Tag Archive: Lee


Six Degrees of Separation: from Alain Delon to …
(Alain Delon celebrated his 78th Birthday earlier this month, on 8th November 2013)

Alain Delon 6°
…Charlize Theron
Delon played a criminal mastermind devoid of any conscience, in Plein Soleil (1959/60), which was based on the novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith (1), and another crime novel of hers was the basis for the Alfred Hitchcock (2) classic, of the same name, Strangers on a Train (1951), and Hitchcock made the movie Torn Curtain (1966); an espionage thriller set beyond the Iron Curtain of East Germany; starring Julie Andrews (3), who starred in the musical, based on a true life story that took place in Austria, The Sound of Music (1965), which also starred Nicholas Hammond (4), who later played the famous fictional webbed suited superhero, ‘Spider-Man’, in the television series, The Amazing Spider-Man (1977–1979), and later Tobey Maguire (5) took over the reigns, and played the webbed superhero, in a more skin-tight stretchy suit, in the trio of Spider-Man franchise of films (from 2002 to 2007), and Maguire appeared in The Cider House Rules (1999), which co-starred Charlize Theron (6).

…Lee Remick
Delon at one time was engaged to actress Romy Schneider (1); with whom he worked on a few projects, including Christine (1958), L’Amour à la Mer (1964) and La Piscine (1969) to name a few; and Schneider was famously associated with the trilogy of Sissi films (1955,1956 & 1957), where she portrayed the well known 19th century fashionista, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (2), a.k.a. Queen of Hungary (nicknamed ‘Sissi’), as did Ava Gardner (3) in Mayerling (1968), and Gardner starred alongside Deborah Kerr (4) in  The Night of the Iguana (1964), and Kerr starred in the beautifully, spooky, children’s horror flick, The Innocents (1961), which was based on a novel, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (5), and another novel, of his, was the basis for the film, The Europeans (1979) starring Lee Remick (6).

…Jacqueline Kennedy
Delon starred alongside Claudia Cardinale (1) in the Italian venture, Il Gattopardo (1963), and Cardinale appeared in the Hollywood crime comedy, The Pink Panther (1963), which was directed by Blake Edwards (2), as was 10 (1979), which also starred Dee Wallace (3), who played mother to a very tiny little Drew Barrymore (4) in the children’s, science fiction, drama, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Barrymore played Edith Bouvier Beale (5), a.k.a. Little Eddie, in Grey Gardens (2009), who was the cousin of, the United States of America’s, former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy (6).

AD 6° Connections

…Juhi Chawla
Delon starred in Luchino Visconti’s (1) Rocco and His Brothers (1960), and Visconti directed Italian actress Alida Valli (2) in Senso (1954), who earlier came in the noir classic, The Paradine Case (1947), along with French born, Hollywood star, Louis Jourdan (3), and Jourdan played lead villain in the Bond flick Octopussy (1983), along with Indian actor Kabir Bedi (4), whose daughter, Pooja Bedi (5), came in the Bollywood flick, Lootere (1993), which co-starred, Punjabi born, former beauty queen (Miss India 1984), and Bollywood superstar of the 1990’s, Juhi Chawla (6).

…Helen Mirren
Delon appeared in Is Paris Burning? (1966), which co-starred Kirk Douglas (1), father of actor Michael Douglas (2), who came in Coma (1978); a mystery set in a hospital, where suddenly young healthy people start falling into a coma, after being operated on, and a young female doctor tries to uncover this conspiracy, which in turn ends up being a threat to her own life; the said young doctor was played by Canadian born actress, Geneviève Bujold (3), who portrayed the famous 15th century Queen consort, Anne Boleyn (4), in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), mother of, the famous virgin queen of the 15th and early 16th centuries, Queen Elizabeth-I (5), who was portrayed by Helen Mirren (6), in the television mini-series Elizabeth I (2005).

