Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Deep down in nearly everyone is a need to deny reality and escape into the moment. It is why many people go to the movies, immerse themselves in pop music or a trashy novel (or literature). Cabaret is a sophisticated series of digressions from reality that underscore the human condition quite well. Most especially in the form of Liza Minelli's portrayal of Sally Bowles is the contradiction of accepting fate and denying reality juxtaposed with the lavish entertainments of Emcee Joel Grey. As Sally begins a series of unabashedly earnest yet also aloof flings over the course of the film, Grey and the Kit Kat Klub are there to highlight, reiterate and underscore her problems and her solutions to them.
When she meets Cambridge English professor, Brian (Michael York), she looks all the worldly show-girl. But how easily roles are reversed as with his surprisingly malleable sexual orientation. This is marvelously captured in a decadent getaway in the country with a rich Baron. As they are on their way, the three of them practically run over a crime scene where the Nazi youth groups have killed someone (presumably in a hate crime of some sort). But they are oblivious in their escapist pleasures which implode as fast as they arose in the first place.
The movie is perfect in showing the dreamy innocence of Sally one minute, the denial of circumstance and emotion the next, followed by a worldly acceptance and surprising wisdom. A complicated performance in a mature and definitely adult piece of cinema.
It is perfect in the fact that there are so many raw and edgily shot scenes in the Cabaret, and that the film remains tastefully artistic, sophisticated and anything but escapist.


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