August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
WINNER OF *BEST FILM* and *BEST PRODUCER* at the 2010 David Di Donatello Awards!
“L’Uomo Che Verra” or “The Man Who WIll Come”, is the second full length feature film by acclaimed Italian director, Giorgio Diritti. “The Man Who Will Come” is so powerful, beautiful, and well-researched, it is even shot in a rare form of Italian dialect, known as the Bolognese Apennines, which, today, is spoken by very few, all of whom are older than 60 years of age, even the Italian actors had to be taught to speak the dialect.
Set in a hillside town of Bologna, the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in 1944, “The Man Who Will Come”, accurately depicts the actual tragic murders of 770 civilians by German troops occupying Italy after the fall of Mussolini. Although the film is fictional, yet based on real events, you will be emotionally touched by the character, Martina, an eight year old outcast, who hasn’t spoken a word ever since her newborn brother died. Poor Martina is confused as to who and why the Germans are wreaking havoc on their small, unsophisticated, rural town, and while trying to make sense of it all, observes human suffering inconceivable to mankind.
Interview with Mathieu Amalric: Winner of the Best Director Prize at Cannes 2010 For “Tournee”/”On Tour”
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
Mathieu Amalric discusses what it was like to direct and star in “Tournee” or “On Tour”, how the idea came about, and what it feels like to have won such a coveted award.
Brief synopsis of “Tournee”/”On Tour”: “Joachim, a former Parisian television producer had left everything behind, his children, friends, enemies, lovers and regrets to start a new life in America. He returns to France with a team of New Burlesque strip-tease performers whom he has filled with romantic dreams of a tour of France, of Paris! Traveling from town to town, despite the cheap hotel rooms and lack of money, the curvaceous showgirls invent an extravagant fantasy world of warmth and hedonism that wins an enthusiastic response from men and women alike. Their dream of a tour culminating in a last grand show in Paris goes up in smoke when Joachim is betrayed by an old friend and loses the theater where they were due to perform.”
Q: Sharon Abella: Tell us what it was like to direct and star in the film?
A: Mathieu Amalric: “It was not my idea to star in the film. Many suggested that I star in the film, but I did not want to. I was looking for another actor. Three weeks before the shooting, the producer, and the Director of Photography, said, ‘you have to star in the film’, but I said, ‘No, I don’t want to. I want to direct.’ However, three weeks before the shooting, I said, ‘I guess I have to do it.’ There was a complexity of fiction, of drama, we were able to institute this from the inside, to make surprises, to make a movie that works. It came together.”
Q: Sharon Abella: How did the idea come about?
A: Mathieu Amalric: “At the beginning of the film it was very solitary, very small. I read, Sidonie-Gabrielle Collette, the French author, for many years. It was sort of a diary of her life as an actress on tour with musicals, where she would do sort of a naked pantomime. She would describe a sort of freedom, and fatigue and a sense of being a misfit and independent at that moment. She had fallen in love with another woman, and there was a sense of freedom. I was looking for that spirit today in strip tease, and I couldn’t find it. One day, I saw an article about American New Burlesque, and some photographs, and there was an immediate connection. It was as if Collette were still alive today. When one of the women from the American New Burlesque told me that one of their daughters was Collette, something happened. It was very humorous. The girls talk not with words, but with their bodies. Most are trying to find a perfect body type. The fact that these girls don’t have a perfect body type, is interesting in itself. That’s how it started.”
Q: Sharon Abella: Do any of the dancers have formal training?
A: Mathieu Amalric: “They all have very different training. A few of them studied classical, or contemporary dance at ‘The Julliard School’. Dirty Martini, played by Linda Marraccini, and Julie, both come from classical dance training. One girl worked in punk rock before and she learned how to play piano in church. Mimi, comes from San Diego, and works in informatics, and she fell in love with the 1950’s. They all have different stories, but they are all incredibly professional. For instance, before doing a show, they have to warm up. The warm up is quite impressive. They really prepare themselves like artists, like dance artists. Then they can have fun. They are very professional, and are very precise with their props.”
Q: Sharon Abella: Talk about the strong personalities of the American Burlesque dancers. They didn’t seem to want a man controlling where they performed and how much they got paid.
Quotes from film: “We make a show for women, we make our own numbers, men no longer control it, we entertain the masses, it’s like playing dress up.”
