BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (United States of America)
Director: Spike Jonze
Sala Luís de Pina
7 May at 6.30pm (Mon)
Director: Spike Jonze With: Cameron Diaz, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Catherine Keener Screenplay: Charlie Kaufmann Music: Carter Burwell Editor: Eric Zumbrunnen Director of photography: Lance Acord Language: English, with Portuguese subtitles For audiences over: +16 Release year: 1999 Running time: 112 min.
Maxine’s puppet: “Tell me, Craig, why do you love puppeteering?”
Craig’s puppet: “Well, Maxine, I’m not sure exactly. Perhaps the idea of becoming someone else for a little while. Being inside another skin, thinking differently, moving differently, feeling differently.”
Being John Malkovich was nominated in three categories at the 72nd Academy Awards: Best Director for Jonze, Best Original Screenplay for Kaufman and Best Supporting Actress for Keener. It belongs to the list of the most interesting films featuring puppetry. The renowned puppeteer Philip Huber is the responsible for the excellent puppet manipulation.
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is nearing the end of his string. A gifted street puppeteer, Craig nonetheless is coming up empty-cupped: New York City has little use, or tolerance, for his special talents. His ten-year marriage to Lotte (Cameron Diaz), a workaholic pet store employee who literally brings her work home with her, has become habitual at best. They have no money, no passion, no escape. With no other prospects, the nimble-fingered Craig takes a job as an entry-level filing clerk at LesterCorp., a "small" company located on the 7 1/2th floor of Manhattan's Mertin-Flemmer office building. At his orientation, he meets the beautiful Maxine (Catherine Keener), and, for Craig, it's obsession at first sight. While at work, Craig discovers a portal that leads into the mind of renowned actor John Malkovich. He is being John Malkovich… And this is just the beginning. Ever wanted to be someone else? Now you can.
Spike Jonze is the versatile filmmaker behind the acclaimed films Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are and Her. His films are characterized by existentialist reflections and discussions about the contemporary world and its conflicts extending to the future. Actor, director and producer, he earned an Oscar nomination for directing his first feature film, 1999’s Being John Malkovich, and then won an Oscar 14 years later for writing the film Her. Creative director at VICE media, he started as a photographer in the late 1980s for Freestylin’, a skateboarder magazine. That led to a career making short films and music videos, with several awards. A portfolio that includes Sonic Youth, Daft Punk, Björk, Beastie Boys or Arcade Fire.
"There are some films with a premise so simple and so unanswerably brilliant they make all aspiring screenwriters slap their foreheads with envy and self-loathing (...).
Now it can only be a case of: 'Of course... a failing puppeteer who works on the 7½th floor of a Manhattan office-building and accidentally discovers a tiny door that leads directly into John Malkovich's head! Why didn't I think of that? It's been staring me in the face!'
Being John Malkovich is the outrageously funny new movie from director Spike Jonze, with a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, whose every scene, every line, every narrative refinement, every exquisitely hand-tooled joke and sight-gag is of the purest gold. Jonze and Kaufman take us on a cheeky raid behind the enemy lines of thinkability in the cinema, into the realm of the six impossible things the Red Queen believed before breakfast (...).
Being John Malkovich brings a light touch to the important things it says about the ballooning cult of celebrity, how the aristocracy of the famous bombards us with gilded, gorgeous lives and hyper-real existences from every screen - subtly encouraging us to believe not merely in the inferiority of the non-famous existence, but its relative unreality. And in doing so, it returns us to the childlike reverie, as we look down at our hands, arms, and the tapering perspective of our bodies, of what it is like to be someone else. And further, to wondering what it is to be ourselves.
The choice of John Malkovich himself is inspired: he treats the role with a sporting lack of pomposity and yet absolute seriousness. In doing so, he has magnified his reputation and career a thousandfold (...).
Put simply, Being John Malkovich just has to be one of funniest, cleverest films of the year, a Fabergé egg of comic delight."
- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian