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Criterion Collection: The Ice Storm [Import USA Zone 1]
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Ice Storm (The Ice Storm), 1 DVD, 108 minutes
Usa, 1973. L'affaire du Watergate secoue la vie politique et la mode de l'échangisme se répand. La famille Hood, comme le reste de l'Amérique, découvre le mensonge et la révolution sexuelle. Une tempête de glace - la pire depuis 30 ans - s'abat sur le pays. Chacun de son côté, les Hood vont vire la plus mauvaise nuit de leur existence... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition DVD.Voir l'ensemble des Descriptions du produit
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Vous plongerez dans les méandres existentiels de deux familles tourmentées : des adultes, déstabilisés par l'inévitable adultère, leurs enfants, par la naissance de leur sexualité. La confusion des sentiments commune à tous les protagonistes va s'amplifier comme dans un jeu de miroirs, l'hypocrisie du monde adulte répondant sans vergogne à la candeur de l'adolescence. Puis, dans le creux de ces petits drames ordinaires, traités sans pudeur par la mise en scène de Ang Lee, on sent le vent tourner... la tragédie pourrait potentiellement pointer son nez... permettre de tout relativiser ?
De loin son meilleur film.
Pour ceux qui aiment verser une larme ici ou là :
allez-y les yeux fermés, c'est beau,
cru et puissant,
comme la vie (en dehors de Disney).
ANG LEE est un réalisateur surprenant, capable de faire passer des choses terribles sans les montrer nécessairement à l'écran. Je recommanderais également MYSTERIOUS SKIN du même réalisateur.
Pour ICE STORM, l'histoire de la libération sexuelle des années 70 qui s'est révélée une prison comme beaucoup de diktats et la mise en parallèle de la découverte du sentiment amoureux chez les enfants de ces parents libérés, est très émouvant. Le tout jeune ELIJAH WOOD y interprète un adolescent, un adulte en devenir, entre ses jeux d'enfants et ses désirs d'adolescent.
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But Ang Lee gave us some glimpses into the landscape of 1970s suburbia, in the wake of the sexual revolution. "The Ice Storm" is a chilly, bitterly lonely little drama, with moments of biting humour and poignant alienation between these people. They pass each other, but never touch.
The Carvers and Hood live in the same affluent suburban neighborhood, and on the surface all seems well. But self-absorbed Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is having an affair with the icy Janie Carver (Sigourney Weaver), and his daughter Wendy (Christina Ricci) is experimenting with Janey's son Mikey (Elijah Wood. And Elena Hood (Joan Allen) is experiencing an identity crisis as a woman.
Things start crumbling over Thanksgiving weekend, when Ben finds Wendy and Mikey in a compromising position (which involves a Nixon mask), and Elena figures out the truth about her husband's affair. As an ice storm sweeps over New Canaan, the parents set out to a "key party," all their relationships will reach boiling point -- and a tragedy will strike.
The neighborhood of "The Ice Storm" is not one you'd want to live in -- people talk but rarely speak, have sex but no intimacy, and can't communicate with their own children and spouses. So it's a credit to Ang Lee's directorial skill that he can actually draw you into this story.
And Lee does a really brilliant job of not only illustrating these intertwined, painfully distant relationships, but tying them into the 1970s world. It's like a bunch of beautifully filmed moments strung together -- the kiss in the swimming pool, wintry trysts, biking through the woods, and the awkward Thanksgiving dinner where Wendy goes into a political rant "prayer" at grace.
Lee seems a bit overfond of ice metaphors and dead leaves, to the point of close-ups of ice-cube trays. Really, enough. But his direction is pitch-perfect -- he paints a delicate, lonely, chilly beauty into every corner of the movie. This is especially true in the second half, when we see the spacey Mikey sliding and running in an icy wonderland.
Though it's rather bleak, there are plenty of darkly humorous moments ("Mikey have you heard the explosions coming from the back yard?" "I dunno"). But as the story winds on, dialogue becomes much less important -- there are long silences that tell us much more than words. Sorrow, resentment, pain, anger and indifference are all hinted at without a word.
And the acting is practically perfect all around. Tobey Maguire serves an important function -- he is the "normal" one, an ordinary boy who is hoping to score with a girl. Christina Ricci is excellent as a political nymphet. And Elijah Wood is glorious as Mikey, an endearingly ethereal boy who is obsessed with molecules and squares.