…Madhuri Dixit
Delon played Julius Caesar (1) in the comedy Astérix aux jeux Olympiques (2008), as did Rex Harrison (2) in Cleopatra (1963), and Harrison played the lead negative role in the Bollywood gem heist of a movie, Shalimar (1978), which co-starred Zeenat Aman (3), whose most notable role happens to be that of the Hippie girl she played in Bollywood’s most loved Hippie movie, Haré Raama Haré Krishna (1971), which co-starred actress Mumtaz (4), who starred alongside Vyjayanthimala (5) in Suraj (1966), and Vyjayanthimala played a courtesan in Devdas (1955), and actress Madhuri Dixit (6), took over the role of the courtesan, in the re-make, Devdas (2002).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()
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Six Degrees of Separation: from James Franco to

James Franco 6°

…Hilarie Burton
Franco portrayed legendary method actor James Dean (1), in the television movie, James Dean (2001), and Dean starred alongside Elizabeth Taylor (2) in Giant (1956), and Taylor was married to Conrad Hilton jr (3); son of the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain, who was Taylor’s first husband, who was  a gambler, alcoholic and was very abusive towards Taylor, and his abusive behaviour towards her resulted in a miscarriage, Taylor’s parents were horrified, and soon Taylor’s first marriage ended after suffering, and surviving through, nine months of a miserable marriage to Hilton jr; and Conrad Hilton jr happens to be the great uncle of Paris Hilton (4), who appeared in the remake of a B-movie, horror classic, House of Wax (2005), which co-starred Chad Michael Murray (5), who starred alongside Hilarie Burton (6) in the television soap, One Tree Hill (2003-2012).

…Hattie McDaniel  
Franco starred in the bio-pic Milk (2008), which co-starred Emile Hirsh (1), who starred in an adventure flick, based on a real life story, called Into The Wild (2007), which saw, a yet unknown, young, Kristen Stewart (2) who gained fame through the series of five Twilight movies (from 2008 to 2012), which co-starred Robert Pattinson (3); as a kind-hearted vampire who falls in love with a human and is in constant loggerheads with a werewolf, who too has the hots for the same person; and Pattinson appeared in the tragic drama, Remember Me (2010), where Pierce Brosnan (4) played his father, and Brosnan starred alongside Halle Berry (5) in Die Another Day (2002), who was the first African American actress (black actress) to bag the Best Actress trophy at the Oscars, in 2002, for Monster’s Ball (2001), and the very first black celebrity, to ever win an Oscar, was Hattie McDaniel (6), for Best Supporting Actress, in 1940, for Gone with the Wind (1939).

…Laurence Olivier
Franco directed and acted in, the one hour long, short film, Interior. Leather Bar. (2013), a re-imagining of the lost 40 minutes, of the film-within-the-film, of Cruising (1980), which starred Al Pacino (1), who played the lead mafia boss, in The Godfather: Part – III (1990), which also starred Austrian actor Helmut Berger (2), and Berger came in the movie, The Damned (1969), which co-starred Charlotte Rampling (3), who had a cameo in Deception (2008) starring Ewan McGregor (4), who shares a close friendship with fellow actor Jude Law (5); who was at one time his roommate; and Law starred in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), in which CGI manipulated archive footage of the late actor, Sir Laurence Olivier (6), is used as the villain of the movie, in a hologram form; the villain of the movie too is discovered to have been dead for quite sometime towards the end of the film.

Jamesing Sixes

…Sergio Fascetti
Franco carried an entire movie on his shoulders, when he played the lead, in the biographical adventure film, 127 Hours (2010), which was directed by Danny Boyle (1), who also directed the zombie flick, 28 Days Later … (2002), starring Cillian Murphy (2), who worked with director Ken Loach (3) in The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006); about the Irish anti-British rebellion for independence in the 1920’s; and Loach also directed Poor Cow (1967), which starred Terence Stamp (4), who played a visitor that seduces a whole family in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s (5) Teorema (1968), an Italian classic, and  Pasolini also directed the very controversial Salò o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma (1975); set in a Nazi-controlled northern Italian state during the second world war, where four dignitaries round up sixteen perfect specimens of youth, and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental and sexual torture; in which Sergio Fascetti (6) played one of the victims.

…Tena Desae
Franco played the famed ‘Wizard’ in, Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), which happens to be a sequel/prequel to the children’s classic musical The Wizard of Oz (1939), which starred a teenaged Judy Garland (1), mother of Liza Minnelli (2), and Minnelli starred in the 70’s, somewhat campy, musical, Cabaret (1972), which was based on Christopher Isherwood’s (3) semiautobiographical novel, Goodbye to Berlin, and Isherwood’s novella, A Single Man, was the basis for the movie with same name, released in 2009, starring Nicholas Hoult (4), who appeared in the British television show, Skins (2007 till date), which co-starred Dev Patel (5) who starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), which also starred Tena Desae (6).

