Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Auteurs #11: Alfonso Cuaron

One of the new filmmakers to help revive Mexican cinema from near-extinction, Alfonso Cuaron is another of the key figures of the Nuevo Cine Mexicano (New Mexican Cinema) scene that would emerge beyond the world outside of his native country. Creating a diverse array of films ranging from fantasy, sci-fi, and sexual exploration, Cuaron is among one of the top filmmakers working today who was able to have a style that appeals to a much wider audience. Setting to return with his seventh feature in the sci-fi film Gravity, Cuaron has already amassed a reputation as a creative filmmaker who is willing to take things further with everything he’s making.

Born Alfonso Cuaron Orozco on November 28, 1961 in Mexico City, Cuaron was part of a middle-class family as his father Alfredo was a nuclear physicist who worked for the United Nations. Less than five years later, Alfonso gained a younger brother in Carlos who would become a key collaborator as well as a filmmaker in his own right. The two would watch movies at an early age as they would accidentally discover art films such as Vittorio de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves late one night that would be a key moment in their education through cinema. During the early 1980s when Cuaron was a student studying philosophy and filmmaking at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Mexican film scene was emerging into its darkest period.

The days when Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel would make great films in Mexico were long gone while the brief period of 1970s Mexican films from filmmakers like Arturo Ripstein and Felipe Cazals was hit by political changes. Funding became very difficult as few films from Mexico in the 1980s reached attention outside of its native country. The only way for filmmakers to work steadily were in Mexican television or state-funded films where the government had control of the final product. During those years when Cuaron was a film student, he would make a trio of short films during his tenure as one of them in a short called Vengeance is Mine had him kicked out of school. The short, that was co-directed with Carlos Marcovich featured camera work by a young cameraman that would become one of Cuaron’s key collaborators in cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki.

Quartet for the End of Time

During his period as a film student, Cuaron made a 24-minute short entitled Cuarteto Para el Fin del Tiempo (Quartet for the End of Time) about a lonely man who rarely goes out as his only friends are a goldfish and little turtle. The black-and-white short was made in the early 80s would feature a trademark of Cuaron’s later work in long tracking shots that would follow the film’s protagonist. The short was rarely seen until 2006 when it was included as an extra feature for the Criterion DVD release for Cuaron’s 1991 feature film debut Solo con Tu Pareja in 2006.

The three shorts that included Who’s He Anyway would have Cuaron work as an assistant director for various productions in film and TV. Most notably would the late 80s cult TV horror Hora Marcada with Emmanuel Lubezki working as a cameraman while Alfonso’s brother Carlos would write some episodes for the show. The show would also have Cuaron meet another young filmmaker named Guillermo del Toro as the two would collaborate on various episodes with del Toro providing makeup work for some of the episodes. Still, the two young filmmakers wanted to branch out into the world of filmmaking as they would support each other throughout their respective careers.

After the end of Hora Marcada in the late 80s, Cuaron still worked as an assistant director for various productions where he and his brother Carlos worked on a project that would become Cuaron’s first feature film. Entitled Solo con Tu Pareja (Love in the Time of Hysteria), the film centered around a womanizer who falls for his new stewardess neighbor while a spurned lover played a joke on him by claiming he has AIDS. Thanks to a production that got canceled, the Cuaron brothers got the funding they needed from the government who were unaware of what they were funding.

With a cast that would Daniel Giminez Cacho, who had previously worked with Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro on episodes of Hora Marcada, in the lead role of Tomas Tomas while playing the woman he falls for Clarissa would be telenovela star Claudia Ramirez whom Cuaron was involved with at the time. With Lubezki helping out to shoot the film and a young art director named Brigitte Broch, who would later help out Guillermo del Toro with his debut film Cronos and later become Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s regular production designer. The three would help create a visual palette that Cuaron would want for his debut film as they chose an array of greenish colors to help with the film’s look.

With Lubezki, and another up-and-coming cinematographer in second unit director Rodrigo Prieto, coming up with lighting schemes to add a dream-like look to the film’s interiors as well as broad exterior shots of Mexico City. Since the film is an AIDS comedy which was really unheard of at the time, Cuaron sought the influence of the comedies of Blake Edwards for the film’s humor while not wanting to go too far into slapstick. Notably as the Cuaron brothers wanted to take on the chauvinistic attitude towards AIDS at the time since there were a lot of prejudices in Mexico at the time.

