Im­prov, AK-47S and an Os­car nom­i­na­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Nel­son Wy­att

MON­TREAL — Os­car nom­i­nee Kim Nguyen ad­mires the tight struc­ture and es­thetic con­trol of film­mak­ers such as Stan­ley Kubrick and Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola.

How­ever, when it comes to his own work, he likes to wing it a lit­tle.

That’s what he says he did in War Witch, which is in con­tention for the best for­eign-lan­guage film Os­car be­ing handed out in Hol­ly­wood on Feb. 24.

“We had writ­ten all of the script but then when we started film­ing, I de­cided to not show the script to the ac­tors and to work through di­rected im­pro­vi­sa­tion,” he said in an in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press.

“We shot this film chrono­log­i­cally and I had spe­cific ex­pec­ta­tions but the ac­tors had a lot of free­dom to lis­ten to where their in­stincts would guide them. What’s very eerie, when you look at the film and you read the script, there’s a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties (be­tween them).”

It took him 10 years to write the script. Yet when it was time to film, he would sim­ply de­scribe each scene to the ac­tors, ex­plain what he wanted — and they mainly took it from there.

In one scene, for in­stance, one of the ac­tors who was a real-life sol­dier points to a deep scar on his neck from a bul­let wound and de­scribes how he got it. The story was true — he’d suf­fered the wound in real com­bat.

War Witch, which is also known by its orig­i­nal French-lan­guage ti­tle Re­belle, is the com­pelling — and of­ten heart­break­ing — story of child sol­diers in an uniden­ti­fied African coun­try.

It fo­cuses on Komona, played by Rachel Mwanza, who is taken by rebels at the age of 12 to join their army af­ter they force her to kill her par­ents.

Mwanza was liv­ing on the streets in Kin­shasa. She had never acted be­fore be­ing cast in the film yet her per­for­mance has drawn widep­sread ac­claim.

“She had so much courage,” said Nguyen, ex­plain­ing the novice was able to be her­self in front of the cam­era and ex­hibit a kind of non­cha­lance free of ex­ces­sive self-anal­y­sis. Nguyen said that’s a qual­ity more ex­pe­ri­enced ac­tors of­ten lose.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.