…Audrey Hepburn
Franco starred alongside Tobey Maguire (1) in Spider-Man (2002), and Maguire appeared in Ang Lee’s (2) The Ice Storm (1997), and Lee won his second Best Director Oscar, earlier this year, for Life of Pi (2012), in which Bollywood actress Tabu (3) played the lead character’s mother, and Tabu’s aunt, 70’s feminist actress, and social activist, Shabana Azmi (4) starred in the British movie Madame Sousatzka (1988), in which the titular character was played by Shirley MacLaine (5), who starred along with Audrey Hepburn (6) in the, very bold for that period, movie, The Children’s Hour (1961), where two school teachers are accused by a student of being lesbians.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()
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Six Degrees of Separation: from Rock Hudson to

Rock Hudson 6°

…Lillete Dubey
Hudson starred alongside Elizabeth Taylor (1) in Giant (1956), and television actress Sherilyn Fenn (2) portrayed Taylor in the TV movie, Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995), and Fenn starred in the creepy flick Boxing Helena (1993), alongside British actor Julian Sands (3), who acted in, one of the best of British Heritage Cinema of the 80’s, Room with a View (1985), which was based on novel by E.M. Foster (4), as was A Passage to India (1984), starring Victor Banerjee (5), who appeared in Delhi in a Day (2011), where Lillete Dubey (6) played his daughter.

…Joe Manganiello
Hudson starred alongside Doris Day (1) in one the most famous sex-comedies ever, Pillow Talk (1959), and Day starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s (2), 50’s re-make of his own 30’s classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Hitchcock was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins (3) in the bio-pic Hitchcock (2012), and Hopkins’ most famous role is that of a psychotic, cannibalistic, intellectual, killer in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which co-starred Jodie Foster (4), who came in Flightplan (2005), in which Matt Bomer (5) had a small role, and Bomer currently plays the lead, in the television series, White Collar (2009 -till date), and in an episode, from the third season, of which, Joe Manganiello (6) has a guest role in.

…Tanay Chheda  
Hudson played a man who is an expert on sports fishing, but not so much when it comes fishing for a life partner, in the comedy Man’s Favourite Sport (1964), in which John McGiver (1), had an interesting small role, as did he in yet another hilarious comedy, Ariane – Love in the Afternoon (1957), where Audrey Hepburn (2) played the titular character; of the ‘afternoon girl’ of a playboy, driving the playboy to the brink of insanity; and Hepburn starred in Two for the Road (1967), a story chronicling 10 years of a couple’s relationship; from the day they met, to marriage, parenthood, infidelity and the disintegration of their love for one another; where the male lead was played by Albert Finney (3), who later came in the epic fantasy, Big Fish (2003), where Ewan McGregor (4) played the younger him, and McGregor came in Trainspotting (1996); a movie set in Edinburgh’s drug scene; which was directed by Danny Boyle (5), who directed Slumdog Millionaire (2008), where Tanay Chheda (6) played the younger (not the youngest) version of the lead character.

Rocking Sixes
…François Goeske   
Hudson came in The Mirror Crack’d (1980), which was based on mystery novel by Agatha Christie (1), as is the, 25 year long running, British television series Agatha Christie: Poirot (1989– till date), and in a 2004 episode, of which, starred Emily Blunt (2), who, in The Young Victoria (2009), played England’s Queen Victoria (3), as did Austrian actress, Romy Schneider (4), in Mädchenjahre einer Königin (1954); who starred in another historical bio-pic; Ludwig (1972), where the titular charcter was played by Helmut Berger (5), who more recently appeared in the German television crime thriller, Damals warst Du still (2005), which co-starred French actor, François Goeske (6).

…Leehom Wang
Hudson appeared as a guest for quite a few episodes, in one season, of the famed 80’s soap, Dynasty (1981-1989), of which, the negative lead, was played by Joan Collins (1), who starred alongside George Hamilton (2), in the television movie, Monte Carlo (1986), and Logan Lerman (3) portrayed Hamilton in, My One and Only (2009), and Lerman, as a child artiste, appeared in The Patriot (2000), which also starred Heath Ledger (4) who appeared in Brokeback Mountain (2005), which was directed by Ang Lee (5), who also directed Lust, Caution (2007) which starred Leehom Wang (6).

