EDITORIAL Red carpet unrolled, barriers positioned, sound systems tested, lights lit, photographers checking their places, reporters their questions, umbrellas raised, autograph hunters seeking their prey as the limousines purr their way into the square like sleek black cats, and everyone becoming excited and just a little edgy, practically reflecting the stance of the image of the young man on the huge billboard above the cinema’s canopy as he stands balanced th on a drumstick. It was October 8th, the 8th day of the 58 London Film Festival. Necks craned, eyes searched as the celebrities emerged from the cars to the call of their names: “J.K.! Miles! Damien! Over here!” And soon they would be entering the inner sanctum of the Odeon Leicester Square for the gala premiere of their film – Whiplash. Come, fingertip your way through the 19th issue of MbM which highlights the best of this year’s London Film Festival: Whiplash, The Salvation, The Drop, Wild and The Wonders. Join us in the audience for the press conferences of Wild with Reese Witherspoon and at Whiplash with Damien Chazelle, Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. Relax with us and have afternoon tea with Alice Rohrwacher and Kristrian Levring, directors of The Wonders and The Salvation respectively and learn a little more about these two great films as the directors are interviewed. Be there on the media line to meet the arrival of Noomi Rapace, star of The Drop. In addition there is a retrospective review of the film Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, an outstanding achievement in filmmaking by David Fincher and almost certainly qualifying Rosamund Pike an Academy Award nomination come next March. Cover star is Mads Mikkelsen of The Salvation, and one of MbM’s favourite actors who I discuss with the director of this fine western. Finally thanks to the following people and companies for their help in making this magazine possible: Louisa, Natasha, Kate, Elizabeth, Sam and all the team at Premier, Charlotte Aston at Warners, Image Net., the team at LLF, my designer Paul Ridler and my loyal readers, and in particular Eric Pomert of SF Bay Area Creative Videos: http://www.ericpomert.com and Milana at the Gate Picturehouse , Notting Hill: www.picturehouses.co.uk/ cinema/Gate_Picturehouse/ Enjoy the read. 3
THE SALVATION Spoiler Alert You not only look like them, you sound like them too. You will too. Homage to the western that is unashamedly filled with nearly every scene you could recall from that faded genre: the lone anti-hero avenging the killing of his wife and son and protecting the townsfolk from the merciless killer and his henchmen who rides into town to seek the killer of his brother. There is the framed archway ala John Ford, the huge closeups, the thundering music, the opening sequence at the railroad station awaiting the arrival of a train, a fly crawling, the sensuous sunsets, inspired by the spaghetti westerns of Leone and Corbucci, and of course the obligatory shoot-out. Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon hangs its shadow over the film, not only with the countdown to the shoot-out between Jon (Mads Mikkelsen) and Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but also the similarity in looks between Jon’s wife Marie (Nanna Oland Fabricius) and the Quaker bride of Will Kane (Grace Kelly). And the plot similarity of The Salvation when the townspeople refuse to stand by and help fight the outlaw and his gang and instead betray the gunman’s whereabouts to save their skin and he has to face them alone. The heroine is tough and mute just as the hero Jean-Louis Trintignant was in The Great Silence, and the villain played superbly hateable by Klaus Kinksi in the same film reflects the evil of Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this one. Though there are few westerns made today, yet it is one of the earliest film genres. The Great Train Robbery was made in 1912 and the film launched its first male star, a cowboy named Bronco Billy, real name G.M Anderson. Then with sound came the thunder of hooves, the crackle of log fires, smoke signals of the Sioux and Apaches, and the singing cowboys of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers until John Ford’s Stagecoach starring John Wayne rolled on out into Monument Valley. The western had arrived. We hope that this film will bring a further revival to the genre that has spawned so many classic movies like Once Upon In The West, Shane, A Fistful of Dollars, Rio Bravo, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Wild Bunch, The Proposition and the one director who inspired the west, Akira Kurosawa, who had the greatest admiration for the western film; fittingly his masterpiece Seven Samurai, about a group of villagers terrorised by bandits who resort to hiring professional warriors to save and protect them was later remade by John Sturges as The Magnificent Seven. The Salvation will be released in the UK on February 13th. An Interview with Kristian Levring director of THE SALVATION. The following took place at the May Fair Hotel on Friday 17th October 2014 during the BAFTA London Film Festival. MbM: Why did you want to make a western? KL: Because westerns were my childhood, my first love of films, when I was a child, a teenager, and in Denmark where I lived at that time we 4
