Saturday, 15 March 2008

An Evening of Cinematic Song - We Are Together and Sweeney Todd

I've just seen two very different films this evening at our local cinema (the Showroom in Sheffield, South Yorkshire) but they share one thing in common: singing!

The first film is actually a documentary called "We Are Together", about a group of South African orphans who use their beautiful talent for singing to change their own lives. We follow the making of their CD, their trip to the U.S. and the highs and lows of their lives. It is an incredibly powerful film, and I was moved to laughter, then tears, then back again to laughter. The children's voices are wonderfully angelic, and it was so great to see them dedicating such a lot of effort into their talents. And the best thing was, that they sing all the time! Everyone sings and dances, and this is a joy to see and hear, against the bleak backdrop of family members dying from AIDS, and great poverty of the area. You must see this film, it will warm your soul.

The second in my musical double-bill was Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, and was far from heart-warming. It was incredibly gruesome and deserves its 18 certificate, I was squeamishly scrunched-up in my seat, not wanting to see yet another throat being sliced through! However, the dark violence was contrasted against the colour of the wonderful songs and a few black comedy moments; it was very funny at first to see Johnny Depp singing (Mathew said that he sounded like a slowed-down David Bowie!) but after a few minutes you get used to it.
The sets were wonderfully shadowy and atmospheric; very evocative of Victorian London, and fitted the tone of the whole film beautifully. The colours had been toned down, so everything had a dreary, grey look to it, which seemed to emphasise Depp and Bonham-Carter's sickly-looking eye makeup and ghostly-pale skin.
Lurid, thrilling and magnificent is how i'd describe this immensely entertaining film.

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