Hello, film lovers! Click through to our blog page and then click the link below for a great interview with Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the director of Mustang, this Sunday’s beautiful and thought-provoking OFS film presentation. Then join us at Matilija to watch her terrific work! We look forward to seeing you at the movies.
The Ojai Film Society will screen three films in March at the Ojai Art Center Theater. The theme is Celebration of the Arts: Music, Fashion, Fine Art. The series features documentaries about three extraordinary artists who have each excelled in their craft. The films will be shown at the Ojai Art Center Theater at 5 pm.
AMY on March 13 tells the haunting story of the talented British pop icon, Amy Winehouse.
IRIS on March 20 portrays the flamboyantly-dressed, 93-year-old style maven, Iris Apfel.
HOCKNEY on March 27 explores the life of one of Britain’s most important artists, David Hockney.
Director Amma Asante found the story behind her new movie, Belle, in a painting: artist Johann Zoffany’s 18th century portrait of two beautiful, young English ladies, draped in silks and pearls. The twist? One is biracial.
Belle is based on the real-life story of that woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was the daughter of a Royal Navy captain and the slave he met after capturing a Spanish ship.
As a young girl, Dido’s father brought her to the grand country home of his uncle and aunt, who were already raising the daughter — white, of course — of another nephew. They agreed that girl was much in need of a companion like Dido. But instead of bringing Dido up as a servant, they chose to bring her up as a member of the family.
Dido’s great-uncle was traditional, but with a progressive bent. As Britain’s top judge, he eventually decided a key legal battle involving the slave trade, all while raising his mixed-race niece whom he adored.
Asante, who is herself black, tells NPR’s Renee Montagne what makes the painting so remarkable:
“Around the time of the 18th century, we really were — people of color were — an accessory in a painting. We were there rather like a pet to express the status of the main person in the painting, who was always white. And for anybody who’s lucky enough to see the painting, what you see is something very, very different. You see a biracial girl, a woman of color, who’s painted slightly higher in the painting, depicted slightly higher than her white counterpart. She’s staring directly out at the painter, you know, with a very direct, confident eye. … So this painting flipped tradition and everything that the 18th century told us about portraiture.”
Asante says the painting, and its backstory, offered a unique storytelling opportunity: “These two girls were aristocrats. You know, they held very high positions in society; their family held a very high position in society. What I saw from the painting was this opportunity, if I got it right, to tell a story that would combine art history and politics.”
Chef is the third feature film written and directed by Jon Favreau, who vaulted to fame with Swingers (1996) and followed that with Made (2001), another superior comedy. In recent years, Favreau has concentrated mainly on directing other people’s screenplays, including Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “But Chef is the best thing he has ever done, as writer or director or actor. It’s the sort of thing of beauty that filmmakers are ultimately remembered for.”
Best Film : Clandestine Childhood
Best Director: Benjamin Avila (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Lead Actress: Natalia Oreiro (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Lead Actor: Ernesto Alterio (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Supporting Actress: Cristina Banegas (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Cesar Troncoso (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Original Screenplay: Benjamin Avila – Marcelo Müller (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Editing : Gustavo Giani (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Costume Design: Ludmila Fincic (Clandestine Childhood)
Best Sound Design: Fernando Soldevila (Clandestine Childhood)