The music of chance

musicTomorrow’s film is based on Paul Auster’s novel “The Music of Chance”.

Below you will find two short reviews of the novel, so that you will get a general idea of what the film will be about.


Compulsive traveller Jim Nashe finances an epic poker match for a self-proclaimed jackpot winner. "In his lucid, captivating yarn, Auster quietly raises disturbing questions of servants and masters, of loyalty, freedom and the inexplicable urge to kill".

This insightful novel is a taut study of the self-contradictory mind living by chance while thinking it can get away with anything. Jim Nashe is a frivolous Boston fireman who needs music as a life crutch. His wife abandons him just before his father dies, leaving him money that he squanders aimlessly while driving around America. Near desperation, he meets a bitter young itinerant gambler, Jack ("Jackpot") Pozzi, who lures him into a losing poker game with two shady recluses, Flower and Stone, on their Pennsylvania estate. Nashe and Pozzi must retire their debt by building a stone wall on the premises: what this Herculean labour does to them is the novel’s leitmotif. An interesting story, but some may object that the journalistic prose merely tells the story instead of showing it.books


This is a short review of the film


Documentary filmmaker Philip Haas made his dramatic feature film debut with The Music of Chance, adapted from Paul Auster‘s terse, existential novel. The film follows the plight of two hapless drifters — Jim Nashe (Mandy Patinkin), who is escaping family and responsibility with an inheritance and a red BMW, and Jack Pozzi (James Spader), a down-on-his-luck gambler and world class manipulator. Pozzi convinces Nashe to shoot the works and put his remaining $10,000 into a high stakes poker game against two rich suckers — reclusive lottery winners Willie Stone (Joel Grey) and Bill Flower (Charles Durning), who share a lavish but isolated country estate, using the remains of their lottery fortune to construct a self-contained world on the grounds of their mansion. Instead of bilking the two millionaires, however, Pozzi and Nashe lose their windfall and find themselves indebted to Stone and Flowers, who compel them to work off their losses by constructing a stone monument on their estate, a chore that results in deception, flight, and possibly murder. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide


music of

Look at the trailer


Look at some clips from the film


What are the main themes of this film?

What about the choice of songs? Do you think music emphasises the main theme of the film? If yes, How?

This is the first film we have watched so far that does not see Paul Auster as film script writer.  Is there anything in the choices of the film director that makes this blatant?

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33 risposte a The music of chance

  1. anonimo scrive:

    Looking forward to watching it tomorrow, it seems like an interesting film. 🙂

  2. anonimo scrive:

    There are lots of important and topical themes in this film, the most important of which is the gamble-addiction and all the psychological consequences of this social problem. The particular weakness of Mr. Pozzi, who is so self-confident that he cannot realize when the play-time should finish giving way to rationality and disillusion, leads both the protagonist to their ruin. But also Jim Nashe, desperate because her wife left him and he guilty left his little daughter to travel around America., is somehow captured by in the whirl of gamble. Then there is the theme of people who suddenly has become so rich that they don’t know what to do with their money: they behave as they were the masters of the world now that they can afford whatever they would like to have (e.g. they have 10000 stones sent from an old English castle to build a useless wall in the middle of nowhere). And, as they are so lucky, they gloat over who is not and, in their mad vision, they want to make them suffer to demonstrate who is the owner and who are the slaves that have to obey him.

    Moreover, we can also find the theme of real and psychological prison: for Pozzi the wall is a real, concrete and painful jail from which he cannot escape, although he tried many times, until it will lead him to death. Whereas for Nashe building the wall means taking his own responsibility for his stupidity and negligence, as a sort of sin he has to expiate by means of hard work. The only moments where he can detach from the sorrow of reality is reading, and that is a recurrent theme in Auster novels: reading as a form of liberation , as a way to fly away from our problematic life. There is also the theme of anguish: one of the most pervading things of the movie, distress is in every action Jack does during the film. As being a flat character, he is obsessed by escaping and he never thinks that his reclusion could be also a form of protection for his powerless mind. But, as soon as Jack is killed by the estate guardian, also Jim starts feeling trapped and obsessed by getting away, feeling like a rabbit in a cage, who knows is doomed to be killed in a few time. ( In this sense, the most powerful scene is the one when Jim runs to the fence gate and, as he sees the hole they’ve dug to run out from there has been covered, he hangs up the fence, looking further and despairing). In that scene and in many others, music emphasizes the sense of anguish and despair of the protagonists with its raises and downfalls (as we can hear also in the video clip).

    As concerning the film director choices, I have to say this is the film I liked most: finally here we don’t have a documentary but a complete movie, without division in chapters and long immobile shots. I don’t want to offend Paul Auster, but I think in “Music of Chance” it’s easy to notice that the director is a real professional one, who also decided to modify a little Auster’s book plot in order to make the film more interesting. I liked also the setting of the film, which was really suitable for the film issues.

    I apologize now for not answering to the posts you will upload during Christmas holidays, since I’ll never be at home during this time!

    Bye, Simone

  3. anonimo scrive:

    Boxing Day!!