As for the adults, Kevin Kline is amazing as the detached Ben, who discovers the hard way what his selfishness has caused. Weaver and Allen are similarly great as two icy women with warm feelings swimming deep inside, but very different ways of dealing with their unhappy marriages.
The Criterion Edition is partly making up for the bare-bones treatment "Ice Storm" got before. This time, it has new video interviews with author Rich Moody as well as many of the actors -- Allen, Wood, Kline and Ricci. Production designs, deleted scenes and more are also included.
The world of "Ice Storm" is a cold, barren one, and I'm not just talking about the late-autumn weather. But Ang Lee gives it a cold, poignant brilliance.
Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) and Elena (Joan Allen), parents of Paul (Tobey Maguire) and Wendy (Christina Ricci) have lost touch with their "inner selves." Ben is trying to find it with Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver). Elena, disillusioned, looks toward Rev. Philip Edwards (Michael Cumpsty) for revelation. Their children explore sexuality at young ages, with Wendy being very bold in asking for what she wants from younger kids who have not even entered puberty. Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), the mother of Mikey and Sandy, is the unfettered wife of Jim (Jamie Sheridan), who never seems to be part of her life. All experiment with sex, drugs, and alcohol, kids and adults alike, as all also try to find meaning in life. When a dangerous ice storm hits on the night of a major party for the adults (while the kids have their own plans), lives are permanently changed.
Set in New Canaan, CT, the film alternates moments of dark humor with moments of ineffable sadness, offering a close-up view of suburbanites and their children as they try to negotiate their way through the minefields of self-indulgence in their search for identity and "meaning." Everyone takes chances--shoplifting, taking drugs, sexual experimenting, daring of convention--and no one expects to be caught. The cinematography highlights the attitudes of the times and the relationships of the characters. Like the setting, it reflects the 1970s, the camera angles and lighting emphasizing the shallowness of the times. Developed from the novel by Rick Moody, this film showcases the era, from Watergate to Vietnam and the alienation of the suburban gentry. Mary Whipple
The Ice Storm feels like an Ingmar Bergman or John Cassavetes film from the 1970s with a dash of Atom Egoyan (the look of either Exotica or The Sweet Hereafter). It also has a textured, painterly quality thanks to the exquisite cinematography of Frederick Elmes who also shot some of David Lynch's best films (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart). He really captures the tacky, kitschy look of the `70s and is helped considerably by the attention to period detail (awful sweater vests over turtleneck sweaters) and the top notch production design (capturing the look of the houses from that era).
The Ice Storm takes a fascinating look at a specific time and place through the eyes of an outsider - the Taiwanese-born Lee who offers a fresh perspective on American culture. His film can be seen as a melancholic lament for the end of an era and the loss of innocence that began with the Kennedy assassination. Kudos to the Criterion Collection for giving this unfairly neglected film their deluxe treatment.
The first disc features an audio commentary by director Ang Lee and producer/screenwriter James Schamus. They banter back and forth like the long-time friends and collaborators that they are. Lee makes some astute observations about the characters and points out his favourite shots and lines of dialogue in the film. This is an entertaining and informative commentary.
There is also a theatrical trailer.
The second disc starts off with "Weathering the Storm," a 36-minute retrospective featurette with new interviews with a lot of the key cast members who reflect on making the film and how it affected their careers. Everyone talks about what it was like to work with Lee. This is an excellent look at how the film came together by some of the actors who were in it.
"Rick Moody Interview" features the author of the source novel talking about his feelings towards the film adaptation. These characters were an intimate part of him and the film version was a very different take on them.
"Lee and Schamus at MOMI." The two talk about their filmmaking career together at the Museum of the Moving Image in November 2007. They talk about how various films came together and reflect on them in an eloquent and intelligent way.
"The Look of The Ice Storm" features interviews with cinematographer Frederick Elmes, production designer Mark Friedberg, and costume designer Carol Oditz. They talk about how they helped realize Lee's vision.
Also included are four deleted scenes with optional commentary by Schamus. We see Ben at work in a funny bit with Kline and Henry Czerny. He talks about why these scenes were cut.
