Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna Make Cool Mini-Movie for Chivas Scotch

Do you remember the 2001 movie Y Tu Mamá También? I liked that movie. Its two male lead actors, Gael Garcia Bernal (pictured) and Diego Luna, went on to have prolific careers, and have recently begun working on the other side of the camera as well, with their art-house Mexican film company Canana. Their latest project is pretty neat: they’ve developed a two-part film for Chivas Scotch Whisky called Drifting that takes place at some Mexican resort, where a bunch of friends are kind of nasty to each other, but for a good reason. The films are embedded after the jump, so set your volume right, pour yourself a tumbler of that lovely, smooth, golden whisky with notes of vanilla and cream, click to make it full-screen, and enjoy. Oh, by the way, it’s not just some over-extended commercial, it’s an art film all the way. If you’re being marketed to, it’s the softest soft-sell I know. Plus, the whisky’s good, so everybody wins. 

Here you go. 

Check Out Seven Clips from the Oscar-Nominated ‘No’

Now nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Pablo Larrain’s No will finally debut in the US in the coming weeks. Picked up by Sony Picture Classics after it premiered to rave reviews at Cannes last Spring, you can now get a closer glimpse at the film with several clips just released. With the always wonderful Gael García Bernal (who we recently saw last fall in Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet) leading th film, No takes place in 1988 when the Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international press, was forced two call a plebiscite on his presidency—country having to vote YES or NO on extending his rule for another eight years. "Opposition leaders for the NO persuade a brash young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. Against all odds, with scant resources and under scrutiny by the despot’s minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free."

No opens February 15th but for now, check out the seven clips below.

There Are Other Movies Happening At Sundance Not Involving James Franco

Yesterday, the Sundance Film Festival announced its out-of-competition lineup, which included a lot of hype, a lot of all-star actors and a whole lot of James Franco. In his never-ending, Zelda-esque quest to become Supreme Lord of the Film Festival, James Franco is actually involved in two out-of-competition and rather NSFW films at the festival. One of the “Park City at Midnight” films is kink, a documentary about the employees of the adult website Kink.com, for which Franco worked with regular collaborator Christina Voros (Voros makes her directorial debut; Franco is signed on as a producer).

For the experimental “New Frontier” section of the festival, Franco has offered Interior. Leather Bar., which he both appears in and co-directs with Travis Mathews, who also wrote the film. In it, the directors attempt to recreate the lost gay S&M footage taken out of the 1980 film Cruising, removed to keep the film from garnering an “X” rating. I mean, it’s really only a matter of time before James Franco tries to curate his own festival of all movies involving James Franco as the star or director or EP or maybe he tries to write the soundtrack did you know he plays music now that’s a thing? Maybe he’ll come to the premieres in character. Maybe he’ll start his own filmmaking academy. Maybe eventually our national obsession with James Franco being involved in so many activities will finally come to rest, and we can all be at peace with our accomplishments. That would be nice.

But this isn’t an all-James Franco festival, because that would be boring. There are actually a lot of other talented people who have movies not in the competition. There are other documentaries, even! Including Sarah Polley’s festival-favorite Super 8-laced family tale Stories We Tell and Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, a rather-relevant profile of members of the Israeli secret service. There’s S-VHS, the sequel to the acclaimed found-footage horror flick V/H/S, which will likely get a lot of play. There’s No, Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s look at the later years of Augusto Pinochet, a Cannes favorite featuring Gael García Bernal; Jeff Nichols’ Mud, your classic man-on-the-run-gets-help-from-teenagers story featuring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. The multimedia art installations from the likes of lyrical Twitterati Yung Jake and interactive light-and-sound master Rafael Lozano-Hemmer also sound pretty intriguing. Let’s see you try to do something like that, Franco.

But perhaps the most exciting batch of films are in the “Park City at Midnight” section, which includes S-VHS and kink, as well as a film involving a recently-released prisoner on the road back to family and to his new life that is even called The Rambler, a road-trip horror film, a movie about a cannibal family and Virtually Heroes, which sounds like an alternate-universe Wreck-It Ralph in which “two self-aware characters in a Call of Duty-style video game struggle with their screwy, frustrating existence.” Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon’s demon-house comedy Hell Baby, featuring a whole lot of funny people (Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Leslie Bibb, Rob Corddry) and road-trip comedy Ass Backwards, co-starring and co-authored by June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson (and featuring Alicia Silverstone!), round out the lineup. 

Director Julia Loktev Talks ‘The Loneliest Planet’ and Its Unpredictable Response

Julia Loktev’s sophomore feature, The Loneliest Planet, is sparse with words but teeming with emotion. Based on the Tom Bissell short story "Expensive Trips Nowhere," the film lives between the words of its characters, existing in their body language and the sprawling landscape that surrounds them. The allusively minimalistic yet hauntingly penerating feature takes you on a journey that explores the dynamic of one couple but speaks to the nature of men and woman on a broader scale. 