    I suppose the main theme of the movie is the role of chance in our lives. It deals with the story of two men who met by chance and literally play with their future: the fireman does not hesitate to put all his money on the green poker table, leaving his sort in the gambler’s hands. Quite a strange choice. It is a surreal movie, it is not easy shooting a film based of this kind of novels, the director had a hard task. I’m not sure about the result, not understanding all the cues could be the reason why I did not find the movie striking, involving. But I’m curious about the novel.

    Auster did not write the screen play and I noticed that, unlike the other movies we have watched together, the spoken part is preponderant. Even “Smoke” and “Blue in the face” are based on dialogs and monologues, but this time it’s different: there is a rigid plot, the camera does not simply follow the flowing of the events, there is not spontaneity. I appreciate the final scene, when the fireman kills them all: before this epilogue he seemed to be a flat character, he did not have any emotion. But the top of the movie is certainly Mr Auster’s cameo: nothing to do with Madonna’s one in Blue in the face, that’s matter of style…

    federica zille

  4. anonimo scrive:

    The movie is plenty of different themes.The main theme is the gamble addiction which is caused by the disperation:the two protagonists are infact moved to play by their desperation and they fall in an obvious trap in which most of the rich people who are intrigued in gamble-play are intrapped.The two rich man are two classical very rich man who are conscious of their power and to not risk too much.They want also to be kings in their property building a making Nash and Pozzi slaves in order to build a big wall which represent the prison for the two workers who look at it in different ways:as a well rounded character Nash does not consider the wall just a prison ,but a right punishment for his guiltyes, and that’s why he is so fascinated by the city plan of the rich men; Pozzi instead is a flat character whose principal thought is to escape.The themes which occurred in Auster that are present in the film are the chance,the reading view as a form of door out of the world,and the juxtaposition between reality and imagination.As in Martin Frost the man is frustrated by his dreams and he considers himself the protagonist of a nightmare which seems more unreal than dreams.That’s why Pozzi can not escape from his fears:as he does not want to read and so he is closed to his hurts.T he songs beat the time o f the themes: in the first scene there is the passage from a sad and introspective classical song to a jazz one,which stands for the passage from sorrow,to the need to escpe from it.The time of the punishment is rich in different music which are not tragic since the pusichment is view as right and not as a cage.The movie is not a documentary and the scenes are better interweaved than in the other movies.Music of chance is so surely more commercial than the other movies but it’s also a deep documentary of foundamental feelings.

  5. anonimo scrive:

    Perin Marco

  6. anonimo scrive:

    Watching the music of Chance, we can come up against many different themes:

    – Two different interpretation of the WALL: for Jack Pozzi, a down-on-his-luck gambler, the wall is real, is the symbol of his cage. He associated the wall to a calendar where he could cancel the missing days. He also tried to escape but this his will led him to death. Instead Jim Nashe considered the wall as his punishment, the guilt he had to atone for. He had loose his reason and so he had to pay for. For him, the wall was also a way to know himself, to read to interact with other people.

    For the owners the wall is symbolic of their crushing power, strength and ruthlessness.

    – So another recurring theme in Auster’s novels is the READING [we can see its importance in The Inner of Martin Frost]; only with the reading there can be an interior growth. Reading as a form a liberation or as a way to escape from the problem of life. As a consequence of that, the two characters represented, one the round character and the gambler the flat character. Pozzi didn’t saw anything apart from his will to escape from this cage that oppressed him [when the other man read, he was with a prostitute], Nashe understood that he had to take the responsibility of his actions. .

    – In this way, I have introduced the theme of LUCK: luck exists only in our responsibility to choice our way. The gambler became a caricature of the man who doesn’t assume his responsibilities. Nashe is symbolical of the man who understands that our life doesn’t depend on external objects. I can quote the “statue” that Nashe stole from the owners’ house. At the beginning he thought it could make his fortune, but then he burned it when he understood his luck wasn’t a consequence of it and of all external elements. Moreover in the last scene his car, symbolic of freedom and discovery, was destroyed: his freedom doesn’t depend on an object but on his interior balanced.

    There is also a Phallic Symbol: the gun. The guardian of the two men can only threaten them with the gun, but he is only another puppet in the owners’ hands.

    About the songs, I think they underline the different moments: the anguish, the need to escape, the protagonists’ despair. An example is the beginning of the film: first the song emphasises the pain of Nashe (in fact he had been given up by his wife and he had lost his father); then the music change as he met the gambler, to underline his will to escape from this emotional state.

    As regards the choice of the film director, I must say that this is the film I had more appreciated. I want to say that the others films seem to be documentaries and not a film -in the real sense of the word-. I agree with Marco when he says that this film can be more commercial than the others.

    Monica Santi

  7. anonimo scrive:

    “The music of chance” is an interesting movie which deals with the role of chance in human’s life . We are all driven by chance and this theme can be recollected with Paul Auster’s quotation in Oracle Night, when he claims that “randomness stalks us every day of our lives”….It is really interesting to see how movies and novels join together with the same themes.

