venerdì 28 febbraio 2014

Zazie d'Or 2013

Oscars? Golden Globes? Golden Lions? Golden Palms? Golden Bears? BAFTAs? Césars?
Totally has been! Totally out of fashion! The most prestigious cinema award worldwide is – no doubt about it - the one and only ZAZIE D’OR!
Last year, Zazie has been 84 times to the movies and this, dear readers, is the BEST OF IT ALL:

The Zazie d’Or for BEST PICTURE 2013 goes to
LA VIE D'ADELE by Abdellatif Kechiche (France)
They are two girls in France but they could have been a boy and a girl in Japan or two boys in Alaska. Kechiche proves (thanks to two actresses en état de grace) that the first love and the first pain of love are universal and unforgettable. M A G N I F I Q U E !

The SPECIAL ZAZIE D’OR 2013 goes to
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS by the Coen Brothers (US)
A folk singer, a cat named Ulysesse, a bunch of beautiful songs, a cold winter in the NY of the 60s. And the genius of the Coen Brothers to turn a disastrous series of events into the most pleasant cinema moment of the year. W O N D E R F U L !

The ZAZIE COUP DE COEUR 2013 goes to 
12 YEARS A SLAVE by Steve McQueen  (US)
Before seing this movie I had no idea what being a slave meant. After having seen it, I do.

Very much so.
Zazie would like to give a special prize to the entire cast of this movie for their excellent performances: CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, LUPITA NYONG'O, MICHAEL FASSBENDER, SARAH PAULSON, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, PAUL DANO, PAUL GIAMATTI, they are all amazing. BRAD PITT, I am afraid, IS NOT included (but we thank him, anyway, because without his presence the money to produce the film would have never been found).
The Zazie d'Or for BEST DIRECTOR 2013 goes to
This is a prize that will surprise many of you, I know. Nobody liked this movie except me and few other people. Well, j'assume! I have always loved his cinema, and I adore the way he films. I am completely under his spell. I can stay in front of the screen for hours if Winding Refn is behind the camera.

The Zazie d’Or for BEST ACTOR 2013 goes to
BRUCE DERN for NEBRASKA by Alexander Payne (US)

You don't need to have made the Actor's Studio to give the performance of the year. You don't even need to be young and beautiful, to loose 30 kgs, to have a handicap or a mortal illness. Sometimes you just need to be Bruce Dern in a black & white movie. This one.
The Zazie d’Or for BEST ACTRESS 2013 goes to
Yes, I know, she has already won all the prizes in this world. I’ve tried to find somebody else, I thought a lot about the girls of La vie d’Adèle, but then I had to admit it: the most unforgettable one, is her Jasmine. There's nothing I could do about it!

The Zazie d'Or for BEST SCREENPLAY 2013 goes to
These three people have done something unique in cinema history: they have created a couple 20 years ago and they told us their story ever since. We have grown up with Jesse and Céline: we have shared with them the joys of youth, the doubts of maturity and now the difficulties of the middle age. The dialogues of these movies should be studied in every cinema school, because they're simply perfect. 
I hope we will meet them again!
The Zazie d'Or for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 2013 goes to
Delbonnel, the man behind the magic light of movies like Faust and Le Fabuleux déstin d'Amélie Poulain, works for the first time with the Coen brothers and the result is more than special: the vintage patina of the '60s combined with the cold light of a NY winter is absolutely splendid!
The Zazie d'Or for BEST DOCUMENTARY 2013 goes to

STORIES WE TELL by Sarah Polley (Canada)

I adore Sarah Polley's cinema. Here she relates an incredible personal story: the discovery of her father not being her real father and her search for the natural one. In a strange mix of fictional super 8 films and interviews with the "real" people, she drags us into a very touching family history plenty of emotions, funny moments and universal questions about ourselves.

