Monthly Archives: January 2015
Une vidéo de Faireset/Parole de Chat
Mes amis de France et la langue française! Se il vous plaît pardonnez-moi. Je ne parle bien le le français, et je ne écris pas bien le français. Mais je aime le videos de Faireset/Parole de Chat. Et je pense qu’il devrait être reconnu pour ses efforts merveilleux. Donc, si je fais des erreurs, si je me humilier, ce est pour une bonne cause. Je le fais avec l’aide de Google; je peux tourjours mettre le google du blâme. (mauvaise blague)
Cet entretien avec Faireset/Parole de Chat a été menée par email.
Ce qui est sa formation pour videos et cinema? O at-il appris s’amusant? At-il appris par essais et erreurs?
Je suis totalement auto-didacte ! J’ai appris sur le tas, en m’aidant de tutoriels trouvés sur Internet. Ce qui est très enthousiasmant c’est de se dire qu’aujourd’hui n’importe qui peut produire son propre programme. Si on a la bonne idée, le temps et l’énergie, tous les outils sont là pour réaliser nos idées.
Faireset est très drôle, talentueux, intelligent. Qui cinéastes et comédiens t-il préfèrent? Qui lui inspire?
Merci pour le compliment ! Pour Parole de chat, ma plus grande inspiration vient de “La vie privée des animaux” de Patrick Bouchitey, mais j’ai aussi une grande admiration pour un américain qui a lui-même sa chaîne Youtube : “Talking animals” (Klaatu42).
Il y a tellement d’artistes et d’acteurs qui ont nourri mon enthousiasme au fil des ans: Georges Méliès, Charlie Chaplin, Louis Jouvet, Louis de Funès, Alexandre Astier, Freddie Wong, Hugh Jackman ! Je pourrai continuer de citer des dizaines d’autres noms, toute époque et tout genre confondu. Je suis également un grand fan de séries américaines (How I met your mother, Dexter, MadMen, The Walking dead, Games of Throne, etc. la liste est trop longue !)
Faireset est très populaire. Certaines vidéos sont allés virale parce que ils sont brillants et rendent les gens heureux. Ce qui ne Faireset comme de faire les vidéos? L’acte de création? La réponse des fans? Les chats? La collaboration avec d’autres artistes? Le risque? Le plaisir? Autre chose?
Je reste incrédule devant les millions de vues. Je regarde les chiffres comme si ce n’était pas moi qui avait fait ces vidéos, comme si j’étais incapable de faire ça. Du coup je lis tous les commentaires, j’essaye de répondre du mieux que je peux aux questions, je reviens plusieurs fois par jour sur Facebook, Youtube, twitter ou Instagram, juste pour être sûr que tout ça est bien réel! Et là où ça devient magique c’est quand je vois l’impact que certaines de mes vidéos peuvent avoir sur les gens qui les regardent. Par exemple à la fin des “chats ninjas” quand je dis : “Il y en a peut-être un derrière vous, en ce moment même !”, beaucoup de personnes se retournent vraiment pour vérifier. Et le plus drôle c’est que souvent il y a leur chat, assis sur le canapé, qui lève la tête d’un air de dire “Ah, ah, tu fais moins le malin maintenant !”
Quelles sont ses films o videos préférés… la comédie o drame? Ce qui est quelques exemples de chaque?
Je suis un fan absolu de Louis de Funès ! J’ai dû voir certains de ces films… je ne compte pas, mais beaucoup de fois ! “Rabbi Jacob”, “La folie des grandeurs”, “La soupe au choux”, la série des “Fantomas”, “Hibernatus”, etc. Mais je suis aussi un très grand amateur de films SF ou fantastiques : “Star Wars”, “Matrix”, tous les films de Super-héros, etc.
Et comme j’aime bien faire le grand écart, je prends toujours énormément de plaisir à voir ou revoir de grands classiques en noir et blanc, des films avec Audrey Hepburn ou Marilyn Monroe, ou Louis Jouvet pour qui j’ai une admiration sans borne ! (regardez “Un revenant” ou “Docteur Knock”).
Il y a quelque temps on a revu en famille “Mon nom est personne”, avec Terence Hill et Henri Fonda. Ce film est génialissime ! Et côté video je suis abonné, à des personnes comme Cyprien, Norman, SLG, WTC, toute la WhyTeaFam que j’apprécie beaucoup, GonzagueTV également, la liste est longue ! Les gars de Corridor Digital aux Etats-Unis font un travail incroyable ! Et j’ai aussi beaucoup d’admiration pour Zach King.
Je pense que Faireset est un artiste du peuple…qui profiter des chats et le rire, oui, mais un artiste du peuple sur un niveau plus profond. Qu’il a écrit un scénario? Aimerait-il? Quels sont ses plans pour l’avenir?
Il y a un projet qui me tient à coeur depuis longtemps: produire une Websérie ! Le jour où on réussira à avoir le budget pour pouvoir commencer la production des épisodes (qui sont déjà écrits), je réaliserai là un rêve d’enfant 😉
J’aimerais savoir pourquoi vous avez choisi l’identité de Faireset ? Était-ce à cause de l’ influence Charlie Chaplin?
