Monday, January 22, 2007

Greengrass going into Iraq

After having more fun with the "Bourne" saga, Paul Greengrass will be getting serious again with his take on Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone."

Chandrasekaran's book is drawn from his own experiences as Baghdad bureau chief of the Washington Post, and concerns the chaotic attempts of the Americans to set up a provisional government in the area around Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's palace.

While there have been a slew of documentaries about Iraq, this is the first attempt I've heard of to make a scripted flick about what's going on on the ground. But of course this is hardly new territory for Greengrass.

"United 93," while being extremely hard to watch, was meticulous in its minute-by-minute re-creation of that horrific morning. Even better was his earlier "Bloody Sunday," which shed new light on the Irish civil rights protest march and subsequent massacre by British troops Jan. 30, 1972.

And just in case anyone hadn't heard what Mr. Greengrass thinks of the whole situation, he sums the invasion of Iraq up thusly, with more than a little hyperbole: "the most calamitous decision of our generation."

The timing of this should be perfect. With "Bourne Ultimatum" in post-production, Greengrass has one other project on his plate already. "They Marched into Sunlight," based on the book by David Maraniss, is summarized thusly at the IMDB: "On one day in October 1967, two events, the loss of 61 American soldiers in a Viet Cong ambush and a student protest against Dow Chemical, galvanize opposition to the Vietnam war on college campuses."

Sounds like perfect fodder for Greengrass, but I have to believe he will set this aside and try to finish "Imperial Life" by August or so of 2008, just in time for the presidential election. Now that would just be fun.

More Oscar predictions

The nominations come out tomorrow morning, of course, and you can hear my predictions for the major categories by clicking on the link at right. Here's two more:

Best supporting actress

Abigail Breslin - "Little Miss Sunshine"
Jennifer Hudson - "Dreamgirls"
Rinko Kikuchi - "Babel"
Adriana Barraza - "Babel"
Emily Blunt - "The Devil Wears Prada"

I'd love to see this go to Rinko Kikuchi for her remarkable performance as the deaf-mute Japanese teenager in "Babel," but nothing will stop the Jennifer Hudson express, and I'll enjoy watching her take home the prize.

Adapted screenplay

"Thank You for Smoking" - Jason Reitman
"Little Children" - Todd Field and Tom Perrotta
"Notes on a Scandal" - Patrick Marber
"Children of Men" - Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby
"Last King of Scotland" - Jeremy Brock

My pick would be "Thank You for Smoking," but I think the prize will go to Alfonso Cuaron and the gaggle of writers who assisted him in adapting and transforming the novel by P.D. James for "Children of Men."

We'll soon find out, of course, just how wrong I am. Tune in tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I remember seeing a reference to the Dow protest in a documentary about the New Left in the sixties. Students went to a building where recruiters for Dow Chemical, who produced napalm, were working. In order to get to them, students had to walk past students holding pictures of civilian victims of napalm in Vietnam. The police went in and beat the shit out of the students.

Glad that Mr. Greengrass is also turning his attention to the Iraq war. Have you seen the documentary "The Ground Truth?" Chris at "Some Guy's Blog", linked on my site, blogged about it today.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen any of the Iraq docos that have been garnering so much attention this year, Johnny .. I did see "Gunner Palace," which didn't attempt to offer any real insight into the madness that's going on over there, but did show what life is like for a batallion of soldiers who take over one of Saddam's former palaces .. It's a pretty good, but not great, flick

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Marina said...

Good predictions but I'm not sure I'm with you on "Children of Men". I think this is one is going to "Little Children".

FrancesDanger said...

I also would love to see Abigail Breslin nominated for LMS. Her performance was perfect, innocent and completely without guile. Love her!

Reel Fanatic said...

If Abigail doesn't get nominated, Frances, I'll be shocked .. If you look at supporting role as one that transforms a movie, her role, especially at the end, is beyond compare in its impact on Little Miss Sunshine

Anonymous said...

If Abigail doesn't get nominated, the whole Academy needs to be stood on their heads until blood-flow resumes to their brain, because it has obviously been obstructed by something.

Caught Pan's last night and am still reliving some of the scenes in my head today. Stunning.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm glad to hear it lived up to all your expectations, Divinity ... At this point, I think it's gonna be Peter O'Toole's fault that I never get to see Pan's Labyrinth before DVD .. if he gets his espected Oscar nomination, I assume Venus will take any arthouse slot that might be available this week

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