Friday, December 21, 2012

Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz / Take This Waltz. CA/ES/JP © 2011 Joe's Daughter. P: Susan Cavan, Sarah Polley. D+SC: Sarah Polley. DP: Luc Montpellier. DI: Technicolor Toronto. PD: Matthew Davies. AD: Aleksandra Marinkovich (as Aleks Marinkovich). Set dec: Steve Shewchuk. Cost: Lea Carlson. Makeup: Leslie Ann Sebert. Hair: David R. Beecroft.  SFX: Laird McMurray. VFX: Rocket Science VFX - Robert Crowther. Daniel's art: Balint Zsako (water colours). M: Jonathan Goldsmith. S: Jane Tattersall. ED: Christopher Donaldson. Casting: John Buchan, Jason Knight. C: Michelle Williams (Margot), Seth Rogen (Lou), Luke Kirby (Daniel), Sarah Silverman (Geraldine), Jennifer Podemski (Karen), Diane D'Aquile (Harriet), Vanessa Coelho (Tony). Loc: Canada: Cape Breton, Louisbourg (Nova Scotia), Little Portugal in Toronto (Ontario). 116 min. Released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish / Swedish subtitles [I failed to notice the translators credited]. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 21 Dec 2012.

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women. There's a shoulder where
Death comes to cry. There's a lobby with nine hundred windows.
There's a tree where the doves go to die.
- Federico García Lorca

The name of the movie refers to the song (1988) by Leonard Cohen written to the poem "Pequeño vals vienés"/ "Little Viennese Waltz" by Federico García Lorca (1930).

Technical specs from the IMDb: - Camera: Panavision Genesis HD Camera - Laboratory: Technicolor, Toronto, Canada (dailies) - Source format: Digital - Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate - Printed film format: 35 mm, D-Cinema - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Official synopsis: "When Margot (Michelle Williams), 28, meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), their chemistry is intense and immediate. But Margot suppresses her sudden attraction; she is happily married to Lou (Seth Rogen), a cookbook writer. When Margot learns that Daniel lives across the street from them, the certainty about her domestic life shatters. She and Daniel steal moments throughout the steaming Toronto summer, their eroticism heightened by their restraint. Swelteringly hot, bright and colorful like a bowl of fruit, Take This Waltz leads us, laughing, through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long‐term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves."

Sarah Polley: “Life has fantastic moments of absolutes, moments where you believe absolutely something, and those moments should be really enjoyed. My general belief is that every decision is ambiguous and it is rare that a decision is clearly right or wrong. Sometimes it can feel that way and those are interesting moments that stand out for me. But I think we are all just muddling through. You never know how a decision will end up so you never know what the right one is. To me, the only real truth is in ambiguity.

A happily married woman is inexplicably drawn to her lover. Everything has been fine, but there is something inside that has been unfulfilled.

There is an assured approach in the film to the elusive nature of instincts, feelings, and emotions. It's about tenderness and love. It's about a woman's two loves, but it's not a triangle drama (even less a triangle tragedy).

This is a performance-driven movie, and the performances are fine. Especially Michelle Williams is truly radiant here, at her best. This is one of the finest performances of the recent years.

I like the score by Jonathan Goldsmith. There are exciting passages in it.

Memorable features: - The historical enactment of the flogging of an adulterer - The marriage of the couple has turned into camaraderie in five years, and perhaps something of the erotic tension has disappeared - The struggling artist working as a rickshaw man - The martini scene ("I want to know what you'd do to me") - The naked shower scene is a beautiful anthology piece - "The storm": the sudden revelation about the state of the marriage ("I'd thought you'd be there when I die") - The practical joke about the cold water in the shower was supposed to be revealed when the couple has turned 80.

Luc Montpellier's cinematography is ambitious (see the lengthy report beyond the jump break), much of it based on available sunlight, with different modes of stylization. In the scenes of falling in love and making love there is a gliding, waltzing camera movement.

The visual quality: the sweetening button has been slightly overused in the digital post-production to my taste.

