Another full day.
After my ticket line-up this morning, I went to see the Claude Miller’s final film starring Audrey Tautou – THERESE DESQUEYROUX. It’s a quiet costume drama with rising currents of tension throughout. I’m a big fan of Merchant Ivory films like HOWARDS END, MAURICE and REMAINS OF THE DAY – and though this film doesn’t deal as much with class as those films, and the score is very understated (by comparison to Richard Robbins’ Merchant Ivory scores) – I think the approach to design, period accuracy and dedication is similar. This is the story of a woman who unhappily marries because she thinks it’s what was meant to do…even though she thinks emancipated thoughts. Though many might find the pace too slow, I really fell inside the frame and thought it was a wonderful story of struggle for freedom – with no 100% likable character within reach. Below is a clip…as there is no trailer yet.
Next I saw THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER – a wonderful little film that proves that Emma Watson will easily make the transition from the child star of the HARRY POTTER franchise to serious actress. This high school story might seem like traditional, angsty material, but it’s handled very well, and the script is great. Ezra Miller (from WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN) has a wonderful supporting role, and lead – Logan Lerman – is really someone to watch…subtle & focused. I’m not sure how Summit (the distributor) will handle this film – while at first glance it appears to be modern John Hughes…but I actually think it’s more thoughtful, honest & serious.
And then came ANNA KARENINA – the new film by Joe Wright (ATONEMENT), starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. I was excited about this film. Though it eventually paid off, it took me 15-20 minutes to “get used” to/become invested in this highly stylized adaptation. 80% of the film takes place in a theatre — on a stage, in the wings, in the lobby, in the rafters, etc. (the other material is shot outdoors). It’s a rather experimental film. I call it equal parts Derek Jarman’s EDWARD II and Baz Luhrman’s MOULIN ROUGE. It has exquisite costuming, set design, score, and screenplay…and the actors are doing some great work. That said, even with this cast, it’s not a film meant for the multiplexes…we’ll see how Focus handles it this fall. Joe Wright, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Olivia Williams were there. When Knightley was asked if playing the part of Anna was intimidating (since it’s been played by some great actresses in the past), she responded, “I think every role is intimidating. But Elizabeth Bennet was more so. Women want to be Elizabeth Bennet…people don’t tend to want to be Anna Karenina.” Just watching this clip below makes me want to see the film again from the beginning. There are some key issues that take place in the beginning…and I need to see it with fresh eyes.
The most thoughtful Q&A of the day came after the screening of Sally Potter’s GINGER & ROSA. I think this is Potter’s most “traditional” film in regards to storytelling style. It’s set in the 60’s, and it’s the story of 2 best friends who are growing up in the age of the nuclear threat and the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s a coming-of-age story, and Elle Fanning does some incredible work. This was the first time many people involved with the film had seen it. Potter, Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Alice Englert, and Alesandro Nivola were all there…and it is a beautifully told story. (I’m hoping that the Q&A surfaces on youtube sometime soon…Potter, Fanning and Nivola all had wonderful things to say.)
It was a great day…and now it’s time for bed.
Thanks for reading!!