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The Legend of 1900
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore, Alessandro Baricco
Producer: Francesco Tornatore, Laura Fattori, Marco Chimenz
Cast: Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Bill Nunn, Clarence Williams III, Mélanie Thierry
Genre: Art House & International, Drama, Musical

Running Time: 125
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 (NTSC )
Sound: Dolby
Studio:  Image Entertainment DVD Region:  1 R
DVD Release:  Jun 2002 Discs:  1 (DVD) [$14.99]
Reviews:  Why is this film rated R? Sex? Violence? Language? Well, sex or violence are not included in this film. Language, though, is. It is sad when a good film is brought to the brink of "not-watchableness" due to language! There are obscenities and there are blasphemies, though they are non-sexual in nature. If you see this film on DVD or video, and you are bothered by the language, then don't watch it unless it is first "cleaned up." Though not as much as "We Were Soldiers" (reviewed earlier), it is too much for a film like this.

Barring language, this is a great movie.

This film, monickered as a fable, is about a person who was born and died on a ship, never taking a voyage onto the land. Like I said, it is a fable that you and I could learn from, but let me tell you what I received from this.

1900 (which is a person's name due to 1900 was the year that he was born aboard that ship), on the ocean, is like Christianity. Here me out. Medusa Motion Pictures, who released the film, must have as many strands of snake-like hair going as many myriad directions as you could go to explain what this film is about. I chose a Christian approach. Maybe you will choose another. The absolutely marvelous piano playing that 1900 does stands out among those land-lubbers who only thought they could play the piano but couldn't. More on this later.

Max (he is another main character) had eyes that darted this way and that way, a condition known as ocular nystagmus. Although he always saw correctly, I couldn't help but be fixed on his eyes. At first, this bothered me that the director should know better than to hire an actor who had eyes like that. But then I thought, it is part of the fable to have him almost disabled due to that. 1900 would make a good friend out of him. 1900 was known for his piano playing, and Max was known for his trumpet playing. One talent, one superb gift the two of them had!

Oh, the rollicking, rolling piano scene 30 minutes into the film is as a hilariously great time at piano playing as there can be! It is the scene where 1900 finally introduces himself to Max who is wobbling on his feet due to a storm at the beginning of the film. The rollicking piano scene is one which will live in Hollywood memory! A Christian (1900) standing firm amid the billowy waves that the world goes through, is such that only God can allow. God is the creator of the ocean, an immense, all-encompassing sea of doubt if you don't look at it through Christ's eyes.

The Tarantella, a lively Italian folk song supposedly played to help cure a woman biten by the poisonous tarantula, took 1900 just seconds to master, and then you ain't heard nothing yet! The sound coming out of that piano must have been played by four hands, yet 1900 only has two. Another highlight of the film that Christians can so impress the masses (passengers). Read the verse that, in the Old Testament, the world looks up to Israel due to their keeping God's laws.

"I think a lot of land people must be wondering 'why,'" says 1900. He doesn't ask why due to his already knowing! He is only aboard that ship. A ship that he stands firm on. His answers are already there on the ocean, though he took awhile to learn them (and still learns them). Why? The land, a metaphor for the world system, as a wicked, vile place that you would have to sink into. Rather we Christian's must waft on the ocean, learning what goes on on land by the passengers. You are either a land person, or an ocean person. Which one are you?

The piano duel, played by 1900 and Jelly Roll Morton, is another tour-de-force. 1900 wonders what a duel is? Ignorant of how a duel is played, he starts off playing almost like a fool -- a good fool though. Then, after Morton plays another number, he plays exactly how Morton played. 1900 never understanding what a duel is? It is like a Christian dueling it out with an agnostic or a atheist, never understanding what the discussion is all about, but leaving the atheist dead in his tracks because the Word of God stepped on him! 1900, like Morton before him, started of with a cigarette, but didn't light it as Morton did. He played jazz like it had never been played before, and when finished, 1900 took the cigarette a lit it on the strings of the piano. Morton could not have gotten off that ship fast enough! The things of man don't hold a candle to God's ways!

That leaves the score, played by Ennio Morricone. Like his score for Cinema Paradiso (another film by the same director), it holds awe! Most notably is the love song played by 1900. An unrequited, almost love story, about 1900 and a girl he met on the voyage. Well, you have to see the film to know what I'm talking about. Morricone is absolutely my favorite composer of all time.

Now, after WWII, the ship is about to be dynamited, and 1900 is aboard it. He said that the land's people is so many keys waiting to be played, a thousand keys, it is "God's keys" for he could not play it. He was given 88 keys, plus the piece of music had a beginning and an end. He could never play the keys God had be given! Amen for, though I have 88 keys, God says play them well. God doesn't expect you to play the thousands of keys! That is His job.

He died thinking that the mass of land, "one woman, one house" is all for naught. Heaven isn't made of such things as that. Oh that we all should see that, in Heaven, we all are glorifying Christ, not marrying, not a business deal, but Him who is above all thought. When we set our eyes on Christ, everything else will come into focus as we study God's Word.

It is a fable. A fable you turn into a picture that you want. I was able to make it into a Christian film. What do you turn this fable into?

Click on Title for International Movie Database link, click on Cover for Amazon link!

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