venerdì 22 febbraio 2013

Zazie goes to Hollywood!

Dear Readers,
For a series of lucky circumstances, your favourite (I hope!) cinema blogger, tomorrow morning will take a flight to LOS ANGELES to participate, on Sunday, to the OSCAR NIGHT!!!
It is something I ALWAYS dreamt about, and the idea that it is actually happening, it is completely unreal.
I still don't believe it but, apparently, if a meteorite doesn't knock down Paris around 10.30 am, off I go into the City of Angels. And of the Oscars.
Of course, this is just an anticipation of future posts to be read about the magical adventure. 
I can't wait to let you know every single detail!
In the meantime, just in case the Academy people forget to give me an Oscar as Best Cinema Blogger, I decided to give them a little suggestion (see picture: the dress is Audrey's, the face is mine...).
By the way, I just hope not to end the soirée as Michael Caine and Maggie Smith in this episode of California Suite by Herbert Ross (1978)...
... until the Oscar moment, stay tuned, dear readers!
Your Zazie

giovedì 21 febbraio 2013

Zazie D'Or 2012

As every year... forget about Oscars, Baftas, Golden Globes, Golden Lions, Golden Palms, Golden Bears, Césars, Goyas, or any other Cinema award you can think of. The most prestigious and most exclusive one, the ZAZIE D'OR, is back again, ready to let you know what was the very BEST of Cinema in 2012! 
Ladies and Gentlemen, the winners are...

The Zazie D'Or for BEST PICTURE 2012 goes to
DE ROUILLE ET D'OS by Jacques Audiard (France)

A woman without legs, a man without words. 
Audiard brings them together and delivers us the most intense love story of the last years.
Simply breathtaking. 

The SPECIAL ZAZIE D'OR 2012 goes to
LAURENCE ANYWAYS by Xavier Dolan (Québéc)

as well as
The Zazie d'Or for the BEST SCREENPLAY goes to Xavier Dolan for the same movie
The story of a man who wants to live his life as a woman.
A revolt? No, more than that: a revolution!
And Zazie proudly co-produced it... In Xavier Dolan we trust!

The ZAZIE COUP DE COEUR 2012 goes to
as well as
The Zazie d'Or for the BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY to Rui Poças for the same film
A modern and gloomy Lisbon versus a vintage and sunny African landscape.
The memory of a love story, of a paradise forever lost, and the magical sound of a silent movie. 
The most unexpected gem of the year.

The Zazie D'Or for BEST DIRECTOR 2012 goes to

Because nobody films as Audiard does: it is intense, captivating, magnificent.
I can't get enough of this. I want more!

The Zazie D'Or for BEST ACTRESS 2012 goes to
EMMANUELLE RIVA for AMOUR by Michael Haneke (France)
Everybody knows how much I HATE this movie, that in my opinion has nothing to do with love, but every time I think about Emmanuelle Riva, I can't help myself: she is undoubtly the one who (at 86) delivered the best female performance of the year. Riva, Mon Amour!

The Zazie D'Or for BEST ACTOR 2012 goes to
MADS MIKKELSEN for JAGTEN (The Hunt) by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)

Mikkelsen doesn't need to do much to show his skills. In fact, it is quite the opposite: the less he does, the better it gets. As an innocent man wrongly accused of the most ignominious acts towards a child, he is able to express the tragedy in a way that leaves no doubt about one thing: his talent. 

The Little Zazie D'or (BEST FIRST FEATURE FILM) goes to
RUNDSKOP (Bullhead) by 
Michaël R. Roskam (Belgium)
A man who tries to transform himself into a bull... not exactly the lightest subject for a first movie, but certainly an amazing story. Matthias Shoenaerts performance is as good as the one of Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. It's all said.
The Zazie D'Or for BEST DOCUMENTARY 2012 goes to
LE SOMMEIL D'OR by Davy Chou (France/Cambodia)
The heartbreaking story of a cinema that no longer exists, the Cambodian one, erased by the ignorant fury of the Red Khmers. A tribute to the everlasting power of movies.

The Zazie D'Or for BEST COSTUME DESIGN goes to
Charlotte David for POPULAIRE by Régis Roinsard (France)
The woman already behind the fabulous '60s style of OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions, absolutely deserves a prize for this cornucopia of marvellous vintage dresses from the '50s. I want them ALL!

The JEREMY IRONS PRIZE (Man of my life Awardfor 2012 goes to 
Having seen him in two of my favourite movies of the year (Bullhead and De rouille et d'Os) convinced me that this guy has got something special. Inside and outside.
If you know what I mean... (and if you don't, look at the picture!)
A special thanks, as usual, to Sergio "Saccingo" Tanarathe creator of the Zazie D'Or drawing!

