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Archive for the tag “David Lean”

Lawrence of Arabia and the epic

Lawrence of Arabia and the epic

Hello everyone! Well I did a podcast on Lawrence of Arabia and the epic genre…

Do send me your feedback on the podcast as I am eager to see what can I improve from…

Suggested Reading (If you are guys are interested)

Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema (They have a great chapter on David Lean-The Desperate Romantic which I quote a bit in the podcast)

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Lawrence of Arabia live stream part 2

Lawrence of Arabia live stream part 2

Hey Guys,I would be showing the second part of Lawrence of Arabia,feel free to comment and chat with me thanks

Asians in David Lean films update

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Hey guys….now that my schoolwork is done. (Thank God that I managed to complete my Wizard of Oz essay). I would be working on this article for a local film magazine called cinematheque on the look at David Lean’s visions in Asians. Research wise,it is not too bad despite the Internet’s lack in analysis of Lean’s works. Problem is fleshing out on what I want to write,I am struggling in going for a less formal tone and content wise. However it was fun revisiting my favorite director n how I look it in an Asian perspective. Will keep you updated as soon as possible

The dream makers-My reflection on Lord David Puttnam’s masterclass

“This is cinema, cinema, cinema, cinema, cinema. No other medium in the world can offer this.” -Lord David Puttnam

As I leave tonight after hearing his seminar, it feels like my inspiration battery has been charged. I can’t comprehend what a humble man he was,here is that guy who produced Oscar-winning films like Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields. I really can’t, he seems so genuine and warm. Waiting for us patiently while the audio tech people are fixing the audio for the conference, telling us about how his family lovingly treated him for his flu and even joked that he wanted to get his coffee when my film head asked if we could have a break. Even though I went slightly off-tanget with my question because of my nervousness (Yes I could totally relate on Dortohy and her companions fear when seeing the grand Wizard of Oz) ,he gently directed me back to the question in asking if I wished Atticus (Gregory Peck) was my father,it struck me. I said yes ,and then I talked how Taymor’s Across The Universe changed my life. He said to me “Good girl,now you become my ally” Here the Lord David Puttnam said these words to me and I was shoke to the core with such awe.

He talked widely about that beauty of cinema and he made me ponder why I am here in this industry. As the first clip Pinocchio show to the audience, we are the dreamers who wanted to make everything come true through that beautiful world of film.  We wanted to put our experiences to entertain and relate.

Here are the few things that struck me from that seminar

  • Watching Mr Smith Goes to Washington clip

I swear that I wept my eyes off from watching this clip,at times I almost feel like giving my dream of doing film studies and that times I feel like that main protagonist. I can’t stand the bitchiness,I can’t stand the cynicism,I can’t stand the objection.I just want to throw the towel and go home. However they stay I must stay on because I believe in everything. I want to be in film preservation,telling my love for cinema to others. So it was a booster for me.

  • What are the films that have influenced you? Is there a film in your memory that has impacted you the way that East of Eden had impacted Lord David Puttnam?

Yes I died on the inside when I heard that he admire James Dean as his hero. Blame my fangirling on him,at last he linked something which I admired. James Dean,such an icon impacted this producer’s young life. Of course I wept again at the East of Eden ending as I recalled that time I watched it earlier. I could understand how it impacted me.

I thought of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia,I recalled watching Lawrence of Arabia for the first time on that weekend with my parents. This film really spoke me so heavily,I was awed by the cinematography that Freddie captured the hot desert,the romantic overture that still played in my mind and the wonderful performances by Peter O’Toole (I was so devastated when I heard he was retiring from acting) and Omar Sharif. I remember rewatching it for another time and that famous moment when O’Toole screamed “No Prisoners”. I nearly wept-here is that man looking for his identity,all lost. He lost his innocence and his view on himself. It consumed it so deadly to the point,he forget the sanity and just kill anyone. Even one of my favourite quotes stuck in my mind “Do you think I’m just anyone Ali do You?”,it was the summary of myself looking for my purpose. To me it shows the power of cinema,even though I do not have this background and I live in the city. It brings that romanticism to my screen and changed my perspective forever. I literary preached everyone to watch this,because it’s not often you seen a film in this scale like this.

  • How do you intend to insert your dreams into the movies you produce? Are there any of your own personal memories that you would like to see onscreen?