A: Mathieu Amalric: “I didn’t know that new burlesque existed before. I was looking for something that could resonate well. I wanted a sort of tension between the manager and independent women. At the beginning of the film, the tour manager character, Joachim, played by me, didn’t even look at the dancers, he was more worried if the young girl would be able to take off her bra. At the same time, by the end of the film, the women sort of adopted and accepted Joachim, and the fact that he is part of the tour. They accept the fact that a man is watching their work.”
Q: Sharon Abella: The tour manager appears as a genuinely nice guy, but seems misunderstood. Do you agree? Talk about Joachim.
A: Mathieu Amalric: “I think that the girls finally accept him, they begin to see that he has a heart, that he is honest with them, and they begin to believe in him. When you see Joachim struggling in Paris to find a theater where they can perform. He takes risks, confronts his enemies, and shows a love for the woman in the hospital. The women must feel that, even if they aren’t aware of it. They must feel that he has difficulties. They must feel that their spirit has contaminated him a little. At the end of the film, Mimi says, “You can sit now”, “Relax”.
Q: Sharon Abella: The challenges you faced making the film.
A: Mathieu Amalric: “It was like paradise to shoot this film. We had women producers, Laetitia Gonzalez, and Yael Fogiel, and we did a real tour. We shot in the hotels where the girls were really living. A complicity happened. This is fiction, and not to be confused with a documentary. I fell in love with these women immediately, and wanted to film their real lives, but ultimately, had to return to the script. We wrote a lot. I would wake up very early in the morning, to be certain that the scenes were written about characters in action and not their real life personalities. This was a big challenge. It’s strange, but a perfect script is a script that you have to hide when you shoot. That you don’t feel when you see the film, that is hidden. That was a big challenge. I wanted the information to be discovered in the present. I wanted it to be a surprise. Oh, he wasn’t a tv producer, oh, he has children. Like the audience watching, I wanted it to be a surprise. This was actually a lot of work.”
Q: Sharon Abella: What does winning the best director prize at Cannes 2010 mean for you?
A: Mathieu Amalric: “It’s the most beautiful present. It’s as if the most intimate present had been given to me, because it tells something about how I fell in love with this project. I just wanted to direct films, working as an actor, was something others saw in me, I wasn’t aware of it. I worked as an assistant director, assistant editor, props, all those jobs, and that’s why the stage was like coming back home, it’s sort of a natural place on a set. It was very moving for all of us. That’s why I wanted the women to come with me on stage, and if the crew had been there also. Directing, is very solitary, but at certain moments, you don’t know who is directing the film, ideas come from everywhere, from the editing, from the props man, from the actors. Directing it’s sort of being a film star that can combine all of the roles together.”
Q: Sharon Abella: You have joined the long list of acclaimed directors at Cannes. How does that feel?
A: Mathieu Amalric: “It is very exciting, but also very scary, because it’s like if it was a little death. Before, I was never thinking what would be the next film, you just film what you have in mind, and now you are afraid, but what can I do now. I am going to try not to feel pressured.”
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff, might be more aptly titled, “Painter, Photographer, Inventor, Explorer, Cameraman, and Director: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff.” There haven’t been many whose obituary reads, born in 1918, entered the industry as a child movie actor at the age of four, studied impressionist painters, was one of the first to use color in film, commenting that “color is light, and light is color”, was the first to have to scout remote movie locations in a time period when many had never even left their hometown, had a love of women, and had worked side by side with Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, as well as directors, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston, however, Jack Cardiff’s did. Martin Scorsese recently introduced the movie, “Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff,” directed by Craig McCall at the British Film Institute, last week, describing Jack as “one of the last pioneers of movie-making and one of the first artists that gave us color. He was able to create images of beauty and heart-stopping dynamism. Once seen, never forgotten images are loved, they will never fade.” On May 16th, 2010, at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux introduced the director of “Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff”, Craig McCall.
Interview with Craig McCall
Sharon Abella: Speak about how Jack Cardiff applied his love of art, painting, and color, towards his work as a cameraman.
