West side story (film di Robert Wise e Jerome Robbins del 1961)

WEST SIDE STORY non è soltanto il titolo di un film, ma è un universo in cui si intersecano musica, cinema e poesia. La pellicola diretta da Robert Wise e Jerome Robbins è stata prodotta nel 1961 ed è tratta dal musical ideato da Arthur Laurents, musicato da Leonard Bernstein, con i testi di Stephen Sondheim.

La vicenda si svolge nella parte ovest di New York, ove 2 bande rivali, i nativi americani Jets e i portoricani Sharks, si contendono la leadership del territorio con l’uso spesso frequente della violenza. Ci pensa il capitano di polizia Schrank a cercare di calmare le 2 parti, ma non sempre con risultati soddisfacenti. Una sera, in occasione di un ballo, i 2 capi delle opposte fazioni avranno la giusta occasione per lanciarsi il guanto di sfida, senonché Tony, amico fraterno del capobanda Jets e Maria, sorella di Bernardo che comanda gli Sharks, avranno un vero e proprio colpo di fulmine che si realizza sulle note del brano Maria. Tra gli altri brani famosi ricordiamo, America, Tonight e Somewhere.

La storia ricorda in chiave moderna la tragedia di Shakespeare ROMEO E GIULIETTA ricalcandone anche aspetti drammatici, come la morte del giovane Tony. Il film si aggiudicò ben 10 Oscar e nel 1960 Bernstein realizzò una suite sinfonica rispettando la scansione narrativa del musical, realizzato 3 anni prima. Nel 2021 il famoso regista Steven Spielberg, ha realizzato un remake con qualche piccolo cambiamento, ma che non toglie nulla alla bellezza della trama. Una gioia per gli occhi e soprattutto per le orecchie, in cui la recitazione, la musica, il dramma e le danze, che ricordano a tratti un’opera lirica, fanno di questo film un capolavoro a 360 gradi. Tra gli interpreti principali Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn e Rita Moreno.

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