Viggo Mortensen: «Camus tiene facilidad para bucear en las zonas grises»

Viggo News

Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Print View Link to this newsitem


Found By: Kath

Thanks to Kath for the find.


Seeing The Reflecting Skin for the first time, the 1990 film by Philip Ridley, starring Viggo Mortensen and Lindsay Duncan, one can't help but wonder how the hell the thing ever got made.

© Miramax/Zenith.

by: Jason Gorber, Featured Critic

I'd previously never even heard of the flick, surely a testament to my lack of knowledge about late century UK/Canadian co-productions. The film would have come out when I was in High School, but it's hard to see that in the year of Home Alone, Dances With Wolves and Total Recall this being the work I'd seek out. Yet with that context the films it most closely echoes are those from only a few years earlier - the sundrenched fields of Days of Heaven providing a more rural backdrop for the abstruseness and surrealism of Blue Velvet.

Yet even contextualized like this the film feels like it's out of time. I can't imagine what the production meetings were like, who had the gall (or wisdom) to greenlight a film that on paper was never going to reach a wide audience. Yet the national broadcaster of England and the major funder of Canadian film put their faith in this project by the young director (Ridley was only 26 at the time), and the work would go on to premiere at TIFF and win numerous awards at Locarno, Sitges and other fests during its run.

Coming to the film as a fresh work now, with none of that baggage, one can easily see what all the fuss was about. Dick Pope's sumptuous photography is just as impactful as it must have been 25 years ago, the seas of wheat and rusted farm equipment providing a rich, rural visual palate against which the gothic tale is told.

The film starts with some childhood hooliganism, and the amphibial slaughter is certainly a unique way to introduce a character. The roundfaced Jeremy Cooper plays Seth Dove, and he's the center of the entire narrative. When he's not terrorising the neighbours Seth's hanging out in a barn with his friends or being scolded and harassed by his fragile and shrill mother. Only his father, the man who reeks of gasoline, seems to connect with the boy. Reading a pulpy magazine about vampires sets off in the child thoughts of the macabre that end up taking a tragic trajectory.

Spelling out the plot does the film some injustice, if only because the storyline seems completely secondary to the intent of creating mood. There's flurries of violence and argumentation, and a smattering of strange occurrences and stranger characters that all create an intoxicating brew. Yet I'm not sure we're meant to spend too much time really thinking about how it all comes together, or worrying about the backstory of the seemingly pederastic greasers riding in a black Cadillac. Instead, we linger on the beauty of a well-worn whaling harpoon, or marvel at the speckled hay dust dancing in front of the lens as warm sunlight drenches the inside of a barn.

This isn't a film that gives many answers, and when it does it underscores then with all the subtlety of a trainwreck. The closing scene in particular is pretty ridiculous, even if the recognition of the protagonist is perhaps worthy of some slightly less overt remonstration.

There is a blackly comic element to the film that at times feels intentional and at others not so much. Yet even at its most arch the film remains thoroughly enjoyable, like you're on some sort of maudlin ride where fish-smelling foetuses and parental immolation are all part of regular occurrence. If there's one metatextual disappointment it's that the relatively small audience for the film didn't result in a early-90s explosion of parents naming their daughters "Dolphin", but perhaps that's simply too much to ask for.

Viggo shows up well into the film, and we see an early example of his willingness to be both vulnerable and venomous. Naturally, too, we see his buttocks, surely at least part of the appeal for some audience members. It's a beautifully realized scene of vulnerability (echoing perhaps the famous photo of Lennon/Ono by Leibovitz) and it's one of the film's most striking moments.

Much of The Reflecting Skin may leave you shaking your head, yet this is by no means one of those "cult" films that's beloved for being kitschy. There's real artistry at work throughout much of it, and even if may of the performances rise to the level of operatic incredulity, there still very much is the heart of a compelling tale. There's a nastiness mixed with nostalgia that feels very inviting, and even obnoxious children being hellions can't spoil the fun.

Thanks to a new restoration the film's digital presentation looked extraordinary, showcasing Pope's photography to its fullest extent. As a strange slice of Canadiana it now feels like a true discovery, a kind of prairie surrealism that presages with the works of Guy Maddin, and illustrates how Gilliam's similarly themed (and set) Tideland failed to live up to the balance bewtween narrative thrust and incoherence that Ridley deftly navigates.

