Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forever Now

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Charlotte Casiraghi. Well, because she is a fashionable chick (and I am a sucker for beautiful things such as ad campaigns and designer clothes, although I could not afford one). Recently, Charlotte Casiraghi signed on as the new face of Gucci. The relationship began when the Italian fashion house snatched Casiraghi as their global ambassador last year. Frida Giannini, the creative director of Gucci, designs her equestrian outfits for her showjumping competitions, which are made exclusively for her and are not available for the general public.

For Gucci's 90 year anniversary Casiraghi is featured in the brand's "Forever Now" campaign (see images below):

To quote (from Gucci's official website):
"Gucci is pleased to announce that it is extending its relationship with Charlotte Casiraghi, who will be the protagonist of the House’s new “Forever Now” advertising campaign series conceived by Creative Director Frida Giannini in collaboration with Ms. Casiraghi. Over the course of the next two years the new campaign will see Charlotte Casiraghi portrayed by four of the world’s most respected fashion and portrait photographers in a series of sittings celebrating the House’s renowned icons.
The first portraits tell the story of Gucci’s signature green and red stripe through the lens of Peter Lindbergh. Shot against the backdrop of a stable, the intimate photographs of Ms. Casiraghi evoke founder Guccio Gucci’s fascination with the art of riding.
It was Guccio Gucci who appropriated the green and red stripe from the canvas girth strap of the horse’s saddle. In the Fifties he first applied these colors to the trim and detailing of luggage and travel trunks, since then the stripe with its unmistakable colors has become an immediate visual reference to the House of Gucci.
Today, this legacy continues with Frida Giannini's special equestrian designs for Charlotte Casiraghi. The riding wardrobe Giannini has created for Ms. Casiraghi is highly technical but luxurious and features distinctive bearings of the House's own heritage, including the houses iconic green and red colors as well as the Gucci Crest and the finest of materials.
All video and photography of the campaign was shot by Peter Lindbergh. The director of photography was Jean Michel Vecchiet. The soundtrack to the video was composed by Charlotte Vecchiet and Paul De Coudenhove."

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: The Artist

The Artist (2011)
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Grade= A

There are two movies of 2011 that celebrated the cinema’s history: Hugo and The Artist.  Michel Hazanavicius take on old Hollywood silent era during its traverse at the arrival of sound is now an award-winning masterpiece.  Thanks to its infectious performances and charming storyline that highlights on the highs and lows of a fictitious film star named George Valentin. A reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly from Singin’ in the Rain, Valentin (Dujardin) might be invented by the creative mind of Hazanavicius, but nevertheless, his plight is real and has occurred to several stars of that particular era. In fact, the imminent emergence of sound to the movie industry gave a shock to its actors. Some of them refused to embrace this looming technology and some had failed to successfully shift to the new era of sound films with their horrible voices and thick accents. I could name a few of them, but that wouldn’t be necessary. Like most celebrated silent stars Valentin’s career collapsed and leaved him disillusioned, while a young ingénue named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) rises and breathes new life in cinema.  But as much as pitiful woes turn up in every corners of the story there is a delightful truth in a true Hollywood fashion that Tinseltown is the place where all dreams are made of.  And if there is a living testament that “dreams do come true” it would be the cast and the people behind The Artist.  Hazanavicius, who is virtually famous for his detective movies, is now a visionary director for creating a totally out of the box feature. At a time where every motion picture is being made into 3D (or at least, converted) who would have thought of a black & white silent cinema.  Some people I know just shun away or snooze by the sight of a grainy B&W or worse, cringe to a deafening silence of a non-talkie picture. So thanks Michel for bringing it back. I just hope it won’t turn everyone into a copycat just because everyone is crazy about The Artist.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: My Week With Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Directed by Simon Curtis