only had one television channel and on Saturday afternoons they would show westerns and then as you go along, the films I liked became Bergman, Antonioni, but I always had that simplicity, that love of those simple stories and the very moral tales of the westerns. One day I was here, I live in London, and I was having lunch with Peter Aalbaek, who was founder of a company called *Zentropa, which is also Lars von Trier, who is also a friend. We were chatting, we were having lunch and we had quite a lot of red wine and he said where was my love of films, where did it come from and I said it came from westerns and at one point he could see that I was so passionate about it and he said I think you should really do a western. I said are you crazy? He said I think we can finance that and I can feel your passion for it. And this film was a lot of fun, even though it is quite a brutal film, the actual making of it was a work of love, fun, a lot of enjoyment; the same with all the actors and writers. It is so different from a psychological drama. It is refreshing in some ways. MbM: It’s homage as well to the western isn’t it? It is a dying genre, there are not so many made now, and it brought back all the nostalgia when I saw the movie and it had all that you would expect to find in a western, plus added things as well, a homage to John Wayne the framed archway of a shot, the shoot-out, and the anti-hero, and I think Mads Mikkelsen, I think is amazing. Was that very difficult to get him? KL: No, he is friend, I’m Danish, he’s Danish. He wanted to do a western and we wrote the script for him. He read it as we went along. I always say to him that if Leone had been alive you would have been his choice. He has got that kind of face, the way he looks, very physical, very minimalistic, he gets lots of emotions. He is actually a very good man, a very kind person. MbM: And the early influence of the Leone westerns, the soundtrack had that booming soundtrack which is great and so important. Just like watching a huge jigsaw puzzle of westerns. KL: There are a lot of references. The three which are my favourites are: if I had to put them in order I would probably put John Ford because he is like the inventor, then Leone of course, but there is another person though you wouldn’t say he made westerns, and that is Kurosawa. But he did make westerns, you take Yojimbo, which became Leone’s first western. Kurosawa is also a great inspiration. John Ford with films like Stagecoach and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers. MbM: Howard Hawks would you say in any way? KL: But for me Howard Hawks at his best he is a city man – gangster movies. I love Howard Hawks but my favourite films like The Big Sleep and I think there is a real distinction between them. To start the whole thing there are two genres: westerns and gangsters or film noir; where everything in the gangster movie is obscure and complicated, where in the western it is quite straightforward and very moral. In the gangster movie everything is immoral. MbM: What also fascinated me was it being a Danish western, and of course we had had the Italian western and then you had a few Australian westerns that came out. I thought the ambiance in the film was brilliant and I really didn’t want to come out of the movie to be quite honest. It is interesting that you also got Eva Green who played opposite Mads Mikkelsen in Casino Royale, and was wondering how you came to cast her? KL: Eva came on very early, and it is quite a hard thing for someone who cannot talk. You need someone who can communicate, who can communicate in a strong way and I think Eva seemed right to me. Eva, when I sent her the script she was quite intrigued by the fact that she wouldn’t speak and it challenged her because it was taking away half of her tools and that is the voice. MbM: Can I just ask you what you are doing next? KL: A gangster movie. *Zentropa is the largest film production company in Scandanavia. 5
THE DROP Spoiler Alert
There are some sins that you commit that you can’t come away from, you know. No matter how hard you try. Produced, written by Dennis Lehane, and originally intended as a novel which he instead converted into a short story, The Drop lends itself to the screen and follows a long line of noirs but this one set in the underworld of Brooklyn. Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) tends his Cousin Marv’s bar. He keeps a low profile while funnelling cash to local gangsters. He is a loner, but does not want to get involved in life, and that is the way he wants it to be, but then everything goes awry when he discovers a puppy in a trash bin and he alerts the owner of the house, a woman named Nadia (Noomi Rapace) and she takes it in to treat its wounds but says she can’t keep it because she works all day, so Bob is left with the dog, not knowing the first thing on how to treat the animal. With Nadia’s help he gets supplies, toys and bedding for the pup which he names Rocco. He develops a rapport with the vulnerable Nadia who is hiding a secret that will eventually and painfully reveal itself. 8
