Posts Tagged ‘France’

Death of the Movie Poster?

January 20, 2011

God bless the Internet. It makes research for many things, so much easier. Particularly this week’s entry, since I found a few posts dealing with the art of movie posters. One post on SeattlePi.com wrote about how Mondo, a small company out of Austin, Texas that started as a sideline to the Alamo Drafthouse, makes high quality limited edition movie posters. The writer goes on to say that Mondo’s artists make better movie posters than the movie studios do. (You can find examples of the latest item for sale here: http://blog.mondotees.com/.) Another item, this time on the Thristy for Milk blog mentioned that recent movie posters are just photoshopped creations that are made by committee and don’t compare to movie posters of the past.

Yes, many current movie posters are just photoshopped creations and many fan created items are works of art, still before the wholesale basing of today’s movie posters continues any further know that:

1.)   While movie posters prior to the 1970’s were drawn, the art department had to bend to what the studio heads wanted.  After all, the studio heads were the ones who signed their checks and if the people in the art department wanted a job, they had to do what their bosses wanted.

2.)   Works of art like the “Mona Lisa” and the Sistine Chapel were commissioned. That means artists of the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci had to swallow their pride and do what the patron wanted. Granted, Michelangelo clashed with Pope Julius II during the years he worked on the chapel and Da Vinci was such a perfectionist that he took the Mona Lisa with him to France, so he could continue working on it, when he was appointed as “the first painter, engineer and architect” for King Francis I. Up until the late 1700’s, most artists, if they wanted to eat, attached themselves to the nobility and they did what they were told.

3.)   Don’t knock all “modern” movie posters.  Modern photographic and design tools are just that—tools. It takes imagination and a keen eye to use those tools to create a movie poster that is worthy to be called a work of art.  Don’t believe me. Just look at the posters for the final Matrix movie, Black Swan, A. I., American Beauty—just to name a few and you’ll see what I mean. (It also helps when the studio heads don’t overdo the suggestions.)

So, reports of the artistic movie poster being dead are greatly exaggerated.

Sources:
http://www.seattlepi.com/movies/433305_film43568774.html

http://thirstyformilk.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-state-of-movie-posters/

http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/1324

http://www.oil-paintings-reproductions.com/Articles/Leonardo-da-Vinci.html

Other Centers of Movie Making

September 22, 2010

Shocking but true, the United States is not the only place in the world where there is a thriving film industry. There are other places that are making movies and they all aren’t the art house favorites (though a good many take that route).  So, what other countries are making films?

India
The country of Gandhi and outsourced call centers is also famous for Bollywood movies.  Bollywood movies are mostly musicals with comedy, love story and thrills thrown in for good measure. In other words, the guy always gets the girl at the end of a Bollywood film. The term Bollywood comes from a combination of the city of Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and Hollywood. Recently the Bollywood style of movie making has made its way to the mainstream with films like Bride and Prejudice and the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. Both films found critical acclaim and box office success.

France
Films from France tend to be of the intellectual art house type and films like François Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player and Jean-Luc Godard Breathless are two shining examples. Those films were part of the French New Wave of the 1950’s and 1960’s, in which film conventions of Hollywood were re-imagined and the use of handheld cameras gave the films a “you are there” look. These films influenced a generation filmmakers throughout the world.

Italy
Italian films aren’t exactly intellectual. Instead they take familiar stories and tell them though the Italian cultural lens. They put their own spin on subjects such as mid-life crisis, coming of age and the Holocaust. Films that tackle these subjects are, respectively, Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful.

Australia
The Land Down Under has a vigorous film industry, ranging from the irreverent Young Einstein, to the genre mixing Mad Max, which introduced the world to Mel Gibson, to the current Bran Nu Dae. Australian films are a mix of reflection on the country’s agrarian past, commentary on current events and cultural mashup. Yet, it all seems to work. Good on ya’ mate.

So if you are in the mood for a foreign film, check out films from the countries listed above. You’ll either laugh, cry or wonder what is going on.

