Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Darling [1965]

The knockout Brit New Wave film Darling provided a fascinating peek into the cultural mores and zeitgeist that 1960s symbolized, along with a biting and provocative critique on the vacuous lifestyles of ‘the rich and the bored’. With its marvelous exploration of the shallowness, aimlessness, ennui, excesses and associated existential dilemmas among the upper-class, it could be identified as Britain’s reply to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, while the French Nouvelle Vague influenced its freewheeling tone, breezy narrative and stylistic aspects; and the resultant film was a mischievously delightful watch with melancholic undercurrents. Narrated in flashback by the film’s incredibly beautiful, impulsive and ultimately tragic principal protagonist Diana Scott (Julie Christie), it chronicled her unpredictable journey over a number of years, and her tryst with infidelity, aborted pregnancy, love, marriage, sexual escapades, fame, media glare, boredom, loneliness, and futile attempts at reconciliation at various stages of her life. Among the various men in her life, the 4 who stood out were – Robert (Dirk Bogarde), a television reporter, the only person Diana has possibly ever loved, and the film’s moral backbone; Miles (Laurence Harvey), a powerful PR shark who introduces Diana to a world of empty hedonism and unlocks the rebel within her; Malcolm (Roland Curram), a gay photographer with whom she experiences carefree fun and platonic friendship for the first time; and Cesare (José Luis de Vilallonga), an aristocratic and much older Italian millionaire who provides her with an easy but ultimately self-defeating escape route. The dazzling B/W photography of the Swingin’ London backdrop, and the score, which transitioned from terrific jazz numbers to softer tunes to accentuate the progression from discordance to placidity, added to its vibrancy and vitality.

Director: John Schlesinger
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Social Satire
Language: English
Country: UK


Sam Juliano said...

Yep, this accomplished and underrated work does define a time and a place, and it contains one of the great performances by Julie Christie. You have captured its special qualities and essence here Shubhajit!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. What a virtuoso film this was - dazzling, freewheeling, acerbic & provocative. And Julie Christie - well, one can only fall in love with her!