Monday, July 26, 2010

Orson Welles and the Chelsea

Good friend Karen and I took advantage of a free double pass to see Me and Orson Welles yesterday - a sneak preview before it opens on Thursday.

Directed by Richard Linklater (Waking Life, School of Rock) Me and Orson Welles is one of those great period pieces where the subject matter is rich for mining post-screening.  Yes, I want to borrow books from the library and find out more about Orson Welles.  Yes, I want to borrow all the Richard Linklater films I haven't seen yet.  Yes, I want to buy the soundtrack.  Yes, I want to find out more about the cast and crew.

It stars Claire Danes (Romeo and Juliet) and Zac Efron (High School Musical, 17 Again, Hairspray).  Christian Mackay plays the part of Orson and is described as a newcomer.  Brisbanites will be interested to learn that he studied at the Queensland Conservatorium, touring Europe and Australia as a successful and acclaimed concert pianist.

For an old luvvie like me, this film captures the magic of putting on a production.  The magic of youthful ambition and all the other gorgeous sub-plots that go with being young - not least of which is falling in love!  Orson and his company are putting on a ground-breaking production of Julius Caesar.  Orson won't be pinned down on an opening date which as you can imagine was a source of great aggravation to his partner, John Houseman, played beautifully by Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake, 21 Grams, Little Dorritt).

Julius Caesar is amongst other things, a story of power and betrayal and this is reflected in the main plot.  Shan't tell you too much more cause it will ruin the story.  Karen and I stayed in our seats til the very end of the credits - reluctant to leave that wonderful world.  I noted that Zoe Kazan played the part of Gretta Adler.  "Hmmm" I wondered to self, "Is she related to Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront)?"  Yes indeedy, she is no less than his grand-daughter.  If I'd paid more attention to Revolutionary Road I would have known that.  

Me and Orson Welles was shot by Dick Pope BSC, probably most renowned for his partnership with Mike Leigh on eight films.  If you google the film, do choose the US website - for some reason it's much better than the UK website.  Oh and use the back button on the website itself rather than the back button in your browser or you'll go mad being re-directed to the main website which is useless.

Afterwards Karen and wandered through all the restaurants at Palace Barracks, finally settling on the Chelsea.  Zucchini and garlic soup with warm bread was sufficiently delicious and comforting before we attacked Coles.   It was necessary to stock up on ingredients for lasagne and replenish chocolate supplies to sustain us for last night's saga - the Great Debate and the Masterchef Finale. What waistline?  What gym?  What youthful figure?


Grand Purl Baa said...

Ah yes, fine Sunday night viewing.

I am in love with the Prime Minister.

Little Snoring said...

Sounds like a great movie... we are finally catching up on Mad Men, which is great and nice to see an era not often see on film these days...

Billy Marshall Stoneking said...

Luvvie - you know how a good movie is so hard to find these days - well, I have discovered one that you ought to see - it is by the Romany/French director/writer, Tony Gatlif and is called Kokoro. I think it is the best thing he has ever made and I have liked a number of his previous films. Keep your eye out for it... and did you hear? I am presenting The Drama of Screenwriting at AFTRS/Sydney in January!!! Lots more to tell you but not here. Look after yourself!
love Billy