Fantasy of All sorts

Ok, brothers and sisters, it's time to play six degrees. In 1917 a young poet and painter called Jean Cocteau was asked to compose a ballet. With Erik Satie's music and Pablo Picasso's painting he came up with Parade, something people hated tremendously. The only person who did like it was their friend Guillaume Apollinaire, who had to protect the creators of the work from angry patrons with his fierce looks and scars. No one could think what to call the thing, so Guillaume coined the term Surrealism to describe the style. Cocteau never liked the term and denied being a part of it.

Around the time he became something of a revered cinematic figure, Chris Marker, one time assistant to the great Alain Resnais, the creator of wholly unique movie La Jetee, composed, as we all know, entirely out of still photographs, save for one beautiful piece of film, began to realize that he didn't like fame, as it were. He's a man who loves cats, and they can be found in many of his films. He makes an important decision; whenever anyone asks him for a publicity photograph, he instead sends a picture of his cat, Guillaume-de-egypt.

Terry Gilliam's kind of a name in 1995 when his latest film Twelve Monkeys gets nominated for two oscars. Not that he does now, or ever will, care a bit about what America thinks of his art. Monkeys is based on a short film called La Jetee by Chris Marker and stars Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis is an outspoken republican, Terry Gilliam renounced his American citizenship because he hates President Bush. A young british woman called Jo Murray sees it somewhere in Edinburgh, Scotland. Probably without her daughter, maybe at the Movie Bank on Dalry Road or the Filmhouse on Lothian.

A woman recalls having seen films of a fantastic nature and timeless quality, she wishes to add that magic to her own. Terry Gilliam, years later complains that Chris Columbus' film versions of the Harry Potter novels are lifeless and uninspired. He is right. They resemble not so much as any family film hampered in by a complicated plot he doesn't explain well and heinous no-acting. JK Rowling née Joanne Murray, wants Terry Gilliam to direct Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone, but after his many failures and many, many non-child friendly movies (Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys) there's no way studio executives will take a chance on this man and his warped mind and dark visions.

Alfonso Cuaron makes beautiful films, but for every Little Princess there's an Y Tu Mama Tambien. How can they look at his one child friendly movie and decide to overlook the dynamic sexuality of his other films. Quartet for the End Of Time is so very heavy it might crush someone who's paying attention at the right moment. JK Rowling sees his version of her novel The Prisoner of Azkaban and says she 'loved it immediately'. Alfonso Cuaron isn't Terry Gilliam, he likes the fantastical, sure, but his success comes when he grounds it in the horrific real world. Maybe he's more special in his own way.

Cuaron's had a brush with success. Y Tu Mama Tambien was nominated for all kind of awards, even won a few. Nominated for BAFTA Film award, Best Film in any any language. Used to be called Best Film from Any Source, back in 1960 when Jean Cocteau got nominated for his film The Testament Of Orpheus. He made it with his friend Pablo Picasso.

1 comment:

shelley said...

You, my friend, are a film nerd. Coincidentally, I just watched Twelve Monkeys last night and loved it. Terry Gilliam is the only person who can direct sci-fi movies which can not actually be classified as sci-fi.