Thursday, June 23, 2011

Biutiful Ash Country

June 23, 2011

A controversy has broken out in my family about the film "Biutiful" with Javier Bardem. It seems my daughter Deena attended a screening with her boyfriend and a cousin of his who is in the biz, primarily doing indie work. In a couple of scenes the microphones worn by the actors picks up the crush of clothing and the cousin-indie-person thought this was a mistake and they left it in the film.

Thanks to T. Charles and a Redbox at the Circle K in Cave Creek I watched "Biutiful" last night. Afterwards I watched the Special Features and a doc on the director's vision and what he was trying to accomplish. The director said, and I quote, "Tell Mike's cousin she is full of indie poop."

Actually, don't quote me on that.

Did you know the director spent a couple days rehearsing with the Chinese extras on how to play dead? And did you know that on the day of the actual filming for that scene all of the Chinese balked because playing dead brings bad luck? And did you know that he had to come up with a way to give them traditional "red coins" as a token and convince them that it was relaxing therapy to get them to do the scene? And did you know he spent a day with the actors who played the family (Bardem, etc.) with a pillow game to have them all bond as a family? And did you know the African woman was literally going to be deported and he convinced her that her work on the film would help the problem? And it did!

So, I think the close-up, crunchy sound was intentional because the director controlled EVERYTHING down to the last detail. Nothing in this movie is a "mistake" or random. I also noticed, the movie had a very claustrophobic feel, the cramped bedrooms, the peeling ceilings, the congested streets, so that even the sound was congested. That's my takeaway, but then people have accused me of being full of indie poop.

This morning's newspaper carried several photos of Sierra Vista residents returning to their burned out homes. Devastating. Can't imagine. Finished a study that turned into "The Ash Rider," which features Mickey Free riding through a burned out landscape.

Interesting how the news can affect artistic efforts, no?

"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure."
—Joseph Campbell

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