Peter Farrelly’s film, broadcast this evening on France 3, won three Oscars, including that of best film, in 2019. If you liked the duo formed by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, here is the opportunity to deepen the subject …
What is the film about ?
Green Book, On the roads of the Southis the (true) story of the relationship between African-American jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip – real name Frank Anthony Vallelonga. The two men find themselves together on the roads of deep America: that, segregationist, of the south of the country, in the 60s, on the occasion of a concert tour.
The sophisticated Don Shirley needs a bodyguard driver while the gruff Tony Lip needs the money. The two men, respectively embodied by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensenboth imperial, will learn to tame each other despite their respective prejudices (one, racist tendency, on blacks; the other, snob tendency, on proles.)
Who realizes it?
Director, peter farrelly, makes his first film here without his brother Bobby. After the series, in the 90s, of crazy scat-oriented comedies and today cults, Dumb and Dumber, Fools of Irene Where Mary at all costthe youngest of the siblings embarks on the solo production of this trendy “dramedy” buddy movie, by adapting a screenplay co-written by Nick Vallelonga, Tony’s son.
Who is the real Tony Lip?
He is the kind of man who has known a thousand lives thanks to an extraordinary patter and chat, which has earned him the nickname “Lip” (“the lip” – where his talent is born. of persuasion.) His work as a bouncer in the famous New York club The Copacabana, in the 60s, allowed him to meet a whole host of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Francis Ford Coppola. The latter offers him a role in The Godfather, as a wedding guest. We also see it in Donnie Brasco, but especially in the series The Sopranos, as bespectacled mobster Carmine Lupertazzi. He died in January 2013, three months before Don Shirley.
What is a “Green Book” ?
the Negro Motorist Green Book was an indispensable guide when you were a black traveler in segregationist America. The work, named after its author, the black postman Victor H. Green, was published every year between 1936 and 1966, and identifies the motels, hotels, bars, restaurants and service stations where colored customers are admitted. In the film, Tony is forced to use it to find places that accept Don Shirley.
What were the film’s chances at the Oscars?
Green Book, who won three Golden Globes (best picture, best screenplay and best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali), went to the Oscars on February 24, 2019, with five nominations. Competition was fierce, especially against Rome for best picture, or to Christian Bale for the best actor statuette (amazing in the role of Dick Cheney in the movie Vice, by Adam McKay). The film finally won, as an outsider, the statuette for Best Picture, that of Best Original Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali, his second statuette for Best Supporting Actor, two years after the one he already obtained for Moonlightby Barry Jenkins.
What controversy(s) surrounded the film?
Don Shirley’s family accuses the screenwriters of having embellished, even invented reality, speaking of a “symphony of lies” : according to her, the two men did not become as good friends as the film suggests, and Don Shirley was not estranged with his brother. The authors defend themselves claiming to have worked on the story with Don Shirley himself.
Some American critics also criticize the film for not being “black enough” and to position the film from a white point of view, as Hollywood tends to do, in the mode of white savior (“white saviour”).
Another controversy, that caused by various escapades of the team: the exhumation of a tweet by Nick Vallelonga in which he claimed to have seen Muslims celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, thus confirming remarks by Donald Trump, then candidate for the presidency of the United States; the use of the “N word” (nigger) by Viggo Mortensen during an interview, or the apologies of Peter Farrelly who has, in the past, shown his penis “in an attempt to be funny”, especially in front of actress Cameron Diaz. So many stains that ultimately did not prevent the film from shining at the Oscars…
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“Green Book”: everything you need to know about the film at the three Oscars