A buyer acquaintance wrote the following this morning: “Too bad you couldn’t get in to Mud yesterday. I saw it at the Olympia and it’s very much a sturdy drama with some redemptive action towards the end, and with very good performances by all” — i.e., Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Joe Don Baker.
Laurent Bouzereau and Andrew Braunsberg‘s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir screened late this afternoon, and I don’t care what anybody says — this guy has gone through so much trauma and horror in his life, it’s a wonder he hasn’t put a bullet in his head or become some kind of alcoholic or drug addict. But that’s Polanski for you — feisty, resilient, a glass-half-fuller.
This is the first of two 2012 Polanski docs with Marina Zenovich‘s followup (or sequel) to Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired set to play the fall festival circuit.
Bouzereau has the “directed by” credit, but the film wouldn’t have happened if Polanski hadn’t agreed to sit down with Braunsberg, an old friend and producing partner, so let’s split the authorship.
The doc, handsome and smooth as silk and well-edited by Jeff Pickett and movingly scored by Alexandre Desplat, is just talk — two-camera coverage of Braunberg talking to Polanski about his life intercut with clips, news footage, stills and whatnot. That’s all it is. But it seeps in and packs a punch, especially during the first 45 minutes or so. You’d have to made of stone not to be affected by Polanski’s recollections of his childhood years under Nazi terror in Poland.
The film was shot in two stages at his home in Gstaad — the bulk of it during Polanski’s house arrest after being imprisoned in Switzerland in 2009, and a kind of epiloque or end coda shot after Polanski was totally freed by Swiss authorities.
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir is friendly, of course, so it’s not impartial and tough or Mike Wallace-y in the slightest. Polanski pitch-forkers will dismiss it, I expect, as too much of a blowjob. But it tells the truth start to finish, and the emotion that Polanski tries to hide when he talks about his mother, who was killed in a Nazi concentration camp, is obviously unassailable. The theme, finally, is about “never say die.” Even his detractors have to admit that Polanski is one tough bird.
Alec Baldwin delivered a good, believable pitch for Rise of the Guardians, an animated Paramount/DreamWorks feature that was promoted this morning at the Espace Miramar. Director Peter Ramsey and costars Chris Pine and Isla Fischer also took the stage following 3D product reel (which looked highly engaging and polished and whatnot), but Baldwin brought it home. He was his usual quippy, sardonic self, but mainly he convinced that Rise is a cut or two above the usual family stuff and far from a parent punisher.
I thought I might see James Toback‘s cameras shooting Baldwin at this event. I wrote two days ago that he and Baldwin are currently shooting a semi-improvised feature called Seduced and Abandoned, about raising film funding during the Cannes Film Festival.
Rise of the Guardians, which was also product-reeled at Cinemacon, will open on 11.21.12. It’s based on William Joyce‘s The Guardians of Childhood book series, and is basically the leading mythical figures of childhood — Santa Claus or “North” (played by Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Sandman, Jack Frost (Pine) and the Tooth Fairy (Fischer) pooling forces to defeat or at least neutralize the Bogeyman (Jude Law).
I tried to ask if Baldwin and his costars were allowed or encouraged to improvise as they recorded their voice parts, but the lady with the mike wouldn’t call on me, possibly because she said no photography when she began the show and I ignored her. When they say “no photography” they really mean “no flash photography.”
Just the usual start-of-the-press-conference HE footage. No big deal. But attempts at uploading this and another video and 14 or 15 photos today were truly agonizing — crap wifi at the American Pavillion, getting kicked off Orange Cafe wifi, one thing after another. Tomorrow I’m going to purchase 12 days of Grand Palais wifi, which is said to be bulletproof, for 95 euros. Eugene Hernandez says it’s “worth every zero.”
The Orange Cafe was the streets of Calcutta after the Moonrise Kindgom press conference so I retreated to the American Pavillion…mistake. After 90 minutes the wifi crapped out right in the middle of two video uploads and now it’s slower than molasses in February, even for no-big-deal JPEG uploads. I really hate this.
So now I have to start all over again but there’s no point because it’s 3:20 pm and I have catch Laurent Bozereau‘s Roman Polanski doc at 4 pm, and it’s playing the Salle Bazin which always means lines.
Here are are my Moonlight Kingdom tweets, at least:
Tweet #1: “Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is a typical Anderson thing — an exactingly composed, super-dollhouse, movie about perfect compositions.
Tweet #2: It’s a Little Romance about Sam and Suzy, each 12 years old with eyes only for each other. But cavorting behind a quirky, ultra-dry filter.
Tweet #3: “But the real Moonrise romance is between Wes and his ultra-exacting, needle-precise compositions — sets, costumes & shots refined to a T.
Tweet #4: “Very fairy-tale-ish, very precisely composed, kind of masterful. And emotional as far as it goes. But all within a vacuum.”
Tweet #5: “Are there genuine emotional currents running through (or under) “Moonrise”? Yeah…but mainly in the last third.”
Tweet #6: “Wes is kinda Jacques Tati, whose films we’re also about Tati and his style and mood strokes. Enjoy the film & story but mainly look at me.”