PR, Films and Fantasies

Posts Tagged ‘film

Last year I wrote a paper for one of my university modules on the Creative Industries in strict regimes, focusing on Communist Romania. It’s definitely not the best piece of writing, not necessarily a mind-blowing piece and for most Romanians things will probably sound very familiar. However, here, in the UK, it was received extremely well (and yes, I got a nice mark for it) as many of my tutors and colleagues found it quite informative and interesting. Also, the introductory part as well as my literature review could prove quite useful for anyone wanting to define creativity, understand what limits it or encourages it, as well as find out what are ‘the creative industries’ and why they should be praised.

Hope you enjoy reading it: Creative Industries in Communist Romania

P.S. I am more than happy to comment on anything on the topic! Let me know what you think!

P.P.S The poster is form the Communism Museum in Prague

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After the amazing Life in a Day, Britain is having it’s own 24h coverage:

It would be so amazing if more countries would join and make their own versions leading to some brilliant tourism spots. What can be more “authentic” than life in a place as lived by its people? No branding agencies, no fancy commercials, just daily habits and adventures.

“Film anything, but make it personal!”

I’ll definitely join in on the 12th of November for Britain…

At the christening of a long-wished-for princess, fairies invited as godmothers offer gifts: beauty, wit, and musical talent. However, as her gift, a wicked fairy who was overlooked, places the princess under an enchantment, saying that, on reaching adulthood, she will prick her finger on the spindle of the Spinning Wheel of Death and die. However, one last fairy has yet to give her gift. She partially reverses the wicked fairy’s curse, proclaiming that the princess will instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years.

The king forbade spinning on distaff or spindle, or the possession of one, upon pain of death, throughout the kingdom, but all in vain. When the princess was fifteen or sixteen she chanced to come upon an old woman, who was really the wicked fairy in disguise, in a tower of the castle, who was spinning. The princess asked to try the unfamiliar task and the inevitable happened. The wicked fairy’s curse was fulfilled. The good fairy returned and put everyone in the castle to sleep. A forest of briars sprang up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world: no one could try to penetrate it without facing certain death in the thorns.

After a hundred years had passed, a prince who had heard the story of the enchantment braved the wood, which parted at his approach, and entered the castle. He trembled upon seeing the princess’s beauty and fell on his knees before her. He kissed her, then she woke up, then everyone in the castle woke to continue where they had left off, and they all lived happily ever after.

A beautiful fairytale that inspired 2 films which are to be released soon:

The French version:

or the Australian version…

 

Summer holidays are usually the time I manage to catch up with my huge fantasy reading list, one that I permanently, passionately though quite hopelessly update during the year on Goodreads. Due to my addiction to stories and storytelling, I spend every available minute in books while travelling or before bed, but nothing compares to the long hours away from reality on a hot (or not) summer day. So… after finishing my degree this year and locking away all media related readings, I went to the closest Waterstones and spent a fortune on pretty volumes (no, I don’t do Kindle!). Obviously things didn’t go as planned and I ended up having a very, very busy summer, but still, here are two titles which I simply couldn’t put down until I reached their very last word.

First of all, if you didn’t hear about The Hunger Games then it’s high time you did as people say they’re the new Harry Potter/Twilight out there. I was first introduced to the title by a fellow actress while playing the role of the sacrificed Athenians in We Are the Minotaur. She’s American, in her 30s and they way she described it was: “it’s the most intense, sick story of kill or be killed in a post-apocalyptic society,  just that with teenagers… and it’s better than JK Rowling”. As an ex-reality media student and since we were playing a role similar to the one of the main character of The Hunger Games, this obviously got my attention:

Suzanne Collins, the author, says that the idea for The Hunger Games came to her one day when she was channel-surfing, and the lines between a reality show competition and war coverage “began to blur in this very unsettling way.” She also cites the Greek myth of Theseus, in which the city of Athens was forced to send young men and women to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, as inspiration for the nation of Panem; she explains, “Crete was sending a very clear message: ‘Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.”

Bought it and couldn’t put it down… I’m not saying this is some sort of exquisite novel with complicated language and billions of hidden symbols and metaphors, but it’s definitely a unique story. Very easy to read, fast paced and also emotional overall, once read and digested it can lead to different discussions on today’s society and where we’re heading. If you’re not a keen reader, then maybe you’ll be tempted by the film due to be release in April 2012 and staring A-listers such as Jennifer Lawrence (aka nominated for an Oscar last year – Winter’s Bone) or Woody Harrelson (which I will see in person next Sunday at the London Film Festival!!!!).

Another absolutely brilliant title is The Night Circus:

A strange beast, creakily plotted but boasting a fabulously intricate mise en scène. At its centre is the appropriately named Le Cirque de Rêves, a dreamlike travelling circus in the latter part of a baggily imagined 19th century. It arrives without warning in fields around the world, opening its gates between the hours of dusk and dawn. Once inside this monochromatic world, audiences might watch a tattooed contortionist fold herself into a tiny glass box, feast on chocolate mice and caramel popcorn, or wander through a sequence of tents that includes an ice garden, a desert and a maze constructed from towering clouds. (more in the Guardian)

I picked it from a pile in the bookshop because it had the word “circus” in the title. Personally I am beyond fascinated with anything that goes deep inside this misterious world and The Night Circus surely does not disappoint! The best thing about this story is the amazing images it creates in one’s imagination. If you’re a visualizer, like myself, then you will simply be blown away by this fantastic scenery created by Erin Morgenstern (a name to watch out for as this is just the debut novel!!!). Also, I must admit that the book cover is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in a few years and I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to know more of what’s inside it.

