• Mona Lisa

    By Neil Jordan

    Mona Lisa has several reasons for being. One was an article from a British tabloid about an ex-convict on a GBH charge who claimed in his defense to be protecting ladies of the night against their Maltese pimps. Steve Woolley, who had produced my previous film, The Company of Wolves, felt a movie could be made from this scrap of information that would give London the dramatic presence of Paris in Le Samouraï or of New York in Taxi Driver. I was interested in making a film about the total and absolute gap of understanding between a man and a woman, and would have hung this obsession onto any coat hanger that became available. We commissioned David Leland to write a screenplay, which developed into something else in turn. The project floated in this kind of apsic or limbo for a while until I met Bob Hoskins and suddenly I knew I had found the central character. I rewrote the whole story, with this inarticulate romantic at the center of it, brutal, pitifully simple, with a beautiful heart.

    I never watch the films I’ve made after they open. This one, for obvious reasons, I had to watch across a gap of ten years. I could see all the above influences in the story, all the generic traces that would shape a film like this. But most of all I could see a film of a kind there is no generic name for, but for which there should be. A film that is indistinguishable from its central performance; the moods, light, perspectives, emotions of which are defined by the central character, George, played by Bob Hoskins.

2 comments

  • By Frank
    May 15, 2009
    04:56 PM

    I think this film is remarkable on so many different levels. The acting is nothing but amazing, and the title of the film blows my mind at how smartly crafted this film was. This film leaves me in utter amazement of the craft of film making. Bob Hoskins delivers nothing short of a beautiful showboat of a performance as the tortured George, and Cathy Tyson is utterly heartbreaking in her role as the "tart", and Michael Caine is nothing but evil in this film. The wicked games that are woven into a web make this film build up to its almost melodramatic/anticlimactic ending. This is how all films should be made. This is the pinnacle of film making.
    Reply
  • By George Potter
    June 17, 2013
    07:34 PM

    Jordan's masterpiece, in my opinion. A film of quiet, almost endless fascination, beautifully realized on every technical level and animated by Hoskins' masterful, multi-layered performance.
    Reply

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