Oui en parti, mais c’est surtout en référence à Georges Méliès, à qui l’on doit notamment le “voyage sur la lune”. Georges Méliès est connu (surtout en France) pour avoir été l’inventeur des effets spéciaux au cinéma (il appelait ça des “trucages”). C’était un magicien de l’image 😉
Les vidéos de Faireset inclus ici sont quelques-uns de mes favoris. Voici un pour la route
The “Closing Night Film” of the 22nd Hamptons International Film Festival was the U.S. premiere of Wash Westmoreland’s and Richard Glatzer’s film Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore, who last night won the Golden Globe Award for her stunning lead performance. Including Moore’s best actress Golden Globe, Still Alice has, so far, won 16 awards. (My Blogcritics review of Still Alice can be found by clicking this link.)
After the screening, Julianne Moore, director/writer Wash Westmoreland and producer Christine Vachon spoke with David Nugent the Artistic Director of the 22nd Hamptons Internation Film Festival. This segment of the lengthy Q. and A. highlights the evolution and challenges Julianne Moore and Wash Westmoreland faced making this amazing film about a linguistics professor who has Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. The film centers on Alice Howland and her family as she realizes what is happening to her and she reaches out for love and support from her family. Together they try to find solutions, staying close to one another as Alice gradually confronts the daily loss of beautiful memories, brilliant acumen, exceptional verbal skills and her very identity.
David Nugent (Artistic Director, 22nd Hamptons International Film Festival): How different an experience was making this film?
Julianne Moore: At the end of the day, the job is the same. You have to create people. You have a story to tell. You have constraints, you have problems and you just solve them. And that’s how I approached it honestly. I just felt like, you have to make this movie and Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer are a team. And one of them can talk and one cannot. And that’s how we did it.
Christine (Vachon), you produced one of my all time favorite films, Safe which also stars Julianne Moore in which she is suffering from an unnamed disease. How was it working with on this compared to that? In a certain way it has a similar subject matter. That was 20 years ago. Is that right?
Christine Vachon: It’s such a privilege that we have worked together and we are still working together and made Still Alice. And one of the things that I am honored by is that Safe is brought up as kind of a reference point. We are all entangled together. Todd Haynes (he directed Safe), is a close friend of all of ours so his work informs what we do and our work informs what he does. And it’s awesome to be able to be here. The thing about Safe, here’s a plug about the film…it’s about to come out as a Criterion Collection in December with lots of fantastic extras including an interview with Julianne and an interview with me and new stuff and old stuff. And one of the things that is extraordinary about that film is that when it did come out, people didn’t really see what it was. And it is one of those movies that has really stood the test of time in its own way…which goes to show that you don’t always know when a movie comes out if it will resonate.
Julianne, I’m curious. Had you read the book of Still Alice first or did you read the script first? How did that come together?
Julianne Moore: No I hadn’t read the book. I read the script first. Richard and Wash and I were talking about another project. We had a really wonderful meeting and we talked back and forth for a while and I said, “Nah, I don’t think that is for me.” And they said, “Well, we have something else.” And they sent me the script right away and I read it and I was like, Wow!” I literally said, “I’ll do this”…immediately. I was in Montauk. I said, “This, I’m going to do.” And then I went and bought the book and when I went to Barnes and Noble it was on the favorites table. And I thought, well, OK. This is like a wildly popular book. I was struck by the narrative right away and the strength of the story and the emotional impact. And I was really blown away by it and terribly frightened because it seemed like a huge undertaking and one that we couldn’t accomplish in like 90 minutes, like a short movie. But I felt privileged to have the offer, frankly.
So what is terrifying in a case like that. Is it capturing the character is it telling the story in 90 minutes?
Julianne Moore: Well, clearly, this is something that’s true; it’s a true story. This is a disease affecting so, so many people, so many individuals, so many families. So there’s a degree of it where you want to get it right as an actress and then there is a narrative issue where you want to be able to tell the story in 90 minutes and bring people into an entertainment. So there are a million obstacles. But at the base of it what was most interesting to me is about what Wash discussed with me in the beginning. He said that it’s about how you face this terrible disease and what is your essential self? You know, it’s asking who are we? Who are we behind our jobs and our clothes and our friendships and our relationships? Who are we at the very core of it? How do you get that right? I didn’t know how to do that. Lisa Genova in her novel kind of depicts it beautifully and she goes in, in, in with this character, but as an actor, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it, frankly.
You did it. (the audience applauds in approval and confirmation) Speaking of Lisa Genova who wrote the book, do you know if she has seen the film?
Wash Westmoreland: Lisa saw the film for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival and she was extremely happy which made us all extremely happy. And she was a complete supportive partner in the whole process. When you’re taking someone’s book and adapting it, there’s all kinds of things…it’s like going into a creative mine field because they have a certain idea of how things are meant to be. The film just has to be allowed to be something different…and at the same time it has to be faithful to the spirit of the book. When we sent off the first draft to Lisa, we were nervous. We didn’t know her. We didn’t know how she’d respond and she wrote back this rapturous email, “I’m so grateful to you for taking my vision further.” She has just been this incredible cheer leader. But we felt a responsibility to people who knew the book to embody the spirit of what’s written on the page. And I also feel like we had to make a film that allows Still Alice to become a cinematic experience. So I hope people who know the book get into the film because we wanted the correlation between the two to be very close.
Julianne was there any particular process for preparing for this role that you undertook?
