Midnight In Paris

"You always take the side of the help. That's why daddy says you're a communist." Inez

"You always take the side of the help. That's why daddy says you're a communist." Inez


Classic

Midnight In Paris (2011) is a magical romantic fantasy that sweeps you away nostalgically.

Directed by Woody Allen.

Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdam's Marion Cotillard among many other great actors.

Midnight in Paris is a great escapist story.  The acting by everyone is superb and they all seemed to relish their role. Woody inspires his actor to go beyond the written word in the way Roman Polanski does with his actors in Carnage (2011).

My favorite acting moment on this film; among many great acting moments, is from the scene below.
Owen Wilson reveals in one scene (at start of the clip below) that he is engaged. This of course is a surprise and heartbreak for Marion Cotillard, who fancies Owen. Watch Marion in the next scene, subtly receive the useful tidbit from Owen and ...slowly, ...quietly, ....methodically figure out a graceful, civil French way of dealing with Owen's love interest.  Marion, has taken her character to a real moment. It is no longer a scene written and directed by Woody Allen. Watch her moment by moment in the scene below. First she listens, then she let's Owens revelations about his American Fiance affect her instrument and finally, we see Marion think menacingly with a smile. We as audience members get to see and feel and more importantly connect with Marion's dilemma. We can see Marion plotting how to get the upper hand on Owen's American dim-witted fiance, played brilliantly by Rachel McAdam's. Rachel was, so good at being dim-witted and mean that I started to dislike her character as much as Owen eventually does. Marion is subtly dazzling. So much so, that Woody changed the scene and camera setup and had Marion face the camera. Wilson is at his comedic best throughout the film. Owen in the scene below to me looks as though he is quietly searching for the camera and wondering why the camera is not on his best work ever.

As an audience member I was swept away by Woody's delightful script, masterful directing, Darius Khondji seductive camera work and the entire casts spellbinding performances.

As an actor I was mesmerized by everyone performances. This is the first film I have seen where every single actors work is Oscar level. They freely let go and inhabit not only their characters, but the time and place that Woody puts them in. Enjoy!


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Trivia - Owen Wilson only met and spoke with director Woody Allen when filming began in France.


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The Kindness of Strangers

Strangers helping others
The Kindness of Strangers

A large part of my life in acting entails observation. I enjoy observing so much that I do it 24/7/365.
Today, on a bus through Sunny, warm Southern France I observed the kindness of a stranger on the bus I was on. I was at the back of a semi empty bus listening to music on my phone, when the bus stopped on its usual route and let out and took on new passengers. I saw a beautiful small colorful shawl float back into the bus and land on the interior of the floor of the bus. An eagle eyed young man saw who it came from, quickly called out to it's owner outside. His calls went unanswered, so he leaped out of his bus chair, swiftly grabbed the beautiful shawl that laid bare on the dirty bus floor and ran recklessly out of the bus and caught up to the startled, but thankful shawl owner. He then smiled all the way back on the bus and casually got back into his seat on the bus. Happy that he had been able to return the shawl to it's owner and get back to his bus seat. At the time I remember thinking, cool, now if this guy doesn't get back in soon he is going to lose his bus.


We were the only men on that early morning bus. All of a sudden all the women on the bus began to clap and cheer the seated young man. I joined in the clapping and cheering, also taken by his noble, selfless act.
The women turned and looked at me and I just smiled. Hey, I got caught up in the Southern French drama, hehehehe. The bus driver got up thinking the young man had sneaked on the bus and that we were calling out to get him off. Someone, then explained what he had done and the bus driver sat back down and took off. Everyone of those women, young and old had the twinkle in their eyes for that young man's actions. As we rode down the winding coastal roads several young French ladies turned and gave me my very own eye twinkle for helping to praise the young French man's chivalrous action. I guess the age of Knights still exists along the blue Cote D'Azur. A great way to start an adventurous day. Enjoy!




A Streetcar Named Desire

"Stella! Hey, Stella!" Stanley

"Stella! Hey, Stella!" Stanley

Masterpiece

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) had the impact of a nuclear explosion that forever changed acting.

Directed by Elia Kazan from a Tennessee Williams play.

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh and Kim Hunter among others.



There was before Brando and after Brando in acting. Just as there was before Jean-Luc Godard's, Breathless and after Breathless in film making. Marlon Brando with one desperate scream revolutionized acting. 

The film won acting Oscars for Karl Malden(Best Support Actor), Vivien Leigh(Best Lead Actress) and Kim Hunter(Best Supporting Actress). Marlon was only nominated for Best Actor. All the main actors in this film make this film memorable. 

The amount of work required of an actor to get to the point that Brando reached in his screams for Stella in scene below is beyond human comprehension. Not only do you need to research the character, time, place, etc... You need to open the deepest parts of your soul and be willing to let the audience see all you and your characters warts, fears, dreams, desires, heartbreaks, failures, etc... 

Think you can do it? Try this little exercise. Go to those you love most and tell them completely naked in a public place, out loud the most intimate, private things about you, that you never want anyone to know about you. Welcome to acting folks. Actors use their own bodies, mind and soul to create their art. 

On film, you have the added horror of repeating it several times for different camera angles and wide angle and close up shots with a full crew. On stage, if something goes wrong (scene partner forgets lines leading up to your Stella moment, stage lights go dark, cat walks on stage, audience member sneezes, etc... you need to incorporate it into your Stella moment). Most film actors won't go near a stage, while theater actors dread having no audience to work off of on film. Few actors can do both film and theater successfully.

In scene below, listen to Brando scream, Stella in background. Stella is compelled to come to Brando's aid. Heck, as an audience member I find myself wanting to come and save Brando myself. Ever hear a child scream? It's every bit as blood curling as Brando's, Stella! Children scream from absolute terror, same as Brando screams in absolute terror for Stella to come to him. It's an All or Nothing scream, that children do instinctively out of fear of loneliness. Brando, at bottom of stairs after Stella comes out is a physical and mental mess. Love ain't easy. when we men are physically and mentally spent for love it's when women love us most. A woman wants it All from her lover. They want their men to need them more than life itself. Until we can go where Brando or children go our women won't come down those stairs. 


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Trivia - The director William Wyler had wanted to develop the play for Betty Davis to play Blanche.



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