venerdì 30 ottobre 2015

Underrated Actors

Have you ever had an amazing but useless talent? 
I actually have one: I recognize great actors at first sight.
I can’t really know how to prove it but I can make a good example (and I have many, I swear!): back in 1986, when people asked me who my favourite actor was, I used to reply Daniel Day Lewis. The subsequent question, inevitably, was: Daniel who??! It was not until he became the last of the Mohican that people started to recognize him, while I personally thought he was already absolutely astonishing as Cecil Vise in A Room with a View
I just knew, from the way he was hiding behind that unbearable and irresistible character, that this guy was meant for greater things. 3 Oscars for best performing actor afterwards I think I was proved right. 
The problem is that, unfortunately, not always the great actors I spot have the career they deserve. This is, of course, a big injustice and so I decided to let you know who are the 5 great actors (in alphabetical order) who should be VERY FAMOUS… but are not...YET! 
Aidan Gillen (Dublin, Ireland, 1968) 

Spotted for the first time in Some Mother’s Son (1996) by Terry George, where he played one of the IRA hunger strikers, and then in Mojo (1997) by Jez Butterworth, Gillen has revealed his incredible potential playing the politically incorrect and irresistible motherfucker Stuart Alan Jones in the British version of Queer as Folk (2000) by Russell T. Davies. Since then, Gillen has played in some remarkable TV series (he was Mayor Tommy Carcetti in The Wire and now he’s Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish in Game of Thrones), in some very good indie movies: Treacle Jr., Mister John, Still, You're ugly too, or in very small roles in major movies. Somebody should finally cast him for a great film in a great role. 
It would be about time!

John Lynch  (Corrinshego-Newry, Northern Ireland, 1961)
The oldest of the group and the one I am more attached to: Irish actor John Lynch didn’t have AT ALL the career he deserved (and now it’s probably too late, damn it!). His first movie was Cal (1984) by Pat O’Connor, already a remarkable beginning, then he worked with Derek Jarman in Edward II (1991), he was one of the Guilford Four in In the name of the father (1993) by Jim Sheridan, he won many awards for his role in the Australian movie Angel Baby (1995) by Michael Rymer and for playing Bobby Sands (long before Michael Fassbender) in Some Mother’s son (1996) by Terry George. He was the unfaithful boyfriend of Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors (1998) by Peter Howitt and he wrote and played the main role, the one of his idol, Northern Irish footballer George Best, in Best (2000) by Mary McGuckian. After 15 years of forgettable TV series and minor roles in minor movies, he finally found a role at his level, in the amazing TV series The Fall, where he gives to policeman Jim Burns all the ambiguity and the vulnerability he is capable of. Pity this kind of character didn’t come before. 
I swear I should have been his agent.

Ben Mendelsohn (Melbourne, Australia, 1969) 
Under the spotlight since his great role in that gem called Animal Kingdom by David Michôd (2010), Mendelsohn is one of those actors capable of stealing the scene even in a small role. This was the case in The place beyond the pines (2012) by Derek Cianfrance, Killing them softly (2012) by Andrew Dominik, Lost River (2014) by Ryan Gosling and Black Sea (2014) by Kevin MacDonald. For the time being, besides the Michôd movie, two are the roles that gave him the chance to show what he is capable of: the tough father in Starred Up by David Mackenzie (2013) and the bad brother in the Netflix TV series Bloodline (2015). No one plays ambiguous villains like he does.
Let's hope his real breakthrough is not far away...

Cillian Murphy (Douglas-Cork, Ireland, 1976) 
Well, it is not my fault if Irish do it better... 
Murphy became quite famous playing the main role in 28 Days Later… (2002) by Danny Boyle and also thanks to his collaboration with Christopher Nolan (he is the Scarecrow of the Batman saga), but I personally thinks he delivered an astonishing performance as the transgender Patrick/Kitten in Breakfast on Pluto (2005) by Neil Jordan and as the republican rebel in The wind that shakes the Barley (2006) by Ken Loach. Besides the fact that anybody wants to seat near him in a plane due to his role in Red Eye (2005) by Wes Craven, Murphy is now waiting for THE great role he deserves in movies. Luckily enough, in these last two years he found a part worth his talent, the one of Thomas Shelby, the leader of a band of brothers in the magnificent TV series set in Birmingham around 1920: Peaky Blinders. I can’t wait to see the Season 3!

