mercoledì 3 settembre 2014

The Salvation

Summer is over. Work is back. Skies are grey.
This is what I thought last week, arriving in Paris after one month of absence. 
I admit it: I wasn't feeling at my best, and I couldn't find a way to cheer me up.
But then, guess what... cinema saved my life once again. And this time it happened thanks to a movie whose title couldn't be more appropriate: The Salvation.
A friend texted me to say that at the MK2 Quai de Loire, on Wednesday night, Mads Mikkelselsen and the film-maker Kristian Levring would show up at the end of the screening. 
So there I was, ready for the first great cinematic event of La Rentrée!
Cinema MK2 Quai de Loire
The Salvation is a western: Jon and Peter are two Danish men who emigrated to America in search of a better place to live after having fought in the Danish/German war of 1867. Once settled, Jon's wife and their young son join him to start a new life, but as soon as they arrive they are killed by a man called Paul. Jon finds him and kills him, not knowing that Paul is Delarue's brother, the region's villain. Delarue and Paul's widow, Madelaine, seek revenge and Jon's life becomes a nightmare. 
Will he be able to save himself?
I am far from being a huge westerns' fan, but this movie made by day, and most probably because it is a real classic. The silent and grand landscape of the West, a lonely hero, his faithful brother, the unbearable villain, the fascinating and dangerous woman, a fearsome vengeance, gallons of blood and countless gunfights: all the elements of the genre are present here. But there is also something more. 
I could clearly sense that the film-maker was paying a tribute to the thousands of western movies he should have seen as a young boy, and that was great. I like to see on screen the work of a cinema lover, even if he loves a kind of movies I don't particularly fancy. I understand him and I enjoy immensely to see his story.
Kristian Levring (the film-maker) with Mads Mikkelsen (the actor) on set
Besides this, The Salvation has one of the most beautiful cinematography I have seen in recent years. I didn't know Jens Schlosser, but I have already took note of his name: the wild west he has filmed in reality was South Africa but nobody could see the difference and it was looking even more beautiful and immense. 
Jon (Mads Mikkelsen) and his brother Peter (Mikael Persbrandt)
And then, well, and then there was the cast: a five stars one. Mads Mikkelsen is PERFECT for the role: he's got the right face, the right carisma, and that particular mix of rage and sweetness which is becoming his identification mark. In a word: he is irresistible. His brother was played by another great scandinavian actor, the Swedish Mikael Persbrandt (he worked with Bergman in theatre but he became famous for his work in In a better world by Susanne Bier). The villain is greatly played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (for the TV-series freaks out there, he is the guy of Magic City), while Eva Green as the mute (the indians cut her tongue as a child) and dark lady of the West, is convincing and charming as usual.
As promised, at the the end of the screening, Mikkelsen and Levring were at the cinema for a brief conversation with the audience. Mikkelsen was nice, funny and super cool, while Levring seriously answered to all the questions. A good match:
Mikkelsen, after the Q&A, was literally "assaulted" by the fans (most of them girls, of course) and he was extremely accommodating and nice to everybody, taking pictures and signing autographs. 
A real gentleman:
For a moment, I was really tempted to reach the crowd, but then I thought: Well, I have talked to him and kissed him at the Oscars, after all
How can I ask for more?

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