    Another important element in this film is the gamble-addiction that manages to drive people’s mind into its own direction and its own will. It is a real power that dominates people’s mind and once you get in trap it is very difficult to come out. As it happened to the two men, Nash and Pozzi, who were so involved in that “game of chance” that they spent all what they had and also more to play. To pay all their debts they were somehow imprisoned and obliged to build a wall as a symbol of their defeat.

    While i was watching the film i thought to “dystopia”. I think that somehow it can suit this movie because the two loser-gambler are treated as puppets and they are strictly controlled by the two winner and powerful men. They are in a certain way subjects under the oppression and the authority of the rich men.

    The music is fine, it follows the unwinding of events, where there is suspence it becomes more intense and involving and in the other parts is more quite.

    At the first impact, this movie seems senseless and a little bit complicated but in reality it hides lots of deep meanings…that’s why we can not linger over the simple appearance, but we have always to try to go through his deepest purports.

    Marson Chiara

  8. anonimo scrive:

    Serra Pierluca..

    Music of Chance embodies many different themes like: freedom and imprisonment, power and subjection, rape and pity; there’s also a gruesome violence that intervenes in the story but it does not turn upside down the main plot. The music, carefully choice, emphasises the main theme and it changes from scene to scene to underline the character’s sensations. All the film is ruled by the Chance but there’s also a cyclic movement that brings again the story at the start. Music of Chance is also in many scenes a “quick film”, a quality that is not really characteristic of Paul Auster.

  9. anonimo scrive:

    This film deals with different themes, first of all with gambling, which is represented by Pozzi, a scruffy man who is poker-addicted, with which he has damaged his existence. When the main character, Jim Nashe, meet him by chance on a country road, while he was travelling all over the USA with his brand-new red car, he linked inexorably his destiny to him. In the film gambling is seen as something that lead you to desperation, something uncontrollable, like being sucked into a swirl. But it has two connotations: in Jim’s case , gambling would lead him to a new birth, firstly to build a nonsense wall, but secondly to a self discovery and a inner journey in order to become a better man (he is a well-rounded character); instead in Pozzi’s case gambling would lead him to servitude (like Jim), but in addition to this it also lead him to death. In fact Pozzi sees the wall as only an obstacle to overcame, not a symbol of inner discovery like Jim. In this way we can say that Pozzi is a flat character, which wouldn’t change his personality in order to become better. Another theme is characterized by the wall, which stands for the human being’s prison, but it is also symbol of crushing power and subjugation in the hands of two odd men, Flower and Stone, who want to play the role of king in a ruthless way. Moreover there are other symbols: the car, which embodies the freedom linked with the objects, with luck and which would be destroyed as soon as Jim would understand that his freedom don’t depends on material things but on himself; the caravan, the prostitute, the two little statues, the plastic model, Jim’s obsession of classical music and literature, the fatherly figure and the phallic symbol of the gun, which represent the masculinity of the guardian, who is only a puppet in the hands of Flower and Stone.

    I think that the music used in the video emphasizes the desperate condition of the two “friends”, highlighting the paradoxical running of Pozzi over the just apparently finished wall.

    Carolina Braghin

  10. anonimo scrive:

    The title itself expresses two really important themes in the film, that are music and chance, the happening of unexpected events. There is the obsessive presence of both music and literature (see the reference to “Waiting for Godot” by S. Beckett), that are the threads which make the plot go on. The meeting with the gambler is totally casual, but since this moment there are other themes treated: Jim Nashe, a man victim of “Peter Pan’s syndrome”, will do an inner journey and selfdiscover new points of view thanks to the wall. Jack Pozzi, instead, won’t change (here there is also the theme of a person who doesn’t learn from his mistakes). Another theme is power and it is expressed in different ways.. We can observe the power Jim Nashe feels driving his car, the sense of invincibility that will lead to Pozzi’s defeat at playing cards, but also the power the two rich men, who win against the two protagonists, have on them. Wall, in fact, is also symbolic of Nashe and Pozzi being entrapped in their same “game”.

    I really liked the songs chosen, they are really communicative and emphasise manifold moments (tragic or determined moments, i.e.), more than the main theme of the film. I found really interesting the fact that some characters sing (look at Nishe), because they establish a direct contact with art in this way, and they make the audience to perceive it.

    Obviously, this film is really different from those directed by Paul Auster. I think the bigger difference are the changes of scene,that are faster than the changes in Auster’s movies.

    Giulia Marcassa

  11. anonimo scrive:

    The main theme of the film is, obviously, as the title says, chance. Chance is the main responsible of the downfall of the two protagonists. Of course even the choices of Jack and Jim are determinant for their inprisonment. The film shows what may be the effects of gambling: even though you are loosing, you want to bet again, because you know you can win, until you loose everything, even your own freedom. That’s what happen to the protagonists, they believe Flower and Stone are not good player, and they end up with loosing everything.

