December 11, 2013 |
Five black actors, ranging from a television superstar to a Somali-born newcomer, have earned Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for their film performances, a reflection of an especially strong year for movies featuring actors of color. The movie that won the most film nominations was "12 Years a Slave. " Steve McQueen's unblinking portrait of slavery received four nominations, including for cast in a motion picture. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," about a White House servant who is a witness to civil rights history, collected three nominations, one of them for talk show host and mogul Oprah Winfrey.
October 21, 2013 |
In "12 Years a Slave," director Steve McQueen demonstrates both an eye for striking compositions and an unflinching gaze at scenes of stunning cruelty. There are abundant examples of the latter to be found in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped in the North in 1841 and sold into slavery in the South for a dozen years. At the Envelope Screening Series , McQueen and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt discussed their use of long takes to grab and hold the audience's attention, as in a searing whipping scene that lasts 10 minutes without a single edit.
October 19, 2013 |
The state of Louisiana - with its manicured plantations, moss-draped sycamores and creeping kudzu vines - serves almost as a character itself in "12 Years a Slave," Steve McQueen's historical drama based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in the antebellum South for a dozen years. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series , actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northup, and Alfre Woodard, who plays a former slave married to a plantation owner, discussed how the film's powerful sense of place helped them get into character.
October 17, 2013 |
When a director who never ever blinks takes on a horrific subject, a nightmare in broad daylight is the inevitable result. Welcome, if that is the right word, to the world of "12 Years a Slave. " Based on an 1853 memoir detailing the appalling experiences of Solomon Northup, a free man of color who was brazenly abducted and sold into slavery, this film intends to do more than tell us a story. It wants to immerse us in an experience, and it does. Obviously, no film can re-create the unspeakable degradation of one human being owning another, but in making the attempt "12 Years" insists we feel things in a particularly oppressive way. This is impressive filmmaking, but it is not easy to take in. PHOTOS: Scenes from '12 Years a Slave' British director Steve McQueen, working from a screenplay by John Ridley, has no intention of making audiences the slightest bit comfortable with this terrible story, no interest in putting in any special pleading to bend our hearts.
September 6, 2013 |
TELLURIDE, Colo. - Many sequences in Steve McQueen's new movie, "12 Years a Slave" - the true story of a free black man kidnapped in 1841 and sold to Southern plantation owners - were emotionally exhausting to film. But the British director didn't fully appreciate how wrenching the shoot was for his actors until he was in the editing room, scrutinizing the footage of a rape scene. Michael Fassbender, playing a particularly despicable slave owner named Edwin Epps, was violating his most prized cotton-picking possession, Patsey, played by newcomer Lupita Nyong'o.
May 8, 2008 |
A philosophical fight film grounded in samurai movies and Greek tragedy, David Mamet's "Redbelt" stars a mesmerizing Chiwetel Ejiofor as a righteous jiu-jitsu instructor, Alice Braga as his material-girl wife and Tim Allen as the aging movie star who lures them into a labyrinthine world ruled by money and power.