NEWS: AUGUST 2020

8.06.20:

As reported last month, OUT STEALING HORSES (Ut og stjaele hester), is set to be released in American theaters and VOD tomorrow. The film will be available for streaming at the Loft Cinema web site. Once you purchase an "e-ticket", you will be sent a link and password to view the film. The Loft Cinema will be splitting the revenue with the film's distributor 50/50. You can watch the movie for 72 hours after you receive a link via email and it can be viewed on your mobile phone, computer and other streaming devices.

Stellan remarked that the film is very close to Per Petterson's novel in tone. He saw a couple of scripts before his friend Moland took it on and was not impressed. He says, "If you try to make a film out of a book and concentrate on what actually happens in the book, then you’re lost when it’s something as poetic as this. You have to have something that captures the atmosphere, the poetry, the nature, and Hans Petter’s script did that. I’d been waiting for him to do a project like this. The four films we’ve done before have been totally different from this one, and from each other, but none have had the possibility for this much poetry. Hans Petter looks tough, he looks like Clint Eastwood, but he’s a real softie. He’s a poet inside... He also grew up in those forests, working. He knows how it smells and how it feels."

And why does director Hans Petter Moland continue his collaboration with Stellan? Here he describes his friend - "He carries a soulfulness that he doesn’t flaunt. He can play a reserved character and remain very interesting. That’s his gift as a human being and as an actor. He doesn’t rely on dialogue. Then, when we work, we enjoy making ourselves as brave as we can to make the movie as good as possible. He’s a generous and fine human being, wonderful with his colleagues and crew. It makes the working part easier. Stellan hasn’t much in common with his character Trond, as he’s a city slicker and the only times he gets close to nature is perhaps when he works with me! But he’s keenly interested in portraying people who are different than himself and does that with great skills."

In the film, Stellan's character Trond reads Dickens and in an interview with Salon magazine, he was asked about his reading habits. He answered, "I read Dickens when I was a kid, but I read a lot. I read more than I watch movies. There's so much to catch up with I don't think I'll read everything I want to before I die. I've read a lot of nonfiction during the coronavirus quarantine while isolated. I read Victor Klemperer's 'I Will Bear Witness'. It's a diary that is not written in hindsight. As a Jew in Germany, he does not know from one day to the next what will happen — but we do. Sitting around, locked up, it's good to read something that does not make you feel sorry for yourself."

Many of Stellan's characters, especially in Norwegian dramas, feature men who are troubled and often isolated. He tells Salon that he himself does not brood nor does he dwell in the past. He explains, "I'm pretty cheerful. I'm interested in people in general and whatever problems they have or don't have. If you're not doing a popcorn movie with shallow characters, then you want to find something that the characters are very often not deliberately expressing and tell that in the way you move. It makes the audience fill in the blanks."

Our Swede also discusses father/son relationships - "I had a fantastic father, who lived to 77, but he was incredibly flawed. He was absurd in many ways, but he always treated me like an equal, so I never had to tear him down from a pedestal or have the disappointment in puberty when you realize your dad is just a man. He never hid his weaknesses, so I could love him for who he was all his life. I have seven sons, and I have a different relationship with each one. I tried to repeat my father's way of showing weakness in front of them and not being a know-it-all or interfere too much in their lives, and make them trust me as a friend."

I had come across this painting by Anthony Martin before but never saw the original photo so I present both of them here.

08.01.20:

I hope by now many of you have seen THE PAINTED BIRD. It's available via streaming on Amazon. During its screenings at festivals in Venice and Toronto last year, spectators who could not tolerate some of the cruel scenes went scrambling for the exits. I have to admit it is a very difficult film to watch, but such a worthy one. The almost three-hour black and white film is a parable about the dehumanizing horror of war. The little boy, played by Petr Kotlár, hardly has any dialogue but his anguish is continually reflected in his face with his eyes mirroring his troubled soul. What a performance he gives!

Stellan commented on the casting of Petr Kotlár - I give credit to Vaclav for finding him. Originally he was going to use his older brother but he got too old. I often work with amateurs and they’re often better than professionals because they can’t help being true. In a scene with an amateur you’re exposed immediately with your tricks. That’s why I believe you have to be a really talented amateur to be a really good actor — and that is always my aim."

The scene with German actor Udo Kier and his cats totally freaked me out.  And I warn you that there's some earthy sex scenes. However, I deeply appreciated the film and I understand why Stellan wanted to participate in this production. The acting was flawless and the stark cinematography was haunting.

Though some people walked out at the Venice Film Festival, Stellan responded with, "I would say about 15 people walked out. Most of them came back when they had peed. It was an eight-to-ten-minute standing ovation afterwards, so I wouldn’t say it was a mixed reception. It was a fantastic reception and the reviews were great... Regarding the reaction to violence, we all have different capabilities for distancing ourselves to the power of cinematic story. I have a brother who cannot see any films where you feel sorry for someone – for anybody – which means that 95% of all the films in the world he cannot see because he gets so emotionally upset. I understand that he should walk out of the cinema and he should actually not see this film because you get upset and you do feel sorry for people."

In another interview Stellan explained, "I think you should be entitled to walk out, as you should be entitled to turn your head away if you see a street fight. But to say that you shouldn't show violence as something unpleasant is dangerous. We are used to seeing so much violence and it is always sanitized, it is always for our entertainment. It is made to tickle us and excite us. But violence, real violence, is horrible. And if you don't get upset by seeing real violence, then I think we are losing something. You should be upset by the violence in the film."

Czech writer/director Václav Marhoul explains his film - "For me, it wasn’t about the violence and the brutality. For me, it was about the three most important things in our lives: love, good, and hope.  This story is based on their absence. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example because we only realize how important it is to be healthy when we get sick. 'The Painted Bird' is about the absence of love, good, and hope because we only realize how important these things are when we are missing them. That was the key for me."

Alexander's film, "Godzilla vs. Kong" had originally been scheduled to premiere on November 20th this year. However, it has been postponed once again owing to the coronavirus so fans will have to wait until May 2021. Both Alex and Bill have been cast in "The Northman", the Viking drama set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. Again, the pandemic has forced delays in production in Northern Ireland but construction of the wooden village has now resumed. Beautiful scenery!

I wonder how much patience I would have sitting in a make-up chair for hours to take on a role such as Bill "Bootstrap" Turner.