Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"When are you going to give me a job?", Angelina Jolie asked Pedro Almodóvar during an event that gathered all the candidates for Best Foreign Film at Golden Globes 2012.
"Don't worry, you're young", responded the director, visibly surprised by the confrontation.
"But one day you will?", insisted Jolie.
"Yes, definitely. This is a promise in front of the cameras", affirmed Almodovar.
It was with a combination of jealousy and amazement that I watched this exchange happen. Of course, the majority of the afternoon was considerably more serious, but within the first 5 minutes Jolie took the opportunity to do what any actress would; corner a world-class director and ask for a job. But Jolie was not attending the panel discussion, which took place at the Egyptian theater, as an actor. She was representing In the Land of Blood and Honey, her screenwriting and directorial debut. Almodóvar was representing the haunting and ingenious The Skin I Live In. Of course, Jolie and Almodóvar were in incredibly good company, joined by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Kid With a Bike), Asghar Farhadi's (A Separation), and a group of translators. Language barriers aside, many of the directors had similar assertions to make about their work - commenting on the political nature of their films and the place of film in the politics of their respective countries. Farhadi had some particularly poignant assertions to make about politics, which is a dangerous and delicate matter in his native Iran. When asked how he was able to raise the funds to make A Separation, the most critically acclaimed film of the year and now winner of the 2012 Golden Globe for best foreign film, Farhadi scoffed. He said he would not divulge the secrets that would unveil the politics behind filmmaking and, therefore, make the process seem less pure. He alluded to the fact that there are less-than-glamorous measures taken in order to make art in Iran, but the only important thing for us to do is watch the movie. When asked about the politics of In the Land of Blood and Honey, Jolie was more eager and generous to share her opinions (you can understand why). At the beginning, Jolie was apprehensive being an American filmmaker shooting a film about recent and tumultuous history in Bosnia. This is not a history of grandparents or past generations, this was the Bosnian War of the 1990s and the ever-present threat of sexual abuse to women. Jolie was nervous the crew would not be well-received. Much to her surprise, the Bosnian people embraced her and the film. Jolie sees the film as an educational movie, intended to bring awareness and information to the rest of the world. She sees the relationship between her two principal characters, Danijel and Ajla a metaphor for what was happening in the country as a whole. Farhadi responded to Jolie's claims, stating that no story he could ever tell would accurately represent an entire country of people.
Of course, Jolie and Farhadi had the two most politically charged films when compared with Almodovar and the Dardenne brothers. The Dardenne brothers had some insightful comments about the rehearsal process for a film, which they approach like theater. Many of the directors present use a repertoire of actors, like a company instead of one-time gigs. Before the shoot, they do 40 days of full, physical rehearsals. They also prefer to work with untrained or discovered actors. Almodóvar discussed his signature style and how it is achieved. He puts his signature on every decision made in front of the camera, maintaining control over every aspect of the frame. He charmingly stated; "I am a frustrated artist, I am a frustrated set designer, I am a frustrated costume designer, I am a frustrated hairstylist, I am a frustrated musician..." and the list went on. Although the comment got a laugh it shows the involvement and importance Almodóvar places on even the smallest details in frame.
Another theme introduced was the question of realism vs. represented reality. Almodóvar, for example, chooses to show a heightened or idealized reality. This, he stated, comes from the mindset of a boy growing up in Franco's Spain. Unable to go to film school because of Franco's government, Almodóvar went to see American and Italian films to escape his reality. He taught himself everything he knows on a Super 8 camera. Film, he stated, is a means of escaping reality. "For example, Penelope in Volver. I'll tell you a secret. The jacket she wears is Dolce and Gabbana. She is a housekeeper, she would not be able to afford it, but it doesn't matter. It is high end but it looks like a tablecloth." Farhadi and the Dardenne brothers had contrasting arguments. Jean-Pierre Dardenne stated, "a film can never be realism because it is always a representation," but the brothers do try to achieve as heightened a sense of realism possible. Same was true of Jolie, who tried not to dress sets or use intricate lighting, but instead film the country exactly as she found it.
The event was an inspiring discussion from some of the most talented filmmakers alive. I felt lucky to witness the discussion and look forward to watching their next steps.
