Friday, September 15, 2006

Simone

Simone Review: Insane Celebrity Fans

It’s a great film not just because it has a perfectly beautiful imagery; every single word of tag lines, monologue and dialogue is meaningful. Let’s sample the story that contains these masterpieces.

Viktor’s confessions to his ex-wife Elaine outlined the setting of the story:

“Do you know why I, Viktor Taransky, two-time Academy Award nominated director overseeing the most cherished movie project of my career, am walking around with a pocketful of cherry Mike & Ike’s?…It is because Miss Nicola Anders, supermodel with a SAG card God’s gift to cinema, has it written into her contract that all cherry Mike & Ike’s be removed from her candy dish along with strict instructions that any room she walks into should have seven packs of cigarettes waiting for her three of them opened, that there be a personal jacuzzi within eighty paces of her dressing room, and that any time she travels, her nanny must fly with her first class.”

“We used to decide who would play what role. We told them what to wear, what to say, who to date. When they were under contract, we could change their names if we wanted to — more than once!”

This film speaks in the Director’s own voice; it’s a snapshot of the dominance of movie stars over filmmakers and of the blind adoration fans have for movie stars.

Then Viktor met Hank. VIKTOR: I don’t know anything about computers.

HANK: That’s why you’re so perfect. You have something I don’t have…An eye — for performance…You and me, art and science…we are the perfect marriage.

Hank left Viktor a gift that changed Viktor’s career and life and Viktor made Hank’s wish come true. The gift was some computer codes that invented a perfect fake person named Simone to help Viktor re-cast the almost done film when the leading actress mentioned above walked away.

What did this change bring to Viktor? Movie fans’ insane adoration for the non-existent fake actress, Simone was not the attention Viktor expected, as Elaine had said, “This woman — she controls your destiny.”

Viktor made the tough decision to deconstruct Simone. Here comes the most touching and sad scene:

Viktor’s monologue:

“It’s the only way, Simone. If it’s any consolation, you’re going to live on in the public’s heart like all the other tragic figures that went before their time. There’s no love like posthumous love.”

“It’s a phoney-baloney world. The women are surgically enhanced, the athletes are on steroids, the singers are lip-syncing if they’re even singing at all, the news is entertainment, the politicians are bought and paid for — we’re living one big lie…You’re more authentic than the people who adore you…It wasn’t that the artists had no respect for the art. They had no respect for me. Someone like you, you have so much love showered on you — I just wanted to feel one tiny drop on my face…Here I’ve been trying to convince the world that you exist, but I was really trying to convince them that I exist. It’s not that you aren’t human, Simone, it’s that I am.”

The image of Simone’s face gradually begins to deconstruct — pixel by pixel — as the virus takes hold.



Now comes our discussion. Who is more important, the director or the actress? I think everyone is important. As Elaine said, “It was a team effort.”

IMHO, a good story from a novelist and its adaptation by good filmmaker both play significant roles. A meaningful story will not only entertain audiences but also inspire them. Audiences will be impressed by good performers based on the depth of the roles and actors interpretations. The players are important when their performances are impressive. However without a meaningful story and without the integrated expression of the story even the best movie star’s performance will only be at entertainment level.

e.g. the other film I reviewed, called “The Favourite Game” I almost don’t remember the actors and actresses. For me, other actors and actresses could equally well play those roles. The reason why they are not too outstanding is probably because their mother tongue is French and in the movie they have to speak English. But this film is still marvelous, the integrity, the meaning of the story and the scenes.

Also, in another film "Femme Fatale", the leading actress Rebecca Romijn’s performance is absolutely excellent, however, in “Simone” she played a minor role as Simone’s latest stand-in and decoy. She is not noticed by audiences at all but she is a good actress. The director made her role a minor one. No matter how superlative her performance was, she didn’t have a stage in “Simone” to show her talents. What if she played Simone’s role? I think she could also be packaged like an angel.

There are also other parts of the film “Simone” that may be worth your attention.

When Viktor wondered why every fan wanted to see Simone in person while his daughter Lainey never asked, Lainey said, “I love her but that doesn’t mean I need to meet her…What’s Simone going to say to a fourteen-year-old anyhow? She’s going to be polite because you’re my father but we’re not suddenly going to become friends — we have nothing in common…Anyhow, she gets more beautiful in my head every day. Why kill the dream? What do they say, ‘don’t get too close to your idols, they always disappoint you.” She has refreshing and wise thoughts compared with the insane celebrity fans, what about you?

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