L’académie! I finally had a moment to write concerning Oscar picks this year- theirs and mine- and yet all I wanted to do was speak of films from years past. Still, I pushed through having to only compose a few more thoughts about Best Picture this ’n’ that, when I abruptly decided not to post at all. I just didn’t feel it to be the enjoyable endeavor it once was. Perhaps next year will hold more of that “Je ne sais quoi.” Till then, I’ve chosen a few fragments for the telling amongst some of the very visual details enjoyed at our Oscar night shindig. Cinematic celebration!
THE BEST PICTURE
12 Years a Slave, in every way. Most notably, its unique editing featuring sound bleeding over from one scene to the next. Disturbing sounds of anguish overlaying images of peaceful serenity only serve to highlight the barbaric nature of slavery all the more. And Lupita, Lupita, Lupita. That’s really all to be said.
Gravity– to trust what I witnessed on screen, to find it felt so natural and believable was a total visual treat. Bullock managed to provide a great bolster that though life may pass by nothing like we’d dreamed or imagined, we’re here for the briefest blip of time, so HANG ON. Finish the ride. Hope, even when it hurts.
My heart cried Chiwetel while my eyes glanced to Leo. It’s as though he channeled in portions of Jack Dawson and Gilbert Grape, while wrangling in a bit of Howard Hughes to embody that Jordan Belfort fella in The Wolf of Wall Street. The fact that Leo slithered Grinch-like across a lobby floor and down a set of stairs under heavy medication in an attempt to reach his vehicle and beyond is what nearly sealed the deal for me.
Never ceases to amaze me, darn woman. There’s a point in August: Osage County– a misery of a film- where her character relays a troubling memory from childhood. She’s sat upon a bench, enjoying a cigarette and with each sway of the wrist, drag of the cigarette, each thoughtful pause in reflection, she’s able to offer a glimpse into the hell she knew that’s made her the mean hard woman of today. She’s transformative, and once again, no longer Meryl, but fully the character.
IT’S DOCUMENTARY, MY DEAR
The Act of Killing, hoo, boy. And you can quote me on that. Its bizarre premise in allowing war criminals to tell their past atrocities by reenacting them through their choice of film genre left me ready to bellow exploitation. And then the film reaches the end, humanity hits with no holds barred, leaving it to seemingly justify the means. Unless of course, the audience has just become the latest victim through the crafty manipulation of a seasoned war criminal playing a scene in true Hollywood style. One hopes not.
A PAIR OF SHORTS
I’ve never managed to catch the documentary shorts in the theatre so it was a happy first. I wasn’t disappointed, having cried in four out of the five selections. I could’ve written of each film presented and easily doubled the size of the original post. Rather, I’ll state my admiration for The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life. At 110, Alice Herz-Sommer was the oldest Holocaust survivor until she passed away a week to the day before the Oscars this year. She knew of passion’s hold on one’s heart (!), of the importance to smile and laugh even in the face of dire circumstances, that to hate is to hurt oneself more so than the object of hate (I needed this reminder), and that optimism reigns supreme. Her music wafting through the walls and halls must be missed dearly.
Karama Has No Walls spoke to me tremendously. University students who began a peaceful demonstration in what is now known as “Change Square” were attacked by government forces in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a back in 2011. We’re privy to the event itself, as much of the footage is taken by two of the demonstrators. The film reminds us that for each life lost, injured or maimed, there’s a family that loves that person desperately. It hurts each of those members just as much as it would hurt any other were such a thing to occur to them. Placing a relatable face on those that may become objectified by the media and by their physical distance from us is a necessity.
Bad Grandpa, you should’ve had Makeup and Hairstyling in the bag, 4 out of 5 vending machines agree. Sorry, Tonto. ♦