Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Class of 2007: Geraldine Chaplin

This is part of the Supporting Actress Class-Of-2007 Blogathon hosted By StinkyLulu For more great entries go here.

Last year around this time I found one of best blogs about actresses on the verge: StinkyLulu. Back then, I read most of the posts from the First Supporting Actress Blogathon, and now, in 2008, I'm participating, so we here go…

Since my blog is in Spanish, and focuses on cinema from Iberoamérica (Latin America and Spain), I decided to write about a very special performance from a movie that just opened in the States. It was very difficult since we didn’t have an abundance of choices in our muy sexy language like last year. We had memorable performances, which to this day some people are still talking about like Adriana Barraza's lovely nanny in Babel; the gorgeous Maribel Verdú and Ivana Baquero as the fierce maid and the imaginative princesa from Pan's Labyrinth; and don’t count out Almodovar’s mujeres from Volver: Blanca Portillo, Lola Dueñas and Carmen Maura, just to name a few.

2007 might not be the Latino year at the Academy this February, but still there was one performance that caught my—and many others—attention at the New York Film Festival last September. And since StinkyLulu more than welcomes obscure performances with little to no chance of winning, my choice is perfect.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Cine Latino en Nueva York's contribution to The Class of 2007 - The 2nd Annual Supporting Actress Blogathon is Geraldine Chaplin from El Orfanato (The Orphanage), Spain's official submission for best foreign language film of the 80th Annual Academy Awards. In this sophisticated ghost story produced by Gullermo del Toro, the legendary trilingual actress and daughter of the unique Charlie Chaplin shines as Aurora, a medium that tries to help Laura (Belén Rueda) find her missing son and explains the dark secrets that inhabit her childhood home.

In this short but memorable performance that has already earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at this year’s Goya Awards (the Spanish Oscar), Chaplin hits all the right notes with her candid portrayal. Some say this could be a tribute to Zelda Rubenstein's odd turn in the early 80's American classic Poltergeist. As Chaplin's Aurora walks through the haunted house and says "no estamos solos" [we're not alone], we know immediately that her presence commands respect. Her visions and wisdom are key to finding out what really happened there. "No se trata de ver para creer, sino de creer para ver, entonces vera” [Seeing is not believing; it's the other way around] she says, and with that the movie takes an intense and dramatic twist that I won't reveal.

Described as "the honorary fairy godmother of Spanish cinema" by A. O. Scott from NYT, the lovely Chaplin has been in many fine classics, including Almodovar’s Talk to Her, Carlos Saura’s masterpiece Cria Cuervos, Doctor Zhivago, and Nashville. As much as we would like to see Geraldine on Oscar night, we know it won’t happen. But her night will come around this February at the Goyas. That’s going to be her noche.

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