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From Nico to Tonya Harding, womens true stories are being told on film at last

Charmaine Blake

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I wasnt happy when I was beautiful: the movie Nico, 1988 shows singers resilience in later life, signalling a change in how biopics treat their subjects

“On paper, Nico the Warhol acolyte, singer and fashion model who added international exoticism to the grungy downtown hip of the Velvet Underground would seem to be perfect biopic material.

With her glowering, angular looks and smoky drone of a voice, she was unlike anyone else around at the time. She had a string of romances with beautiful, troubled men. Further boxes are ticked on the biopic checklist by the fact that she struggled with demons heroin was her drug of choice.

But Nico, 1988, the daringly unconventional biopic by Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli, which has just opened in the US, is not about the singer in her iconic phase. Instead it deals with the last two years of her life: Nico prefers to go by her birth name, Christa Pffgen; she performs avant-garde proto-goth dirges while scowling through her fringe in European dive bars; the decades of addiction have taken their toll, but she doesnt care: I wasnt happy when I was beautiful.

Nicos value to Warhol was inextricably linked to the way she looked. When asked what became of Nico after she left his studio, the Factory, Warhol was dismissive: She became a fat junkie and disappeared. But what interested Nicchiarelli was her resilience. Unlike other Warhol superstars such as Edie Sedgwick and Candy Darling who crashed and burned once their 15 minutes of fame were snatched away, Nico reclaimed herself. Talking at the Rotterdam film festival, Nicchiarelli said, The intriguing thing about Nico was that she survived. She was so much stronger.

Nico,
Nico, centre, and the Velvet Underground. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The focus of this film on unglamorous middle age rather than gilded youth is significant. It is representative of a change in the way biopics for so long dominated by white, male stories approach female subjects. Theres no doubt that we are in the midst of a particularly rich period for female-led real-life dramas. Alongside independent productions such as Nico, 1988 and Christine (about TV news anchor Christine Chubbuck), Hollywood has also got…………………”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/05/female-biopics-nico-tonya-harding-womens-true-stories-being-told-at-last

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Emily Blunt on the pressure of playing Mary Poppins

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Mary Poppins is a woman with a talent for putting things back together again.

“Which is why it’s rather apt that after 50 years, she’s returning to our screens at a time when the world is arguably most in need of being put back together.

And, Emily Blunt — who plays Mary Poppins in the upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns — is well aware of the impact her character has already had on the lives of those who watched the 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews.

Standing in full Edwardian get-up inside Shepperton Studios, Blunt told Mashable that she has fond memories of watching the film as a child. “The film, for me, and I think for most people, is one of those films that is seared into people’s memory, an emblem of their nostalgia in many ways,” says Blunt…………………………………………………”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/emily-blunt-interview-mary-poppins-returns/

 

 

Director Rob Marshall and Emily Blunt on the set of Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.

Image: Jay Maidment

 

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How Willem Dafoe Learned to Paint like Van Gogh

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Midway through artist-director Julian Schnabel’s new film At Eternity’s Gate, we see Vincent van Gogh, portrayed by actor Willem Dafoe, entirely consumed by the compulsion to paint. In the scene, the Dutch artist opens the door to his yellow-walled apartment in Arles, France, to find his friend, fellow artist Paul Guguin, sketching Madame Ginoux, a local café owner. Instantly compelled by what he sees, Van Gogh lunges into action, assembling his easel and grasping several paintbrushes in his left hand, while using his right to commit bold, feverish brushstrokes to canvas. His passion is enthralling—so much so, we forget that Dafoe is not a real painter at all.

At Eternity’s Gate envisions the final years of Van Gogh’s life, through a series of vignettes that straddle truth and fiction (much, though not all, is based on the trove of letters the artist left behind). We see his plight as an artist in Paris, his infatuation with the light and landscapes of Arles, and his declining mental health—including when he famously cut off his ear. But it’s not a straightforward account. “This isn’t a biopic, it doesn’t explain his life,” Dafoe recently explained at the New York Film Festival. “It’s really about painting.” Indeed, it is, first and foremost, the story of a painter as told by a painter: Schnabel, who is known for an idiosyncratic painting practice ranging from canvases covered in shattered plates to inkjet prints painted with purple-hued goats…………………………….”

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-willem-dafoe-learned-paint-van-gogh

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‘Love Actually’ turns 15: Fun facts about the movie

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