    So, the film analyses even human psycology. On one hand the desire of playing in the protagonists, but on the other hand there is the critic to the rich Americans who think they can buy everything with their money. Flower and Stone are two rich men who don’t know what to do with so much money, and they are bored, so they look for something that keeps them active. The loss of Jack and Jim is perfect to entrap them and make them build an unuseful wall in the middle of their estate. It’s the absurdity of man: everybody wants money, but someone do not know how to spend them and ends up in doing terrible things.

    The film can be seen as a warn for gamblers and for those who have lots of money, to stop before it’s too late.

    The two protagonists look at the wall in two different ways: Jack lives the situation just as a trap, from which he wants to escape, while Jim sees the building of the wall as a sort of punishment for his behaviour towards the daughter.

    Pietro Perin

  12. anonimo scrive:

    Unluckily I have not seen yet the movie, so I cannot explain perfectly my opinion, but what I have read and what I heard in class about the movie made me think that this movie has to be completely far from the “normal” type of movie. I suppose that the entire movie could be seen as a metaphor made to explain the strange relationship between master and slave, the value of travelling for human heart and (I suppose) other things I will discover watching the movie. Of course, I am not surprised to see the word “chance” in the title: how the Chaos could not be in a film based on a Paul Auster’s novel? I don’t know why, but I believe that this movie will be more “absurd” than Blue In The Face…

    Damiano Verardo

    PS: Happy New Year!

  13. MicheleDB scrive:

    As Damiano, I have not seen the movie yet, but looking at the previous posts, I seemed to understand some things that will help me to answer the questions. Obviously, as we can see in many other films, the music marks the salient moments, the choice of the genre can underlines a scene dominated by the tranquility, by agitation, by some happy or sad events.

    Moreover, the movie is not a documentary, so it will be more linearly and linked. The effects will not be all good. On one hand the spectator has got a simplified vision (I think vision is not the correct word but I don’t know if I can put ‘sight’ or ‘showing’), one the other hand, the lack of interruptions let the spectator lose some details that he would have noticed in a documentary movie.

  14. anonimo scrive:

    The main theme of this film is the chance. The meeting between the 2 protagonists, Jim Nashe and Jack Pozzi, happens by chance. It’s strange how somebody can trust in somebody else who has just met but this happens in the film(when there is money,human being is willing to do anything to get it). I notice also the little statue took by Jim Nashe in the miniature of the city, I think that it has a particular meaning, it stands for chance. You can see in the film the 2 millioners who add in the miniature something everyday(for example pieces of the wall that Jack and Jim are building).

    This film is strange, I think that it doesn’t deal only with chance but it showes also the behaviour of human being in particular situations:for example Jim Nashe, who seems a good person, falls in the trap. Well it isn’t a real trap because if he didn’t want, he wouldn’t be in trouble, he wants the maney,that’s all! This is a weakness of almost every human being. This belief that the fault of their condition of slaves is of the 2 millioners has no sense. They are in trouble because they look for it. I think that Mr Stone and Flower are as “PARCHE” who weave the destiny of men, they control everything. They have killed Jack Pozzi because he wants to escape. I really don’t know the music choosen for the film, I saw the 2 videos taken from youtube and I heard classical music in the first and in the second a song which refrain is:”… it’s better been alone… “. When there is the scene of the escapment, the music is loud, quick and terrific, to underline the fact that something bad is happening. I think that the music emphasises the scenes of the film, not the main theme. When Jack and Jim met, Jim is listening classical music, and it doesn’t emphasises the theme of chance. The film is “the music of chance” but it is a manner of speaking, I believe.

    Santarossa Barbara

  15. anonimo scrive:

    Guarino Ilaria

    I suppose the main theme of this film is the paramount role of chance in owr life and the conseguence that are linked to it.I think the game of poker is a metaphore that stands for human life.Poker,like all the other card games il ruled by chance.It is necessary to have shrewdness,concentration,intuition but above all enough luck to win.So the two protagonists who met eachother by chance,moved by desperation,decided to challenge the destiny but this will win on them and their punishment will be to have to build a long and high stone wall that would become their prison and that would have isolated the two for ever.

    “The music of chance”is a kind of dystophic movie where we can see the man oppression upon man.In this case the chance is incorporate in two enigmatic figures:the owners of the country estate in which the two protagonists are imprisons.This film shows that only who can accept the case consequences wins,as the protagonist Jim Nashe that at the beginnin seems to accept everything in a passive way but then only in the end he will obtain his personal ransom.

    During the film there is both jazz music and anguishing music with dark and heavy tones.These last are put in the scenes where the tension is bigger and feeded the feelings of fear.

    This film is less chaotic and odd than the other films where Paul Auster was the film script writer.I think this film is turn out closer to Paul Auster writer style.

  16. anonimo scrive:

    I found “The Music of Chance” a very mysterious movie, from the beginning until the end. The director doesn’t give us any explanation of what happens during the film, so that the viewer is involved in finding an answer to the presence of different symbolic figures.

    First of all the wall, which has two meaning: it is symbolic of the entrapment, because Nashe and Pozzi are forced to build it, and it is representitive of power, because with the construction of the wall, the other two characters (the rich men) affirm their superiority on Nashe and Pozzi, who are subjugated.

