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La Madonna Inn E Mobile
December 31, 2012 3:32 AM   Subscribe

Aria was an art movie/promotional stunt put out by Virgin Media in 1987 with famous directors providing a music-video take on various opera pieces. ( A full review by That Opera Chick). Of particular note is Julien Temple's (Of Earth Girls Are Easy fame) adaptation of Verdi's Rigoletto as a zany, cartoonish, ecstasy-fueled and very 80s farce set at the infamous Madonna Inn. Watch the whole delirious sequence here.
posted by The Whelk (14 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh awesome, been wanting to check these out for a long time now (as Aria also includes late-period films from Ken Russell and Nic Roeg, among other greats) - and it looks like they have most of them up online here via that last link. Thanks!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:18 AM on December 31, 2012


Oh that was perfect camp. Amazing cast, but the direction - damn, dude - just...wow. The blocking, the choreography, the long takes....sweet.
posted by Xoebe at 8:00 AM on December 31, 2012


also includes late-period films from Ken Russell and Nic Roeg

"King Zog shot back!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:25 AM on December 31, 2012


I own a copy of Aria solely because of the segment by Godard, but it's certainly not one of his major works—I have to agree with That Opera Chick that Derek Jarman's segment is the best thing in the movie ("Tilda!"), though she's kinder to Godard's than I would have expected ("ridiculous... and ridiculously badass!"). And hey, it has Valérie Allain (MeFi appreciation here)!
posted by languagehat at 8:41 AM on December 31, 2012


Holy shit. Ken Russell's piece is now maybe my favorite thing he's ever done. It's fucking awesome. Everything I love about his dream sequences plus a heavy dose of Kenneth Anger and a crashed Firebird.

"After a car crash, a lovely young girl imagines her body is being adorned by jewels mirroring her injuries, in a tribal ritual parallel to the procedures of the surgical team treating her, until she wakes up in the operating room after resuscitation."

I mean come on.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:55 AM on December 31, 2012


So for those of us who are merely passingly familiar with the operas involved, is there any relationship between the movie and the opera piece, or are they just using the music to set a theme? While I've heard the major themes of the operas involved, I couldn't tell you what the opera was about, much less what the featured song references.
posted by Kyol at 12:23 PM on December 31, 2012


YouTube version!
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on December 31, 2012


Holy shit. Ken Russell's piece is now maybe my favorite thing he's ever done. It's fucking awesome. Everything I love about his dream sequences plus a heavy dose of Kenneth Anger and a crashed Firebird.

"After a car crash, a lovely young girl imagines her body is being adorned by jewels mirroring her injuries, in a tribal ritual parallel to the procedures of the surgical team treating her, until she wakes up in the operating room after resuscitation."


I saw this on Cinemax or something when I was a kid and it freaked me the fuck out.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:14 PM on December 31, 2012


The Julian Temple segment stands out for being the only purely comedic offering in the mix.

I didn't like the Godard segment myself, I thought it was about as annoying as his odd version of King Lear done around the same time. A genius, yeah, but by that point he was making work that I thought had gotten a bit too far ahead of the audience (if the audience is me).

I was stunned by the Roddam/Wagner/Vegas segment. It's pretty intense.

(Our old VHS copy had an excerpt from Night of the Lepus with Klaus Nomi overdubbed on audio tacked on the end).
posted by ovvl at 3:58 PM on December 31, 2012


We didn't stay in that exact room (The Neanderthal), but we did stay in a similar room four doors down about five years ago (the Cabin Still). The hotel hadn't changed between when it was shot and when we stayed, and we stopped by recently as a rest stop on our way up the coast and it still hasn't changed. The photos don't do it justice. I love this place.
posted by rednikki at 4:20 PM on December 31, 2012


I remember seeing Aria in a theater when it came out. During the Godard sequence some meathead dude behind us who clearly had no idea what he'd gotten into by bringing his date to this movie, started laughing, and my friend turned to shush him. She knew enough French to understand enough of the words in the music to be able to piece together what Godard was aiming at. (I have to admit it mystified me at the time.) Then later was the sequence to Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde," and I remember some audience members audibly disturbed by the wrist-slitting finale. "Um, duh," I was thinking, "it's Tristan and Isolde - of course it's ending like this!"
posted by dnash at 4:20 PM on December 31, 2012


My senior year in high school, my parents moved to another country, but left me in the house to finish my studies. They figured (correctly) that I was enough of a timid nerd that I could be trusted with a house and a car and a modest allowance to keep me fed. They were correct insofar that I spent most of my evenings doing homework and playing Civ I on my computer.

I rifled through my father's and older sister's CD collections (she was away in university) and prior to another marathon Civ session, I would load up a six-disc CD player with an array of albums that were unknown to me but had interesting cover art. One of these was the Aria soundtrack, and to this day I still associate parts of Turandot and Rigoletto with building the Hanging Gardens or marching a caravan to the Indian Empire. The soundtrack was my first introduction to opera and, later, when, I rented the film from a neighborhood video store, the movie was first introduction to Derek Jarman or Robert Altman.

Needless, to say, I wasn't sophisticated enough to make a judgement on how Godard's contribution measured up to his oeuvre. This was all, to a curious but naive 17 year old steadily inhaling a cultural diet of The Pixies, William S Burroughs and Tony Scott's the Hunger all just one new bit of Way Cool Stuff.

So, yeah, when I saw this on Mefi this morning, I loaded a Puccini station on Pandora and spent a little too much time remembering what it was like to be young and discovering the world that one lived in.
posted by bl1nk at 4:27 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still have a theatrical one-sheet for Aria and I keep thinking I should sell it or do something with it, but no, it sits rolled up between Damage and Thelma & Louise. Just waiting for me to love it again.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:28 PM on December 31, 2012


I feel like I had the reverse of That Opera Chick's reactions to the Godard and the Temple bits. I though the Godard one was clever and strange and absurd and just reveling in in how these huge muscle guys look on camera and how funny it is in the context of high opera but it kinda fell flat outside the idea of it but Temple's was just pure, visceral silliness done wonderfully in huge long takes and was just divinely campy and cartoony and fun and stupid.
posted by The Whelk at 4:29 PM on December 31, 2012


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