Noomi’s co-star, Tom Hardy, plays a very laid-back character, but like Noomi’s Nadia there is a history that lies deep beneath the surface that suggests a fuse that is waiting to be lit and that opportunity presents itself. The pairing of Hardy and Rapace is excellent casting and they will be teamed again in their next screen outing, a war story Child 44. Both have a natural friendship, and as Noomi stated, when you have that with an actor it allows you to take risks. We are on a journey together exploring things and I know that. In the story of course Nadia has this situation with the dog and Noomi stated that she was hanging out with this rescue centre for dogs, so trying to get into a life situation like Nadia had. Sometimes I can feel like I’m a mushroom or a sponge, like you go into certain situations and get stuck in and transform into different shapes and I think I was listening and studying people. I asked Noomi if she had ever thought about doing another genre like a comedy? I think you would be brilliant in a comedy. Would you consider it? Thank you. I would consider comedy definitely but not like the happy romantic comedy. Oh yes, definitely. And collaborating with Tom Hardy with two films in a row... And I’m going to do more. 9
WILD *Spoiler Alert
You ever think about quitting? Only every two minutes or so. What about you? I quit a whole bunch of stuff. I quit jobs, quit marriages. You a granddaddy of any of them? I didn’t have a choice. There’s never been a time when there hasn’t been a fork in my road. Based on the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed on taking on the challenge of 1,100 mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl, played by Reese Witherspoon, escapes the memories of her violent childhood and abusive father, the heartbreak of losing her mother, her cocaine addiction, and her promiscuous past...it is like no other she has ever played. and often the roles between fact and fiction blur until one is never too sure which is Strayed and which is Witherspoon. At the Press Conference, the producer Bruno Papandrea, the screenwriter Nick Hornby, the author Cheryl Strayed, the star Reese Witherspoon, were interviewed by Angie Errigo, and questioned by the audience. Reese optioned Strayed’s book after she read it and she was asked what was the attraction that struck a chord with her. 12
So much, this woman went on a journey to find herself and doing it completely alone, and I kept thinking, even when we were shooting this, can I do this, and yes I could probably hike and could do this, but could I do it all alone for ninety-four days without anyone? Bruno and Reese wanted to develop strong stories for women and what better one to start with than WILD? They had already produced the very successful GONE GIRL, which gave Rosamund Pike a potentially Oscar winning role. Cheryl’s book obviously opened up some very painful experiences for her but was asked if it was a different kind of ‘scary’ to contemplate that experience on film? She had done a lot of stuff in writing the book but she was in control of it. But it didn’t really hit her until she saw the film for the very first time. I think I was nervous more than I had ever been before. I had to let go. I had to release the truth of my story into other artists’ hands, so I was terrified but it turned out really well. So I’m proud of the film and what these people did. Reese is not a backpacker and literally when you see her trying to put a tent together that is how difficult it was for her to do and when she kicked the stove it was because she couldn’t make the stove work. So for the backpack Jean-Marc Vallee, the director, came over on the day and asked if there was anything in the backpack and she said no, that she wasn’t going to hike with it full, and he said I think we should see how you walk because you can tell if it is filled with paper. So the bag was filled and he just walked off. WILD is released in the UK on January 16th. 13
WHIPLASH Spoiler Alert
A jazzy juxtaposition of indelible images of New York rhythmically cut to big band music heralds the opening of Whiplash. There are no two words more harmful in the English language than ‘good job’. Roll of drums, crash of cymbals – WHIPLASH arrived at the London Film Festival with great expectations after its world premiere screening at Sundance in January this year. The reaction it received here was unprecedented with the film receiving a standing ovation at its gala premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square as well as at its morning press screening. You’re here for a reason, you believe that right. Those words spoken by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) to Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) an aspiring jazz drummer could have been directed at its transfixed audience who were definitely here to acknowledge the brilliance of this film. Like all great works of art they are created by one who is passionate about his material and loves and breathes it. For director Damien Chazelle it was his world. I was a jazz drummer myself, so it was a world that I knew. I had a very hard teacher, so that kind of dynamic I was familiar with, having a teacher that you care about more than anyone else in the world. It’s this weird kind of dynamic that sometimes can yield some very good things and sometimes not. The