Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mommy - It is Xavier Dolan's face

What to say, when the heavy breathless sobs invade your heart as you’re going through some sort of heavily required catharsis for the human beings you are experiencing the lives of? I guess this is what cinema is all about.

Being a film person, I certainly suffer from the knowledge of the films I see. Cases like La vie D’Adèle, where I can quite frankly screw up the whole film experience, or even Boyhood and many other films, where I know exactly what I’m seeing and what to expect. That’s why when I have a film that completely surprises me feels so great and wins me over. But then I have Mommy, where I knew was I was expecting and the expectations were high, coming from the incredible Cannes success; when I know the artist so well, feeling so compelled by his films. ‘Xavier Dolan? Now that’s living cinema at its fullest.’ I said something like this before watching Mommy. I certainly wouldn’t disappoint the person I was expressing this, even more, Xavier Dolan didn’t disappointed me, as he filled me with life for a couple of hours. This is the film I was waiting for, not just from Dolan and not just the expectations, but in general, this is the film I want to see every year, this is my kind of film. And Xavier Dolan was able to surpass all of that.

Mommy is the kind of film it takes an incredible effort from us to come back to our own reality.
Music has become a huge part of my year. This Christmas, I decided to make a mix tape for my sister, so I’ve been going through the songs we used to listen as we were growing up. Music can become a huge part of our memory source. I may not remember events, but I remember listening these songs. So I’ve been going through songs such as The Verve’s Better Sweet Symphony, Garbage’s Stupid Girls, Oasis’ Wonderwall or recently the awesome debut albums by Florence and The Machine or Lana Del Rey. It is pretty incredible and sweet how sometimes things fall in this nearly perfectly balanced moment. From the very beginning of Mommy, as Dido’s White Flag played, it seemed as if it was meant to be for me to watch the film the moment I saw it.

Mommy is a rollercoaster of strong emotions, but so much of it is in the lyrics of the songs he smartly chooses to play. Mommy starts out with a written explanation about a Canada’s legislation on mental health in the near future. Then you have this serene moment of this woman, before you are hit, or literally so, she is hit by a car while driving to someplace. Diane Després is introduced to us in all her glamour and unwarranted straightforwardness and wit. She discusses with a supervisor of the institution her son is in and ends up taking him home. So Diane and Steve come home while Dido’s White Flag plays in the background. If you go on and carefully listen the lyrics of this song, it pretty much resumes the entire film and it could as well be the representation of their relationship.

Diane and Steve have to quickly adjust to their new life, together again, alone in their household. It’s not easy for them, but Diane just keeps fighting and not taking any moment to get depressed or anything of the sort, no matter how actually difficult this must be for her, how hard it is for her to deal with emotional conflicts towards her son, who can be as unpredictable and as difficult. As Steve and Diane furiously and quite freely argue, whether at the house, or even inside a taxi cab, you can’t help but remember Dolan’s first film J’ai tue ma mère. Sorry Dolan, but these two fighting inside the car immediately takes me back. Indeed, Dolan brings back the mother son relationship to its center.
The songs go from a freer moment of both anger and bliss, as Steve rides his skateboard accompanied by Counting Crows’ Colorblind to others. Out of a severe moment when Steve comes so close to hurt her mother out of pure uncontrolled anger, their front neighbor comes in the scene. She calms down Steve, somehow. Diane decides to invite her for dinner. Kyla suffers from a severe stutter; she always been shy, she explains, but since a year ago it got worse, so we know she’s taking a sabbatical year from teaching (as Susanne was in Dolan’s first film)… Kyla doesn’t talk much, but it is not because she stutters, it is clearly because of something else we don’t know about, because she decides not to say it. So then comes Celine Dion’s On En Change Pas and Diane and Steve that make Kyla sing along. Another musical moment whish basically represents the entrance of Kyla into Diane and Steve’s life.  
She starts homeschooling Steve, as Diane tries to find a job. Eiffel 65’s Blue starts playing while Kyla teaches Steve. This music is frantic and it is exactly where Steve’s mind probably is a lot of the times, another musical moment that fits perfectly, where we have Kyla freaking out with Steve’s moods and eventually the both coming together to a mutual understanding. I used to listen this song so much when I was a kid. I have an older brother, and that’s probably where this comes from. I used to listen this song on my brother’s walkman, I think. It’s incredible, memory wise. And Xavier Dolan’s being the similar age as myself, will be doing this to me quite a lot throughout the film. 