Grade = B+

Marilyn Monroe is the quintessential Hollywood bombshell with abundant of natural talent. She acts, sings and dances. And while at the peak of her career Monroe went to London to film a picture with Sir Laurence Olivier. "My Week with Marilyn" is told through the eyes of its narrator, Colin Clark, an assistant once employed in Olivier’s production during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl. Whilst Clark gains a certain proximity or closeness with Monroe in just a span of days he relishes in his fascination and love for the blonde headed beauty, but the more days he spend with her the more he discover that in spite of the actress’s fame and fortune – a frighten, lonely, and insecure woman lurks inside – scarred in ways beyond the public understanding. The birdlike sweetness and playfulness and Monroe’s delicate eccentricity is performed beautifully by Michelle Williams. She captured the electricity that Monroe ignites when she smiles on screen and you can feel her sadness in scenes off the camera. The supporting cast is superb.  Though lacking in physical similarities Kenneth Branagh portrayed Laurence Olivier convincingly in the latter’s usual powerful fast-paced machine mouth verbosity. While Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark held his own spot like a true English actor. But it is the camera work and cinematography that made this film look striking and gave the picture a rather distinguishing British appeal.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: Hugo

Hugo (2011)
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Grade= A

Hugo started out as a movie about a young boy named Hugo Cabret who secretly operates the clocks of a Parisian rail station. He steals mechanical parts in a toy store in order to fix a machine left by his deceased father, believing that it will uncover him a secret message. But with his adventures and misadventures the automaton leads him to a man who made their dreams possible. Martin Scorsese’s love letter to the cinema traces back to its early days in the 19th century, from the invention of Lumiere brothers, towards the cinematic creations of French auteur Georges Méliès and his masterpiece Le Voyage dans la lune. With the downpour of digital filmmaking, one cannot help but feel nostalgic about its simple and humble silent beginnings in celluloid black and white. Similar to Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore Hugo not only takes us into a colorful journey of cinema’s past, but also reminds us the power of the movies and the magic it weaves into our lives.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: Shame

Shame (2011)
Directed by Steve McQueen
Rating= A+

Steve McQueen’s earlier film "Hunger" and his follow up "Shame" have something in common. They both depict the sort of damage (both internal and external) that could be inflicted by one’s abused over his body. If Hunger is food deprivation, Shame is about sex addiction. So far, sex is and never was a taboo subject. It remains controversial, titillating and a cause of strict parental worrisome. As I have seen this already I understand if this would be released under the R-18 prohibition. No one below that age bracket should watch this, not due to the extensive sexual scenes, but because there is so much explaining to do. Life is a heartbreak hotel; and the characters that were played poignantly by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan deals with complex psychological problems. Fassbender is Brandon a 30-something yuppie with a well-structured lifestyle dominated by his compulsive sexual activities. However, this was disrupted by the arrival of his equally messed up, dependant personality sister (Mulligan). Though problems reflected in adulthood were commonly caused by childhood experiences, it was never insinuated in the film – but allows – and leaves an open question for the viewers to decide. True to his storyteller ways, McQueen gave us an unflinching and heartbreaking visualization of a likely Dorian Gray figure as to how far a person would go to feed his vice. How over-consumption obliterates an individual – as it leaves him none of his true-self but just a vestige of a rotten and decaying figure of a monster inside him. Shame is a heartbreaking film. In fact, I could go on and on about this, but what lingers into mind to best describe that feeling is the lounge scene with Carey Mulligan singing the slowest rendition of "New York, New York". This film conveys a universal solace for anyone suffering excessively from any form of dysfunction or compulsion. However, it doesn’t lecture its viewers with intensive melodramatic monologues that they should change their life; rather, it enlightens us that battles likes these could be won if help is offered and when everyone reaches out.

Film Roundup - Feb 2012: Hunger

Hunger (2008)
Directed by Steve McQueen

Rating= A

By its sheer silence, its utter violence and powerful cinematic vision I was left awestruck by this film. McQueen’s watchful eye, careful detailing and thorough execution of the intricate real-life scenes (of the hunger strike) is a journey unto itself that parallels a meticulous, well-written novel. Michael Fassbender’s transformation as Bobby Sands is a work of self-discipline that reflects no less than an ingenious collaboration between actor and filmmaker. The Troubles in Northern Ireland is a broad story, but McQueen as writer and director focused on a moment, on a goal, in order to create a unifying subject. He delights in the truth and does not embellish it for the audiences’ caprice. Truly, he is a filmmaker to be reckoned with.
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