You may fantasize about an ex-lover returning, appearing at your doorstep bags in hand, ready to pick up the broken fragments of the past and start anew. But sometimes, a fantasy is just a fantasy and should remain as such—for if it were to become a reality, that would be an entirely different beast of its own. And in Neil LaBute’s latest biting bit of cinematic theater, we see him return to the roots that we know and love, presenting us with a lipstick-stained and sexually-charged verbal squash match between the sexes.
Starring the always wonderful Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve (in a truly revelatory performance), Some Velvet Morningfollows what happens when Fred (Tucci) waltzes up to the doorstep of Velvet’s (Eve) home—after not having seen her in four years—to announce he’s left his wife and is finally ready to confront his love for her and be together. And while that all seems well and romantic—a tender love story this is not. Both surprised and slightly frightened by Fred’s presence, and the quiet menace and possessive aggression that brings, Velvet tries to thwart his advances and although claims to be late for a lunch date, seems to be operating on a Bunuelian time table for leaving the house (she never does).
And working in the realm LaBute does best, the rough-tongued portrait of strange love unfolds into a dark place that both emotionally engages you in their conversational rally and shocks you with its potency, while providing a perfect vehicle for his actors to play. A few weeks back, I got the chance to sit down with Tucci and Eve to discuss the collaborative nature of working with LaBute, the physical and emotional strain of acting, and the hazy line between fantasy and reality.
Happy Birthday and Deathday Yasujirô Ozu! Born today December 12th 1903, died December 12th 1963.
Image source : Enthusiasm.org
Waiting for the Morning Bus, Birobidzhan, Siberia, 1999, Jonas Bendiksen
Louis Malle realizing nearly all his films take place in nearly the same amount of time
As I find myself sitting on my knees typing away and thinking of the year behind and year ahead, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. Has it really been an entire year since I lamented over my least favorite films of 2012, or did I just blink a little too hard? But as 2013 draws the curtain on 2014, and for all of the myriad life changes, pleasures, heartbreaks, existential quandaries, and obsessions endured, a great deal of my emotional memory is centered around cinema. I can pinpoint my own state of being in correlation to the films I loved and the work that truly moved me. I look back on my absolute favorite film of the year, Shane Carruth’s confounding and beautiful Upstream Color and can remember precisely the person I was at that time and just what compelled me to see the film 23 times in a span of two months.
But whether it was 2013’s highly anticipated heavy hitters like Steve McQueen’s fearless 12 Years a Slave or hidden gems recently to have their premiere such as Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, it’s safe to say that it’s been a pretty damn good year for film. From psychotropic teen nightmares and 90s dinner party-esque Shakespearean adaptations to transcontinental love stories and visceral documentaries, the films of 2013 surely offer a bit of something to please every cinematic appetite. So although I’ve sadly yet to see some of the year end blockbusters—which I am sure they’re worth praising—I thought it still necessary to share my favorite films of the year, as well as a look back on our extensive interviews with the filmmakers behind the pictures. I’ve opted to not rank the films, as I believe they’re all vital and brilliant in their own right, but must give away my personal Best Feature award to my favorite treasure of the year. Hope you enjoy.
With a background in music as a composer and concert pianist, Emanuele’s love of composition comes to life as the physical embodiment of sound through his countless sculptures throughout the home. Varying in color, shape, texture, and scale they’re a sampling of the versions he has housed at the Observatory of Contemporary Art (Bagheria), Paolo Pini museum in Milan, and Milan’s Malpensa Airport (something to look for on your next Milan Fashion Week excursion). The sculptures encapsulate the motion of music’s physicality—each line is a note, the lines together in varying heights, a chord. The sculptures reverberated with us even more strongly after he treated us to a private piano concert, playing pieces by heart from his own compositions that range from neo-classical wonders filled with emotion to songs akin to classic American jazz standards, as well as the compositions of one of his favorite legends Frederic Chopin.