Led by Cacho’s charismatic performance, the film would feature lots of images that would become some of Cuaron’s trademark such as the opening scene where Tomas is having sex with another woman. It’s Cuaron not wasting time to establish what is happening as well as who this man is. Since it’s likely that his womanizing will eventually get him trouble, it comes a very crucial time when he falls in love but does thing that makes him look more like an idiot in front of his dream girl. The humor is what makes the film stand out such as Tomas running down the stairs to get his paper while he’s naked or reading about a story of how an American woman accidentally killed her dog in a microwave. Notably in the latter where he and Clarissa try to kill themselves by putting their heads in the microwaves after she learned her boyfriend was cheating on her. It’s part of the quirky sense of humor that wasn’t seen much in Mexican films as the overall result is this amazing debut.

The film was released in 1991 in Mexico where the film wasn’t an initial success due to negative reviews from critics who didn’t like the film as well as an audience that found the film to be too middle class for their taste. Yet, it would be a younger audience that would help raise the film’s status where it would win the Ariel prize (Mexican equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Original Screenplay as well as a few nods. In the fall of that year, the film made its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival as a surprise hit. The film would eventually get a U.S. release 15 years later that would later be followed by a prestigious DVD release from the Criterion Collection.

Fallen Angels-Murder Obliquely

The success of Solo con Tu Pareja would help start a new wave of Mexican cinema to emerge like Alfonso Arau’s Like Water for Chocolate, Jorge Fons’ Midaq Alley (that featured Salma Hayek), and Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos would reach beyond the world of Mexican as the films were being seen internationally. Among those that discovered this new wave was American filmmaker Sydney Pollack who asked Cuaron to take part in a neo-noir TV anthology series entitled Fallen Angels. The project would feature contributions from filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, Agnieska Holland, and Peter Bogdanovich while top American movie stars like Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise would also direct an episode.

Cuaron’s contribution would be based from the works Cornell Woolrich’s novelette Violence entitled Murder Obliquely. With a script by Amanda Silver, the segment is about a woman who falls for a millionaire who is already in love with another woman. The segment would star Laura Dern, Alan Rickman, and Diane Lane as it is a classic noir story where a woman fights to win over a man who is dealing with this other woman’s newly married life. Yet, it is told through the perspective of Laura Dern’s character who is so infatuated with Rickman’s character while dealing with the Lane’s temptress character who Rickman is in love with. The segment features many of Cuaron’s visual touches such as his entrancing close-ups that is complemented by Lubezki’s lush cinematography.

The episode premiered in September of 1993 where it got good reviews while it earned a Cable ACE Award for Lubezki’s cinematography along with a Emmy nod for Laura Dern. Though the show only lasted two seasons on Showtime and only drew a cult audience, the episode is considered one of its best for the visual tone Cuaron created as well as paying true to the 1940s-1950s setting.

The buzz Cuaron had received from his first film and the work he did in Fallen Angels gave him the chance to make his first film with a major film studio in Warner Brothers. For his first studio project, Cuaron was attached to direct an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. The story was about a young girl who briefly lives at an all-girls school while her father is serving military duty until he’s lost at war where she has to work as a maid for the school. There, she relies on her imagination to deal with her harsh reality.

The story had been made into many film and TV movie adaptations with the most famous is a 1939 film version that was directed by Walter Lang and starred Shirley Temple. For the new version, Cuaron and screenwriters Richard LaGravenese and Elizabeth Chandler decided to do something different with the story while being faithful to the plot of the original story. The big change is setting it in the early 20th Century during World War I as well as emphasizing more on the fantasies the film’s protagonist Sara Crewes would tell to her friends at the school to keep their hopes up.

With Cuaron and Lubezki wanting to maintain the same kind of visual palette from their previous film for the color green. They collaborated with production designer Robert W. Welch III to create a dazzling look for the orphanage as well as early 20th Century New York City to help play out the colors along with more uses of yellow. For the fantasy scenes set in India, Cuaron and Lubezki brought in array of lighting schemes while having Liam Cunningham, who also plays Sara’s father, play the hero Sara is telling in these fantasy scenes.

