El actor Viggo Mortensen asiste la alfombra roja de la película “Loin des hommes” durante el Festival de Cine de Venecia. (REUTERS)
Challenge to Perceval Press and sobrevueloscuervos.com followers:
Please participate in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” if you like, enduring a bucket of cold water poured onto your head, but ALSO send what money you can to help cure ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Doing both, as I have, is not illegal, and will help more than you know. Thank you!
Por favor participen en el “Ice Bucket Challenge” si quieren, aguantando un balde de agua helada a la cabeza, pero TAMBIÉN envíen el dinero que puedan para ayudar a curar la ELA (Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrófica). No es ilegal hacer las dos cosas, como hice yo, y ayudará más de lo que se dan cuenta. ¡Gracias!
via Perceval Press
(Viggo’s Ice Bucket Challenge in GIF form via finch)
Another roadside attraction. Photo credit #viggomortensen @corporalcupcake #captainfantasticmovie
SPECIAL REPORT: VENICE FILM FESTIVAL
By ROSLYN SULCASAUG. 26, 2014
In David Oelhoffen’s “Loin des Hommes,” (Far From Men) Viggo Mortensen plays the Algerian-born Daru, part of the French colonial class, who is living an isolated and self-sufficient life in the Algerian mountains, teaching local children to read and write, and — like a good colonizer — the history and geography of France.
But it is 1954 and change is coming. It happens upon an unwilling Daru in the shape of Mohamed (Reda Kateb), a villager whom he is commanded to escort to the nearest town, where the man will be judged — and ultimately executed — for killing his cousin. The difficult journey of the two men across the mountains, and the relationship that slowly emerges is the real matter of the movie, rather than the beginnings of what was to become the Algerian war of independence. But issues of loyalty to race and class, cultural traditions and ideas about whether choice is possible, gradually emerge against the beautifully filmed backdrop of the magnificent, harshly unforgiving landscape.
The director David Oelhoffen. ‘‘From the start, I felt it could be a universal story rather than a French story,” he said of the film. Credit Michael Crotto/Pathé Films
Mr. Oelhoffen and Mr. Mortensen spoke in separate telephone interviews about the Albert Camus short story, “The Guest,” that inspired the film, the political ramifications of the subject, and mastering French and Arabic. Here is an edited version of the conversations.
Q. How did you become involved in this project? Had you worked with David Oelhoffen before?
A. No, I hadn’t. Someone had shown him a video of me speaking French, and he got in touch and asked me if I thought I could do this role. I knew the Camus story, and I thought it was a great application to a larger context. There have been a few movies made about the Algerian war, but none have been nonideological in this way. It’s about two men who on the surface seem quite different, but as you go on, you realize that’s not really so. I think it’s a general rule in art that the more specific you are, the more application your story has. What happens in the film could make you think about Palestine, about the Middle East now, people who don’t want to take part in politics or violence, but find themselves in the middle of it.
Q. You’ve acted before in Spanish, and in this film, you speak in French and Arabic. Was that hard?
A. I grew up speaking Spanish, because we lived in Argentina when I was growing up, and my father is Danish. I think having other languages as a child makes learning new ones much easier. Later, we lived near the Canadian border, and I did French in high school and heard it a lot on the radio. I had a passion for the Montreal Canadiens in the ’70s, so I made an effort.
In a way, it ended up being more of a job to work on my French for the film, and change my accent, which was a bit Québécois. Before filming, I mostly worked on the Arabic because I had to learn that from scratch. I learned the basics before we started and we had an Algerian teacher who worked with both Reda and me on the set. There are differences between Algerian Arabic and other strands, so we had to be careful and accurate about that. I actually spoke a lot more Arabic in the film originally, but we cut quite a lot of crowd scenes to focus on the isolation and the two men. It’s interesting to work in different languages because it gives you a window into other worlds.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
Q. Was the Camus story a strong influence on how you conceived of your character?
A. Both David and I referenced the story as much as possible. I have always admired Camus and thought he didn’t get a fair deal from the left in France. History has proven him right; he spoke truth to power and paid a heavy price for it. He thought people should find a way to live together, whatever their differences of skin color or language. I think the character in the story in many ways represents who Camus might have become if he had stayed in Algeria.
Q. The Algerian war of independence is still a controversial and emotive subject in France. Did you feel that history weighed heavily during the filming?
A. This story takes no sides, which is hard to do when it’s about the Algerian war. It shows a bit of the horror, the excesses on both sides, and the problem of meeting someone in the middle. It’s a hard thing to do and people are averse to it most of the time.
It’s a story that shows that people can overcome prejudices they didn’t even know they had. Both men have to make an effort to understand something that they thought they knew and in the end they are more alike than different. Daru has a real relationship with the Arabic community but he is distrusted by the French because of that. But for that community, he is also a colonizer who teaches the children about the rivers and mountains of France and the French language. He tries to get away from the politics, going into the mountains, far from everything and trying to do positive things. But it catches up with him, war comes to him as it does to everyone else in his community. The story has a lot of relevance when you think about what’s going on today. People are so distracted by their devices, television, their lives that they don’t want to think about serious unanswered problems and questions. But sometimes they come and find you.
Q. The film departs from the Camus story in many ways. How did you make those decisions?
A. I had to invent a lot, of course. I read all of Camus, his journalism, everything he wrote about Algeria, where he lived until he was in his twenties. “The Guest” is actually set before the war, but I set the film at the beginning of the conflict. From the start, I felt it could be a universal story rather than a French story, like a western — a collision of two systems of law, with that immensely savage and powerful landscape.
Q. The changing relationship between the two men is key. How closely did you work with Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb on the dynamics between them?
A. I worked with them separately because their process is very different as actors. Reda needs to isolate himself to work out his character, Viggo tries to be as much “in” the scene, with as much exterior detail as possible to feel who he is. Both are incredibly hard workers, both had to work on the languages, and there was a lot of respect between them. In any case, it’s difficult for things to go wrong when you work with Viggo Mortensen.
Q. Is it politically sensitive for a Frenchman to make a film about the Algerian war?
A. It’s certainly still a controversial topic for the French, as is Camus on the subject of the war. He wanted to spare the civilian population, he organized debates, but he was derided, and he still has a complicated reputation in France; it’s fashionable to scorn him. I certainly felt there was unease around the topic when we were showing the script around, and maybe that’s why we didn’t get public money. But in Algeria, I felt there was a warm welcome for the project. In some ways, it’s just about two men.
(Source: The New York Times)
First Trailer For Venice and TIFF “Loin des Hommes” (Far From Men)