Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley

Laura Winters at WP has a nice write-up on Sarah Polley, who sidestepped a traditional Hollywood acting career to work with directors that interested her like Michael Winterbottom and Wim Wenders. Her development shows -- her directorial debut 'Away From Her' has the polish of a long-time pro lenser. The technique in the still below of Julie Christie is impressive -- the character is in the right half of the frame and is looking to the right, which throws the frame out of balance and is a visual metaphor for the disorientation of memory loss -- more than you would expect from a young director's first film. Winters quotes Polley:

In the past, Polley was said to dislike interviews, so it's a welcome surprise to find her so open. "The press stuff...felt like a charade where I had to play some role so the journalist would have enough to write about. But now, having directed this movie, I've found my place within this process where I can be myself. I don't feel fraudulent talking about my film."

'Away From Her' is based on the short by the formidable Alice Munro, The Bear Came Over the Mountain. Story is about a woman whose memory is fading as Alzheimer's takes its toll -- but thematically, I believe, it's about what it is to be human.

Julie Christie in Away From Her

That Polley was willing to tackle an adaptation of Munro, and could convince the reticent Julie Christie (pictured above) to do another movie speaks volumes for the future of this director. Here is Winters on Christie's involvement:

Christie is elusive in a literal sense, too. "I'm not, as Sarah put it so beautifully, the most ambitious of actresses," she says in Toronto during the festival, sitting on a sofa with her legs curled under her. "I could see that this was a wonderful script, but it was entering turf that wasn't perhaps where I wanted to be. So I resisted for a long time."

Finally, Christie underwent a change of heart and turned in a performance that has people already talking about an Oscar nomination.

'Away From Her' has received strong reviews from the Berlin, Toronto, and Sundance festivals, and is in limited release.

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