this wknd had the grand glorious fortune to do my favorite thing in the world when the weather is beautiful: go to the movies. saw 2 amazing, transcendent things back-to-back. [In fact, the back-to-back aspect was the worst part b/c i was still reeling from film 1 in the middle of film 2]. Now, 3 days later i find that i am smitten and punch-drunk on each film in equal measure: Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo and Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light. [The latter is 2 yrs old but we finally got it here in portland.]I don't know what compelled me to see both in the same day. The times worked out, yes, but it was something more. Anyway, as i'm sitting here, smitten and in love, looking for everything i can find online about each film, i keep finding these small intersecting points: the 3rd film for each filmmaker, the use of non-actors, the deference to nature. some staggering mirrored bits emerging from each director (which you SHOULD NOT READ if you haven't seen the films, lest it give any thing away):
on casting non-professionals:
'When you put a known face in front of the camera, you're contributing to the grand delusion of cinema,' he says. 'If you imagine this film with Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman in the central roles, you would destroy it. You would instantly know you're watching Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman dressed as bloody Mennonites. It's not that I'm a hard man to please, it's just that I don't like this whole circus, these people being recycled. To me, cinema is a fancy dress party. I see Gael García Bernal dressed as Che Guevara. Then I see Benicio del Toro dressed as Che Guevara. In five years, we'll see someone else. I almost feel they should lend each other the costume.'
If that taxi driver was Will Smith—who I think is an extremely good actor—I assume he can get through whatever situation, the guy lives in mansion and drives a Lamborghini. When I get on the subway and see the conductor I think he could be Solo.
on natural world (and closing shots)
I begin and end with stars. This is the beginning and end of the story. There is the universe — the broadest and largest thing — then we go to the story of these three characters — and then back to the universe. It is like our life; we think we are the center of the universe but then we are nothing too.
EL: Final shot: When Solo mounts the edge of the cliff I got the sense that he is verifying two curiosities – the obvious being what happened to his friend, but the other being Solo’s own mortality/fate. Is there some truth to that assessment?
RB: Look what he has to do with his own life? Look what he tells his wife when is he is holding the baby – this is not the man that started the film. And what is this stick that he has to throw? The whole metaphysics of the film come down to stick, hand, clouds and trees and wind. I think it is interesting that he throws something into the sky, then the next shot goes from the sky then to the road with the colors of life and then with this young girl Alex sitting in William’s place and asking similar questions -- Solo has to confront a lot of things on that rock and in that space. It’s also the only handheld scene of the film.