Monday, January 16, 2012
No complaints about the weekend. Although it was overcast for the most part (nothing to write home about considering the freezing temps on the east coast), my personal forcast was far more promising. I met with the production team of a new short film I'm shooting, saw a wonderful panel discussion with the directors nominated for best foreign film at the Golden Globes (more to come on this), screened my commercials to good reviews from friends and family, and attended a viewing party for the Golden Globes. This week I'm determined to make time to see friends - it's funny how quickly time passes with busy schedules and pretty soon it's been a good month since you've seen someone. Hopefully I'll remedy that in the coming days. Welcome to the working week!
photos via: hoodoo
Friday, January 13, 2012
"A dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world"
I woke up this morning and had absolutely no idea what day it was. It can't be Friday already! But it is. The week flew by. This was in part due to the out-of-my-routine things that happened; I shot a short film (we finished last night with a go-go dancing scene), I worked for an elementary school writing recommendation letters (which I submitted early this morning), and I still had to figure out how to manage work. This weekend I'm supposed to do a studio shoot with a photographer friend and I have another meeting regarding a potential short film on Sunday. However, I may cancel my plans on Saturday and just have a day off. When I lose track of time, I've been known to miss appointments and....sometimes they are important not to miss. So I'll try to get my footing and, in the meantime, catch some sun, see people I love, and look forward to all the imminent changes in my life. Happy weekend!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
TGIF for real. Coming back to work after a lovely vacation dealt a heavy handed dose of reality. I must remember that I only have two weeks left at this job and then I take the plung into self-employment. And however nervous that makes me, I will be happy and excited to devote 100% of myself to my personal goals. At the end of the day, I have been lucky for the stability of my position during my post-grad transition and am equally fortunate to have the freedom to quit. This week I've been taking interviews to replace myself and will continue to do so throughout next week. I have a few auditions scheduled for the weekend, but am currently focusing on tying up loose ends and anticipating my next chapter. Of course, it will be nice to have some down-time, take a walk in the (uncharacterically summery) sun, and see some friends for the first time in 2012. Happy weekend!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
On the eve of New Years Eve my boyfriend gave me the somewhat ambiguous news that we'd be going to see a show, but that I was advised not to dress up or wear anything I didn't mind getting ruined. None of my questions 'why' were answered. Upon entrance to the theater, we were lead into a large room, not dissimilar to a black-box theater, but without any seats. Instead, a crowd of people gathered, filling up the space and moving to the sounds of spinning house music (a combination of synthesized west-African drumming and Latin samba rhythms). A monotone voice came over the loud speakers advising the crowd to follow crew instruction and move easily throughout the space, among other, more standard instructions. The most central crowd began to move outward, making space for what appeared to be a large peninsula coming out of the wall. A strong white light poured out through an opened door, out of which a man (also in head-to-toe white) followed. The peninsula, which turned out to be something like a treadmill on steroids, moved to the center of the room and would become the centerpiece for the action throughout the show.
Fuerza Bruta is filled with surprises like these: women running at a 45 degree angle against iridescent fabric, dance numbers that happen on moving set pieces, running through walls of cardboard and confetti, audience participation, and finally; overhead synchronized swimming.
The result is a combination between postmodern movement show, performance art, and rave. The surprises are refreshingly new and convey a sense of wonder I haven't experienced in a performance for some time. The show, described as a "360 degree experience," originated in
Not usually do I assert that a show ended too soon, but in this case...I did. After the "performance" ends, the music continues as water and mist are dumped on the audience. Fuerza Bruta is a fun and engaging show that will challenge your conceptions of postmodern theater by convincing you that you are simply at a dance party.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Despite his early successes on stage, Rains fought a crippling speech impediment and lost many roles due to his thick cockney accent. However, his talents caught the attention of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of the iconic Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Tree enrolled Rains in elocution classes to modify his speech and, shortly after, hired Rains as a professor at the school.
During the First World War, Rains was drafted and served in the British army. A surprise gas raid left him partially blind until his death, but despite the handicap he rose the ranks and left the army a Private Captain. Upon his return to
Rains started his film career unusually late, but was immediately recognized, ironically, for his voice. Universal Studios tried to peg his as a horror actor, due to the honey-and-gravel tone of his voice. His film debut was in The Invisible Man (1933). He became a citizen of the
Rains fought his typecast and succeeded, having a successful career in film in a diverse breadth of roles. Although he was most commonly cast the villain and stood a mere 5’6’’ tall, his amicable demeanor and undeniable talent made him a favorite to work with. In 1939 he received his first Academy Award nomination for his role in Mr. Smith Goes to
Rains was married a total of 6 times; to Isabel Jeans (1913-1915), Marie Hemmingway (1920), Beatrix Thomson (1924-1935), Frances Proper – with whom he had his only daughter, Jessica – (1935-1956), Agi Jambor (1959-1960), and Rosemary Clark Schrode (1960-her death in 1964). Rains resided on a large rural property in
Although less recognizable than some of his contemporaries, Rains will remain one of the most accomplished and successful actors of the 20th century.