…Robert Sean Leonard
Hudson played a young man in love with a much older woman, in the May/December tear-jerker, All That Heaven Allows (1955), where the older woman was played by Jane Wyman (1), who later starred in the 80’s soap, Falcon Crest (1981-1990), which also starred, Susan Sullivan (2), who currently plays mother to Nathan Fillion (3) in the crime drama, Castle (2009 -till date), and Fillion stars in Much Ado About Nothing (2012), a modern updated version of William Shakespeare’s (4) famed comical play, and Kenneth Branagh (5) too directed, and acted in, another modern film adaptation of the same play in 1993, which also starred Robert Sean Leonard (6).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()
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Yesterday I spoke about the five films that didn’t work properly. Life of Pi (2012) was one of them. In fact, Life of Pi was the first movie, out of the faulty five, I tried watching towards the end of last month. Finally I did, in one go, this Wednesday.

Life of Pi finally

If Mud (2012) was about a friendship that develops between a young boy and a convict, whilst helping the convict build a boat, in a remote isle on the banks of the Mississippi river; Life of Pi deals with a friendship between a young man and carnivorous Bengal Tiger, stuck on a boat, in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Yet another much awaited brilliant surreal movie, with a CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) created tiger, for which director Ang Lee deservedly took home the Best Director Oscar earlier this year. Life of Pi also won Oscars for Cinematography and Visual Effects, and was nominated (and won) in various categories for various award ceremonies including the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s.

The Pi Story
Life with Family
The movie starts off with now all grown up, middle-aged, Pi (Irrfan Khan), residing in Canada, narrating his life story to a down on his luck writer, played by Rafe Spall. From here we are taken back in time to French occupied state of Pondicherry, located in the southern region of India, in the 1950’s. In 1954 the French leave Pondicherry handing it to the recently Independent India. Pi is born into the newer Indian Pondicherry within the same decade, the second child, of a family, that own a zoo. From here onwards we learn how Pi was named after the French word for ‘swimming pool’, Piscine, more accurately the ‘Piscine Auteuil Molitor’ of Paris (now abandoned famed swimming pool of the past). Soon in school his name is changed to ‘Pissing’ by his schoolmates, and from there he soon manages to get people calling him ‘Pi’ (π),the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, (which was not an easy task for young Pi).
Soon the boy’s curiosity grows to question various religions and religious beliefs. The 12 Year old Pi (played by Ayush Tandon) tests various faiths, beginning from Hinduism, then Christianity, and ultimately Islam.
One of my favourite scenes of the film is this philosophical discussion held sitting round a dinning table, comprising of Pi’s parents, the Patel’s (played by Adil Hussain & Tabu), elder brother, Ravi (Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli) and of course young Pi himself. The father being a practical man, and due various reasons, doesn’t believe in religion, while the mother, who was brought up with modernist views, finds peace and contentment in her religion as her parents cut her off for marrying beneath her. So here we have an interesting discussion of conflicting views, from the two parents towards young Pi. At the same time both have a good argument on their side. Born into the Hindu religion, the father admonishes Pi, not to blindly follow many a religions and stick to one, at the same time he states how science has taught us way more than religion ever has. The mother agrees, but she adds that science teaches us what’s out there, while religion teaches us what’s within us (heart and soul). Interesting argument both managing to make a point, and in the end, to the fathers dilemma, Pi states he wants ‘‘to be baptised’’. It’s hilarious, the mother finds pleasure, more because little Pi dared to oppose the father at the same time seeming to take his advise on not to follow all faiths blindly.
As Pi grows older, it’s interesting to see his relationship with his parents, brother, and Anandi (Shravanthi Sainath); the dancing girl; a teenage crush of his.

Life with Richard Parker
The majority of the plot deals with, how Pi survives a shipwreck, and the close bond formed between man and beast, each needing the other to survive, through this Odysseus journey back to civilization.
A beautifully told story, with a CGI created Bengal Tiger, and a very surreal oceanic backdrop.
Pi’s whole family dies in a shipwreck, and he survives along with some animals. Soon most of the animals die and it’s only him and a tiger, named Richard Parker due to a clerical error, that are stuck in a boat, and have to learn to get along with each other.
In the real world, between 1797 and 1884, there have been three known individuals named Richard Parker, who’ve been involved in three shipwrecks, within those two centuries. But am not sure whether the writer who created this story, intentionally used Parker’s name as an allegory.
In it’s almost entirety, the majority of the film, from the start, is made via the use computer graphics, and one can’t help but get a sense of artificiality whilst watching it. But the story is not necessarily meant to mirror reality. And the computer graphics don’t overpower the story and ruin it, instead it actually blends into the fabrication of this surreal fantastical piece of artistic cinema, and helps it move forward.

