martedì 27 marzo 2012

Talking to Francis

Francis Ford Coppola at the Gaumont Parnasse, Paris, March 15 - Photo by Zazie
I will start with a confession: I'm not a huge fan of Francis Ford Coppola.
I’m not one of those people whose life has been changed by the vision of Apocalypse Now and I don’t consider The Godfather Trilogy the best movie of cinema history, but I think Francis Ford Coppola is a very interesting film-maker and I have loved many (if not all) of his movies.
This is the reason why, when my friends from Pathé invited me to see the avant-première of his last movie, Twixt, followed by a conversation with Coppola himself, I was more than happy to accept.
Arriving at the Gaumont Parnasse there was a first surprise: a pair of 3D glasses near every seat. Due to some strange circumstances, I never had the chance to see a movie in 3D (yes, I’m also one of those people who never saw Avatar), and so I was thrilled that Twixt was that kind of movie. Well, it turned out it wasn’t or, to be more precise, I found out that the movie had only two scenes filmed in 3D. Isn’t that weird? Somebody explained us that an image with a pair of glasses would pop out from the screen to let us know when we will need to put the glasses on.
It was already so much fun!
I don’t know if you have noticed it, but Coppola stopped making films circa 1997.
He was back only in 2007 with the movie Youth without Youth, then he filmed Tetro in 2009 and Twixt in 2011. Coppola conceived these movies as a trilogy and as a new way of making films. He said he was feeling like a student at his first steps in the cinema business. He wanted to experiment, to try new things, to make movies with less money he used to need. I didn’t see Youth without Youth, but judging from Tetro and this last one, it is true that he is experimenting a lot, both from the technical point of view that from the one of themes/genres/inspiration. Tetro, I have to say, was a very bizarre movie. Set in Argentina, filmed in black and white, had a final “à la Almodovar” (Carmen Maura included) that left almost speechless. It is clear, though, that Coppola likes this kind of oddity, because Twixt is another alien object. 
Hall Baltimore (an overweight Val Kilmer) is a mystery books writer which fortune is in decline. During a book tour, he arrives in a lonely, small town, and he gets caught up in a series of strange events involving the ghost of a young girl who’s been killed (Elle Fanning, passing from a movie by Sophia to a movie by her father) and the ghost of… Edgar Allan Poe! (the too rare on screen, in my opinion, Ben Chaplin). These events will lead Hall to the creation of a new and successful story, but he has to pass through some very tough moments (and to remember a terribly sad family event) to go back to life. I'm sure you're wondering which were the two famous scenes that needed the 3D glasses.. well, no, I'm not going to tell you, you'll find out by yourself when you see the movie.
I can't really say I liked Twixt, but I have enjoyed very much watching it.
Anyway, the most enjoyable thing of the evening was the time (more than 90 minutes!) spent with Coppola after the movie. I don’t know why I expected Mr. Coppola being a grumpy old man, while in reality he was a lovely, cheerful, and super interesting guy. I’ve rarely seen somebody so keen on talking to people about his passion for cinema. Coppola was genuinely happy to be there among many cinema students to share his ideas, experiences, and also many funny stories. Seriously, he was a real joy listening to him.
He answered every single question of the audience and when he realized that many fans were asking for an autograph on a DVD or a book, he said: Well, let’s do like this: you, ten or fifteen people, you come down and I sign your stuff while I keep talking, ok? Of course, more than 15 people went to see him, but he didn’t care: he patiently kept signing and talking at the same time. The scene was so funny that I couldn’t resist filming it:

To a young cinema student who was looking for good advice on his future profession, Coppola asked: How old are you? And the guy: 22. Oh boy – Coppola exclaimed – get married! And then he introduced his wife, seated among us, with whom he has been married for 49 years!
To another person who paid a lot of compliments to one of his movies, Coppola replied: Thank you! You know, it is always a pleasure when somebody told you he liked your movie. It is like when you cook a dinner for some friends… If at the end of it they tell you how much they have loved and enjoyed what you have cooked for them, it is such a joy. Don’t you agree?  
We certainly do, Mr. Coppola!

2 commenti:

  1. Anch'io mi sono persa Avatar, e lo confesso, vivo bene lo stesso :-)
    Bello il post e, immagino, bella la sensazione di esserci. Lucky you!!

  2. Ma sì, diciamolo, non si vive poi tanto male senza aver visto Avatar!!! LOL
    Un saluto, cara


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