Monday, 7 July 2014

Seasonal Nostalgia Week

A tourist city was mine for a week. The wide expanse of Surfer's Paradise in the golden state of Queensland was explored by some curious soul, who struggled to walk but dreamt without limitations. For just four days I immersed myself in books, writing in old abandoned notebooks and long-loved music on a cheap, portable vibrate speaker. I picked up Clockwork Orange at the airport and had packed The Picture of Dorian Gray and Emma. I sat alone on beaches, at poolsides. Moving upstate meant cheating the season. And all I can say is - in the dead of winter you really forget the feeling of sun kissing your skin. I wrote drafts for several reviews and flipped through a few issues of Empire magazine: the August issue, an insightful revelation. "Guest-edited by the world's greatest directors" - including such contributions including email exchanges, photos, production notes/sketches by directors themselves. 
Upon my return I attended a wonderful screening of Charlie's Country with director Rolf de Heer in attendance. All I will say for now is Australian film for 2014 is looking good. And: my friend Beth is lending me a box set of Stanley Kubrick films - expect rants. 

Below are a list of features I viewed in the cinemas this past fortnight:

Yves Saint Laurent

During my short stay in Surfer's Paradise my first venture was to locate a cinema. I discovered Arts Centre Gold Coast - an understated arts theatre which locals identified to be their cinema. The theatre was showing just four films: The Rover, The Two Faces of January, The Trip to Italy and Yves Saint Laurent. I decided to go with the French biopic on fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent (expect a review soon). The cinema room itself was simple and not particularly large but there remained a respectable interspace between seating and the screen - something not be found in the seating plan of cinemas in Melbourne. Every seat in the house was a good one. 


Ben Affleck had for some time already established himself as a competent film-maker, but nothing was more affirming of his abilities than Argo. I had missed the feature in the cinemas and never got around to renting it out but managed to catch it during my stay in QLD (yay Foxtel). This directoral effort by Affleck is a fast-paced, intriguing piece of cinematic wonder. 

The Place Beyond the Pines

Quite possibly my greatest blind-spot for 2013 was The Place Beyond the Pines. As I finally settled down to watch the film I remember incessantly thinking: "wow, wow, this is good filmmaking". The narrative arc drew me in, I was so invested in the characters. 

Re-watches of Woody Allen:

Midnight in Paris

Annie Hall

A re-watch of Midnight in Paris meant one thing in particular for me: paying closer attention to Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux: two sublime French actresses. Seydoux had escaped my attention in the past contributing only small roles to such films as Midnight in Paris, Inglourious Basterds  and this year in The Grand Budapest Hotel. But rest assured my eye is now trained keenly on the young performer: I am just as impatient as the rest of the world too see her role in the second film based on the life of french designer Saint Laurent to grace the big screens this year. As for Marion Cottilard - let's just say she is now in strong competition with Bérénice Bejo for the place of my most admired French actress. 

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