Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Beautiful Nightmare

It is an understatement of course, but yesterday surely was an interesting day... Day of the highly coveted Oscar noms, as well as the day young star and fine actor Heath Ledger died. While it was truly tragic, it was doubly weird for earlier that day, I had been cheered earlier in the day by the news that Tilda Swinton was nominated for her role in the very fine Michael Clayton. I thought this film was very well done indeed, but in terms of a larger scope, by nominating people such as Tilda and acknowledging the work of some less than mainstream films, gave hope that these awards shows are not entirely politically based, and that those from an independent background still can be deemed worthy enough (in the lofty Academy's opinion anyway), for awards. Not that awards matter, for frankly the reason I even pay attention Oscar night is to watch all the impossibly beautiful people looking even fab in tuxes and gowns Plus its always a laugh to see Jack grinning at the usually hilarious opening monologue,and as such, they sure as heck get the attention of an otherwise generally oblivious film going public. I suppose its the silly cockeyed optimist in me that hopes once people see films like brutal but superbly done There will Be Blood (which also stars Ciaran Hinds *reminds self to start six degrees of Sigma separation game :p) and Michael Clayton (who knew the Facts of life smarmy goofy guy Clooney I met years ago would turn out to be so good and talented?? still boggles the mind), they take the time to look at the other works of the people involved, including Tilda.

Tilda of course appeared in Sigma's and David Mackenzie's Young Adam . I had not watched that in some time, and was spurred on to watch it again after reading this very well written piece by Verging Writer. It was so odd then, as a few days later I had heard an interview with Tilda on the very fine NPR's All things Considered, I was cheered by the fact she was recognized for her work on Michael Clayton. I also recently watched an interview via the Edinburgh Film Festival website where she described the benefits of working on both big budget studio films, and the small independent films ("where 4 people work and I hold my own light" lol). I quite enjoyed the fact that she acknowledged those who work in the larger studio films are creative people, for I follow and have ties to one huge film franchise and believe this to be true, but this fact is not often stated by those who have say the cache or reputation for originality such as Tilda.

In the course of the interview, she also described working on independent films creating them out of chaos. These comments seemed to echo what I've been learning by reading GetYourPeople blog, for example this update from one of the producers on the incredible variables involved in film making, or this one from Colin when they lost five rolls of film making Hallam Foe. (I also appreciated how candid Gillian Berrie was in describing this in one of Colin Kennedy's excellent podcasts. (I think it's the third of the podcasts?) Colin and co. dubbed this shoot "The Beautiful Nightmare," and it's been a beautiful thing indeed to be able to sit and hear and watch all these different perspectives echoing the same sentiment-hard, difficult at times, all so worth it at the end. Thus, when Tilda described her experiences making independent films as chaotic, it made me appreciate yet again all the myriads of time energy and love that go into creating these unique and beautiful pieces of work.

One final random note: I totally think Tilda is a true original, androgynous or not, she has fabulous taste in shoes :) Congratulations Tilda on your Oscar nomination!

* all images from EIFF flickr

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