Posts Tagged ‘isabella rossellini’

Movie Moment: Secrets! Secrets! Secrets! — Brand Upon the Brain! A remembrance in 12 chapters

July 1, 2011

Brand Upon The Brain! A Remembrance In 12 Chapters (Guy Maddin, 2006).

I don’t often do this, because I’m not keen when people force me to watch videos and I don’t like inflicting that on others, but here’s the full trailer. It’s only about a minute and a half long and there is boobs.

That’s Isabella Rossellini’s voice repeating “The past, the past,” like a bad French student film (in Maddin’s The Saddest Music in the World, 2003, she played a tragic baroness who has two glass legs filled with beer).


The thing with Maddin is that there is nearly always a point, usually 20 or 30 minutes in, while I’m watching his stuff that I’m like, “Oh, come on,” because I’m over the striking visuals that sucked me in to begin with and I’m beginning to be irked by how it’s become over-the-top or maudlin in its cult precosity, like on-purpose cheesily cult or derivative, and I become uncertain.

Are these overtly contrived, look-how-symbolic-I-am moments and their anachronistic cinematic dialogue part of an abstract ironic technique made to make me question the tropes of arthouse garbage, or is this straight arthouse garbage? So often with other deliberately unusual movies I go with “straight arthouse garbage,” because I get like that due to dramatic over-exposure to pretentious hipsters in my short life (I’m looking at you, Portland), but with Maddin I pull back from that judgmental jump. There’s a third category: (1) parody of overwrought indulgent nonsense, (2) actual overwrought indulgent nonsense, or (3) … something else? better? deeper? more effective?


Because right when I’m supressing the urge to roll my eyes and spoil any avant garde cognescenti cred I have accidentally accrued, suddenly some really great moment will have a huge impact on my emotional experience of watching the film and I’ll be sucked in and by the end just sure it’s my new favorite.


But then the next time I pop it in to show some friend, I’m back to thinking I’ve been duped by either the ultimate sly hipster or a genuine savant who sometimes falls flat, and I’m initially embarassed for us both. But then — TUG — in to it again.

It’s a rapid, repetitive cycle, like an awkward date with your own gynecologist — you both have an idea of what’s going to happen but you don’t know what to expect. Or watching a really close friend fuck the lines to a scene badly in a drama class, but totally sell it with their eyes, and you worry that only you can see that though it looks messy it’s probably headed somewhere amazing. Uncomfortable and anticipatory. That’s Guy Maddin movies for me.

I kind of love him.

Uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable, yeah, but it’s so often just right because it’s the truth.

Anyway, I recommend Brand on the Brain!, is the upshot.

(All the caps came from the trailer because I do not [yet] own this movie.)

Movie Moment: Death Becomes Her

February 25, 2010

Death Becomes Her (Robert Zemeckis, 1992).


Anna: How about a nice collagen buff?
Madeline: “A collagen buff”? You might as well ask me to wash with soap and water!
Anna: I could do your make-up myself…
Madeline: Make-up is pointless. It does nothing anymore! Are you even listening to me? Do you even care? You stand there with your 22-year-old skin and your tits like … like ROCKS and laugh at me…


Madeline: Wrinkled, wrinkled little star. Hope they never see the scars.


Helen: You? You couldn’t lift an eyebrow without major surgery.


Madeline: What’d she call this one. Forever Young?
Rose: I like that title.
Madeline: Pfft! “Forever young” — and eternally fat.


Madeline: Bottoms up! (drinks potion)
Lisle: Now, a warning —
Madeline: Now a warning?!

This is a noteworthy film for me because, besides being hilarious and featuring fun performances by some of my favorite actors, it’s the first movie in which I ever saw Isabella Rossellini.

When I found out that on top of being crazy-beautiful, she is Ingrid Bergman’s daughter (she and her twin resulted from a marriage whose scandalous origins nearly got the great Bergman blackballed), I was totally blown away.

However, today’s brief research turned up a surprising fact about what was, for me, one of the more memorable scenes in the movie, when Isabella in the role of Lisle von Rhuman, the sorceress who provides eternal youth to the materialistic L.A. clientele shown in the film, emerges naked from a pool in a rear view.

Come to find out all these years later, it was not Isabella. A body double was used in the scene. It was a chick named Catherine Bell. Even today, at 57, the lovely and talented Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini still makes annual lists of “Most beautiful women,” so I can only guess that either (a) Ms. Rossellini’s modesty forbade her to bare all and she requested the body double because she had enough clout between her talent and her lineage to demand that kind of thing, or, (b) her actual ass was so mind-meltingly terrific that the studio felt it would be irresponsible to expose it to the viewing public, fearing it might spark riots, mind control, and catatonia. Almost definitely (b), wouldn’t you say?


Helen: That was totally uncalled for.


Ernest: She’s dead!
Madeline: She is? Oh, these are the moments that make life worth living.


Madeline: I hurt you. And I’m sorry.
Helen: I hurt you, and I‘m sorry.


Helen: Do you remember where you parked the car?

edit: So, despite having had a huge lady-crush on Isabella Rossellini since I was 13, I somehow missed the fact that she had scoliosis as a kid and underwent painful bone grafts, braces, stretching, and spinal surgery to correct it which left her with a network of scars. Thus, no back-side-nudity for Isa, now or ever. Still predict her ass was mind-meltingly terrific, tho.

The course of true love did never run smooth: Old School soapy comics edition with David Lynch movie stills

November 29, 2009

Damn that Nan and her grooviness! Trina, you are just a doormat. Of course, it is possible to go too far in the other direction…

Whoa, Twink — how ’bout you crawl out of Jill’s butt about this? What a lady does behind closed bedroom/car/McDonalds’ restroom doors is her business.

So. Which one would you choose? And remember that things are not always what they seem; Trina could be a doormat because she has been raised according to a view of fundamentally-Biblical, sublimated femininity that also extends to keeping it on clampdown ’til after marriage, and even then, just every third Saturday and only if neither one of you enjoys it! Do you really want a lifetime of hot meals but frigid nights?


Still from Blue Velvet (1986), l to r: Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, and unbelievably gorgeous slice of ’80s man meat Kyle MacLachlan — three guesses who the next Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day is going to be.

Meanwhile, that alleged whore Jill might actually be acting out because she has been abused, and, like a kicked cat who has not been loved well enough, will just as easily cut you with a broken bottle as blow you.* She may even be one of those chicks who downs a bottle of bourbon and sleeps with your dad so you’ll beat her up, just so she can feel anything.

Ups and downs, blondes and brunettes, femmes fatales and ingenues –and which is which??– deconstruction of assumed codifications. Oh! Such a Lynchian conundrum!


Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, Mulholland Drive (2001).





*Your cat blows you, right?…right??