Marianne and Arcadia

Yes, I watched it.  Harlock’s Arcadia, Heiligenstadt.  Maetel’s original, Marianne.  All here.  And now I can honestly say:

I feel like I just went through a session with the Spanish Inquisition.  What torture!  It wasn’t at all my cup of tea.  I feel like Mr. Matsumoto owes me somehow.

Anyway, just so you don’t have to go through this too, let me just make a list of items that might have inspired Leiji.

1) Marianne Hold

Well, this one’s obvious.  He’s told us himself not only Maetel but all of his women owe something to her.  She’s pretty, sure, but I actually preferred her rival in the film (Lise) who ends up getting trampled by deer.  (I’m not making this up)  There’s really nothing to say in terms of Hold’s appearance per se, except maybe that her light hair might have lots to do with Matsumoto’s predilection for blondes.  Or maybe he liked blondes before he saw Hold, and that’s why he liked her.

2) Galaxy

Marianne’s love interest is a fellow who has been living in Argentina.  Marianne explains that when she was a little girl there were (magical) words that spurred her imagination.  She mentions three: galaxy, mangrove, Argentina.  (mangrove, seriously?!)

3) Age Difference

Marianne’s lover Vincent is meant to be younger, potentially much younger.  There is a scene where she calls him “enfant, enfant chéri” with such impetus it’s not clear if she’s being maternal, passionate, or both [that’s the screencap above].  Is this where the Maetel-Tetsuro bond comes from?  It’s another chicken and egg question.  Maybe Leiji fantasized about older women before he saw this!

4) The Cape

Soon after the scene above, Marianne puts on a dark cape and helps Vincent escape the mansion they are in.  This reminded me of Tetsuro and his mother, who wears a similar cape, in the first episode of Galaxy Express 999.  Remember, Maetel is supposed to look exactly like Tetsuro’s mother.  In Marianne of my Youth Vincent starts with a fierce Oedipal complex, which he only overcomes by substituting Marianne for her mother…

5) Repetition and Difference

Leiji Matsumoto might not have been aware of this, and so we can’t call it an inspiration, but in my opinion the greatest resemblance between this film and the Matsumoto’s work is actually non-diegetic (outside the story): it is the fact that this movie was filmed twice in 1955: there is a French version (which Leiji likely saw) and a German version.  The cast is almost totally different, although Marianne is in both films.  The story, script and shots are virtually the same [check this link for more on this with screencaps]  Isn’t this a leijitimate gesture in a way?

P.S.  “Heiligenstadt” is a very disappointing locale.

~ by Haloed Bane on November 5, 2010.

7 Responses to “Marianne and Arcadia”

  1. Ok, I guess the message of this post was “People, don’t waste your time on this movie!” But you know that when you try to warn somebody against doing something, they immediately go and do that very thing, right? 🙂

    So I went and watched it straight ahead. And I must say an orphanage was the least thing I expected Heiligenstadt to be!!!

    To your list of references, I might add the title of the novel the film was based on – Douloureuse Arcadie – and the very first shots where the castle is introduced – i’d say identical to AOMY. Don’t see any other references. Thanks God.

    Anyway, I think that the most interesting point is 5). (And the link you give is awesome!) Most likely the reasons behind filming a movie twice were most prosaic – and I was told that making two versions in different languages was a regular practice in the 30-s (say, the Blue Angel starring Marlene Dietrich), though I have no solid proof – but all the same, I think it is remarkable that a film that reportedly had a great impact on Matsumoto is bifurcate. And I think he might have heard about the other version and even might have done his best to find it. Suppose, one is struck by a film – there is a mystery unsolved and haunting, the end is ambiguous, it raises questions and one is desperate to find answers… In this case one will search for the other version at all costs and watch it very closely, looking for slightest deviations and trying to see meaning in them…

    Now, wait, am I talking about Mr. Matsumoto or myself?
    That’s how I feel about Leijiverse, anyway 😀

    • I guess I should encourage everyone who is curious about the film to watch it, but I don’t want to bear responsibility if someone comes complaining.

      I’ve been meaning to watch Blue Angel for a long, long time. It’s a great example of this simultaneous filming.

      What I want to know is your assessment of this film, strictly in terms of good/bad and pleasure/pain? What did you think??

      • Well, nothing wrong with the idea, a kind of Jane Eyre for boys. But the implementation was pain – what a storm in a teacup! The narration never failed to make me uncomfortable, so much passion about – what? I have not seen much of a friendship there, in the first place… The Lise line was plain horrible. The main character just did not look like a youth. The acting heavily overdone and false all through. Like Stanislavski, I say “I don’t believe!” Honestly, I don’t think it deserves further discussion.

        But I don’t regret these 105 minutes (if only for the song in Spanish) and in defense of the movie I’ll say this: somebody said that if you’ve got an idea you keep thinking about, give voice to it, even if you believe it half-baked or commonplace – because it may give an impetus to somebody somewhere who needs just that to move forward (that’s a very loose quotation as I don’t remember the source). Also, sometimes it is very inelaborate and mediocre works that trigger one’s imagination best – maybe precisely because they leave enough room for imagination! After all, the main benefit of this film is non-diegetic as well 🙂

        • I don’t know about you, but I detected a strong homoerotic subtext. To use the word “detect” is actually to put it mildly…I was blasted away by all of the homoerotic overtones in the film. I imagine Leiji didn’t even realize it back in the day (or maybe I’m just making it all up).

          Vincent does not look like a kid at all, does he! He looked impossibly ridiculous with socks and all..

          • Ah, that was what I meant by the narration making me uncomfortable. I guess I prefer even milder wordings. 🙂 But you know, I can allow for it being unintentional and just my dirty modern mind at work – because I don’t see any point in it, i mean it does not play any part in the story. I guess it was to show that the boy was extraordinary, exceptional, somebody to miss and never forget. But I don’t see anything extraordinary about him, and films are to show things rather than tell about them.
            The brigands look normal boys… no wait, they were killing animals… hmmm, and both girls were mental, and I think the headmaster too!

            • One could do a very interesting analysis of this movie. A lot going on there, whether on purpose or not!!!

  2. Wow! Where did you watch it? The DVD is so rare and expensive. Is the movie streaming somewhere?

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