Oasis’ Wonderwall is one of the most cinematic, expressive and vivid moments of cinema this year. Oasis’ Wonderwall is a world where these three human beings co-exist in some approachable harmony and things seems to happily move forward as we can see in their smiling faces. It’s a marvelous moment, where Xavier Dolan wins our hearts so freaking easily, smart guy, using the aspect ratio as a way to tell us – here, this is the moment where they are free and breathe happily. You may want to resist the effect, but you really can’t. “Because Maybe You’re Gonna be the One that Saves Me”, Gallagher says. It is a dreamy scenario, indeed, and we are filled with hope for these human beings, especially Steve and Diane.

Mommy is irresistibly unpredictable, when at the same time we know exactly where the story will led to. Steve’s uproaring nature, eventually, will lead Diane to make a hard decision and having a huge effect on their lives. This film can be so stylish, so unpredictable, sexual and musical and it is, but it is also mature, it is also inventive and timeless. Xavier Dolan has made yet another incredibly unique and personal film, full of live.

It is all about emotion, hard emotions, strong emotions; it’s all about characters and their strong emotions, bursting out. The aspect ratio is because of that. The use of the songs is for that. Some may feel it is actually too much. The performances are over the top. The emotions are too showy and over the top. The use of Steve’s mental health is too much. Kyla, the neighbor, is another strong cliché. It may be repetitive. Etc etc etc.
You do have all of this. It may be an extreme portrait. But the thing about Xavier Dolan’s work is that he cares. We are all quite vulnerable and so is Xavier Dolan, but he is not afraid to show it on screen. When I saw Xavier Dolan debut film a few years ago, the thing that stayed with me was his strong personality, his mark. When you see a film by him, you can’t help but think of all his previous work, as well as when you’re watching the films, you inevitably have specific expectations. But I don’t really care. I love them and I love Mommy. Obviously, his style is remarkable; their films have so much style is crazy. Mommy brings all of that. But stories about mothers are never ‘enough’, or told enough. He may have the cliché neighbor in Kyla, but her care is so real, Suzanne Clement’s performance is so touching. The scene at the end, the last scene between Kyla and Diane, is so heartfelt, you just want these women to hug each other and be happy. Not every filmmaker has the ability to convey such real characters, and make its audience feel so utterly connected to the story. They burst out of the screen and we want to jump inside the screen.
Born to Die  by Lana Del Rey is the last song that is played in the film, a song I had heard the day before, at home, while I was going through my old mixed CD’s, and it makes you have a lot of feels!

Xavier Dolan, I'm a huge fan.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Old and the Young

The Old and the Young is a beautiful song by the American band called Midlake that I love so much. Sometimes I found this song heart breaking and at the same time refreshing, but I think of it as really really special.
A big part of Clouds of Sils Maria is about the old and the young, but it is specially about the distance between the two, about the way one positions itself in life and the different approaches that comes with age. The way a woman feels about her age, how she reacts and grows old. 
I admire the effort of Clouds of Sils Maria, it is such an interesting subject matter to dive into. I gradually liked the film more and more. I feel like I want to take it layer by layer, every bit of it and dig into it. At times it feels like the ideas are beautiful fighting their arguments through and at other times because these ideas are so good there isn't perhaps enough argument and actions but at the end of the day there's only so much you can tell in a story, or do with a story and with a certain film structure. That's also why I appreaciated this film so much, because of its layers. I will gladly dive into them with pleasure. In fact, this is the kind of film that makes me desperately want to speak with other people about, to go deep into it and discuss it. I love that!
Maybe I'll write a more extented review of this film, it deserves. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ava's Christmas

Today is the day. Our first opening day for SELMA in NY, LA, ATL and DC. This image communicates how I feel today. There aren't words really. Just love. I hope love invades your day in some way today. Let's drink it in and let it nourish us. xo
Message from Ava DuVernay from her Facebook page. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pic of the Day

Jeff Wells did it, I think.
No further comments.

Making Boyhood

A good way to describe Boyhood is that it is special.
Pretty basic isn't it? But it is.

