Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 12 NYFF50: Elle Fanning Stands Up in ‘Ginger & Rosa’

ELLE Fanning is on something of a roll these days.

In “Ginger & Rosa,” she is tasked with carrying a small film that deftly deals with important matters on her young shoulders. She does so capably, continuing to show the promise that has been apparent since “The Door in the Floor” and continued through last year’s “Super 8.”

“Ginger & Rosa” will have an additional screening tonight and tomorrow after making its U. S. debut at the 50th New York Film Festival last night. Its only known country-wide release dates at the moment are 19 Oct. in the UK and Ireland and 11 April 2013 in Germany. (See trailer below.)

In “Ginger & Rosa,” the 14-year-old actor is the title character, Ginger, a sensitive girl of almost 16 living in 1962 London. Ginger is dealing with some serious issues, including the Cuban nuclear crisis, which threatens the whole world. Further complicating her life is her best friend and the disintegrating marriage of her parents (Christina Hendricks and Alessandro Nivola), a painter mother and pacifist father.

EF, the giggly and effervescent younger sister of Dakota, pulls off a hugely credible performance as serious, socially-conscious Ginger. (Rosa is far more insouciant and boy-crazy.) Talk about teen drama! Here, though, it is warranted. This is not about the wrong nail polish or matters of wardrobe. Ginger’s world might literally end she is acutely aware of it.

Further, Rosa, whom Ginger has known all of her short life, is doing something that is hurting her deeply. Not much is being given away by stating that a male is involved. This is not the usual scenario, though. There won’t be a catfight. Thankfully, “Ginger & Rosa” is a different type of girl-teen drama.

EF is one of several U.S actors in this film about British folk and that was on her mind when she auditioned. “I first met Sally when I was 12 and then when I was 13,” she said of the director Sally Potter late yesterday morning during a press conference after a screening of the film. “When I auditioned I was nervous because Sally is English and I had to do an English accent and I didn’t know what she would think."

Evidentally, SP (“Rage,” “Orlando”) liked what she saw and heard, not only from EF. Annette Bening and Oliver Platt are also among Americans cast in “Ginger & Rosa.” “There was no strategy involved,” she said when specifically asked about this. “It was about finding the right person.”

In fact, for the lead roles SP practically scoured the UK – even using Facebook – looking for just the right duo. Rosa is played by newcomer Alice Englert who also happens to be the daughter of Jane Campion.

EF, a blonde in real life, feels things madly, deeply as redheaded Ginger. One wonders whether SP made her a redhead for this reason. Ginger deals with various difficulties by crying – not sobbing, but simply letting the tears flow. The crying was not a dramatic device, SP said during the press conference. “It is a natural response to what is going on around her. I see the tears as extraordinarily real.”

For EF, they came unbidden at times. “After one of those takes, I felt it deeply and it happened.”

Visit http://www.filmlinc.com/ to learn more about the 50th New York Film Festival, including show times and ticket information.

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