Wednesday, March 26, 2008
NY Event Number One: Seeing someone important talk about stuff.
With the help of one Amy Lee Pearsall, I was able to get in to see James Ivory speak last night, in brief, about his history in the film industry, and reflect on the experience (again, briefly) of shooting the film Le Divorce, which was shown before the talk back.
I have to say that the movie itself: not the greatest. Kate Hudson was cute and floaty in her way, and Glenn Close is always a treat. I was particularly unimpressed by Naomi Watts, who I always expect near greatness from since she's married to such a man, but maybe it was just her character who was kind of...boring. But she shouldn't have been! Her stakes were such that--
Okay, I'm cutting this off before it turns into a review, which is not the purpose of this blog (Yet.). The interview was pretty informal, which was interesting. Many of the audience left before it began, which was queer indeed (It should be noted that most of the audience was comprised of people in their mid to late sixties, and this is, as my friend Abby noted to me at a SAG screening of Run Fatboy Run the other day, the predominant age demographic for these things, which just seems silly. Where are all the young, starving artists, who could see these movies for free when they're not working trying to pay their union dues or membership fees to FIAF? Take advantage, my children!). The interviewer's questions weren't too compelling, and the audience questions were either very specific and referenced other movies, OR very elaborate, clearly thought of before the event, and meant to impress in their thoroughness--which they did not, and instead elicited the occasional roll of the eyes from myself or Amy Lee (we are very similar in this, it would seem).
There was also a novelist there for some reason, who had written a different book that James Ivory had directed a long time ago, who didn't really speak at all, and one was left to wonder: just why is this woman here?
James Ivory seemed like a really charming man, someone you could hang out with on his country estate and talk about Joyce to, while enjoying some fine wine with Mozart in the background. Men like that don't seem to exist anymore, and it was refreshing to see a member of this dying breed. One of the few things he said that kind of stuck with me, just as one artist speaking about art, was, "Well listen: when somebody laughs at one of my movies, I'm amazed!" He was talking about jokes playing out on film, and how many of the things people found amusing, these were laughs that were coming accidentally. It's a good reminder that sometimes human nature, shown truthfully and without any fuss, is familiar enough that it evokes laughter. The universality in those things doesn't ask to be laughed at, it just asks to be understood. And in that understanding, comedy just exists, because of the truth of those experiences.
I tried to get real deep there at the end, but I don't know if I pulled it off. Anyway, scratch that off the list. Now when is the sculpture fountain in Lincoln Center going to stop renovations already? I have boats to sail!