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The Air I Breathe in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Air I Breathe

Forest Whitaker • Brendan Fraser • Sarah Micelle Geller • Andy Garcia

Poster image THE CONCEPT:
Inspired by a Chinese proverb that breaks down into four key emotions – Happiness, Sorrow, Pleasure and Love, each vignette is built around a character that embodies one of these key emotions

U.S. RELEASE: January 25 2008, Limited • Rated: R


Sarah Michelle Geller“I liked the story, you don’t really read stories like this; it read like poetry to me – just the idea of the emotions telling the story. The story was one character, and each of us represented a facet of that character. I was the sorrowful part, Brendan was the pleasure part, [Forest was happiness] and Kevin was love. And it’s only when you get all of us together that you get a whole; which is, as humans, I think what we are. I had the fortunate character in the sense of I had probably the fullest arc, because she starts in this place of sorrow, but through knowing happiness, pleasure and love, she finds who she really is, which is the whole being.”

“I keep a character journal of stories and events, and a lot of these ideas and characters were swimming in my head, and they came together in this mathematical way. The pop star [played by Geller] is based on a friend of mine in Korea. The whole music industry in Asia, especially Korea, is run by gangsters. So her management contract was [owned] by a gangster [played by Garcia] and she was trying to get out of it. That situation was very real.”

Andy Garcia“My character is complicated, he’s got issues; he’s not a well-balanced individual. I had no interest in trying to make him redeemable, to show his complexities, yes, and to show what creates a person like this. You could say that the most evil of people in life are victims. If you look back at their history, they were victims of some sort of abuse, something that triggered this kind of pattern in their life.”

Brendan Fraser and Sarah Michelle Geller“My character doesn’t want to be a gangster, but he is and he has this job because he had a tragic thing happen in his childhood. He has this bizarre ability to see visions of the future that he doesn’t necessarily want. And you see him as an adult taking a very precarious path with that ability. I think not giving the characters names and just calling them Happiness, Sorrow, Pleasure and Love in the title cards makes it more of an esoteric experience.”

“Sarah’s a great actress. She took a lot of abuse in this film. We had a great cast; they’re talented people that I admire. The characters in this movie are complex individuals; they are not rational in the way they perceive or deal with things.”

"Brendan is a really close friend of mine, and I have to say my performance would not have been possible without him. To go to the emotional places I had to go, to be able to look into his eyes and be real, because if it wasn’t real he would have known. Everyone is so used to the goofy Brendan that they forget Gods and Monsters, and the caliber of actor that Brendan is.”

FRASER on if he wanted to ‘see visions’ himself:
“No, but I will trust my gut a lot more. That’s what you want to do with intuition, sometimes when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck you just go make a left turn.”

The Air I Breathe comes into play as a title because the air is something that is at once a very personal thing, we each have our own personal air that we take in, but also it belongs to everybody. It’s part of the collective.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Air I Breathe site
Images above © ThinkFilm
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #692, February 2008 cover

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