In the Blurred Mirror of Cinema, with Natalie Portman and Todd Haynes

25 years ago, a news story caused a stir in the United States: a mathematics teacher and mother had fallen in love with one of her 13-year-old students, one of her friends, in prison, before marrying him upon his release from custody. Had a child and expanded his family.

“May December” by Todd Haynes.

The film which is inspired by it. may december, Signed by Todd Haynes, happening 20 years later. The family, like almost all the others, is joined by an actress and television star who is to play a role in a fictional adaptation of the story. In the purest tradition of the Actors Studio method, she comes to observe her model in a difficult game of imitation that leads to vampirization. It’s not scandalous news, at least not directly, that interests Todd Haynes. Undoubtedly his best film, the scariest and at the same time the funniest, the American filmmaker, admirer of the princes of melodrama and continuity that was Douglas Sirk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, eschews stylistic flamboyance. far from heaven and others Tune Above all, stage and mirror, with minimalism and precision, a confrontation between two actresses of genius: his aphrodisiac Julianne Moore, to whom he gave her first leading role in 1995 Safe ,may december This is their fifth film together), and at the core of this film is Natalie Portman, as she was the one who saw the first script written by a casting director, a certain Sammy Burch, and who made her first film as a producer. It was to the filmmaker she had dreamed of working with. So it’s logical that we met with Natalie Portman as well as Todd Haynes who told us how they staged it.

,Sammy Burch’s script was extraordinary, Natalie Portman underlines, In fact. Simple, but deceptively simple, because as you start to get into the work and understand all the subtext in each line, each word is loaded, so is each silence; There is a lot of tension all the time. To be able to play out a scenario like this is a real gift; It raises a lot of questions that have haunted me since the beginning of my career about role, identity, acting, the ethics of art, the question of who gets to tell a story. (…) And when you are an actress yourself and play an actress, you can laugh at yourself. And then the public comes with a certain number of expectations that can be broken. It’s a rare opportunity to take everything that’s in the audience’s mind, everything that they bring with them when they come to see a movie, and play with it.,

"may december"by Todd Haynes
“May December” by Todd Haynes.

– arp selection

,What excited me about this scenario, continues as if echoing Todd HayneS, this is energy, this work on interpretation, on the aspect of things that are not certain, not certain. And I asked myself “How would I translate this to a viewer’s attention to the film: not knowing what we should think about these characters?” “. Somehow, the moral figures related to these characters are actually changing: this is an invitation that I give to the audience. (…) We had to sensitize this instability, show the public that they are always in some were supposed to be living on the edge of something, that they were never going to be completely comfortable with. And, today, I believe it’s very difficult for the public to know what the images we show them are about. What will they think? People like to watch a movie where they already know what they will think at the end, and the challenge in my view is to put the audience in a state of uncertainty where, ultimately, one character or another Our devotion to it is growing, and diving into that process. To watch this film is to experience it. That’s what cinema is, that’s what it’s always been about for me.”

To learn more about the cinema of Todd Haynes, we can’t recommend reading enough Todd Haynes, American Chimeras, a fascinating book of interviews conducted by Judith Revolt d’Alonnes and Amélie Galli on the occasion of a retrospective at the Center Pompidou last May, published by De l’Incidence publisher. to be increased, but lasintechwith far from heavenAnd many movies from his collection julian moore and its owner douglas sirk,

cultural perspective

3 minutes

Cinema Journal

week trip

  • The filmmaker’s nearly century-old return to images shot for an aborted documentary project by a young man living in Afghanistan in the 1960s is simply beautiful. an afghan summerBy James Ivory;
  • The transformation of an industrial wasteland into a residential area in Bordeaux, filmed over five years, is captivating urban poetry brezza hereBy Antoine Boutet;
  • a comic style goodbye lenin In the suburbs of Paris, against a background of rising anti-Semitism, it is on the razor’s edge and the ropes, last of the jewsby Noé Debré, with a revelation of Michael Zindel’s great comic flair;
  • A Mélanie Thierry, voluntarily interned in the psychiatric hell of the Salpêtrière at the end of the nineteenth century, is highly erotic and colourful. captiveOf arnoud des pallieresWho came to talk to us about this last week;
  • The mysterious journey of a traveling projectionist and his teenage daughter through the post-Soviet margins of the Russian Empire is brilliant and languid. graceThe Russian Revelation of the Last Cannes Film Festival, by Ilya Povolotsky;
  • An infinite game of fools and masks that descend only to reveal another, it is hunting dogJoseph L. Mankiewicz’s brilliant latest film, which is being released in a restored version, and which Nết Binh will talk to us about next week;
  • An inverted Pygmalion, with a Cyclopean colossus as Galatea, and Emmanuelle Davos as Sophie Calle and Marina Abramovic’s hidden child, this is man of clayFirst feature film inspired by anais tellinWho came to talk to us about it last week with her very subtle model, the actor Raphael Thierry;
  • An erotic explorer from Club Dorothy’s heyday in the ’90s is returning to the big screen Nikki Larson as Angel DustBarely animated version of the manga, by Kenji Kodama City Hunter ,
  • And then finally, the damage done to masculinity in an American family of wrestlers under the tight grip of a toxic patriarchy is uneven, but poignant. iron clawBy Shawn Durkin.