Well, whenever you do something that’s based on the truth, you know when there’s research to be done…golly, I had so much help. I started with the Alzheimer’s Association. They sent me to Mount Sinai where I talked to researchers and they set me up with several women around the country who had been diagnosed with Early Onset and I went from there to the New York Alzheimer’s Association and support groups. I talked with people who had been recently diagnosed and talked to the people who worked with the families there and ended up in a long term care facility, so there’s always somewhere to go. And each person referred me to the next. And their generosity was extraordinary. I was in a long term care facility and I talked to a woman about her mom because I had been sitting near a window and the people were singing and doing workshop stuff and this woman told me that I should get away from the draft. She was a patient. She said, “Get out of the draft…it’s cold.” And the woman’s daughter was there; she was my age, and she said, “Oh, yeah. My mom worries about people catching cold.” And she talked about her experience with her mother. Everyone was very, very anxious to tell me their story, tell me what their personal experience was, as someone who was dealing with the disease, someone who had a parent, or friend, or whatever. The access I had was really unparalleled. The research I got was really extraordinary.
Questions from the audience, for Julianne: Have you had any personal experience with Alzheimer’s?
I haven’t, actually, with the exception of the people I met. It’s interesting. There is a woman I became very close to who lives in Minneapolis and was one of the very first people I talked to. She was diagnosed at 45 and I saw her on a Skype call. And she looks like me. She has red hair and she’s fair skinned and slender. I was like, “Sandy you could be a sister.” And she ended up consulting with me the entire film and had her 50 birthday on the set. She was on the set the day we did the Alzheimer’s Association speech. So in that sense I felt like I had a connection to someone with Alzheimers, but no, actually I didn’t.
(David Nugent interrupts) Tell them about the article in the New York Times that we were discussing.
There’s an article in the New York Times today that scientists have found a way to create an Alzheimer’s brain in gel. So they can kind of do a facsimile of what an actual brain with Alzheimer’s looks like and they can now test drugs within this so it’s a real breakthrough for treating Alzheimers, so that was exciting. (applause)
Audience Question: How did you find it when you didn’t speak toward the end of the film. What was the hardest part about not being there. I was impressed when you were quiet…changed from the way you were before
What is interesting for me as an actor, on the one hand it was, “Yeah I have no lines.” But what I observed was that the days I was the most exhausted were the days that I was in the decline of Alice’s life. But what I noticed when I went to observe people in the long term care facilities is the amount of energy it takes for someone to pay attention and to be present and to connect when they are suffering from this really difficult disease. It is extraordinary. I would see this in films with Alzheimer’s patients: how hard it is for them to concentrate, how hard it is for them to be present. I would even see it with people opening their eyes really wide. So the idea that someone is not present or zones out or goes away or goes somewhere else, I found not to be true at all. In fact what I saw was people working very, very hard to concentrate and to hold on to what they understood and to try to be as connected and as alive as possible. So those were the days that were the most exhausting and I was kind of surprised by it. There was a woman I met in a long term care facility who is 65. She was non verbal. I sat down next to her and talked to her about what was going on. She leaned toward me and she copied my expressions and if I gestured somewhere, she’d look over there and she was taking all her emotional and intellectual clues from what I was doing and she was trying very, very hard to stay connected to me. And I was really touched by it because you realize it’s not about people going away. It’s about people trying to stay present.
Audience question: How do you come down to such an emotional role like that? Is it a process. I can’t imagine being in your shoes playing a person with Alzheimers and then going home and moving on.
My children help. I have a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old. They don’t care what you’re doing. When you come home you just have to kind of get back to it. But that did help in a way. This is a movie about mortality and about who we are and what lives we’re living and who we’re connected to. So I have that experience all day long about what does it mean to be alive, what does it mean to feel things slipping away? When you go home, it’s like, this is what it means to be alive. I have my 16-year-old, he needs this. My 12-year old needs this and my husband needs this and I have to empty the dishwasher and the dogs have to go out in the yard. So all of that stuff actually brings it home because you’re like, “Well, that’s what it’s about.” And in a way that’s a gift.
Audience Question: I found the scene with the butterfly folder so incredibly moving. I was just curious how you approached it and how you felt as you were going through that…you know when you discovered it again.
Wash Westmoreland: I’ll just set it up by saying that that scene was so crucial in the structure of the movie, because the changes in Alice are very gradual. I think it’s not until you see that scene that you witness the true power of Julianne’s performance to understand how the changes are so dramatic over that period of time that we’ve been following that character. It’s Julie acting with herself…Alice in the past, Alice in the present. The scene really condenses and crystallizes so much about the changes happening in that character in so many ways and the loss that we see.
Julianne Moore: Yeah, it’s so interesting because what we find valuable in certain points in our lives is not necessarily what we’ll find valuable somewhere else. So Alice before she’s more declined believes that she is not going to want to live in this different state. And what you find later you see it with Alec and Ally, and Ally asks, “Do you still want to be here,” and she says “I’m not finished yet. She’s not done with her ice cream…it’s a beautiful metaphor…and she’s not finished yet either with her life. So why would that be any less valuable where she is now? What I loved about that was the juxtaposition. We have an assumption that there is only one way to be when in fact, there are many ways to be and they are all valuable.
Audience Question: Beautiful film. Do you see this film being shown in communities for fund raisers in helping Alzheimer’s research?
Julianne Moore: Yes, hopefully. We have a co-producer on the film who is very closely associated to the Alzheimer’s Association, and she is hoping to work with them to bring to communities in conjunction with the release of the film so that it’s seen regionally and that one of its core audiences is really supported. That’s the hope for it.
Wash Westmoreland: What the book gave us was this emotional template that’s so strong about how to get through one of the most difficult things that life can throw your way. And I think if people can see this movie in time and take strength from it… maybe they’re dealing with someone in their own family who has Alzheimer’s or another disease and the film inspires them to say, “I want to be Lydia (Alice’s daughter played by Kristen Stewart), I want to be that person whose there for that person,” then we’ve done our job as filmmakers and we’ve done our job with the film.
