James Franco’s Sal will now get a limited release in theaters this November. This new film is a biopic of the final hours in the life of actor Sal Mineo. Sal Mineo was tagged as a one-time teen idol and he is known for the blockbuster film Rebel Without a Cause where he starred side by side James Dean and the movie Exodus where he was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in both films. Sal stars: Val Lauren, Jim Parrack and James Franco. The movie was first screened at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and will soon be available in other digital forms by October 22nd. Check out the review for Sal below:
“Early Review for James Franco’s Sal
James Franco’s self-conscious film career is intriguing primarily from the standpoint of his endeavors to become a respected filmmaker. As he stated in the Q&A, Franco has pursued an academic path to credibility. Sal is a very academic film that will only be seen on the festival circuit or limited distribution in art houses, but it’s a nice piece of work. In collaboration with Val Lauren, Franco has taken an avant garde approach to telling the story of Sal Mineo’s last day.
Lauren (The Salton Sea) portrays Sal Mineo, an actor who attained some early success playing “young toughs” alongside James Dean. Unlike Dean, however, Mineo lived to see his career flounder, struggling to survive until the age of 37 when things begin to look up. He has a role in a new play, and is working a deal to direct a film. During the final day of his life, we learn who Sal has become through his meetings, telephone conversations, rehearsals and interactions with neighbors and his housekeeper until his untimely death late that evening outside his apartment at the hands of a robber.
Franco tells this story in intimate style, using a handheld camera that observes Mineo’s activities on his final day, using autopsy reports and other personal accounts including those of his lover, Courtney Burr for the detail and filling in the rest using logic-based assumptions and insights into Mineo’s personality. As we look over Mineo’s shoulder, we learn that his life is mostly solitary, but he has a capacity for warmth and affection that gradually unfolds before an unpretentious camera. Lauren resembles Mineo and effectively evolves him from a desperate, self-absorbed man focused on sexual conquests between efforts to revive his career, into a figure of sympathy, humanizing him into the likable “Sal” with whom we can identify and dread his violent demise to come. Of further interest to filmmakers are Franco’s comments concerning the production decisions that influence the feel of the film, including the sets and the use of camera angles and depth of focus that reduced the need for period automobiles and street scenes.
Franco and Lauren stated during the Q&A that this idea germinated 15 years ago, during their days together in acting school, but was originally conceived on a broader scope to include Mineo’s early acting career. At that time, Lauren actually envisioned himself playing James Dean, and the ironic humor there, of course, comes from Lauren obvious resemblance to Mineo as well as Franco’s closer resemblance to Dean, whom he later portrayed.”
The rest of the article can be read at The Film Dilettante.
Sal is scheduled for a limited screening on November 1st 2013.
Check the latest buzz on the film “Mr. Nobody” right in this blog.