Cinematic civil (dis)union
Since 2013 is the year both Colorado and France finally recognized same sex unions, it’s an ideal time to have a cinematic union between American and French films at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. In fact, this year’s Festival showcased not only both types of films, it also had a number of films focusing on same sex relationships and even bestowed the top prize (Palme d’Or) on a film focusing on lesbians. But, as such a union is fraught with peril (even though both are of the same cinematic gender, they have very different personalities), representatives of both parties advised entering into this cinematic pre-civil union agreement prior to the Festival.
THIS AGREEMENT MADE IN TRIPLICATE THIS 15th to 26th day of May, 2013
of the City of Los Angeles
in the Country of America
- AND -
FRANCE A/K/A BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR
of the City of Cannes
in the Country of France
CINEMATIC PRE-CIVIL UNION AGREEMENT
1. This Cinematic Pre-Civil Union Agreement (hereinafter called “Agreement”) is made between HOLLYWOOD A/K/A BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (hereinafter called “Holly”) and FRANCE A/K/A BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR (hereinafter called “Francie”) who are contemplating a relationship with each other;
2. The parties intend for this Agreement to become effective upon the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, pursuant to the language of cinema, including any Uniform Cinematic Acts, or other applicable laws of cinema adopted by the film community;
3. The parties wish to enter into this Agreement to provide for the showing, selling and celebrating of cinematic property between them, including future cinematic property owned or to be presented by either or both of them;
4. The parties further wish to reserve their respective cinematic rights and techniques that may be affected by this relationship;
5. The parties recognize the possibility of unhappy differences that may arise between them. Accordingly, the parties desire that the distribution and recognition of any cinematic property or offspring that either or both of them may own, produce or be associated with will be governed by the terms of this Agreement and, insofar as cinematic rules and preferences permit, intend that any cinematic cultural preferences that may apply to them, either by virtue of the Motion Picture Association of America or the French Film Commission, will not apply to them;
6. The parties have exchanged screeners of what they intend to present at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and have allowed full and complete disclosure of substantially all of these assets now owned or owing by each of them and voluntarily and expressly waive any other rights to ridicule or critique such output of each other beyond the disclosure provided;
7. The parties acknowledge that they have been provided 12 days to present the films subject to this Agreement and obtain directorial advice before signing;
8. Each party agrees and affirms the following:
a. THAT the parties did execute the Agreement voluntarily, albeit reluctantly on the part of Holly;
b. THAT this Agreement was not unconceivable; and
c. THAT Holly and Francie did have, or reasonably could have had, an adequate knowledge of the type of cinematic output of the other party.
NOW THEREFORE in consideration of the upcoming cinematic civil union, and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained in this Agreement, the parties agree as follows:
1. Although Holly believes that its cinematic output is more influential and that its Oscar ceremony is more renowned, the parties agree that this Agreement shall be effectuated and implemented in Cannes, France.
2. Unless a particular piece of cinematic output is explicitly documented as being owned and financed (or distributed) by both parties, any cinematic product submitted for showing at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival owned by a party at the date of execution of this Agreement shall remain in that party’s sole ownership.
3. Holly’s cinematic property, named Behind the Candelabra, consists of the following elements:
a. Highly recognized actors who have appeared in a number of American cinemas, which provide needed comfort and familiarity to American audiences;
b. A clearly spelled-out and straight- (um, not in a carnal sense that is) forward narrative about a famous American icon, Liberace, and his cohabitation with a person of the same sex involving a formulaic depiction of said relationship and the struggles and conflicts that ensue;
c. A focus on an elegant lifestyle (it’s Liberace after all!) and its opulence and glitziness, instead of focusing on average people doing everyday mundane activities;
d. Limited depictions of sexual activity and nudity that are displayed in a mostly humorous, or, shall we say, tongue-in-cheek, manner; and
e. Standard visual compositions and framing approach, e.g. mid-distance filming so that we can see both actors (Michael Douglas in an incredible performance as Liberace; Matt Damon as his much younger and worldly unwise lover) in their posh surroundings.
4. Francie’s cinematic property, named Blue is the Warmest Colour, consists of the following elements:
a. Unknown foreign actors speaking in foreign languages;
b. A narrative approach and tone that is attuned to the rhythms and activities of everyday life (e.g. a teacher interacting with Kindergartners; fixing and eating meals, etc.), and the struggles encountered by people of low, to average incomes;
c. Lengthy graphic and explicit depictions of sexual activity, but not done in a gratuitous or prurient manner, so as to showcase the sensitive and meaningful depth of the relationship between two young women;
d. A visual style that keeps the camera tightly focused on the actors faces to portray and convey the depth of emotion and longing for meaningful connection through unflinching cues in expressions and inner lives; and
e. A soundtrack that eschews the use of musical cues designed to telegraph desired audience reactions and instead highlights real world soundscapes.
