To my companion, my biggest love, my greatest artwork: this BLOG...

all throughout these years I am so happy we have surpassed many an adventure!!!




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Anaïs and Hugo and their dalliances...

Sometimes when the obvious is unassumingly thrusted into our lap, it provides us with a refreshing and altogether direct vantage point of what plot a movie wants to postulate....thereby reducing confusion and helping us avoid the mental rigamarole many movies are known for...

Such was my assumption when the opening scenes of the flick, "Henry and June" panned out on my screen. The husky interaction between the publisher and Anaïs in the opening scene and the graphic exposure of the tantric photos out of Anaïs' little box helped to support this construct. I don't want to sound too technical and get carried away with analysis of an already heavy plot OR maybe I am also getting carried away because I am being pertinent to the lines in the film by Henry Miller stating, "D.H. Lawrence makes too much out of sex, he makes damn gospel out of it!" Therefore I am gabbing too much even to the point of slight glorification of an in-your-face erotic film.

But it is indeed essentially sincere to what the story wants to impart and does not really deviate from it. I mean sex is an easy route to take for a movie-maker to make BUCKS but to make a movie of this genre with some sort of relevance to history, courageously illustrate sexual deviations that were still taboo at that point in time, add a certain flair and artsy-ness to the graphic nature of copulation, glamorize the underground settings of the Pre-World War 2 whorehouses and boudoirs and to create sophisticated characters and liaisons - epic!!!! I have not even begun to heap praise on how the director wove the existence of supernatural occult quite naturally into the fabric at one scene in the film ...

Anaïs Nin is a lovely writer who is married to Hugo, a banker, the type who can provide stability and security to a marriage. They are living in a lovely home in the suburbs of Paris. She lives the ideal life - massive garden, time for her writing, dance lessons at an exclusive ballet club in Paris, a beautiful male Spanish cousin who has the hots for her (LOL) and a husband who provides for luxuries and who is the most sexual a banker can actually get as far as I am concerned. Haha! She should be satisfied with everything except that she lives in a certain kind of monotony - like a Stepford wife with all the boxes in her grocery list ticked for her - which is why there exists a certain longing. Out of perfection there will always be gaps to fill in. She longs for the unpredictability, desirability of a more amorous life - the release of her inner feline femininity.

Enter Henry Miller, a friend of Osborne, one of Hugo's closest friends. Everyone is introduced at a luncheon in Hugo's house one day and from that point on Anaïs is hooked onto Miller's devil-may-care attitude and brashness. She began to take an active interest in him innocently enough giving him her bicycle to use as transport and then the interest tentacled further onto his writing with a typewriter as another present a couple of days later. Anaïs knew she was in a position of advantage - she had money where Henry was penniless, but the advantage ended there. She knew Henry could provide the escape she longed for - she accidentally followed him to a brothel in Paris and she did not seem to mind one bit that the money she thought she lent Miller for basic expenses, he used to see a working girl.

Enter June, Henry's wife. Like another conduit in her escape line, she becomes as intoxicating a substance to Anaïs as Henry was. Fierce, quite loose with her words and as much a free thinker as  Henry is, this independence coupled with her overflowing sensual appeal was aphrodisiac to Anaïs. She knew she wanted to be like June. Her life was a series of unscrupulous men, failed acting auditions and agonizing clashes with Henry's idealisms yet her pain appealed to Anaïs. The very notion that June was the epitome of feminine physical perfection by Henry, became a source of envy for Anaïs. She wanted to be June. She found her window of opportunity when she helped finance June's trip to America for an audition for an important film. With June out of the way, she managed to parlay herself into becoming Miller's object of lustful desire. Anaïs and Henry become lovers. She gets introduced to his friends - artists and peasants alike. The references to history is beautiful too. The inclusion of the photographer Brassai,  one of Henry's friends, is a pleasant surprise and gives the film a distinct historical imprint. The voices of Hitler and his men out of the French radio also give historical references to the film. 

Although there's all this interaction between the three which helps to charge the film with an electricity that is physical and even mental, my object of desire in the film is Anaïs' husband, Hugo - the variable in the equation she may have unfairly dismissed as impertinent to her escape from reality. Although they have their torrid scenes in the movie as husband and wife, Anaïs' character always seems to highlight her sensual overtures with Henry and June. I don't know the movie's plot originally really wants us to see the Henry-Anaïs-June triangle as the foreground and the rest of the characters as background including Hugo but somehow my sensual buttons are pressed by Hugo's character. 

But I think the film-maker was intelligent enough not to typecast Hugo as another boring financial person who was a puppet to his wife's dalliances. Au contraire he was swathed with a lot of sexual charisma in these eyes (Hehehehe!) His huge member was erringly referred to by Anaïs as undesirable, too big for her that "they needed to use Vaseline as a result", but that this reference just fueled up my imagination and added to Hugo's subtle desirability. Plus he always seemed to appear in the most unusual of places, he painted his body blue during the Mardi Gras parade in the streets of Paris and donned a mask to rescue Anaïs from a night where Henry's impotence left a "gaping" aperture in her hahaha. He made her felt desired again that night. The Haitian beats, the sexy Latin music provides for a good distinctive mood as she experiences lusting after her husband. I loved it when she pertained to rekindling her amorous connection with her own husband as a manner of  cheating on Henry, ironically the man who she shared an adulterous affair with. This I do not see in typical erotic movies. 

Anaïs' reconnecting with Hugo is timely. With June's return from an unsuccessful business venture in the United States, Anaïs eventually just realized that she was made to fill a gap in Henry's life. The wise use of the Joan of Arc film reference to express his desire for Anaïs, was realized just in time by Anaïs herself. She witnesses the marked chaos of June and Henry's married life.  Henry becomes unsettled, quarrelsome and disturbed with the stress of the two women around him - obviously making his life more complex than it already is. His and June's own spontaneity and flamboyance become a source of fighting. Eventually Anaïs realizes she has to let go of this piece of the puzzle in her life as much as she wants to keep it to maintain a certain balance in her life. She knows there are sacrifices to be made for security and stability. She knew that when Hugo appeared once again near the end of the film, driving his car, and figuring out she might need a lift or something, she wanted to be with him because he worshipped her. She could live with his lack of aberration, because in the end anyway she knew she could always try to unleash the caged sexual carnivore in him. On the drive home however she wept for a life she wanted but needed to turn her back on. She probably knew at some point life with Hugo would not be so bad after all. He was still an animal in bed but one who was stable, secure and held her high at a pedestal the same way as Henry Miller did....

Uma Thurman is June - wild, flamboyant, beauteous and independent, a character who seems lost but is very aware of her sensual feline power over the men she interacts with...

Fred Ward is Henry Miller - brash, carefree, a sexual dynamo of a struggling writer/ artist who epitomizes women as objects but does not really care a LOT about their thinking minds. 

Maria de Medeiros is Anaïs Nin - innocent yet devious, in more ways than one a lost and emotionally strugglinh spirit who wants to rid herself of the society label that has been bestowed on her but ended up with the realization that all is not lost if you are secure and safe with the man you love ... 

Richard Grant is Hugo Guiler - taciturn but deceptively sensual.  The banker husband of Anaïs Nin. My favorite in the movie. There's just something about his perfunctory ways and politeness cocktailed with the inner raging sexuality which is seductive to me in many ways. Or maybe it's the way he says "pussywillow" all throughout the movie, his term of endearment for his object of worship, his wife - ahhh TRES SEXY!!! .... (I swear this is probably the most handsome I have seen Grant in a movie...Ahhh I could just make love to him night and day here!!!) 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


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