Carol, Nahid and more: Is Cannes 2015 obsessed with marital rift?

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brilliant, bewitching Blanchett: Carol is a stylish contender for the Palme d’Or, writes BRIAN VINER.

It hardly amounts to a scandal, but Cate Blanchett’s single passionate scene of love-making with Rooney Mara in the 1950s lesbian romance Carol has given the Cannes Film Festival a little frisson.

Blanchett has been causing all kinds of controversy recently after admitting to having “female relationships” in an interview with Variety magazine but she has since denied that any of them were of the sexual persuasion.Cate Blanchett reputation as possibly the greatest actresses of her generation is being cemented further at Cannes, where the premiere of her latest movie “Carol” has won rave reviews.The frisson caused by Cate Blanchett’s apparent revelation last week about having been a lesbian has ended abruptly as she says that she had never had a sexual relationship with a woman.Only two years have passed since the Palme d’Or, the coveted prize given to the film voted the best at Cannes, was bestowed on a lesbian romance, the French film Blue Is The Warmest Colour. Born in Melbourne on May 14, 1969, Blanchett began her career on the Australian stage, building up a string of acclaimed theatre performances in the early 1990s before working her way into increasingly high-profile film roles.

The title role is taken by the wonderful Cate Blanchett, playing an elegant, well-to-do woman who embarks on a love affair with Therese (Rooney Mara), a pretty sales assistant in a New York department store. While fellow Aussie Naomi Watts has been blowing fashion critics away with her style choices while in the French party town and Aussie Melissa George also made an appearance.

She is now one of the few women in Hollywood with the clout to carry a movie single-handed, a two-time Oscar winner chased by the world’s greatest directors, from Martin Scorsese to Woody Allen to David Fincher. “Carol” sees her reunited with Todd Haynes, who directed her uncanny Oscar-nominated turn as Bob Dylan in 2007’s “I’m Not There”. There are other actresses who could have played the part, of course, but is hard to think of anyone who could have done so quite as bewitchingly as Blanchett. Melissa George poses for photographers upon arrival for the screening of the film Irrational Man at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Her already-lauded performance in “Carol” comes at a time when women are increasingly pushing back against the male-dominated film industry. “Midrange films with women at the centre are tricky to finance. He wrote on Twitter yesterday: “When I asked Cate Blanchett if she’d had lesbian relationships in real life, she said: ‘Many times.’ She was accurately quoted.” Published on May 12, the article stated that when Blanchett was asked if the film was her first turn as a lesbian she responded: “In film or real life?” It continued: “Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: ‘Yes.

Blanchett made her breakthrough performance in 1998, playing the 16th century British monarch in “Elizabeth”, which won her a slew of awards and her first Oscar nomination. Many times’, but doesn’t elaborate.” Blanchett said that in any case her sexual history should not matter. “In 2015, the point should be, who cares?

Tumultuous, because it is 1952, Carol is married, albeit unhappily, and the American middle classes, like Queen Victoria, barely acknowledge that lesbianism exists. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought one’s job as an actor was not to present one’s own boring, small, microscopic universe but to raise and expand your sense of the universe to make a psychological and empathetic connection to another character’s experience so you can play them. Indeed, the film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s book The Price of Salt, which was published in 1952 with a lurid cover and the alluring catchline, ‘The novel of a love society forbids’. Critics swooned over it after the press screenings the night before; along with Yorgas Lanthimos’ surreal The Lobster and Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul, it became an instant frontrunner for the festival’s final top prize, the Palme D’Or. By 1999, she was back in Cannes, but this time as a star, presenting “An Ideal Husband”. “I was laughing so hard, because only two years earlier, I’d been on the other side of the barricades,” she told Variety.

At the time Highsmith was herself a repressed lesbian and the novel was a huge bestseller, bought and devoured mostly by women like her, all over America. She has been nominated six times at the Academy Awards, winning the supporting actress statuette for another pitch-perfect impression, as Katherine Hepburn in “The Aviator” in 2004. The story, woven out of a brief encounter in Highsmith’s own life, sees Carol and Therese going on a road trip, pursued by a private detective engaged by Carol’s enraged and humiliated husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler). Blanchett has also dabbled in blockbusters, appearing in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, “Robin Hood”, and all of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films. But it is parts in more indie fare that have built her reputation, from the wealthy socialite in “The Talented Mr Ripley” to the crusading Irish journalist in “Veronica Guerin” or another heavily-accented (and pregnant) reporter in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”.

The New York Times described her as “one of the best and bravest actresses on the planet” after watching her in 2011’s production of “Uncle Vanya”. But I’m certainly not interested in putting my thoughts and opinions up there.” She and Mara did feel some apprehension before playing the film’s single sex scene, she said, but no more than before doing a similar scene with a man. “I have such respect and admiration for Rooney and it was quite hilarious actually in a way. The whole nation was clenching under the Cold War … and moving into a deep freeze.” Times might have changed but, as Blanchett points out, less than people suppose. The US Supreme Court is divided on gay marriage, holding the rights of the whole country’s gay community in the balance. “There are 70 countries around the world where homosexuality is still illegal so it still seems to be an issue,” she said. “We are living in deeply conservative times. If you think otherwise, you’re very foolish.” Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, who adapted the Highsmith story, agreed with her. “Nothing has changed but everything has changed.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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