Wednesday, August 02, 2006

'The Girl in the Cafe' ...

Richard Curtis, the filmmaking god who brought us "Love, Actually," wrote this script for Bill Nighy, plucked out of his "Love, Actually" role as a randy, aging pop star, and turned into a socially stunted civil servant, a right hand to a chancellor of the United Kingdom, who finds love on the eve of the 2005 G8 summit.

I was enchanted from the first frame. Amazed, maybe. The music that opens the film is from Damien Rice, who I just found out about last week thanks to Kelley. And Bill is so fantastically charming, so subtle an actor, so uncomfortable in his character's skin, that you can't help but love him. Everyone knows that awkward feeling, when you really, really like someone, of saying all the wrong things just to be saying anything at all. It's like an out-of-body experience. Inside, you desperately want to be collected and smooth, but somehow speech becomes an involuntary function, and all manner of insanity starts spewing from your mouth.

But in a crowded cafe, the only available seat is across from a young, beautiful woman, and our story begins.

As a screenwriter, I bow to Richard Curtis. His ability to write socially relevant films masquerading as comedies is astonishing. This film is essentially a 95-minute education about the horrors, the "casual holocaust" as it's brilliantly referred to in the film, of global poverty. If you're thinking that this sounds like The ONE Campaign, you're right.

And even though Bono isn't talking about it in the news these days, the fight continues. Every three seconds, someone dies. And we can prevent that. My own blog post about it is more than a year old now. We cannot let our memories be so short. I read a quote today from Arianna Huffington that she follows a story until the end. Our attention spans have been diluted by information overload, I fear. If something isn't playing out on our television, we forget that it exists.

This film was released last year to coincide with the G8 Summit. I missed it then, but am so glad to have found it now.


Anonymous Bill said...

When I saw this movie I was thrilled to see Bill Nighy, who I'd never heard of before Love Actually, and empathised with his character's struggle to 'do the right thing'. He was also appropriately creepy in the Underworld flicks (sorry - BIG Kate Beckinsale fan), the first of which I actually enjoyed. I nodded through Underworld Part Duex thinking I was watching the original. Hey you can't always be the sharpest pencil in the box.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:04 AM  

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