Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Truly, Talented Mr. Mingella

It was the first full weekend of spring and the long weekend to boot, and perfect weather for my annual rituals - taking long walks in the beautiful sunshine that is slowly melting all the snow, dutifully doing an Easter reading of favourite passages from Watership Down, the best bunny book ever, indulging in some subsequent chocolate rabbit munching, taking a trip to IKEA, and doing a lot of couch cheering at the world Figure Skating Championships - three medals for CANADA! - it was so exciting.

But in tribute to the recent passing of Anthony Mingella, I also spent some time reading a few of his plays and watching my favourite movie of his - Truly, Madly, Deeply, which, if you haven't seen, I highly recommend you rent. Make sure you check out the director's commentary on the DVD which really illustrates how fiercely intelligent, generous, and engaging a person Mingella was and how he relished and was passionate about not just film, but music, dance, theater and just ordinary people. It's all in Truly, Madly, Deeply, which is one of the most uplifting and funny movies about grief and loss that's ever been made. And it's such a well-acted, well-written film. Mingella died far too young; I'll miss all the movies he should have had the time to make.
Mingella's last project was a film adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's phenomenally successful No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. It airs in the U.K. tonight and should make its way to North America shortly. McCall Smith talks about Mingella and his adapation here and if you click on the right hand side, you can see a clip from the movie.
Before becoming a director, Mingella was a playwright. Two volumes of his work has been published, Plays 1 and Plays 2 - I recommend Made in Bangkok in the former; the latter includes the script for Truly, Madly, Deeply.

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