This film broke my heart.
This stunning, underappreciated, extraordinary film devastated me. But I adored every, single, gorgeous frame of it. I’m unable to find the right words to describe it, other than: beautiful, different and world-shattering experience.
As I’m writing this, I discovered magnificent review of Petulia by Roger Ebert. If you want to read the whole thing, I encourage you to do it, here. Meanwhile, I’m going to post just few of his lines that perfectly capture what I’m feeling at the moment:
“Richard Lester's Petulia made me desperately unhappy, and yet, I am unable to find a single thing wrong with it. I suppose that is high praise. It is the coldest, cruelest film I can remember, and one of the most intellectual.
Most films come with emotions wrapped inside. We pick a movie according to the emotion we desire: a musical to be happy, a Western to be thrilled. Petulia doesn't work this way. It provides no built-in emotional response at all. Instead, it glides perfectly across the screen, and the idea is for audience, the audience to provide its own emotion by responding to it.”
The sensational, weaved kind of editing disoriented me at first. But, as the film progressed, it was like witnessing the very opening of a strange cocoon. There was that big commotion at the beginning that resulted with a butterfly at the end. A very sad and unhappy one.
But, it started so light, almost like a comedy.
The way this film dances around with angles, perspectives and point of views… is simply magical.
Visually, there is no match. Every scene is one perfectly rounded, flawless pearl… splendidly composed and thought through.
Although Julie Christie was remarkable in this movie, and I loved her fantastic portrayal of Petulia, unhappily married socialite, I think that Scott was the real core of it, absolutely brilliant.
This scene is one of my favorites...
Beautiful shots of San Francisco, all around…
(plus, there are Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin live performances, if you’re into that)
. . .