This article first appeared on Blogcritics.
Still Alice received its U.S. Premiere as the “Closing Night Film” at the 22nd Hamptons International Film Festival on October 13, 2014. Since then the film, starring Julianne Moore in an incredible performance and directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, has gone on to win 16 awards, for Moore’s complex, challenging and heartfelt work. In the film’s first award for the New Year Moore won the Golden Globe 2015 for Best Performance of an Actress, Drama this past Sunday. The indie film will receive a wider release on January 16.
January is a noted award month and Moore after winning the Golden Globe will most likely during the January and February ceremonies take home a few more awards for which she has been nominated. The more prestigious nominations include the BAFTA 2015 Best Actress award, the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, the London Critics Circle Film Awards 2015 for Actress of the Year, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress. There are other nominations with ceremonies in the subsequent months, including the Oscars, but the Academy Award nominations have not been announced yet. The Las Vegas odds are listed and the likelihood of Moore being nominated for an Oscar is high.
The accolades are well deserved because Julianne Moore is the centerpiece of Still Alice. Her performance is perfection as Alice Howland, a beautiful, accomplished and happily married linguistics professor who apparently “has it all,” until she notices that during speeches and at conferences, words seem to slip by her and remain just out of reach, hanging in the air somewhere. For a linguistics professor this is a chilling irony and when Alice notices that more of her ability to stringing words and phrases together fades to oblivion the alarms sound.
One turning point occurs on a typical workout. At the beginning of her run she is complacent and thoughtful and energetic, but in a split second, the familiar place and knowledge of what she is doing there vanishes. She stops, panicked; the setting is unfamiliar though she has been jogging on this path weekly for years. She recognizes nothing.
It is at this point that the reality of what is happening to Alice lands with full force in her soul. Moore registers this still point and our hearts break for her. How this superb actress conveys the terror and sense of being lost in a once known place and time is completely truthful and in the moment. We are with her, gripped by fright as we see Alice’s realization that this “vanishing” of one moment of known reality into the unfamiliar and unknown is a momentous symbol of what is happening to her. It is as if a dark cloak is being drawn over her once brilliant mind to extinguish all of its pulsating light.
When Alice tells her husband Dr. John Howland (a believable and loving Alec Baldwin) that she has Alzheimer’s, we are as incredulous as he is, because she is in the prime of her life and has “miles to go before she sleeps.” Except she doesn’t. She is one of a growing number of Americans swept up in Early Onset Alzheimer’s, a disease entity which steals one’s memory and identity. It happens in a relatively short period of time, there is no known cure and it happens cruelly, forcefully and without mercy. How the family responds to the situation, the film reveals, can make all the difference in the world.
Basing their film on the novel of the same title by Lisa Genova, writers/directors Westmoreland and Glatzer made the decision to sharpen the focus on Alice so as to peel back how she confronts her condition head on with the help and support of her family. Westmoreland’s and Glatzer’s amazing viewpoint is uplifting, real and human. They have managed to keep this serious, depressing situation eminently watchable because Alice’s interactions with her family are loving and caring. Alice’s intelligence and honesty in accepting the situation even as she struggles against it with every ounce of her being is revelatory because she has not “gone away,” as the assumption often is about Alzheimer’s patients. Though Alice loses her formal speech patterns, she relates on other levels and is constantly reaching out to family to remain with them in the existential present. Yes, the past is increasingly blurred and the future cannot be conceived, but the present is the vitality that is still Alice.
The fine ensemble cast playing immediate family including husband (Alec Baldwin) and daughters Anna (Kate Bosworth), Lydia (Kristen Stewart), and son Tom (Hunter Parrish) provide a look into the responses family members take as Alice’s decline gradually increases and then appears to speed up. We understand that family’s reactions are choices they make. They could have responded differently, but it is how they deal with the situation that makes Alice’s condition all the more poignant. As a primary theme, Westmoreland and Glatzer have emphasized that the interlocking support of family helping each other is vital to sustain the relationship with a loved one with Alzheimer’s for as long as possible. Together Moore and the directors teach us that the individual with Alzheimer’s is always who they are, despite their experiencing a daily creeping mortality; their personhood and life force courageously attempts to assert itself despite all odds.
This film is an incredible accomplishment by Moore, the directors and the cast. Considering the growing awareness of this noxious disease (Seth Rogen recently appeared before Congress discussing his wife’s mother who has Alzheimer’s) and the increasing numbers of individuals forecast to come down with Alzheimer’s in the decades ahead, the film reveals a blueprint of expectation. It is a reminder to all of us that who we are and how we live out our lives or help family who may contract Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be tragic. It can be hopeful and uplifting.
This post first appeared on Blogcritics.
Goodbye to All That screened at the IFC Center in New York City on Wednesday, December 17th. I had the opportunity to sit down with the film’s writer/director Angus MacLachlan to discuss how he felt about his directorial debut.
About the film
Goodbye to All That is a multi-genre work that is beautifully unique and impossible to pin down. Like life it is composed of wonderful comedic moments, drama, poignancy and surprises that smash you over the head. It is an adult coming-of-age film about a late-30-something male, Otto Wall, played by Paul Schneider. Otto’s wife leaves him and he is upended, having to deal with loneliness and learn about dating, sex and relationships in the Social Media age, while raising his 11-year-old daughter.
