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The Kings Speech – Directed by Tom Hooper

The King’s Speech at BFI London Film Festival 2010

Colin Firth & Helena Bonham Carter

This year at the BFI London Film Festival, one of my favorite films was The King’s Speech. It’s the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and his reluctant rise to become the King of England after his brother King Edward the VIII (Guy Pearce) abdicates the thrown to marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson . It’s a great story of an unlikely and hesitant hero who suffers with a debilitating stammer.

Seeking the help of an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) endeavors to help the then Prince of York with his ever increasing responsibilities of delivering live speeches over the radio. Colin Firth delivers an extremely convincing performance with stammers and pregnant pauses during his public and radio speeches that come across as genuinely painful to watch. His loving and supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) stands by his side with encouragement as the looming pressure of becoming King and the need to vocally address his people only exacerbate the stammering problem. The charming relationship of Lionel and Bertie (Lionel Longue and King George) is a fascinating development as Lionel insists upon a very familiar and equal relationship in order for his therapy to work.

The film poignantly points out the contrast of the overwhelming difficulty for the King of England to speak and the overpowering oration skills of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. In one scene the royal family is watching a news real of Hitler giving a very impassioned and dynamic speech as only Adolf Hitler could do, and the King’s daughter asks her father what he is saying. King George enviously replies, “I don’t know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.”

I’m sure his friend who took this picture of us was NOT his cinematographer. He would have made sure it was in focus.

Director Tom Hooper & Writer David Seidler

Director Tom Hooper was at the BFI London Film Festival to talk about the film and mentioned that King George VI was writer David Seidler’s hero and inspiration as a child because he used to listen to the King on the radio during WWII reassuring himself that if the King of England could cope with a stammer so could he. Eventually Seidler set out to write about King George VI and found that Lionel Logue’s son had his diary but would not hand it over without permission from the palace. To his delight the Queen Mother replied giving him permission but asked if he would not release anything in her life time because the memory was still so painful. David Seidler kept his word and in 2005 began writing a screen play that turned into a stage play and finally back into a screen play. This was a truly delightful film to watch, supported by a powerful cast and for many people this film will be like an enjoyable course in English History for Dummies as the history and drama of King George’s brother abdicating the thrown and Adolf Hitler threatening to plunge Europe into a Second World War unfold in a very personal story of struggle.

 

 

I shot some really interesting footage of Director Tom Hooper talking about how the story came about.YouTube Preview Image
Director Tom Hooper also talks about working with the actors.YouTube Preview Image 
Check out the movie trailer.YouTube Preview Image 

 

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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger – Woody Allen?

In this video I show you a glimps of what goes on at the Cannes Film Festival 2010.

 

Review of “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”
writen and directed by Woody Allen


by Shane Kester | Published: May 28, 2010

I had the wonderful privilege of acquiring an invitation to the new Woody Allen movie opening at the Cannes Film Festival 2010.  And since it’s not due out until late September I thought I’d give you a quick review of what I thought of “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”  And before I begin, I have to tell you that I am a Woody Allen fan and make no qualms about being biased.

The film speaks from a very pessimistic point of view on the longevity of marital relationships, because in “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” relationships come cheap.  The story revolves around five couples (I had to take about 5 minutes to sketch a type of “cheating family tree” to come to that number.  It actually goes beyond that number but I think I’m safe to say that the story predominantly revolves around five couples and their interrelations) and of course one fortune teller who gets to say the title of the movie in her dialogue.

Now let me see if I can get it straight for you:  Helena (Gemma Jones) has been dumped by her husband Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) after 40 years of marriage to persue a more meaningful lifestyle, complete with a new batchelor’s pad and sports car.  Their daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) sends her mother to a friend pretending to be a fortune teller to help her deal with the divorce.  Sally is married to a writter, Roy (Josh Brolin) with one sucessful novel to his name and has been rewriting his new book for years too unsure of himself to finish it.  He becomes infatuated by the beautiful young woman (Freida Pinto) living in the building directly across the street from him and through his creepy voyeurism happens to successfully seduce the woman into a relationship even though she is to be married in a couple of months time.  Roy’s wife Sally gives into the flirtacious invitations and becomes romantically drawn to her art gallery boss Greg (Antonio Banderas).  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sally’s mother and father both find new love.  Alfie finds himself a lovely blond bomshell prostitue named Charmaine (Lucy Punch) to loore into marriage with promises of a life of luxury that he cannot afford while Helena finds solis in a gentleman who’s wife has recently passed away and is into fortune telling, seances and the occult.  I think I’ll have to stop myself there because, trust me, I could keep going on about the guy in a coma and Sally’s best friend having an afair with the guy she wants to have affair with but I think that’s just going to confuse things more.

The actors were a tribute to their characters.  Gemma Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Antonio Benderas were tremendous as usual.  It was refreshing to watch and listen to Lucy Punch in her interview at Cannes and see that she isn’t anything like her stereotypical bimbo character at all.

Freida Pinto (Slum Dog Millionaire) was beautiful as Dia, the woman across the street but her relationship with Josh Brolin’s character was a bit too much for me.  Freida Pinto is young, beautiful and dainty while Josh Brolin is not.  It was like watching someone handling a flower wearing a catcher’s mit.  Or I could just be jealous, who knows.

If you like Woody Allen flavored movies you will not be disappointed.  The story moves along at a good clip not leaving you much time to analyze the characters predicaments before they get into an even worse predicament.  The movie ends without a resolution in site for any of the characters leaving you exiting the theater thinking about how the fiasco will eventually work out.  It was a clever movie with a dark theme that was cheerfully executed… a Woody Allen movie for sure.

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Marché du Film (Film Market) Cannes Film Festival 2010

In this video I take you inside the Marché du Film 2010 to give you a taste of what is going on.  Dozens and dozens of booths with thousands of movie rights changing hands (hopefully changing hands) and vying for attention.  The first time I walked this floor I felt a deep sense of futility.  I could see so much of why it’s so important to start the buzz about your film before you even start shooting.  Hopefully you will get the attention of one of these brokers and get them to market your film and sell it here at Cannes, Berlin or one of the US film markets.  But if they do take on your film you have to remember that they probably have dozens (maybe hundreds) of other films that were produced with a bigger budget and better known stars than yours to market.  Your film can so easily be lost in the mire but this is where your creativity, tenacity and schmoozing skills come into play to market your film.  Get to know people and impress them, help them if you can and get them to help you in some way to promote you and your film.

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Cannes Film Festival 2010 an Exclusive Event

The Cannes Film Festival is an unusual festival because “The Festival de Cannes is exclusively reserved to film industry professionals,” to quote the Festival-Cannes web site.  So how do you know if you’re accredited?

FILM PROFESSIONAL CLASSIFICATION

Because the Festival de Cannes is exclusively reserved for film industry professionals, if you do not belong to one of the categories below, your request will not be taken into consideration.

  • · Civil service, embassies
  • · Artistic Agent
  • · Press agent
  • · Writer, director, composer
  • · Lawyer, jurist
  • · Film library, archive, restoration
  • · Actor
  • · Film commission
  • · Distribution
  • · Film school
  • · Film music publishing
  • · Financial institution
  • · Exhibitor
  • · Film festival
  • · Technical industries
  • · Press/media: non journalists
  • · Press/media: journalists
  • · Production
  • · Film Publicist
  • · Film technician
  • · Video, DVD, VOD

Now don’t think that by telling them you are one of those things that they will let you in.  You have to prove your accreditation.  If you are a film student or film maker thee are ways for you to qualify for attendance.  Go to the Festival-Cannes web site for more information.