The Dardenne brothers’ beautiful new film, winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2011. Trailer here. Some insights into their filmmaking process—
What we keep from documentaries is that our camera doesn’t dominate everything. What we film resists the camera. The camera has to seek its place. We direct so that the camera isn’t at the right spot, it can’t see clearly, it has to move all the time, as though there was a wall it needs to circumvent.
- Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Filmmaker Magazine
We imagined a geographical triangle for this film: the city, the forest and the gas station. The forest is a place of dangerous attractions for Cyril, the place where he can learn how to become a crook. The city embodies the past with his father, and the present with Samantha. The gas station is a place of transition, where the plot takes numerous new turns.
- Luc Dardenne, Official Site
In the beginning, we need to have places that actually exist, but it’s true that this time we altered them a bit more. Maybe this film is less realist in that respect. The father’s restaurant is a kind of safe that the kid cannot get inside. Hence the wall. We make physical cinema: we love having our characters go through doors or over walls, we love doing fight and chase scenes. – Luc
We built the wall and the alley according to the needs of the mise en scène. The father is a secret we’re concealing, and we wanted to have an obstacle that needed to be overcome in order to reach him. – Jean-Pierre
I came across an amazing collection of paintings celebrating the Spring Equinox, with so many beautiful images. This John Singer Sargent was one of my favorites, though there are many stunning works featured. Check out the full gallery on Tor.com.
Definitely worth seeing, with so much to enjoy in Andrew Stanton’s new film. It evokes classic sci-fi cinema like few movies today, and embraces adventure and fun without cynicism. I have a feeling it will leave the schadenfreude and premature conclusions behind, and could become an evergreen sci-fi favorite.
I found an old quote from an AV Club interview with Stanton, and I think it’s particularly illuminating—
“Movies made by a singular vision. Made by a filmmaker who knew what he wanted. That’s why I go to the movies—I go to see what those filmmakers want to make. I don’t go to see what a studio wants.”
He clearly believes in staying true to a personal vision, and in John Carter’s case, his vision might have surprised audiences who are so accustomed to the typical, modern approach to action/adventure films.
Lastly, the Art of VFX has some nice breakdowns on Double Negative and MPC’s work, and io9 has a few great pieces of concept art.
“He’s like an underwater diver who’s waiting for the sea turtle to go by, and then he follows till he’s not even near the boat any more,” Pitt says of Malick’s directing technique. “It was a really freeform, butterfly-net kind of way of catching moments – counterintuitive to the way we do things in Hollywood.” Despite having written a hefty script, they didn’t really stick to it. Instead, Malick created a few blocks of 1950s neighbourhood and practically set his actors loose on it.
“Explains Pitt: “On a normal set it’s very loud, generators going, over 100 crew members. There was none of that on this. There’s one guy with a camera on his back, no lights, and we’re free to roam wherever we want to roam.” Each day would start with Malick presenting the actors with a few pages of notes he’d written, often Kerouac-style, stream-of-consciousness musings (the child actors were barely told anything), then they would go and see where it took them. “He doesn’t want to do what he calls ‘hammer and tonging’ a scene as its written,” says Pitt. “He doesn’t want to do more than two takes. And on the second one, he’d often throw in a dog or send in one of the kids, or just do something surprising to change the tenor of a scene. Then he’d laugh and laugh.”
- the Guardian interviews Brad Pitt. Also see this New York Times article.
Rossellini reinforced a trait already evident in Renoir: the desire to stay as close to life as possible in a fiction film. Rossellini even said that you shouldn’t write scripts—only swine write scripts—that the conflict in a film should simply emerge from the facts. A character from a given place at a given time is confronted by another character from a very different place: and voilá, there exists a natural conflict between them and you start from that. There’s no need to invent anything.
I’m very influenced by men like Rossellini—and Renoir—who managed to free themselves of any complex about the cinema, for whom the character, story, or theme is more important than anything else.
- Francois Truffaut on directorial style, in his last interview.
What a beautiful film, with sincere emotion and so much humour and cleverness. The highlight for me was the amazing character work, both in the animation and the incredibly appealing designs.
I animate the character in hand drawn. But the dream was someday to do computer animated characters that had all of the same organic feel as hand drawn. That is the story of this film… it actually does translate up on the screen as something unique and different. — Glen Keane
I was lucky enough to see Glen Keane speak earlier this year at Siggraph. He discussed finding inspiration for Rapunzel in his daughter, and he gave a demonstration of a rough walk cycle to gasps and applause from the audience. His sense of character, appeal and sheer genius are all over this film.
Check out some of his amazing sketches on this Academy of Art blog, and this interview with directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Also, animation supervisor Clay Kaytis is Tweeting answers to people’s questions about the film.
Kenneth Turan sums up the film’s appeal nicely in his review for NPR—
Animated movies overflowing with smug, hipster dialogue have become a real glut on the market, so it’s a holiday treat to find one with the confidence to wear its heart on its sleeve. — Kenneth Turan