Monday, October 30, 2006

'What Were You All Doing in the Wardrobe?'

Virginia Film Festival, 2006 -- Day Three:

The morning began sunnily but inside the Regal Cinema it was winter, with a screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Disney's 2005 blockbuster. The movie was followed by a panel discussion moderated by the ubiquitous David Edelstein and featuring the film's producer, Mark Johnson, and its star, Peter Pevensie himself, young British actor William Moseley:



After an informative give-and-take with the audience, Mr. Moseley yielded to the desires of his (mostly female) teenage fans by signing some autographs in the lobby:



I left Narnia to see Cecil B. DeMille's silent version of King of Kings at the Paramount, but the toll of too many films on too little sleep began to affect me, so I ducked out after 20 minutes -- I stayed for the conversion of Mary Magdalene -- and took a break at home. Missing the live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton was a disappointment, but I needed some time to breathe.

Returning to downtown Charlottesville, I caught Michael Tolkin's The Rapture. The discussion with the director/screenwriter that followed this silly and pretentious movie was far better than the film itself.

Rushing to Newcomb Hall on the grounds of the University of Virginia, I saw last year's Everything Is Illuminated, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, which was followed by a Q&A with the film's director and screenwriter, Tony-winning actor Liev Schreiber. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but let me just suggest this as a something to send to U.S. Senator George Allen as a Chanukah present this year.

I raised one question, which seemed to embarrass Mr. Schreiber, though he shrugged it off with aplomb.

I noticed that, in the movie, the Ukrainian tour company (and the family that runs it) is based in Odessa. But the character of Jonathan (played by Elijah Wood, in an understated yet neurotic performance) arrives at and departs from a railroad station in Lviv, some 388 miles northwest of Odessa. (Odessa is on the Black Sea; Lviv was once the Polish town of Lvov.) This wasn't something obscure that I caught: the name of Lviv is splashed in letters at least 12 feet high on the front of the railway station building.

In reply, Liev Schreiber tried to weasel out of this gaffe by saying that Odessa is an expensive city to live in, so even though the family owns a business there, they live "on the outskirts, in Lviv."

All I can say is, that's quite a commute.

After the discussion, Liev Schreiber -- whose mother lives in metropolitan Charlottesville, he said -- enjoyed some informal banter with fans:


After Everything Is Illuminated, we were treated to the world premiere of the first trailer for Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty scheduled to be released next June. Evan Almighty was filmed in and around Charlottesville (most particularly in a new housing development near Crozet). Consequently, about three-quarters of the audience Saturday night to watch Bruce Almighty had been in the picture as extras. Director Tom Shadyac paid tribute to them and promised that Evan Almighty will have a big premiere in Charlottesville next year, in the form of a fundraiser for local charities.

Here are some photos from another busy day at the Virginia Film Festival:


Peter (William Moseley) defends his sisters in a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
(Photo courtesy the Virginia Film Festival)


William Moseley signs autographs for fans


Actor-director-screenwriter Liev Schreiber mingles with Virginia Film Festival participants


There's still one more day to chronicle, but I'm absolutely knackered right now. I discovered that, after four days of the Virginia Film Festival, I have 66 pages of notes to review before writing something more substantial than what you've seen here so far.

1 comment:

Nadine said...

What did you think of the Evan Almighty trailer? As a fan of the original I was curious as to what they showed in it?