Set in the hills of Georgia, the film tells the story of Nica and Alex, a young couple engaged to be married. While on a backpacking trip (with only a guide as their accompaniment), their lives are dramatically altered when unknown truths between them are exposed and cause a schism in their foundation. The Loneliest Planet is played with an unapologetic rawness that’s evocative and bold—even from the opening scene of Nica bouncing naked and freezing in a wash bin waiting for Alex to douse her water. Played by Hani Furstenberg and Gael Garcia Bernal, the film is, according to Loktev, "so much about what does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a woman—what do we expect from them?" But although the story may seem far removed from your avergae couple, it asks the audience to engage their own emotions and experiences in understanding the universal rupture of its characters.

Fresh off her Gotham Award nomnation for Best Feature, we chatted with Loktev about what she hoped to uncover with this film, finding the chemistry between the characters, and the audience’s individualistic experience.

So how did you become inspired to tell this story?
I went to a film festival in Georgia, and when I was over there I ended up traveling a bit in Georgia with my boyfriend at the time. While we were traveling there together I actually remembered the short story that we both had read, this Tom Bissell short story, and being in the space of traveling together I thought, this would be a really great movie. At the moment, I thought this could be an interesting movie. Maybe this could be a movie.

Did the short story have the same feeling?
The short story was about a couple traveling is Kazakhstan with a guide. I wasn’t traveling with a guide, I wasn’t traveling in the mountains but there’s something so familiar to me about the story. I’ve traveled a lot myself, I traveled across Central Asia alone after college and I traveled around a lot so I feel like I’ve met this couple many times and knew them.

Did you know that you wanted to explore the dynamics of a relationship?
I knew I wanted to make a love story. I was remembering this short story and I remember the central turning point is so strong, it’s so provocative and it left me feeling so confused about how I would feel in that situation—how the man would feel in that situation, especially. I found it fascinating to try and explore both sides. It’s about these two people struggling after this thing rips them apart and rips apart whatever idea they had of themselves. 

And what was it about Georgia that drew you?
I was born in Russia, technically I was born in the Soviet Union, at the time that Georgia was still a part of the Soviet Union, so in a sense I was born in the same country and now they’re two separate countries. So for me, there is a sense of being somewhat at home in Georgia; I don’t speak Georgian but I look Georgian and I can often get around in Russian. So there’s a familiarity I have with the culture. But also there’s something so mysterious about Georgia for most people. You say Georgia for most people in American have no idea what it looks like, they’ve heard of it but they picture it. And that was incredibly appealing, that it didn’t come with a lot of cultural baggage and preconceptions. Also, it’s a place where the tourist industry is still quite young. You can still meet people and people might buy you a drink or invite you to their house; there’s a fluidity that I think that gets lost when tourism becomes the main industry. And also there was something so specific about this location, about this particular part of Georgia. Other parts of Georgia look completely different but this particular part of Georgia has these incredibly huge open mountains that seemed so perfect for the film.

For you, what was the role of language in the film?
It’s funny, I’ve had people say to me that it’s a film where people don’t talk a lot but it’s kind of about language. Language is constantly entering into it; they’re traveling in this place so they’re basically getting around with four words. And they manage to get around okay until a crucial moment. But then there’s these gams of exchanging language—the typical things one does when you’re traveling, like you exchange curse words for example. But language keeps entering into it. There’s also the inability to speak and the failure of language at the most crucial moment, because after the rupture they should be talking, but what on earth could they possibly say, what is there to say? And that’s what interested me, that they have to go on with their trip and each of them is just trying to figure out what to do. And they’re not really alone ever. I think everyone can probably relate to that. To put it in a very banal way, it’s like when you’ve had a fight your lover and you have to go out to dinner with someone else or a party or some kind of public event with this person, you know, and you’re not really in a space where you can discuss it and you have to maintain so air of normalcy.

That’s what makes their story relatable and universal because it’s a situation could happen anywhere, they just happen to be ina remote location.
I think some of the things that happen are very familiar, I think there are moments when you do find one gesture, one motion, and everything feels absolutely destroyed. Now, it is destroyed forever or just for a few hours? Hard to say. 

The film has a naturalistic style that allows the story to really build. How did you want to tell the story in terms of pace?
I wanted to have a sense of what it means to be in the mountains, to walk through the mountain. I think one of the things that’s been nice is that people who have travelled a lot or hike a lot often come to me and say that this really captured that feeling and to me, that’s really lovely. There’s a rhythm, because it is about walking and walking and walking. I’ve had people ask me if it’s in real time and I say, “Have you ever hiked? Do you know what real time hiking takes?” A lot longer than this!

How did you go about casting for the film? So much of the movie is reliant on these few characters.
I was looking for someone who would really fit this character and Gael just seemed to have the qualities. It’s about thinking that this man does not have the potential for what eventually happens, and for me, Gael seemed really right for this. And also, he’s a very physical actor and that was very appealing, that he likes to work with his body and gestures and expressions. Then I found Hani while looking through a couple of Israeli films and I thought she was just astonishing. Then I discovered she’s from Queens, an American! So that was a wonderful surprise. And then I put them together, and that was the most important thing, to see how they would work together and they had this tremendous chemistry just from the first moment they met.

