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Thursday, October 22, 2009

HIFF

Two weekends ago I was invited out to the Hampton's by my colleague Jen. Not only did I get to stay at her amazing home, in Sag Harbor, we also got to attend three films at the Hampton's International Film Festival.  Our friend, Erin, had mentioned HIFF one day and said she was going.  We decided we needed to go too.  If Erin had not mentioned it, we would never have known about it.  So, thank you Erin.  


We had an incredible time and actually got to meet some of the amazing people who helped make this film festival happen.  There we so many great films to choose from but we seemed to have an easy time deciding on which films we wanted to see.  The dates and times worked out perfectly with our social schedule, which included walks on the beach, yoga, retail therapy and brunch, lunch and dinners. 






 The first film we saw was Millennium: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is also known as Men Who Hate Women in Europe (the title was changed when it was published in the US).  I had just bought the book but when Jen expressed her want to see it, I was easily convinced.  We arrived in the Hampton's on Saturday and made a quick stop at the beach before heading home to change, enjoy a quick glass of wine and head to Montauk for dinner at the Harvest.  


After our amazing dinner, which we ended up sharing with some great characters  (seriously) we headed the two blocks to the Montauk Movie Theater.  Neither of us knew much about the plot. What we did know, was the movie was two and a half hours long.  We were both hoping we could stay awake with our full belly's of wine and food to see the end.  Plus, it was subtitled; the movie is in Swedish.



I don't know what we were worried about. The movie was amazing.  It was the first U.S. premiere and we were very glad to be a part of it.  The director was there. He did a Q&A after the movie.  He also told us this was the highest grossing movie in Europe of all time.  We understood why.  

The characters were well cast and the story was incredible.  There were a few rough parts including one rape scene.  It was interesting however, at the end when the director was answering questions, someone asked about filming the scene and he answered by saying showed more of the preparation of the rape than the actual rape itself on purpose.  He felt this gave a more realistic image of the event.  He was quite right.  I didn't even realize until after he said it.  It was very hard to watch. 


I highly recommend this movie and the book, which I am currently in the process of reading.  The second book is already out in hardcover in the US and the second movie is already out in Europe. The third movie is being released this November in Europe.  I am eager to finish this book and start on the second,  The Girl who Played with Fire.







 







 Choosing our second film was a no brainer. It is about well known architect I.M. Pei. We were very excited to see this film, which was a documentary on the design and building of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. We were also very excited to walk in the theater and see I.M. Pei himself standing right there in front of us.  


It was unbelievable to see the design, process and people it took to make this museum happen.  One of the most interesting parts of the film was learning about the entrance chandelier.  The chandelier was manufactured by a company who makes space stations and took three days to install in the museum. Jen and I also loved the design of the chandelier. 


Hopefully PBS or another station will purchase it and air it for all of the US to see.  It is an amazing structure and I would love to visit one day. 














 I.M. Pei, Jen, Me and another architect








 
 
 
 
 



Our third and final film was probably the most well known and talked about.   The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is the film Heath Ledger was filming when he passed away.  The film was recast, in a very genius and creative way, with Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to portray Heath's character in the dream world.

Delaying effect of Ledger's death

Production was disrupted by the death of Heath Ledger in New York City on 22 January 2008. Ledger's involvement had been a "key factor" in the film's financing.[8] Gilliam was presiding over concept art when he received the phone call that told Ledger had died; his initial thought was "The film's over, it's as simple as that."[9] Although production was suspended indefinitely by January 24,[14] according to Christopher Plummer, who plays Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam, determined to "salvage" the film, initially considered using computer-generated imagery to make Heath Ledger's character magically change his appearance, perhaps into another character, in order to keep his final work in the film, and, if the film was made, would dedicate it to Ledger.[15] The imagery would be similar to transformation techniques seen on Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and those employed to Roy Scheider in his posthumous release Iron Cross.

Involvement of Depp, Farrell, and Law

Eventually, actors Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law were cast to replace Heath Ledger, portraying the new idea of transformed versions of Ledger's character traveling through magical realms, thus the footage shot with Ledger would remain in the film as his character's "real-world" appearance. With the role recast, filming resumed in Vancouver in March 2008.[16] Depp was a friend of Gilliam who starred in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the aborted The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and had been compared to Ledger by cinematographer Nicola Pecorini. Law was a friend of Ledger and had been considered for the role of Tony, and Farrell had also been friends with Ledger.[9] Depp, Farrell, and Law opted to redirect their wages for the role to Ledger's young daughter, Matilda, who had been left out of an old version of Ledger's will,[17] and Gilliam altered the part of the credits saying "A Terry Gilliam film" to "A film from Heath Ledger and friends."[9]


The film was a little far out there for me but I am very glad that I was able to see it in it's second US premier. 


 

 









I cannot wait until next year when, hopefully, we will see another round of great films!



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