Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Straight from the Heart: L-E-V

L-E-V Dance Company performing Chapter 3: The Brutal Journey of the Heart. (Photo: Stefan Dotter for Dior)

Even though Valentine’s Day had come and gone by the time Israel’s L-E-V contemporary dance company appeared at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre at the beginning of March, hearts were everywhere, starting with the company’s name, the Hebrew word for heart. Even the techno beat dance it presented – Chapter 3: The Brutal Journey of the Heart – had the word in the title. Then there were the tattoo-like costumes worn by the six turbo-charged dancers. Designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Christian Dior Couture, the stockinged-feet unitards were emblazoned with a bleeding heart on the left side of side of the chest. Spot a pattern? 

Monday, March 14, 2022

New from Criterion: Love Affair (1939)

Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer's shipboard first meeting in Love Affair (1939).

The filmmaker Leo McCarey has been largely forgotten, but his Hollywood career spanned four decades and bridged the silent and talkie eras. Like Frank Capra, he received his training in silent comedy: he directed more than seventy-five shorts, and he was responsible for the collaboration of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. When movies began to speak, he put his expertise at working fast and off the cuff to great effect – he directed the most brilliant of the Marx Brothers’ early Dadaist masterpieces, Duck Soup (1933), as well as helming pictures that starred W.C. Fields, Mae West and Eddie Cantor. His thirties output included two memorable comedies, Ruggles of Red Gap (with Charles Laughton as an English butler in the Wild West) and The Awful Truth, where Cary Grant strives to win back his ex-wife,  played by Irene Dunne. It also includes the romantic melodrama Love Affair, starring Dunne and Charles Boyer, which Criterion has just put out in a glistening print restored from sources in the Museum of Modern Art collection.