About Angus MacLachlan
MacLachlan is an award-winning playwright. As a screenwriter he is best known for Junebug which earned him a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and which garnered a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Amy Adams. Junebug also won a Special Jury Citation at Sundance Film Festival in 2005, and was nominated for Best Screenplay by the Washington Area Film Critics. It appears that the screenwriter/director is moving in the same vein with this, his latest film. Goodbye to All That received noted acclaim in its world premiere at 2014 Tribeca Film Festival where it was a festival winner in the Best Actor category for a narrative feature. MacLachlan was also nominated in the Best Narrative Feature category.
You’ve morphed from screenwriting and added directing to your skill set. How do you feel about this?
The most satisfying thing about directing this film is that I got to complete the process. I was a playwright for a number of years and an actor for a number of years. When you write for theater or film you don’t write for it to be written. You write for it to be experienced in time and space in some manner. And a lot of times, especially if you’re a screenwriter, things aren’t made. So it feels frustrating. It feels like you haven’t finished the process. Or if you’re just a screenwriter, sometimes you don’t see the full execution of your work. For example I loved Junebug and I loved what Phil Morrison did. But sometimes I’ve had the experience where they’ve taken what I’ve done, and not done what I thought or what my intentions were, and it didn’t turn out well or turn out how I thought it should be. With this one I got to finish the process and follow my imagination. I was able to say, look! This is the way I think it should be acted. This is the way I think it should be cut. That was great. I got to make the movie I wanted to make which was great and rare.
So as the director, you had the opportunity to pretty much stick to the screenplay
as it was written.
Well, with Junebug, Phil Morrison really, really respected the text in a way that is unusual. But some people think of screenplays as just being jumping off points. I really am a text person, so the text was set and we did the text. Yes, the actors will throw in a line or a suggestion. But it was really what I imagined. What I had written was what the final film is.
I particularly like the incorporation of social media and how you developed your main character Otto who is blindsided by his wife who wants a divorce. Can you talk about how you worked on his characterization and what inspired you to create Otto Wall?
Well, the film came about because of a number of friends who had gone through similar circumstances as Otto [had]. I am married myself and have a daughter, but I’m not divorced. Today, I’m not divorced. But I had a number of close friends who went through very similar things. They would tell me stories that were harrowing and sad and scary and funny and erotic and sexy and I would take notes about them. Finally, I thought: I’m going to have to write something.
One of the inspirations for the film was this movie from the 1970s, An Unmarried Woman with Jill Clayburgh, which was about a woman who was married and had a daughter and suddenly, her husband says I don’t want to be married. She goes out on dates and has to balance that with being a mother, and eventually she meets this great guy played by Allen Bates, but doesn’t leave with him. That was in 1979, and really about the women’s movement and feminism and how a woman can stand on her own.
I wanted to see if could you tell that story from a man’s perspective. Otto is not immature, he’s just unconscious. He’s not aware and he’s got to become conscious. He needs to have his consciousness raised. Can one tell that story? So that’s really where the film came about.
Your idea of the social media piece was a real theme about how he discovers what his wife was doing because he spies on Facebook, and how an old girlfriend finds him because of Facebook, and how through a site like OKCupid you can pick up people. Things are so different than they were maybe 15 years ago before he was married. That was a real intention in the film.
I thought it was very organic as well, when he goes to Facebook with her password and follows her posts and makes a discovery. I must have laughed for a full minute because I know someone that happened to.
I know [laughs]. When I wrote that, I did a little poll with married couples. I asked them, “Do you know your mate’s password? When would you ever use it?” The first thing everyone would say was, “If I thought they were cheating, I would use it.” Some people were like, “Well, I don’t know.” But a lot of them would.
The element of trust comes into it. You have to trust one another not to go on Facebook. You don’t want to be stalking your own mate.
I thought his age and Facebook which is for an older crowd was great. My grandniece (she’s 13) uses Instagram. It would have been a different film. Could you talk about that?
You know, we were a little bit delayed in being released. I kept telling the team, “We’ve got to get released because you know something else may take its place.” [we both laugh] “They’re going to change Facebook, or something is going to change or something new will come along.” The tech moves so, so fast. But the thing I think is so common now is connecting to old friends and connecting to people you find on Facebook that you knew in high school. That happens I think to a lot of people in their 30s, 40s.
Absolutely. It was appropriate and added such a human quality to the film which was great. How did you cast Paul Schneider? What a find.
I know. Well, he is an actor I knew of. We actually both went to the same school, though I never met him before. A number of actors came up in discussion. We had a great casting guy, Mark Bennett. Otto Wall was a delicate role to cast. We needed someone who was attractive enough that all these women would want to go to bed with him, but he couldn’t be too attractive or he would be like a player. You had to believe he was a father, had to believe he was a runner and be able to do the physical piece. Also, I really wanted to cast an actor who you could believe liked women and wanted to go to bed with them and them with him.
Paul Schneider fit the part. He was from North Carolina which was great. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the character. He, Paul, is not like Otto. Paul is really smart, really sharp and Otto is not so smart. So he creates a complete character and he’s wonderful. And also we needed someone we could believe really was a father. Paul’s not a father, yet he really does a great job.
He was phenomenal. Well, Tribeca Film Festival awarded him Best Actor in a Narrative Feature, which is a validation of his acting and your directing. I thought your work with the editing was wonderful, including his reactions when he was on Facebook. Did you rehearse any of this beforehand?
We did very little rehearsal. No. I had a great editor, Jen Lilly, and we worked together every day side by side. I think my experience helped. I was an actor for a long time and had been on stage and in a few films and also directed in the theater. You get a feeling of rhythm and play. That was really important. You try to get the comedy and create moments that perhaps weren’t there in the performances. That comic rhythm was something that was very important.
