A visit to Korda Theater and La La Land

On Saturday evening my wife and I went to see the movie ‘La La Land’ at The Korda Theater at Shepperton Studios (Pinewood Studios Group), it was my first visit to this theater, but a visit that  I had been wanting to do the moment I learned that it was open to the public at weekends for movie screenings.  The Korda Theater is named after a very famous Hungarian born film Directors, Alexander Korda and Zoltan Korda famed for such movies as The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) Jungle Book, (1942) The Thief of Bagdad (1940) and The Four Feathers (1939) to mention just a fraction.  I was first aware of this theater when I used to walk my dog behind the studios and I saw the building with the name Korda theater written along it’s wall and wondered if it was a theatrical stage.  I later learned that it is in fact used for viewing the unfinished film.  The theater looks like it was once a small sound stage or work shop as their is a heavy duty ceiling mounted crane / hoist that has been kept as a memento of the buildings past.  The movie theater is small with typical tiered movie seats at the front and with couches for greater comfort at the back on a flat section with the editing / sound equipment, in front of the screen I noticed a large digital clock counter that is probably used for synchronizing sound with picture.

The movie, La La Land was, I am afraid, rather a disappointment, raved by the film critiques I felt it was a typical example of what I has been cynically described as Oscar Bait.  This was a musical and had used a lot of Hollywood cliches in it’s formula which wasn’t the problem.  The problem I felt was that the screen play was so simple that it was practically nonexistent beyond the very basic boy meets girl boy girl first don’t like each other, fate throws them together they fall in love a conflict develops between them they get back together, then unusual for musical it ends with them living different lives.  However, the reason for their final split is not explained and seems to be for current writing trends rather than for a logical conclusion to the narrative, therefor as a story if lacked truth.  From a student film makers point-of-view it was interesting to watch for scene changes and editing breaks, particularly interesting how the editing for the first scene was seamlessly put together to suggest one long continues film take that from it’s complexity was very unlikely.  I was also watching out for motifs, examples that I detected was as a tune that kept being repeated, traffic-jams and a piano stool.  I also noticed  a scene where the female character is looking at herself in a mirror reminded me of a famous photograph that that looks like a mirror reflection but is not this idea of creating an image that suggest a reflection I think was used to create a better sharper definition than that of a real mirror.  Lighting was used for atmosphere,  but on the whole hadn’t been used for creating that upbeat magical impression you would typically have for this type of movie.  On the whole this was not a musical that left you feeling happy at the finish which is what a musical is supposed to do and therefor failed the audience who I noticed all left rather quietly.

 

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