Sources:
http://www.bollywoodworld.com/whatisbollywood/

http://www.amazon.com/Bride-Prejudice-Martin-Henderson/dp/B00094AS9U/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284738812&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Slumdog-Millionaire-Dev-Patel/dp/B001P9KR8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284739458&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/8-1-2-Criterion-Collection/dp/B00005QAPH/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742131&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Cinema-Paradiso-Version-Philippe-Noiret/dp/B00007G207/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742359&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Beautiful-Roberto-Benigni/dp/B00004D0DU/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742762&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-Max-Special-Mel-Gibson/dp/B00005R2IS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284744210&sr=1-1

Famous Films Foreign Origins

September 1, 2010

I once stated that Hollywood is the ultimate recycler because the powers that be have minded the comic book/old television show vault extensively. Well, sometimes Hollywood goes beyond the borders of the U.S. to find inspiration or steal ideas, depending on your point of view.

Below are some films that were made in one country and remade in the U.S.

Shichinin no samurai, Japan 1954
A Japanese village is terrorized by bandits. The villagers are fed up and look for a way to stop the bandit raids. So, with only handfuls of rice as payment, they get seven unemployed ronins (masterless samerai) to take care of the bandits once and for all, which they do.

Now for the translation of the title which is Seven Samurai. In 1960, the U.S. remake of this movie was done and it is called The Magnificent Seven. The setting is the Old West and the movie stars Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Colburn. The director is Preston Struges and the film features an unforgettable score by Elmer Bernstein. (Once you hear it, you’ll know what movie it is from and you just might get the desire to hop on a horse and ride off into the sunset.)

Trois Hommes et un Couffin, France 1985
Three bachelors share an apartment in Paris. They woo women, have parties and love every minute of it. They are living the high life and nothing domestic (i.e. marriage and children) will come in the way of these bon vivants. Until one day, a package is left on their door. It is no ordinary package. It is bassinet with a baby inside. Make that a crying baby who’s hungry and needs her diaper changed and life will never be the same for these men ever again.

Now for the translation of the title which is Three Men and a Cradle. If the plot sounds familiar it is because in 1987 it was remade in the U.S. as Three Men & a Baby. The movie had Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg as the bachelors and the director was none other than Leonard Nimoy. (Yes, Spock from Star Trek.)

Como agua para chocolate, Mexico 1993
Boy meets girl in the early 1900’s in Mexico. Girl likes Boy and Boy goes to Girl’s mother to request daughter’s hand in marriage. Mother says no, Girl is the youngest and tradition states that she is not to marry, so as to take care of mother. So, Boy marries Girl’s Older Sister and Girl prepares wedding feast where she channels her passion for Boy into the food.

The translation is Like Water for Chocolate. This film was remade in 1999 as Simply Irresistible and it featured none other than Sarah Michele Gellar. (I guess she tired of slaying vampires.) If you are surprised that Like Water for Chocolate was remade, join the club. Not many know of this movie and it didn’t do too well in the box office.

Le Dîner de Cons, France 1999
Picture this: A group of friends in Paris get together for dinner every Wednesday and they have this game whereby they each have to bring an idiot to this dinner. One of the friends, Pierre thinks he has found the best idiot in Paris. This idiot, Pignon, makes models out of landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, out of matchsticks. Things go awry when Pierre can’t make it to the dinner party due to a sport’s injury and Pignon offers his assistance.

Now the translation: The Dinner Game. Can you guess what the American version is called? How about Dinner for Schmucks? Yes, that movie with Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd, which came out recently. In the American version, once the idiot/schmuck is invited to the dinner, he invites himself to into the other person’s life.  Moral: Don’t invite idiots or schmucks to dinner. They’ll never go away.

Yes, the powers that be in Hollywood are always on the lookout for the next hit movie, whether it comes from a comic book, an old television show or a foreign film. That, too, will never go away.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Cradle-Roland-Giraud/dp/B0009WFFWC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Baby-Tom-Selleck/dp/B00005T7I2/ref=sr_1_5?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662756&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Samurai-Criterion-Collection-Spine/dp/0780020685/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281660769&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Magnificent-Seven-Special-Yul-Brynner/dp/B000059TFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662503&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Like-Water-Chocolate-Marco-Leonardi/dp/6305428476/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281661502&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Irresistible-Sarah-Michelle-Gellar/dp/B000067J1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662162&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Game-Thierry-Lhermitte/dp/B0000A1HQP/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281832673&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Schmucks-Zach-Galifianakis/dp/B002ZG97GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281837537&sr=1-1