The Reflecting Skin
is a strange, at times wonderful film, one that leaves more questions open than answers. Its palate and performances collide in ways that seem unique decades on. While some of the moments are more risible than perhaps intended, as a complete work it's an astonishing slice of strange cinema. Like me you may shake your head and wonder how the hell this thing got made at the time that it was, but like me you'll be very glad that Ridley and co. managed to bring it all together.

© GLOBAL CINEMA/ Images © Miramax/Zenith.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Far From Men

Source: Palace Cinemas..
Found By: Chrissie

Thanks to Chrissie for the find. Palace Films in Australia have announced details of special advance screenings on their official Far From Men site.



Featuring a career-best performance from the multi-talented Viggo Mortensen and a superb original soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, FAR FROM MEN is a gripping tale of morality and friendship set during the Algerian War, against an imposing mountainous landscape.

The year is 1954, the war is beginning and village schoolteacher Daru (Mortensen), an ex-French Army soldier, is caught in the crossfire. Born in Algeria but Spanish by lineage, he's a man out of time and place, perceived as alien by both locals and colonisers alike. So when he reluctantly agrees to escort a dissident (rising star Reda Kateb, of A Prophet & Zero Dark Thirty) to a regional police station to face trial for murder, a series of incidents and revelations force the question of where Daru's loyalties truly lie.

Based on a story by Albert Camus, writer/director David Oelhoffen's masterful, breathtakingly-shot drama bears all the hallmarks of a classic frontier western, yet carries strong contemporary resonances. Widely acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival where it premiered in Official Competition, FAR FROM MEN is grand, big-screen adult entertainment at its finest.

Get more links HERE

© Palace Cinemas..

Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo in the New Zealand Herald

Source: The New Zealand Herald.
Found By: Chrissie

Thanks to Chrissie for the find. As a result of both Jauja and Far From Men screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival the following article has appeared in the New Zealand Herald.


Not home on the range

© 4L Productions.
by Helen Barlow

You wait for another Viggo Mortensen arthouse Western to come along and what do you know? Two show up at once.

The festival has a pair of such films featuring the actor formerly known as Aragorn, but while they may play like Westerns they are not cowboy movies.

Jauja, an Argentine-Danish-French production by Argentine director Lisandro Alonso, was a prize winner in Cannes last year; while David Oelhoffen's French film and Venice prize winner, Far From Men, is a version of Albert Camus' short story The Guest.

The latter film is set during the 1954 Algerian War and follows Daru, a reclusive French teacher, and Mohamed (Reda Kateb), a dissident Arabic villager accused of murder as they forge a special bond. In the midst of an icy winter they are forced to flee across the Atlas Mountains with horsemen on their trails.

"It's a very challenging story and I like a challenge," notes Mortensen, "Since his wife's death, Daru's living in the past, he's running away from life and Mohamed helps him realise that he doesn't want to do that anymore.

"I like this historical period in North Africa and this particular situation," he continues. "I also thought of other colonial situations, the conflict between other supposed civilising societies, whether it be in North America or in South America where I was raised, in Argentina. The consequences of that clash are felt for generations and generations. It takes a long time to get past the damage on both sides."

Perfecting his French for his first French-speaking role, and learning Arabic, proved much harder for the Spanish-resident multilingual actor.

"I speak far better French in the film than I normally do," he concedes. "I also had to change the accent I learned when I was young, which is more of a Quebec sound. I had to learn Arabic from scratch and it helped that I knew Spanish, as there are certain sounds that are not so different. I went to Algeria before we started shooting and spent some time there."

Jauja follows a father and daughter who venture from Denmark to Patagonia, where the girl elopes with an Argentinian only for Dad to track them through the wilderness.

Mortensen is back on horseback, roaming Argentina's rural north, where he holidayed as a child. "I copied my father, who speaks Spanish with a thick Danish accent, for the character. It was helpful that I had such strong connections with the culture, the language and the landscape."

Who: Viggo Mortensen
What: Jauja (screening July 25 and July 30); Far From Men (screening July 26 and 29)

© NZME Publishing Limited . Images © 4L Productions.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Source: Iolanthe
Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

It's summer. Time of heat, music festivals, mad lazy days, blouses and jumping into waterfalls. OK – I admit it - I'm thinking about A Walk on the Moon. The recent HitFix comment about Viggo's 'paint-peeling smouldering sexuality' in the film got me thinking about how Viggo was just perfect for the role of Walker Jerome, the guy who could sell women's blouses and still manage to be a babe-magnet. Liev Schreiber joked about being intimidated because Viggo had 'already cornered the market on animal magnetism'. Yep. I think we'd all agree with that one.

