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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 March 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2019 13 NEWS FEATUREOSCARS CON STAMOCOSTAS G reek Australian director Anthony Maras' debut feature, Hotel Mumbai is the story of how a group of hotel guests bandied together with staff to survive a terrorist attack which took place in India in 2008. In one of the early scenes of Maras' gripping film, which recreates the siege which took place in the Taj Hotel, a woman comes face to face with a gunman in one of the rooms. As she is held at gun point she pleads for her life and says in Greek, “please my boy, don't do this”. The Greek Australian director told Neos Kosmos he included a Greek character in the film after he discovered that people of Greek and Cypriot heritage were caught up in the Mumbai attacks. "We didn't go into detail of guests with Greek heritage, but hearing their stories still had a profound effect on me," Maras said from his base in Los Angeles. "The people caught up in the siege on the Taj came from many different countries, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. The way they came together to help one another survive the darkest of times was incredibly moving." Much of Hotel Mumbai focuses on how the Lashkare-Taiba militants rendered most of the hotel into a death trap as they went through rooms hunting down staff and guests. The film shows how those caught in the turmoil fought to stay alive with Maras focusing on the critical role the Taj employees played in risking their lives to save the hotel's clients. One of the staff was played by Oscar nominated British actor Dev Patel - who represents the ethos of the Taj - that "Guest is God". "Dev's character Arjun is based on a number of staff members that we met and interviewed," he said. "Arjun faces a dilemma many of his fellow co-workers did. He simply wanted to get back home to his wife and family, but he also feels a deep sense of responsibility to his guests and fellow workers." Filmed as a docudrama, what makes Hotel Mumbai an intense experience is the depiction it offers of the gunmen. As well as the guests and the staff, you also see the film from their view point and as the story progresses you realise they are uneducated, impoverished young men that are led by extremists." “At no time did I ever want to absolve the Mumbai attackers of their actions," Maras said. those who were victims of the attacks and those who are still living with the effects," he said. "One of the key things driving us was a commitment to authenticity. To explore the themes we were tackling honestly." 'GROWING UP WITH TWO CULTURES' Before directing his debut feature Hotel Mumbai, Maras had made several short films, which upon their release were met with numerous accolades and awards. But it was The Palace, Cypriot–Australian short film co-production, written and directed by Maras that earnt the director international acclaim. Released in 2011, it not only won Best Short Fiction Film and Best Screenplay in a Short Film at the 2012 AACTA Awards, but numerous international awards. That success led to Maras directing and co-writing his first full-length feature Hotel Mumbai which features Oscar nominated actor Dev Patel and Hollywood star Armie Hammer. The film, which played at the Toronto Film Festival last year and is released in Australia next month, is also getting Maras some serious critical buzz with Variety naming him as one of 10 Directors to Watch. Maras told Neos Kosmos The benefit growing up with two cultures gives you is a perspective of what it’s like to be the other. ANTHONY MARAS, DIRECTOR there was a marked difference from making short films compared to full length features. "Going into any film is challenging enough. The fact that it was my first feature was a also bit of a daunting task," he said. "But I had a really Anth. Maras and Dev Patel working on the set of ‘Hotel Mumbai’. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED "In relation to the gunmen, the film attempts to explore the ‘why’. How is it that people get to the point that they are willing to commit these kinds of acts? In the case of the Mumbai attacks, there was an ideology that drove them. Men who were coordinating and controlling these attacks from afar." During the Mumbai attacks that lasted four days, at least 174 people died, including nine attackers, with more than 300 wounded. Maras revealed he went into his debut feature looking to honour those who did and didn't survive the attacks. "More than anything you feel a sense of responsibility to great team supporting me on all levels on both sides of the camera. "The gravity of the subject matter really helped focus the team. Film making is not e sculpture or painting where to an extent you can do it in isolation if you wish. It really is a team effort." Maras was born and bred in Adelaide to Greek migrant parents whose families had fled war and turmoil in Greece. The director evealed that his upbringing played a distinct role in his perspective as a filmmaker. "The benefit growing up with two cultures gives you, is a perspective of what it's like to be the other," he said. "Greeks have a very rich history in drama and storytelling. I remember from a young age, my grandparents telling me a lot about where they came from and the struggles they had gone through and that made a huge impression on me." Olivia Colman. PHOTO: AAP Olivia Colman gets an Oscar for The Favourite Y orgos Lanthimos' period drama The Favourite had 10 Oscar nominations and was one of the favourites of the Academy Awards. Olivia Colman, 44, received the Best Leading Actress Award. The film failed to win awards for its other nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (twice), Original Screenplay, I wanted it to be," she said. Colman also praised her co-stars, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz who she said were "the two loveliest women in the world to fall in love with." She also wrapped up her speech telling them "well done" if they weren't watching the telly but "sort of hoping" they were. "This is not going to happen again," she said. I used to work as a cleaner, and I loved that job. I did spend quite a lot of time imagining this. Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design and Film Editing. Colman began her acceptance speech by saying the experience of winning was "genuinely quite stressful" and that "this is hilarious! I've got an Oscar!" She also apologised to Glenn Close. "You've been my idol for so long – this is not how "And any little girl who is practicing their speech on the telly, you never know... I used to work as a cleaner, and I loved that job. I did spend quite a lot of time imagining this." Despite rumours and leaks that Lanthimos would win the Best Director Award, it was Alfonso Cuaron who took out the prize for Roma.
23 February 2019
09 March 2019