    Another symbolic figure is the car: whereas in the first part of the movie it is a necessary object for Nashe, which stands for journey, freedom and discovery, in the second part, Nashe manages to be independent, since he has filled with an inner balance what previously only his car could gave him.

    Also luck has an important role: as Monica said, luck exists just in our own responsability and in our decision and we cannot attribute to luck what happens.

    Music has a great importance in the movie, because it is another way (in addition to verbal communication between the characters) to arouse emotions in the viewer: the choice of the songs certainly emphasises the mood of the characters, ranging from anxiety, anguish, despair and suffering.

    Federica Cozzarin

  17. anonimo scrive:

    There are many themes developed in the film the music of chance: first of all gambling, seen as a sort of desease, which leds people to bet everything they have (also freedom) in the name of something unknown. This is the case of Nashe and Pozzi, who are subjugated to the will of the rich men, and they will be obliged to build a wall (symbolic of imprisonment, but also of rich men’s power). Secondly the theme of chance (often present in Auster) and luck, which are aspects that affect our lives, but they depend on our actions and our responsibility. Another important theme is the role of music: it allows us to understand the emotions of characters (despair, distress, suffer) and has the task of scanning the various scenes of the film. About the choice of the film director, I think that is given much importance to music than to the spoken parts (perhaps this is the most visible aspect that makes us understand Auster wasn’t the script writer).


  18. anonimo scrive:

    “The Music of Chance” is an interesting example of how the main themes of Paul Auster can be translated on the screen: the story of two men on the fringes of society (James, a former fireman left by his wife and daughter who drives through America and Jack, a gambler) as a metaphor of life. Essential in life is the role of fate and fortune: it is precisely the fate that brings together two people, James and Jack, that seem so different, but they share one important thing: they have lost their way in life. The game of poker represents the final challenge to that fate, to that luck, to that life that are never fair. But unfortunately luck, as well expresses the slogan of the film (Luck is a four letter word) is a fickle and unreliable power that often helps those who do not need it. And that is what happens to Jack and James, that find themselves at the mercy of two strangers who drag them into a strange and disturbing adventure. All this happens, again, by chance, nobody decides anything: it is the fate. And in a life dominated by chance and by luck, one of the most lethal power is money, that allows you to decide everything and to do to everyone what you want, including to play with two lives, or kill them. The film becomes a documentary, the observation of what happens in the great plastic that the two billionaires have built (that is also the reality), the characters and their lives are observed in detail; a monotonous and tragically repetitive life: home, work, rest are repeated abnormally and obsessively. A curious and sometimes frightening story, which is emphasized by music, that reflects the mood of the protagonists and the events: the game of poker, which becomes a moment of hope and sometimes triumph for the two protagonists, is accompanied by a cheerful music, almost the music of a comedy, and then it becomes a powerful piece of classical music, tragic and dignified, which expresses the consequences of what they have done.

    A film built as if the camera was really inside the story, as a live report; the movie is the result of a screenplay that –it is a rare case- incorporates perfectly meanings and nuances of Auster’s work, even though the screenplay was not written by the author. But the director pays homage to Auster, (doing that, the director says that the movie is, actually, done by Auster), with the final cameo.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  19. anonimo scrive:

    Luca Gasparin

    The main themes of the film are love, gamble, travel, freedom, chance and money. Something that result in this film is the different approach that the gambler and the protagonist have to life. In fact, for example, while the gambler, when they have to built the wall, try to escape, the protagonist does not forgive him because he is aware of have done a wrong. Concerning to the theme of chance an important point is when the protagonist steals the two figures from the plastic build, because he thinks that they can bring them luckiness, but then they will reveal as their defeat.

    About the music I think that it emphasises the main theme of the film like we could see in the trailer, because at the beginning music is calm while when they decided to play poker the music changes in an angry music.

    Finally I think that the appearance of Paul Auster is the choice of the film director that makes it blatant.

  20. anonimo scrive:

    One the main theme for me is the downfall of the human being caused only by the individual choices and the different reactions:as Jim someone recognize his responsibilities and can metaphorically (and not) survive while as Pozzi someone else refuse his condition and have to endure the consequences.

    Another theme is how the freedom is so thin and can be easily stolen (as even Seneca said).

    Even luck is analyzed in this film, as a mean of corruption and a force not to trust in the real world.

    In some scenes dramatic classical music highlights, for example, the anguishing moment when Pozzi loses the money and the car or the change between slow-paced classical music and beat up jazz is a forerunner of a big change in Jim life, but, sincerely, music isn’t one of the things that impressed me the most; to say the truth I would translate “The music of chance” with “The rhythm of chance”, I mean that the choices that the protagonists make helps to accelerate or slows the pace of the happenings.

    The pace of the film is so higher than the other Auster’s I saw that is easily to understand that there is another director behind the camera, even if the storyboard is an Auster one.

