By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 11/17/2005 | 11:00 am
Marrakech --- The British film director, who presented his latest film 'Mrs. Henderson Presents' at the Marrakech International Film Festival's opening on Friday, said that his next film will be on Princess Diana legacy.
Almost 8 years have elapsed since Lady Diana, Princess of Wales died. Since then, the British monarchy appears to be on sounder footing than it was in the days immediately after her fatal car crash.
The Royal Family initially received harsh criticism from the British press and people for its handling of Diana's death. Monarchy vs democracy was also put into question.
Steven Frears' new film comes to discuss these issues. “My new film will discuss the issue of monarchy and democracy in Britain, old and new, especially after the death of Princess Diana,” Frears told Morocco Times.
Known for making provocative, stylized, and tightly budgeted films about people living on society's social and/or sexual fringes, Frears is renowned as one of Britain's most vibrant and recognizable filmmakers.
Asked about his focus on portraying the lives of working class people in many of his films, Frears told Morocco Times: “I just do scripts I like; it's as simple as that.”
He added: “That's the sort of tradition I grew up with. My life coincided with changes in society, and my thinking was influenced by that.”
Regarding his tendency to make films that branch into unfamiliar territory, Frears said that he likes "making films about different cultures. I'm interested in things that I've never encountered before. I try to put myself in the audience's position."
Concerning his participation in the Marrakech festival, Frears said that “the opportunity to come to Morocco is irresistible, and certainly not one any person could miss.”
Steven Frears has already shot his first film in Morocco, notably in Tangiers in 1967. He said he has little souvenir of this North Moroccan city since he worked there almost 3 decades ago, but expressed his willingness to come and shoot in Morocco one day.
Two major actresses appearing in Mrs. Henderson Presents, Judi Dench and Kelly Rilley, who accompanied Stephen Frears to the festival, expressed their satisfaction over working with such an interesting director as Frears.
“He is anarchic, spontaneous, likes surprises, and doesn't let you rest, but it is a pleasant experience to work with him,” the two actresses told Morocco Times laughingly.
As to the selection of Frears' films, he said he has chosen most of them by instinct. “I have no idea how I come to choose a particular script, it is unconscious. You just read the script and it doesn't take you a long time to decide when you feel it is wonderful,” Frears told Morocco Times.
“Mrs. Henderson Presents” is Frears' first musical comedy. For Frears “the film script is very original with a lot of vitality.” “Mrs. Henderson Presents is just wonderful film,” he added.
“Mrs. Henderson presents”, lovely musical comedy
Set in pre-World War II London, Mrs Henderson Presents is a loving portrayal of London's Windmill Theatre, whose motto "We never close". The out-of competition film, which stars Dame Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Kelly Rilley, and Will Young, was screened at the opening ceremony of the Marrakech International Film Festival, currently being held in Morocco's red city on Nov. 11-19.
It tells the remarkable true-life story of one of England's most prominent and eccentric society figures, Laura Henderson, who founded the historic Windmill Theatre.
Driven by the desire to win back the dwindling music hall audiences who had been lured away by the advent of 'talking pictures', this charming lady and veritable force of nature was aided by equally formidable and tenacious theatre manager Vivian Van Damm, as she set about her task with the kind of vigour and determination which belied her advanced years.
This wonderfully argumentative pair were complete opposites, but their extraordinary partnership proved fruitful when Mrs. Henderson's influence in society enabled her to take advantage of a legal loophole which permitted the theatre to show entirely nude models on stage - provided they didn't move a muscle. From here it was an easy step to the 'Nude Revue,' a musical extravaganza which became a roaring success and cemented the Windmill Theatre's reputation and place in history.
124 films screened in Marrakech festival
The festival will feature 124 films, 16 of them in competition, including 10 first or second features, from 15 different countries.
This 5th festival will hold a panorama of Spanish Cinema. A total of 41 films, emblematic of the Spanish film production of the past fifty years, will be screened. The “carte blanche” is given to Yash Chopra, one of the hippest and trendiest directors of Indian cinema.
The festiva has attracted a fair smattering of European and Asian stars, including Catherine Deneuve, Judi Dench, Terence Stamp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Maggie Cheung and Rebecca Miller.
The festival, which opened with a screening of Stephen Frears' "Mrs. Henderson Presents", will close on Saturday with Enrico Oldoini's "Thirteen at a Table" (Tredici a tavola).