In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, officially two movies, Brazilians (and those familiar with the Portuguese language) will get a kick out of listening to Edward (Robert Pattinson) talk about the “Libishomem” myth.
In Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn, while Edward and Bella (Kristen Stewart) are on their honeymoon on an island off of Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian couple arrive to clean their home. One of them, a small, dark-skinned woman called Kaure, is part Ticuna Indian; Kaure is visibly afraid of Edward.
“They have their own legends here,” Edward explains to Bella. “The Libishomem – a blood-drinking demon who preys exclusively on beautiful women.” Edward, with his pale skin and glossy, honey-colored eyes, apparently looks just like one of those “Libishomem.”
What’s funny, of course, is that there’s no such thing as a blood-drinking “Libishomem” in Brazilian lore, and certainly not among Indian tribes. Indians (the relatively few that are left in that country) have their own myths and legends, but lobisomem (note the spelling) isn’t one of them. That’s an European legend – one that has nothing to do with vampires – the Portuguese brought with them to Brazil: lobisomem = Portuguese for “werewolf” (lobo, wolf + homem, man). That would be Jacob, not Edward. (I can’t figure out why Meyer didn’t simply use the Portuguese word “vampiro.”)
As an aside, I also wondered what the heck a Ticuna Indian was doing in Rio de Janeiro. Since I’d never heard of that ethnic group (neither had any of my Brazilian friends), I did an online search that led me to a species of jumping spiders. I then wondered why in hell Meyer would use the name of a jumping spider for Breaking Dawn‘s Libishomem-fearing Kaure. (Well, that’s because I typed in “tacuna” instead of “ticuna.”)
A Brazilian friend with better typing skills found the Ticunas: there are 40,000 of them, half of that number in the Brazilian Amazon. The other half is found in Peru and Colombia. Their tonal language is supposed to be unrelated to any other existing language in the world. Sadly, no word on their Libishomem tales.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson in Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight: The “Libishomem” Strikes Again
In the initial version of this post, I mention the fact that in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (to be directed by Bill Condon in the fall) author Stephenie Meyer comes up with a Brazilian legend about vampires – the “Libishomem” – that simply doesn’t exist.
That’s during the honeymoon on an island near Rio, where Edward tells Bella (Kristen Stewart) the following: “They have their own legends here. The Libishomem – a blood-drinking demon who preys exclusively on beautiful women.” (Ironically, in Portuguese lobisomem means “werewolf” – that would be Edward’s rival Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner.)
Now, my “Libishomem” post was merely a bit of Twilight trivia; it wasn’t intended as criticism of Meyer’s work. However, it was taken as such by a few much too sensitive Twilight fanatics who wrote me several, shall we say, “less-than-friendly” messages expressing their displeasure with my post, my logic, my intelligence, my sanity, my genes, etc. (Most of those comments were duly deleted.)
I’m posting this follow-up to my Breaking Dawn / Libishomem post as a response to a couple of commenters who basically said – and I’m quoting one of them here: “Breaking Dawn is a piece of fiction, right? Since when does a piece of fiction have to be factually accurate?”
That got me thinking … “Does a piece of fiction have to be factually accurate?”
Well, I’d say that factual accuracy, though not exactly crucial in a fictional work, does indeed help make the setting and/or the characters more believable. In fact, factual inaccuracies could ruin a fictional tale. It all depends on how important to the plot are historical / cultural / geographical details.
For instance, imagine if Edward and Bella had spent their honeymoon on Catalina Island, off of Chicago – never mind the fact that Catalina can be seen from Los Angeles. While on Chicago’s Catalina, a local Aztec Indian named Tripotl shows up to clean up their house and do their laundry. There’s only one problem: Tripotl is terrified of “Grozzlebears.” She thinks Edward is one of them.
Edward then explains to Bella that people in Illinois have a legend about Grozzlebears, a kind of vampire that preys on beautiful women, etc. etc.
