stars and books

Bardot book1 Bardot book3

Brigitte Bardot reading

Keira Knightley book

Keira Knightley

gregory peck book

Gregory Peck

 ava gardner with a book

Ava Gardner

Monroe book1 monroe book3monroe book6 Monroe book4 monroe book5

Marilyn Monroe

Diana book

Young lady Diana

Dietrich book

Marlene Dietrich

philipe1

Gérard Philipe

woodyallen romy schneider book

Woody Allen and Romy Schneider in a movie What’s New Pussycat?

delon schneider book

Romy Schneider and Alain Delon

dorleac-caine-book

Françoise Dorléac and Michael Caine

Diane Kruger book

Diane Kruger

???????????????

George Clooney

Lionel Messi books

Lionel Messi

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The Impressionists (2006, TV mini-series)

If you like impressionist paintings, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir and their friends, this 3-hour movie is for you.

The whole story of friendship and rivalty is told by old Claude Monet, but mostly we see young Claude Monet played by this excellent actor:

The Impressionists Richard Armitage

If you didn’t recognize him, here is a hint 🙂

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Young Claude Monet is one of best roles performed by Richard Armitage. And it’s very interesting to see in “The Impressionists” landscapes of Giverny, Normandy and Provence comparatively to the paintings that immortalized them.

Claude Monet Lilac Irises Claude Monet Jeanne-Marguerite Lecadre in the garden

Claude Monet. Lilac Irises; Claude Monet. Jeanne-Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden.

Pictures found via google.

Elsa Krüger

Elsa Krüger (Elsa Krueger; in Russian Эльза Крюгер, full name in Russian Елизавета Эмильевна Крюгер, Yelizaveta Krüger) was a dancer, a friend of famous painter Alexandra Exter and an actress who starred in one of best movies of Russian empire – “Silent Witnesses” directed by Yevgeny Bauer (1914). But there’s not much info about her online, and even wikipedia doesn’t mention her.

Elsa Kruger queen of tango

Photo of Elsa Krüger.

She was born circa 1893 in Russian empire, her father was of Holland origin, and the mother was Russian. Elsa studied at a ballet school and about 1913 started to perform at one of Moscow theatres with modern dances. Soon she is a star and is named “queen of tango”.

Kruger Russ emp postcard04 1915 Kruger Russ emp postcard01 Kruger Russ emp postcard02 Kruger Russ emp postcard03 Kruger Rus emp postcard6 Kruger Rus emp postcard5

Elsa Krüger on varoius postcards issued in Russian empire.

She’s also starred in few movies, and one of them is “Silent Witnesses”, where Elsa splendidly played an aristocratic young woman who’s in love with one man, but he cannot marry her, and she must marry another man whom she doesn’t love (and who is loved by a little maid, her rival). The director Bauer wanted to make a silent movie without any captions, but at private views the audience didn’t like the innovation, and some captions were added.

In this movie Elsa is wearing beautiful costumes (possibly designed by Lamanova, one of best Russian designers).

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I like the most this dress:

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And this is possibly la jupe-culotte, but I’m not sure:

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Meanwhile she has many friends among painters, and I. Meksin made a stunning picture of her:

Meksin Portrait of Elsa Kruger 1917

I. Meksin. Portrait of Elsa Krüger (1917).

After the revolution of 1917 she leaves Moskow and moves to Odessa, later (in 1920) to Berlin. Her relationship with a very rich businessman helped her to open Russian Romantic Ballet Theatre in Berlin (“Russische romantische Ballett”). Her photos also appear on numerous cards and postcards (see some of them here).

A scan of theatre programme is here (in Italian, pdf). It includes pages with some details about Elsa and her ballet.

Painter Alexandra Exter designed costumes for her and her dancers:

Exter Design costume Dances of Elsa Kruger 1920

Alexandra Exter. Costume design for “Dances of Elsa Krüger”, 1920.

