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Entries in Sebastian Lelio (14)

Wednesday
Mar272019

Soundtracking: Gloria Bell

by Chris Feil

For everywoman Gloria Bell, you are what you listen to. In this retelling, as it was with his Chilean original starring Paulina García, Sebastián Lelio places his eponymous hero in a headspace where music is all around. This time it is Julianne Moore who frequents dance clubs with bisexual lighting and sings in her car as if no one is watching. But the film succeeds through the audience’s musical voyeurism of watching such vulnerable moments, all of them stitched together into the broader canvas that is her life.

Lelio curates a batch of upbeat standards of adult contemporary radio, many of them overly familiar but here they provide specific texture...

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Thursday
Feb142019

Interview: Rachel Weisz on "The Favourite" and why she hasn't peaked yet.

by Nathaniel R

Rachel with her BAFTAWhen we sat down with Rachel Weisz to discuss The Favourite, she was as intimidating as the Lady Sarah Marlborough. Not, we think, on purpose. Sometimes an actor so slays a role that, if you've never met them before and have a tendency to live for the movies, it's like looking straight into the character's eyes. Weisz, cool and measured, impeccably dressed, offered tea. Remembering Lady Sarah's own downfall, I chose water.

We'd both seen The Favourite just once at the time but were eager for round two. "I'm so glad you liked it," she cooed, if somewhat cooly. All business, and why not, ready for questions but not any question. Taking the hint I steered clear of the past though I couldn't resist a brief question about one early role (The Shape of Things), since it had been a rare chance and my first to ever see an actor do a role on stage and then watch them repeat it on film. She found it, "a bit hard, that particular one" citing the need for freshness and spontanity in filmmaking and "...we'd said the words so many times before."  But we were there to discuss The Favourite, and spontaneity and freshness are in no short supply in that electric movie. She even shared how they managed to get them.

She hadn't yet been nominated when we spoke but the honors would soon, quite obviously, pile up including a BAFTA win for Best Supporting Actress and the Oscar nomination. Our interview, edited for length, follows:

NATHANIEL R: You've had such a strong handful of years now: The Deep Blue Sea, The Lobster, Disobedience, The Favourite. But you won an Oscar 14 years back or so and I wonder if at that point, before these recent peaks, you thought 'well, what now?' 

RACHEL WEISZ: I mean, it’s a thing [The Oscar] that you never think will happen to you. I don’t really feel like I can rest on my laurels and it’s all over now. I just don’t feel like that. There’s so much to explore. Hopefully I get better at my job. I think the more work you do… well, for me, the more I've done, the more I’ve figured out what kind of work I want to do...

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Monday
Feb042019

Beauty vs Beast: Lesbian Love Song

Jason Adams from MNPP here -- at the Tribeca Film Fest last year I weirdly reviewed two movies involving Alessandro Nivola and Orthodox Judaism. The first one is called To Dust and Nivola (along with his wife actress Emily Mortimer) produced it -- it stars Son of Saul's Géza Röhrig and Matthew Broderick as an extremely odd couple grappling with the afterlife. Here is my review, and you can watch the trailer over here. To Dust is finally hitting some theaters this weekend, and I highly recommend seeking it out. I really dig it.

The other movie I reviewed at Tribeca 2018 was Sebastian Lelio's Disobedience, which came out last year and which in a just world we'd be celebrating its several Oscar nominations just about now. Hey I did my part -- Disobedience got mentions in both end-of-year polls I have a say in, The Team Experience Awards here on this site as well as the Dorian Awards for the GALECA guild of LGBT critics. But being a great film is its own reward, and Disobedience will be remembered for a very long time as such. Now let's face off its Rachels -- McAdams is Esti, the one who stayed, and Weisz is Ronit, the one who went away...

 

PREVIOUSLY Last week's Can You Ever Forgive Me poll was as close as two friends sweeping up cat turds could be, but Melissa McCarthy got the best of Richard E Grant in the end with 53% of the vote. Said /3rtful:

"Unprepared for how emotionally affected I would be by this movie. I think the casting of McCarthy and those initial cut trailers gave no clue of the emotional wallop this movie carries."

Sunday
Sep162018

TIFF Review: "Gloria Bell"

by Chris Feil

Naturally, English language remakes of already great (and recent, at that) foreign language treasures are a dubious business. But Sebastián Lelio’s revisiting of his own Gloria, formery led by the immaculate Paulina García, presents a convincing alternative to other misguided or less effective attempts. Now titled Gloria Bell and starring Julianne Moore, this version is one not only worthy of its predecessor, but an equal that may even edge it out ever so slightly...

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Friday
Sep142018

A Prayer For Alessandro

by Jason Adams

There's a scene set at the three-quarter mark of Sebastián Lelio's film Disobedience (which I reviewed right here) that shatters me into a million jagged little pieces every single time I watch it. Alessandro Nivola's Orthodox character Dovid has just had a heated argument with his wife Esti (a fabulously good Rachel McAdams) in which she's admitted she loves Ronit (the also fabulously good Rachel Weisz), the daughter of the just deceased Rabbi who's returned home after running away to New York. Dovid is a spiritual leader himself, on track to replace the Rabbi, and he has endless duties to attend to this week of Shiva, or mourning. 

And so Dovid goes to meet with some mourners who've just come in to town for the eulogy service (the Hesped) who it turns out are the choir who will perform at the ceremony. And they sing. The film cuts to a wide-shot - Dovid standing with his back turned to us in the center of the room, surrounded by mourners in black, all facing him. As Nivola turns towards the camera, slowly it moves forward in on him and trains in on his face as the singers crescendo - Nivola keeps everything in this moment internalized; his face hardly moves. 

And its devastating. It's the sort of acting moment that doesn't tear it up in Oscar clips, but it's all the more powerful for its restraint - typical of Nivola's gorgeously low-key approach whenever he goes to bat; think back on his singing scene in Junebug as well. And it's why I'm going to spend this whole awards season shouting his name in the middle of any Best Supporting Actor conversations I come across. 

I keep reading that the Supporting Actor contest seems thin at the moment, before the Awards Contenders all roll down upon us from Toronto and the like - so who are you rooting for Supporting-Actor-wise out of the films we've already seen in 2018?

Friday
Jun292018

Blueprints: "A Fantastic Woman"

To celebrate Pride Month, every week of June Jorge has been highlighting the script of a movie that focuses on a different letter of the LGBT acronym. For “T”, the last installment in this miniseries, he looks at the most recent Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film.

The LGBT experience encompasses all types of people, genders, nationalities, economic statuses, and every intersectionality in between. It doesn’t look one single way, and it certainly doesn’t feel like one, either. As the canon of queer cinema being to expand beyond one or two points of view, the ways in which film reflects this experience starts to get as diverse and colorful as the community itself.

So let’s take a look at A Fantastic Woman, the Oscar-winning Chilean film about a trans woman dealing with the loss of her partner, and the overwhelming grief and pressure that come with it. While it is a sobering portrait of a trans experience, it also effectively uses surreal imagery to portray the particular moments that Marina is going through. Let’s dive into two of them. 

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