5. The parties acknowledge that Holly has a number of dependent films that are subject to this Agreement, namely:
a. The Great Gatsby, a dependent whose parentage is clearly associated with Holly in that its appearance is all glitter and hip with very little depth to relationships and respect for the era.
b. The Bling Ring, another offspring that sparkles like the glitter from a pair of Louboutin shoes — and with same depth — about the real-life exploits of a group of vacuous teenagers who go about robbing (over and over and over again) the amazingly unsecured homes of the rich and famous (e.g. Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan) as they covet the high-end merchandise that these rich promote and flaunt and thereby create the desire on the part of the young to possess.
c. Inside Llewellyn Davis, produced by the union of Holly and the Coen Brothers, which contains a straight-forward narrative (albeit a narrative that’s quirky and filled with frustratingly fateful situations for the main character) about a struggling folk musician in the early 1960s before Dylan burst on the scene.
d. Nebraska, a Holly-esque offspring filmed in the Great Plains depicting typical American relationships between an elderly father and estranged son who bond on a road trip showcasing the rural lifestyles in Holly’s native land.
e. The Immigrant, a dependent that may not have originated here, but was produced by Holly and another American citizen (James Grey), about the struggles of immigrants coming to America in the early 1920s, specifically a Polish woman who is forced into prostitution, and is filled with clichés, stilted dialogue and strained plotting.
f. As I Lay Dying, the result of a Holly actor’s attempt to cinematically depict the novel of the same name by William Faulkner in a realistic and arduous fashion that is arch, mannered and über-artsy to the point of distraction.
6. The parties acknowledge that Francie has a number of dependent films that are subject to this Agreement, namely:
a. Stranger by the Lake, no stranger to Francie, this child is a leisurely paced thriller about gay men who cruise a secluded beach and one gay man who encounters two others: one who may be heterosexual but likes to hang out at this beach and only wants to talk and develop a easy friendship, and another who is a stoic hunk who represents something more dangerous; oh, and everyone walks around in their birthday suits.
b. Heli, the product of a dalliance between Francie and a Mexican that contains wincingly graphic scenes of sexual torture of desperately poor people caught in the middle of Mexican drug wars and corrupt Federales.
c. Jeune & Jolie (Young and Beautiful), a young (under-aged) and attractive daughter of Francie who, unbeknownst to her parents, falls into the world of highclass prostitution because she is disaffected by her pampered yet humdrum life and she becomes intoxicated by the power, money and the desires of men.
d. La Passe (The Past), Francie adopted this powerfully acted Iranian offspring about a divorced couple trying to finalize their split in Paris while the woman is about to remarry and the painful affect this has on their kids and others.
e. Borgman, produced by a union between Francie and a Dutchman, this is a child possessed by the devil, but is not in any way an Exorcist clone, rather it’s a humorous and clever take on how a scraggly man ingratiates himself into the lives of an upscale family with seeming innocence, yet he menacingly and domestically wreaks havoc and indoctrinates the household’s children into his satanic ranks.
f. Omar, an affecting Palestinian orphan adopted by Francie who faces intimidation by Israeli police and is pressured to join in the fight against the occupied Israeli forces, all while trying to be true to his childhood friends and seek the hand of the daughter of one of the militant leaders.
7. The parties acknowledge that in the event of a separation, any rights and obligations of the parties relating to the children of the parties, including the issues of child support, custody and access, will be governed by cinematic laws of their respective countries.
8. Should this Agreement be held to be invalid, unenforceable or void, because of a resulting trade agreement that fails to include a cultural exception — that is, treating cultural goods and services (such as cinematic output) differently than other traded goods and services because they are intrinsically different and encompass values, identity and meanings that go beyond their strictly commercial value — will not have the effect of invalidating or voiding this Agreement, and the parties agree that their cinematic union shall not result in requiring either party to adopt the other party’s output or approach to cinematic techniques, themes and styles.
INTENTION OF THE PARTIES
9. Notwithstanding that the parties acknowledge and agree that their circumstances at the execution of this Agreement may change for many reasons, including but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the opinion of critics, the passage of years, or the popularity or disfavor of one party’s cinematic style, it is nonetheless their intention to be bound strictly by the terms of this Agreement at all times, or at least until the next Cannes Film Festival.
TERMINATION OR AMENDMENT
10. This Agreement may only be terminated or amended by the parties by making a joint film.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the parties have hereunto set their cameras and actors as of the May 14th, 2013 written above.
SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED
In the presence of: Doug Young, The Statesman’s Film Columnist
Doug Young is the film critic for The Colorado Statesman and is not an attorney. This agreement was considered binding on both parties throughout the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Promisor agreed to indemnify and hold harmless The Colorado Statesman and all of its agents and employees from and against all claims, damages, losses and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees arising from such claims.