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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Missi Pyle's Oscar Memoir!

ME N OSCAR

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all of Missi Pyle's guest posts

 

Beauty vs. Beast

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Thursday
Jun282012

Best Shot: Isabelle Adjani in "The Story of Adele H"

Previously on Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot...

Today we're officially back to weekly "Best Shot" posts with François Truffaut's biotragedy THE STORY OF ADELE H (1975). For nearly thirty years French beauty Isabelle Adjani held the record for the Youngest Best Actress Nominee of all time; she was 20 when Adele H made her an international star. To add to Adjani's Oscar Curio factor, she still holds another record: she's the only actor or actress ever nominated twice for French language performances. Nomination #2 came for another biotragedy Camille Claudel (1988). [Marion Cotillard surely hopes to tie that particular Best Actress record later this year in Rust and Bone (2012).]

Adjani all but vanished from screens round about the time she and Daniel Day-Lewis procreated and split. The sensational Queen Margot (1994) and the reviled Diabolique (1996) with Sharon Stone were her last big draws so I assume many readers are unfamiliar and that this Best Shot subject would be a fresh choice. I did not however make the connection that post-Possessed this meant two movies back-to-back featuring women who utterly debase themselves for the love of a playboy who does, in his defense, try to warn her crazy away. Even though both films belong to my favorite subgenre Women Who Lie To Themselves™ it was a disconcerting double feature. 

Adele H doesn't just lie to herself though. She lies to virtually everyone in her relentless pursuit of her former lover Lt. Albert Pinson (Bruce Robinson) who she intends to marry. She prides herself repeatedly on her willingness to cross the Ocean for him, a big deal in 1863.

Though I'd argue that François Truffaut's marriage of traditional costume drama and nouvelle vague experimentation is sometimes an awkward one, I do love the film's take on letters which Adele mostly reads aloud as she writes, sometimes directly to the camera as in this gorgeous passage when Adele recites an entire letter to daddy while the camera actually crosses the Ocean (and then some maps) to deliver it.

She's Written A Letter To Daddy... (my second choice for "best shot")

My dear parents,
I have just married Lieutenant Pinson. The ceremony took place Saturday in a church in Halifax. I need money for my trousseau. I must have 300 francs immediately... in addition to my allowance. If you'd taken care of my music as I've asked you 100 times that would bring me in some money and I wouldn't have to behave like a beggar. 

It's in the letter readings where Adjani earns the historic Oscar nomination. Her lies are so proud and delivered with such entitled petulance that she almost seems thrilled to be reciting them. What's false is true and Adele believes this with religious conviction. And nost just Sunday only conviction but a tent-revival sort of fanaticism. Similarly perverse beats occur when she seems turned on by Lt. Pinson's sexual interest in everyone but her. Adjani is also excellent at delineating Adele's complex relationship to her family name ("H" being the clue and part of the reason I chose the movie at this time) whether she's embracing it, hiding it, or using it as dangling carrot.

Great Moments in Costuming #317,201

But for the Best Shot prize, I choose a shot that falls within a far more typically Oscar-baity context. Toward the end of the film, the inevitable occurs and Adele's internal madness is acutely externalized. After a dog bites at her heels, tearing her dress, she wanders the streets.

In an 18 second unbroken shot she approaches oblivious to the camera she's often looking at. The camera  briefly focuses on the ragged hem of her once rich gown as she passes us by before it pans up again to a bookstore window where Adele's lonely never-suitor stares at his former friend, now utterly alien. She spins about in the street muttering (inaudible) nonsense to herself. She's always spoken nonsense but now that everyone can hear it for what it is, there's no point in listening.

best shot

Don't Believe Her Lies!!!
Antagony & Ecstacy ...thinks it a damn good movie.
Film Actually... on a soldier's indifference
Cinesnatch... 'for the man you claim to be her father'
Okinawa Assault [SPOILERS] talks downward spirals and dusty mirrors

Next Thursday Night: Kim Novak and William Holden get all hot and bothered in the Oscar favorite PICNIC (1955), which I've never seen! Bring your own blankets and sandwiches (and blog posts)

Thursday
Jun282012

Halfway There... Almost

What's on your cinematic mind when it comes to 2012? Our Halfway Mark Specials begin this Sunday so I'm curious how the year is shaping up for you so far? Has your moviegoing been light or heavy? thrilling or filled with disappointed? Or maybe you're stuck in the inbetween.

Here's what I've personally seen or reviewed so far...

  • If I haven't discussed it which 2012 release would you most like to read about?
  • Of those we have discussed on the blog, which would you like to keep on discussing? 
  • Which halfway mark topic -- don't worry we'll talk Oscar -- do you have a lot to say about?

Thursday
Jun282012

Happy (Belated) 50th to Tony Leung Chiu Wai

I can't believe I forgot yesterday. He's only one of the world's best movie stars. He celebrated without me with a tiny balloon and modest cake.

