Monday, 2 November 2015

"Downton Abbey" tv-series - selected trivia, quotes

Downton Abbey – trivia

• Although Robert and Cora Crawley both have blue eyes, their daughter, Mary, has brown eyes. This was thought biologically impossible in the Davenport Model (1907), although not very common, two blue-eyed parents can produce children with brown eyes. Eye color is a complex trait that depends on the state of several interacting genes. The gene that usually decides the issue (blue eyes or brown eyes) is the OCA2 gene on chromosome 15. But it comes in different strengths. A person with a weak form of the OCA2 gene will have blue eyes. Likewise a person with a strong form will have brown eyes, but individuals also have other eye-color genes that each has a say in the final eye-color outcome. For example, if one of these lesser genes is strong, it can make the weak form (blue) of OCA2 work much more effectively - almost like the strong form (brown). Then the eye color may be brown. In fact, the resulting color can be any shade of brown, hazel, green or blue depending on the interactions.

Julian Fellowes' inspiration for his original story came from authors such as Edith Wharton ("The Buccaneers") and close friend Henry James's general research of the novel's time period and subject matter. He also sourced the 1989 book "To Marry an English Lord". Elizabeth McGovern's character Cora, was the first one that he developed.

• Cast members of the show have revealed that the costumes are, in many cases, actual articles of clothing from the 1910s and 1920s. They are so fragile that they cannot be laundered, and as a result, don't smell very good.

• According to Julian Fellowes, the parts played by Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle (Bates) and Maggie Smith (Lady Violet) were written for the actors that played them.

• Julian Fellowes admitted in an interview that he didn't know about Dan Stevens' intentions to leave the show until it was too late into the Mary/ Matthew storyline, so the only option he had was to kill him to write him out of the show.

• Julian Fellowes revealed in an interview that the story of Pamuk dying and being dragged back to his room was based off a diary entry found in Highclere Castle during one of his stays at the house. He is good friends with the current Earl and Countess.

• In 2014 and '15, several crew and cast members refuted the bizarre rumors that the on-screen death of Lord Grantham's dog Isis was motivated by an off-screen mandate to shed the name (which had lately been associated in the news with a terrorist group (ISIS in that case standing for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"). Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), who was particularly impatient with and dismissive of these rumors, posted his rebuttal on his own website: "To clarify recent speculation, the labrador that appeared in Series One (1912-14) was a dog called Pharaoh. From Series Two (1916-1920) onwards, the labrador has been a bitch named - in keeping with the Egyptian theme - Isis. Anyone who genuinely believes the Series 5 storyline (1924) involving the animal was a reaction to recent world news is a complete berk." "Berk" is a British slang term meaning "idiot" or "fool," although its original meaning (from Cockney rhyming slang) was once much anatomically cruder.

• Hugh Bonneville quote [on the appeal of Downton Abbey (2010)]: "It's Breaking Bad (2008) with tea instead of meth."

• Lady Mary's Michelle Dockery is also an accomplished jazz singer.

• Butler Carson is played by the actually lovable and hilarious Jim Carter, who you may not have known is married to Imelda Staunton.

• Young George Crawley is played by twin boys, Oliver and Zac Barker.
- source

Maggie Smith has never watched “Downton Abbey”
Smith said she’s too much of a perfectionist to actually watch herself on-screen.
“It’s frustrating. I always see things I would do differently and think, ‘Oh, why in the name of God did I do that?’” Smith said.
The 78-year-old actress [born 1934] — who has won three Emmy Awards, two Oscars, and a Tony — also said that her acting style can scare many of her co-workers.
“You’re trying to say that I am what everybody says ... I’m scary — and I understand totally,” Smith said. “Old people are scary, and I have to face it, I am old, and I am scary, and I am very sorry about it, but I don’t know what you do.”
- source

The opera singer appears in the fourth series of the period drama, which begins in the autumn, and heralds the start of the Roaring Twenties by performing two pieces as the Australian operatic soprano, one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era, during a house party thrown by the Earl of Grantham.
Producer Gareth Neame revealed that her appearance on set had created such a "buzz" that everyone working on the show had rushed to watch her perform.
"It was the sight of all these tough electricians and grips and all the people you see on a film set with tears in their eyes and wiping a tear away," he said at the season launch in central London. "It was quite a special day." - source
Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa (born 1944) is a New Zealand soprano.
She played Dame Nellie Melba (1861 – 1931), born Helen Porter Mitchell, was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym "Melba" from Melbourne, her home town.

"It's rather embarrassing," says Lesley Nicol, who plays the feisty queen of the kitchen Mrs. Patmore. "People are always asking me for my favorite recipe, and I have to say I don't really have one. I can cook a little, to a point, but I have a husband who's much better. When we have company, he cooks and I do the 'front of the house,' which is to be the hostess. It works out much better.”