While the cast would also include veteran actress Eleanor Bron as the cruel headmistress Miss Minchin along with a cameo appearance from famed character actor Vincent Schiavelli. The film would have Cuaron also work with young children for the film as Liesel Matthews played the role of Sara while Vanessa Lee Chester got the part of the school’s adolescent black maid Becky. Cuaron’s approach was to play out the innocence of the child as well as create a film that is helped by imagination vs. reality. Notably as it is made specifically for a family film audience that does more than what is expected in the genre.

The film was released in May of 1995 but poor promotion and playing against such blockbuster releases like Tony Scott’s Crimson Tide, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart made the film a commercial failure despite recouping $10 million against its $17 million budget. However, the film did manage to garner rave reviews from critics as the L.A. Film Critics Association awarded the film three prizes for Patrick Doyle’s score, its production design, and a New Generation prize to Cuaron along with getting 2nd place as best film of that year. Lubezki meanwhile, gained his first Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography while the art direction was also awarded with an Oscar nod. Through home video and TV airings, the film was able to be considered one of the finest family films of the 1990s as well as upping the buzz towards Cuaron.

With the success of Baz Luhrman’s 1996 modern update of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 20th Century Fox wanted to repeat the success of updating a modern classic by asking Cuaron to helm an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Cuaron takes the job as the screenplay would be written by Mitch Glazer as Cuaron would also involve himself in the screenplay. With renowned playwright and filmmaker David Mamet taking un-credited work for writing the film’s narration, the idea was to once again update Dickens’ story for a young audience.

With Lubezki helming the cinematography while music composer Patrick Doyle and editor Steven Weisberg decided to work with Cuaron again after previously collaborating with him on A Little Princess. Cuaron and his team decided to shoot the film almost entirely in Florida along with some work in New York City. Production designer Tony Burrough was asked to help create the ruined yet posh home of the Ms. Dinsmoor character to update the character of Miss Havisham for the original film.

The casting would prove to be big as Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow were selected to play the adult roles of Finn and Estella, respectively, while Anne Bancroft got the part of Ms. Dinsmoor. Along with Chris Cooper as Finn’s kind guardian Joe, the biggest coup was getting Robert de Niro in the role of the convict Abel Magwitch that is given a new name in Arthur Lustig. The changes to update the story would have the Finn character be this talented artist as the time span would run from the 1970s to the late 1990s. Notably as they brought in artist Francesco Clemente to create Finn’s artwork.

While Cuaron and Lubezki once again played to the rich green palette of their previous films, it was among one of the film’s highlights to play to the world that the Finn characters encounters in Florida while the photography would also go to much darker places in New York. Despite the promising of working with a great cast and getting some wonderful production value, the film turned out to have problems due to the screenplay. Largely because it focused too much on Finn’s desire to win over the cold-hearted Estella as it was among the many reasons for the film’s downfall.

Released in January of 1998, the film received mixed notices from critics who complained about some of the updated changes in the adaptation as well as its emphasis towards the romance rather than the other ideas Dickens’ book had. Though it made more than $50 million to be a modest box office hit while the visual look of the film was praised. Cuaron decided to retreat to Mexico following the film’s release wanting a break between projects.

After the disappointing reaction towards Great Expectation, Cuaron still found himself in the center of the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement as the movement was starting to gain ground in 2000. Notably with the release of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Amores Perros where Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro helped out in the film’s international release while new changes were also emerging politically. The biggest is the end of the 71-year reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) where Vicente Fox became the country’s new president. Seeing the changes that is happening around his home country, Cuaron decided to create his next film by returning to Mexico.

Writing with his brother Carlos, the two created a project that would reflect the changing times of Mexico told from the perspective of two young teenage boys. Entitled Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), the film would bend many genres as it tells the story of two teenage boys who go on a road trip through Mexico with a Spanish woman in her late 20s. The film would also feature narration told by Solo con Tu Pareja actor Daniel Giminez Cacho that would reveals bits about the lives of its characters as well as the changing times in Mexico as the film was set in 1999.