domenica 17 febbraio 2013

Like a movie

I have lived something special, very special, in these last past weeks. 
It was like a movie.
It was like in The Purple Rose of Cairo, when the most incredible thing happens to Cecilia (the protagonist): the main character of the movie she is looking at for the seventh time, walks off the screen to know her.
After a first moment of disbelief, Cecilia, who spends her time in cinemas, decides to accept the unexpected chance and to live few perfect days with this stranger coming from a movie.
It is a dream, for her. It is simply perfect. Cecilia has this incredible remark: "I just met a wonderful new man. He’s fictional, but you can’t have everything!" 
Days with this man are plenty of surprises, love and tenderness.
Cecilia is even invited to join the world of the movie he is playing in, something that was beyond her wildest imagination:
But this is too good to be true and, soon enough, reality strikes back.
Gil Shepherd, the actor who plays the character in the film, arrives in town, worried about what his fictional double, Tom Baxter, can make. He met Cecilia by chance, he understands what’s going on between her and his character, and he starts talking to her and spending time with her.
The situation got confused very rapidly. Gil declares his love to Cecilia: "I haven’t been able to think of anything since we met. I have to have some time to show you what real life can be like if two people really care for each other."
Cecilia is speechless: "Last week I was unloved. Now two people love me and it’s the same two people!" Gil tries his best to convince her, and when Cecilia claims that Tom is perfect, he replies: 

"What good is perfect if the man is not real?".
And then, of course, Cecilia takes the fatal decision. 
She decides to renounce to perfection to go with the real man.
Arriving in front of the Jewel Cinema, where she has a meeting with him to leave for Hollywood, she finds out that Gil Shepherd already left.
Without her, of course.
Devastated, crushed, she does the only thing she could do to forget, at least for few moments, the dead feeling she has inside her: she goes into the cinema. Cecilia knows that Gil is not the first, and that he won’t be the last, but the list, all of a sudden, seems far too long to be acceptable. And the sadness invading her thinking about the happiness that could have been there for them, simply unbearable. 
Cecilia sits down in the dark, in front of the screen. Alone. In tears.
The movie shows us Gil Shepherd on his plane to Hollywood: he is looking outside of the window with a doubtful look in his eyes. Does he understand what he has done to Cecilia? Does he feel sorry? Is he regretful? He seems so. Will he change his life to be with Cecilia? Will he do something unexpected and irrational to win her back? No way. 
Even in movies, sometimes, there is no happy ending.
They usually are the ones inspired by real life.

lunedì 11 febbraio 2013


Un homme et une femme à Paris, la nuit.
These few words would be enough to describe the movie After, by Géraldine Maillet, that I saw the other night in my favourite Parisian cinema, the Ciné Studio 28.
I read a couple of articles about this movie and I immediately decided not to miss it, because - as I often write in this blog - I like movies made of few elements. I’m much in love with films made without spending millions of euros and where there’s almost nothing going on. They are the most challenging ones, and I’m convinced cinema is still an amazing and fascinating art especially because of this kind of films.

Julie et Guillaume are perfect strangers. They meet one rainy night in an empty Japanese restaurant: she looks sad and nervous, he looks immediately attracted by her. She can’t find a taxi to go home, he offers her a lift with his motorbike, she reluctantly accepts. They stop at a jazzy bar but she doesn’t look at ease. She leaves and she goes home by taxi. Guillaume follows her: he asks her to spend together the hours until dawn, going around Paris, even if “she is not free” (Julie has a wedding ring). The film is the account of these hours.

Movies like After can be very risky: if the screenplay is not good, if the dialogues sound fake, if the actors are not talented, forget about it. You can’t do a movie like this unless you’re really sure of the tone you want to give to your images, the atmosphere you want to create and the feelings you want to provoke in the audience.
Géraldine Maillet, a novelist with a past as top-model, is brave enough to have chosen this kind of story for her first long-métrage (she already made two short movies). The film-maker, who came to talk to the public after the projection, said she wrote the film having in mind Julie Gayet as the woman and Jocelyn Quivrin as the man. When Quivrin tragically died in a car accident in 2009, she found herself in trouble and she had a lot to go through before achieving what she had in mind (she talked about this adventure in a book called "What Tarantino would have done at my place?").

Filmed rigorously at night in 6 weeks and in chronological order, After has a dark and sombre quality. Will the meeting of these two strangers be a happy one? Good and bad things come and go as in a roller coaster, and the public follow quite mesmerized the erratic movements of the two main characters in a city that is far away from the post-card look of, let’s say, Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen. Here there’s another movie that can be taken as a first reference, and it is Extérieur, Nuit by Jacquel Bral, a 1980 movie with Gérard Lanvin, André Dussolier and Christine Boisson (Maillet said that she would have loved to title the film exactly like this).
Christine Boisson in Extérieur, Nuit
Guillaume and Julie are far away from being perfect: he is clumsy and a bit of a looser, Julie is grumpy and distant, they look for each other without really meeting, and they try to understand each other without really knowing how to do that. But it is because of their evident flaws and it is in the very moments they loose their defences (Guillaume screaming during a fake tennis play, sport where he failed to be a champion, and Julie while dancing alone in the middle of the crowd in a techno disco) that the public can feel close to them. The story can be real, or it can be a dream, or a mix of the two things, and you believe in any of the options (and in the “open” end). 
The actors give a fundamental contribution to the beauty of it all: Raphaël Personnaz, the new rising star of French cinema, is perfect as the tender and exposed Guillaume, while Julie Gayet is a fascinating, stunningly gorgeous, and mysterious Julie (we want to see her more often!). To see on a big screen a woman in her 40s with all her wrinkles and her real expression is a precious gift, for which I thank both the actress and the film-maker (and the fact that the guy is at least 10 years younger than her is not even mentioned... yippee!!!).  
If you want to see something unconventional and charming, then don’t miss this movie.
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