Of course, in spite of Tripotl and the Chicagoans’ Grozzlebear legend, readers could still enjoy Breaking Dawn and even take its drama seriously. (Personally, I found the book highly readable but ultimately unsatisfying.) On the other hand, if you’re an English speaker and/or know even a tiny bit about American culture, you’ll surely find ridiculous the idea of having an Aztec woman on Catalina near Chicago, where people believe in the big bad “Grozzlebear.” Chances are you’ll also wonder why the author didn’t come up with something more plausible.
When she wrote the Twilight books, Meyer’s target audience obviously consisted of US-based English-speakers. She knew the vast majority of her readers would be totally ignorant about both the Portuguese language and regional Brazilian legends.
By the same token, Meyer knew she couldn’t have Bella cross the border into Mexico from Forks – because it’s Canada that’s next door. Her readers would know that. She also couldn’t have the Civil War – in which Jasper played a role – taking place in North Dakota in the 16th century. Her US readers would know that would be absurd.
There’s a limit to dramatic license. It all depends on who you believe will be reading your book or watching your movie. How much (or how little) they know about the subject matter will tell you how much (or how little) “dramatic license” – getting facts, names, places, dates, events totally wrong – you’ll be able to get away with.
Photo: Twilight Saga (Summit Entertainment)
Photos: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment
Jennifer Arnold’s A Small Act.
Luchino Visconti’s restored The Leopard, Ernesto Diaz Espinosa’s Mandrill, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson’s The Fall, and Jennifer Arnold’s A Small Act are some of the highlights at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival on Saturday, June 26.
Starring Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale, Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Il Gattopardo / The Leopard (1963) is considered by some to be Visconti’s masterpiece. Set in mid-19th century Sicily, The Leopard explores the foibles of an old-school patriarch (Lancaster) intent on preserving his family’s prestige. An all-around sumptuous production, The Leopard was beautifully shot by Giuseppe Rotunno. (The long ballroom sequence is particularly striking.)
Mandrill is described as an “action-packed riff on classic ’70s tough guy flicks, featuring a hero that’s fifty percent Sean Connery, fifty percent Lee Marvin, and a hundred percent awesome.” Actor-martial artist Marko Zaror plays said hero, “the best hitman in Chile.”
Based on his wife Beatriz Guido’s novel, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson’s La Caida / The Fall stars Elsa Daniel as an Argentinean country girl who, in order to go to the university in Buenos Aires, works at an old mansion where four children live with their frail mother – who one day disappears.
Jennifer Arnold’s documentary A Small Act shows how a little gesture (in this case, one of financial generosity) can have major consequences: a Holocaust survivor helps with the schooling of a Kenyan child who grows up to become a United Nations human rights lawyer.
Also on Saturday: Hilda Hidalgo’s Of Love and Other Demons, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson’s The House of Angel, Yoshihiro Nakamura’s Golden Slumber, Hossein Keshavarz’s Dog Sweat and more.
For more information or to buy tickets, click here.
Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, and Sergio Pablos’ Despicable Me, the Jake Scott-directed Kristen Stewart vehicle Welcome to the Rileys, Robert Guédiguian’s L’Armée du crime / The Army of Crime, and Pernille Fischer Christensen’s En familie / A Family are some of the highlights on the last day of the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove, and Julie Andrews, among others, the animated 3D feature Despicable Me tells the story of a master criminal who wants to steal the moon. Standing in his way: three little orphan girls who believe the criminal would be the ideal father.
Another type of father-daughter relationship takes place in Welcome to the Rileys. In this psychological family drama James Gandolfini plays a married man whose daughter has died. While in New Orleans, he meets up with a foul-mouthed pole dancer/sex worker (Kristen Stewart) whom he decides to rescue from the evils of the French Quarter. Melissa Leo co-stars as Gandolfini’s agoraphobic wife.
Toplining Simon Abkarian, Virginie Ledoyen, Robinson Stévenin, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, and others, The Army of Crime chronicles the fight of a World War II French Resistance group composed of immigrant radicals and working-class Jews.
