Monday, April 22

Director Arau to take ‘Walk’ with Bruins


Director Arau to take ‘Walk’ with Bruins

Award-winning filmmaker speaks at Melnitz tonight

By Brandon Wilson

Daily Bruin Contributor

Director Alfonso Arau, whose classic "Like Water For Chocolate"
won him worldwide fame and 10 Ariel Awards (Mexico’s version of
Oscars), will be bringing his hit from last year "A Walk In The
Clouds" to UCLA’s Melnitz Hall tonight. Arau’s visit is sponsored
by the UCLA Chicano/Latino Film and Television Association. A
discussion will follow the screening, and on Saturday Arau will
lead an all-day workshop on film directing for Bruin film
students.

"I have always been interested in the relationship between
younger and experienced artists," the director says. "The exchange
of young peoples’ energy and the experience of the more mature is
important. If you lose touch with the younger generation, you
become dated."

Arau’s experience has been on both sides of the camera, as he
broke into Hollywood when he co-starred in Sam Peckinpah’s 1969
classic "The Wild Bunch." His acting credits range from
ultra-surrealist Alejandro Jodorworsky’s "El Topo" to Robert
Zemeckis’ "Romancing the Stone," and the director cites his acting
turns as invaluable to his behind-the-camera career. "For me, they
are completely integrated. Like my silent film heroes, I believe
writing, directing, producing and acting to be all part of the same
whole."

Arau began setting his sights on the director’s chair with his
debut film "The Barefoot Eagle."He was in firm control of his craft
when he had the opportunity to adapt Laura Esquivel’s novel to the
screen, and Arau sensed a timeless quality to the material and a
potential to share the Mexican fable with a broad international
audience.

The resulting global success of "Like Water" heralded a new era
in his career. "When a non-American director gets recognition for a
film, Hollywood immediately calls you and offers you a project," he
says. "You always hear how foreign directors go to Hollywood and
ruin themselves, so you have to decide if you’re up to the
challenge. I decided to take the challenge."

Arau’s accepting of Hollywood’s offer resulted in a
collaboration with the Zucker Brothers (of "Airplane!" fame) on a
remake of an Italian neo-classic film "Four Steps in the Clouds."
Transplanting the action from the Italian to the Mexican
countryside, Arau assembled a cast including Giancarlo Giannini,
Anthony Quinn, Spanish-newcomer Aitana Sanchez-Gijon and Keanu
Reeves. "A Walk In The Clouds," which featured Arau’s trademark
touch of romance and sensuality, was the director’s first studio
hit, and he now plans to direct, produce and cowrite "The Greaser"
for Fine Line Pictures.

Arau’s motivation for leading the workshop are simple. "I have
always been socially oriented. I don’t think only about myself, I
always think in terms of my country or my planet."

FILM AND SPEAKER: Alfonso Arau’s "A Walk in the Clouds" screens
in Melnitz tonight at 7:30 p.m. Free. For more info, call
825-2345.

Director Alfonso Arau… (Arau) cites his acting turns as
invaluable to his behind-the-camera career.

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