sun 24/09/2017

Listed: How I Do Love Thee | reviews, news & interviews

Listed: How I Do Love Thee

Listed: How I Do Love Thee

Let theartsdesk count the ways with our romantic favourites from all over the arts

Ico (2001)

Much of the gameplay found in this near wordless tale of a shunned boy, locked in a gloomy castle, and the ghostly princess he finds there, centres around the two main characters holding hands while navigating the huge castle together, their bond slowly growing. Delicate, emotional and haunting, Ico's cooperative love story has inspired other games (The Last of Us, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Papa & Yo among others), but also musicians (Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead cites it as potentially his favourite game) and film makers (Guillermo del Toro considers it "a masterpiece"). Simon Munk


In the Mood for Love (2000)

As the title indicates, Wong Kar-wai's sumptuous Hong Kong-set love story is a marriage of atmosphere and emotion and it's filled with images of painterly beauty. Its romance involves infidelity but unlike Brief Encounter the protagonists (played with great subtlety by Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and Tony Leung Chiu-wai) are not the adulterers. Instead they're the injured parties who come together to speculate about their partners' affair and end up bonding over their shared love of martial-arts serials. It shouldn't be romantic but it is, as their love is born from and tangled up in profound sadness. Emma Simmonds


Big Star: "I'm in Love with a Girl" (1974)

The last song on Radio City is a perfect miniature. There are headier songs about falling in love, but there’s something disarming about the earnest simplicity of this lyric which captures the prelapsarian bliss of the first time. Alex Chilton's boyish vocal, a strumming guitar, that's it. Essence of love song. Kimon Daltas 


I Am Love (2009)

For those who like their love affairs to be truly, madly, deeply melodramatic. This riveting if slightly flawed Italian movie stars a gorgeously damaged Tilda Swinton as a Russian temptress Emma who has married into a prominent Milanese Old Money dynasty and falls in love with her son’s talented business partner Antonio, with disastrous consequences that are evident from the get-go: spiralling though cascades of romantic tragedy that make Tristan & Isolde look tame, the pampered lovers expire prettily in a cave to the swirling music of John Adams. William Ward


Death Cab for Cutie: "I Will Follow You into the Dark" (2005)

Indie hipsters can seem more interested in the concerns of the ultra-sensitive than all-too ordinary, “conventional” declarations of love. For a love song to be worthy, it needs to rise to the level of poetry. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” is one such lyric. The narrator declares his desire to stay true to his love in this life and the next. And “if Heaven and Hell decide/ That they both are satisfied/ Illuminate the "No"s on their vacancy signs/ If there's no one beside you/ When your soul embarks/ I’ll follow you into the dark.” Exquisite stuff. Russ Coffey


The More The Merrier (1943)

Cinema’s most erotic kiss is often said to be Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock’s Notorious. Balderdash. Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea put both sexual attraction and romantic comedy in the dictionary in The More The Merrier. She’s his sensible landlady and engaged to another. She knows she shouldn’t… but the electricity between them is irresistible for both them and us. David Benedict


Frederick Ashton: Marguerite et Armand (1963)

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev were never lovers, but the passion of their May to December ballet partnership inspired  Ashton to create Marguerite et Armand, ballet’s La Traviata. There's no better portrait of a coup de foudre than Nureyev ecstatically burying his face in Fonteyn’s crimson-clad bosom. Hanna Weibye

 

Janáček: Jenůfa – Final Scene (1904)

He’s slashed her face with a knife because his more successful rival and half-brother praised her rosy cheeks. She’s just learned that her stepmother drowned her illegitimate baby hoping misguidedly to give her a chance of marriage. Yet young village people Jenůfa and Laca still go ahead with a life together. There’s no more radiant resolution to potential tragedy than the blazing final duet of Czech genius Janáček’s first masterpiece. Here it is in one of the great opera productions of all time available on a DVD I’d urge anyone new to opera to see, Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s durable Glyndebourne staging. Anja Silja is magnificent as the half-crazed stepmother, the Kostelnička, going to face trial, but the point is the final duet between Roberta Alexander’s truthful Jenůfa and late, lamented Philip Langridge’s Laca, which starts 5’49 in to the clip. David Nice

 

The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles meet in the Steinhart Aquarium, creatures of the murk swimming behind reinforced glass, mirroring the dark, silhouetted passion of the leads. It’s stunning cinematic poetry: “Will you carry me off into the sunrise?” pleads Hayworth. Of course, that doesn’t happen. “Give my love to the sunrise,” she says – her dying words – before Welles the director coaxes from his ex-wife a final feral scream of fear and rage - the most hair-raising in all of Golden-Age Hollywood: “I don’t want to die!” No, love doesn’t last in film noir, but if it's intensity you want, you've come to the right place. Tim Cumming
 


Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 2 (1901)

Rachmaninov’s concerto is forever entwined with irresistible passion, thanks to David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter, even if the lovers are doomed by frightfully good manners to remain apart. From its first notes it breathes forbidden ardour. Here is the composer himself, one of the greatest of all pianists, playing his own music with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra way back in 1929. Ismene Brown

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