Pernille Fischer Christensen’s A Family, in which a woman must decide between living her own life and remaining loyal to her family, was voted Best Narrative Feature at the LAFF 2010.
Also: Adam Reid’s Hello Lonesome, winner of the festival’s Best Ensemble Award. Sabrina Lloyd, James Urbaniak, Lynn Cohen, Harry Chase, Nate Smith, and Kamel Boutros star in this tale that – in the words of LAFF’s Jonathan Wysocki – “weaves together the worlds of six lonely individuals as they negotiate the age-old process of giving and receiving love.”
Isabelle Huppert in Claire Denis’ White Material.
David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse isn’t included on the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Thursday, June 24, schedule. Even so, the world premiere of Eclipse, starring pop idols Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, is the top Los Angeles movie attraction of the day – possibly of the year.
The world premiere of the third installment of the Twilight franchise – following Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight (2008) and Chris Weitz’s New Moon (2009) – will be held at the Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A. on Thursday evening.
Eclipse also features Bryce Dallas Howard, Dakota Fanning, Xavier Samuel, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Jackson Rathbone, Daniel Cudmore, Jodelle Ferland, Julia Jones, and Booboo Stewart.
Also on Thursday at LAFF 2010:
Isabelle Huppert stars as a coffee plantation owner facing the onset of civil war in an unnamed African country in Claire Denis’ White Material. Christopher Lambert co-stars.
Filmed in (faux) documentary style, Daniel Stamm’s The Last Exorcism follows a con-artist/exorcist who may have discovered the real devilish thing while handling the case of a farm girl suffering from nightmares.
Haim Tabakman’s Eyes Wide Open, which opens in Los Angeles this Friday, depicts the inner struggles of two male Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jews in love, while Christopher Morris’ Four Lions is a comedy about bumbling terrorists out to ruin the London Marathon. Riz Ahmed (The Road to Guantanamo, Rage) stars.
In Freakonomics, Seth Gordon, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki, and Morgan Spurlock bring to life the socioeconomic theories found in authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s bestseller.
And finally, La mano en la trampa / The Hand in the Trap, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson’s 1961 International Critics Prize winner at Cannes, stars Elsa Daniel as a young woman who will stop at nothing to uncover her family’s deep dark secret. Francisco Rabal, of Luis Buñuel’s Nazarin and Viridiana, co-stars.
The panel discussion “The Power of the Tweet,” Alexandre Philippe’s The People vs. George Lucas, “An Evening with Sylvester Stallone,” “Quincy Jones Presents: The Color Purple,” and Gareth Edwards’ Monsters are some of the highlights at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Tuesday, June 22.
Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3-D), Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, The Box), Eli Roth (writer/director, Hostel; actor Inglourious Basterds), and Adam Shankman (director, Hairspray; judge on So You Think You Can Dance) will discuss the influence of Twitter on the film business. The discussion will be moderated by Ari Karpel (contributing writer Los Angeles Times, New York Times).
Alexandre Philippe’s The People vs. George Lucas takes a look at the Star Wars phenomenon and the way fans see the man behind both the sci-fi classic and its sequels and prequels: filmmaker George Lucas.
Elvis Mitchell will chat with Sylvester Stallone, who will provide a sneak peek at the upcoming The Expendables, and Quincy Jones will introduce Steven Spielberg’s 1985 melodrama The Color Purple, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey.
Gareth Edwards’ Monsters sounds interesting: an American couple must return to the US from Mexico, a land now filled with dangerous alien forms as a result of NASA probe crash.
And finally: Cathryn Collins’ Vlast / Power shows how Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky became a threat to Vladimir Putin’s power, while Fernando Eimbcke, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo Garcia, and Carlos Reygadas are some of the directors of ten shorts included in the omnibus feature Revolución, about the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Jake Scott’s Welcome to the Rileys, starring Kristen Stewart (whose The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is screening tonight); Michael P. Nash’s Climate Refugees; and “School of Corman: A Conversation with Roger Corman” are some of the Friday, June 25, highlights at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Welcome to the Rileys earned good notices for its cast when screened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Kristen Stewart stars as a pole dancer-cum-sex worker befriended by a man (James Gandolfini) whose daughter has recently died. Melissa Leo co-stars.