What I don’t get is why people keep comparing it (as well) with Harry Potter… nowadays any book mentioning magic is automatically inspired by Hogwarts? No! It has nothing to do with it. In my opinion JK’s books were focus so much more on the plot and characters and through them was the fantasy world created, while in The Night Circus it is the senses that are inundated with details, allowing the reader to sink deeper and deeper into the imagination.

I found the link to this documentary last night on the FB page of my MA and I was really amazed. It’s aim is to:

Lift the lid on the world of cinema censorship, offering unique access to the files of the British Board of Film Classification. Featuring explicit and detailed exchanges between the censor and film-makers, ‘Dear Censor’ casts a wry eye over some of the most infamous cases in the history of the board.

From the now seemingly innocuous Rebel Without a Cause, the first ‘naturist’ films and the infamous works of Ken Russell, and up to Rambo III, this frank and surprisingly warm documentary demonstrates how a body created by the industry to safeguard standards and reflect shifts in public opinion has also worked unexpectedly closely with the film-makers themselves to ensure that their work was able reach an audience. (BBC)

What really got to me was not the correspondence between filmmaker and censor and the battle of the first to keep his film in one piece, to send the desired message, but the extreme shots in all the cut scenes. For exemple skip to minute 27 and watch little pieces of The Devils… I wonder  what the reaction of the viewer would’ve been if the film was left intact and allowed in public cinemas (especially in 1971!!!).

Do censors have the right to change the content of art in order to make it more “moral”? Can art be immoral? Or is it just a matter of knowledge and training of the viewer?

To my shame, I only found out about The Departure Lounge yesterday, although I’ve been in Birmingham for almost two years now. Basically, it is a film event that runs at the MAC, in Birmingham, every two months, and it presents productions by British filmmakers.

With many UK films not able to secure distribution, let alone a screening in a cinema, the Departure Lounge fills that very real need for both film maker and audience – providing a showing on the big screen, and giving the audience the opportunity to fire questions at the director, writer and/or producer.

So, tonight I went to the lovely MAC cinema for the first time and watched EDGE, Carol Morley’s debut feature film… To be honest, I really didn’t have a lot of time to research either the production or the cast and crew, but in the end I kind of wanted to be surprised… and I was!

Strange encounters at the Cliff Edge Hotel- where death is never far away. (via Edge Facebook Page)

I expected a typical dark, tragic, sad story (due to the title and the still on the MAC website), but the film was actually incredibly optimistic and most of all full of life. You’d probably think I’ve gone a bit mad if you’d see the first scenes and feel the suicidal and macabre atmosphere, but from the first minute you realise there has to be a lot more than this. In terms of story, here is a brief, teasing synopsis from their website:

Washed-up pop star (PAUL HILTON) arrives at the Cliff Edge Hotel looking for inspiration and meets a guilt-ridden woman (MAXINE PEAKE), who is desperate to recover her past. An older woman (MARJORIE YATES) checks into a room with dark intent, but encounters a chambermaid (ANIA WENDZIKOWSKA) who refuses to leave her alone. A blind date set up on the Internet between two teenagers (JOE DEMPSIE, NICHOLA BURLEY) fails to turn out like either of them expected. Over the course of two days and one night the hotel guests, frozen into the snowy landscape, begin to thaw – and to find a purpose that connects them all.

The plot, however, is not the main character here, and to be honest I couldn’t possibly say what was more captivating: story, location, cinematography, performance (AMAZING!) or even the un-welcomed guest – the snow who became part of the cast from the first second (director and producer confessed that it was definitely not in the script or even in their wildest dreams, as it hadn’t snowed there in 40 years!). The entire film is based around and in a hotel on the edge of beautiful and frightening limescale cliffs (still don’t know where exactly they are) and all the outdoor shots are breathtaking! The most intriguing thing is that although the water and the 20m (or more?) high and steep shore can look terrifying in the winter light, I never felt the fear due to the beautifully crafted relationship between the characters.

Anyway, the last thing I’m telling you is that both the colourful Carol Morley who directed the film and the professional Cairo Cannon who was the producer, were absolutely charming tonight and answered our questions with so much enthusiasm! I am really happy I managed to get to the event as not only I enjoyed a wonderful production, but learned so much from the two women who did a wonderful job with such a micro-budget! It’s worth mentioning that it was on the official list of the BFI last year!

Edge will be screening around the UK soon… check the website to get your tickets!

Last night I went to the amazing opening event of Flatpack 2011. In case you never heard of it, the best way to describe it is in The Guardian’s words:

“Mixing film, music and performance, this eclectic festival elicits intriguing collaborations from those working at the fringes.” – Guardian Guide

If you find yourself in Birmingham over the next 4 days, do make some time to check some of the amazing features on this year’s list. From screenings to workshops and all kinds of visual arts, you will definitely enjoy the creativity behind the curating of this great event. And if you want to try something completely out of the box, just jump on this:

The Vintage Mobile Cinema 🙂

More details about the program, events and any other information on the website: http://www.flatpackfestival.org/home/ or follow them on Twitter @flatpack.

 


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