Craig McCall: “Well, I think what is interesting about Jack, as is stated in the movie, was that Jack was very intuitive. He died last year at 94 years old, he grew up during the 1920’s in Britain. There was no social structure, his parents were vaudevillian, and he went to 300 schools. The first thing that really engaged him outside the bubble of vaudevillian world, was art. Why I am attracted to Jack? I don’t think there is anything wrong with the classical formal art education, but I did not have one, and I think I was attracted to Jack because, I wanted to make this an inclusive film, something that draws you in. There’s nothing more off putting than someone lecturing you on Caravaggio or Turner. I do not mean any disrespect to any Ivy League professors, Jack is a vehicle to inspire people. When you see him standing in front of the Turner painting in The National Gallery, this is someone whose films you have seen, therefore you are several steps closer to him, and several steps closer to being inspired. That’s why I think Jack is a fantastic person. He also proves it by copying great painters, Boucher, Fragonard. Because my film does not have voiceovers, you just cut to his work. So, you see, there he copied a Boucher, there he copied a Fragonard, a Monet, a Cezanne. It’s very refreshing to hear someone say, “I wanted to copy.” That’s what I think is brilliant about him, and then applied it into his cinematography.”
Sharon Abella: Q: How does his use of brush strokes get applied to his cinematography?
A: Craig McCall: “I think there are two sides. There’s using words to kind of describe taking color ideas from Van Gogh, or lighting ideas from Turner, which are always constricting. That’s why I thought a visual documentary was a very good vehicle. So when Jack started to place them in stories, I think they got heightened. When they use technicolor in Britain in the late 40’s, it really stood out. The idea of doing small, intimate stories using technicolor was very unsual. In the States predominantly the studios were only given an extra 30% to do Westerns, outdoor pictures or musicals. They didn’t see any justification of making any intimate detailed stories at that time in color. It’s hard to understand now, but when you are watching “Black Narcissus”, which Jack worked on with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, where Jack won an Oscar for in 1947, a story in color, about nuns going insane in Himalayas, the reason why people are so impressed, and the reason it kind of exploded in the States, and the reason why his name was so well known, was because he was using color in a very different way. The American cinematographers were being corralled into shooting in a different format. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger said, “we’ll use color as another element of telling these stories.”
Q: Talk about his innovative ways of making a gray sky turn blue.
A: Jack literally would do what’s known as map painting with glass filters. If a sky was gray, Jack would suggest to directors, “I will paint it in”. Rather than saying, “it’s a gray sky, we can’t shoot”, there was no recourse to CGI. Instead of waiting three days for a blue sky, or going to a studio, he would just paint it. So whether it was in England, where he would create the effect by breathing on the lens to create fog, and as his breath evaporated on the lens, or in the big studios when he was doing “War and Peace”, you are shooting with Dino Delaurentis and Carla Ponte, he would just paint in sky for a duel scene with Henry Fonda, but it was set in Russia. Jack worked like a kid with a big toy box. Of course there was a very serious side to him technically, but I think why a lot of directors are attracted to him was because he was fast, but also because he kept bringing artistic ingenuity into practical situations.”
Q: Was this for budget reasons or just because he was being creative, or a little bit of both?
A: “A little bit of both. He pulled it off.”
Q: Thelma Schoonmaker had said that the budget for most films made back then was what she called, “coffee money on both movie sets these days”, and the result was an amazing film made with a low budget.
A: “They had to be very inventive. Time was always pressing. I don’t think the time aspect has ever changed. Time was always pressing with actors/actresses on set. Even when he was a camera operator working with Marlena Dietrich, he was learning things of other American cinematographers, and Jack learned a lot from American cinematographers. He had a huge debt of gratitude to American cinematographers that he worked under like Harry Stradling, Ray Hanrahan. These were all big Oscar winning directors of photography.”
Q: Talk about Jack being ahead of his time location scouting and traveling to the most remote locations, such as the Congo for “African Queen”. A time period when most hadn’t left their own country.
A: “The key was when technicolor decided to break out into the world outside the United States, they put a studio in London, and one in Italy. They needed technicians, they couldn’t keep sending American technicians, so they needed home grown technicians to start teaching. Technicolor wasn’t all in one system. It was the film, it was the camera, it was the processing, and it was the final print. It seems that was the whole deal until 1955. Jack was given the key to that by being the trainee because of his art history background. That meant that he started shooting some of the first films that people would see back home. Little travel logs in India or the Middle East. You have to remember when you went to the cinema in 1936, most people hadn’t been outside of their country. Despite the Second World War, where a lot of people went off and fought, and traveled, at that time, to even see Rome in color, to see Paris in color, was extraordinary. ”
Q: Talk about his diversity, as a photographer, cameraman, director.