Well I admit,I am very terrible in the technical aspect of film. I am pretty hopeless in carrying heavy lights and cameras. I have no patience on the editing side. I have ideas but I cannot execute it well in screenwriting. I did not have much chances to get my directing dream. However I can execute my dreams onscreen is to give people my knowledge of cinema and learn how to love it. As Terence Davis recounted in his documentary “Of time and The City”- ” at seven,” he says, “I saw Gene Kelly in singin’ in the rain, and discovered the movies, loved them and and swallowed them whole. … musicals, melodramas, westerns: nothing was too rich or too poor for my rapacious appetite, and i gorged myself with a frequency that would shame a sinner.” I want people to just immerse themselves in their encounters in cinema,stop all rational thinking and go back to feeling it. I also wanted them to transport themselves into other worlds and just feel that moment. That emotion. Perhaps it was my dream. I want to see my world that there is hope in the bleakness of society,be free and of course be themselves.

  • Were there particular films from a technique point-of-view that were particularly influential over you? Was there a “light bulb” moment when you decided to be a filmmaker?

Well asides giving the obvious answers like To Kill A Mockingbird,Across The Universe and Lawrence of Arabia. I would say that recently I am crazy over Wong Kar Wai,to me he restored my faith in Asian films. I dunno why the way he filmed his shots to create that longing,the use of music like how he played “California Dreamin'” for Chungking Express. It feels fresh yet so relatable. I was having a personal soul-searching journey when I watched WKW’s films-he know how to relate to my loneliness and hurt I have from the past. Then I am in my Wes Anderson phase,on how he make characters so relatable. I swear that my family is a Wes Anderson-esque type. I am having phases in my film life:I love my David Lean films and escaping to the romanticism with him,like his characters was shook to the core by Ingmar Bergman’s films on his views on life and death,I was touched by Bresson’s minimalist films that speak volumes. I was moved by Wong Kar Wai,I laughed with Wes Anderson. I just absorb what I love about them and exploit on my own. Along these phases,I found out that I am better in film studies. I want to learn about them and how it influenced so many filmmakers like me. I see,by watching films you are a better filmmaker as my old man said.

I realize that perhaps we have tough times,but we wanted our dreams to come through,as they show that ending clip of Cinema Paradiso. We wanted it to be captured forever. That is the beauty of film. We wanted to be submerged in that world and just come back out of the screening-a fresh outlook on life.

Here are some quotes from  filmmakers on why they chose film

“I like to make films because I like to go into another world. I like to get lost in another world. And film to me is a magical medium that makes you dream…allows you to dream in the dark. It’s just a fantastic thing, to get lost inside the world of film.”-David Lynch

“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive.”-Martin Scorsese (Interestingly one of my dreams is to join Marty’s charity for film preservation and it is always heart-tugging for me)

“The most expensive habit in the world is celluloid, not heroin, and I need a fix every two years.”-Steven Spilberg

Perhaps that is that damn reason why I wanted to enter that magical and mysterious world of film. I want to encapsulate memory and time. I want to be lost in that world for an hour or so. I want people to see my memories onscreen and last of all as I summarised it in my favourite film quote.“I am a film addict,absolutely crazy about cinema”. I love film and damn well enjoy that ride. I thank Lord Puttnam for igniting my fire on why I love cinema. It was indeed a humbling experience coming from a man who produced well-acclaimed films

Appreciation for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Yes I have done my part to watch Prometheus (2012) after being scared silly by the film. I know this film by people freaking out that Michael Fassbender (Yes…that actor from X-Men First Class) somewhat creepily similar acting performance to the acting of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia for his character David.

If you watch the film,you will notice lots of direct or slightly indirect homages to this film. While it is a good thing that they homaged it as it coincided so nicely with the 50th anniversary of the release of the film and the Cannes restoration. I am afraid that people would watch it because of that film (I.E Prometheus) itself. So I would give my reasons who should you give this film a try just because Fassbender did it or what so ever.

Basically the story is about T.E Lawrence (Lawrence Of Arabia)-a famous WW1 hero who is well-known to help out in the Arab revolt. Here is the picture of the real guy behind

Yup…he is quite average-looking but his life is more than it seems. It all thanks to a bold director which changed the epics of today and it’s still bringing awe to me. As Steven Spielberg once quoted in a documentary in his appreciation for Lawrence of Arabia to start off my appreciation for this film-“It was a miracle ”

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To me watching as the budding cinephile Lawrence of Arabia just shook my world with its absolutely beautiful cinematography.

This GIF is one of the 1001 cinematography porn scenes you will forever see in Lawrence of Arabia. God these images will be stuck  in my head-lots of sand and desert scenes. We got to thank the cinematographer for Lawrence of Arabia-Freddie Young (he will execute few more David Lean films like Dr Zhivago and Ryan’s Daughter) for creating these scenes and it’s so perfect that he created a lens just for one scene. One scene and it’s perfection.

