7th Heaven (1927) - Frank Borzage
Seventh Heaven is an epic romantic melodrama spanning many years. It tells
the story of Diane, a young prostitute who is saved from her tyrannical sister by Chico, a young sewage worker. Although a prostitute, Diane is a very sweet,
kind individual who Chico let's move in with him for the time being. This is
only my second venture into Frank Borzage but It's becoming
apparent that his optimism towards humankind is refreshing, yet far more nuanced
than Frank Capra's. The relationship that slowly forms between Diane and Chico is so tender, and genuine that it's just beautiful to watch. So many films these days are made in a way that at times the characters feel as if they are slaves to the narrative. This film lets the romance between these two individuals form in a very slow-paced naturalistic way, through initial doubt of their living situation even working to full-blown love and admiration. Chico's character is such an optimist--one of my favorite scenes being on the balcony, early after Diane moves in, where Chico professes to Diane that he never looks down, but how one should always keeping looking up. It's a beautiful sequence that essentially becomes the tagline for this film. This is also an extremely well shot film, from the slums of Paris to the WWI battle sequences, Borzage really uses lighting and framing to his advantage. If willing, this is an engaging melodrama that features some truly memorable lines
("Let me fill my eyes with you"), I have a feeling Borzage is going to end up being a top tier director in my eyes.
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