The Zazie d'Or for the BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK 2013 goes to
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS by the Coen Brothers (US)
What can I say? I'm listening to this record in a loop since the day I watched the movie for the first time (back in October 2013...)
The LITTLE ZAZIE D’OR (Best First Feature Film Prize) 2013 goes to 
I have the greatest respect for a woman who is trying to make movies in a country where cinema doesn't exist and where women barely exist. She has filmed all the street scenes hidden inside the back of a truck, proving that, sometimes, revolutions can start with a little girl and her bike. W la Liberté!
The JEREMY IRONS PRIZE (Man of my Life Award) 2013 goes to
In Le Temps de l’Aventure by Jérôme Bonnell, Byrne proves to be the sexiest 60something on planet earth. In the movie, he takes a commuter train to go from Calais to Paris because he is afraid of the tunnel under the English Channel. If you assure me that I’m going to meet somebody like him on a train like that, I swear to avoid the Eurostar for the rest of my life! 
Gabriel, here I come...

And for you, dear readers, what has been the best of 2013?

martedì 25 febbraio 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Last week I was invited (by Wes Anderson himself!) to the Paris avant-première of his latest movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel. What a joy!!! Especially when, arriving at the Gaumont Opéra Capucines, I realized there was also the main actor of the film: the amazing Ralph Fiennes (one of my favourite actors of all time). Anderson, together with Fiennes and French actor Mathieu Amalric, introduced the movie in a very cute way. I had the feeling everybody had fun: while filming and also now, in front of the audience. In any case, I like festive atmospheres:
The Gaumont Opéra Capucines "Grand Budapest Hotel" version
Photo Call: Wes Anderson and Ralph Fiennes
Photo Call: Ralph Fiennes
The film introduction: Wes Anderson and Mathieu Amalric
The film introduction: Anderson, Amalric and Ralph Fiennes
Set in a fictional Eastern European country called Zubrowka, The Grand Budapest Hotel relates the story of this grandiose hotel from the splendor of the ‘30s, through the tough time of  the World War II until the complete decadence of the ‘60s. The person who tells this story is Zero Moustafa, once a simple lobby boy, and now, through a series of incredible circumstances, owner of the entire place. Zero found a job at the Grand Budapest Hotel at the moment of its highlight, when the concierge was the amazing Monsieur Gustave. It is following M. Gustave in his unbelievable adventures (which include a heritage, a greedy and pitiless family, a famous painting, an escape from prison etc. etc.) that Zero learns everything he knows: he will receive an extraordinary education, he will be confronted to many things and he will even find the true love of his life. Who else can ask for more?
Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) and M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes)
I have to make a confession: even if I am a huge Wes Anderson’s fan, I “didn’t get” a couple of his pictures. One is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which I found profoundly boring; the other one is Moonrise Kingdom, which I found perfect but a bit heartless, like a mere exercice de style
That film had a cupcake effect on me: beautiful to watch but then too creamy to be easily digested. For the first time in my life, I agreed with the detractors of Anderson cinema: that movie was flawless but it was going nowhere. 
This is why I was quite worried to see this new one: will Wes Anderson go somewhere now? 
Of course, we pretend more from people we know can give us more. It’s in the scheme of things. 
So, it is with great pleasure and relief that I announce you to have adored The Grand Budapest Hotel!
This movie is Anderson at his best: witty, intelligent, ironic, romantic, melancholic and superbly made. With a plus: one of the most wonderful characters I have ever seen on screen, Monsieur Gustave. In fact, I was hooked into the story the very first moment he appears...

