A date with myself

Let me just tell you: it’s been the most lovely spring weather all week. We sat in the sun during our lunch breaks and I actually had a picnic planned this weekend with some of my friends – but when I woke up on Saturday morning the sky was grey and it just started to rain.
But hey, I knew what to do: this kind of weather calls for cinema! Frankly, the timing couldn’t have been better, as two days ago Beauty and the Beast started in cinemas, and I was dying to see it. (I’ve missed a couple of films in cinema recently, but I couldn’t miss this one!)

It’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and even though living and Rome and enjoying the language and all, I absolutely couldn’t bear the thought of seeing it in Italian. Disney films are magical, and everyone knows the song lyrics in their mother tongue – Well, of course! When you’re a child you don’t care about watching a film in English! – But I feel the songs of Beauty and the Beast, along with a couple of others, are amongst the famous ones, the ones that you know even in English. I mean, Tale as old as Time? It’s a classic! Also, the film has some really good actors in it, with very distinguished accents. It would have been a shame to hear Emma Watson’s or Ian McKellen’s perfect British accent dubbed.
So when I proposed to my friends to see La Bella e la Bestia people seemed quite intrigued. When I told them I was going to see it in the original version (with subtitles) the participation quote dropped to zero. Now, I am not judging. If I was home in Austria, I would have probably gone for the German version too. But living in a big city, where selected cinemas actually show it in English, I had no choice but to go for it!!

In fact, I was very excited to go to the cinema by myself. I had conversations about it with Gonzo in the past. He told me that he often went to the cinema alone, but for me cinema is an experience made for sharing. You get there together, decide what sweets to buy, nudge each other during the most beautiful scenes and afterwards discuss it, of course. This perception might also be due to me being from a small village, where the next multiplex was an hour’s drive away. Spontaneously deciding to go to the cinema was never and option for me and my friends. A car had to be organized (in pre-driving license days also a parent willing to drive us), the timetable was checked and the movie chosen, we departed with enough time to find a decent parking spot and usually returned rather late at night.

Anyhow, it felt special. I dressed nicely and had a spring in my step on the way there. I don’t remember when I last was so excited to see a certain film. I arrived at the box office indecently early and had to kill half an hour in the bookstore next door before the movie started (no complaints about that). During the film it happened only twice that I had the urge to nudge someone to make them notice a continuity mistake or a plot hole. Apart form that, I was totally ok with being “alone” in the dark. It actually felt a bit like the movie was only for me.
I don’t think I need to point out how much I loved the film. I laughed and I cried and I was filled with joy when it finished. I love the design and how they added backstories of the characters and little details to the story. There were new songs and of course the classic ones. All in all I think it is a very good combination of a re-creation of the 1991 animated movie and a modern version. Of course my favourite line was in the end, when Belle suggests the prince to grow a beard. 😉

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The only thing I really missed, was the possibility to immediately share my thoughts right after. I would have loved to talk to my sister about the dresses and the songs, or to Gonzo about the the camera movements and the colour correction. On my way home I called my mum to share my joy and childhood memories and I was humming Belle’s Song and Be Our Guest all the way until I arrived home – then I opened the playlist on Spotify and kept waltzing in my room.

XX, Angie

Here’s to the dreamers

What a better way is there to spend a Saturday afternoon that in the cinema?

I went to see the matinee show of La La Land today – and I’m over the moon! I am completely in love with the movie! The obvious reasons are: it’s a musical, the camerawork is great, it has an amazing and super vibrant colour palette and it stars Ryan Gosling 😉
No, seriously:

Yes, they sing. But I felt like it was never out of context. Singing as a natural way of expressing oneself is established normal right at the beginning of the film. It’s a world where they sing. I think one has to make the effort and see it as kind of a “parallel world” where singing and dancing is normal, and everything makes total sense. –  Does that make sense?

The story itself is rather simple: it’s two artists struggling with life and everything that comes with it. I am far from calling myself an artist, but I think in all the years dealing with directors, actors and producing short films, I got a bit of an insight. Basically, it feels real to me. Of course the drama level is a bit up, otherwise there wouldn’t be a Hollywood movie, but the characters are well developed and the script has some nice “that could happen to us”-moments. And I’m not talking about the scene where they dance a waltz in the clouds…

I liked how despite it begin a colourful musical, it ends on a bittersweet note and makes you think about life and the choices you make. Even though many of my friends hated the ending, I think it’s one of the best bits of the film. And isn’t there anything worse that coming out of a film and going: “meh, it was ok.”? Well, the finale definitely prevents that. And I like myself a proper after-movie discussion!