Gaining a new collaborator in Alex Rodriguez to help edit the film, Cuaron decided to for a very different approach for the visual layers of the film. Wanting to stray away from the lush green palette of his previous feature films, Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki decided to strip things down for a more dream-like yet naturalistic look to the film. Particularly to capture a lot of what is happening in Mexico from the numerous political protests that occur in Mexico City to the rural areas of the country. For the scenes in these more lower-middle class parts of Mexico, Cuaron and his crew aimed for a more cinema verite approach to capture a moment that is happening on screen such as small ceremonies or an old woman dancing at a restaurant.

It would be among the many things the film’s protagonists would encounter throughout the journey. For the casting, Cuaron decided to get two emerging actors from Mexico to play the roles of Tenoch Itrube and Julio Zapata. It would be in the form of two young telenovela actors in Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, the latter of which just garnered some major attention for his work in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 2000 film Amores Perros. For the role of the older Spanish woman Luisa, Maribel Verdu of Spain nabbed the role as it would become her international breakthrough.

With the film being a coming-of-age drama as well as a road film set against the changing times of 1999 Mexico where the PRI party’s reign in the Mexican government would end. Cuaron also wanted to create a film that pushed the boundaries of sexual content by actually showing full-frontal nudity and a more realistic depiction of sex. Notably as it features a scene of Tenoch and Julio masturbating on diving boards as one of them would ejaculate onto a pool as a drop of semen is shown underwater. Since the film revolves around two teenage boys and an older woman, a three-way is likely to happen as Cuaron also decides to take shots at Mexico’s chauvinistic attitude towards homosexuality.

Another major change to the film was Cuaron’s approach to music by taking on an actual film soundtrack instead of a score. With a mixture of ambient electronic music, Mexican alt-rock, traditional ranchero music, and other sorts of music. Cuaron and music supervisors Annette Fradera and Liza Richardson would create music that is heard as if they’re playing it on Julio’s sister’s station wagon along with some pieces played to set a mood. One key scene is the use of Marco Antonio Solis’ Si No Te Hubieras Ido in a very simple yet entrancing scene where Luisa is dancing while holding a shot full of tequila as both Tenoch and Julio are entranced. It’s where Cuaron is able to create a pure moment of cinematic magic with sound and image to express what these characters are feeling.

The film premiered in its native country in June of 2001 where it would become a major box office hit in Mexico. Though the film would gain controversy for its depiction of sex, it was hailed as landmark film as it get its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Best Screenplay prize. The film would also gain a limited U.S. release where it received the dreaded NC-17 rating but was widely praised by critics as the film won various foreign film awards from the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The film also gave Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay while making Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna international film stars.

After the worldwide success of Y Tu Mama Tambien, Cuaron found himself in favor with major film studios for any kind of project that was available. Yet, he would find himself be attached to one of the hottest film franchises of the 2000s in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The story of an orphaned boy who discovers to be a wizard as he goes to a prestigious school of wizardry and witchcraft to learn how to become one while learning about his parents’ death in the hands of a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort. By the summer of 2003, Rowling had already released five acclaimed books of the seven-part series as there was high anticipation for the third film entitled Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban.

After American filmmaker Chris Columbus had helmed the previous two features to excellent reviews and being box office hits, Columbus decided to take a step back to produce the third film as many filmmakers were in line to direct the film including Cuaron’s friend Guillermo del Toro. Cuaron was in line though he admitted to not reading the books as until he finally did where he decided to helm the third film. The decision for Cuaron to take on the project was a delight to its novelist J.K. Rowling who had been a fan of Cuaron’s version of A Little Princess as well as Y Tu Mama Tambien.

While not being able to use most of his collaborators for the project including Emmanuel Lubezki, who was attached to various projects including Terrence Malick’s 2005 film The New World. Cuaron was able to attain the services of cinematographer Michael Seresin, who was famous for his work with Alan Parker, while working closely with production designer Stuart Craig to give the film a look that was different than its predecessor. Changing some of the designs for the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft as well as wanting to find ways to make the computerized visual effects more realistic. Notably in the use of puppets as he teamed with Basil Twist to help create the kind of movements needed for the dark creatures known as Dementors.

Since the film would be about Harry Potter discovering about the man who had betrayed his parents to Lord Voldemort, Cuaron and screenwriter Steve Kloves decided to go for a different approach to the story. Notably in focusing on Harry’s friendship with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as well as the mystery surrounding the fugitive named Sirius Black who is later revealed to be Harry’s godfather. With Columbus’ films having a very faithful although pedestrian approach to the filmmaking, Cuaron decided to loosen things up as he worked closely with the young actors while letting them be much looser in their performances.

