For the past 29 years, Chicago has hosted an amazing assortment of Latin American made films at the CLFF. This year shall be no different with the addition of a new segmentsponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures which is getting me ultra-excited. Whenever I get a chance to see foreign movies on the big screen ( especially if they are from my homeland) I make sure not to miss it.
I couldn’t wait to take Elliott to see Central Station, starring the legendary Fernanda Montenegro, but due to a conflict in schedule neither of us will be able to make it. It’s all good though because there’s still a number of exceptionally good stories to be seen, like Past Minutes, product of labor of my good friend and talented producer Luana Lobo with Maria Farinha Filmes. Above, a selection of the films I have my eyes on. Granted, just like me, most of them are Brazilian.
Amélie is one’s of those movies I’ve always known I would enjoy but for some reason I can’t explain, took me too long to watch. Despite the huge popularity it gained in the US, I had also heard the movie was a great source of inspiration for someone who is tackling screenwriting and whoever said that is an Einstein. I’ve been writing, slowly but surely. Back to the movie though, it breaks many ground rules of screenwriting from the start. Descriptive narration is constant. The main characters hardly ever speak to each other and fantasy blends in with reality unapologetically. It’s just brilliant.
When still a child, a few tragedies happen in Amélie’s life. Two consecutive deaths in the family are enough to transform Amélie into a very shy and recluse young lady. One day she finds a box buried under the bathroom tile full of treasures from someone’s past. Instead of leaving it alone she decides to go on a journey to find the original owner and that’s when her life begins taking a clever turn.
Adult Amélie is played by Aubrey Tautou and I couldn’t help but observe that even though she’s a grown woman, living on her own in Paris, there’s a childish quality to her behavior that follows her everywhere. Even after falling in love she still carries that innocent but mischievous look on her face that is so intriguing. I honestly could never look at this character and think of her as the woman she is, with her grown-up job, her vintage apartment and her peculiar friends (or lack of them). That’s what’s so fascinating about Amélie. She gives us permission to look at her and really see the vulnerable child inside, while most of us spend our lives trying to camouflage what’s left of it.
It’s been days since I’ve wanted to extend a very special invitation to my Midwest folks. Last month I’ve made my Chicago theatre debut in a first-time adaptation based on oscar-nominated screenplay The Goddess by Paddy Chayefsky at The Artistic Home. Set in Hollywood’s Golden Age, the play shines a white-hot spotlight on the making of a Hollywood star, Rita Shawn and her quest for fame and love.
A little insider’s secret, the story is rumored to be based off Marilyn Monroe’s life, besides Chayefsky denial. The brilliancy of it all comes with the realization that even though the story takes place over six decades ago, the topic has never been so current. I’ve been directed by the superb, John Mossman and it has truly been an honor. We were welcomed with a Jeff Recommendation,exciting press and fantastic reviews following opening while I get to play Hollywood dress-up four nights a week.