Friday 11 April 2008

Singed by Celebrity

Things We Lost in the Fire is not a film that has had a great deal of fanfare either at Borderlines (a bit too mainstream Hollywood?) or as an Oscar contender. Its credentials on both scores are slightly surprising. The Danish director Susanne Bier (After the Wedding) is an ex-Dogme adherent and the film contains one or two subversive streaks (note the business with the eye-close-ups) though maybe not quite enough. It also boasts several of what a friend of mine calls 'Oscar moments', courtesy of Halle Berry as a grief-stricken widow whose near-perfect husband has died in a random shooting and the extremely charismatic Benecio Del Toro as a recovering heroin addict.

I was taken by the said friend to see the film at a BAFTA screening in Leicester Square. Because it coincided with the London Film Festival, director Bier, producer Sam Mendes and Halle Berry were present for the Q&A. Fairly early on a youngish man, sandy hair, in thick-rimmed glasses and ominously clutching a blue plastic bag, piped up from the front row. With lavish use of the first name ("Halle, first of all I have to say...") he fixed on the Oscar-winning star, prefacing his question by an account of how he'd been moved to tears 3 or 4 times in the course of the film. And after her reply he just wouldn't let go, even though the roving mike had moved on, "As a director myself, Halle, I know that..." As soon as he realised the spell of one-to-one interaction was over he made swiftly for the exit. Later, as the rest of us spilled out of the theatre somewhere round the back of of Leicester Square we caught a glimpse of him scurrying in the direction of the waiting limos...

In his defence, I have to admit that the sight of Berry in a bluey-purple gown (Versace) WAS quite mesmerising, even to an impartial female observer.

No comments: