Fame Must Be Raw
Review of the Fame 2009 remake, by Stefan Stenudd
The 1980 version was much more daring and extreme. The characters were distinctly chiseled and their interaction wild, as if all the animals in a zoo had been put in one cage. Of course, the stories told through them also had a real bite.
I mean, assemble hundreds of extremely expressive teenagers with spectacular dreams – that's not going to be Sunday school. They're not going to keep neat hairdos and speak softly about personal shortcomings.
Fame of the 1980's was directed by Alan Parker, who knew the above very well and didn't hesitate to indulge in it. He stripped the young actors bare and whipped them. Great drama ensued.
The plot is a difficult one to complete in a tantalizing way, because the protagonist – the one learning and growing from the experience, realizing something vastly important at the end of it – is the whole class of students. They both enter and exit the adventure simultaneously, changing from naive and insecure adolescents to scarred but confident adults. It's the classical coming of age thing, but as a collective experience. Mahayana, so to speak.
Without very fragile characters struck by very dramatic events in this process, the film is nothing but a collage of song and dance routines.
It's difficult but far from impossible to have a big group as the protagonist of a drama. It's been done, also by the grand master himself.
In Romeo and Juliet, the whole town of Verona is the protagonist. All its inhabitants, including both families of Montague and Capulet, need to realize the error of their way, regret and reform. The young lovers Romeo and Juliet are the heroes showing them the way and dying for it – because the couple can't solve the problem for the whole town.
At the end of the play, the prince is the one to tell the families what they needed blood and death to see:
January 14, 2012
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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.