Nu Life (ν)  
We see the older, middle-aged, Pi, who has started life afresh in Canada, with his newer family. The older Pi, that’s been narrating his, hard to believe, survival story to a writer.

Top: Scene from the movie. Below: Creating the Tiger

Top: Scene from the movie.
Below: Creating the Tiger

The Director: Ang Lee
Ang Lee has definitely done a superb job, as almost always. Both visually appealing and constantly engaging, with not one dull minute. It’s another among Lee’s masterpieces.
Loved it!! 10/10 rating!!!

The Ice Storm
The Ice Storm (1997), was my introduction to Ang Lee, when I watched it about a decade ago, in Oslo. A film I almost did not watch. Even though I had watched Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995) in England at the time, a superb period drama, I didn’t know who the director was at the time. I fell in love with this excellent film, The Ice Storm, starring all the famed child/teenage artists of the 90’s, including Elijah Wood, Cristina Ricci and Tobey Maguire. What really impressed me was how authentically 70’s it felt. If I didn’t know the cast, especially the younger cast, I would have actually believed the movie was, not just set in, but made in the 70’s. Of course Kevin Kline and Joan Allen existed in the 70’s, and were pretty young at the time, but they could have been made to look older through a really good make-up artist. As was the case in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966), where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were made to look, very believably, more mature, way beyond their years. So it’s thanks to Wood, Ricci and Maguire that I was certain that this was not a 70’s flick.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
After finding out Ang Lee had directed the marvel that was The Ice Storm, I had to check out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), a movie prior to which I was reluctant to watch. And it was worth it. It wasn’t some silly, waste of time type, Martial Arts film, but an ode to the great oriental ancient art of self disciplined combat technique.

Brokeback Mountain
In the beginning of 2006, before the Oscars, I managed to watch Brokeback Mountain (2005). Another excellent venture created by Ang lee. A gay themed movie about two cowboys in the 60’s & 70’s, that was nominated in many a categories at the Oscars, but unfortunately won only for film direction, adapted screenplay and original musical score. It’s a brilliant film, and I refuse to call it a ‘gay movie’. For the term ‘gay movie’ could imply some sleazy cheap film meant for only a certain type of gay audience. No, this is an intellectual, thought provoking film meant for a broader audience. Ironically, that broader audience narrows down to a group of more open minded, intelligent, educated people, including true to heart film buffs.
I re-watched it in January 2008, in Sydney, when it was shown on the big screen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, coincidently the day after Heath Ledger, the lead actor of Brokeback Mountain, died of a drug overdose. The place was packed, and no, Ledger’s death wasn’t the reason for the film being shown.

Lust, Caution
Lust, Caution (2007), original Chinese title Se,jie; was the last good Ang Lee film I watched in Sydney itself, before leaving, early-mid 2008. It might not be as great as the other Lee films I’ve spoken of here, but it’s a near excellent movie, set during the WWII-era Shanghai, under Japanese occupation in China. A long film with a few pretty graphic (but not pornographic) sex sequences, where watching those sex scenes were actually quite exhausting. But that’s what Lee was trying to show, for the lead character, played by Wei Tang, was playing a Chinese ‘Mata Hari’, seducing a Japanese official to spy for their cause against Japanese oppression. A tiring, yet a near excellent movie.

Taking Woodstock
Taking Woodstock (2009), was the last good Ang Lee film I watched, till Life of Pi. It was being released on the big screen in Paris, the day I was to leave Paris, September 2009. And it took me more than a year to finally locate it. It was in New Delhi, India, when I went there in November/December 2010, I found the movie. But it was an original Indian Copyright DVD, thus a censored version. All nudity clipped off. But I was glad that I finally found a copy, of a film based on the Woodstock of 69’, something I had been reading up various articles on, most of 2009. Both about the actual event and Ang Lee’s cinematic version. And at last being able to watch it was worth it. Another near excellent movie by Lee.

Some months ago I watched, Hulk (2003), when it was shown on Star Movies. I liked the credits in the beginning of the film, then slowly, slowly, the movie started to disintegrate into oblivion. Among the worst I seen. But the only bad film of Ang Lee’s I’ve seen till date.

All in all, Ang Lee is a great, very diverse, film director. No two films of his are alike, at least among his masterpieces.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Ang Lee Films (NS)

Ang Lee Films (NS)