Audições II - Spartacus, by Stanley Kubrik, comments by André Bandeira
This is a movie you can find anywhere in the net, with the soundtrack, the main trailers and the making-of. Normally, I cannot stand it till the end, because it comes so loaded of hope that the ending appears to be certainly tragical and endless, before it comes. But how beautiful are their faces, the one of Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), Lavinia (Jean Simmons) or Antoninus(Tony Curtis), especially when the plot is about to bud in the first successes obtained by the army of gladiators, freed, and rounded up against Rome. How prude is Lavinia's crimson tunic, or her very character, while bathing, and the way Spartacus caresses her. How beautiful are the words they exchange and the feelings they portray. How beautiful is the poem that Antoninus recites about returning to a home which the freed slaves will never reach. How beautiful are the faces of the finally freed men and women, performing their humble tasks of everyday life, while roaming in Italy, to find a way out. And how beautiful is the scene, when the winning generals invite the defeated throng to surrender Spartacus but, before this latter can give himself away, everyone raises and says that he, himself, is Spartacus. And how different are the orange and sunset colours of this masterpiece of sentiment, comparing with the recent and shadowy «Spartacus: blood and sand». One movie, sides with the other, as a golden hand with a swollen foot. The movie begins with a short spring of hope which rapidly becomes tainted with grief and anticipation, but the bare news of a baby Lavinia is carrying in her womb, Spartacus'son, is enough to hold the invincibility of life till the very end. The dialogue of Crassus (Lawrence Olivier) and his still servant Antoninus, amounts to one the most eloquent lessons, drawn from a set of values and tones, which is still worth teaching. The eloquence comes up mostly in the silence and flight of the absent slave Antoninus, whom Crassus cannot find anymore, when he ends up his eulogy to the fatality of Rome and the inevitability of corruption. Neverthelesse, the most beautiful looks in the movie are those exchanged by the gladiator Draba, a negro, and Spartacus, before they leave to the arena, bound to fight till death. It is a superb silent movie. The victor, Draba, won't execute the defeated Spartacus and will be finally finished up by Crassus, who sponsored the show. By this shift of man-made Destiny, Spartacus, will know his own. The whole narrative refers back to this long, silent look of the negro gladiator, caged as an animal, before being leashed out in the arena, to kill, or die. His silence, full of all the worries and cares of this world, is the final testimony, emerging at the very beginning of the movie. Draba's silence breaks once and for all (while avoiding the anxious look of his fellow in disgrace, Spartacus)the caroussel of fatality. This is a movie on the promises fulfilled since the beginning of Times, it is a movie on trust.