Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rome and Kubrick’s Spartacus

Rome and Kubrick's Spartacus

November 10, 2011 By: romeblogger Category: Rome

It's not easy to agree on which is the most moving and emotive scene in 'Spartacus' (Stanley Kubrick, 1960), probably more a film studio in Greco-Latin sculpture and a film of desire, love and death that a film of war and Romans, despite probably being the most accomplished film of this genre of all time (but Spartacus, precisely, like all the great works, seems to have been made to question the concept of genre).

It's also possible that the most moving scene is engraved in the own credit titles, where the producer Kirk Douglas gambled his integrity and his career with beautiful defiance with his decision that the name Dalton Trumbo, tragically victimised – his integrity made him spend eleven months in prison and later become an exile in Mexico, from where he elaborated scripts as a ghost writer or under a pseudonym – during the McCarthyist witch-hunt that hit Hollywood and American culture a few years after the Second World War, appeared with big letters on the screen as the legitimate author of the wonderful script of the film.

Of course no-one can blame those who believe that the best scene is the wonderful one where Varinia (Jean Simmons) makes Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) see with a memorable phrase of only two or three words that women are the true slaves of this world, because under any exploitation there's always a gender exploitation, or in the way that their hands touch when she gives him food (punctuated by a soundtrack of a deep and shivering power of evocation), or the moment where the survivors are condemned to die on the cross in order not to betray the soul of the group to the shout of 'I am Spartacus', or the tragic moment which admirably links love and death in which Spartacus is forced to kill Antonino (Tony Curtis) to prevent him from bigger suffering ("I loved you like a father Spartacus" / "And I loved you like the child I will never see"), or those last and unforgettable minutes in which the character of Varinia, free thanks to a skillful final move by Graco (Charles Laughton), showing the gates of Rome, which she abandons on the road to Aquitaine, precisely to that son that she thought she'd never see, talking about his father, of who she will show to be free like he wanted to be, and the most heartbreaking and sad love declaration.

My favourite is, however, the one that after listening to Antonino recite a wonderful and shivering song one night about the return home, Spartacus is invaded by sadness of how little he knows the world, of knowing the he only knows how to fight, like any animal, of ignoring for example where the wind comes from. It's then when Varinia tells him that the wind comes from a cave where a young god lives where, at night, among dreams, he breathes and yearns for his loved one.

In the end maybe nobody has ever known anything about nothing, but that's not a big deal while we have beautiful stories to tell each other. The film 'Spartacus' is one of them.