Right-wingers may claim that global warming is a liberal concoction, but those people portrayed in Climate Refugees probably think otherwise.
Joe Dante (Piranha), Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Julie Corman, and moderator Curtis Hanson are some of those expected to attend a chat with veteran producer-director Roger Corman, among whose credits are The Little Shop of Horrors, House of Usher, and The Trip.
Also: David Michod’s Animal Kingdom, an Australian crime-family saga starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, and Luke Ford; Jose Padilha’s Secrets of the Tribe, about the abuse of Yanomami Indians at the hands of scientists purportedly in the Amazon doing “scientific research”; and Robert Guediguian’s World War II resistance drama L’Armée du crime / The Army of Crime, starring Simon Abkarian, Virginie Ledoyen, and Robinson Stévenin.
And finally, two movies that may be either great or godawful (or somewhere in-between):
Set in Britain at the time of the Roman conquests, Neil Marshall’s Centurion follows a Roman army unit attempting to return to the Roman-occupied British territory. Centurion is supposed to not have all that much in common with either Gladiator or 300. That’s a good thing. Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, and Olga Kurylenko star.
In All About Evil, a mousy librarian (Natasha Lyonne) evolves into the homicidal proprietress of a midnight movie palace. Thomas Dekker and veterans Cassandra Peterson and Mink Stole co-star, in addition to director Joshua Grannell’s drag alter ego, Peaches Christ.
Kristen Stewart’s well-received star turn as a foul-mouthed dancer/sex worker in Jake Scott’s Welcome to the Rileys, which also stars James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo, will now be handled by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group in partnership with Samuel Goldwyn Films. Goldwyn will take care of the psychological drama’s domestic distribution; Sony will manage the ancillary rights as per The Hollywood Reporter.
Ken Hixon wrote the tale of a young New Orleans pole dancer (Stewart) who is befriended by a middle-aged couple (Gandolfini, Leo) whose daughter had recently died.
Apparition, which released the Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning vehicle The Runaways in late March, had initially partnered with Sony. However, honcho Bob Berney’s abrupt departure from the company – reportedly because of the way The Runaways had been (mis)handled – made shot-term distribution plans problematic.
In order for Welcome to the Rileys to keep its fall release schedule (October) – and thus have a shot at the 2010/2011 awards season – Apparition let Sony find another distributor partner.
Welcome to the Rileys premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, earning its cast a number of good notices. It will be screened Friday, June 25, at the Los Angeles Film Festival currently being held in downtown L.A.
Stewart, Gandolfini, and Leo are expected to attend the LAFF screening hours after the world premiere of Stewart’s blockbuster-to-be The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Co-starring Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, and featuring Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Dakota Fanning, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Elizabeth Reaser, and Jackson Rathbone, Eclipse premieres tonight. David Slade directed this third installment of the Twilight Saga franchise.
Sound and picture aren’t the greatest in this Welcome to the Rileys trailer clip. The trailer’s focus is on James Gandolfini’s and Melissa Leo’s characters – they play a couple whose daughter has died – which is sort of strange, considering that Kristen Stewart’s stripper/sex worker is the performer who’ll be selling the film.
Directed by Jake Scott (Ridley Scott’s son; Tony Scott’s nephew) and written by Ken Hixon, Welcome to the Rileys has been criticized for its conventional narrative and characters, but has mostly earned praised for stars Stewart, Gandolfini, and Leo.
Welcome to the Rileys will be Kristen Stewart’s fourth 2010 release, following Udayan Prasad’s little-seen The Yellow Handkerchief, with William Hurt and Maria Bello; Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways, in which Stewart plays opposite Dakota Fanning; and David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, in which she co-stars with Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.