movie was definitely conceived as an actors’showcase. When tyrannical music teacher Fletcher chooses Neyman to join his band at his top music conservatory where his ensemble plays, he zones in on the lad’s fear that cowers beneath his ambition and pushes him beyond all limits. He cites to his class the story of when Jo Jones threw a cymbal at Charlie Parker, a pivotal incident that changed Parker’s work ethic from being just a saxophonist to becoming the great Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. J.K Simmons was the perfect choice for Fletcher. Absolutely brilliant on the page, I hope the script is published some day and people will see how a very meticulously written screenplay can jump off the page. Damien Chazelle had seen Miles Teller in Rabbit Hole, and knew he played the drums so he was always hoping for him as well. Yes, I could see that the script was very kick-ass and my character I was very drawn to his drive and ambition and dedication to his art which some people shy away from like the competiveness of wanting to be the best at something, but I found it to be admirable. 16
Miles had already been drumming since he was a youngster but he still had to learn jazz drumming. He studied four hours a day, three times a week. His blinkered focus provides the emotionless confrontation scene with his girlfriend Nicole when he tells her that with the all practising he has to do it will take a lot of his time and that is why he doesn’t think they should be together. Any controversy that appears from the subject matter of the film is about the teaching method which Fletcher uses and his philosophy behind it. I push people beyond what is expected of them. I believe that is an absolute necessity. Q: So is there a message? Damien: I think if the film is about anything it is about the certain fear that a musician feels in that sort of circumstance and how antithetical that seems to art You think of art, particularly jazz as something that should be freeing and liberating, something that you are communicating emotionally with people and then it turns into it at the level of education, but raw holier than technique before you can access, before you can improvise, before you can do other things more associated with jazz. There is this element of utter rigor of discipline of almost military hardship that I don’t think we see or know enough about movies about musicians. There is this kind of idea that you sort of roll out of bed, and that you are suddenly improvising great solos and I don’t think we see enough movies about the practice. So that sort of aspect of it and the fear that comes from not mastering that kind of technique that is what I wanted to kind of hone in on. Q: In the film, Andrew is driven by Fletcher to breaking point, so what drives him to continue to go through that every day? J.K: Passion for the music and utter professionalism and complete single-mindedness to pursue that goal, human collateral damage notwithstanding. Q: For creating your role, did you seek out the kind of teachers that were like that? J.K: Honestly the preparation I had to do for the role was to learn the music. As far as playing the character it was all there on the page. And I didn’t feel the need to look outside of what Damien had written and what was in me to pull it off the page or break out of inspiration and then hit the deck running with this guy. Q: And Miles you were a drummer from the age of fifteen, which kept you in pretty good stead but you had to learn another discipline? Miles: I played drums since I was about fifteen and my family, both me and my older sisters, all kind of played instruments, piano. I used to play the saxophone at high school and played that up to sophomore year until I started playing baseball or stuff. With drumming I drummed in a rock band and my parents were kind enough to buy me a drum kit and I started playing with my buddies who played guitar and covered songs and I always took my drum kit with me but I had never taken any kind of lessons for it. It was great when I first started to get these lessons and it is so much easier to do that way. I started taking jazz lessons, four hours a day, three days a week. With Damien at first and then with Nathan Lang who plays Carl in the movie and he was my teacher and he is a very good drummer, traditional kind of jazz playing. They started with very basic efforts like 17
this: how to hold the stick , how you hit the snare drum. This much pressure. Damien had me practicing for hours. Q: And did that reflect the teaching? Damien: It makes me sound tyrannical. I think that is just one scene we are talking about, Miles likes to give me grief...but it is true that we shot the movie so quickly that you kind of...when you look at Miles on screen he is not just acting exhausted. It was probably one of the weird benefits of having such a realistic schedule. JK: Nineteen days the whole shoot. Damien: JK and Miles are good enough actors that they donâ€™t need much sleep to act sleepy. AUDIENCE: JK I wonder if you could speak about the remarkable roles you have had over the past few years? JK: It has been great. Jason has been present for me over that and loving what Damien had done and had written. Jason is of course a producer on my films