November 16 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter
Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev says that he works in an organic and intuitive manner. If his films have any theme, it is something that grows naturally out of the creative process. When talking about "Elena", he compares its structure to a musical form. Silences (or rests) are also important to him, as thoughts are not only transmitted on-screen through the spoken word.
In my review of "Elena", I did not mention the skill of the actors. This is because Zvyagintsev, who started as an actor, knows how to cast and direct his players. There is not a bad performance in any of the three films of his that I have viewed. Zvyagintsev recently announced that he will be working on a new film in 2016. (The Drama Movies page also has a review of his film,"Leviathan".)
If Russian drama is not for you, Meg Ryan has directed her first film, "Ithaca". Based on William Saroyan's "The Human Comedy", the movie is set during WWII and follows the life of a young man who delivers telegrams in a small town. Ryan plays a supporting role in the film, but says she found it difficult directing herself. Tom Hanks, who is one of the executive producers of the film, has a cameo role. Sam Shepard is also part of the cast. Ryan asked John Mellencamp to provide the soundtrack for the film. So far, "Ithaca" has only played at film festivals. Early reviews have been positive, so there is a possibility the film will be picked up for national distribution.
Finally, cinemas in Paris were closed over the weekend as a result of the horrific attacks in the French capital on Friday. I would like to recommend the novel "Windows on the World", written by French author Frederic Beigbeder. He wrote the book as a response to the 9/11 attacks in the US. As well as being a fictional account of a father and his two sons who are in the Twin Towers when the planes hit, Beigbeder also writes in the first person, stating his views regarding terrorism and the US/France relationship. Reading the book is a powerful,emotional experience.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Elena Film Review
Elena's love for her son is blind and fierce. Her husband misjudges the depth of her devotion and pays the price. "Elena" is an Andrey Zvyagintsev film.
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