“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.” Sonmi 451, CLOUD ATLAS
A great cast, epic story, all told with a sci-fi/19th century/dystopian future/screw ball comedy/love story twist. I picked up a copy of the film from my local library and watched CLOUD ATLAS on DVD at home. The film did not disappoint. When CLOUD ATLAS initially came out the media response was tepid. Don’t believe the lack of media hype. It is a great film. Any story where people of color live in the past and future and are active agents in their own destiny is a winner for me. The actors get to play across race and gender in an acting tour de force. This is film craft at it’s highest level. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Haile Berry, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Hug Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James Dacry, Zhou Xun, David Gyasi, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon.
Siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski, co-directed and co-written with Tom Tykwer, made this film adaptation of the novel “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell. It reminded me of my own work with in TANGO MACBETH in the way that the stories are deconstructed and the element of time is used to tell the story in an intuitive way. What is important is the feeling of the film, not the rigid logic of conventional film narrative. For a great article about the writing process of the script and the making of the film go this New Yorker article here.
Haile Berry discusses her work on the film in the clips below. CLOUD ATLAS is one of her finest performances.
The depiction of slavery in this film is more culturally sensitive to that in “12 Years a Slave” or “Django”. David Gyasi plays Autua, a worldly smart seaman who is captured, enslaved, and beaten for his repeated attempts to be free. The moment when he opens his eyes from the pain of being whipped and sees Adam Ewing, a young white lawyer sent to the Pacific island to make a business transaction, a spark of recognition passes between the two men. That spark of recognizing another’s humanity is one of the main themes of the film.
See the film, read the book, talk about it with your friends. Spread the word about CLOUD ATLAS.