My Criterion Closet Picks…

Criterion

Oh to be one of the people Criterion invites to raid their closet of great films… I’ve been watching their video posts uploaded to Criterion Closet where they let filmmakers, directors, and actors into their closet to pick and take home any films in the collection they want. I really enjoyed watching Ethan Hawke, Chris Eigeman and others pull the films off the shelf and relive what makes each one a particular favorite. As I watch them, I imagine it’s me in the Criterion closet, choosing films and explaining why they left their creative mark on me, what fun! I have added a new Criterion Page above if you want to see some of my favorites and below are a few links to former posts celebrating some of them…I will be adding a post on Wes Anderson soon to highlight my favorite of his films but for now…

THREE COLORS TRILOGY
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
BEFORE SUNRISE TRILOGY
GREY GARDENS
ERIC ROHMER FILMS
BLOWUP
BREATHLESS

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My Inspiration

Faves

Harper’s Bazaar asked Chloe Sevigny some questions about her creative inspirations and I’ve decided to post my own answers to some of their questions, plus a few more…

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First album bought: Must have been The Eagles. My brother and I were both listening to them a lot – their harmony is amazing.

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Most re-read book: There are two: The Garden of Eden (Hemingway) & The Lover (Duras). (Pic: from film based on Dura’s “The Lover.”)

'Lost in Translation' Movie Stills

Fav. Film: Sofia Coppola’s, “Lost in Translation”. I just “get” this one completely – what it’s trying to say and the wit.

Fav. Film Quote: “We let it happen – that’s how we choose.” From: Violets are Blue, written by: Naomi Gyllenhaal.

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Guilty Pleasure: Going to see a film on a weekday afternoon. It just feels decadent.

Fav. object: A sapphire ring from my mother.

Fav. time of day: Midnight. The world gets quiet, no ringing phones, music sounds better and I can think, write, and read with better clarity and inspiration.

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Dream lunch date: Without question, Henry Miller. He was a great conversationalist and I would love to sit around the table all afternoon and into the night talking to him about, well everything really. (Pic: Henry Miller & Hoki-San Tokuta Miller)

Signature dish: Not sure why they asked this but it’s spaghetti. Whether homemade sauce or store bought and doctored – I rock it.

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Fav. TV show: Mad Men was a real stand out – original and never boring. Matthew Weiner is a very talented writer – talk about creative.

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Fav. Band: Aerosmith. They’ve always just done it for me and there is no one I’d rather hear play guitar than “Joe Fucking Perry”.

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Fashion Inspiration: Think Bohemian. This is not something I give a lot of thought to – I make it my own, but I am inspired by: Jane Birkin – love the boho lace crop tops, jeans and sixties style dresses…

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Alison Mosshart – she has great style.

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…and Joe Perry – the hats, scarves, cool jackets, shades, ripped jeans…love it. All three have inspired me in some way. (photo: Zack Whitford)

Dogs or Cats: Again, not sure why they asked this but…dogs – cats are creepy.

Fav. room: Bedroom, where I keep my favorite books, music & photographs nearby.

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Bedside table: A few photographs, an odd little ceramic entwined newts I bought when I was in high school, an old pink salt used as a ring holder, Berts Bees Baby Bee Solid perfume and books including Henry Miller’s My Life, Paul Auster books and currently Alexa Chung’s “It”. (Pic from HM’s My Life & Times.)

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Favorite artist: Thomas Wilmer Dewing (pic: The Spinet)

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Fav. Sculptor: Camille Claudel. (Pic: The Age of Maturity)

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Fav. Photographer: Henri Cartier-Bresson but I’m most inspired by anyone’s old photographs of families or old buildings.

Well, there you have it, some of my enduring creative inspirations.

 

 

Breathless

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Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” is a good example of the dialogue driven films I love, which the French seem to excel at. It’s so beautifully shot, with scenes easily imagined as photographs taken by Doisneau or Cartier-Bresson. The film was a stand out in the French New Wave when it was released in 1960 and it’s easy to see why, with it’s documentary style hand-held camera, fresh dialogue and unique rhythm.

The film is in step with the rebellious nature of the ’60’s – a youth bored with the conventions of bourgeois society. Seberg’s character Patricia is stylish, entitled, aloof and confident – add in Belmondo’s Michel, a petty thief with the swagger of the rich – both selfish with a restlessness that even a great city like Paris can’t assuage. I recommend watching “Breathless” in the quiet stillness of the early hours – I think it really brings out the film’s beauty.

Chef

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I know I’m a little late to the table, but I finally got around to viewing “Chef” and wanted to write a few lines about the film. Obviously it’s food themed, the life of a chef, but stripped down to bare bones it’s a story about a man who’s so focused on achieving that for a time he loses his way, and after being humbled is forced to set a new course, which leads him ultimately to an even better place. “Chef” rings true. Leguizamo and Vegara are terrific as his friend/sous and ex-wife respectively. Jon Favreau has successfully tried on a lot of hats: comedian, actor, director, screenwriter and has brought them all together to become quite an accomplished filmmaker. Lastly, Favreau has put together a great soundtrack for the film – so if you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend it.

The Author’s Bookshelf

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Lisa Chapman ©2015

Although I’m rarely influenced by another’s choice of reading material – I will cop to occasionally sneaking over to The Author’s Bookshelf on The Strand’s website. I think it’s more curiosity than anything, imagining myself ducking in to have a look at their private home libraries. And if you’re more curious about your favorite filmmaker’s picks, check out Criterion’s filmmaker’s Top 10’s.

Complexities in Love

LIT02Lost in Translation // Scarlett Johansson & Bill Murray

So much is going on under the surface in this scene – true to life we often dance around how we’re feeling, unwilling to just come out and say we care about someone. Sofia was able to convey with such beautiful subtlety, our tendency to complicate something as simple as truly connecting with someone. Truth is, there are many facets and depths of love – not all are deeply romantic and we often feel if it isn’t, it’s not valid and therefore should go unspoken. Leaving love implied but not spoken may be romantic in itself but long term it robs the relationship, whatever it’s depths, of true intimacy.