Monday, October 28, 2013

Greengrass docu-style strikes back

Paul Greengrass has once again lifted his docu-filming style on a pedestal while directing Captain Phillips, drama-action film based on a true story – captain’s memoirs.

After United 93, 2006 semi-docu drama about hijacked plane during the September 11 attacks, Paul found another serious issue to address through an old channel, but new leading guys, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, actor and film director from Somalia.

© Copyright Columbia Pictures 2013
Captain Phillips portrays a story of a captain of a cargo ship going through troubled international waters near uneasy Somali coast. Faced with Somali pirates, Tom Hanks, portraying a captain of the ship, delays attacks as efficient as possible until International Maritime Organization (IMO) and US Seals react.

Paul’s film intro has set a focus on a family momentum and a clear comparison between American and Somali lifestyle: on one side Somali pirates’ leaders choosing their ‘soldiers’, and on another side Hanks discussing his child’s potential employment issues with his wife, portrayed shortly by Catherine Keener. From this moment on we can feel that the story will unwrap as a competition, between Hanks and Somali pirates’ leader, Muse, phenomenally portrayed by Abdi.

Paul Greengrass’s semi-docu personal directing style is less evident at the beginning when we see footage from Abdi’s boat and his struggle to ‘show-off’ to his ‘soldiers’, but more evident in depiction of boats: fresh daylight cargo ship on one side and darkish Somali’s boat on another side.

Portrait of Hanks is magnificently edited through the piece, especially at the far ending when the agony on Hanks’s face is so spectacular that only because of those last 5 minutes I would suggest a Nomination for the Oscar.

With fantastic inner-ship simple cinematography by Barry Ackroyd (United 93, The Hurt Locker), and strong elements of poverty, international concerns, and third-world reality, I believe that Greengrass proved us once more how good he is in dealing with serious issues through 7th Art.

We often say that artists use their works to portray something fundamentally serious in an effective yet simple manner. It is safe to say that with Captain Phillips Paul Greengrass has succeeded.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dogs: Fashion accessory

In the last decade we were witnesses of increase of presence of dog breeds on high-fashion shows, strutting down the catwalk proudly, while giving a special glance to its catwalk owner, the model next to, and a brand itself.

Many scientists, such as e.g. Ph.D. professor from University of British Columbia, Stanley Coren, shrewdly observed that a pet dog improves your mental and physical health. Maybe driven by scientific research, or perhaps own sense (and sensibility), but it is quite obvious that fashion houses often include these lovely pets as catwalk and model accessory. We can easily say that it is/or becoming a trend.

Mulberry Spring 2014
London Fashion Week 2013
One of the most prominent and rather obvious examples of this is wonderful English fashion house Mulberry. Being well-known for amazing leather goodies, in the last couple of years it was almost inevitable to forget Mulberry four-legged friends. Last month at London Fashion Week we had an opportunity to see their example how dogs can finish the catwalk puzzle.

Tommy Hilfiger S/S 2013
 © Copyright Craig McDean
Tommy Hilfiger, an American lifestyle brand is also a very good example of this trend. Their ad campaigns are always filled with lovely French breed basset hounds that give an additional light to their clothing and accessories. 

I am not sure what the official data (if any) are saying, but I am pretty sure that when you see a dog on the street, in papers, magazines or TV, you have that small or rather big grin on your face. Dogs often provoke very soft (sometimes embarrassing) reactions from viewers. Therefore, it makes me wonder, can we say that fashion houses add pets to catwalk for the same purpose as baker does when she/he puts a cherry on top of the cake?
One way or another, we must admit, the concept is effective.

I am one of those who have a soft (embarrassing) happy reaction when I see a dog. Oh, and yes, when I see a good piece of clothing.