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Lolita (#110 of 6)

AFI Fest 2012: Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me and Not in Tel Aviv

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AFI Fest 2012: <em>Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me</em> and <em>Not in Tel Aviv</em>
AFI Fest 2012: <em>Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me</em> and <em>Not in Tel Aviv</em>

“We never love someone. We just love the idea we have of someone.” Those words from poet Fernando Pessoa are surely ones that Alejandra (Andrea Portal) is familiar with, though she might be loath to admit their truth. Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me, the debut feature from Mexican writer-director Raúl Fuentes, follows Alejandra’s turbulent affair with high schooler María (Naian Daeva), whose schoolgirl-in-sunglasses vibe hints at the shades of Lolita undergirding the story. For her part, Alejandra is in that vein of Nabokovian intellectual, a highly cultured literary editor and an aesthete who contemplates María as one would a roughly hewn art object: full of life and energy, but waiting to be refined. Their relationship is defined by its contrasts: Alejandra busts out her portable CD player in a Wendy’s to listen to the Cure and still uses a paper address book when she has a perfectly workable cellphone. María is, of course, a teenager.

The Real Tuesday Weld

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The Real Tuesday Weld
The Real Tuesday Weld

Tuesday Weld will not be attending the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s retrospective “American Girl: Tuesday Weld,” running from September 21—25, which will showcase 10 performances by the unconventional actress. Weld hasn’t made a public appearance in more than a decade. Perhaps she’s gone into self-imposed exile a la Marlene Dietrich, wanting to preserve the public’s memory of the brazen, luminous beauty that made her an icon of the ’60s and turned the heads of everyone from Elvis Presley to Pinchas Zukerman. But then again, Weld has made a career of not giving the public what they want, or expect.

From the time she first entered America’s consciousness in the ’50s sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, it was obvious that Weld was different from the Sandra Dees of the world, and not just because of her improbable first name. Weld’s apple-pie looks hid a dark, dangerous undercurrent. In her characters, sex and violence were inevitably linked. Her persona was innocent yet amoral—a fille fatale. Weld was Kubrick’s first choice for Lolita, but she turned him down, later claiming “I didn’t have to play it. I was Lolita.”

5 for the Day: James Mason

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5 for the Day: James Mason
5 for the Day: James Mason

In Sheridan Morley’s biography of James Mason, practically all of his co-stars described him as a quietly unhappy man, restless, ill at ease, indecisive, a skittish pacifist, and a classic loner. He could be driven to physical violence if provoked, and this aggressive streak was mined in the trashy Gainsborough costume films that first made him a star in Britain in the forties, where he played brutes who gave raven-haired Margaret Lockwood “a good thrashing.” To quote Shaw’s Henry Higgins, Mason had thick lips to kiss you with and thick boots to kick you with, and he could have relaxed into easy stardom in this mode, but he was ambitious for more meaningful work than he could find in the impoverished British cinema. He went to Hollywood in the late forties; always too opinionated for his own good, Mason never quite established himself as a star player, but he managed to make a large and varied impact on some of the finest films of his time. He generally brought a kind of heightened immediacy and intensity to his scenes, letting off flares of irritation, bitchery, anguish and menace that worked best in short-ish takes, so that unlike many actors of his country and generation he was not a man of the theater but totally a man of the cinema.