Jonathan Demme: Saharan Garden

Filmmaking Duo Roberto de Paolis and Carlo Lavagna Take a Break With the Famed Director in Morocco

The Marrakech Film Festival and its desert surroundings form the backdrop for Roberto de Paolis and Carlo Lavagna's latest short, in which Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme discusses his ever-evolving relationship to the many genres of film. Demme, who will release Wally and André Shoot Ibsen next year, was the focus of a tribute at the North African event earlier this month. In addition to receiving international acclaim for features like Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married and Silence of the Lambs, which won in all five major Oscar categories, Demme has also directed 14 documentaries, most concentrating on the subjects of human rights and musicians including Neil Young. “He always changes perspective,” says De Paolis, “ranging from the best thriller of the last 25 years, to documentary, to naturalistic contemporary drama, always choosing different atmospheres and languages.” The Italian duo, who previously visited the festival for NOWNESS in 2010, found themselves confronted with the abandoned film set of Lawrence of Arabia when they ducked out of the proceedings and headed to Ouazazarte, known as “the door to the desert,” to visit a friend. “You start in the city, go through a valley, up into the mountains where it is snowing and then back down into the desert,” says De Paolis of the impressive landscape. "If you don’t fall asleep in your car, you will see so many different things in two hours.”

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  • NOW-IST of the Moment
    NOW-IST of the Moment

    Filmmakers and Artists

    Roberto de Paolis and Carlo Lavagna, New York City and Rome

    The “bad” habit you have no intention of breaking: 
    Not answering my phone.
    Carlo: Lying.

    Your dream collaboration: 
    Co-Writer and Assistant Director to Michael Haneke for his next film. 
    Carlo: Slavoj Zizek to play in my film.

    The place in the world you feel most at home: 
    Paris, 21 Rue du Cherche-midi.
    Carlo: My bed…actually any bed.

    The work of art you would most like to own: 
    Don’t like contemporary art. I would love to buy a Leonardo Da Vinci painting though.
    Carlo: Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

    The unrealized project you daydream most about:
    Relationships with my ex-girlfriends.
    Carlo: A remake of Menschen am Sonntag.

    Your most extravagant purchase: 
    Luxurious toys for “my” cats. My ex left them behind, and I now have to take care of them. I’m always away, and feel so guilty that I spend a fortune for their crazy toys.
    Carlo: My friend Tommaso. I had to buy him back from a tribe who had caught him during a trip in Togo.

    Your workplace essentials: 
    Computer, coffee, cats.
    Carlo: Isolation, music, good food and porn.

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    Gift Wrapped: Yves Béhar

    The Design Master Checklists His Favorite Gadgets to Give This Christmas

    Pioneering industrial designer, sustainability advocate and one-man innovation think tank, Yves Béhar curates a selection of inventive gift ideas for gizmo lovers in this short film by Marcus Gaab. From a personalized wireless hi-fi speaker to a domestic cleaning robot and a knife set masterminded according to the Fibonacci sequence, the San Francisco-based entrepreneur chose items as practical as they are beautiful. Through his design and branding firm Fuseproject, which he founded in 1999, Béhar has employed his product and communication interventions on clients as diverse as Birkenstock, Swarovski, Toshiba and One Laptop Per Child. Here Béhar, who won this year’s Condé Nast Traveler designer of the year award, details why these five gifts made his grade. 

    Jawbone Jambox Speaker
    During this season of sharing and socializing, how about adding music to that? The Jambox comes in four different colors with metallic textures and in robust rubber, making it a perfectly portable audio experience. 

    Déglon Meeting Knife Set
    The most unique knife set I know—a knife puzzle! Made in high-quality stainless steel, each knife fits inside each other, and is stored snugly on a flat metal block.

    Danese 16 Animali Puzzle
A true classic created by Enzo Mari. Perfect for children, adults, and lovers of beautiful design. There is also a version made of 16 sea animals that turns the oceans into a puzzle. 

    Bookman Bicycle Lights
The Swedes, who live through dark winters, know better than anyone that proper lighting is important. The many colors and smart attachment strategy means the lights will match any super customized “fixie,” no problem. Light patterns and good battery life reinforce this safety product.

    Mint Plus Automatic Floor-Cleaning Robot
Ok, vacuuming is boring, but mopping is a chore everyone truly hates! The Mint Plus robot will smartly do that job for us.

    (Read More)

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