A: “The actual inclination, the knee jerk is to say, well cameramen are all interested in photography. Jack always, always watching the actors. I think he kept that quiet. I think with certain directors, he said it to Richard Fleiscel, when he was doing “The Vikings”, he was very good friends with him and trusted him, and said, “Actually, I really do love acting.” In regards to photography, Jack just wouldn’t stop. He was fascinated by images. He would take actresses off the set. Audrey Hepburn, on “War and Peace, Marilyn Monroe, with “Prince of the Showgirl”, he was very clever, he became like “The Greatest Liutenant. I think thats why the producers and directors liked him. American studios liked him because he did a lot more than shoot beautiful films. He gave confidence to lead actresses. The result of that, when you look back, actress portraits, his paintings, and his drawings, when you look back I’ve got sketches of Marlena Dietrich, and ends with photographs in the 70s. He started off as a child actor in 1918, performing in film in the silent era, and ending in his 90’s. There aren’t many who worked in the film industry at his level.”
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Mine Vaganti” is the ONLY Italian film showing in this years festival.
“Mine Vaganti”/”Loose Cannons” is a bitter sweet dramatic comedy about a Southern Italian family who own a pasta factory in Puglia, (the spur of the boot), and would love nothing more than for their two handsome sons, Tommaso, and Antonio, to take over the family business, get married, have children and pass down the Cantone family name to another generation. Well, what the family wants versus what Tommaso and Antonio want, are two different things.
Laugh out loud funny.
In Italian with English subtitles.
ROUND TABLE WITH DIRECTOR FERZAN OZPETEK
RED CARPET INTERVIEWS WITH CAST:
Three more chances to see this comedy:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:00pm Clearview Chelsea Cinema
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 6:00pm Village East Cinema 1
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 8:30pm Village East Cinema 3
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
Interview with French actor Eric Elmosnino, who portrays French singer, Serge Gainsbourg amazingly well, in “Gainsbourg, Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus”.
Q: Did you receive any reaction from any of the Gainsbourg’s on this film?
A: Eric: “Charlotte Gainsbourg said it was too difficult, and too sensitive for her to watch the film, and she can’t see the film. You have to understand, Gainsbourg is an icon in France. This is a fairytale about Gainsbourg, but the film is very true to the story, because a lot of the things really happened, but you can’t actually say for sure that that Gainsbourg was actually the real Gainsbourg. It’s like a fantasy. It’s an homage from one artist to another one.”
Q: Did you have to take singing lessons to prepare for this role?
A: “Yes, I worked a lot on my singing. The songs from the end, that was more difficult. It seems so simple, but was very difficult for me. The really difficult thing that you can’t actually catch. I wanted to hear myself sing the songs. ”
Q: Were you a fan of his before making the film?
A: “I wasn’t before the film, but now I am a big fan and listen to his songs everyday. Fan isn’t the right word to describe it, he is now a friend, a companion. He is an icon, he entered people’s everyday life through television, and radio. We have a comedic actor, who is also an icon, you hear about them all the time. These people open doors by being provocative. Their liberated people, and all the freedom came from them.”
Q: Are there any American singer/songwriters that are similar to Serge?
A: “Maybe Lenny Bruce, the film with Dustin Hoffman, but I don’t know. Maybe, Bob Dylan, but I don’t know.” “In regards to Gainsbourg, you had people who hated him, they thought he was very dirty, very provocative. When he was alive, his personality was hurting his work, but now 30 years later, what exists is only his work, not the man. It’s like a rebirth in music. I heard some people from the audience say, ‘now I sort of like Gainsbourg, after watching this film'”.
Q: Who do you think the love of his Serge’s life was?
A: “The producers wanted a happy ending. Serge was really happy to have Charlotte. He taught Charlotte how to play piano.”
There are three more chances to see this film at the 2010 “Tribeca Film Festival”.
Monday, April 26, 2010 at 7:30pm at Village East Cinema, 181 2nd Avenue at 12th Street
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 2:15pm at Village East Cinema, 181 2nd Avenue at 12th Street
Friday, April 30, 2010 at 6:00pm at Village East Cinema, 181 2nd Avenue at 12th Street
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Bridging The Borders with 88 Keys (52 White and 36 Black)”
Israeli pianist/keyboardist, composer, producer, and vocalist, Idan Raichel, dreams of uniting nations by building bridges made out of 88 Keys across to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine with the hopes of allowing world musicians the freedom to unite, join forces, and perform together without conflict, mistrust, and political red tape, while respecting one another’s cultural diversifications. The musician places importance on the fact that “the world will live in peace when there are no borders.”
Interview with French Film Director, Phillipe Seclier/ “An American Journey”/ Photographer Robert Frank
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
“An American Journey: Revisiting Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans'”: Opens at “The Film Forum” on Wednesday, September 30.