Execution, and Roll Credits

Hi all,

A while back I discovered a site called Kanopy.com, where you can see 10 films for free each month using your library card.  The selection is made up of classic films, indie films, and foreign cinema.  I was searching for the French film version of Les Misérables with Gérard Depardieu, and came upon Le Retour De Martin Guerre with him playing the title role.  It turns out it was a huge hit at Cannes in 1982 and deservedly so.  It won a César (The French Oscar) for best screenplay and was nominated for best costume design at the Academy Awards.

Basically, Le Retour De Martin Guerre is based on the true account of Martin Guerre, a man who lived in southwestern France in the 16th Century.  He abandoned his wife and son to join the army and then supposedly returned home after nearly 10 years.  However, the man claiming to be Martin Guerre was really an imposter who managed to fool the people in the village and Martin Guerre’s wife for three years.  He was executed for defiling marriage and falsehood.  For those people who have no idea who Gérard Depardieu even is or have only seen his American film appearances, this is a fantastic introduction to back when he was a young heartthrob.  His performance as the false Martin Guerre will have you nearly believing that he is the man himself, but has just that bit of dissonance that makes you wonder if you’re right.  This is clearly masterful acting at its best.  And Martin Guerre’s ill-fated wife, Bertrande, is played by the lovely Nathalie Baye, a reknowned French actress you might remember from playing Frank Abagnale’s mother in Catch Me If You Can.  She gives a very subtle performance as a woman whose life and fate is very much controlled by men.  Bertande attempts to do what she can to ensure her own happiness, but in the end, she only encounters tragedy for trying to be a good woman and to protect her children.  And her outfit in the courtroom scene is simply gorgeous. The end of the film is incredibly heartbreaking and disturbing with the execution of the false Martin.  And then the credits roll right after the character dies.  It’s like “scene direction: execution, and roll credits.”

My first introduction to foreign cinema was actually Cyrano De Bergerac starring Gérard Depardieu at an art film house in Portland when I was 8.  That was my first time seeing a movie in the theatres with subtitles.  My parents have serious standards when it comes to arts and culture in our family.

Gérard Depardieu et Nathalie Baye lors du tournage du film ‘Le Retour de Martin Guerre’ de Daniel Vigne en novembre 1981, France. (Photo by Jacky COOLEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

From the Anna Archives

Hi all,

I’m participating in the Bramon Garcia Braun 10 Day Actor’s Challenge for Letting Go and part of the challenge is to do an acting exercise each day and after making a self-tape for a comedy pilot (I just might book that!), I decided that my acting task for the day was to look over my old self-tapes and see how I’ve done.  I really cringed at the older ones that had me constantly looking at the script and my facial tics and unnecessary arm gestures.  I often punctuate my words with my hands and make “fish lips” (not as adorable as that sounds!)  I can’t show my most recent self-tape because the project hasn’t even finalized casting yet.

Here is one of my first self-tapes for the ABC Diversity Showcase.  Now, why would pasty little me audition for this?  Because I’m a woman.  I am sharing this to demonstrate how much I’ve improved.  I was really nervous and it showed, and I also looked at my sides constantly.  Ever since taking Chris Game’s How To Book Everything Class, I have sworn to memorize the sides for every audition and minimize the silly gestures.

Next up is a much more recent video of my doing a scene from the one-camera comedy series, “Kevin From Work,” in Chris’  class doing a much better job and being really funny.  Completely memorized, not really nervous, and minimized silly extra movements.

Of course, we can all get better at auditioning, especially self-tapes.  Many projects request self-tape auditions and I’m glad to have the resources to do them, but I always prefer in-person auditions because I can meet the production team.