The Awards Season is Hotting up! While I was in LA I saw three movies, one wonderful, one a bit so-so and the third, interesting but challenging. These included “The Counsellor”, interesting but challenging to watch and “Kill Your Darlings”, a true story about the early careers of some of America’s great poets. I went to the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, which is a stunning venue, for two of the screenings and saw many of the great and the good there, Michael Mann included. I am a fan of his work, so I was really pleased. Didn’t say anything but “How do you do”, this is not a place to play fan, but I was thrilled nonetheless. I am still star struck by those who have succeeded in the industry, through talent, craft, imagination and sheer hard work.
I really do like documentary style of shooting films, which gives you the sense of “you are here now”. This involves a lot of hand held camera work and when it is overdone, it can make you nauseous , but it is wonderfully effective if done correctly. Two of my favourite Directors are Paul Greengrass and Steven Soderbergh, who are real exponents of the technique and I am looking forward to seeing “Captain Phillips” (Greengrass) and I am really sorry that those who decide these things,decided to release “Behind the Candelabra” (Soderbergh) on HBO and not theatrically, which of course means that it does not qualify for the Oscars. Bad decision in my thinking, it has an excellent script and two wonderful performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, not top mention Rob Lowe.
The foreign film I saw “Wadjwa”, is extraordinary, it is a simple story of a young girl growing up in Saudi Arabia, rebelling against the strictures of her school and her religion and yearning for a bicycle, not a proper toy for a good Muslim girl to have. Her life and the lives of the people who surround her are beautifully depicted, they all have their own stories and motivating forces in their lives, it is a deeply moving and often funny film. The Director is a 29 year old Saudi woman: Haifaa al-Mansour, who often had to direct from the back of a van as she was not allowed to mix publicly with the men in the crew in Riyadh. After making three critically acclaimed short films, this is her first feature. I am full of admiration.I really do believe that if we only have more films like this, this our world population will become more tolerant and understanding of each other.