Posts tagged ‘Film Festival’
Long time Coen brothers composer, Carter Burwell, was in attendance at the Nashville Film Festival this week for two reasons. The first was to pick up their annual Mike Curb Career Achievement Award For Film Music award and also to take part in a special event – “One on One with Carter Burwell”. During said event the subject of his work on the forthcoming Coen brothers’ adaptation of the Charles Portis novel, True Grit, came up, on which he had this to say;
“We don’t always see eye to eye.” Burwell noted when discussing his 14th collaboration with Joel and Ethan Coen. But when it came to the conception of the True Grit score “We both had the same idea at the same time: Protestant hymns.” The composer went on to explain that the lead character, Mattie Ross (to be played by Hailee Steinfeld) was so convinced of her own righteousness that they all thought Protestant hymns would be a fine way to play with her misplaced rectitude … He’s currently looking for appropriate hymn recordings but griped that “they all sound too sweet.”
Burwell was quick to point out that this is only the current concept and could very well change entirely. Indeed he said that he liked the idea of a call and response feel to the theme, a solo instrument echoing back since Mattie is marching off alone, determined into dangerous territory to find her father’s killer and recruiting others to join her. He spoke a little about his past work with the Coen brothers and cited Miller’s Crossing as his best ever work experience due to the fact that he got to spend three months creating the score rather than the usual three to six weeks. He was asked which was his favourite Coen score and he said; “I like Fargo but I don’t really have favorites.”
This isn’t a Coen brothers new update at all, just a note from letting you know that I have tickets to see A Serious Man on Sunday 8th November at the Leeds International Film Festival a full 12 days before its official release! I’ll get my review up as soon as I can.
Looking forward to it immensely!
The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival has announced shortlists for all four of its awards, two of which are brand new, one of which the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man has been nominated for. In opposition for the newly created award are Wes Anderson’s awesome looking Roald Dahl adaptation “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”, artist Sam Taylor Wood’s debut movie about John Lennon’s life “Nowhere Boy”, John Hillcoat’s adaptation of the heart-breaking Cormac McCarthy (who wrote No Country For Old Men incidentally) novel “The Road”, Robert Connonlly’s “Balibo”, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Micmacs”, Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet”, Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” and Micheal Haneke’s “The White Ribbon”.
The awards will be, err, awarded on 28th October.
IFC.com have a very brief but, unusually for junket-style interviews, VERY INTERESTING interview with Joel and Ethan Coen. The interview took place during the Toronto International Film Festival where A Serious Man had it’s world premiere. It was particularly nice to read that The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is still on (or at least that’s how it seems). Enjoy…
Between this film and your upcoming adaptation of Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union,” you’ve been steeped in Judaica for the past couple years. What sparked the renewed interest?
Joel Coen: “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” was a bit of a coincidence, actually, coming on the heels of this.
Ethan Coen: It just fell into our laps. The producer Scott Rudin had bought the rights to the book and asked us to adapt it, write a screenplay. We just read the book and liked it. But we had already written this, it was before we shot this that we agreed to do the script for that.
As someone who spent some time at a Hebrew school, I know that can be an experience some would never want to revisit.
JC: We have a little perspective on it now because we’ve been away from it for so many years, so it seemed more interesting or funny or exotic or something to revisit now that…
EC: It must be one of those things there are seven stages of…
JC: Of denial…
EC: With flight…
JC: [laughs] Yes, denial, acceptance…
EC: And one of those later stages.
JC: Rage. [laughs]
EC: Nobody goes to Hebrew school and doesn’t feel rage at some point. [laughs]
Was it the right time for this film because you have the perspective for it, or because as filmmakers you have the clout to tell this particular story the way you’d want to tell it?
JC: I think all of those things are part of it. We’re a little older. The clout to make it? That one maybe not, but maybe. We might not have considered it early on just because it would’ve seemed so iffy. On the other hand…
EC: Yeah, you’ve got to be kind of established to have done this movie. It’s really true.
JC: Although “Barton Fink” was pretty weird at the time. But we had already done a number of movies at that point, too. ["A Serious Man"] would’ve been hard to do as a first or second movie, unless you were willing to go much lower budget than we were.
Given your background, it’s easy to infer this is a personal story for you, but now that the final product’s emerged, do you now feel it’s more personal than any of your other work?
JC: Only in the respect that the story is set in a context and a place and a time that we’re very personally connected to because it [was] where we grew up. Going back to Minnesota and making the movie there, trying to recreate that place 30, 40 years ago — that felt differentthan what we’ve done before, but it doesn’t feel that much more personal in other ways.
EC: But that’s not nothing. How the movie looks is a big part of how you feel about it. It does give you something that the other movies don’t have.
If my math is right, Joel’s bar mitzvah would’ve taken place around the same time as Danny Gopnik’s in the film. Was the bar mitzvah in the film any way a recreation, perhaps without being under the influence at the time?
JC: Neither of us were stoned during our bar mitzvah. That was actually a synagogue near where we grew up, the one we shot in, but we weren’t bar mitzvahed there.
EC: We’d been in it, friends had been bar mitzvahed there. It wasn’t our shul.
JC: We were bar mitzvahed in a similar kind of ceremony.
EC: But neither of us were stoned. [laughs] Although maybe it’s just heightened. Your bar mitzvah is weird.
JC: Yeah, it was surreal.
EC: You get up in front of all those people and read the torah. It’s all odd. [laughs]
JC: In our synagogue, there wasn’t a Rabbi Marshak that you went and talked to, but friends of ours went to a synagogue that had a similar kind of ritual. So it’s drawn both from personal experience and what we knew from other people and friends and places.
