Entries in Tahar Rahim (5)
Weirdest Cannes best actress win"
Nick whispered to me as the end credits unspooled on Asghar Farhadi's The Past. Co-sign. It's not that Berenice Bejo, who was charming in her international breakthrough in The Artist, is not a good actress and she's certainly a beauty. But at least in the context of The Past she's a blank one. Despite the plethora of information writer/director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) keeps sending us -- e-mails are an enormous plot point -- I'm still waiting to hear anything substantial about the character of Marie, Bejo's woman at its center.
Yes yes, we learn that she still loves her ex-husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), has troubles with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet, wonderfully cast) and is cagey about her new relationship to Samir (Tahar Rahim). But we learn all of this very quickly in the movies promising opening scenes in which Marie picks up her ex-husband from the airport and brings him home rather than to a hotel room he asked for.
But after that... what else?
Farhadi has quite a lot else in store for us... though strangely what seems to take precedence is the intricate minutae of its plot, rather than the characterizations. It's not that we learn nothing about the characters exactly, but that they seem to be serving the intricacies of its many twists rather than the other way around. Like Farhadi's recent masterpiece A Separation, we return again and again to the same seemingly tiny event, although this one is offscreen, and its enormous ripples. To be fair to Berenice we do learn two more thing about Marie. First, she's a bit of a dramatic queen and pushes situations and conversations past their natural end point until they reignite or explode. Second, and long delayed... that she is guilt-ridden about her relationship with Samir without realizing it. But it's too little too late for a film that overextends its welcome and pushes its luck with its intended cartographic drama.
When your favorite touch in a hotly anticipated movie by a brilliant director is the subtle dynamism of its title card ("The Past" is erased by windshield wipers as the ex-lovers are reunited in the opening scene) and the thing you relate to most visually is the endearing confused scowl on a young actor's face (Elyes Aguis is just superbly natural as Fouad, Samir's son) something has gone quite wrong. Thanks to a fine turn from Mossafa, Ahmad the exhusband, is the film's most interesting and well defined character. The movie suffers considerably whenever he (wisely) steps out of his place in this quiet heavy love triangle. Three may be a crowd but Marie and Samir are too blandly conceived to carry the film's heavy heart and complicated plot on their own. C
Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
Jessica Chastain at the Eleanor Rigby Premiere
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
Queer Double Feature: Tom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars
Amir, here, back with more coverage of new TIFF films. The Toronto International Film Festival is winding down but luckily I have a couple of big name movies still scheduled. Here's a few from the last two days.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
This Cannes grand prix winner is a slow-paced police procedural in which a doctor, a prosecutor and a group of other police agents drag an alleged murderer along with them in the rural Anatolia region of Turkey so he can show them where he’s hidden his victim’s body. More than half of this gorgeously shot film is spent during the night and I for one wished the morning never came. Gokhan Tiryaki’s impeccable lighting and the varied range of shots he creates in the limitless but monotonous locale of the film easily tops my personal list of best cinematography of the year.
There’s more to the film than the actual nightly search as Ceylan gives us indications that we should question the nature of the crime. Supernatural observations, spirituality and religious themes of guilt and faith all play a part in this hypnotic film. At two and a half hours, Anatolia won't be for everyone, but if you’re willing to go along with Ceylan’s delicate look into the social structure of Turkey and his humanistic approach to this crime tale, the end result is incredibly rewarding.
LOVE & BRUISES (dir. Lou Ye)
CUT (Amir Naderi)
>Final Weekend: back-to-back screenings of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis follow-up and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights which has just been picked up for distribution (albeit in 2012), actressy musicals and Joachim Trier still to come.
Little White Lies talks to French actor Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Eagle)
The Wrap Warren Beatty wins Dick Tracy rights lawsuit. Y'all know I love my Beatty but this decision seems ridiculous to me since the rights were only supposed to stay with Beatty if he was actually using the character but he NEVER WORKS. I would love for him to act again but it is obviously not a top priority for him.
Cinema Blend the absurd Face/Off duo (I like that movie) Nicolas Cage and John Travolta may reunite onscreen. May not. The crystal ball is cloudy.
Basket of Kisses Mad Men rumors continue.
Cinema Blend also reports that Josh Hutcherson auditioned yesterday for that Hunger Games role he wants so badly. If you ask me he's already doomed despite fans of the property thinking he's right for it. He seems so much younger than Jennifer Lawrence, doesn't he? And isn't it a love interest situation? The woman reading older is anathema to Hollywood. They are so weird about needing their women much younger than their men.
Oh and P.S. have you seen his "straight but not narrow" campaign? Cute.
Time Out Chicago Melissa Leo interview on a new project which I shan't name anymore -- I've given it too much free promotion. Must control myself unless I'm invited to things and can weigh in with an informed opinion -- but this bit on the Oscars made me giggle.
TimeOut: I was surprised myself by the backlash. Isn’t the awards season all about self-promotion?
MELISSA LEO: Perhaps that’s very so. [Laughs]
A few more Liz & Tennessee articles
Sunset Gun Strong piece on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
LIFE Magazine published Liz & Monty photos. I've seen some from this shoot before but not these two. I love them together so much.
The Daily Beast has excerpts from an Elizabeth Taylor interview, one bit involving James Dean that she would not allow to go public till she died.
fourfour a Liza Minnelli anecdote on Liz.
Salon the always provocative Camille Paglia on this movie star's pre-feminist power.
and the Oscar Completist has having an Elizabeth Taylor viewing binge and has also written about the rarely discussed TV versions of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer (1993), and the 1984 and 1995 versions of A Streetcar Named Desire.
The Eagle is the latest of the many sword & sandal ripples that Gladiator set in motion 11 years ago. Channing Tatum is this year's brave soul, stepping into the Arena of Undefeated Russell Crowe Memories. Channing plays Marcus Aquila, a young centurion getting his first command in Britain. His faither soiled the family name by vanishing in the North of Britain and losing his legion's gold standard, The Eagle. Though Rome at large has moved on, Marcus is obsessed with retreiving the shiny bird.
Marcus is very serious about his command but he's also good at it. In fact, he's practically clairvoyant in his first test as a leader, sensing danger coming well before it arrives. Though he saves his men, a serious injury sidelines him from battle, and the film threatens to stop dead in its tracks just as its begun. Thankfully the movie picks up considerably when Jamie Bell enters as Esca.
Esca is purchased as a body slave for Marcus. Waste of money, that. Purchasing a body slave for Channning Tatum? Surely there were volunteers at the ready?
What are you seeing this weekend?