Thursday, July 10, 2008

Last quarter I taught a course called Critical Analysis of Nonverbal Cinema. We watched Dziga Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera, Ron Fricke’s Baraka, Luis Buñuel & Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou, Simon Pummell’s Bodysong, and a few others; but my students’ favorite film of all was unanimously Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights.

Even though few of them knew who Chaplin was before the screening -- none had seen any of his pictures -- afterwards they all seemed smitten, which is how I felt leaving the theater last night when Caitlin & I went to see the new Pixar movie, WALL-E.

Since there are moments of dialogue in WALL-E, it’s not, strictly speaking, a nonverbal film. But it’s close – like Triplets of Bellville close. So I would think that anyone interested in nonverbal cinema or pantomime would absolutely love this picture. I sure did. And I don’t think it’s totally farfetched to compare it to Chaplin.

To my mind, WALL-E is like an updated version of City Lights: a story told primarily through visuals in which a lonely eccentric falls in love with a beautiful and intelligent woman who appears to be out-of-his-league, and then struggles through various trials and tribulations to prove his love.

I don't know. It's something to think about.