Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Buzz surrounding Stanley’s Girlfriend

This short film in which Tahmoh stars as Leo will be screened this May at the Cannes Film Festival. It is part of a larger horror anthology film, Trapped Ashes, that will be released in theaters sometime this year.

Several members of the yahoo film discussion group, a_film_by, have seen the film and have been posting reactions. I've included the most interesting and relevant sections of their posts below (edited slightly).


I just ran into Monte at Riteaid, and he invited me over to look at rushes from his new film - a 30-minute ghost story called "Stanley's Girlfriend," about a strange episode in the early life of Stanley Kubrick. It's part of an omnibus film produced by Dennis Bartok of the American Cinematheque, "Trapped Ashes," with other sections by Ken Russell, Joe Dante and 2 others....

The footage is a pleasure to see even in rough form - lots of lovely compositions in depth, great natural(-looking) lighting, spare camera moves, all shot in 3 1/2 days on a set he only saw the day before he started shooting. I found out that he never replaces dialogue. He's sensitive to the aural qualities of performances, and he doesn't like what happens when you loop afterward. Being an editor he always knew he could use one actor's line from another take to sweeten a scene where another actor was at his best, etc., like a French director.

It's all unknown actors: Stanley (who is never called Kubrick, but obviously is)
[Tygh Runyan], Stanley's girlfriend [Amelia Cooke] and a young writer named Leo [Tahmoh Penikett] that he befriends in 1957, when most of the film takes place. John Saxon plays Leo in the epilogue, set in 1999. Monte showed me his last close-up and said: "I told him not to act here. Isn't he wonderful?" There's also an historical "document" filmed in black and white in a graveyard, which is Monte Does Mario (although I suspect he was thinking of the beginning of Great Expectations, one of his favorite films)....

John Saxon is also in the "wraparound" directed by Joe Dante, apparently. Monte, ever the meticulous realist, put him on a platform to make him look as tall as the other actor playing Leo (Tahmoh).
[Saxon is 5'10" and Tahmoh is 6'3"]

Also, I should have made it clear that the script (written by Dennis Bartok) is about a FICTIVE strange episode in the early life of Stanley Kubrick.
I saw a rough cut of TRAPPED ASHES tonight....

Joe Dante's wrap-arounds are solidly conceived and shot, and fun (with a little PSYCHO reference thrown in). Really nice fun-house art direction. Monte Hellman's segment (with Stanley Kubrick as a character) is a mini-masterpiece in my opinion. Sean S. Cunningham's part is well below being competent -- a shame since it was based on some real experiences writer/producer Dennis Bartok had in Japan with his wife Susan. John Gaeta's is professional -- not sure he's a budding auteur, but it isn't bad.
Those of us who know Monte know what a romantic he is, and that side of him gets surprising reign to flourish within the demands of a vampire story. The film lore aspects of his sequence are just right. At one point he briefly recreates the look (framing, staging, resonance) of a great silent film. I can't imagine that much will change with his portion of the film between now and release (though they want to shave about six more minutes out of the whole).
Stanley's Girlfriend has been getting very good reactions. A European cinelegend who saw it thought it was Monte's best film.

No comments:

Post a Comment