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Entries in Mike Mills (10)

Monday
Apr032017

The Furniture: Repairs for the House in "20th Century Women"

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in much more magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

"The house is a character in its own right," everyone says. It’s one of our more meaningless cliches, poltergeists notwithstanding. But the sentiment behind it is understandable. A building, though hardly alive, can still offer charisma. A dynamic visual language can be built from its beams.

20th Century Women has one of these abodes. The house in question belongs to Dorothea (Annette Bening), who lives with her son Jamie (Lucas Zumann) and two boarders, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and William (Billy Crudup). As she explains to a fireman she’s invited to a party...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan152017

Podcast: "Silence" and "20th Century Women"

Nick and Nathaniel and special guest Chris Feil (who you read hear at TFE at least twice a week) talk new flicks in our post Golden Globe/DGA nominations world.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Globe & DGA intro...
04:00 Martin Scorsese's Silence 
18:31 Extremely wandering conversation alert: Silence, 20th Century WomenPaterson, Rogue One, new movie trailers...
27:00 The brilliant 20th Century Women
39:50 Aquarius, Demon, Pervert Park

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? Are you planning to watch Aquarius on Netflix?

Silence & 20th Century Women

Tuesday
Jan032017

Talented Mr Linky

Must Reads
The New Yorker an evocative thoughtful profile of Mike Mills and 20th Century Women
The Muse Rich Juzwiak on the year in overrated pop culture, starting with Manchester by the Sea. ("A Masterpiece." "It's not tho")
The Metrograph Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (Carol) reflects on Patricia Highsmith's dislike of the screen adaptations of her work - Metrograph is showing a handful of them his month. (Finally my chance to see Purple Noon on a big screen.)

Films which take place in 2017, Hayao Miyazaki's non-retirement retirement, Aquaman stunts, Broadway divas, and Postcards from the Edge after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct192016

Top Ten: Loving those "20th Century Women"

by Nathaniel R

Mike Mill's terrific new film 20th Century Women, inspired by his own mother with Annette Bening further fictionalizing her, doesn't open until Christmas (disappointing as RIGHT NOW or August might've been the perfect time for it). But since it played the NYFF and we said so little, it's time to attempt to share the joy it offers. In lieu of a standard review...

Ten Amazing Things About 20th Century Women
first impressions of a film that will surely make our 2016 top ten list

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct132016

NYFF: How Bogart, Fellini, and Ginger Rogers inspired "20th Century Women"

As part of NYFF Directors’ Dialogue series, 20th Century Women’s Mike Mills was interviewed by artistic director, Kent Jones. Here are excerpts from the conversation as reported by Murtada.

Bening, Mills and Elle Faning at NYFF premiere

Dorothea is Humphrey Bogart
Mills based the main character in 20th Century Women - Dorothea played by Annette Bening - on his memories of his mother. She used to always tell him “In my next life I’ll be married to Bogart”, so while writing the movie Mills would ask himself what would Bogart say whenever he was stuck. To him Dorothea was like many of the characters Bogart played; underdogs who don't win, fail valiantly, make great jokes along the way and always help the weakest person in the room.

Ginger Rogers in Stage Door
Dorothea was also inspired by the character Ginger Rogers played in 1937’s Stage Door. She is as subversive, wisecracking and knows her way with a witty putdown as Rogers’ Jean Maitland.

Working with Bening
Mills believes Bening was the only actor who could play Dorothea. He talked about how she’s exactly the right age, looks beautifully natural which is rare in actresses of her age and calibre. She also reminded him of his mother because, while professional, she has no interest in pleasing anyone, even her director. She would listen to his stories but kept her process private, so he had to learn to give her space. He loved what she delivered because she continously surprised him. While she worked out the character’s psychology, Bening did not work out the beats of every scene, opting for freedom and intuition.

Casting is Key

Mills movies are personal and based on his memories, in addition to Bening, Christopher Plummer played a character based on his father in Beginners (2010). So to avoid being precious he hands full authorship of the character to the actors or as he put it “give them the keys to the car”.

Federico Fellini
Mills revealed that 20th Century Women owes a big debt is Fellini’s Amarcord (1973). They both have multiple narrators and are love letters from their authors’ to where they grew up.


20th Century Women was the Centerpiece selection at NYFF and will be released on Christmas Day by A24.

Thursday
Jul282016

New York Film Festival Selects Mike Mills' 20th Century Women for Centerpiece Film

Sound the alarms: there's a fresh new reason to celebrate Annette Bening. Following in the footsteps of last year's selection of Steve Jobs, the New York Film Festival has chosen Mike Mills' 20th Century Women as its 2016 Centerpiece, which stars The Bening as a single mother raising her son in 1979 Santa Barbara, co-habiting with a Bowie-cut Greta Gerwig, nomadic carpenter Billy Crudup, and frequent house guest Elle Fanning. We've been anxiously awaiting Mills' follow up to the intimate, structurally adventurous tone poem that is Beginners for a few years now, and NYFF's programming pick (and description of the film as a vibrantly alive time capsule, plus taste-maker A24's acquisition) signals a strong indication that it's been worth the wait. Imagining The Bening caught at the crux of cultural, decade-splitting identities, and strapped into denim overalls to boot, would be enough reason to anticipate the film, but the thought of another story stripped from the personal headlines of Mills' own life and translated into pure cinema has us downright salivating. I can smell the burnt sage from here.