© Miramax Films/Village Roadshow. man other than Viggo Mortensen could carry the moniker 'Blouse Man' and retain the sort of paint-peeling smoldering sexuality that he wields throughout this film (to say nothing of his nuanced, stunning performance, which I guess I'm saying next to nothing about. But don't we all assume such a performance from Viggo?).

Liz W Garcia
13 July 2015

The rest of the leads also seemed to just click into place during the auditions. Getting Viggo Mortensen was Goldwyn's only "moment of panic," the director says, because he wanted a free spirit type, but definitely not a hippie, and he had his heart set on the actor from "A Perfect Murder," Gus Van Sant's "Psycho."
"When I saw some of Viggo's work, I thought, that's always who I've had in my head. I realized there is not one other actor anywhere who could play Viggo's part other than Viggo. He has this kind of complexity and mysteriousness to him. He doesn't have to say much and you get a lot."

Tony Goldwyn, Director of A Walk on the Moon
Actor Goldwyn side-stepped cliches for summer of '69 directorial debut
By Robin Blackwelder
February 24, 1999

"I knew I wanted him for that role in such a way that I was saying, Please take some of my money and give it to him….Because he gives immeasurable depth to what he does, full commitment, full conviction."

Diane Lane
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

Walker is no mindless hippie going with the flow. He cares about Pearl. Certainly, he cares about pleasing her sexually. She gets her own flight to the moon at the same time as Neil Armstrong. And what Walker does to her under a waterfall should be bottled.

A Steamy 'Walk on The Moon'
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, April 2, 1999

As the guy Pearl falls for, Viggo Mortensen drips with sex appeal. He'd attract almost any woman.

Robin Dougherty
25 February 1999
Miami New Times

Liev Schreiber on heading straight for the gym the minute he knew Viggo had been cast as his wife's lover:

'I had to have some definition in my body if I was going to take my shirt off in the same movie that Viggo runs around naked in. Trust me, that's mighty intimidating.'

Liev Schreiber
Calgary Sun, April 1999

As the Blouse Man, Viggo Mortensen is rugged and attractive, but the character is underdeveloped. In a way, this is unimportant, because his primary function is as a catalyst.

....Following its world premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, A Walk on the Moon received a standing ovation from the 1300 viewers in the Eccles Theater - an occurrence that's a testimony to the film's emotional strength and truth. It's easy to make a bad movie about a woman finding herself by cheating on her husband, but difficult to fashion one that hits most of the right notes.

A Walk on the Moon
James Berardinelli

Mortensen is also perfectly cast, skillfully side-stepping all stereotypes even though he plays a sensitive, seductive beatnik.

Rob Blackwelder

'I know that some people are describing Walker as a hippie, but he really wasn't. He was a little older than that generation and probably more influenced by jazz and the beat generation, so that made him maybe a little more open to things. It wasn't just about Woodstock for him.'

Viggo Mortensen on A Walk on the Moon
Viggo Artist & Actor
by Jae-Ha Kim
Cleveland Plain Dealer 1999

Originally called ''The Blouse Man'' in honor of its traffic-stopping title character, ''A Walk on the Moon'' has its elements of attractive fantasy. The blouse man is one of the peddlers who visit the camp to sell their wares, and it took Ms. Gray many rewrites to turn him into an object of desire. However, as played with silky eroticism by Viggo Mortensen, the gentlemanly Walker Jerome arrives to charm the camp's old ladies and weaken Pearl's knees.

Janet Maslin
New York Times
March 26, 1999

I saw this picture with Diane Lane called A Walk on the Moon. And there was something about his performance in that film that told me that this guy could be Frank Hopkins. I hadn't seen the first Lord of the Rings before we cast him, but I figured anybody that could sell blouses to Diane Lane out of a truck could do anything.

Joe Johnston
Staci Layne Wilson
American Western Magazine
March 2004

"I think being a conventional leading man is something that gives him a lot of trouble," says Goldwyn, recalling Mortensen's fears that A Walk on the Moon's Blouse Man might become a one-note sex god. "Of course, the success that implies is very attractive, but the trappings of that for someone like Viggo, who has so much to offer, can be very scary."

Viggo Trip
by Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39, 2002

© Images © Miramax Films/Village Roadshow.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo in Best Weekend Magazine

Source: Best Weekend.
Found By: Chrissie

Thanks to Chrissie for the find. Time for the Far From Men promotion to move on to Australia with this article from Best Weekend magazine.

Click on scan to enlarge.

© Best Weekend.

Display options:
Order by:        
Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Last edited: 3 October 2015 15:35:43