    Francesca Cazorzi

  21. anonimo scrive:

    In this film there are many important themes: gamble addiction and the consequences of this big social problem. Pozzi is not able to understand when it is better to stop play; he wants to win always more without realizing that “luck” is changing. He forgets his rationality and drags also Nashe in ruin. But the latter is in the mind condition to not follow rationality: his wife has left him and he has a daughter to grow up but he has no idea on how do that. So he has a sense of guilty because he left his daughter to travel around America.

    Then there is the theme of unexpected wealth that is the case of Flower and Stone: they bought 10000 stones of an old English castle. They don’t know how to use the money and when they win the poker game they want to make Pozzi and Nashe suffer because they want to demonstrate that the loser are only slaves: they have to build a wall in the middle of nowhere.

    There is another important theme: the prison. For Pozzi the wall is real so he tried many times to escape and that lead to death , otherwise for Nashe the wall make him think about his responsibility, his stupidity; he expiate his sin (or his sort of sin) by working hard. Here there is the important difference between the two characters: Pozzi doesn’t grow up, he does not understand his sin and so he dead, otherwise Nashe understands his sin, his mistakes and grows up.

    In many scenes music empathizes the sense of anguish of the two characters and makes the viewer feels the same feeling.

    Finally the film director: reading the book review I notice that the film is a little bit different from the original book and probably in this sense I notice that Paul Auster is not the script writer.

    Federica Battistin

  22. anonimo scrive:

    At the centre of the film is chance. This misterious thing that somehow guides our lifes and that sometimes brings us to strange situations. That is the case of the two protagonists, met by chance. They lost all their money playing poker and they had to pay the debits building a wall. This fact introduces another theme: everybody pays for his mistakes and luck does not assists you always,so you need to be careful sometimes in your life.

    The scene where Nashe steals the miniatures from the plastic struck me; in my opinion represented that he wants not to be submitted anymore by Flower and Stone.

    You perceive, watching the film, that Auster is not the script writer. The films we watched before are strange films: Smoke,Lulu on the bridge,Blue in the face,The inner life of Martin Frost are all films that have something that make me say:” this is not the type of film I use to see” because actors,dialogues and the camera moving in a different way.

    “Music of chance” (I like the title =) ) is nearer to the film we normally see,is more linear.

    I liked it. Not too easy to understand (also because we haven’t the subtitles), but on what the film says, we could think a little bit more.

    Giulia Canzi

  23. anonimo scrive:

    This film deals with different themes:

    -There is the theme of the desperation that makes us act in a way that aren’t the way that we choose if we were calm and balanced.When we suffer we search every possible way to eliminate the sufference and the inner affliction.

    -Another theme is the chance,that is the basic idea of Paul Auster and that he underlines in every books and in every films and in every interviews.The two man met each other only by chance.Their lives suddenly cross one another.

    -There in even the theme of glambling.Lots of people are addected to glambling,they spend lots of money in that game,but i can’t call it game because it is a thing that devastates the person who begin to see it like a game but it is like a drug that catch you and it is difficult to lose this defect.

    The songs emphasise the feelings of the characters.When the characters are desperate there are sad songs,when there are a mysterious moment there are an intense and deep song.All the song are connected with the scenes.

    Finally this is a film that have a real plot,in contrast with what we find for example in “Blue in the face” where there are lots of fragment of people that gave their ideas.

    Denise Martin

  24. anonimo scrive:

    As in the other Paul Auster’s films, chance is the Leitmotiv of the story. Everything is determined by it and everything is a result of it. The story, infact, takes shape from the casual meeting of two men that are completely different and have nothing in common, but what was going to happen next, the result of this meeting, and then chance.

    Even if this film contains a simple plot, it is not as simple to understand as the others. It is such a sad film because of his sense of oppression, inspiring by the addiction to the game of chance and the hard labour, in which are sunk the two men. In this film we can see the impact of this ”drug” (game of chance) on people’s mind, how much bad they are and its consequences, it brings brains to death, it’s a sort of denounce of the contemporary society by the author.

    Music is a way to let the mind be free, it is a sort of flight; singing is opposed to think. There is a scene in the film, and also in the extract from youtube, where music holds undoubted the most important role. Nash starts singing and his face seems to become relaxed and unworried. Music reveals states of soul and feelings, that is why all scenes in the film are accompany with quiet and anxious tune.

    ..carla cipolla..

  25. anonimo scrive:

    At the beginning I didn’t appreciate the music of chance very much,but I reflected and actually,it deals with important themes such as chance,jim nashe and jack pozzi met by accident,it is a strange meeting because these two characters are completely different and seem to have nothing in common but during the film the spectator understands that they have an important thing in common,the destiny,they both will be stuck in the property of the two eccentric gamblers in order to extinguish their debt. Other topics of the film are the contraposition between the physical and psychological oppression and the importance of freedom that characterizes the movie,the gambler-addiction,the irrepressible lust of power that afflicts the two rich gamblers,in fact they want to control material goods and people,and the annihilation of the two main characters that become pawns in the hands of two usurpers.

