I am, admittedly, about a week late to this short. Here hit the web last Tuesday, which might have something to do with the lack of immediate effusive praise: Oscar nominations tend to hog all the attention, especially when it comes to those of us that spend our days writing about the movies. Unfortunate, because I would venture to claim that this 15 minute jewel from Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) is plenty more attractive and tightly produced than many of the features up for this year’s Academy Awards. It’s a gorgeous and calmly reverential piece of commissioned work that absolutely entrances, further making the point that beauty really is entirely inexpressible in words.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try out utmost. There’s an aesthetic perfection all over this film, not simply an enticing attribute but the entire point of the production. The Luxury Collection is a group of almost impossibly chic hotels and resorts under the Starwoods label, and their collaboration with Waris Ahluwalia is both out of love for art and a desire to showcase their properties to a wider audience. Here was shot at three of these hotels: The Equinox in Vermont, the Phoenician in Arizona and the Royal Hawaiian. They’re pretty stunning. Continue reading
I must say that the most exciting thing about today’s National Board of Review announcement for me was the Best Actress honor for Tilda Swinton. Firstly, it’s refreshing when these groups shake things up a bit and keep the competition going. But more than that, I think Swinton is one of those actresses who enrich just about every conversation, Oscar season or otherwise. Her strength isn’t simply that she’s an extraordinarily talented actress, but that she chooses projects and collaborations that dare to enrich and extend art and cinema as a whole. Too many of the leading female performances raved about this awards cycle are in safe and uninteresting movies, which is never a problem for a Swinton picture.
But enough general gushing. Let’s go back to an early point in Swinton’s career, one of her very first film roles. A year after appearing in Caravaggio, her first collaboration with Derek Jarman, the director asked her to star in his contribution to 1987’s Aria (which I covered earlier this week, as a tribute to Ken Russell). The music is the famous Depuis le jour from Gustave Charpentier’s Louise, a sweet ode to young love. It’s a gorgeously simple short from the often provocative director, as earnest in its beauty as the music itself. Continue reading