This terrible truth was exposed again recently when the cast of "Downton Abbey" was approached about doing a benefit cookbook for a London charity.

"I told them I would be glad to add my name,” says Nicol, “but I had nothing I could contribute."
That would have created an odd situation, she agrees — a "Downton Abbey" cookbook with no Downton Abbey cook.
"They asked me if they could put my name on a meat recipe and I said that would not be good, because I'm active with animal rights,” she says. “So they found a vegetable dish. It all worked out."
She doesn’t know how long “Downton Abbey” will go on — “The actors are always the last to know” — but she does remember the moment when she first realized its impact.
“I was walking my dogs in the park and a woman ran over and hugged me," she says. She laughs. “We're British. We just don't do that.” - source
см. эту статью на русском языке

* * *
Selected quotes
Season 1
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham: "What is a weekend?"
[at dinner table when Matthew is talking about his freetime on the weekend (Episode 1.2)]

Lady Violet: One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper.

Season 2
Lady Violet: I don't dislike him. I just don't like him, which is quite different.

Lady Violet: The truth is neither here nor there. It's the look of the thing that matters.

Lady Violet: A change is as good as a rest.

Season 3
Lady Violet: I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.
Edith Crawley: Oh Granny! Thank you!
Lady Violet: And another thing. I mean, Edith isn't getting any younger. Perhaps she isn't cut out for domestic life.

Carson: Hard work and diligence weigh more than beauty in the real world.
Lady Violet: If only that were true.

Dr. Clarkson: You want me to lie?
Lady Violet: “Lie” is so unmusical a word.

Lady Violet [to Isobel Crawley]: Just because you’re an old widow, I see no necessity to eat off a tray.

Season 4
Lady Violet: If I were to ever search for logic I wouldn't look for it among the English upper class.

Lady Violet: I'm afraid Tom's small talk is very small indeed!
Robert Crawley: Not everyone can be Oscar Wilde.
Violet Crawley: That's a relief.

Evelyn Napier: Is this your first experience of jazz, Lady Crawley?
Lady Violet: Oh, is that what it is? [pause] Do you think that any of them know what the others are playing?

Season 4 series 8
Anthony Gillingham: I've enjoyed myself. It gave me time to think for once.
Lady Violet: Oh, what about, particularly?
Anthony Gillingham: My life, I suppose.
Isobel Crawley: Everyone should, from time to time.
Lady Violet: Oh, I can't agree. In my experience it's a dangerous occupation.
Isobel Crawley: Dangerous?
Lady Violet: Well, no life appears rewarding if you think too much about it.

Lady Violet: Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts.

Lady Violet: Switzerland has everything to offer, except perhaps conversation. And one can learn to live without that.

Edith Crawley: Sometimes I feel that God doesn't want me to be happy.
Lady Violet: My dear, all life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. You know, first one, then the next and the next, until at last we die... [sighing] Why don't you get us an ice cream?

Season 5
Lady Violet: I won't take sides, it's true. But I don't think I could ever be described as "neutral".

A commentator, about the tv-series ending:
"Dame Maggie Smith herself said that she would not return for another season because the time frame would become unrealistic given her character's age. She also believes the show has come to its natural end. That is one of the joys of British television, given a choice between arbitrary longevity and money on one side and artistic integrity on the other, the Brits always lean toward the art."
additional sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Paper dolls:

Е. Кузьмина ©

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Та женщина/ That Woman / Cette femme-là (2003)

— Вы всё еще думаете о самоубийстве?
— Нет... Хотя – да. Но это не бесповоротное решение. Странно, но я больше не боюсь. Возможно, потому что знаю, что не решусь на это.
— В определенный момент решиться может каждый. Дело случая.
— Уверяю вас, мне уже лучше. Только со сном проблемы.
— Когда возобновилась бессонница?
— Это длится уже несколько недель. Может, виной всему високосный год. Мой сын умер в ночь на 29-е февраля. Наверное, такое будет повторяться каждые четыре года.

Действие этого психологического нуар-триллера происходит в лесистом пригороде. Жозиан Баласко (Josiane Balasko) играет Мишель Варен, 50-летнюю полицейскую-детектива. Она травмирована смертью единственного сына. Он умер 29 февраля (обстоятельства не упоминаются). И каждый високосный год в дни роковой годовщины Мишель накрывает волна кошмаров перемежающихся мучительными бессонницами и тягой к самоубийству.

Нагнетание спокойного ужаса (оксюморон!) без использования каких-либо привычных киносредств. Всё тихо, обыденно, просто – но мурашки по коже.
Каплющая музыка. Непрерывный дождь. Какие-то лесные чащи.
Ночь. Бессонница. Она спит урывками, пробуждаемая очередным кошмаром.