Well, you certainly got it. What is your favorite moment?
I don’t know if I have any favorite moments in the film.
Or a moment that surprised you – anything like that.
I don’t know if it’s a favorite moment, but when Otto and Lara (Heather Lawless) first meet at the reunion, they’re standing in the doorway and they’re talking, talking, talking. Then she stops and says, “Oh, you have a daughter.” And he says, “Yes.” And she says, “Does she have your eyelashes?” And there’s a moment where they look at each other. They did not do this in reality. I had to create that moment. I just wanted to see her look, and remember, and think, you have a child, and I loved your eyelashes when we were 15 years old. I loved that. That’s movie making because it was the collaboration of what they did and didn’t do, and what the editing did and how it was shot. We created this moment. I just liked that humanness. You know it would be something that your old girlfriend would say. “When we were 15 we all talked about your great eyelashes. Now you have a daughter. Does she have them too?” I just thought that’s a very human thing.
When moments like that work and form a wholeness, that’s exciting. So where do you go from here?
You’re telling me. [we laugh]
The doors are opening. I saw it at Tribeca. Paul won and the film was nominated.
From your mouth to God’s ears! Unfortunately we have a very, very tiny release. The situation with films is it is very hard to get them in theaters. We’ll be in VOD. But because the genre is not out-and-out comedy nor out-and-out drama and because our actors are not Matthew McConaughey, it’s very hard to sell it. It’s been a real challenge to get it out there. It still is.
It would do well in my local indie movie theater..
Where’s your theater?
In the city, Queens.
See, it’s only playing at the IFC Center, starting on Wednesday.
So the word needs to get out.
It sure does. I have been contacting everyone. I’m not even on Facebook and I’m doing a Facebook page and contacting everybody I know to go see it. [we laugh] It’s only going to open in five theaters. In New York and Pittsburgh and Santa Fe and Monterey and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’m like, if it’s not in your theater, tell folks to get it on VOD.
I know so many people who would adore this film. It’s that age group (married, getting divorced). It’s not a chick flick, and guys will see the females and really appreciate them.
That’s my thought. [we laugh] Too bad you’re not running a studio.
How did you get the funding?
It was cobbled together through private financing. And it wasn’t Kickstarter. Just me going and begging.
What did you learn?
Enormous things, enormous things. I learned a lot about how to write. I understand why screenwriters are treated badly in films because the director really has to make the film his own. I learned a lot about how vulnerable actors are and how a director really can create a performance and make it even better or make it much worse than what the actor does. I learned a lot about the business and how really dire independent film making is. I learned that it’s tough.
That hurts because I have friends who are trying.
I know. There are so many films out there and so few ways to make money at it or make money back.
What about Netflix?
Well, it will be on iTunes and VOD and Amazon and then they negotiate later for Netflix. But you know Netflix is going to produce their own stuff, so who knows what they’re going to do.
But it will get legs and as it gets out there, people will find it.
Yeah, they have to discover it.
Could you talk a little bit about the women you cast in the film?
They were great. Thanks goes to a great casting director. I really needed strong women who could make an impression in like two minutes. Amy Sedaris is on the screen for two minutes and you don’t know who she is. And Celia Weston who plays the therapist. All of them were so fantastic. And the women who did the sex scenes? It is very difficult to do that. Everyone was so professional. The women liked Paul and Paul liked them. I had a lot of luck. I love our cast. I love watching the film because I like to see their performances.
Amy Camp was hysterical. (Amy Camp plays Debbie Spangler who yells out her name at the oddest times, asserting her identity.)
Yeah, Amy Camp was great.
What about the idea of the women’s identity? It’s interesting that you were inspired by the Jill Clayburgh film but on the other hand this is equal time for women plus men. I thought that was amazing.
Well, one of the things I really, really wanted in all of the sex scenes was that everyone was an adult and working out of their own volition. Nobody was taking advantage of anybody else. All of the women were not being taken advantage of. It was very important to show that these people are adults. These are people who are old enough to do what they want to do and take responsibility for it. Even with Debbie Spangler who I think has a little bi-polar quality to her, when she says, “It was horrible and we shouldn’t have done that.” He says, “No. I never would have forced you to do anything. But we didn’t do anything wrong.” And she says, “Yes we did…”
But then she comes back.
She comes back and says that she’s crazy and she says, “You know you’re very sweet, actually, a very good man.”
The idea of church was perfect, and of course, the daughter brings it up. Could you explain how that idea evolved?
Well I think particularly for children at that age they start to think about God or hear about Him. If they are not going to a church they wonder about it. She’s worried about her father. He hurts himself all the time, and why does God do that? And in those church scenes she immediately goes to the minister and talks to him about her father. And the thing with Debbie Spangler is I didn’t want to make church the butt of the joke. I don’t think her problem is she’s religious. I think the problem is she needs some medication. She could be a strong Christian woman and still have some fun.
But you identified one of the issues with certain churches because every person raised in the church has to decide if sex out of marriage is OK or not. Her reaction was so organic, so real.
Good. Thank you.
How do you put on the page these real people?
I think it’s from observation and really wanting to portray real people. The film in its essence is kind of a sitcom idea. You know, divorced Dad dates again. It’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father but I wanted, I guess because it was inspired by friends of mine, I wanted to portray it in a realistic manner.
I wish you all luck with the film, and I hope it gets the audience it deserves in its release in New York City at the IFC Center on Wednesday, December 17 and its release in Winston-Salem, NC, Monterey, CA., Santa Fe, NM and Pittsburgh, PA.
