Archive for Jane Fonda

The EIFF towers

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by dcairns

A scattering of things seen at the 66th Edinburgh International Film festival –

Had the pleasure of meeting Nathan Silver (above left), whose EXIT ELENA was one of the films I spotted as a submission and recommended to the festival director, Chris Fujiwara. My original notes said something about it being an odd film where one couldn’t work out just WHY it was so damned compelling. It was also the first really good film I saw. For the catalogue, I wrote –

“Elena, a newly qualified live-in nurse, takes up residence with the affluent Akermans, to care for Mrs Akerman’s elderly mother. In contrast with the garrulous middle-aged couple, Elena is quiet and reserved, and it’s hard to know what she’s thinking. This quality somehow imbues Nathan Silver’s latest film with a simmering dramatic tension, where the low-key, docu-style events unfolding seem like they might at any moment erupt into tragedy or melodrama.”

The movie screens Sunday and Monday.

AND IF WE ALL LIVED TOGETHER? is a typically French comedy-drama about a group of retirees, long-term friends, who all move in together. The cast includes Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin, which adds intrigue — it’s probably the best opportunity la Fonda has had in some time, and she seizes it. I don’t think the movie extends the reach of cinema or anything like that, but its heart is in the right place and the cast are all great. Screening Sunday and Tuesday.

EITHER WAY is a droll Icelandic comedy about two men painting lines on an endless road amid spectacular yet desolate landscapes. Much more situation comedy than Waiting for Godot, but funny, humane, and endearing. Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Siguròsson adds greatly to the humour and impact with his steely framing. I think you’ve missed it but maybe it’ll come back.

BRAKE plays Friday and Saturday. It’s Stephen Dorff stuck in the trunk of a car, and as we all know that spells EXCITEMENT. Genuinely tense and inventive terrorism-paranoia thriller, it’s another one I recommended. You’ll become very familiar with the edge of your seat.

DEMAIN? showed today but is on again Saturday 30th. Director Christine Laurent has often worked as scriptwriter with Jacques Rivette. She’s a brilliant director in her own right, imaginative, skilled and sensitive. I wrote in the programme, “

All the performances are convincing and effecting, and integrated into fully realized filmic world with a wonderfully bright, summery sparkle: if Edinburgh’s weather is bad, you can disappear into this movie and get the summer that reality is failing to provide; conversely, even if the sun should shine outside, the movie is so radiant you won’t feel you’re missing anything.”

The weather has mainly been APPALLING.

Pin-up of the Day: Barbarella Psychedella

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by dcairns

BARBARELLA was, as I recall, the only film my mum refused to let me watch as a kid. I mean, there were lots of films which were on too late, like the second half of the monster movie double bills, which meant that I saw DRACULA at age ten but didn’t see FRANKENSTEIN until years later. But BARBARELLA was banned purely on grounds of content, or imagined content, since I don’t think anybody in my family had seen it.

A while later, the prospect of my watching DRACULA AD 1972 provoked an earnest discussion, with my Dad agreeing to sit up and watch the film with me and my brother to make sure there was nothing too unsuitable. There wasn’t — a wrist-slitting black mass, lots of vampirism, a stake through the heart — but no nipples. So that’s OK.

It seems kind of foolish of Roger Vadim to begin the movie with a striptease which is more fleetingly revealing than anything else in the film, starting it on an erotic high that it can’t quite live up to. Still, it’s an iconic, much-swiped moment, and it’s eventually followed by THIS:

The Excessive Machine, which should really have been called the Orgasmatron, only nobody thought of it. (Woody Allen did, later, in SLEEPER.) Here is my own Orgasmatron:

It’s for scalp massage, which is either a disappointment or a relief depending on how weird you are.

Jane Fonda’s erotic ordeal is a perversly innocent bit of sadism in a film which flirts with the sick (Barb getting nibbled by clockwork dolls in front of an audience of feral children sounds worse than it plays) but doesn’t seem to cross any lines of taste, somehow. Apart from casting Marcel Marceau in a role that requires him to do nothing but talk. That really shows up Vadim’s particular brand of anti-talent.

What holds the fragmented, inept shambles together is the design and casting — Vadim may have not known what to do with the talents on display, but he attracted enough of them so that some entertainment almost inevitably results. And Fonda’s Alice-in-Wonderland line readings — “A lot of dramatic situations begin with screaming!” — are crucial to preserving the air of innocence that stops the thing getting mired in pervy Euro-misogyny. What Robert “will this do?” Rodriguez’s proposed version would be like is anybody’s guess, although I predict lacklustre CGI banality might form approximately 99.9% of the experience, but it seems at least conceivable that Rose McGowan could contribute some Fonda-esque charm. She’s got something, that girl.

Vadim story: Arianne Ulmer-Cipes, daughter of the great Edgar Ulmer, worked as a voice artist in Europe: she was the Italian voice of Elke Sommer, which sounds like a splendid job to have. She once auditioned for Vadim, and ofound him sat upon a magnificent THRONE, weaing a short bathrobe, and splaying, physically. “I just ignored it. I knew it was some kind of test — he wanted to see if I’d be shocked. I mean, he wasn’t fiddling with himself or anything.”

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