Since the film was also going to have changes by having Michael Gambon replace the late Richard Harris as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore while veteran British actors Emma Thompson and David Thewlis joined the franchise in their respective roles as Divinations Professor Sybill Trelawney and Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin. It would the addition of Gary Oldman as Sirius Black that would add to the newness of the story as Cuaron would also add some eccentric humor to the film including an opening scene of Harry playing with his wand to the bedazzlement of his magic-hating uncle.

Released in May of 2004 in the U.K. and a U.S. release four days later, the film drew rave reviews with critics while becoming a major hit in the box office. Though the film would receive lots of criticism from Harry Potter purists over the changes Cuaron made as well as material that got left out. It would later be cited as one of the best film of the series for the way Cuaron was able to do something different with the franchise as it garnered two Oscar nods for John Williams’ score and its visual effects while winning an Audience prize from the BAFTAs.

For the 2006 anthology film Paris Je T’aime, Cuaron would be among a group of many filmmakers to present 18 short films set in the city of Paris. With a group of filmmakers as diverse like the Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Sylvain Chomet, Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles, Wes Craven, and many others. Cuaron joined the project as he teamed with Prisoner of Azkaban cinematographer Michael Seresin and editor Alex Rodriguez to create their short. While Parc Monceau was the most stylized short that was shot in one continuous take as it revolved around an older man, played by Nick Nolte, walking with a younger woman, played by Ludivine Sagnier, to meet with someone named Gaspar.

While it is a short that is quite weak compared to others due to its lack of plot, it’s sense of style is what makes it standout from the rest. Notably as it reveals a very surprising pay-off towards the end. It also proved that Cuaron was able to do things by showing posters for the works of other filmmakers of the project to exemplify that he’s a fan and it’s all about the bigger picture.

For his sixth feature film, Cuaron decides to return to Britain to create a very different film from his previous work. This time, it would be in an adaptation by taking on P.D. James’ dystopian novel The Children of Men. Set in 2027 London where women are unable to give birth setting for the world to collapse as chaos ensues in Britain. There, a former activist has to take a young woman who is revealed to be pregnant to a shelter only to deal with revolutionaries who want the woman for their own political reasons.

The project had been in the making for years as Cuaron had been attached to it since 2001 as it went through many writing stages during its development. First, it was written by Paul Chart and then re-written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby. Though Cuaron chose not to read the novel, he and screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton decided to do more work on re-writing the script with Sexton reading the book for guidance. What would end up would be this very harrowing story of a man trying to save this pregnant woman to ensure the future of humanity without any kind of selfish motivations whether its political or capital.

The casting for the film would prove to be big as Cuaron was able to gain a massive ensemble that led by Clive Owen as it also included Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Huston, newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey, Peter Mullan, Prisoner of Azkaban co-star Pam Ferris, and Michael Caine. Since the film is set in Britain and Cuaron wanted to go for a film that was a bit futuristic and out of control. Notably by creating a place where the poor is very poor as they live in shantytowns, the rich lives well while the middle class live dreary but stable lives. Cuaron wanted to establish a world that is about to explode.

Since the film was going to be a road film of sorts like Y Tu Mama Tambien where Clive Owen’s Theo character has to help out this young pregnant woman. Cuaron wanted to go for something where things are set in real time where things are out of control. That meant creating scenes in long takes such as the film’s opening scene where Theo is introduced as he walks out of a café that later explodes. Other scenes include the intense scene where Theo and various characters are in a car where they encounter rioters as there’s a camera inside that is constantly moving around though the film’s DVD release reveals how that scene is made.

One of the film’s key crucial moments involves an eight-minute shot where a battle is going on where Theo and Claire-Hope Ashitey’s Kee character are trying to walk through this intense fight where there’s blood on the camera while Kee is carrying the baby. Through Cuaron’s direction, Lubezki’s stark yet gorgeous cinematography, and Richard Beggs’ brooding sound design. It’s a scene that is filled with amazing suspense as if it was done in a cinema verite style where a lot is happening where the audience is part of this battle that is going on as they’re trying to evade the gunshots and explosions around them. It’s a moment where Cuaron would truly confirm his stature as one of the most thrilling filmmakers of his time.

