Friday, November 25, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Twilight - Aamunkoi, osa 1 / Så länge vi båda andas. US © 2011 Summit Entertainment. P: Wyck Godfrey, Stephenie Meyer, Karen Rosenfelt. D: Bill Condon. SC: Melissa Rosenberg - based on the novel Breaking Dawn (2008) by Stephenie Meyer. (In Finland the Twilight book series is called Houkutus, and the title of this novel is Aamunkoi. The first two novels are translated by Tiina Ohinmaa, and the second two by Pirkko Biström.) DP: Guillermo Navarro. PD: Richard Sherman. AD: Troy Sizemore, Lorin Flemming. Set dec: David Schlesinger. Art dept.: big. Special effects: Alex Burdett, David A. Poole. Visual effects dept.: huge. Animation dept:: Tom Gibbons. Cost: Michael Wilkinson. Animatronics and special makeup dept.: big. M: Carter Burwell. Sound dept.: 18. ED: Virginia Katz. Casting: Debra Zane. Stunt team: big. MAIN CAST: Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black). SUPPORTING CHARACTERS (as edited in the English Wikipedia): Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale, a member of the Cullen family who helps Bella through her pregnancy), Peter Facinelli (Carlisle Cullen, a compassionate doctor who acts as a father figure to the Cullen coven), Elizabeth Reaser (Esme Cullen, the most loving member who acts as the mother of the Cullen family), Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen, a member of the Cullen family who can see "subjective" visions of the future and who is close friends with Bella), Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen, the strongest member of the Cullen family, and provides the comic relief), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Hale, a member of the Cullen coven can feel/control/manipulate emotions), Julia Jones (Leah Clearwater, a member of Jacob's pack who is constantly bitter and pained), Booboo Stewart (Seth Clearwater, a carefree member of Jacob's pack), Billy Burke (Charlie Swan, Bella's father and Forks' Chief of Police), Sarah Clarke (Renée Dwyer, Bella's mother who lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Phil), MyAnna Buring (Tanya, the leader of the Denali coven), Maggie Grace (Irina, a member of the Denali coven whose lover, Laurent, was killed by the werewolves), Casey LaBow (Kate, a member of the Denali coven who has the ability to run an electric current on her skin), Michael Sheen (Aro, the leader of the Volturi), Jamie Campbell Bower (Caius, one of the three founders of the Volturi), Christopher Heyerdahl (Marcus, one of the three founders of the Volturi), Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley, the Alpha of the werewolves pack), Christian Camargo (Eleazar, a member of the Denali coven), Mia Maestro (Carmen, a member of the Denali coven). 119 min. Released in Finland by Nordisk with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Hannele Vahtera. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 1, Helsinki, 25 Nov 2011.

Technical specs (IMDb): Camera: Arricam ST, Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses, Arriflex 435, Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses, Moviecam Compact, Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses. - Laboratory: EFILM Digital Laboratories, Hollywood, (digital intermediate). - Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219). - Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (master format), Super 35 (source format). - Printed film format: 35 mm (anamorphic), D-Cinema. - Aspect ratio: 2.35:1.

One of the most scary horror films of all times. The English Wikipedia calls it a "romantic fantasy film". Bella the human gets married to Edward the vampire, gives birth to a monster baby, dies at childbirth, and is resurrected as a vampire by Edward's vampire venom.

This viewing is my first acquaintance with the Twilight phenomenon. The book series (2005-2008) is one of the biggest bestsellers in history. The film series (2008-2012) belongs to the biggest box office phenomena of the period.

The author Stephenie Meyer belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twilight was her debut novel, the inspiration to which she received in a dream.

The twist of contemporary vampire fiction is that vampires have become love objects and identification objects. This is the most astounding volte-face in the history of horror fiction.

The vampire is traditionally an incarnation of the Devil in the same meaning as Jesus was an incarnation of God.

Bill Condon directs this movie with a sense of solemn gravity. Breaking Dawn is like a requiem. There is an affinity with Lars von Trier's Melancholia and with the final episodes of the Harry Potter saga. The visionary horror montage sequences belong to the tradition of experimental film.

I have been fascinated with the cinema's obsession with an interrupted wedding or betrothal. Breaking Dawn is the story of a successful wedding, honeymoon, childbirth and the mother's rebirth... from a vampiric point of view. "Let's start with forever" says Edward in his wedding speech. From a human point of view the story is utter horror almost without redemption, almost without counterforce. The monsters have taken over, and there is hardly anything else.

Except details such as Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue which welcomes the newlyweds to their Brazilian honeymoon. It is an alienated image such as the one in the beginning of La dolce vita.

The horror pregnancy, childbirth and resurrection are the movie's original horror elements. Breaking Dawn goes beyond the Rosemary's Baby, the It's Alive, and The Brood traditions, although it avoids gore and splatter. The ultrasonic test gives no response. No future is visible. The fetus is kept alive by pints of blood.

In the Harry Potter saga I was amazed by the absence of a sense that the protagonists would see themselves as "heroes of their own lives". There was an overwhelming sense of lethargy. In the Twilight saga the lethargy has developed into a logical endpoint, death.

Even visually, there is a death breath in the movie. The denaturation of nature is appropriate to the subject.

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