    I think music plays an important role in the movie,it emphasises the atmosphere of the main themes,it is moving the scene where nashe sings a beautiful song(Jerusalem if I don’t mistake)because for the first time he shows his feelings,in fact I found strange nashe’s reaction to the imprisonment,he accepted all the maltreatments without rebelling,he seemed resigned as if his life wasn’t worthy to be lived too much so he decided not to fight for freedom.

    This is the first film that does not see Auster as film script writer..i don’t know if it right,maybe we can notice it from the lack of spontaneity,in the other films the actors could perhaps modify the cues and make them more personal,in the music of chance they seem more planned and prepared.

    Montrasio Valentina

  26. anonimo scrive:

    At last, I could watch the film.

    Two distraught men, who’ ve lost everything, have to build a will as punishment for their foolishness; a way to expiate their wrong. The film could be seen with the different eyes of the two characters: Jim Nashe, he is on a journey with a BMW to search for answer, he knows that these wall is the right punishment; and Jack Pozzi, a gambler, he sees in the wall only a jail and his inability to understand brings him to the death. Jim shows with his will for atonement that he has understand how man is responsible of his own choices. Only relaxation allowed to him is the reading, the second main theme of the film, and opposite of this judicious use of time, there is what degrades the man, as the prostitution. Above-mentioned, Jim is on a journey with a BMW, but really he is in a inner journey, in order to understand him better. Whole film is accompanied with a correct soundtrack, able to emphasize the Nashe’s pain for the loss of his father and wife, amd, after, his will of escape.

    Between the four film, this is the only which has all that is necessary: a star (Jim) and an antagonist (the rich men and the guardian). Unlike the other film, the presence of Paul Auster is lesser. However, this makes the film like many other. So I prefer “SMOKE”, original and innovative.

    Nicola truant

  27. anonimo scrive:

    The story deals with different themes (the gamble – addiction of Mr. Pozzi, which self – consciousness and selfishness leads both the protagonists to their ruin; the psychological disorder of Jim Nashe; the frenzy of power of the two rich men and the boredom that bring them in absurd and foolish hobbies: they act as they were the silent and invisible masters of their little world, in which they confine and imprison the protagonists as slaves, and they play with them as stupid puppets; the theme of the real and psychological imprisonment, which slowly leads the two “marionettes” to a sort of madness), all interlinked by the major theme of the role of chance in life (the casualness of events, the randomness of circumstances, the existence of strange and unique coincidences). Music plays an essential role in the game of chance: at the beginning of the film it warns us of the imminent switchover with a quick shift (from a classical and ambient song to a timed jazz one), than it emphasizes the frightful sense of anguish of the two prisoners with a perpetual tune, always following the emotional progress of the scenes (especially in the end when the movie restart form Jim’s point of view). After “Smoke” this is the movie that I liked most. I am conscious that maybe this is more commercial than the other films we have seen, but it’s not difficult to understand that under this plot there is the able hand of a stager: the story goes on properly, no fixedness and immobility, no embarrassing sketches, no long and boring dialogues.

    Alessandro Piccin

  28. anonimo scrive:

    It is amazing the way many of Auster ‘s main themes are adapted to a film: chance is unevitable in Auster’s works.. The chance meeting of Nashe and Pozzi, two completely different men with completely different stories, co-operate in order to solve some of their problems. Than there’s the solitude: both Jim and Jack are “lonely”, for Jim this was a choice, for Jack we don’t know but certainly people usually try to keep far from poor gamblers! Family is another important theme: Jim was abandoned by his wife just before his father’s death; Jim’s reaction to all this was leaving his daughter with his sister and squander the huge amount of money left by his father driving around America. As usual money means power and easy solution to Jim’s problems but it comes and goes and when you don’t have money, rich people easily enslave you and this is what happens. Imprisonment and the search for freedom are typical in Auster as we read for example in “Travels in the Scriptorium” and in “Double Play”, even if Jim doesn’t really seem to want to gain freedom till the very end of the story when he changes and betters himself.

    Music emphasizes differently each step of the story, classic at the beginning, than jazz music and anguishing when things become worse.. Music is even a deep expression of feelings as we see when Nashe sings a sad, moving song that involves the audience even more..

    I really appreciated watching this movie, I found the choice of Auster’s final cameo very funny and surprising.. Perhaps he has a future as background figure! 🙂 I’m joking, it’s a funny way to say that anyway this is a good film, the director suits perfectly the way Auster works and has even good ideas.

    –Maiutto Jessica–

  29. anonimo scrive:

    I haven’t seen yet the movie, so I can’t explain my thoughts, but I have read something on the Net and I heard the discussion in the class about the movie and I’ve understood that it’s a film based on the meaning of case and, as the title, the chances in our lives. I’ ve understood that Auster wants to explain that in our life there isn’t Luck that doesn’t control our lives, but is an our instrument that we use to charge someone for our defeats. Our lives and good results depend on our responsibilities and our actions. Also…our life doesn’t depens on the object that we have…but who we are…

    About the music…I can’t say about the role of the music in the film, but I can say that (as a lover of music =) ) the music in films is very important, it can envelop people in the atmosphere of the film and in his feelings.