This interview first appeared on Blogcritics.
Playwright and screenwriter of Junebug, the award winning Angus MacLachlan, has done it again! He has penned a funny, poignant, commonsensical and incredibly human film which will resonate with a wide swath of individuals if it is discoverable to them. And Goodbye to All That, also directed by MacLachlan should be imminently discoverable. After all, the age group that this clever, saavy movie should appeal to ranges from thirty-somethings to sixty-somethings, and includes men and women. If you enjoy Indie films that cut through the hype, shmoozy glitter, and intentional, self-conscious realism, Goodbye to All That is for you, especially if you like to laugh.
Though the film has a regional feel, its subject touches upon issues that city-folks can relate to, namely separation, divorce and reentering the hot dating scene using Social Media after years of a settled, somnambulant marriage. MacLachlan is a canny director. He knows how best to achieve humor with his comedic timing and knowledge of how to vary silence, a look and a glance, with pacing and rhythm. The result has brought about an award winning performance by the likeable, human and very funny Paul Schneider who plays the everyman protagonist, Otto Wall. Paul Schneider who won a Best Actor in a Narrative Feature award at Tribeca Film Festival is incomparably Otto.
With clear precision, from the outset, MacLachlan intimates that Otto’s and Annie’s (a fine performance by Melanie Lynskey), relationship is terminally ill. The humor is that Otto is the only one who is back at the alter thinking everything is going really well. The arc of the film is Otto’s dawning realization that he has to grow up and confront who he is and what he wants in a relationship with a woman and especially in his relationship with his daughter after he separates from his wife. As he juggles his priorities, he begins to understand where he has come from. But will he be able to resume an existence without the woman who was so comfortable in his life’s landscape that he forgot she was there?
This is a tall order for Otto, as it might be for many men who have grown into a dullard’s reality of walking through time with someone they don’t know, understand or are interested in, even if it is their wife. However, Otto is fortunate to receive help. It comes in the form of a number of beautiful, autonomous, independent-minded and intelligent women. It’s an interesting arrangement; he is interested in them sexually and they are interested in him sexually. This is the age of Social Media and women are approachable at the click of a button on Facebook and the same applies for men as both genders surf online dating sites and profiles to see if there might be compatibility.
For Otto this is a kind of mecca. What was once a deadening existence just moving through the ethers now becomes a life that is thrilling and alive. After the first “date” he is invigorated and “rarein to go.” The painful jolt of being dumped (no spoiler alert…I will not ruin it for you as to the specifics), has revived him from near brain death. And that electric current is spurring him on to recognize that culturally “things have changed” after being out of the social loop for 15 married years. And it’s a change for the better.
Otto works through gauging his priorities and begins to develop into a responsible, caring male. Some of this evolves because of the unique responses and reciprocation of feelings from the women he engages with- Mildred (Ashley Hinshaw), Stephanie (Heather Graham), and Debbie Spangler (Anna Camp). Their meet-ups and dates are hilarious, surprising and real. Otto also is guided by his daughter (11-year-old Edie), whom he attempts to please and who is not afraid to “get real” and censure him when/if he goes too far with his women friends. Massaged by all of this female wisdom and the added preciousness of reestablishing a connection with an old girlfriend (Heather Lawless), he knew and cared for in high school (the classmates find each other via Facebook and hold a reunion), Otto finally gets to make a conscious decision about what he wants and who he is. He has landed on solid ground. He recognizes that he enjoys his life for he is no longer sailing away on the wings of oblivion in an existence that will be over before it really begins.
Goodbye to All That, an apt title, is meaningful without appearing to be “profound.” Yet it is real, touching, powerful and extremely funny. How MacLachlan achieves all this in a concentrated work whose scenes are precisely edited so they are just enough, and the dialogue sufficient without any extraneous bits to reveal the characters’ wants and needs is an extraordinary achievement for a first time director. It would be a shame if the film didn’t get the recognition it deserves for the writing and directing and the women’s acting ensemble in support of Schneider’s performance. All sync seamlessly.
This review first appeared on Blogcritics.
The media blitzkrieg surrounding The Interview appeared to be the finest hype any PR agency could fabricate. However, truth be told, the events of the last week were grounded in a frightening scenario: a foreign nation attempting to spread its hegemony of fear and repression with material threats. SONY was hacked and decided to pull the opening of the film on Christmas day fearing death, injury and litigious reprisal if bomb threats against theaters were realized as hackers said they would be. The rest is history. When smaller theaters showed their mettle and contacted SONY and after President Obama chided SONY, the company relented. Theaters screened The Interview as Google and others offered to support the film via streaming (thus far the film is SONY’s largest online earner).
Cinefamily a “non profit organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and presenting interesting and unusual programs” was waiting in the wings for a situation like the one The Interview and SONY presented. Founded in 2007 by brothers Dan and Sammy Harkham and Hadrian Belove of Cinefile Video, it is one of the few cinematiques (boutique cinemas), that clamored to screen The Interview. It’s midnight showing of The Interview was sold out and it was perhaps the premiere showing in the nation. Afterward, other theaters came on board.
I had an opportunity to speak to the current Executive Director of the Cinefamily, Hadrian Belove about the tumultuous events concerning The Interview events which have since quieted down.
Could you just tell me what it has been like the last couple of days with the screenings of The Interview?
It has been great. Attendance has been really solid and all the shows have been doing really well. The media circus has died down, so it’s just a very well done run at this point and we’ve had a lot of new people who have never come to the theater before which is nice.
