in his treatment of the not-so-daring tale of a
respectable woman infatuated with a bisexual male prostitute who
himself is wooing a rich man's daughter. If the movie were inspired
by Tennessee Williams it might have worked its way to a really
interesting climax, perhaps with the characters literally eating each
other for breakfast. As it stands, the picture is standard "amour
fou" stuff with little to distinguish it from a host of similar
exercises over the years. Jacquot should return to the stylistic
experimentation of "Une Fille seule," which turned a genuinely
unusual idea into a critical and commercial success. Audiences may
embrace "The School of Flesh" as they've welcomed equally ordinary
French dramas over the years; but aside from Isabelle Huppert's
perennial charm there's nothing to get excited about here.
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