Nine

He spends each night at the music hall.
He breathes in the colors, the song, the dance.
Wine and Women, he imbibes them all.
What if Life doesn’t give him a second chance.

We don’t have the music halls anymore, we have the cinema now.
Movies. Musicals. Movies from Musicals.

I enjoy musicals. In India, there are hardly any Broadway-esque shows, and what time I spent abroad was as a student unable to afford them. In the end, I did end up watching a couple, and I loved them so. Yes, one can call me a sucker for the song-and-dance. Even the ones which have been recorded, touched upon, and cut-and-recut a million times.

Chicago. Cabaret. Moulin Rouge. Nine.

Nine is the story of a famous filmmaker, Guido Contini, the Maestro, who is suffering a serious writer’s block while making his grand masterpiece `Italia’. He has no script ready at the day of the shoot, and he knows not what to do. He tries to find answers, and seeks them from his wife, from his mistress, from his dead mother, from his boyhood charm, from the Vogue reporter from America, from his costume maker, and from his muse, his lead actress, Claudia. To no avail, and in the end he abandons the charade and retires. To oblivion. Two years later, he returns back to cinema starting with simple movies, the ones he was known for, and the not the flops of his later life.

Contini is supposed to represent Fellini, while the movie itself is purportedly inspired by the latter’s movie 81/2 which explores a similar story. I haven’t seen this movie, so I won’t know. The movie itself is a remake of a Broadway show of the same name.

The cast of the movie is dazzling. We have the awe-inspiring Daniel Day Lewis, whose subtle Italian accent (even in the songs he sings) is admirable. Then we have the beauties of Cruz, Kidman, Hudson, Cotillard, along with the dames Dench and Loren, with the powerful voice and persona of Fergie. Everyone gives a fantastic performance with their song-and-dance; especially, Dench with the very French “Folies Bergere”, Fergie with “Be Italian”, and Cotillard with “Take it all”. All in all, the movie is another great offering by Rob Marshall who gave us Chicago.

It is a bit surprising then that the movie, which was released in 2009, didn’t fare well neither at the box-office nor with the cinema critics in general. RottenTomatoes gives it rotten rating of 37%. Oh well, it just tells how subjective everything is.

 

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