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Archive for May 16th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 2001 146m) DVD1/2

Cirrus; Socrates; Particle; Decibel; Hurricane; Dolphin; Tulip…

p  Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Bonnie Curtis, Jan Harlan, Walter F.Parkes  d  Steven Spielberg  w  Steven Spielberg  story  Brian Aldiss, Ian Watson, Stanley Kubrick  ph  Janusz Kaminski  ed  Michael Kahn  m  John Williams  art  Rick Carter  cos  Bob Ringwood  spc  Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Scott Farrar, Michael Lantieri

Haley Joel Osment (David), Jude Law (Gigolo Joe), Frances O’Connor (Monica Swinton), Sam Robards (Henry Swinton), Brendan Gleeson (Lord Johnson-Johnson), William Hurt (Prof.Hobby), Rena Owen (ticket taker), Paula Malcomson (Patricia), Jake Angel (voice of Teddy), Robin Williams (voice of Doctor Know), Meryl Streep (voice of Blue Mecha), Chris Rock (voice of comedian), Ben Kingsley (narrator),

It was Stanley Kubrick’s baby; one of many embryo projects he put on hold, this particular one because when he conceived the idea in the late eighties, special effects were not advanced enough to meet his vision.  Seeing what one of his successors, Steven Spielberg, did with ILM in Jurassic Park, convinced him the time was just around the corner, but he still had doubts.  Eyes Wide Shut took over, and went on…and on.  In the moments when he did come back to Brian Aldiss’ short story, he was struck with the notion that perhaps he wasn’t the one to direct it at all, that his vision would be too cold.  He thought it might be an idea for him to produce and write and Spielberg to direct.

            We know with hindsight that announcing one’s plans is a sure-fire way to make the almighty laugh, and fate robbed us of the opportunity by Kubrick’s sudden and much-mourned passing.  Spielberg was one of the coffin bearers at his funeral, and they had been close friends since the days when Spielberg watched Kubrick shoot The Shining while waiting to begin Raiders of the Lost Ark.  When the notion came for him to take up the baton for his old mentor and friend, he could do no other.  He even made the film not at his customary Universal but at Stanley’s home since 1971, Warner Bros.  It would be the first time since Close Encounters that he would write the finalised script himself.  (more…)

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Room in Rome (Habitación en Roma Spain 2010)

Room in Rome (Habitación en Roma, Spain, 2010)

Written, directed and edited by Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia 2001)
Cinematography by Alex Catalán
Elena Anaya as ‘Alba’
Natasha Yarovenko as ‘Natasha’
Enrico Lo Verso as ‘Max’

by Tony d’Ambra

‘Natasha, shah, shah…’

The camera in wide screen looks down on two young women on a narrow cobbled street in Rome late one summer night. They are strangers who are merry with wine and intoxicated with their company. One Spanish, the other Russian.  A proposition, a tentative refusal, and then a timid acceptance. The girls leave the bottom of the frame, and the camera swoops up and retreats from the aged terrace of a darkened achingly elegant room in a small hotel, retreating into a corner after panning the interior, then waiting for the door to open.  A key is turned, the door opens, the girls enter, and a lamp is switched on in the now even more ravishingly beautiful room bathed in a sensual claret light emanating from two Renaissance prints – one above the double bed and the other on the opposite wall.  The camera has observed all this in one bravura take where it insinuates itself into every aspect of the room.  Thus begins a night of sensuality, love, grief, laughter, and melancholy discovery.

The camera is not a voyeur but a meandering conspirator in a secret night of stolen bliss that ends with the ‘Alba’ of a sparkling new day atop the ancient rooftops of Rome.  Their secret and the vanished night permanently recorded and visible beyond the earth a make-shift white flag waiting to billow under the summer breeze from a tiny balcony in the Eternal City.

Room in Rome open in Spain last week and was featured at the Sydney Spanish Film Festival, where Tony d’Ambra and his wife Peggy saw the film Saturday night.

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