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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)

A lament on Peter O’Toole

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That picture of him as Macbeth was the first thing I saw on my Facebook. My sister wrote this as the caption “Oh dear sis hope it doesn’t ruin your hobbit experience”

She kinda knew that today I would be watching The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug and she is trying not to make me upset that my acting hero-Peter O’Toole passed on.

Of course I was in denial when I read the caption RIP Peter O’Toole. I was like “No it cannot be”. My entire morning I was really upset and trying to come into terms with Peter’s death. I even looked at the sky and cannot help but to think how fun Peter is rocking in heaven with all of his hell raisers

The reason why I am writing this post and perhaps this blog is because of that man’s acting. You may know the story on how Lawrence of Arabia have changed my life. Yes that haunting stare in the coda. This year I have a chance to share my love of Lawrence of Arabia to all or experience that magic I have at 19.

I did a directing presentation of “No Prisoners”,that scene that shocked me to the power of cinema.

There is a lot of discussion despite many know how much I love Lawrence of Arabia so much. I was so proud of my presentation.

I get to try to do a livestream of that film with my newly purchased DVD of Lawrence of Arabia,I see things that I did not notice about that film,even the power Peter O’Toole have that is rare in today’s screen.

Most of all,I get to see clips of the restoration of Lawrence of Arabia,during the week-long programm. I swear that I nearly wept in seeing how gorgeous it was. I was moved on its sheer beauty and seeing O’Toole’s piercing blue eyes.

On the other hand I managed to catch his filmography beyond Lawrence of Arabia. Ratatouille, Anton Ego’s moving speech of critics and criticism,his scheming role as The King in Stardust, his haunting role as Mr Johnson in The Last Emperor on the big screen,god I was in tears that I saw my acting hero is in this film. His tenderness in “Venus” as an aging actor was wonderful and lastly Casanova,as the older self-he delivered it with finesse. I mean whatever role he have big or small-he delivered it with such beauty.

The reason why I lament is that moment when I heard he retired,a little part of me just died. I got upset that he is no longer pursuing acting. I think there is no actor that could fill the screen such as his.  I wanted him to do more,maybe work with Wes Anderson-my current favorite film director. I imagine him bringing his wry pre scene into Anderson’s childlike roles. I wish he could do Tom Bombardali in Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings,he would bring magic into the screen. There are few stars that can deliver it in O’Toole’s standards. However you cannot beat the hellraiser.

Most of all ,the real reason I lament on his death is in my bucket list,I wish I could meet that legend in the flesh itself. I would give that man a big hug and just thank him for changing my life. If it wasn’t for him,look I will not be blogging about films I loved. I would just wander my head aimlessly in my film school. I would not build my love of old films and film preservation. I would not want to write about films. I would be just an anime otaku. Peter O’Toole is the reason for the love of cinema on that evening with parents on the television watching Lawrence of Arabia. Sadly my dream of meeting him would forever be unfulfilled.

I think it would be pretty difficult that I would watch a film with him,knowing that a legend would never be easily found. Maybe it would ease if my country would show Lawrence of Arabia in the big-screen. However I do feel that I am indebted to him for my love of cinema.

My condolences to his family members and friends especially Omar Sharif who is perhaps weeping over the loss of a great friend. So Rest in Peace,my king,my acting hero and lastly my inspiration. Without you I would not be that person again.

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

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

To Sir Peter O’Toole

I apologise for not been in the updating mode,because I have a bad case of the writer’s block for my Shallow Grave post and stuff.

Those who are following my blog will know that one of my favourite films was David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia to the point I wrote an appreciation for that film. This film just simply deepen my love for it alongside Julie Taymor’s Across The Universe.

I am really upset when I heard that he will retire from acting for good from lots of upset Peter O’Toole Tumblr fans. First I was quite in a disbelief,then slowly as I ranted it out to a friend of mine (yes he is absolutely upset about that news too). I grew to be extremely upset as if a legend just passed away for good to the point I could not sleep. It just dawned to me what sheer amount of talent he have at a young age when he played that flamboyant T.E Lawrence. As I wrote a mini post to my Lawrence of Arabia tumblr blog,it was difficult to express my shock over that news,so I recalled that scene that sealed my fate and love to that film “He have this charisma that electrify the entire audience. I remember that haunting scream “No Prisoners! No Prisoners!” that sealed my fate to that film. It was so frighting even when I watched for the second-it was these eyes that shook me to the core.”

I remember that I was delighted that he was in The Last Emperor and I extremely enjoyed his performance as Puiyi’s English tutor Mr Johnston because he played it with such class and dleight that it evoked me back to LoA again. That film was the first one I watch at the big screen and he was no less amazing.

Even in his lesser known roles like The King in Stardust (2007) or the critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille,he still shines at his roles beautifully. He is such a talent.

Yes there is some hope for actors that lift our ‘Acting’ status in Hollywood or anywhere else like Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver,Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar Wai’s films,Robert Downey Jr who made his comeback after his drug bust in the 1990’s with his fun performance in Iron Man. My cinephile buddy said that  Michael Fassbender is the new rising star for the film industry with such raw talent seen in Shame and Hunger. Yes there is hope in humanity for promising actors but they will never ever reach that standard Sir O’Toole have established. Never. He would be greatly missed for me for his acting and made me want to re-watch Lawrence of Arabia and his filmography to see such a great actor in work.

So farewell Peter O’Toole,I hope that someday that I would meet you,this legend and I would thank you for making me appreciate the beauty of film.

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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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