Saving Mr. Banks / Saving Mr. Banks: In cautarea povestii (2013)

Imi faceam un pic de curat pe birou si ma gandeam la urmatorul articol. Am gasit schita de la articolul precedent unde am scris despre Bambi si am vazut numele lui Walt Disney. Mi-am amintit de un alt film superb care are legatura cu el.

“Saving Mr. Banks” spune povestea din culise a realizarii bine-cunoscutului musical “Mary Poppins”. Mai precis, arata interactiunea dificila si complicata dintre autoarea cartii care sta la baza filmului, Pamela P. L. Travers, si cei din echipa creatoare de la Disney, inclusiv Walt Disney.

Mr. Banks este tatal din povestea prezentata in carte, iar pe parcursul filmului intelegem ca are o foarte stransa legatura cu tatal scriitoarei, un bancher pe nume Travers Robert Goff, un om cu suflet de artist, prins intr-o viata in care nu avea cum sa isi urmeze visurile, ci trebuia sa asigure traiul familiei lui. Zbuciumul si suferinta lui au marcat puternic copila cea mare, cu care avea o relatie absolut deosebita. Ea ii intelegea visurile si aspiratiile si intelegea si neputintele si suferinta.

Ideea filmului a plecat de la un documentar despre autoare, documentar care dateaza din 2002.

Pelicula a fost initial o productie independenta. Insa pentru a completa povestea, a fost nevoie de permisiunile pentru drepturi de autor, astfel incat compania Disney a ajuns sa fie implicata. Cei din conducerea companiei au fost in postura in care puteau sa cumpere scenariul si sa blocheze realizarea filmului sau sa cumpere scenariul si sa denatureze povestea. In schimb, au ales sa cumpere scenariul, sa finanteze productia si chiar sa si puna la dispozitie materiale din arhiva lor, precum inregistrari de la sedintele dintre Pamela Travers si creatorii musical-ului si corespondenta purtata intre Walt Disney si autoare din perioada 1940-1970.

Filmul este dedicat fiicei lui Disney, Diane Disney Miller, care a decedat cu putin timp inainte de lansarea filmului. Ea, impreuna cu alte rude si fosti angajati ai tatalui ei, au fost intervievati de catre Tom Hanks pentru ca acesta sa poata reusi o interpretare cat mai corecta a faimosului creator de desene animate.

Tot pentru autenticitatea filmului, Emma Thompson, care o interpreteaza pe Pamela Travers, a purtat bijuterii imprumutate de la Muzeul Familiei Walt Disney, iar filmarile au avut loc in mare parte in fosta cladire a animatiei (Animation Building) din cadrul complexului Studiourilor Disney.

Desi si in realitate, ca si in film, Travers a plans la premiera, se pare ca acele lacrimi nu erau de bucurie asa cum este redat in film. In realitate, scriitoarea nu a fost niciodata de acord cu modul in care Disney a adaptat cartea sa, mai ales decizia de a introduce elemente de animatie. Supararea a fost atat de mare, incat ea a specificat in testamentul ei ca nici una dintre cartile sale sa nu mai fie adaptate de vreun american.

Exista si alte mici discordante intre realitate si film, insa pelicula reda foarte bine esenta povestii din culise, realizand totodata o caracterizare perfecta a autoarei, fapt confirmat de o secventa din inregistrarile audio redata la finalul filmului.

Filmul mi s-a parut superb prin faptul ca prezinta totul ca o poveste, iar Tom Hanks mi se pare ca intra perfect in pielea lui Walt Disney si portretizeaza un om cu un suflet minunat, care stia cum sa aiba grija de angajatii lui cand erau in situatii grele. Este un film care nu critica, nu judeca, pur si simplu relateaza.

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I was cleaning up my desk and thinking about my next article when I saw the draft of the previous article, Bambi, and I noticed Walt Disney’s name. I quickly remembered another beautiful film connected to him.

“Saving Mr. Banks” shares a glimpse into the making of the well-known musical called “Mary Poppins”. It showcases the complicated interaction between Pamela P.L. Travers and the creative team of Disney Studios, including Walt Disney himself. Pamela P.L. Travers is the author of the book that inspired Disney’s musical.

Mr. Banks is the father in the story. During the film we understand that the character is very much inspired by the author’s own father, Travers Robert Goff, a man with an artist’s soul, trapped in a life that forced him to give up on his dreams and provide for his family. His suffering had a profound impact upon his oldest daughter, who understood his dreams and his pain. The two shared a special relationship, that mattered a lot to the author.

The idea of this film was inspired by a 2002 documentary about the writer’s life.

Initially, the film was independently financed. But the story needed material that required copyrights from The Disney Company. This is how the major company became involved in the production. The managers from The Disney Company and the Disney Studios had the opportunity to either buy the script and shut down the production or buy the script and modify the story. Instead, they chose to buy the script, finance the budget and grant the creators of the film access to a part of the Disney archives. The team was able to listen to 36 hours of recordings from Pamela Travers’ meeting with the creators of the musical and read letters exchanged by the author and Walt Disney dating from the 1940s to the 1960s.

This film is dedicated to Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, who died shortly before the movie was released. She, along with other relatives and former employees of Disney, were interviewed by Tom Hanks who had to prepare his role as Walt Disney.

To keep the atmosphere of the film as authentic as possible, Emma Thompson, who plays Pamela Travers, wore jewelry borrowed from the Walt Disney Family Museum and most of the filming took place in the Animation Building in the Disney Studios compound.

Although in reality, just like in the film, Travers cried in the theatre while watching Mary Poppins, apparently they were not tears of joy as depicted. In reality, Pamela Travers never approved the way Walt Disney adapted her book and was particularly upset about using the animated sequences. Her anger was so strong, that her last will and testament stipulates that no American can ever adapt any of her books.

There are other small differences between the reality and the film, but the movie describes very well the essence of what happened during the making of Mary Poppins. This is confirmed by a sequence of the archived audio recording that plays at the end of the film.

I loved the film because it presents everything as if it tells a story. I thought Tom Hanks became a perfect Walt Disney, showing a wonderful man who knew how to treat his employees during difficult moments. It is a film that doesn’t judge, nor does it criticise. It simply tells a story. A beautiful one.

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