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Elizabeth (1998) Amazon
Director: Shekhar Kapur

The movie that should have given Cate Blanchett the Oscar. It did, however, win one Oscar for Best Makeup by Jenny Shicore.  Shekhar Kapur did well with this outstanding movie. And what a cast! Cate, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph FiennesVincent Cassel, Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Kathy Burke, … on and on. Wow.

Extras:

    • Running Commentary by Director Shekhar Kapur
    • The Making of Elizabeth
    • Elizabeth Featurette
    • Cast and Filmmakers Biographies
    • Photo Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer

The running commentary by Shekhar Kapur is awesome. You really get an understanding of the movie making process from a director’s point of view. A rare commentary IMO. Listening to him talk about his work with such incredible detail and passion and reverence for the art of movie making is a real treat. He is so clear about directing — it is a joy to listen to.

In the last bit of his running commentary he speak about something which I found profound:

“It take a long time for a director to come to terms with his or her film. It’s taken me a long time for me to come to terms with Elizabeth because every time I look at the film I only see is what I should have done or what I did wrong. But, when you finally come to terms with it as a director, you try to understand what you actually did because making a film is such a collaborative art that a director is merely, I think, the glue of many many other parts that come together in the film. So, at the end of, say, Elizabeth all I can say is that i kept asking myself a million questions. And I encouraged my art director to ask those questions, I encourage my cinematographer to ask those questions, I encourage my actors to ask those questions. I never actually went onto the sets of this film and said “This IS the shot”, unless I was in a real hurry. But most of the time I would talk to everybody about the philosophy and I would say “What is this scene really about? Why do we want to shoot it this way? Which way do you think it should go?” And I think that collectively as we kept asking these questions, we collated a film together that in the end probably asks more questions than answers. And I think that has become more important.”

Oddly, while listening to the commentary you do not have the option of displaying English Subtitles. Only Spanish or French subtitles.

The Making of Elizabeth is a 25 minute in-depth video with great on-set interviews with the stars and of course the director Shekhar. All the interviews are great, but I especially like Geoffrey Rush’s words about the motivations to do the part and his understanding of the character he plays. Hmmm, Joseph Fiennes is very different when he’s not in character. I do wish they had interviewed Kathy Burke. Her performance was absolutely sublime. The writer Michael Hirst and producer Alison Owen give wonderful interviews as well.

Elizabeth Featurette is a 6 minute overview of the film with interview clippets and voice overs. A very condensed “making of” piece.

The Trailers are . . . well, trailers. I guess people like these extra features. Do you watch these?

Cast and Crew Biographies Just a bit of text reading. I find these rather boring.

Photo Gallery look like dressed up screen grabs. Disappointing.

You have to check out the extras on this DVD. Especially if you are into directing. The running commentary is worth it all. Three thumbs up for Kapur!

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

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