'Gravity', Jr. = 'Europa Report'

Just saw Gravity (Warner Bros. Worldwide) in 3D at the Arclight Hollywood, having missed its Gala Premiere in Toronto where the line to see even the Press and Industry screening wound around corners on the street, up stairs and around the theater interior like a snake. So glad to have seen it in the comfort of my own favorite theater. (Though Laemmle on Santa Monica in West L.A. is beginning to feel like home again too.)

It occurred to me how similar Europa Report (Isa: Sierra Affinity, U.S. Magnolia) was, although Gravity was like a water ballet in space and Europa Report was all inside the space ship. And Gravity had A list American actors while Europa Report had A list international thespians. You can read my blog on Europa Report at LatinoBuzz: Europa Report 31 July 2013 12:30 Pm, Pdt | Sydney's Buzz on Indiewire or on IMDbPro under Europa Report/ News Releases.

You can read the earlier L.A. Times articles on Europa Report here: Comic-Con: Modest ‘Europa Report’ gets San Diego’s biggest stage published on July 19, 2013 and here: Review: 'Europa Report' gets good mileage from low-budget sci-fi by Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic.

Europa Report has just been issued in the home entertainment markets today according to L.A. Times by Magnolia on DVD for $26.98 or Blu-ray for $29.98 after opening theatrically August 2, 2013 in Los Angeles at the Sundance Sunset in West Hollywood, D.C. at the E Street Cinema and New York at the Cinema Village followed by a national roll-out. See playdates here.

L.A. Times Capsule Review:

Another example of the innovative, intelligent sci-fi films that have become blessedly frequent in recent years, director Sebastián Cordero's half-mockumentary/ half-found-footage work reconstructs a doomed space mission using "news reports," "interviews" and "on-ship surveillance recordings." The result feels a little drier than the typical interstellar thriller, but "Europa Report" also achieves a rare verisimilitude with its documentary re-creations. Even though it features recognizable actors (including Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist and Embeth Davidtz), it looks like a real mission, which only adds to the drama when things start to go very wrong. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and a featurette about the film's special effects.

Gravity opened this weekend and grossed $55,785,112 at 3,575 locations. Opening weekend for The Europa Report was $22,243 in 3 theaters. It grossed $125,475 in 9.4 weeks.

Really of interest to me however, is the genealogy of the two films. Alfonso Cuaron and Sebastian Cordero are joined like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on these two very similar films.

Sebastián, an Ecuadorian whose two films, the 2004 Cronicas was produced by Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, Isabel Dávalos, and Bertha Navarro, and Rabia, produced by Guillermo del Toro, have created their own exclusive cult fan clubs. The 2004 film Cronicas caused quite a stir among the acquisitions community and the cognoscenti of genre-art house films. It won the Sundance/ Nhk International Filmmakers Award in 2002, premiered in Cannes' Un Certain Regard, played Toronto, San Sebastian, Sundance and Rotterdam, sold worldwide and was picked up for U.S. by Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures, thus confirming its cult status.

Rabia (Isa:Wild Bunch), a Spanish-Colombian coproduction premiered in 2009 at the Toronto Film Festival. His earlier film Ratas, Ratones, Rateros premiered in Venice in 1999, received over 12 international awards and played in more than 50 film festivals and Pescador, a Colombian-Ecuadorian coproduction won acting and directing awards at the Guadalajara Film Festival in 2012.

This was his first English language film in Hollywood. His cinematographer, Enrique Chediak, and production designer, Eugenio Caballero, have worked with him on three of his films. The production designer was excited to design a realistic space ship. Enrique liked the found footage idea which was still high tech, it did not have the degraded handheld effect you see in the current run of horror films. He liked the idea of working with limitations. He built a 360 degree set with eight cameras shooting continuously. It was very immersive. The cinematographer also liked the challenge.

The Production Designer, Eugenio Caballero, won the Academy Award for his work on Pan's Labyrinth. Enrique Chediak was named on Daily Variety's "10 Cinemagraphers to Watch" in 1999 and has not disappointed with his credits which include Danny Boyle's 127 Hours and was Cordero's cinematographer on Rabia.

As Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron mentor Sebastian Cordero, he too is exploring the No. American terrain for movie making, though not at the major studio level. Cordero is creating a larger area, a newer terrain, combining Latin American talent with European talent with his own USC Film School mentality.

Gravity was a huge art film, combining a perspective on its side, upside down, spinning, slow motion on short stop-watched time lines, everything possible going wrong and survived by only one tough woman. So too in The Europa Report everything went wrong and only one woman survived. The Europa Report was the low budget version of Gravity, or Gravity, Jr. Both were told with a quietude and calmness that defies Hollywood High Tech Special Effects.
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