After making this film, do you feel like it’s more pressure to be a filmmaker or a Jew?
EC: It’s tough being a Jew. [laughs]
JC: Yeah, right now, we’re feeling both.
EC: Bob Hope said to Charlton Heston after he met him on the lot, and [Heston] was bitching about how he’d spend three hours in makeup to be Moses, “Yeah, it’s tough being a Jew.”
Thanks to Lachlan for sending it in.
Who knew there was such a thing but A Serious Man is opening the UK Jewish Film Festival ‘09. It is showing on 7th November at 8:30pm as part of the opening night gala at the Odeon Swiss Cottage, which sounds like a lovely place to watch a movie. However, the movie’s showing at the London Film Festival still marks it’s UK bow.
/Film writer and creator Peter Sciretta has reviewed the Coen brothers’ Toronto Film Festival new ‘un, A Serious Man. Sciretta has also put together a video blog with Steve from Collider.com where they both spout very enthusiastically about both A Serious Man and Jason Reitman’s Geroge Clooney starring Up In The Air.
“The Coen brothers’ A Serious Man is very comparable to Alexander Payne’s masterwork Election, which just happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. Both films are brilliant dark comedies about teachers who are trying to do their best, trying to do the right thing, and somewhere along the way, make one small bad decision which spirals out of control into the biggest mess you’ve ever seen.
Below is a short movie clip from the red carpet of the Toronto International Film Festival world premiere of A Serious Man. It features brief interviews with start Michael Stuhlbarg and Amy Landecker and also a brief bit with Joel Coen at the podium.
It’s hard to discern an actual opinion from this review (is it even a review?) but, to me at least, it seems positive. What do you think?
“Stay through the end credits of Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man and you’ll find the disclaimer: “No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture.” That statement is open to dispute, since most of the film’s characters are Jewish — residents of suburban Minneapolis in 1967 — and just about all of them, it seems, are out to harm the Coens’ hapless hero, college physics professor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlberg), either intentionally or just by ignoring his mostly mute cries for help.
Not that the Coen brothers — who were raised in an academic Jewish family in Minneapolis, and were 13 and 10 respectively when the movie takes place — are self or other-hating Jews. But as filmmakers (and Oscar-winners, last year, for No Country for Old Men), they’ve always enjoyed anatomizing humanity’s weak points and turning them into a kind of comedy. The lynch party, composed of Jews and gentiles, that assembles around Larry is full of these caricatures. And Larry was made to be intimidated, ignored, abused. He is a passive protagonist whose plight earns him as much pity as sympathy. SoA Serious Man, which has its world premiere tonight at the Toronto Film Festival before opening in theaters Oct. 2, �is a rare event in movies, where action is character. It’s certainly rare for the Coens, in that this is one fable— Miller’s Crossing might be another — that is worth taking seriously.
In the two weeks leading up to his son’s bar mitzvah, Larry is subject to a catalog of social crimes, small and large. His wife Judy (Sari Lennick) has become close with family friend Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed); she wants Sy to move in and Larry to stay at the Jolly Roger. Larry and Judith’s son (Aaron Wolff) is slumming through Hebrew school and harangues Dad to adjust the rooftop TV aerial so F Troop can come in clearly. Their daughter (Jessica McManus) thinks only getting a nose job and washing her hair, which she can’t do nearly enough of because Larry’s live-in, layabout brother (Richard Kind) spends a lot of time in the bathroom medicating his neck cyst.
At work, where Larry is up for tenure, a Korean student to whom he gave a failing grade leaves him an envelope full of bribe money; when Larry refuses, the student’s father drops by to say he may sue the professor for defamation. The neighbor on one side is a belligerent, moose-killing goy; on the other side is not threat but temptation in the form of a pretty woman (Amy Landecker) who smokes pot while sunbathing nude. Anything else? Larry’s legal bills are piling up, he just crashed his car, he needs to visit his doctor, and the guy from the Columbia Record Club keeps calling to dun him for a membership Larry never took out. According to those in his local synagogue, he isn’t even the serious man of the title; that honorific goes to the oleaginous, wife-stealing Sy. Compared to Larry, Job had it easy.
Larry is a familiar figure from Jewish literature that dates back to the Old Testament and up to Bruce Jay Friedman’s 1962 novel Stern, about a Jew who moves to the suburbs and endures a plague of abuse from neighbors and nature. The men at the center of Philip Roth’s novels may rage and flail, but Larry doesn’t dish out insults, he takes them. When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, just suck it up and hope you don’t explode. That’s Larry’s method of coping. In Stuhlberg’s precise embodiment, Larry accepts all tribulations with a mouth pressed into pruny silence, as if �he had bitten into something rancid but doesn’t want to be seen spitting it out. Wouldn’t matter if he did: no one gives him a moment to articulate the psychic pains he harbors.
The movie has no stars, few recognizable faces. And unlike so many American films, which cast gentiles in Jewish roles (Imelda Staunton, for example, as the stereotype mother in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, also about suburban Jews in the ’60s), this one actually has ethnic-appropriate casting. The Jews here are sometimes broadly drawn — Larry’s family slurps soup at a decibel level that even the Simpsons would find deafening — but they’re fully assimilated. Nobody says, “Oy vey!” or talks shtick. If people answer a question with a question, the first would be Larry’s plaintive “Why me?” when he seeks legal, emotional or spiritual help, and the second the world’s “Who cares?”