Here is that beauty that is just specially created for that scene.

I know that people would think it’s just a film full of sand..Nope you are missing the point. Now here comes the best eargasm you will experience in your life. Of course I need to loop it endlessly throughout that film. Hello you are talking about the greatest movie soundtracks ever alongside John Williams and so many famous movie composers. It all thanks to Maurice Jarre,who composed the most romantic score perfect for this epic. Not convinced? Click on this video

I will make a confession when I listened to the overture while to school. I feel like I was walking to the desert like a boss. I mean it. That is how good the soundtrack is. Of course Maurice Jarre will compose more scores after his fame from Lawrence of Arabia, from Dead Poets Society (Yes it’s unlikely but it works) to the most infamous among all imfamous themes that someone who never watch the film Dr Zhivago know that tune.

To me what seals this film as my ultimate favourite film is Peter O’Toole’s acting as the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia. Now here is the fun fact who auditioned to play T.E Lawrence from Marlon Brando,Albert Finney,Anthony Perkins (Yes that creeper guy in Psycho as Norman Bates),Montongramy Cliff and even Alec Guinness (He played previously in another David Lean’s film-The Bridge to the river Kwai). Eventually this role was given to unknown Irish actor Peter O’Toole. The rest is history when he just played that role so beautifully. It gave him an Academy Award Nomination in 1962 for Best Actor for his role which was lost to Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (personally I like Peck himself and both should have won for Best Actor). Now here is that scene that shows Peter’s pure sheer acting that I nearly cried when I re-watched it the second time.

Well you know it served inspiration for the actors in these recent films like Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

“And I find myself listening to that sometimes. And there are some great performances. Ken talked a lot about some of Peter O’Toole’s greatest performances and how in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or THE LION IN WINTER he is on the edge of darkness. He’s on the edge of sanity. You can see it in his eyes that he’s been pushed to the brink and you’re not sure if you can trust him because there’s a madness in there, you know? A greatness, too and a charisma and a power that you want to get close to and you want to see inside, but it’s a little bit dangerous. And so I’ve been trying to kind of… I drive to work every morning and I try and light some kind of bonfire under myself which is adrenalized and hot and alone. It’s a strange feeling when you’re playing a character that feels so alone. “

Or the most recent incarnation Michael Fassbender as David,

This is Michael Fassbender…he just got famous because of X-Men First Class. So when he approached to play as an andriod

Many people who watch the film as me,commented on how creepily similar is Fassbender to O’Toole. (I swear it’s so true that it’s almsot frightening)

“Yes. That was Ridley’s initial idea for the hair and for the look. He’s the robot. Or humanoid. Or android. Or whatever you want to call it. We also took inspiration from David Bowie and some of his looks as well. I liked the idea of having a feminine quality to him for sure. Both Lawrence and David Bowie have elements of that. He’s curious about everything. Something blowing up or something killing him, if that happened, there would be curiosity right up until the moment that it happened. He thinks, I’ll do this because that will have a knock-on effect and I might learn something else from it, rather than it having anything to do with morality”

To me as a restoration geek-perhaps it is appropriate to see why I loved this film. Lawrence of Arabia was cut so many times after its theatrical premiere to the point,it was a two hour film which did not serve for its epicness. It was until they managed to find the negative in a barn. It have the entire cut of the whole film but no sound,so they have to rope back the cast back to re-record the sound again (Expect for Jack Hawkins). My god it’s sheer scale for the epic ever. Recently they finished the 4K/8K restoration just in time for the 50th anniversary of the release for the film!

Of course the story is so fantastic as it have this theme of self-idenity which was wonderfully written. Actually one of my favourite quotes from this film that summarized the film to me “Do you think I’m just anyone Ali? Do you?” we explored who is Lawrence and it is up to you to your impression of T.E Lawrence. Of course the editing is amazing and I think we have to applaud Anne V. Coates for editing this beautiful film. So here is the clip. Fun Fact: David Lean was an editor before he became a Director. How awesome could you get?

Now I have enlighten you with reasons to watch Lawrence of Arabia not because of the obvious referring in Prometheus. It was the miracle that is unmatchable to today’s epics. We do not have these epics in the scale like this anymore. I suggest to get yourself a big television,3 hours to spare and lots of snacks to enjoy this film. Have fun as one said “Big things do have small beginnings” I hoped you will develop this love for this film as I do.

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