Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ken Burns Reads Rooftop Reviews! ("The Way" with Martin Sheen) 2011

NOTE:  September 22nd, 2019. Have just noticed the many recent negative comments about my review of this long forgotten film. But the best part was the comment from Ken Burns. Who knew he even read this blog? He wanted me to remove the whole thing. This post was originally done October 29, 2011. I have to wonder about the timing of these recent negative comments about an 8 year old review.

It seems I made an error in believing that the film is a true story, when in fact, it is only loosely based upon one. And I'm not the only one who was fooled, as you can see by googling the film on IMdB. Link handily provided below and in comments.

I have been on here for 10 years, apparently reviewing things with no problems of perception. I was surprised at the comments. (Please read them below.)

As previously stated, I am not the only one confused by this film. Read the plot summary on IMdB. It clearly says that he goes to retrieve the body of his son who died on the Pilgramage. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441912/

So, in essence, this review is an example of what can happen when a film is made too convoluted, or with an assumption that everyone knows the backstory.

Out of my 2,200 posts I may have gotten this one wrong. I think that figure speaks more to the clarity of the film's direction than to my ability to understand a film. It was pretty cool to have any comment at all though, even a negative one, from Ken Burns. I don't kid myself he is a regular reader. Just friends with someone who was annoyed with my review.

I have attempted to research and find out just what my error was, all the comments after the first one in 2012 were less than informative, just that the review was bad. If I ever re-screen this long forgotten film I will attempt to review it again. Meantime, I have modified it to remove any factual errors.
...................................

This film, is a story about hiking the Pyrenees between France and Spain. The purpose of the hike is to trod the road taken by so many Catholics over the centuries in tribute to Santiago de Compostela who made the journey centuries ago, arriving at the site of the famed cathedral named after him.

APPARENTLY THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WAS INCORRECT. I WILL HAVE TO RE-SCREEN THE FILM TO SEE WHY THIS WAS SO UNCLEAR TO ME IN THE FILM. I HAVE MODIFIED IT FROM THE ORIGINAL UNTIL I DO SO.

The film was written, and directed, by Mr. Estevez in tribute to his son, named Daniel in the film, and whom he plays in flashbacks. His death necessitated his father, named Tom in the film, played by Martin Sheen, traveling to France in order to collect his son's remains. Mr. Sheen was Daniel's real grandfather. Along the way he remembers the conversations he had with his son about taking this journey, and on a whim he decides to take the trip.

The Camino de Santiago crosses the Pyrenees from France to Spain, ending at the Cathedral. Tom decides to take this journey partly in tribute to his son, as well as a way to come to terms with his death. He is hoping to find the meaning of his son's death, but soon begins looking for the meaning behind his own life.

Tom, a widower, had not been especially close to his son in the last few years of his too short life. The last contact he had with Daniel took the form of a phone call in which Daniel describes the journey he is about to embark upon. The next call Tom receives is from the French authorities. His son is dead and now he must go to France to claim the remains, which in this case are ashes.

When he begins the trip he starts to experience flashbacks of the father-son conflicts they had been through. Daniel has repeatedly asked that his father not "judge" him. In reality, Tom doesn't want to judge him at all; merely understand him. Arriving in France he meets a French policeman, played by Tcheky Karyo, who explains the history, and meaning, of the journey his son was taking. This serves to propel Tom on the path that his son was walking at the time of his death. He also plans to scatter his son's ashes at various places along the way.

There are three major characters whom Tom meets, and befriends, along the way. There is the obese Dutch party guy, played by Yorick van Wageningen; an Irish braggart suffering from writer’s block, played by James Nesbitt; and finally the chain-smoking Canadian woman, played by Deborah Kara Unger, who never learned how to be civil. Tom is stuck with this group as he struggles to keep his reasons for the hike to himself.

But as the group make their way across the mountains defenses break down, as each of the group comes to realize that life is not so much about changing the things you don't like about yourself. Sometimes it's more about accepting who you really are, and then moving on, content with that knowledge.

Some reviewers have likened the movie to both "The Canterbury Tales", as well as "The Wizard of Oz", both of which Estevez has called inspirations for the film.

For more about the making of this extraordinary film, including the parallels to "The Wizard of Oz", read the interview with Mr. Estevez at;

http://www.avclub.com/articles/martin-sheen-emilio-estevez,62918/

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Faces and Frames

What is it like to paint a face in a frame?
Do you start with the head, or is that the same?
How is it done, how does it work,
to capture an essence, the smallest of quirks?

Can you paint a laugh, a tear or a sigh?
I don't know for sure, though many have tried...
Mona Lisa is one; a painting which irks.
We really don't know - is that a smile, or a smirk?

Great critics argue that point to this day,
I have the answer, I'll put it this way;
Some say, "No difference", but I disagree;
she's smirking at you, but she's smiling with me.....

(Ruminating on my inability to draw....)