Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Descendants

The Descendants / The Descendants. US © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Dune Entertainment. PC: Ad Hominem Enterprises. P: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor. D: Alexander Payne. SC: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash - based on the novel (2007) by Kaui Hart Hemmings. DP: Phedon Papamichael - digital intermediate: Modern Videofilm. PD: Jane Ann Stewart. AD: T.K. Kirkpatrick. Set dec: Matt Callahan. Cost: Wendy Chuck. Makeup: Julie Hewett. Hair: Debra Rego. M supervisor: Dondi Bastone. M editor: Richard Ford. Songlist: Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, and Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, more beyond the jump break. S: Frank Gaeta. ED: Kevin Tent. Loc: Hawaii (Honolulu, Kaua'i). C: George Clooney (Matt King), Patricia Hastie (Elizabeth King), Shailene Woodley (Alexandra "Alex" King), Amara Miller (Scottie King), Beau Bridges (Cousin Hugh), Judy Greer (Julie Speer), Nick Krause (Sid, Alex's slacker friend), Matthew Lillard (Brian Speer), Robert Forster (Scott Thorson, Elizabeth's father), Mary Birdsong (Kai Mitchell), Rob Huebel (Mark Mitchell), Milt Kogan (Dr. Johnston), Laird Hamilton (Troy Cook), Michael Ontkean (Cousin Milo), Matt Corboy (Cousin Ralph), Celia Kenney (Reina). 115 min. Released in Finland by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Katja Paanala / Carina Laurila-Olin. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 7, Helsinki, 14 April 2012.

Technical specs (IMDb): Camera: Panavision Panaflex Platinum, Panavision Primo Lenses. - Laboratory: DeLuxe, Hollywood (CA), USA (prints), FotoKem Laboratory, Burbank (CA), USA (dailies), Modern VideoFilm, Burbank (CA), USA (digital intermediate). - Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219). - Cinematographic process: Super 35 (3-perf) (source format), Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format). - Release format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Fuji Eterna-CP 3514DI), D-Cinema. - Aspect ratio: 2.35:1.

IMDb synopsis: "A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident."

Alexander Payne has directed five films, all notable (Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, and The Descendants), and in The Descendants he is at his best. Kaui Hart Hemmings's novel has evidently provided a solid basis for this adaptation. Physically and psychologically it rings true. The characters are well-rounded and three-dimensional in the sense of psychological authenticity.

Like Hable con ella, La mar adentro, and Million Dollar Baby, The Descendants belongs to the current trend of deathbed movies; in this story, Elizabeth King has signed a living will. The movie is an account of a turning-point in the story of a family because of the mother's death but also because the destiny of the land of the prominent 150 year old Hawaii family is at stake.

I have never visited Hawaii but the cinematography on location conveys a strong sense of the place. The visual world (designs, colours, patterns) is pronouncedly Hawaiian, and the Hawaiian soundtrack is excellent.

Shot on photochemical film, The Descendants looks good even on 2K DCP, especially in close-ups, medium shots, interiors and urban views.

Soundtrack details beyond the jump break:

Editorial remarks: "The Descendants is the first mainstream American movie scored exclusively with Hawaiian music, most of it created by acknowledged masters of the genre, both modern and classical Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, and Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, among others. The filmmakers sought to make a movie with a distinctly Hawaiian flavor, and the music was a crucial component. As well as echoing the experience of watching the film, The Descendants soundtrack will reveal to listeners the soulful and emotional spectrum of Hawaiian music over the decades and serve as an eye-opening introduction to some of Hawaiian music s greatest and most essential artists."

KA MAKANI KA ILI ALOHA -Performed by Gabby Pahinui
KALENA KAI - Performed by Keola Beamer and George Winston
HI ILAWE - Performed by Gabby Pahinui
ULILI E - Performed by Rev. Dennis Kamakahi
PINE TREE SLACK KEY - Performed by Pancho Graham
AUWE - Performed by Ray Kane
LEAHI - Performed by Gabby Pahinui
HAWAIIAN SKIES - Performed by Jeff Peterson
HE EIA - Performed by Gabby Pahinui and Sons Of Hawaii
IMI AU IA OE - Performed by Keola Beamer
KAUA I BEAUTY - Performed by Gabby Pahinui
HI ILAWE - Performed by Sonny Chillingworth
WAI O KE ANIANI - Performed by Gabby Pahinui
PUA HONE - Performed by Rev. Dennis Kamakahi
HAPUNA SUNSET - Performed by Charles Michael Brotman
MOM - Performed by Lena Machado
KA MELE OKU U PU UWAI - Performed by Sol Hoopii s Novelty Trio

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