How do you say "I love you Tony!" in Cantonese and/or Mandarin?

Wednesday
Jun272012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Possessed" 

We return to Season Three of the collaborative series Hit Me With Your Best Shot with not one but two tales of love-madness. I hadn't meant to pair them but I was so late with Possessed and it was time to bring the series back with The Story of Adele H. So there they were, two brunette screen goddesses Joan Crawford and (today's birthday girl) Isabelle Adjani, double-teaming me with their crazy-making sob stories of unrequited love. We'll cover Adele H tomorrow (yes, I'm running behind) but tonight, the first of these two Best Actress Nominated pictures.

Possessed (1947)
This 1947 noir stars the inimitable Joan Crawford as Louise, a woman who we meet after the events of the picture have taken place, wandering around in a daze looking for a man named "David". She is soon in a mental hospital and her back story, the story, begins to emerge. David (the dependably caddish Van Heflin), as it turns out, is the love of her life who she met while both were under the employ of a rich businessman. Louise, a feminist's nightmare, tosses aside all her dignity to veritably beg David to love her back and when he won't, she marries the boss instead and spends the rest of the movie obsessing over David and prone to jealous rages over her step-daughter's budding romance with her former lover. Louise is one of Crawford's most famous Victim roles but the actress is sly enough to also understand that Louise is enough of a masochist to also qualify her as the Film's Villain. The movie's best passage takes on a dream-like quality which is appropriate since Louise is a walking nightmare. 

Crawford Goes Mental after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun272012

Link Me Like You Mean It

Scanners Alien (1979) in just one frame. On Ridley Scott's compositional skill.
Fug Girls well played, Elizabeth Banks 
My New Plaid Pants Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter in 150 words or less 
The Wrap Metropolis is the world's most valuable film poster. How much will it fetch at auction?
Indie Wire a ten wide Emmy nomination wishlist from Kathryn Hahn in Parks and Recreation (great choice) to Laura Dern in Enlightened "the most burrowing television performance since Tony Soprano" 

Guardian smart piece, neither fully pro nor con on Brave and the evolution of the action princess...

the studio whose most iconic heroes include a toy cowboy, a rat, a fish, a boy scout, and a lonely trash compactor (all male-identified, of course), couldn't figure out how to tell a story about a human girl without making her a princess. That's the problem in a nutshell: if the sparkling minds at Pixar can't imagine their way out of the princess paradigm, how can we expect girls to?

Flavorwire "actors with the worst onscreen love lives" - a fun (?) rundown of heartbreak for Michelle Williams, Leo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Ryan Gosling and more
Huffington Post Mike Ryan took a male stripper to Magic Mike and wrote about their "date". I had this idea too and even lined up TWO of them, former Chippendale's guys that a girlfriend of mine once worked with. But then they both cancelled on account of  'conflicted feelings'. Argh. From conflicted feelings are beautiful movie conversations born.
Coming Soon Angelina Jolie on the very green screen set of Maleficent 
Cinema Blend Viggo Mortensen may smuggle vampires in intriguiging sounding The Last Voyage of the Demeter 

Let's end with two random nifty visuals. THE FIRST ONE IS UNFORTUNATELY A HOAX.

1. It's supposedly a Back to the Future screenshot but I started hearing it was a hoax and I looked it up on The Movie Timeline and it is. The future they were going to was... NOT today :(  I apologize for tweeting and sharing.

2. The second was a birthday gif a reader "Mark the First" made me. xoxoxo Mark.

Isn't it cute?! It totally made my week. At the risk of sounding hopelessly narcissistic ["What else is new?" - all of Nathaniel's friends] I accept birthday gifts all June long  be they handmade and heartfelt blogging fuel like so, generously monetary (see sidebar -- it's only 10¢ a day to make my life way easier) or bartery for those of you with special skill sets in Manhattan; as always I need a photographer, stylist, publicist, massage therapist, yogi, etcetera... I know that you can't always get what you want ♪ but I'm a firm believer that you should try to get it anyway.

Wednesday
Jun272012

Red Carpet Quickie: "Savages"

We're speeding up our red carpet convos with one event at a time. Today's guest is Guy Lodge, who you know and love...

Nathaniel: Time for a Red Carpet Quickie at the Savages Premiere. Hi Guy!‬

Guy:  ‪Okay, I've got Mary Louise Parker and Salma Hayek, but...?‬ 

Nathaniel:  ‪...Blake Lively and Kelly Preston‬ 

Guy:  ‪Aha. And with that, hi! I just had a moment of Actressexual Identity Panic‬

Botwin, Frida, Blake LIvely, Mrs. John Travolta

 

 

Nathaniel:  ‪It happens. I think Mary Louise Parker may be heading for an Identity Panic herself when Weeds ends (finally. thank god).

Guy:  ‪I still have fond memories of Weeds, having stopped watching it about five years ago and forgetting it exists.‬ 

Veronica Lakeisms and Scientology Secrets after the jump

Click to read more ...