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Lo Lo Love,
Angie

In Erice…

I guess by now you know that each summer for the past four yeas, Gonzo and me spent traveling trough Italy with this amazing film festival for young filmmakers called CinemadaMare. Now, CdM holds an event every winter called “Waiting for CdM” where they invite filmmakers who have previously participated and evaluated the past summer, hold workshops, plan new projects and enjoy being together. Usually only Italians are invited, as otherwise it would simply be too difficult to organise: but hey, I live in Italy now too!

So when I got the official invitation-text message, I cheekily replied with “I’m in, and Gonzo too!” – So they had no choice! 😉

This year the “Waiting” was held in Erice in Sicily, where last summer Gonzo and me shot one of our loveliest movies and where I have a lot of very nice memories.

Last Wednesday Gonzo flew in from London and on Friday, at four in the morning (!) we met up with the other choosen guys at Termini station, had cornetto stuffed with nutella to kickstart our energies and then we all took the plane to Trapani together. Everything was organized for us and it basically felt like one big school trip!

Erice is a beautiful little world heritage village at the top of a (or perhaps the only?) mountain in the very south of Sicily, overlooking the sea. Did I say that it’s beautiful? Because it definitely is!
It was absolutely lovely weather all weekend long, but also absolutely freezing! I have no idea how the Italians do it, but I think I was constantly cold, even in the youth hostel. I guess the heating in our room was just there for decoration…

Anyway, we had a good time! We ate so much! I think we ate more than we worked! Every day we had freshly baked cornetti for breakfast (with Viennese coffee!) and a three course lunch, one night the local gastronomy school cooked a seven course gala dinner for us and the local pizzeria offered us a special deal – you get me, right?

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It was nice to have a little pre-Christmas get-away with Gonzo and all our friends who are usually filed as “summer” in our brains.

It was funny thought to see the cobblestone streets, overlooking the sea, decorated in christmas lights and a massive futuristic Christmas tree on the main piazza – in a place that means “summer, gelato, cannoli and holiday” to me. Now I’m ready for a proper snowy, mountain-y and Austrian Christmas!

XX, Angie

Happy thoughts

As you may or may not know, Peter Pan is by far one of my favourite stories. And when I learned that this winter a Warner Bros. was to release “Pan”, an epic prequel to the classic tale, I was more than excited!
The film actually came out on the 18th of October, but for some mysterious reasons I didn’t come around to see it until this weekend. (I want to point out that afternoon showtimes and my super grow-up friends or rather the difficulty of finding someone equally childish magic-minded as me didn’t play in my favour.)

Yesterday Isa and me had a gorgeous afternoon tea with loads of clotted cream and gossip in our new favourite café in Camden. Stuffed with cucumber sandwiches and scones we were deciding what to do next and well, it was only 16:30 – the perfect time to fly to Neverland!

I want to say straight away that the weakest point of the film was probably the script. Although it takes a very lovely spin on the original book by J. M. Barrie, creating a prequel to a story that doesn’t need one, is a very daring task. To be fair, to a certain extent it did really well. I very much appreciated the settings in London during he Second World War for instance, or the presentation of Neveland how it was before Peter’s reign. But other aspects, such as the made-up story of Peter’s parents just didn’t come together very well.

Let aside the not-as-smooth-as-could-be storyline, the film was a feast for eyes and mind! Being set in Neverland basically excuses everything; neverbirds, glowing mermaids, Nirvanan-chanting lost boys, a crystal fairy hive and colours – lots of colours!
From the costumes of the pirates and the indians, the ships and mines, tents and war paint, to the Neverforest and the hidden fairy kingdom: the production design is simply amazing. Everything is so rich on details and unique ideas, one can tell that the makers tried really hard to avoid existing “Neverland clichés” and created a fresh perception of this magic space, where logic and physics as we know it don’t apply and everything is possible.

“Pan” is set in a very different Neverland from the one we know from previous screen adaptations. For a start, the “main pirate”, who steals orphans from London to make them mine fairy dust, is Blackbeard. James Hook on the other hand is introduced as a dashing, self-secure lad, trying to escape the mines and most of all as a friend of Peter – leaving a lovely white space for your imagination to go wild (hopefully not for a sequel of the prequel! *fingers crossed*)

Another little easter egg for those familiar with the book, are names and quotes, very carefully woven into the lines of the main characters as they go along, reflecting the original source of the subject on a different level.

Excuse my rambling, but all I want to say: I loved it! And even thought the story has its flaws, its a perfect magical, whimsical, colourful and fantastic movie!

