Archive for December, 2008

December 30, 2008

>Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain


Here’s a film to love. A story told through tones of reds and greens, especially greens, about a very special young lady who bravely makes everyone’s lives happier and doesn’t expect anything in return, although this genuine joy enlightens her own life. Amélie’s life was very peculiar from the beggining. Her father neither gave her a hug nor a kiss, but touched her during medical check-ups, which increased Amelie’s heartbeats as she so longed for this rare contact with her father. The result of that was that her father mistakenly believed she had a heart condition, and therefore she grew up in loneliness, never going to schools or playing with other children, but being home educated by her neurotic mother, who died while Amélie was only a child. In order to amuse herself, Amélie develops a very active imagination that will affect her life forever. With a Jane Austen’s Emma will to make the most inimaginable couple be together, she can’t figure out how to do the same for herself. How could she?
December 12, 2008



A few weeks later on the Saturday he threw all Stoutamire’s dirty horse blankets into the back of his pickup and took them down to the Quik Stop Car Wash to turn the high-pressure spray on them. When the wet clean blankets were stowed in the truck bed he stepped into Higgins’s gift shop and busied himself with the postcard rack.
“Ennis, what are you lookin for rootin through them postcards?” said Linda Higgins, throwing a sopping brown coffee filter into the garbage can.
“Scene a Brokeback Mountain.”
“Over in Fremont County?”
“No, north a here.”
“I didn’t order none a them. Let me get the order list. They got it I can get you a hunderd. I got a order some more cards anyway.”
“One’s enough,” said Ennis.
When it came — thirty cents — he pinned it up in his trailer, brassheaded tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung the wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears.
“Jack, I swear — ” he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.
Around that time Jack began to appear in his dreams, Jack as he had first seen him, curly-headed and smiling and bucktoothed, talking about getting up off his pockets and into the control zone, but the can of beans with the spoon handle jutting out and balanced on the log was there as well, in a cartoon shape and lurid colors that gave the dreams a flavor of comic obscenity. The spoon handle was the kind that could be used as a tire iron. And he would wake sometimes in grief, sometimes with the old sense of joy and release; the pillow sometimes wet, sometimes the sheets.
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it. (Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx).
December 8, 2008

>The Red Carpet Tales


Judi Dench, who received a lifetime achievement award

This saturday happened the European Film Awards in Copenhagen, the first time ever the city hosted the not so old and traditional event, but nevertheless considered an important prize for the european film industry. Being a movie fan, and having the opportunity to see a red carpet live for the first time in my life, I didn’t hesitate to go, despite the horrid danish weather (I held a camera in my bare hands for over two hours and survived to tell this litte story). I arrived about one hour before the red carpet started, thinking I couldn’t even get a good spot among the “crowd”. Crowd? There weren’t more than 10 people in the place, including a trio of animated teenager girls, a woman with a child and a small group holding apparently great DSLR cameras and large notebooks. The red carpet was short, one could stand in two different sides, either the left or the right and in the middle there was a stupid division that didn’t allow the actors, like Judi Dench, to walk freely from one side to the other. Later I realized that nominated people or people associated with the award in general entered through the left side, and I was standing in the right…

Thomas Vinterberg (Festen‘s director and one of the dogma founders) and family. The girl in the right thinks: Where the heck are the stars?

Around 6pm the first guests started to come, an annonymous crowd usually dressed in the most terrible fashion (think boots in a gala event), but the funniest was to notice those types who seem to find themselves so important for doing a 12 seconds walk in a red carpet. By my side, two young women in their bikes took a good look and said “What a boring red carpet!”, and then left. Later a guy with a huge dog stopped by and more women with their babies (!). The place was still nearly empty, and I asked myself if one would have had a similar picture in another city, but CPH. I guess not. By the end, it looked like 50 people or less watched the red carpet, it was definitely the saddest red carpet ever made. Lack of interest? Not enough publicity, perhaps? Both? Lack of real movie stars? Neither James McAvoy nor Kristin Scott Thomas, both nominated, appeared. The only real celebrity was Dame Judi Dench, as I can’t count danish actors and directors like Paprika Steen (who plays the sister in Festen) and Mads Mikkelsen (the villain in Cassino Royale and the lead actor in After the Wedding) as big celebrities, among others.

Mads Mikkelsen and a short glimpse of Wim Wenders’ back

Besides knowing a bunch of directors by their names, films they made, I just don’t know what they look like (do you?). Wim Wenders, filmmaker and president of the film academy, walked by three times, and I only realized who he actually was when he was standing with a bouquet of flowers, waiting for the very late crown princess Mary. A group of spanish people walked by, possibly the ones behind El Orfanato? What about a short italian guy, would he possibly be Gomorra‘s director? I had no idea, and frankly, I didn’t give a damn. The only director I really wanted to see was Lars von Trier, but as expected, he didn’t bother walking through the red carpet. Around 8pm, the pre-event was over, no glamorous gowns and red lipstick, no screaming fans, no warmth, no life, as an ordinary dark and depressing winter evening, with the exception of a couple of searchlights that illuminated the sky, playful.
December 1, 2008

>Happy Birthday, Woody Allen!


“For some reason I’m more appreciated in France than I am back home. The subtitles must be incredibly good.”
“My relationship with Hollywood isn’t love-hate, it’s love-contempt. I’ve never had to suffer any of the indignities that one associates with the studio system. I’ve always been independent in New York by sheer good luck. But I have an affection for Hollywood because I’ve had so much pleasure from films that have come out of there. Not a whole lot of them, but a certain amount of them have been very meaningful to me.”
“The two biggest myths about me are that I’m an intellectual, because I wear these glasses, and that I’m an artist because my films lose money. Those two myths have been prevalent for many years.”
“Of course, I would love everybody to see my films. But I don’t care enough ever to do anything about it. I would never change a word or make a movie that I thought they would like. I really don’t care if they come or not. If they don’t want to come, then they don’t; if they do come, then great. Do I want to do what I do uncompromisingly, and would I love it if a big audience came? Yes, that would be very nice. I’ve never done anything to attract an audience, though I always get accused of it over the years.”
Films: Annie Hall, Match Point, Sweet and Lowdown, Bullets Over Broadway, Hannah and her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Celebrity, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
December 1, 2008

>Watch a Carole Lombard film


“I wish Carole Lombard would receive some of the attention lavished on Marilyn Monroe. They were so alike: blond, beautiful, sexy and at their best in comedy. They married famous men, and they died tragically young. The Monroe legend grows. Do people remember Lombard? (…) She was a better actress than Monroe, left more classic films, (…) her artistry lives, and her best films continue to deliver joy. She threw herself exuberantly into parts and wasn’t afraid to look foolish for a laugh. In many ways, she served as an inspiration to Lucille Ball.” (Hal Boedeker)

While I don’t agree with the better than Monroe thing among most of other comparissons, I find it a pity that movie lovers don’t remember Carole Lombard or in the worst cases have never even heard of her. As I’ve mentioned on a post before, it’s remarkable how she’s hardly mentioned in film related shows, magazines or media in general. Having heard of her long ago, I’ve actually “discovered” her very recently (through Twentieth Century and Nothing Sacred), and would love to see more of her pictures. It might not always be easy to find her films, but here’s one of them.