and Helen. I mean being involved in one way or another with every film that Jason has done from the beginning has been fun...and the fact that this script came to me from him, so that was the first clue I had that it had the chance of being something extraordinary. AUDIENCE: Mr Chazelle, this art of challenge and triumph it is sort of like the art we see on biopic films, this being a semiautobiographical film, I was wondering if there were elements of biopic films that you tried to avoid or keep to. And speaking of biopic films, I wonder if you think Whiplash is Oscar bait and what chances that will be? Damien: I liked the idea of how someone becomes...these how to become kind of narratives. I think the question is where do these great artists come from? What is the actual process of becoming that? And the Charlie Parker story is referenced a lot in this movie which Fletcher tries to twist the story to justify his methods but it also introduces this question that sort of underlies everything. We donâ€™t really know when Charlie Parker went from in his teens from being an undistinguished saxophone player in Kansas City including the smart jazz people thought would go anywhere and in a couple of years at the age of nineteen is already being hailed as the greatest musician on the planet. It was a media kind of thing. So you can pose these type of questions, but it is sort of like Robert Johnson said, he sold his soul to the devil to be great at the guitar. The whole kind of myth is what we get when looking at biographies. I think what I am really grateful for is that a movie about a jazz drummer is how people will look at this in their specific world and be able to connect to it. But I am thankful what ever happens to this movie, that these guys humanise it in a way that was powerful off the page. AUDIENCE: We touched upon improvisation as part of jazz, was that something about the spirit that you were able to translate on set? JK: I don't have a response written for that question. Damien: The first thing I did at school were documentaries. This was the first thing I had done something that had been written out and storyboarded and everything. That said, my philosophy is that if you are really only going to transpose what is written and storyboarded and published then that kind of pain with actors is the whole point of wonderful actors and giving some room to play, that was certainly my philosophy. I would not say it was a completely improvisatory set. Certainly some of my 20
favourite moments were even just looks. One example is when one of the first times you see JK is when he comes into the Nat rehearsal and he looks at the folder of music that they are playing and says ‘cute’. That says to me pages about the character. I could have written five pages of dialogue in to that, but it wouldn't have been as good. JK: Damien is so thorough on the page but also to have something to play with within that framework, and that is what so much fun about what we do. You have one or the other: a solid script or you put this down or just do what you want. This was a nice combination. AUDIENCE: The film in a way is all about mentors and I wonder if you have had a mentor that has meant as much to you as these characters? Damien: Certainly the relationship I had with my band was the main inspiration for Fletcher for the entire movie. It made me a better drummer. I’m not a drummer now. I’m not saying it made me a great artist as a drummer but in terms of sheer work ethic, it certainly made me think about fear as a motivator and what that does if you assume that it works, and sometimes it does or sometimes discourages people. In those few cases is it worth that kind of torment? JK: The people in my experience who have used fear as motivation, I just don’t respond well to that. Miles: I had a piano teacher when I was young who was like that bt pretty tough on me, I didn’t like taking piano lessons so I just quit. The closest thing I had to Fletcher was a driving teacher who was such a left field guy, but I’ve never had it with acting. AUDIENCE: I came to think of boxing in films and have they been an inspiration for you? Damien: Yes. In a way it started with a lot with electronic music that is not made physically. The idea of physical musicianship and what it does to the body and it is underappreciated... like trumpeters screw up their lips, pianists screw up their fingers, drummers kind of screw up their hands and their fore arms so that sort of broke into sports, so I guess I wanted to draw some of those parallels. I think that there are a lot of movies about the more intellectual side of the art form which are obviously just as crucial but don’t think need to be spotlighted so much. I remember my hand bleeding a lot, so a lot of the energy just came from my own personal experience and the rage you feel of a musician trying to get something right and in a way mirrors Fletcher’s rage and as angry as Fletcher gets at himself. I think a lot of musicians can share that it is like butting your head against a wall in trying to set out to do what you want to do. It is a kind of anger and fear that comes from that, that we see in Raging Bull. AUDIENCE: A question for Miles. Could you tell us a little about that final scene and how long did it take to shoot and was that real blood? Was that music for a drum solo? Miles: It’s kind of blurry because we filmed it in nineteen days and we spent two days on that last performance and one day we did like a hundred and forty seven takes. I mean Damien would tell me to play a ten minutes drum solo. I also had the music for the drum solo. Before we started it was something I was listening to and with Whiplash and Caravan it was something I tried to learn by heart, whether it was something on the high hat or Damien likes or when I was back across the cymbals and he would say, okay but let’s do it again but when you go back and forth I 21