The production information on the cinematography:

"A Bowl of Fruit

"Polley brought producer Susan Cavan and Luc Montpellier, her Director of Cinematography, with whom she worked on Away From Her, in after the first draft of the script. “As the project evolved, Sarah folded her key creative people into the process so her vision became a shared vision. In the case of Luc, alone, he was brought in far earlier than cinematographers are normally engaged. She is meticulous in her planning, and she and the actors had extensive rehearsals ‐ often right on the sets the scenes were to take place. That kind of comprehensive familiarity allows for improvisation, such as with the party scene which was heavily choreographed, but still had a looseness and imperfection that produced a very creative result,” said Cavan. Polley has indeed turned imperfection into an art form. “You could walk out of this film and feel quite good about yourself because you don’t know and are unsure, are imperfect and unfinished and have grafted your own experiences onto any one of the characters. It happens subtly throughout the film, and you come out breathless.”"

"“One of the first mandatory attributes of the film, in addition to the “bowl of fruit” motif, was that Sarah declared it be shot at the height of the summer in sweaty, hot downtown Toronto,” said Montpellier. And after two consecutive summers of cool and wet weather, the jet stream shifted north, allowing warm air from the Gulf to flow at record‐breaking levels. Muggy, soaring temperatures were capped off by Hurricane Earl, which made landfall in Nova Scotia, the film’s second location, just after 35 days of principal photography wrapped."

"In an effort to create a visual language for the film, Polley and Montpellier, with the contribution from a graphic artist, Jessica Reid, began trading images among themselves. “There were a lot of summer city images, paintings with a tremendous amount of chromain them, a lot of primary colors and night images. On a subconscious level, we always picked images with some kind of wetness to them where you could feel the heat within the frames,” recalled Montpellier. “In the end, this is what the film ended up having which is quite a victory when your original intention is actually reflected in the film.”"

"All the creative and visual decisions came from the characters, an organic design strategy which is a function of bringing the creative team in early in the process. “Margot and Lou live together in a wonderful life,” Montpellier continued, “but there is something slightly missing in their relationship. So the world of color and warmth is a celebration of uneasiness as well as satisfaction and every frame needed to tell that story without words.” By using a tremendous saturation of color and working primarily with source light (sunlight) coming in through windows, intruding into interior spaces, which in turn would bounce off objects, floors and ceilings in frame and then washing over the actors, everything appears honest and true to itself instead of looking artificially lit."

"Light and heat coming into Margot’s home and life is a metaphor for what takes place throughout the story and Montpellier strove to duplicate the poetry of the screenplay on the canvas of his cinematography. The backlighting of Lou during ‘the Storm’ scene reflects the emotion of what is happening to Lou at that moment. “All you need is a clear idea to start and for me, for the production designers, for costume design, for all of us, it is the dramatic point of view from which we all work. Story informed everything.”"

"It was story, specifically the “Storm” scene which made Polley and Montpellier decide to shot the film digitally. This allowed them to let the camera roll for over two hours continuously. There’s an emotional response to images you get when you are able to film them at certain times of the day. Shooting at magic hour (a misnomer because this is the last 15 minutes of sunlight in a day, as well as the first 15 minutes in early morning) was something Polley wrote into the script. As the sun set on Margot’s marriage, it also rose on the potentially new relationship she had with Daniel. “Neither of these scenes would have had the same significance if they were shot at high noon,” commented Montpellier."

"“For the hero house, where Lou and Margo live, the colors are slightly off prime because I didn’t see Sarah’s ‘bowl of fruit’ as being fresh, but rather sticky and over ripe,” remarked Production Designer Matthew Davies. “I wanted a sense of heat building up in the house, slightly oppressive, with a treacley, beautiful amber light filtering through the windows. This is in direct contrast to Daniel’s apartment which is bright white with high key, primary colors.”"

"As envisioned by Polley, the hero house in Toronto’s Little Portugal (which is the scripted neighborhood) is a fine example of real estate as biography, embodying the spirit of Queen West: a liberal, independent middle class couple would have bought the place when the market took a momentary downturn and then began extensive renovations which dragged on. “Unfinished, like everything else in Lou and Margot’s life,” continued Davies. “So we see the uneven surfaces, exposed wiring and peeling plaster. Textured surfaces play light in an interesting way so we used grass wallpapers, a shiny, leather sofa, which has a sticky quality and the coffee table made from samples of linoleum. The colors are oranges, greens and nicotine khaki.” The interior walls of the house are a very saturated, hot, apricot color and is further intensified by installing amber and lilac glass panels which pick up shafts of exterior light shining through into the house through patterned gobos, lace sheers and wicker blinds. And in every room are oscillating fans. The effect of heat is a result of layer upon layer upon layer of architectural detail.”"