Noah Taylor (London, UK, 1969) 
Born in London but grown up in Australia, Taylor began his career there, playing in two remarkable movies: The year my voice broke (1987) by John Duigan and the part of pianist David Helfgott (young) in the Oscar winning Shine (1996) by Scott Hicks. Since then, he worked in a number of interesting movies: Almost Famous (2000) by Cameron Crowe, He died with a Felafel in his hand (2001) by Richard Lowenstein, Max ((2002) by Menno Meyjes, where he plays a young Adolf Hitler!, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) by Wes Anderson, The Proposition (2005) and Lawless (2012) by John Hillcoat and The Double (2013) by Richard Ayoade.
Recently, he had two small but remarkable roles in two great TV series: he played Locke in Game of Thrones and the superbly wicked Darby Sabini in Peaky Blinders. For music fans: he is in the video of Nick Cave’s song Fifteen feet of pure white snow (and he actually has a funny resemblance to the singer).
It’s a mystery to me why he is not as famous as he should be.

martedì 27 ottobre 2015

25 ans déjà!

Jacques Demy davanti al Passage Pommeraye, Nantes
Stamattina alla radio passava La Chanson de Maxence in un nuova versione. 
Che bello! - ho pensato: fuori c'è il sole e ascolto una canzone delle Demoiselles de Rochefort.
E’ stato solo qualche minuto più tardi che ho capito perché: oggi, 27 Ottobre, è l’anniversario della morte di Jacques Demy, che ci ha lasciato 25 anni fa, nel 1990.
Conosco pochi registi amati quanto Demy, qui in Francia.
E’ come se avesse operato nella mente di tutti, bambini e adulti, una specie di magia, in base alla quale è assolutamente impossibile dimenticarlo.
La magia è dovuta ad una manciata di film che hanno rivoluzionato la storia del cinema, con il loro carico di canzoni, colori, e un’allegria mista a malinconia alla quale è impossibile resistere:

Forse la particolarità di Demy è che le immagini dei suoi film ti si imprimono dentro, e poi non escono più, talmente forte è il loro impatto.
Impossibile per me vedere un garage senza che nella mia testa non scatti in automatico la musica dei Parapluies de Cherbourg

E’ l’effetto Demy. Non ci si può fare niente. Tanto vale smettere di lottare.
La settimana scorsa, mentre visitavo la mostra su Martin Scorsese alla Cinémathèque (a proposito, è bellissima, andateci appena potete), non potevo fare a meno di pensare che la più bella di tutte quelle che ho visto sino ad ora è stata proprio quella su Demy.
La serata inaugurale aveva dell'incredibile: con le ragazze all’ingresso che portavano i cappelli delle Demoiselles, lo champagne, Agnes Varda e tutta la sua famiglia, gli attori dei suoi film, la ricostruzione dei set cinematografici. 

Ne ho un ricordo indelebile, magico, appunto.  
Qualche giorno dopo, avevo partecipato ad un flash mob "Demoiselles de Rochefort" sul parvi dell’Hotel de Ville: centinaia di persone (di tutte le età) avevano imparato a memoria una coreografia da ballare tutti insieme sulla Chanson des Jumelles.
Una cosa tanto assurda quanto divertente e gioiosissima.
Uno di quei giorni in cui mi è sembrato evidente perché ho deciso di vivere qui, nonostante il brutto tempo, la vita che costa troppo cara e i musi lunghi dei parigini.
Finché c’è amore per Demy, c’è speranza.
Finché esiste il Demy-Monde, continuerò a viverci dentro. 

giovedì 15 ottobre 2015

Festa del Cinema di Roma

Dopo quello di Cannes, la vostra Zazie ci ha preso gusto, con i Festival.
E così domani, un po' è lavoro, un po' è svago e voglia di passare qualche giorno in compagnia di amici e di film, me ne vado in Italia per una nuova avventura, quella della FESTA DEL CINEMA DI ROMA.
Tutti i miei auguri ad Antonio Monda, che è il nuovo direttore artistico del Festival.
Io e Antonio in fatto di cinema abbiamo gusti opposti, lui sta a Francis Ford Coppola come io sto a Eric Rohmer, però nel 2009 mi ha fatto conoscere Jeremy Irons (per non parlare di tutti gli altri, l'elenco sarebbe troppo lungo...), e allora gli perdono qualsiasi cosa. 
Perché per me non è un uomo, è un Santo!
Daje, Antonio, vedrai che sarà bellissimo...
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