Thursday, August 09, 2007
Attica! Attica! Attica!
One of Strasbourg’s many attractions is the bewildering number of theatres they have here. There are four on the island alone and a megaplex twenty minutes away. The joy of this is that there is almost always something playing, either a new release or something older in one of the two repertory cinemas (two! Montreal, with ten times the population only had two that I was aware of).
Anyway, the other night Amynah and I went out to see Dog Day Afternoon, a classic from 1975 with Al Pacino. It was based on a true story of a New York bank robbery that went wrong, turning into a hostage situation.
What struck me, (and I’m sure I’m not the only person to make this observation) was the near total lack of music. Were this movie made today, every scene would have music cues telling the audience when to be tense, when to be uplifted, when to be amused.
Here, the suspense was kept up only by the actors and the audience’s understanding of the inevitable: you know they can’t get away with it, you know they know they can’t get away with it. The actors are sweaty, stumbling over their words, never say anything tough or witty sounding or Hollywood. Jangling, overloud telephones, long shots of chattering helicopters, blaring sirens and megaphones – those are the only sound cues, and it works.
* Amynah’s observation as we left the theatre: “People don’t really rob banks anymore, do they? Where are the Bonnie and Clydes today? It shows a lack of entrepreneurial spirit in the criminal class.”