really like when you go like this and you kind of do that. You play a ten minute solo and you have to listen to it. AUDIENCE: Miles, in previous films that you guys have worked what skills have you picked up? Miles: This was probably the first film that I have worked where I honed in on a skill I have worked on. The problem I have had is not getting into shape and avoiding the six-pack and I have been able to do some boxing and getting into the gym and doing some of that stuff. It is great when you can parallel a character you are playing. It is more rewarding for me, JK: I have a way for the physical training of things, stunts and fighting early on, doing dialects or accents, in terms of learning real physical skills. I am sure somebody will point out three physical things that I did nineteen years ago which I have forgotten about. AUDIENCE: I would like to ask JK how he went about making himself terrifying and did he stay in character. JK: Yes, I terrorised the entire crew. No, we quickly fell into a rhythm of just having fun. And Miles would reassert his masculinity which I had stripped from him. No, it was pretty light and honestly as far as creating the character I felt that I was just channelling what Damien wrote and no other thing involved for me to bring what he wrote off the page. AUDIENCE: Does this movie push you to provide answers for yourself? JK: Well you know, that is part of the central debate of whether you don’t achieve greatness without pushing yourself or pushing others, again having said that the methodology is possibly questionable but the whole scene in the jazz club after my piano solo. Did I have to practice that? I didn’t do that well. Yes, practice is good. MbM: First of all, thank you for an absolutely amazing movie, it is definitely Oscar worthy, there is no doubt about that. The jazz scene as it is now, particularly drummers. I remember that there was a drumming record, a total classic, which was Skin Deep, which was Lou Bellson. I think part two totally drums. And this reminded me of that sort of thing and I don’t think there are any drummers like that today. And I would like to ask JK and Miles, what inspires you as actors? Damien: The major reason the movie is about band jazz. You can say that big band jazz is non-existent today to a large extent but it was an era when drummers were celebrities. I mean Louis Bellson, Gene Krupa, Jo Jones, Chick Webb, Buddy Rich, these people were the spotlight people of their ensemble, so in a way you are sideman as well as frontman. I remember when I was learning to be a drummer there is something very romantic about that era which I never lived through but just kind of watching old footage of those guys and the way they would make their drum sets gleam, their drumheads, the way the initials would be written on these huge futons. There was a whole romanticism to it that existed then that doesn’t exist anymore but it also doesn’t exist in a small combo jazz either. Obviously many of the greatest drummers were small combo drummers and that was important once, but this movie is about the big band world which to me has its kind of romantic era. JK: I have not consciously been inspired by other actors. Certainly there are many many actors that I greatly admire; thinking of a couple of films, Anthony Hopkins in the The Elephant Man and for whatever reason Willem Dafoe in Platoon 22
jumped into my head. I am really inspired, and this goes back to the beginning of my theatre days and musical days when I was studying classical music in college, it was about Brahms or Schubert which was sort of like a conduit to great creative artists or composers whether it was Shakespeare...or Chazelle (laughter). It is the creator that inspires me. Miles: Yes, I don’t know for me when it clicked in to get on stage and making people laugh, just that entertaining kind of aspect that was exciting for me but I think there is something about New York and being in the Lee Strasberg Institute there when I took drama classes and I saw black and white photos of Pacino and Brando and Hoffman and all these guys inspired me because I just love the kind of history of acting think it is such a beautiful craft. You know is something you know that you get out of it what you put into it. I think it is something to be part of something that I have such a great respect for. AUDIENCE: Finally were asked about how they thought the movie looked after they had seen it Miles: I think the movie looked better than the script. When I first saw this movie I was totally blown away with what Damien had done with it. As an actor for the final