Kevin Cline is great as a fumbling, bored NY businessman who finds a tragic way to rock the family suburban lifestyle. And Joan Allen is amazingly sparse in her portrayal of an early 1970's housewife who finally confronts her husband's infedelity. Tobey Mcguire (who also narrates the film) and Cristina Ricci, as their children, give equally delicate and involved performances. Sigourney Weaver is given her best role here, as the swinging wife of Jamey Sheridan, who is supposedly the genious that helps develop silicon from sand. Rounding out the cast is Elijah Wood as their troubled son, and Adam Hann-Byrd as his younger and more eloquent brother.
Overall, It's an beautifully interwoven story of the miscommunications between two neighboring families. And it really confronts the overtone of the early 1970's era, by setting up parallels between the harsh political climate (a la Watergate) with what is hapenning between the two families. But I think the most meaningful and touching aspect is how we see love (or at least a sexual awakening mistaken as love) blooming between 2 teenagers in a way that is heartbreakingly real. I really appreciated how they made the experiences between these young characters appear genuine, loving, and meaningful. It isnt often that a film captures what love feels like for someone so new at it. I think one of the delicate ironies of the film is that, despite their youth and inexperience, these people's children probably have a better understanding about what love is really about than they do.
I think the film is also about a loss of innocence, but not necessarily a loss of sexual innocence. It shows how sometimes children are thrust into adulthood because of traumatic events in their lives, and they often times loose a part of themselves in the process. The ending is truly devastating, but so poetically rendered and realistically fleshed-out. It really makes you feel an incomprehensible sadness that is never really resolved before the film ends, which is infinately refreshing. As we all know, there isn't always a fitting way to console the heartbroken. So maybe its best to just leave it at that.
It probes deep into the intricate concepts of love, family, betrayal, and loss. It is as delicate a film as they come. Surely the best film Ang Lee has ever done. And i think greatly overlooked as possibly one of the best films in the past decade.
Janey played by Sigourney Weaver. They indulge in their loveless affair as Ben's wife Elena played by Joan Allen finds herself yearning for her inner youth and trying to escape her boring life. At the same time both families teenage off springs are experimenting with sex and drugs. Wendy(Christina Ricci), the daughter of Ben and Elena fools around with Mikey played by Elijah Wood. Tobey Maguire plays Paul who wants the beautiful Katie Holmes even if drugs are involved. This all happens as an ice storm approaches and climaxes at a "key swapping" party during the height of the storm and a tragedy.
The Ice Storm is set when the sexual revolution was in full swing and many changes were coming upon America. This film clearly shows how little communication and connection there is between the family members and overall all the people. For example, when Ellijah Wood's father comes back from a business trip to greet his son, Ellijah replies that he didn't even notice he was gone. Janey barely even moves her eyes from her magazine to greet her husband. Throughout the film we barely ever see anyone in a conversation they are deeply involved in. The sense of isolation and sadness runs rampant throughout. Each of the characters is so immersed in their own vices and affairs that they live in their own world, and pay little attention to the others. Mikey and Wendy either fool around or awe at the TV, but they never have much to say to each other. This is the sad state people are entering, one where they feel alienated and unable to express themselves. This applies to the parents just as much. After some sex, Janey doesn't permit Ben to talk about his golf because she feels she already has her husband for that. There is no real affection between the characters. When Elena tries to have an affair with Janey's husband to retaliate for her husband's affair, it is devoid of passion and rather clumsy.
The film features excellent cinematography of the cold atmosphere and the beauty of the ice storm. Each of the actors plays their parts righteously cold. None of them are very likeable but this shows just how disconnected each of them are. Ben is so full of hypocrisy and shallowness, that when he finds his daughter having dry sex with Mikey he lectures and preaches to even though he was there to commit an affair. However it is the final moments of the film where he releases his tears due to the tragedy that just happened and that he has just realized how truly pathetic his existence is. One of the best characters in the play is that of Christina Ricci's. She becomes sexual with other boys because it gives here a sense of power and control. From her mere facial expression we sense she is lonely and hardened. Tobey Maguire plays his character with creepy aura. The final 15 minutes of the film have little dialogue , but are emotionally filled as a terrible tragedy strikes.
The Ice Storm is such an important film because even though it is set in the 70's it is still relevant today. While many families appear to have stability and happiness, underneath they are not. The people in society are becoming disconnected and isolated through a loss of communication and boredom of their lives. They indulge in sins and pleasures just to break from their apathetic lives while damaging their self worth and morals. Ice Storm shows the deterioration of the traditional American family and relationships between people effectively with subtlety rather than making it over the top and sensationalist. A great film of how family has changed and the effects of loneliness and lack of expression.