How did you prepare them for the film?
It was so much on the spot and came from just being there. We were all living in this small Georgian village, eating together all the time, camping a lot. So it just grew from being there. We didn’t really rehearse in a formal way at all. What Gael, Hani, and I did do is go backpacking together and we really put ourselves in Bidzina Gujabidze’s (who plays Dato) hands because he’s a mountaineer. And he said to take a two person tent for all of us, so it was me, Hani, and Gael sleeping in this two person tent. Bidzina said he’sd sleep under a plastic tarp but then it started raining really hard, so we were all in this two person tent. And that’s how we rehearsed. It was the best thing we could have done.

How long were you shooting for?
Six weeks. Most intense six weeks of my life. Intense and hellish and wonderful and beautiful.

On a visual level, the film was really stunning. Can you tell me a little bit about the cinematography?
In our case, it was a very choreographed camera that moves between the actors. We were really walking with the actors and had very elaborate choreography of you know, what point who would be in close up, who would move away from the camera, how the camera would dance around them. So it was really like a dance between the three actors and the camera and a lot of the shots were like 3, 4 minutes so it was quite a physical feat for the camera operators who literally had to hike with the actors up and over like a packed avalanche, across a stream, etc. We all lost a lot of weight.

Have you been pleased with the reception of the film?
One of the things I find interesting in showing the film is that you just get vastly different reactions to it. I don’t mean in terms of if it’s good or bad, but just in terms of how it taps into people’s personal feelings. I really can’t predict it because it’s so much about what does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a woman, what do we expect from them? These very personal things that. People kind of shock me with their reactions. I have to say, there are people who watch the movie and they will say, you know, this is very clear, this relationship is over, it’s done, absolutely there is no way to recover from it. And then there’s other people that look at it and say, what’s he problem? Why are they so upset? I don’t see the problem! And that’s a really drastic difference and says a lot about the person viewing it. And I can’t say that I can predict it; I can’t say that women will see it one way or men will see it another. It’s completely unpredictable and gets really mixed up. Whatever it is that they feel about it, they feel very strongly and they kind of can’t imagine that anybody would feel something different. But the person next to them might have felt something entirely different. Could be a good date movie or possibly a very bad date movie.

Could be a good test to see the conversation you would have afterwards.
Exactly. So yeah, for me it’s not very clear, I can’t say I feel one way or the other about it. I can understand the range of emotional reactions and I think ultimately, that’s what attracted me to the short story, that I didn’t really know how I felt. I could imagine these characters not knowing how they felt and I found that more interesting than clarity. I like things that make me uncomfortable. So often you go to the movies and it does work like a kind of lozenge.

Morning Links: Chris Brown and Rihanna To Reunite, Pete Doherty Is Cleaning Up

● Miss Info confirms that Chris Brown will in fact be contributing a verse to and appearing in the video for Rihanna’s "Birthday Cake" remix. [MissInfo]

● Stephen Colbert has perhaps gone off air this week so that he can spend time with his 91-year-old mother. [People]

● Josh Duhamel and Shia LaBeouf will not be returning for Transformers 4. "They haven’t called me," says Duhamel. [Us]

Bodyguard co-star Kevin Cosner, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, and Tyler Perry are among the handful of guests who will pay tribute to Whitney Houston at her invite-only funeral on Saturday. [Us]

● Gael Garcia Bernal has signed on to star as the Spanish swordsman in Zorro Reborn. [Variety]

● Pete Doherty is cleaning up for his "English rose" of a girlfriend. "I’ve stopped injecting," he says. "The only way I can see myself in a serious relationship is if I am toning it down a bit. When you’re banging up all day you can’t really have someone else in your life." [NME]

● "I drink, at times, too much," admits George Clooney in an unusually vulnerable interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But he adds, "I’m not a big druggie, not at all. Blow is absolutely a nonstarter." [NYDN]

Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, &…Will Ferrell?

For those waiting for an Y Tu Mama Tambien sequel—Mexico’s most masturbated-to actors enjoined again on a life journey filled with homoerotic possibility—well, tough luck. But for those just as happy to see Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal once more share the screen, I’ve got good news: it’s just been announced that the duo have been cast alongside Will Ferrell in a Spanish-language telenovela-style comedy called Casa de mi Padre directed by former SNL writer Matt Piedmont. I like this move already by virtue of all parties involved.

The standard Ferrell bro-com formula has been fraying at the edges for a while now (though Step Brothers was undeniably awesome), but filming a movie in Spanish might stoke Ferrell’s comic genius. Since Y Tu Mama, Bernal and Luna have both gone on to mixed careers, often settling for romantic stud roles (Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, anyone?) and just-short-of-the-finish-line films (Mammoth, Rudo y Cursi).

One of the things that made Y Tu Mama such a special film was the super-comfortable repartee between the two old friends. Bernal is an excellent dramatic actor, but he can also be incredibly funny, and it will be fun to watch him and Luna exercise their comedic chops alongside Will Ferrell. Trailer to come.