I do believe in bedtime stories.
XX, Angie

 

Summer 2015 stop #1: Italy and CinemadaMare

As you know, my first stop of this year’s summer travels was in the south of Italy, where I joined Gonzo and the CinemadaMare film festival.

For those of you who don’t know (but I guess by now everyone knows, as I am rambling about it all the time – so better skip the next part) CinemadaMare is an international film festival that takes you to a different village/town in Italy every week. But the truly amazing thing about CdM are the people. I mean, imagine: put 100 young filmmakrs from all around the world together, in Italy, with sunshine, mare, inflatable mattresses, pasta and gelato, good vibes and a bunch of crazy ideas and just let them work. Puff! That’s it. For me that works like magic! And that’s also why we went there already for the 3rd time! 😉

Anyway, so the first stop for me was Maratea. I am in love with this place! I love the mountains descending straight into the sea, the water that gets deep after just a couple of steps, the many stairs and colourful houses, and of course the big Jesus statue overlooking the valley from the mountain top. We actually hiked p all the way one night, with the full moon guiding our way and slept at Jesus’ toes – only to wake up to an amazing view and the bitter realization that we had to walk down again all the way 😛
Being super happy to be back, I directed and edited what is probably best called a little advertisement for Cdm. I also wrote a brief scrip for Gonzo that week, which he shot and made into an incredible piece about “life itself and how eventually you have to let go and jump”. He found an abandoned waterpark, and actually I only started writing after I’ve been there and enjoyed the amazing location!

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The next stop was Guardia Perticara. I have a very special connection to that place, as we already stayed there the last two years and I’ve collected a bunch of very dear memories there. The village is tiny: there are two bars, one supermarket and not even a bancomat. But the people there are so friendly and helpful! Some even remembered our names from the previous years and asked us how we were doing in London!
That week I mainly worked on a script (which we couldn’t shoot eventually), did a lot of different make-ups for various productions (which I really enjoyed), helped to organize a last-minute-shoot (which we had to cancel because of a thunderstorm) and got “hired” as an editor for the first time in CdM (which was probably the best bit of the week!). I was working on the edit of found. by Dasha and Vera, two very talented girls from Russia. I did have a couple of editing lessons back at uni, but working on an actual project with all the pressure and the problems that come along was a really good experience which I enjoyed very much!

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We stayed a couple of days in Muro Lucano and then moved on to Nova Siri, which again had the lovely benefit of a long and sandy beach! *yay* We stayed there for about 10 days – enough time to get tanned, relax, empirically test to find out the best gelateria in town and shoot a, if I may say so, very lovely and engaging short about love.
Sadly this was also the week Gonzo was leaving, as he had to go back to London for work. Well, so I stayed in charge to collect as much sunshine as possible for the both or us! 🙂
I was woking on Due (this week’s film) with Vera again. But this time we were co-directing. For me it was a complete new experience as until now I was mainly working together with Gonzo. But I think we did a very good job. Vera actually works as a photographer in “real life” so we had absolute fantastic shots! – The hardest part of the edit was to decide which shots not to take, as the whole material was absolutely great.

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After spending so much time in the south of Italy, we made our way up to Vercelli. Well, I have to say it was a bit of a shock arriving in the north after several weeks traveling through Basilicata. The end of August was approaching and we could definitely feel that now. It just wasn’t a little southern seaside village anymore. However, we made the very best out of it. Vercelli, being an actual city, offered a lot of luxury, compare to the previous stops; such as a book shop, a cinema, launderettes and a big discounter in walking distance.
I initially planned to skip the stop, partially because of the very daunting descriptions I’ve heard and also because I wanted to go to Spain sooner. But as John Lennon once said very accurately: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – and so I stayed with CdM for one week longer. And I really don’t regret it! We had the most lovely week! We grew closer as a group, enjoyed the beautiful city of Vercelli, made a very pleasant day-trip to Arona, talked under the stars and over breakfast and eventually shot a most marvellous stop-motion video. Moonlight is a combination of the talents of Vera (photography), Alix (sound) and me (make-up and edit). I am very happy with the result, especially as I wanted to make a stop-motion all along, but was lacking the final idea until now.

That’s it. I left CinemadaMare on the 1st of September in order to go to Milano to see the Expo, but that’s an argument for another day!
I absolutely enjoyed taking part in CdM once again and I want to thank all the guys for that incredible experience! Grazie a tutti i cidiemmini 2015!!

(Sorry guys for that super long blog post. I totally messed up the less words-more images principle 😛 😉 )

XX, Angie