product you really have little to do with it. At the end of the day, you film for a couple of weeks and then people mess with it for a year, or in Damien’s case two months, they put it together and they choose what takes, what angles they are shooting it at. It was just the way Damien shot it, the kind of tension and suspense and all that stuff, as an actor you don’t act tension, you don’t act suspense, it is all done in the edit. I was truly blown away by Damien’s talent and that is why I am doing his next film. AUDIENCE: Do you think the character you play is closer to your own self? Miles: Yes, I think it is a side of me that my buddies have never seen. My girlfriend has seen this on how much I wanted this – this kind of passion. Most people don’t see that side of me. Q: I have to ask about the line ‘good job’. Did someone ever say that to you? DC: No, that is from my own sick mind. I grew up mostly in the US but partly in France and I remember in France they would joke with me about that because I guess that their vision of America was of everyone saying ‘good job’ all the time. I mean I think what I liked about that scene is that there are many ways to take the Charlie Parker myth and many have pointed out that many of the stories do not involve throwing the cymbal at his head but actually on the ground. Miles: I wish my character knew that. DC: That Fletcher totally twisted it around to pull what he wanted from it. That he said you should never say ‘good job’ is not something that I totally agree with and as with each character you write I guess, you want to see their point of view and as screwed up as Fletcher’s mind-set is that in a world of hypocrites there is an integrity to this world that he will go to his grave defending it even to Carnegie Hall to defend his point of view in finding this Charlie Parker. So to me there is something for to be said for that blind passion. WHIPLASH will be released in the UK on January 16th. Stars: Miles Teller. J.K. Simmons. Melissa Benoist. Directed by Damien Chazelle 23
GONE GIRL Spoiler Alert
What’s your name? Amy. Hello, Amy. And you, who are you? I am the guy to save you from all this awesomeness. The strength of Gone Girl lies in the fact that the author of the bestselling book, Gillian Flynn, has also handled the screen adaptation plus David Fincher directing the project and he in turn having the foresight to send the script to Rosamund Pike knowing that she had the qualities within her to bring the character of Amy off the page, resulting in the best performance of her career. . Gone Girl is an edge- of- the- seat Hitchcockian thriller which the Master of Suspense would have loved to have made injected as it is with the deep psychological dysfunction of its leading characters. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy met when they were journalists. As a young girl, New York sophisticate Amy had been the inspiration for a series of children’s books – Amazing Amy that made her parent’s careers, but left Amy struggling to keep up with her fictional counterpart. By contrast Nick came to the city from Missouri and did well. 24
Then came the Wall Street crash of 2008 and Ben and Amy lost their jobs and they moved back to Nickâ€™s hometown where he opens a bar with his sister, while Amy stays at home. The underlying theme takes hold that in modern marriages couples tend to adopt a persona that is attractive to their partners but is really false and over a long relationship is abandoned. The film opens with Nick returning home to find that his wife has disappeared and reports her missing. It is his birthday and Amy has laid out clues around the house as a treasure hunt for him which she does every year. The media circus arrives with suggestions that are hyped to the proportion that for a husband whose wife has gone missing; his behaviour is very calm, very suspect. Something happened in the house, evidence of a struggle, blood loss and a clean-up. The film crosscuts to Amy reading her diary with Nickâ€™s memory of things, and under constant pressure from the police his original portrait of a blissful happy marriage begins to crumble. Nickâ€™s facial expressions lessen when the media captures him smiling beside a poster of his missing wife Amy appears expressionless. Who is who? What is what? Will one ever know? Gone Girl is a film to be viewed again and again. On release now. 25
THE WONDERS *Spoiler Alert The latest film from Alice Rohrwacher, director of Corpo Celeste, her debut feature which was critically acclaimed and concerned a young thirteenyear-old girl who was attempting to resettle in Italy with her mother and eldest sister after growing up in Switzerland Rohrwacher’s latest excursion is into the life of a rural family of bee-keepers, Wolfgang (Sam Louwick) and his wife Angelica (Alba Rhorwacher, the director’s sister) and their four daughters and a family friend Coco (Sabine Timoteo) who shares their Tuscany home. Wolfgang is frustrated and angered by hunters and the growing destruction of the countryside by pesticides. To help out with the workload, as well as a yearning to have a son, he takes on a boy who is mentally unstable. Gelsomina(Maria Alexandra Lungu) is the mainstay of the household and her three siblings obey her commands. She