Saturday, January 07, 2006


We went to see Casanova last night. For those concerned about the propriety of this movie, it is a ridiculous romp with many undignified moments. There were a few secenes that should have been cut. IMHO. However, the only bare flesh is the rump of a well-scrubbed pink piglet. (What is it with pigs this year? They star in Pride & Prejudics as well.)

The plot revolves around the authorship of a pamphlet called The Hope for Women in a World of Men with a chapter on the subjugation of women. The booklet has this suggestion on what a man should say to a woman, "I have dominated the conversation long enough, what is your opinion on the matter?" What more apt phrase could so describe the dilemma of gender and biblioblogging!

Casanova uses this line without the success he expects. However, he has already set the tone by saying, "I do not conquer, I submit." After poking fun at the church establishment of the day, (I do hope any bishops viewing this movie will not be overly offended!) the movie redeems itself by presenting Oliver Platt as Casanova's rival and the unlikely hero of the movie, with his substantial girth and fake, but nontheless appealing, British accent.

This movie presents the social mores and gender politics of 18th century Europe with humour and style. The sword-fighting is superb, the comedy farcical. Costumes, furnishings, Venice as a backdrop, and music are all delectable. Not just a movie to see with your sweetheart, it offers enough social satire to entertain anyone.

While Casanova is well-played, he functions mainly as a foil for presenting all the other stereotypic characters of 18th century society, the mother-in-law, the doge, the bishop, the cardinal, the younger brother, the heiress, the countess, the merchant, and so on.

The best moment of the movie for me was when Francesca Bruni addressed the university dressed as a young man. For those of you who have read this post to the end, the image is of the author of this blog as a young man.

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