"Davies furnished the house with vintage pieces, re‐appropriated from other sources. The art on the living room wall, created specifically for the film, is a photographic triptych of seven graffiti artists (mostly kids from a city project) at one Toronto streetcar stop. This piece is made more significant as a result of the agenda of the new mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, who had that particular wall painted over a few months after the film was completed. This is also the same streetcar stop in the scene where Daniel, with his rickshaw, passes by Margot."

"“To say Sarah is collaborative doesn’t do justice to her approach. Sarah is very multi‐layered and cultivates very healthy relationships with the crew, allowing everyone to feel like they are a part of the project, to invest themselves in it, and bring something exceptional of themselves to the film,” explained Davies."


"Green Mountain State"
Written & Performed by Corinna Rose & The Rusty Horse Band
Used by permission of Corinna Rose & The Rusty Horse Band (SOCAN)

"Close Your Eyes"
Written & Performed by Micah P Hinson
Publishing Courtesy of Universal Music
Publishing Group a division of Universal Music Canada Ltd.
Master Courtesy of Micah P Hinson

"Mahi Ve"
Written by Rup & Q
Performed by JoSH
Publishing Courtesy of Josh Entertainment
c/o Awesome Productions & Management
Master Courtesy of EMI Music Canada o/b/o
Awesome Productions & Management

"Secret Heart"
Written by Ronald Eldon Sexsmith
Performed by Feist
Publishing Courtesy of Universal Music
Publishing Group a division of Universal Music Canada Ltd.
Master Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Productions Inc

"Wide Open Plain"
Written & Performed by Doug Paisley Performed by The Parachute Club
Publishing Courtesy of Domino Publishing Company of America Inc.
Master Courtesy of No Quarter Records

"Rise Up"
Written by Billy Bryans, Lauri Conger, Lynne Fernie, Lorraine Segato, and Steve Webster
Performed by The Parachute Club
Publishing Courtesy of Pclub Songs and Children of Paradise Music
Master Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc.

Written and Performed by Charles Spearin
Publishing Courtesy of Charles Spearin (SOCAN)
Master Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Prudtctions Inc.

"Santa Lucia"
Written by Alexander Andersen, Marco DiFelice.
Performed by A Man Da Band featuring Marco DiFelice
Publishing Courtesy of Einstein Brothers Inc.
Master Courtesy of Einstein Brothers Inc.

"Rave On Sad Songa"
Written and Performed by Jason Collett
Publishing Courtesy of Gallery AC Music (SOCAN)
Master Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Productions Inc.

"Closing Time"
Written by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Feist
Publishing Courtesy of Stranger Music (BMI)
Administered by SONY/AVT Publishing
Canada (SOCAN)

"Video Killed The Radio Star"
Written by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn and Bruce Woolley
Performed by The Buggles
Publishing Courtesy of Universal Music Publishing Group a division of Universal Music Canada Ltd.
Master Courtesy of Universal-Island Records LTD.,
under license from Universal Music Canada Inc.

"Stand Tall'
Written and Performed by Burton Cummings
Publishing Courtesy of Shillelagh Music {SOCAN)
Master Courtey of KAYPM Entertainment LLC
All Rights Reserved

"Don't You (Pt. 1 & 2)"
Written and Performed ny Micah P. Hinson
Publishing Courtesy of Universal Music
Publishing Group a division of Universal Music Canada LTd.
Master Courtesy of Micah P. Hinson

"Take This Waltz"
Written by Leonard Cohen / Federico García Lorca (as Garcia Lorca)
Performed by Leonard Cohen
Publishing Courtesy of Stranger Music (BMI)
Administered by SONY/ATV Publishing Canada (SOCAN) All Rights Reserved
Used by Permission of EMI Blackwood Music Inc. (BMI)
Master Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc.

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