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Entries in Walter Salles (3)


Q&A: I'm Not There. I'm Right Here With My Cat(s)

Your questions a few days back really got me going so you're getting two weeks of Q&As out of them. Here's the first episode with eight questions answered on Hamilton, I'm Not There style biopics, dinner with movie characters and more... 

IBIS: Cast This! The film version of Hamilton

NATHANIEL: Since they'll surely make us wait another 10 years for any movement on the film we'd have to suggest actors we've never heard of who maybe even haven't started acting yet so we can't think on this. I will say though that when everyone was so sad that the original cast was leaving the show I felt like hugging everyone and going "it'll be fine if you see replacements!" because the star of Hamilton is really the musical itself, if you ask me. Yes, the actors were great but it's one of those things that's so perfectly calibrated to be its best self, that the show is really the star. I swear to you. So please enjoy it when it goes on tour somewhere near you.

Plus the wait for a Hamilton movie gives Hollywood time to invest in some actors of color as future stars so that they don't panic when it's time to cast the movie and realize they don't know enough of them to fill this sprawling movie. 

my favorite western RED RIVER (1948)SONJA: What is your least favorite genre?

I try to love all genres since they're all capable of greatness. My answer to this when I was younger would have easily  been "westerns" or "horror" but I've seen enough classics now from each of those genres that I have newfound respect. I guess I will say "war films" in general. Yes, there are great ones... but too often it's just an excuse to indulge in manly violence for manly violence's sake, which is never really a thrill for me.

But if I can extend to television throw out that entire answer and just say "medical procedural". While watching TV the other night I saw a commercial for Chicago Med which I guess is a new show? And I was like REALLY? ANOTHER MEDICAL PROCEDURAL? AND ALSO: ANOTHER MEDICAL PROCEDURAL SET IN CHICAGO WHERE HALF OF THEM HAVE BEEN SET?!?" It actually made me angry. The showbiz community is sometimes just entirely allergic to trying new things... which is strange considering it's a profession which can only exist by harnessing creativity.

RYAN T: Since the Olympics is happening in Rio, do you have a favorite Brazilian film, actor, or filmmaker?

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Doc Corner: Jia Zhangke Gets a Tribute in 'A Guy from Fenyang'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at Walter Salles' doc about Chinese film giant Jia Zhangke.

In the opening scene of Jia Zhangke’s sublime Mountains May Depart, characters dance to the Pet Shop Boys’ euphoric rendition of “Go West”. The song may have been a demand for a gay utopia, but it is also an apt choice for a movie in which characters slowly shift from rural China to the blue skies and bright lights of Australia. Zhangke’s characters are often caught between two worlds, travelling down a road (literal of metaphorical) to an unknown future and it is these pervading themes that have made him the unofficial cinematic chronicler of modern day China. They are also what makes Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang such a fitting tribute to the man.

Directed by Walter Salles, A Guy from Fenyang follows the director in intimate fashion as he returns to his hometown as well as prominent filming locations featured across his filmography in movies like Xiao Wu, The World, Platform, Still Life (my personal favourite of his works), and most prominently A Touch of Sin for which this doc was made as a sort of companion piece. [More...]

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Kristen Stewart is a Rock Star and Other "On The Road" Discoveries

The Scene: September* 2012, NYC. An industry screening and cocktail party for On the Road.

Kristen Stewart stood at the front of the crowded screening room in a white oversized dress shirt and black slacks. Director Walter Salles and co-star Garrett Hedlund stood beside her and she shifted nervously while they all spoke to the assembled Academy and Guild members and small pockets of press types like me. The "stop looking at me" vibe, already familiar from her many public appearances rippled outward. One wants celebrities to enjoy the rarified air they breathe, both because success is a beautiful coveted trophy and because careers in the public eye require being looked at to achieve any degree of it. I've written about my discomfort with her discomfort before in a piece that was provocatively called "Jodie Foster is Wrong: On the Mandatory Price of Fame." Yet, through the course of the evening I found myself reconsidering her particulars.

Kristen Stewart does her randiest (and maybe her best) work ever in "On the Road".

*Yes, this scene I've set took place in September.

I foolishly didn't write about the party immediately thereafter though it happened to be the first awards season get together of 2012 as "the Doyenne of Buzz" Peggy Siegal reminded us in welcome. Even then On the Road (The Movie) seemed to be as lost in time as its protagonists were on the map as they drove and drove, searching for connection, energy, sex, thrills, drugs, music -- anything that felt alive. I knew the film wouldn't open until the tail end of the year in limited release (possibly near you) and I wondered, as I often do, what I'm to do as a film blogger about movies that remain so elusive, movies with strange and distant release dates. Films, like movie stars, are invented to be looked at, but many of them hide despite the best efforts of publicists, filmmakers and journalists who are eager to embrace them and discuss them with moviegoers.

[I worried, even then, that this moody sweaty retro film would be utterly ignored in the crush of Shiny Noisy Awards-Baiting Behemoths. The Adult-Oriented Christmas Multiplex Glut is simply no place for a film that so pointedly craves wide open spaces and young hormonal surges. I'm mystified that the distributor (Sundance Selects) didn't choose to open this one somewhere between July and October, much more comfortable climates for its subject matter and appeal.]

Very briefly at the after-party I spoke with Kristen Stewart about the green splint on her finger which I had mistaken for an oversized piece of costume jewelry. She told me I wasn't the first and held it up, not for my benefit but for her own 'why do people keep mentioning that?' contemplation. I never learned how she'd hurt her finger and that's all we said to each other. But in the little circles that form themselves around The Talent at these industry parties, she seemed perfectly content, if still a bit restless, to be talking to other people in her profession. As I left the party I felt a little bad about my impatience with her celebrity unease because up close and impersonal, I suddenly saw it from a different and I assume clearer perspective. Kristen Stewart isn't, in spirit, a movie star but a rock star. Rock stars are allowed more antagonistic friction between themselves and the world. Sometimes they're even rewarded for it.

...all of those smashed-up guitars.

Hedlund & Stewart. True Lust Forever.

This is, quite obviously, why Stewart's previous best performance to date was as Joan Jett in The Runaways. And it has to be why she's so mesmerizing again as the untamed teenage bride "Marylou".

Stewart's fame far outstrips that of her male leads but for all her screen magnetism in this particular role, the true star of On the Road is Garret Hedlund as "Dean Moriarty" the object of nearly everyone's affection. Hedlund made his way through that same September party with an eager friendliness in amusing unintentional direct contrast to his co-star. It's remarkably easy to fall in deep like with him and in the film it's impossible not to fall in deep love. Were On the Road to be more widely seen, Hedlund's explosive sexuality as Dean coupled with the quality of his acting would make him an instant 'cast him in everything!' sensation. On the Road doesn't always work but Hedlund's star turn definitely does.

I recently screened the film a second time and left with the same impression. The same impression that the film wisely underlines. The classic book and this film version both conclude with a confessional mantra: 

I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of Dean Moriarty."

I dare you to see the film and leave thinking of anything else.

more Kristen Stewart
more Garrett Hedlund