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- Friday, Dec. 10, 2021
The first two installments of our current The Road To Oscar Series include a theme that’s in line with the holiday season spirit--namely the value of connection, particularly after often being isolated and feeling disconnected during the ongoing COVID pandemic. Writer/director Joe Wright in this week’s part 2 of our Road To Oscar coverage, for example, talked of a prime force that compelled him to take on the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, ultimately yielding Cyrano (MGM, United Artists Releasing). Wright found the story all the more relevant given today’s realities.
“When I started developing the movie,” Wright recalled, “Brexit had happened in Britain, Trump was in the White House. The idea of making a film about essentially compassion or a film that I hoped would help generate compassion with an audience felt appropriate. And it became more than just appropriate when the pandemic happened, sitting in isolation for all of those months. It became urgent. I was desperate to make the film at this time because I felt like I was starved of human connection--and scared of how I might approach human connection afterwards. I wanted to make a film that talked about that--the simple difficulty of human connection, how we often fail to connect through our own fears, fears of intimacy, of being seen. And maybe through the very process of making the film we might create some connection among the filmmaking cast and crew, and ultimately create a connection between us and the audience. It was important to me that this be a theatrical feature so that there could be a connection between the people in the room (movie theater).
Making such a connection also resonated for DP Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS who in the opening installment of our The Road To Oscar Series shared insights into his lensing of Dune (Warner Bros. Pictures). Yet with all the challenges and the ambitious vision of director Denis Villeneuve, what perhaps stood out most for Fraser relative to Dune centered on a return to the movie theater.
“Going to a circus in the round is much better than watching a special on pay per view,” he said, noting that the impact of sitting in a theater with strangers, different people coming together from across town to be in a dark room and share an experience--the importance of that has been “absolutely cemented in my mind.”
Robert Goldrich is an editor with shootonline.com