Oscar History

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Entries in Christine Vachon (3)

Jun 23 2017

A Pfeiffer Portrait of Devastating Despair


The year of Michelle Pfeiffer continues.We've seen the trailer and pictures fromMurder on the Orient Express.We've seenthe poster formother!(sacrilege she's not on it).We've seen her on HBO as Ruth Madoff.And now her Sundance film,Where is Kyra?,made its way to Brooklyn and played at BAMCinemaFest last weekend.

Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) collaborates once again with Bradford Young to gorgeous results.This time Pfeiffer's transfixing visage supplements their beautiful frames with movie star magic...

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Feb 05 2016

Colette vs.Mary Magdalene

Here'sMurtadaspeculating very early on the 2017 Oscar race.

There's usually a real life person in the best actress lineup.It's not as prevalent as it is in best actor - 4 this year.But we do have Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence).Last year there were Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon).Recently we got everyone from Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) and most famously The Queen (Helen Mirren) and her 80s nemesis Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep).Now we have two more possible candidates for the 2017 Oscar race as two interesting biopics were announced this week with two actresses well known to the Academy.French writer Colette (to be played by Keira Knightley) and Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara).

Colette in 1920s

Colette is the more intriguing figure,at least to this non-believer.Born in 1873 she was a journalist,an actress,a mime and of course most famously the writer of the novelGigiwhich became an Oscar winning film and a stage musical.Colette and her first husband Willy Gauthier-Villars,also a writer,were pivotal figures in the salons of the turn of the century Paris and collaborated on several novels.The rumour is that the writing was all Colette's - shades ofBig Eyes.Colette also had sexual and romantic relationships with women.And based on the people behind this film,we know they won't shy away from telling that story.

The film is written by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer (Quinceañera,Still Alice),with Westmoreland directing.It will be produced by Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen who most recently producedCarol.With lukewarm reviews for her Broadway debut inTherese Requinand a small forgettable part inEverestbeing her only 2015 credits,this looks like a juicy part that Knightley can sink her teeth into and possibly get her career back on the upturn it was on with 2014's double bill ofBegin AgainandThe Imitation Game.

While I'm not into religious movies,actresses are my religion and afterCarolI would follow Rooney Mara anywhere she wants to go.She's choosing to collaborate with Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) to tell the story of Mary Magdalene.The actress - director combo is exciting especially when it's noted that they have recently worked together onLion(2016) - with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel.They must have really enjoyed working together to choose to do it again so soon.Wonder who will be cast as Jesus?It'll have to be someone fantastic if they are to replicate the explosive chemistry Mara had with herCarolco-star Cate Blanchett.This tweet says it best.

Who would you like to see play opposite Knightley and Mara as Gauthier-Villars and Jesus?

Apr 22 2014

Tribeca: Holla for 'Mala Mala'

Our Tribeca Film Festival coverage continues withGlennon Mala Mala

Christine Vachon is a national treasure.That is a fact.Without her then it's highly questionable whether queer cinema would even exist in the somewhat minor capacity that it does.Seeing her name appear in the credits of Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini'sMala Malawas a refreshing surprise because it's rare to find documentaries with subject matter like this coming from such a major name,and yet also not at all surprising because the film has a beautiful polish to it that comes from having the resources that a name such as Vachon's allows.It was also the film's exceptional good fortune to get a connection toRuPaul's Drag Race,too,giving the film a pop culture connection that can only help its important subject matter reach a wider audience.

Mala Malais a documentary that looks at the trans and drag communities of Puerto Rico.Focusing on several key members of the island nation's community,it proves to be a funny,sad,poignant,and ultimately refreshing experience.I certainly wasn't aware of Puerto Rico's sizable community and their struggles and for that the film provides a valuable service.Even better,however,was that the filmmakers didn't shy away from their subjects' bad sides with some working as sex workers and others having very strong,unflinching thoughts about what it means to be trans.As a film that chronicles the efforts to get government equality for transgender men and women it proves to be a rousing one,but it is these darker corners that give it the power necessary to possibly become something akin toParis is Burningfor a new generation.

That groundbreaking 1990 documentary by Jennie Livingston lingers over the proceedings ofMala Malalike a vogueing ghost.Featuring formerDrag Racecontestant April Carrion (the reveal of what would have been her "Snatch Game"persona is a hoot) as she jets off to compete,it's hard not to think of the Houses ofParis is Burningand the massive steps made in pop culture acceptance of not only gay and drag culture,but LGBTIQ people in general.Mala Maladoesn't reach the stunning,soaring heights of that earlier film,but the two would make an outdragous double feature.

Even when the film falls into standard doc practices like talking heads,Mala Malastands out from the documentary crowd.Exceptionally lensed with a vibrant use of color and framing as well as frequently hypnotic imagery,this is one of the most gorgeous docs in some time.The sound work,too,is wonderfully done,full of pulsating music that recreates the evocative sounds and beats of Puerto Rican drag life.This is most certainly not another drably assembled work of non-fiction (like,say,other Tribeca doc titles such asThe Newburgh StingandRegarding Susan Sontag),but an exciting fusion that suggests its debut directors have the smarts to potentially go far.Christine Vachon would be wise to take Sickles and Santini up on their shimmering,almost sensual promise as exhibited inMala Mala,a vital new film in the constantly evolving landscape of queer cinema.

April Carrion (RuPaul's Drag Race) at the Tribeca premiere