It is not hard for me to see why a lot of attendees at this years TCMFF would be scratching their head over the inclusion of a film that is only seventeen years old. George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez continue to make films and it is a little hard to think of them as “classic” movie actors at this point. They reek of contemporary status. The answer turns out to be pretty simple and it was also the main driving force in my selection of this film for viewing on the last day of the Festival. Anne V. Coates identified it as one of her favorite films that she worked on.
Anne Coates has worked as an editor on films since 1952. That is more than sixty years in the business. That makes her the classic element of the selection. If you still have doubts let me dispel them with one title: “Lawrence of Arabia“. That’s right, she edited the greatest epic film of all time and won the Academy Award for doing so. She has been nominated four other times for her work including the current subject, her collaboration with Steven Soderbergh. This was a very creative process that included some interesting choices. There are dramatic freeze frame moments that are not based on an action beat but instead serve the character or the emotions of the moment. A dream sequence is flawlessly inserted into the narrative, mixing both the reality of the plot and the fantasy of the romance.
The screenwriter, director and editor all managed to fashion an effective flashback structure that is interesting without becoming too confusing. “Out of Sight” may be best remembered for the performers, especially the sequence with Clooney and Lopez in the trunk of a car, but it will be studied by film students for the creative story telling and the innovative editing choices made by the film makers.
I’d skipped the screening of “Lawrence” to be able to go to the “Dawn of Technicolor” presentation. I have seen Lawrence on the big screen a number of times in recent years, in fact it is a bit of a mania around our house. The pass that i chose also left me out of the hour long conversation that was scheduled, but her speaking at this screeening would give me an opportunity to hear from one of the greats in the industry and it was worth the extra fee i had to pay for the non-included screening. While Host Ben Mankiewicz seemed to delight in the seeming inconsistency of Miss Coates editing both “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Fifty Shades of Grey”, she treated all of her own work with some degree of respect. She seemed to recognize that the salacious “Grey” and silly “Masters of the Universe” were just pulp product for mass consumption, there were still choices to be made. She believed that the film of “Fifty Shades” is better than the book ( a claim I think everyone will probably agree with) and she hinted that the movie could have been much more explicit, prompting Ben to say he looks forward to the extended cut on home video.
I’d like to add one delightful side note on the screening if I may. During the previous activity down at the Egyptian Theater, I’d messaged one of the bloggers I was trying to connect with, Citizen Screen (Aurora). Here is a breakdown of our contact.
That’s right, standing in the back of the Standby line for Out of Sight, I looked down on the very long line of people waiting to get in, and there was an enthusiastic woman waving up at me. I waved back and smiled broadly having finally connected in at least one way with my colleague. I was clearly not thinking like a film maker at that moment, because a photo of her wave would have been a nice capstone for this post. Hi Aurora, it was fun seeing you. We should wave at each other again next year.
Sounds like a wonderful time was had with one of my favorite Soderbergh films. Wish I could have been. Thanks for the highlight, Richard.