Personal Material

By Zelie Vandermeiren

Either small or big, there is always a piece of the director in the movie they make. The creative process after all is truly about giving on oneself in order to produce something with real authenticity. Think of it like aster eggs hidden everywhere, therefore each creative endeavour becomes personal and unique. But sometimes, it’s more than a number or a relative making a cameo. Sometimes, the plot of the movie was born well before the idea of making a movie; because it was a life experience first. Discover more about those close to the heart movies with Personal Material Here.

Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola, 2004

Lost in Translation is a film about two people, at a different time in their lives, that find each other whilst ‘lost’ in Tokyo. On one side Bill Muray plays a 60 years old actor that is not wanted anymore and is on the verge of a divorce. On the other, Scarlet Johanson is Charlotte a young graduate/wife of a director that has abandoned her as he is shooting in Japan. Two people lost in a city and culture, far from home. Sofia Coppola, based Scarlet Johanson character, Charlotte, on her life. She was married to the director Spike Jonze, and how while he was directing one of his movies, she felt completely left alone.

Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance, 2010

Blue Valentine is a movie where you watch a couple falling in and falling out of love, at the same time. Portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, the couple is facing life in the best way they can with what life throws at them. The director, Derek Cianfrance, admitted that the inspiration for the movie was the divorce of his parents when he was 20. Having a hard time understanding how and why people fall out of love, he made a movie about it, hoping it would help him understand.

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, 2017

Lady Bird is a coming of age movie about a young girl in her last year of high school. Saoirse Ronan portrays Christine aka “Lady Bird”, a teenage girl from a small town that has big dreams and ambitions. A time when many changes happened and finding who you are and what you want in life, is often a hard quest. The story takes place in Sacramento, where the director Greta Gerwig grew up. The movie is a love letter to this place. Gerwig used a lot of her personal details, the high school in the film is the one she went to, and other places where she grew up.

E.T, Steven Spielberg, 1982

E.T is following the life of Elliot a young lonely boy whose life will change forever as he became friends with an Alien. Steven Spielberg, the father figure of science fiction and aliens films, said that E.T is one of his closest works. Enormously impacted by his parent’s divorce, he wanted to translate it into a movie. Children dealing with their parents’ divorce is one of Spielberg signature in his movies, along with the absent father figure.

Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater, 1995

Before Sunrise tells the journey of a young man and woman, who meet on a train in Europe. Instantly a connection is made, and they decide to enjoy their last moment together before going their own way. Richard Linklater, the director, actually met a woman the same way the protagonists did in his movie. Unlike the film, they kept in touch over the year, until they lost touch at some point. Unfortunately during the 3rd movie of the saga, Linklater found out that the woman had sadly passed away.

Roma, Alfonso Cuarón, 2018

Roma, takes place in Mexico City in the early 1970s. Following the life of a middle-class family’s maid, the director Alfonso Cuarón is telling the story of the maids that used to work at his house. The script is from his recollection of this time, and he used his actual family’s furniture for the set. Even if it’s through the eyes of his maids, Roma is odd to his childhood, and his most personal movie.

Crooklyn, Spike Lee, 1995

Crooklyn follows a family of 5 children living in Brooklyn. The main character Troy a young girl get send away one summer to a part of the family she is not close to; in order to hide her mother’s illness from her. Just like Cuarón, Spike Lee based this movie around his childhood. He went even deeper, as his siblings also co-wrote the script with him. Which add realism to the movie, and the different points of view each one had of the situation.

If you enjoyed reading Personal Material, you might also enjoy reading other articles about movies like Movie Nurture or Easy Classics.

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