The American-Australian actress is in the spotlight this Sunday on Arte. After Distant Horizons, a documentary looks at the many risks taken by this ambitious artist, who likes to take on challenges.
In order to avenge the death of his father and the arson of his farm in Ireland, Joseph Donelly (Tom Cruise) breaks into the home of the family responsible for the tragedy, the Christies. There, the young man meets the lovely Shannon (Nicole Kidman) who persuades him to leave for a better world, America. But to achieve their American dream, they will have to face many challenges together.
In 1992, Nicole Kidman found Tom Cruise, two years after their love at first sight on Days of thunder, by Tony Scott, for distant horizons. A romance which is obviously at the heart of the documentary dedicated to the actress, broadcast just after this Ron Howard film on Arte (and already visible for free in replay): Nicole Kidman, eyes wide open.
It is no coincidence that Patrick Boudet (already behind A life of Brian Jones for the channel) plays with the title of Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), to present this “Portrait of a Woman”, according to the name of another essential film of her career, by Jane Campion, in 1996. Since she left Australia to try her luck in Hollywood, Nicole Kidman has indeed kept her eyes open to the world. Few actresses of her caliber have made such daring career choices, accepting tough but impactful roles, and sharing a rich vision of women. Women. With their faults and their sorrows.
Of white calm (Phillip Noyce – 1989) Dogville (Lars Von Trier – 2003) via Ready for everything (Gus Van Sant – 1995) or Birth (Jonathan Glazer, 2004), the actress has continued to surround herself with great filmmakers to embody disturbing female figures, full of contradictions. Immersing herself 100% into her roles, we see her here getting particularly involved in the filming of Red Mill !, by Baz Luhrmann, in 2001), a musical comedy which required days and days of singing and dancing rehearsals before really starting the shooting. To play Virginia Woolf in The Hours, by Stephen Daldry, she does not hesitate to transform herself physically, and to lose herself psychologically in the author’s spleen. An approach that paid off, since this role won her the Oscar for best actress in 2003.
Behind the scenes of Moulin Rouge! told by his choreographer
Eyes Wide Shut is undoubtedly the film that best illustrates the way in which she did not hesitate to blend into her roles, to the point that some rub off on her. Playing Alice Harford opposite her real husband impacted her private life. We clearly understand by seeing these archive images that his relationship with Cruise never recovered from this exceptional filming. After their highly publicized divorce, Nicole Kidman continued to choose strong roles, then decided to also become a producer, taking advantage of her star status bankable to explore all facets of feminism in cinema or television: the recent series Big Little Lieswhich she produces and which deals in particular with domestic violence, is an excellent example.
Evoking all these questions in just 50 minutes, while illustrating them with extracts from films and interviews with the actress, but also interventions from directors or film critics, is an almost impossible mission. This portrait of Nicole Kidman is necessarily incomplete, ignoring several notable roles in her career: Othersby Alejandro Amenabar, Back to Cold Mountainby Anthony Minghella, Stoker by Park-Chan Wook, PaddingtonPaul King or even The preys, by Sofia Coppola. But it succeeds in its mission of making you want to dive back into a captivating filmography, with a few false notes, but always this desire to offer something new, to take up a challenge.
We also see how Nicole Kidman was able to overcome her status as“Wife of Tom Cruise”and that if it has not escaped the diktat of eternal youth in Hollywood, it has been able to bounce back several times and often favor auteur cinema (and series).
Nicole Kidman, eyes wide open will be offered on Arte at 11:15 p.m. this Sunday, and it is visible in replay until October 9.
Here is the trailer fordistant horizonsbroadcast just before:
The Undoing: Nicole Kidman in an exciting new Big Little Lies (review)