Exter also decorated her Berlin home, made paintings and statuettes. One of these statuettes is now in National Gallery of Australia:

Exter-Costume model of a Martian guard for the film Aelita-belonged to Elsa K-now in Nat Gall of Australia

Alexanrda Exter. Costume model of a martian guard for the film “Aelita” that belonged to Elsa Krüger.

In 30s Elsa was back to cinema and starred in 2 movies, but I didn’t see them.

ElsaKruger03 ElsaKruger01 ElsaKruger02  ElsaKruger04 ElsaKruger05 ElsaKruger06

Photos of Elsa Krüger.

Alexandra Exter died in 1949 in misery, so it’s possible that Elsa Krüger didn’t survive the war. She reportedly died in 1941 in Germany.

Elsa Kruger Russian autograph

Postcard signed by Elsa Krüger (in Russian).

Elsa Krüger was also linked to the painter Paul Mak (1891-1967), who also was a tango dancer and her partner in Moscow theatre.

Paul Mak Tristan and Izolde Paul Mak Chevalier Paul Mak sheherezada_i_pavlin_1924

Paintings and pictures by Paul Mak.

Pictures found via google, some via yandex.

“Midnight in Paris” (2011)

midnight_in_paris

A wonderful sunny movie about a writer who is in love with another epoch and found how to travel to his favourite time.

Woody Allen is man of genius, and it’s one of his best movies.

Ask the Dust (2006)

Colin Farrell is an extremely talented actor, but usually his talent is not used by cinema makers even at 50 percents. Ask the Dust is a rare movie where he’s not playing a gangster/bad guy killed for nothing in a final scene.

The movie plot is very French – and when I say French I mean a kind of story focused strictly on 2 persons and their relationship. Other characters can appear (and disappear), but after all their only function is to make the main couple more significant. If you’ve seen some movies by Truffaut, like La Peau Douce or La Femme d’à côté, their plots have this typical French structure.

Ask the Dust is a movie about a writer (performed by Colin Farrell) and a waitress (played by Salma Hayek) who met in 1933 in Los Angeles. He’s not rich, she’s just poor, and their story is more dramatic than a usual love story in cinema.

It seems to me that the director likes very much old movies, and in his film he tried to get as close as possible to their style and their leisurely tempo. For example, the opening credits are made in a form of book:

ask01

Costumes and cars are very stylish:

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I like to see typewriters in movies, and this one is Underwood:

ask02 ask39

The cast is also including such excellent actors as Donald Sutherland and Eileen Atkins. She asks Arturo: ‘Do you have a job?’ and after his answer ‘I’m a writer’ looks at him with such an expression, as if it’s not a profession at all.

Being Julia (2004)

It’s a film adaptation of Theatre, one of best novels by W. Somerset Maugham. I think the director adored the book and wanted to create a correct – well, let’s call it correct translation to the language of cinema. And as I am an admirer of the novel, I like very much this approach 🙂

Both movie and novel are about theatre people, about an actress who falls in love with an insignificant young man, and about theatre again. It’s a kind of competition: who will win, life or theatre?

All the actors work as one wonderful team. Maybe Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon are particularly good, but Annette Benning really surprised me – she was just splendid as Julia.

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Though the film is not about Belle Epoque (heroes live and act in 1938), it’s always a pleasure to see excellent actors in a good movie. And if you didn’t read Theatre before, read it. Maugham himself worked many years as dramatist and mentioned many interesting moments in his novel.

The Wings of the Dove (1997)

It’s also a film adaptation, this time of a novel by Henry James. Well, historical movies about Belle Epoque are often adaptations, and if we want to see what this distant time was like, cinema can offer an imitation.

Costumes in this movie are very good:

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And the heroes come in Venice (I love Venice). And Helena Bonham Carter is a very good actress, and there’s also Michael Gambon, I like his works very much, but – but I didn’t like this movie.

I think a movie about the passion should be made with passion, but this movie is cold. And the second problem is, I think, a problem created by Henry James. He wants to make me believe that a reporter in this time cannot earn enough to have a family, but it’s not true. Of course he and his wife wouldn’t live like millionaires, but they could marry and live a normal life.

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