is also the cleverest one with a special gift for beekeeping and making honey. She retrieves the swarms from the trees, organizes the honey extraction, as well as carrying the hives, plus has mastered the ability of getting the bees to crawl in and out of her mouth. Besides that there is little excitement in her life until a TV show competition arrives from the city hosted by Milly Catena (Monica Bellucci). The show offers a chance to escape and win a cash prize and also go on a cruise. Gelsomina enters them into the competition. It would seem that it is the life-changing boost that her father needs to bring him out of his pit of despair, and their chances of winning rests on the quality of their honey which is the best, but one can never know what little tricks of persuasion the other contestants may have. This is a wonderful film with a brilliant cast of actors but just as young Gelsomina controls the family in the film with her dexterity and cleverness, so the young Romanian actress, fourteen-year-old Maria Alexandra Lungu, who plays her, controls our attention every moment that she is on the screen, she really is the star of the film. Maria had never acted before and the major concern was to get her used to performing with real bees as there were no special effects. She was never scared and when you see the bee crawling in and out of her mouth there was complete calmness and courage. Maria Alexandra’s parents were very pleased with her performance in the film. They said that even if the project had failed, their daughter would have at least learned something that made her capable of becoming a beekeeper No UK release date is scheduled at present.
INTERVIEW with Alice Rohrwacher. Why bee-keeping, I asked Alice Rohrwacher, director of The Wonders, when I met her at the May Fair Hotel, with other journalists. Alice: It is how I perceive bee-keeping to the nearest way I work. Because by and large when people work with animals, big animals they can cage and they can control and in some way teach them. The biggest beekeeper in the world doesn’t possess anything. Basically all he possesses are empty boxes and it is up to the swarm to come back to those boxes. What he really owns is nothing. He does not own the animals. And it is the same with the relationship between me and the story I am telling, all I can convey is certain suggestions that the story has a life of its own and just hope and pray it will take shape, and I know bees quite well. Q: In one half of the film you are working with your own sister and with Monica Bellucci, but in the other half you are working with pets and kids. They say don’t work with animals and kids and you do everything at the same and it doesn’t make sense. Alice: The real strength is not in purity but in cross fertilization. I would never make a film just for children and just with no professional, but the strength in this is that everyone has to confront everyone else, so in that balance and confrontation is the strength and truth of this film. And this has a parallel with our current political situation where you have to confront the other; otherwise there would be no solution and no strength. Q: How was it to direct your sister in a film which was so much about family and growing up, which sort of emotions did that bring about? Alice: Fortunately I believe in sympathies and not psycho analysis and this is more than psychoanalysis. So I didn’t ask myself too many questions, but obviously in order to have freedom of performance you have to build a safety net and to build a safety net you have to work with someone you can trust. I trusted my sister. So in that I had confirmation of trust that she felt everything from her sister and everything came to fruition. Q: And about the song? Alice: Talking about the song. For people living outside Italy it is just a song and acquires different meaning. In Italy there are different levels of comprehension and that song has been penalised for meaning attached to the Berlusconi type of broadcasting so it had negative connotations. So I wanted to free the song. The song had no course of its own, the song itself was a tiny piece of machinery and it is important to notice that even the people living in the most rural parts of countryside sing the same sort of songs as in cities. So it is not that in the countryside people sing just traditional songs. Q: You talk about how you have taken inspiration from an essay about theme parks. Is the film a reflection on modern Italy becoming consumerist or commercialised under Belusconi? Alice: Talking about Belusconi, to start with is really powerful because we always have to really talk about it because the problem is the relationship with our past. The fact is what is happening in Italy collectively and happening nowadays is the sort of sentences which really pain us is in this colloquial Italian of that he would sell his grandmother or his mother and that refers to our past and in order to sell our past we have to exorcise it , so you cut it off to make it a commodity, so doing that you are killing it and so instead it becoming part of you, you are sending it on to somebody else, so in doing that you are killing it, you are cutting its roots. 29
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