When Seth Rogan and James Franco showed up, did you know they were coming?
James Franco didn’t come. It was Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, c0-directors of The Interview. And yes, we did know they were coming. They came twice. They came for the opening, the very first show and once the next day. They were touring on a bus to all the theaters showing The Interview to say “Hi,” to folks.
Did they introduce the film?
They introduced the film but didn’t stay for Q and As. They had a tight time line because they wanted to go to as many theaters as possible on Christmas. And on Christmas Eve our show was at 12:30 am. I think just coming out and saying “hello” was the main point. The movie didn’t end until like 3:00 am, so that was a lot.
I went to the theater in my area, a little theater that shows Indies. They were showing The Interview. The police were out front. They checked our bags and when I spoke to the employees, they said that they had received threats and that it was necessary to beef up the security.
We also did the bag checks. The police were kind enough to come every day that was Christmas Day and sort of hang out and come back. We did hire security for the opening. We did bring in professionals to make sure everybody felt safe and showing that we were doing due diligence.
Could you explain the mission of Cinefamily?
Cinefamily is a nonprofit cinematique. Part of its non profit mission is to revitalize the film going experience. We feel that exhibition has its own very special role in the health of the arts and movie going and that people should want to go to the movies. We feel that when you build a community, an audience for films, that is the best way to support the arts. So we show wild, weird, wonderful films from around the world. Overlooked, underrated, strange and beautiful things, but we put an equal emphasis in how we do it and how we cultivate our community. So the how we do it is everything from our membership system which lets people come for free so they can check out more shows to our added value events (for example Willem Dafoe stopped by on November 16 and spent an evening, discussing various and sundry about himself and his films). All of these things are carefully considered to try to create regulars, so that when we do show a film that we believe in, they listen to us. We also put an emphasis on the quality of the films we show…that every film is like a recommendation. While some nonprofits might emphasize diaspora or films they feel need to be seen, we always put it out there that we are making a promise to our audience and that we are going to deliver on our promise. For the long term, we think it’s best for the films. And there are a variety of other things like this. But our big success, you know the key ideas have been community, quality and range. And that has helped us show all kinds of movies and it’s been really great.
Love to see you expand to New York. But I can stream your films, right?
No (he laughs), but we’re working on it. Though we do think that what Cinefamily does could be appropriate online, it is really important that there is a brick and mortar location because it’s about getting people together as much as anything else.
I grew up in an age where I sat in a movie theater as a kid and I saw Lawrence of Arabia on a big screen. There’s nothing to compare with that. If I had to see All is Lost, I’d prefer to see that on a big screen rather than a mobile device, although the other is very useful, I have to say.
Well, both have their place and just are dependent upon one’s different needs.
So you’re telling me that the ticket sales are doing really well. How did you decide to show The Interview?
We decided to screen it because other theaters weren’t doing this. We felt that our mission is to support the arts. Freedom of speech is crucial as is artistic expression. Both would apply in this case. So we thought that this is a film that needed our support. As soon as we heard that other theaters weren’t going to show it, we put out the word that we wanted to. So that was pretty straightforward. And how we got it is part of the national story. We lobbied, we signed a petition along with the other art houses, we had friends of the theater write emails. These were supporters who we felt had some sway or leverage. We asked them to send direct emails to SONY on our behalf. These were guys like Phil Lord who directed the 21 Jump Street movie, or Evan Goldberg himself who co-directed The Interview, Hannah Minghella…these people sent emails on our behalf to SONY reps saying that this was an important theater for it to play at.
You know, it’s almost like this whole event was made for you guys.
(laughing) In some ways. One thing that is true is that part of our approach to the arts to keep people excited, is
that we have a big tent approach. We have a really broad range of what we call the arts. We’re very welcoming. It really wasn’t that unusual for us to show something like The Interview on the same calendar like obscure Danish documentaries or Tarkovsky films. That is very much the spirit upon which this place was founded…to not ghettoize different kinds of films, but to make it one big happy family.
I would. In fact we’ve been asking for it. I think over the holidays we’ve been having a difficult time hearing back from them, but we’re actually trying to book that film. Love it.
(December 5-8, Cinefamily held a retrospective called “Truth and Soul, Inc.: the films of Robert Downey, Sr.” Hosted variably by Robert Downey Sr. in conversation with his son, Robert Downey, Jr., Paul Thomas Anderson, Lewis C.K., with Alan Arkin also appearing, the selections included Chafed Elbows & Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight, Greaser’s Palace, Putney Swope to name a few.)
You held the Robert Downy retrospective showing his innovative, maverick work. Have you held other such retrospectives or film festivals?
We’ve done retrospectives and things like that. We’ve done small festivals. We just did an animation festival that we called “Animation Breakdown” that we put together in November. There’s the “Everything Is” festival which is kind of a found footage arts and comedy festival. The nature of the building we’re in, the size, to some extent limits us. But yeah, I would love to host and support and program film festivals as well. I love those and I think we’d be pretty darn good at it.
You show documentaries…
We love documentaries. Honestly, we’re probably the most wide-ranging cinema in the world. There is no genre or era we don’t touch. We’re all over the map. The only through line is what we think is awesome and great.
What is certainly a boon is that Cinefamily is bringing together film fans to experience the best that film has to offer. It is rather like taking advanced courses in cinema offering unusual and amazing cinematic experiences that join people together and offer a community to viewers of all ages and stripes. And let’s face it, The Interview was an unusual viewing experience.
This article first appeared on Blogcritics.