Simply irresistible: Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave
A miracle like M. Gustave can only be created by two essential factors: a superb writing and a superb acting. And this is exactly the case: M. Gustave dialogues are a constant delight and the way Ralph Fiennes recite them is absolutely astonishing. Some of Anderson favourite film-makers (the usual suspects Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder), are a major influence here: the speed of M. Gustave’s phrasing, his gentleman manners combined with some unconventional behaviours ("I go to bed with all my friends, darling!"), and the atmosphere he is able to create all around, make him a perfect screwball comedy hero! 
Anderson has assembled for this movie THE MOST amazing cast. Besides Fiennes, in this adventure you’ll find involved: Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, F. Murray Abraham, Owen Wilson, Léa Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric and the super cute new comer Tony Revolori as Zero. Very difficult to do better than this, guys!
But what it is grand about this Grand Budapest Hotel is the world Anderson is able to create: the hotel as a microcosm where the macrocosm of the outside life changes the set, the colours, the furniture, the entire atmosphere. The signs of time, the melancholy pervading places and people, an old world collapsing under the fury of a war and then succumbing to the grey reality of modernity. The awareness of a missing feeling: no more M. Gustave, no more charme, no more class, no more Mendl’s patisserie, no more female guests enchanted by the smell of his favourite perfume, L’Air de Panache.
After the movie ends, the memories of the things you have laughed about are strangely and firmly mixed with the ones you are very sad about (this is probably what we can call the “Anderson touch”).

Welcome, dear readers, to the most elegant hotel in the world...

In case you have missed it, here's the scrumptious short movie Anderson recently directed for Prada, CASTELLO CAVALCANTI:

And, last but not least, here's the lovely song the Italian band I CANI dedicated to the film-maker, simply called WES ANDERSON:

mercoledì 19 febbraio 2014

Derek, The Last of England

Non vorrei rischiare di diventare il blog di cinema che scrive più sui morti che sui vivi, ma ci sono anniversari che per Zazie non possono (e non devono!) passare inosservati.
Venti anni fa, il 19 Febbraio 1994, moriva di AIDS uno dei miei artisti preferiti di sempre, il regista inglese Derek Jarman.
Nato nel 1942, Jarman inizia giovanissimo a girare filmini in Super 8 (abitudine che in effetti non abbandonerà mai) e, dopo essere stato scenografo su I Diavoli di Ken Russell, passa alla regia nel 1976 con il film Sebastiane, sul martirio di San Sebastiano, un film dichiaratamente omosessuale e girato in latino (!). Non so quale delle due cose, all’epoca, abbia stupito di più. A seguire, Jarman gira due film leggermente iconoclastici: Jubilee e The Tempest, libero adattamento del lavoro di Shakespeare, da molti considerato il primo film punk inglese. Ma il suo capolavoro esce nel 1986: Caravaggio, un film visionario, visivamente sontuoso, ricco di idee geniali (poi la Coppola mette le scarpe da ginnastica nel film su Marie Antoinette, ma è Jarman il primo a far vedere in primo piano una macchina da scrivere nello studio di un pittore del 1500), e che segna la sua prima collaborazione con quella che diventerà la sua musa ispiratrice di sempre, Tilda Swinton

Frustrato dai tempi lunghi delle produzioni dell’epoca, incazzato a morte con la Tatcher, e stanco della classica narrativa cinematografica, Jarman si rimette a lavorare ai suoi Super 8, creando dei piccoli film del tutto inclassificabili ma che cercano di risvegliare la coscienza della gente su temi che gli stanno a cuore, come in The Last of England, in cui Jarman denuncia la grettezza e la distruzione portata dalla gente al potere (Maggie, we love you!).
Jarman ritornerà al cinema classico (si fa per dire) con le sue due ultime produzioni: Edward II, il suo film più politico e più militante per la causa omosessuale, e Wittgenstein, sulla vita del filosofo viennese Ludwig Wittgenstein (dove, ad interpretare la madre del protagonista, chiama la mamma vera di un altro figlio famoso: Jill Balcon, la madre di Daniel Day Lewis).
Ammalato di AIDS dal 1986, Jarman ha sempre dichiarato la sua malattia, così come ha sempre dichiarato le sue tendenze sessuali, facendo campagne contro la famosa Clause 28, con la quale si vietava di parlare di omosessualità nelle scuole inglesi.
Alla fine della sua vita, Jarman si trasferisce a vivere nel Kent, in un cottage a poca distanza dalla Centrale Nucleare di Dungeness, dove creerà un giardino dall’aria post-atomica sul quale sono stati scritti numerosi libri. 
Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, Kent