Plan Large Announcements

next wednesday will be the first France Culture Session of the year, with preview AnimalBeautiful Transformation by Bertrand Bonello animals in the forest By Henry James, with Léa Seydoux and George MacKay. After this there will definitely be a meeting with the filmmaker. It’s exceptionally 7:30 p.m. as always majestic bastilleIn Paris.

Still in Paris, this Sunday a restored version of a great film and a rare survivor of Yiddish cinema is being screened. DibbukBy Michael Waszynski It’s 3:30 p.m. zodiac center39 Rue Broca in the 5th arrondissement.

Event screening again: HolocaustClaude Lanzmann’s definitive and essential film on the extermination of Europe’s Jews It will be broadcast this Tuesday, January 30, at 9:10 pm on France 2, and will be viewable for a month on France.TV from the following day.No.

In Brussels, it’s a cinema that’s in danger, Cinema new star, To save this unique and self-managed space for land clearing and cinematographic experiments, in the very center of the city, a cooperative was formed from real estate developers, to which everyone can contribute. you will get information by following this link,

Finally, if you are in Geneva, do not miss the exhibition walkerwhich begins again within the framework of black movie festival He talked about a series of films shot around the world by Tsai Ming-Liang HereIt is on until 7 February at the Le Commune cultural space.

Sandra Onana’s column: “Bellissima”, by Luchino Visconti (which will be released in theaters on January 31)

“Mom? Che mom?” Mamma Roma!, of course, as Pasolini renamed it Anna Magnani in 1961. We are 10 years earlier, in 1951, and Magnani, said Visconti, is his real subject. bellissima, In any case, after missing his appointment, he had to wait a long time to finally film Volcan Romaine.ossification, the founding film of neorealism in 1942. And it is neorealism, and its reverse side, that is also at issue in this film, which explores little amateur girls in Cinecittà studios. More beautiful child in Roma, But also the illusory dreams of a better life promised by the lark mirror of cinema, which distinguish only to humiliate the better…”Anna Magnani illuminates the film from the beginning, when we see her extracting herself from the crowd at the door of the Cinecittà, the monumental setting against which the outsiders collide. And by this power of show and seduction, we understand that the film will be theirs. Which also tells us about the tension that will remain in this story, as this mother storm competes for our attention to harm the main figure in the plot, her young daughter Maria. bellissima So this is the story of a woman who will shed her blood to make her child a star and live out her dreams of glory by proxy. Even if it means forgetting to take into account the wishes of this little Maria whom she loves so much. The film is in favor of Baroque adoration, about the excesses of the mother, who will squander the household savings for theater and dance lessons, with only the word sacrifice on her lips. But although Visconti claimed that the script served as an excuse for his actress to stand on the podium, at the same time, he bellissima Memorializing a little girl’s tears, and legitimizing her as a subject. Because this little actress, it’s heartbreaking to see that she will go into the film crying. And each time the camera captures it, in the pictorial sense of the word, as an absolute of suffering that goes unnoticed.,

"bellissima"by Luchino Visconti
“Bellissima” by Luchino Visconti.

– Camellia Films

sound clip

  • excerpt from may decemberR, by Todd Haynes (2023)
  • of music messenger By Michel Legrand, reviewed by Marcelo Zarvos
  • Mix of week’s releases
  • excerpt from bellissimaby Luchino Visconti
  • music from the opening credits bellissimaby Franco Mannino, based on themes nectar of love by donizetti

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