Monday 14 March 2005

Once Upon a Time in America

Last evening's edition of Inside the Actors Studio chronicled the career-to-date of Jennifer Connelly. The show's conservative format precludes controversy, but Jennifer came across as highly articulate, intelligent, shy and self-deprecating - as bewildered by her adulation as the acting undergraduates were nervous. I knew that she, like myself, was an only child and it was a very pleasant surprise to learn that both our Mothers are Jewish (none practicing).

Can't believe that I've been a Jennifer Connelly fan for nearly 19 years after first seeing her in Jim Henson & George Lucas' Labyrinth (1986). The movie was showing at the local Odeon and the High School Computer Club (self-confessed geek that I am) arranged a midweek trip - the opening sequence featuring a CGI Owl was generating buzz in the press. We unexpectedly met friends (including James Hearn and Helen Duff) inside screen 2. A veritable popcorn moment. Afterwards James and me went into the nearby Exeter Model Centre to buy Citadel Miniatures' Chaos Marauders!

The memory of Jennifer Connelly's beautiful visage adorning my bedroom wall, listening to the Labyrinth soundtrack (includes David Bowie's haunting "As The World Falls Down") and playing the video game, remains strikingly clear.

It wouldn't be until 1996, at the suggestion of Rudy (a Student Village neighbour), that I would see her cinematic debut in Sergio Leone's acclaimed Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Semiologists have noted that Dark City (1998) set an enigmatic trend whereby Jennifer Connelly's character would stand alone on a Pier at a critical narrative juncture (see also Requiem for a Dream, Beautiful Mind and House of Sand and Fog). Coincidentally the composer Trevor Jones scored both Labyrinth and Dark City.

Jennifer still gives me butterflies.

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