Il regista si congeda dal mondo con il toccante film Blue, dove lo schermo viene invaso da un colore blu intenso mentre la voce di Jarman racconta di se stesso, della sua vita e della sua malattia. 
Appassionato di musica, Jarman ha diretto numerosi video, per gente come i Sex Pistols, Marianne Faithfull, Marc Almond, Bryan Ferry, i Pet Shop Boys e, soprattutto, The Smiths: il suo mini-film per l’album The Queen is dead, che include le tre canzoni The Queen is Dead, Panic e There is a Ligh that never goes out, è un must assoluto per qualsiasi fan della band.
Ho sempre amato Jarman per le cose che diceva e come le diceva.
Era un uomo mite ma di grandissima forza interiore, un ribelle di quelli veri, che andava contro le convenzioni, contro le regole di una società che non amava, e che lottava per tutto quello in cui credeva. Mi piaceva la follia dei suoi film, quel rimescolamento di generi, di tipi di filmati, quei dialoghi folgoranti, declamati, quel farti vedere la bruttezza del mondo per dirti che però vale la pena di salvarlo, e il nudo dei corpi per farti capire che il desiderio è bello da qualsiasi parte provenga, senza dimenticare la sua ironia, so british indeed.
Ho sempre pensato che l’idea del suo cottage sullo sfondo della centrale nucleare lo definisse perfettamente: creare la bellezza dove il mondo pensa non ci sarà mai, fregandosene dello sconcerto degli altri.

In questi giorni ero a Londra e mi è capitato di andare al British Film Institute.
Con mia grande gioia, ho notato che le celebrazioni per l'anniversario della sua morte erano in pieno svolgimento: retrospettiva completa, incontri sulla sua opera, riedizioni in DVD di tutti i suoi film, libri scritti da lui e su di lui. 
There is a light that never goes out.
E quella di Jarman, di sicuro, brillerà sempre.

giovedì 6 febbraio 2014

The Doubt

François Truffaut
In these last days, I have been thinking a lot about a question that Truffaut loved to ask: 
“What’s more important for you: cinema or life?”
A real dilemma, as far as I’m concerned.
The only thing I know is that - very, very often - cinema looks much better than life.
For sure, that’s what I thought last Sunday when, in the space of few hours, I read first about the letter that Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, wrote to the NYT blog of Nicholas Kristof and then about Philip Seymour Hoffman's death (due to a heroin overdose) in his Manhattan apartment. 

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Shit! That’s what I thought. 
How is it possible that one of my favourite film-makers, the man who wrote and directed perfect gems like The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hanna and her sisters could be accused of being a child abuser?
How is it possible that one of my favourite actors, the amazing, breath-taking, incredible Philip Seymour Hoffman could have died so young and in such awful way?
I am afraid neither of my questions is easily (or maybe even possibly) answered.
Why? Because life is complicated, and because every human being is a mystery and a world of his/her own which will remain unpredictable and unknown until the end.
If last Sunday was a movie, though, I swear I would have opted for the Happy Ending.
So that there were no child molested, no film-maker being accused of molesting his daughter, no magnificent actor to be found dead. 

There are days when the desire of disappearing behind a silver screen is really, really strong, days when the dark side of existence makes you feel so vulnerable that you just want to run away. And the answer to that famous question seems pretty obvious.
By the way, today is François Truffaut's birthday, and every time I see that picture of him among all those movies, mon coeur fait boum!
He didn't have any doubt in answering that question. Lucky him.
ps Of all the movies made by Philip Seymour Hoffman, I decided to show you the one where, strangely enough, he doesn’t even appear: the Australian animated film Mary and Max (2009) by Adam Elliot, where Toni Collette gives her voice to Mary, an eight year old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Seymour Hoffman gives his voice to Max, a forty-four year old obese man with Asperger's Syndrome living in New York. The story of an incredible friendship. And the undisputed evidence that, even without his body on screen, Hoffman was able to create unforgettable characters. 
That's what great actors do.
I'm gonna miss you, pal!
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