The film premiered at the 2006 Venice Film Festival in September with a limited U.S. release later that December. The film became a huge critical and commercial hit for Cuaron as it also nabbed two Oscar nominations for its visual effects and Lubezki’s cinematography. The film’s success was even more important as it would prove to be a landmark year for Mexican cinema as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel garnered several Oscar nods including Best Picture while Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth won three Oscars as well as a nomination for Best Foreign-Language film. For Cuaron, the film’s success elevated him as one of the world’s best filmmakers.

Following the release of Children of Men in 2006, Cuaron was involved with several small projects including a documentary short called The Possibility of Hope that was released for the Children of Men DVD and in 2009, co-wrote and produced a short that he directed by his Jonas based on Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine. With Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Cuaron formed a production company called Cha Cha Cha films that produced his brother Carlos’ first feature film entitled Rudo y Cursi that starred Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.

It was around this six-year gap between films that Cuaron was attached to several projects that went through development issues including a film about the turmoil of student movement in Mexico of 1968. Other projects that Cuaron is attached to that might come out in 2013 and beyond is a collaboration animation project with Marjane Satrapi, Emir Kusturica, and Michel Gondry entitled Tales from the Hanging Head and a romantic film he co-wrote with Jonas entitled A Boy and His Shoe. These possible projects will have to wait as Cuaron will finally return with his sci-fi film entitled Gravity.

The story of a survivor from outer space who is desperately trying to get home to her daughter is a film that is likely to recall some of the themes of innocence previously told in a film like A Little Princess. Yet, it is also set to be different as it’s Cuaron’s most ambitious project to date as it will star George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The project is written by Cuaron, his son Jonas, and Colombian filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia as it will also feature dual cinematography work from Emmanuel Lubezki and Michael Seresin. The latter of which, is filling for Lubezki as he’s currently working on various film projects for Terrence Malick. While there remains no still or promotional photos set, it is a film that is carried with a large degree of anticipation due to its star power, premise, and the buzz that Cuaron has had in the past few years.

Through the six features he’s made and a new one on the way, Alfonso Cuaron is among one of the top filmmakers who can work in a Hollywood film system while attaining certain kinds of freedom few filmmakers can have in that system. While is also someone who can do projects that are very different while carry similar themes about growing up, facing some sort of sexual revelation, ambition, or trying to change the world in some strange way. It’s one of the reasons why there’s a group of people that hold Alfonso Cuaron in high regard. It’s because he’s one of those filmmakers who is willing to take the extra step into telling a story and make it into a true, worthwhile experience that isn’t seen much in today’s commercial-driven cinema.

© thevoid99 2012


Alex Withrow said...

Love Cuaron, specifically Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men, the latter one you and I have discussed before, but the discussion is endless. It is simply a masterful film.

Really excited about Gravity, despite my newfound hatred for Sandra Bullock post The Blind Side and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Great profile here.

Chip Lary said...

Great article. Thanks for all the info. I haven't seen a few of his earliest movies, but I've seen everything since. Of all that I have seen only Great Expectations was a disappointment. I didn't hate it, but I didn't particularly like it, either.

His Harry Potter film was my favorite until the very last one. The fact that it was made from my least favorite book says something.

And what more can I add on Children of Men? That battle scene, then the silence, are one of the greatest sequences I've seen in a film. And the movie is one of the very best SF films of the last 20 years.

thevoid99 said...

@Alex-Children of Men I think is a film that every film student and film buff should see.

I agree with you on Bullock as I think she's one of the most overrated actress out there. I'll still see Gravity in spite of her.

@Chip-I would definitely recommend watching Solo con Tu Pareja (which is available on Criterion DVD) and A Little Princess. The "Murder Obliquely" episode from Fallen Angel is available on YouTube though the quality isn't great.

Unknown said...

I had no idea he directed "A Little Princess" I just dismissed it as another Hallmark movie. Have to check that one out sometime. Alfoso Curon has made many different movies in many different genres. Great post

thevoid99 said...

@theVern-A Little Princess is not just some kids movie. It's more than that. I watched it w/ low expectations and I got into it.

It's one of those little gems that's out there.