Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: The Music Room (1958)

Film: The Music Room (142/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: Rewatch 

I've said before that one of the many reasons I love cinema is its ability to transport the audience to a different time and place. The Music Room feels like a different world. To a white American growing up in California, the culture and music of this film is different and exciting. And while the time and setting may be unlike anything I'm familiar with, the other thing cinema has taught me is that the human condition is universal. Throughout history, pride and arrogance have been man's downfall. In the case of our main character, it is his status that he's desperately clinging onto at the expense of his family and his fortune. He shows his standing as an important leader not through wisdom in dealing with his responsibilities or compassion for others, but in hosting lavish concerts in his home and squandering everything to maintain his image. A foolish man, indeed. I love that the film shows these performances in full, and even incorporates them into the plot to create a mood. One of the most memorable scenes has a singer's voice getting more and more erratic as an insect drowns in the host's drink, foreshadowing the unthinkable. It's a great film, and a great introduction to the work of writer/director Satyajit Ray.

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