Saturday, November 7, 2015

The opening night gala after party of Universal Pictures' BY THE SEA during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi.

In the midst of Hollywood fanfare, Angelina Jolie-Pitt gets real

Movie premieres always attract celebrity gawkers, and they're easily identifiable: Overdressed in ball gowns. Awkwardly lingering around the VIP section. Clutching iPhones, camera at the ready.
But that description fit nearly everyone who attended the unveiling of "By the Sea," the new film written and directed by Angelina Jolie-Pitt. The somber marital drama, in which she costars with her husband, Brad Pitt, kicked off this year's AFI Fest at Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre on Thursday night.
Hollywood Boulevard has, of course, been host to big names over the years. But even the most jaded of industry veterans appeared starry-eyed when face to face with Brangelina. At the after-party for the event, held across the street from the Chinese at the Roosevelt Hotel, guests formed a massive semicircle around the couple. As Jolie-Pitt exchanged words with screen legend Gena Rowlands -- that's Allie from "The Notebook," millennials -- onlookers snapped endless photographs.
It was an odd dance -- the celebrities, pretending not to notice dozens of fans -- the fans, pretending the celebrities didn't share their DNA.
Yes, Jolie-Pitt was in a Swarovski-beaded gown, her husband on her arm in a tux with his hair slicked back. But despite the glitz, the 40-year-old actress was, in a way, at her most human Thursday night. Before introducing "By the Sea," AFI President Bob Gazzale recalled how Jolie-Pitt's late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, joined the AFI in 1970 and was active in the organization for three decades.
"God bless you, Marcheline, for the gift of daughter who is now a mom and the gift to all of us who love the movies," Gazzale said of Betrand, who died of cancer in 2007.
Jolie-Pitt was visibly moved by the remembrance, and walked out to greet the film crowd with tears in her eyes. Her mother, she said, had inspired the movie about a couple struggling to move past infertility issues.
"This is a film, at the core, about grief and that grief was from the loss of my mother," Jolie Pitt said. "But at the end, I think this film is also about learning about how to move past it."

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