RANGO - Interview with Abigail Breslin & Director Gore Verbenski

Interview with Abigail Breslin and Director Gore Verbenski

CINEMA - February 2011

By Bridget Went and Danielle Slatkin, Marin Academy

“You’re a stranger;" a young mouse creature declared, "strangers don’t last long here." Welcome to the Mojave Desert, where drought has shaped the lives of the creatures within it, where it is impossible to survive without having adapted to the harsh environment. In this mystic wasteland a young lizard (voiced by Johnny Depp) suddenly finds himself lost and confused, far away from his home. With the help of a mysterious young woman named Beans (voiced by Isla Fisher) he finds himself in the only town within 100 miles: Dirt. Filled with transcendental creatures, including a frog, a mouse, and an anteater, who all seem to possess human-like qualities, the people of Dirt cause the lizard to feel bemused, misplaced, and utterly flummoxed. Yet as the young lizard gains some confidence, labels himself as "Rango" and shows off his authority, he gains the respect of the Dirt community and is soon made chief sheriff. He has the opportunity to reinvent himself by convincing new creatures that he is a hero. Through his journey in fighting off an enormous snake and a mayor with a pleasant façade, leading the town to recover from the water shortage, and discovering his own identity, Rango unearths the true significance of what it means to belong in a community. As the spirit of the west tells Rango, "no man can walk out on his own story."

Read more ...

Director Wayne Wang - Feature Interview

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Wayne Wang Explains the Story of Fans and Friendship

CINEMA - February 2011

By Sabrina Hao; Marin Country Day School, 8th Grade

Photo of reporter Sabrina Hao with director Wayne Wang In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (based on the novel written by Lisa See), two young girls, Lily and Snow Flower (played by Li Bing Bing and Gianna Jun), live in 19th century China and become laotong or “old sames.” Laotong is the friendship that two girls who are “the same” share (same birthday/year of birth, same foot binding day, etc.). Lily comes from a poorer family, and Snow Flower from a more prosperous one. Together they deal with foot binding, marriage, and demanding mothers-in-law, and communicate with each other through a secret woman-only writing called nushu in the folds of a silk fan.

The movie contains a parallel story that unfolds at the same time in present day Shanghai. In this contemporary part of the movie, two women, Nina and Sophia (also played by Li Bing Bing and Gianna Jun), deal with their laotong friendship. As teenagers, Nina and Sophia are told of Sophia’s ancestor, Snow Flower, who had a laotong, Lily. Nina and Sophia decide to become laotong and are bound by this pact that makes them inseparable “eternal sisters for life.” When business opportunities, accidents, love, and Shanghai get in the way of their friendship, how will they remain friends for life and support each other like their laotong contract says they will have to?

Read more ...