Wow, I have really let things slide with this blog. It's been a busy summer with a sad lack of shooting so far, but we are looking to remedy that shortly. My sister got married in Cuba and that week long affair actually took up closer to three weeks of my time between the pre-planning, the trip, and then the follow up gatherings and reception back in Canada. Fairly typical I suppose.
On the plus side, while I haven't been filming nearly enough, I have managed to catch up on a few films that I have been itching to see for altogether too long. I will keep the recaps as spoiler free as possible, but know that these are all well worth seeing.
Sin Nombre was not what I was expecting, but in defying the faded perception of what I had assumed it was about, I was provided with a riveting and surprising story about love, redemption, regret, and the quest for both social and personal betterment. It was a poignant film with nuanced performances by the two central characters El Casper (Edgar Flores) and Sayra (Paulina Gaítan) two lost souls looking to escape the harsher realities of their lives. With Mexican dialogue, it carried some of the coming of age elements so ably communicated in Y Tu Mama Tambien, but mixed with some of the darker elements of Amores Perros or City of God. It was definitely worth the wait.
The English film Boy A dealt with many of the same themes in the story of Jack (Andrew Garfield – the new Spiderman), a rehabilitated ex-con who has recently been paroled back into society under the guidance of his parole officer Terry (the always dependable Peter Mullan). The two have a strong bond and Terry works hard to help Jack reintegrate into society. Even with a new flat, a new identity, a new job, new friends and a new girlfriend, Jack finds it difficult adjusting to his new life and coming to terms with the crime he committed as a young boy. The crime itself is ably told through a series of fractured flashbacks to those troubled days of his youth. Boy A had a deliberate pace and small scale, but it was another great example of a small story that carried big impact.
Finally, last night I ventured out to the theatre with Jaymee (for the first time since Iron Man 2 I think) and saw Inception. By now I am sure you have heard all about how incredible it was, how it reinvented the way stories could be told in mainstream cinema and perfectly blended strong performances with state-of-the-art visual effects that were organic to the story rather than distracting. It really is an incredible piece of art and I am still pondering the many different layers of the story, something that often happens to me following a Christopher Nolan film. You really should see it if you haven't already, and if you have, then you probably already know how much you want to see it again. I have to give a lot of credit to Leo, who really anchored the story while being surrounded by the often "cooler" characters portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy. Each piece of the immaculate puzzle really did add up to a nearly faultless cinematic experience.
The thing about all three of these movies is that they really inspired me to want to start producing again. Boy A showed how good the simple stories we often shoot can be with the right attention to detail, and the right performers. Sin Nombre reminded how integral the setting can be to a story and really made me wish that I had been able to pull off a small production in Cuba instead of being sick the whole time. And Inception... Well Inception reminded me that the devil is in the details and opened my eyes to the wonders of what I could be writing, if I wasn't always focussed on the bottom line, which in our case is (and always has been), no-budget film making.
Check these movies out as soon as you can. You won't regret it. I have a few more on my list of need-to-watch-soons, all I need is the time to squeeze them in. Hopefully I will be back very soon with my views on Moon, Che, and Hunger. Either way, thanks for checking in!