Мишель Варен ходит к психоаналитику и занимается йогой, пытаясь примириться с реальностью и восстановить душевное равновесие.
События в фильме начинаются 21 февраля...

Сообщают о преступлении: в лесу обнаружена повешенная – женщина 50 лет.
— Она страдала острой меланхолией. Человеческий мозг не перестает нас удивлять, и в этом его ценность.

На всю лесистую округу – два дома: женщина с сыном (жутковатый мальчуган с прической пострашнее, чем у Юрия Лозы) в вагончике и молодая пара в просторном доме.

Отличный прием – камера постоянно движется, словно кружа около персонажей. Ощущение, будто смотришь чей-то сон.

Мишель живет одна – вернее, с пожилым ручным кроликом Джо («Это была идея моего сына», говорит она об американизированной кличке кролика).

Стены дома увешаны картинами, которые при ближайшем рассмотрении оказываются собранными ею сложными паззлами.

— Раз в два года проходит чемпионат мира по паззлам.
— И давно вы этим занимаетесь?
— Четыре года.
— А не скучно?
— Нет. Как только втянешься – уже не остановиться. Обо всём забываешь. Появляется азарт. Несколько лет назад я собрала паззл из пяти тысяч деталей.

Жозиан Баласко известна прежде всего как яркая комическая, фарсовая актриса, представительница труппы легендарного кафе-театра «Великолепный». Но в мрачной картине Гийома Никлу она демонстрирует чудеса перевоплощения. Помимо необычной для актрисы длинноволосой прически – окаменевшее лицо, потухший взгляд, минимум мимики, скорбно опущенные уголки рта.

Мишель-Баласко живет в своем мире; она словно сомнамбулически бредет по дну океана, придавленная своей утратой и одиночеством.

Снято изумительно; камера непрестанно движется, опоясывая персонажей и объекты – зритель погружается в атмосферу полусна-полуреальности, где невозможно утверждать уверенно, чтó происходит на самом деле, а чтó – производное измученного подсознания героини.

Постоянно возникают какие-то случайные персонажи, не несущие никакой смысловой нагрузки. Однако настойчивое внимание камеры придает им обманчивую значительность, делает опаснее, внушающими подозрение...

Главное – не сюжет, но атмосфера тихого кошмара, безмолвной катастрофы. Потрясающе сделано. Оператор выше всяких похвал.

— Мне всё время кажется, что мне позвонят и скажут, что он жив. Что всё это кошмарный сон. Что я проснусь и увижу Поля в его кровати. Как это страшно – потерять восьмилетнего ребенка.

На самом ли деле у нее связь с Даниэлем? Да нет, это фантазии одинокой тоскующей женщины.

При минимуме диалогов, Баласко передает тончайшие нюансы переживаний своей героини; на мой взгляд, именно Баласко «сделала» этот фильм. Её Мишель вызывает сострадание.

История её внутренней жизни становится главной сюжетной линией; загадочное (само-)убийство, которое она расследует, словно складывая один из своих картин-паззлов, отодвигается на второй план.

Потрясающая актриса. Много лет я её поклонница, и не перестаю восхищаться. Настоящая актриса, может стать любой. Единственное – неуместно смешно, когда по ходу действия её героиня бегает. Не слишком быстро и совсем не спортивно.

Это уже третья картина режиссера Гийома Никлу (Guillaume Nicloux), которую удалось посмотреть.
Хронологически вторая после «Частного расследования», «Та женщина» — история, захватывающая не сюжетом, но атмосферой. Это как романы Музиля: важен процесс чтения, а не результат. Или так: «Движение — это жизнь, результат — это смерть».

В одном эпизоде появляется Тьерри Лермитт – здесь он частный детектив с побитым лицом! Остроумный фрагмент, кусочек паззла, еще одна загадка: он персонаж «Частного расследования» (предыдущая киноистория Никлу, в ней они с Мишель-Баласко не встречались, но там персонаж Лермитта как раз был крепко поколочен) и «Ключа». Кстати, Лермитт один из знаменитой труппы Великолепного.

Сам Гийом Никлу появился в маленькой роли полицейского (кадр вверху).

Название фильма, видимо, иноземным прокатчикам показалось слишком пресным и невыразительным. В русскоязычном прокате его окрестили «Проклятье», на imbd — «Hanging Offense».
Фильм определенно не для всех. На imbd у картины низкая оценка. Но это обычное дело с фильмами, которые нравятся – мне.

см. также Частное расследование (2002); Ключ (2007)

Е. Кузьмина ©
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