    Laura Sist

  30. anonimo scrive:

    There are several different themes in the film: the Wall is seen by Jim Nashe as the just punishment for his misconduct and for its mistakes, while mr. Wells is only a timetable where erase the day, something that the traps him in their harsh reality.

    Furthermore, there is a clear vision of the gamble-addiction , in fact this “disease” brings Jack to death and Jim almost to madness. The gambler is obsessed by the game and also loses all his dignity of man, also without accepting the consequences. Jim is dragged into this vortex but it takes its responsibilities, completing his punishment. The Chance has put the two on the same road, and after has divided them. the chance is the king of the film, because acting on all the events, the end of Jack and the salvation of Jim.

    Another theme is the music that accompanies the whole film, emphasizing the most important scenes, accelerating the pace or reducing it.

    literature is the only relief of Jim, who take refuge in it to endure the pain of reality and hard work.

    sorry for being late.

    Matteo Cervesato

  31. anonimo scrive:

    First of all I would like to say that I finally found a film (based on a Auster’s novel) that I liked.

    However, the main theme is, obviously, the “chance”. Nashe is became rich by chance, Pozzi bases his life on chance (of course there are some techniques in poker but they couldn’t ever work!), Nashe met Pozzi by chance… So this is an important theme in the movie but is not the only one. There is the theme of “inner growing along the story”, a kind of “Bildungsroman” that involves only Nashe.

    In fact Pozzi is a flat character: his behaviour is the same from the beginning till his death. I really liked the character of Pozzi, he is funny (I loved the scene where he runs over the wall till its end) but he is also convinced of what is doing and what is going to do (certainly only about gamble!). He lives for poker, he thinks that he is not able to do anything but gambling. He could be seen as the common person that lives in a society and does not know (or does not want to know) what is going on around his world.

    On the other hand there is Nashe. He is a superficial man, who trusted Pozzi at first sight (I was very surprised at the beginning of the movie: how could he give Pozzi a lift? I mean, that man was so bloodied and he gave him a lift as he was a harmless nun…). Nashe also had to face with the “problem” of money: he suddenly became rich and he does not know what he has to do.

    This two (different) lives crushed one into the other and then the real Game starts. They played poker but they lost so they were forced to settle their debts building a meaningless and useless wall with 10000 stones for Flower and Stones. The wall is only a physical obstacle for Pozzi that will bring him to death (for his attempts to escape). Nashe instead sees the wall as a punishment of his behaviour, a way of thinking about his past and his mistakes. Day by day he understand something new, something that he did wrong (for example he thinks about his daughter looking her photograph; he probably understand his biggest mistake: left her).

    At the end (after the disappearance/death of Pozzi) Nashe starts to understand that the building of the wall is not a payment for their debts but mostly a prison that cannot be left alive. He understands that there’s only a way to put a stop to it: not words but actions.

    As long as it was an Auster’s novel, I already expected an end that coincides with the beginning: as he did in “The travels in the scriptorium”, Auster wants to remark the fact that life moves on in a circular way. It was foreseeable but I really enjoy Auster’s “cameo” at the end (I have to admit that, as long as I saw him at the end, I tried to imagine him in the role of Nashe…it could have been great!).

    The movie was more linear then the others (I understand very soon that Auster was not the director neither the scriptwriter: he would have complicated the story planning a non-linear plot), and, as Marco and Monica said, this probably makes it a more commercial movie.

    I have to apologize because I was concentrate to the dialogues and I didn’t pay too much attention to the music. But I’d really like to watch it again (maybe paying more attention especially to the music!).

    Elena Poles

  32. anonimo scrive:

    first of all…as always I’m late…and so I have to beg your pardon…I think this was the film of auster I didn’t like…maybe because I wasn’t able to understand all diologues…however…the main themes are,in my opinion, the importance of family,love,the meaning and the riscs of gambling…and obviously the chance that guides everything!family is analysed in an extended sense:for exemple even the couple of friends(stone and flower)is seen as a family,then, also jack represents family to Jim, who is excaping family but takes care of his new friends as a close relative,excaping from his real family.

    music plays an important role in this film…first of all music was classic and there is in the film a song sang by jim whose words where written by the english poet W.Blake…I don’t really understand why they made this choice but I think they wanted to involve better the public(I remember in particular the climax provoqued by the music during the journay by car of jim)and maybe underline the incoming of a repeted event leaded by chance.

    in the end,I personally thought that the script writer was once again Auster , because the theme of casuality is recurrent in Auster’s works…however I find funny to see him, once at least protagonist(or better objecy) of the chance,he is used to guide and to control with his writing….


  33. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    As Simone pointed out, in this film there are the main themes developed by Auster in his fiction. I think it appealed to most of you more than the other films, because the film director was not Paul Auster so he could have an “external” view and approach to the novel. It is more difficult, I think, for a writer to shoot a film based on his novel, since you are too involved in it and it is difficult to take some distance and see how the story can be best adapted into a film.

    Nice and interesting insights. Thumb up for all of you!