Rave Reviews

Look at all those rave reviews!
This seems quite the challenging film. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Knight of Cups

You know what? Emmanuel Lubezki.
That's the first thing that comes to mind.
Then, that it looks crazy and insanely rich. Kind of.
Possibly a lot of worthy performances to watch. 
The beauty of these films are really the challenge of it, I think. Though I have this really strange feeling because ever since I saw To the Wonder trailer, I found it so ridiculously laughable...It was after watching The Tree of Life and finding it earth shattering. Completely opposite feelings. So, I don't really know. But I want to see this one (though it will be hard).

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thanks Parks Crew

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is happening.
It is coming to an end.
Thank you ALL for the brilliancy and for making me laugh so much, I had probably the best giggles of my life. No joke. In addition to the laugh, I learned so much with Parks and Recreation. So much. I grew up with Parks and Recreation, I started to appreciate life and its comic tones with Parks.
Thank you all.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ridiculous History

Ava DuVernay as the first Black Female nominated for Best Director (only the fifth woman) at the Golden Globe Film Awards.

It is what it is and well, if there is such history, today, one couldn't and shouldn't be more glad than that person be someone like Ava DuVernay. Right? No matter how frustating this history might be!

As I said, about Ava DuVernay being the right kind of person for this frustating history, here is her response to her Golden Globe nomination:
"The "first" of it all is the bittersweet part. I'm certainly not the first black woman deserving of this. You can't tell me that since 1943 there's not been another black woman who's made something worthy of this kind of recognition. But for whatever reason it hasn't happened. The time is now. I thank them for recognizing Selma. I just hope … that we get through all the 'firsts,' that we can just get to the good stuff and that people can just make their work and move on from [that conversation]."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Art of Loosing

“In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so...”
Still Alice is so worth the time. Go watch it.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Boyhood, in my quiet and pretty personal ambitious resume, is a simple story, that feels like so much and all at the same time like nothing, not exactly nothing, but seemingly uneventful, when all in itself it is exactly what life is, what life feels like. I mean, how “uneventful” it is to watch someone grow? Can you feel yourself growing, can you ‘see’ it? You don’t really feel it and you don’t really see it. It just happens. And that’s what Boyhood is, that’s what life is. And at least that’s how I feel right now.

It is when you’re a liberal, campaigning ferociously for Barack Obama and then you end up marrying the most American Republican family. When you keep doing the same mistake towards men because you want so much to feel safe and be a family, because that’s just the way one feels towards life, the falling in love and the inevitability of falling in love with the wrong person. When you’re a teenager and you question and they question you when you have no idea, no fucking clue of what’s coming and what are the answers. And maybe you never will, exactly. It’s nothing and it is everything. And some part of this ‘nothing’ and some part of the ‘everything’, you know, this American tale of growing up, of family, of patriotism, of technology and social growth, is in Boyhood.

Boyhood is a singular journey, or the vision, of this one individual named Richard Linklater. One you can be a part of, because he makes a living as an artist, the storyteller that gives us these unique experiences of seeing someone grow up throughout twelve years. Richard Linklater made a unique film. No doubt. It is actually like I’m watching this film with these great impeccable visual effects, like we’ve never seen anything like it, like Richard Linklater should be rewarded for the visual effects he created in this. This film is exactly what he wanted, it is a whole, it is a complete thing. And I think it couldn’t possibly be anything else than this.
I knew exactly what I was having and so now, as I’ve seen it and experienced it, I do think about what else this film could have been. Though I don’t want it to be anything else, I really don’t. It just can’t be. I guess, as you go home, the continuing experience of Boyhood is to go and perhaps write you own tale of your own story, of your own growing up, which can be so different from Mason’s. Or maybe appreciate parents a little bit more, or maybe be more grateful to the people around you, because that’s what this film is about. So now, I wonder about time, as time is such an essential figure to Boyhood, time and growing up to experience this film and value it in different moments of my life, as it will certainly be the case. For now, I thank Richard Linklater for the experience and I praise him for his tremendous work.

The Boyhood team.
Loooooved Patricia Arquette, her performance is growing in me by the minute.
Ellar Coltrane's voice and speaking reminds me of someone, I can't seem to whom it is exactly so it is killing me.
Ethan Hawke, I really like him and especially the way he portays his character throughout the last part of the film, basically his transition from liberal to conservative, kind of, you could put it that way...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The poster of Appropriate Behaviour.
But where's the trailer?
Where's the film??