MV 4 Entertainment / Mystic Luxury Cinemas
Blog # 22
July 16, 2016
We will be opening some terrific specialty film over the next few weeks to include Woody Allen’s CAFÉ SOCIETY and the Bleecker Street release CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. I share with you some commentary from the film makers of these wonderful films.
Captain Fantastic by writer/director Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic is about many things—parenting and parenthood, the many Americas within the United States of America—but at its core, it’s about the choices we make and how they impact those around us.
It’s also the most personal story I’ve ever written. I have two kids and until they came into my life, I didn’t understand how deeply one could love another human being. I understood and had experienced romantic love, love between brothers, love for relatives, parents, friends. But until I had kids of my own, I had not experienced love that deep, selfless or profound.
The main character of the film, Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen), is a father whose commitment to his children is, for me, aspirational. He has given up whatever professional ambitions he might have had to devote his every waking moment to raising his children.
It’s up to you to decide whether this is insane. Or whether it’s insanely great.
At best, a film—or any piece of art: literature, a painting, a song, a novel—can spark deep self-reflection, cause us to examine our lives and the choices we make.
I love films that ask questions, but don’t overtly answer those questions, respecting me enough to come to my own conclusions.
I love films that require me to be an active participant, to read the movie.
I go to movies for many reasons, as we all do, but the Holy Grail for me is a film that’s both emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating. Many films do one. Few do both. I don’t want only to be transported. I want a story that makes me feel, but also adds to the ongoing conversation about what it is to be human.
These were all goals when I wrote Captain Fantastic.
I think, in the end, everything I write deals with this central question: Given how short our time on this earth actually is—and if we are defined by our actions, not just our words—what kind of person are you going to be?
We all want to make our lives count.
Captain Fantastic is about one man’s journey as he struggles to make his life count.
Café Society by costume designer Suzy Benzinger
After the armored truck has dropped off Woody’s latest script I try to read it without the thought of designing it. It’s a plan that has worked for me over the years. It is the only time I allow myself to read the script without thinking of all the work it will take to make his words come to life. I can laugh and cry and enjoy it like any civilian might. Let’s just say, I started reading Café Society with an iced coffee in hand and ended with a vodka.
Until the script is in our hands we never know what year the film will be set in or whether or not it is a comedy or drama, has 100 extras or 2000, large or small cast. We just know that one is arriving every year. How Woody accomplishes this none of us know. The superhuman activities of writing, directing, editing and scoring a new film every year would kill just about any other director in the world, but as we lie dead on the floor at the end of every film, he is already jauntily onto the next. I sometimes get the feeling that in the midst of shooting a scene he has already cut and scored it...as though the actual shooting of the film is just a necessary evil to his process.
He knows what he wants. He is extremely generous and forthcoming. Most meetings are proper yes and no sessions and Café Society was no exception. Once Woody has the casting done (and there is much agonizing over that), he will plead with me not to destroy the quality of the actors he has hired. Sometimes I succeed.
I love doing research on Woody’s films and Café Society was a special treat as we covered both Hollywood and New York in the '30s. There is never enough research to suit me and I am always left with a feeling of missing something. I amass photographs, music, magazines, hundreds of books, thousands of fabric swatches...why does Woody always write about the one thing I can’t seem to find in my research? He has a way....
But I was lucky on this one. A nicer, more professional cast could not have been assembled. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Steve Carell and Parker Posey. No one complained about being fit at 1:00am or changing in a questionable location in an even more questionable trailer. How does one even find an actress who says in a fitting, “Whatever you think” these days? I had three! Such lovely gals. All pros!
I could talk about the minutiae of my job, how I do color plots, breakdown characters, work with Santo Loquasto’s sets or Vittorio Storaro’s lighting but oh...let me not bore you to death. Enjoy the show!
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