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After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted Man" — featuring the last leading man performance from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman — makes its way to theaters today. If it's playing on a screen near you, I urge you to seek it out. It's dry in the best possible way, a dug-in slow burn (to use an over-used phrase) that is nevertheless captured in beautiful hues. And Hoffman is absolutely fantastic; it might be one of his best performances, albeit one completely different from anything he has ever offered. It could even be something remembered by the Academy later this season, and I don't think it would be a mere final toast to an actor we lost too soon: it truly is an exhibition of how he could get under a character's skin and sing. Calling from Berlin this morning, Corbijn talked to me »
- Kristopher Tapley
"Are you kidding me, man?!" composer Angelo Badalamenti howls jokingly when Rolling Stone asks him what he thought of Twin Peaks, the TV series he scored in the early Nineties. "It was really off the wall. I thought it was either going to sink violently down the drain or, hopefully, capture the intrigue of enthusiastic people conversing by the office water cooler on a Monday morning."
12 Things We Learned from David Lynch's Talk at Bam
As it turned out, Twin Peaks was an instant hit when it premiered on April 8th, »
A Most Wanted Man director Anton Corbijn on Philip Seymour Hoffman getting it right: "When we had done a take and he wasn't sure he didn't want to look at the monitor, he would just listen." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, with a script by Andrew Bovell, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Nina Hoss (star of Christian Petzold's Barbara) and Grigoriy Dobrygin. Anton and I spoke about his supporting cast: Bernhard Schütz, terrific in Frauke Finsterwalder's Finsterworld, Martin Wuttke, Adolf Hitler in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and Herbert Grönemeyer, who played Ian Curtis's doctor in Corbijn's debut feature Control and is the composer for The American and Anton's latest. Homayoun Ershadi, known for his work with Abbas Kiarostami rounds out the superb cast. We also discussed Wim Wenders' The American Friend and the character of Hamburg. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
On the heels of the 39th edition of the Toronto Int. Film Festival (Sept 4-14), Ifp’s Independent Film Week is where a plethora of fiction, non-fiction and new this year, web-based series from the likes of Desiree Akhavan and Calvin Reeder find future coin. Sectioned off as projects at the very beginning of financing to those that are nearing completion, there happens to be tons of Sundance alumni in the names below. Among those that caught our attention we have Medicine for Melancholy‘s Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature, produced by Bad Milo!‘s Adele Romanski, Moonlight is about “two Miami boys navigate the temptations of the drug trade and their burgeoning sexuality in this triptych drama about black queer youth”. Concussion‘s Stacie Passon digs into the thriller genre with Strange Things Started Happening. Produced by vet Mary Jane Skalski (Mysterious Skin), this is about “a woman who has »
- Eric Lavallee
Few things are more exciting for hardcore cinephiles than the semi-annual Barnes and Noble Criterion sale. For a few precious weeks a year, super high-quality Blu-Rays of obscure and influential classic films are on the relative cheap. Most noteworthy: they look really, Really pretty.
Most Criterion-heads are lining up to pick up A Hard Day’s Night, Red River, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and other newer (fiction) releases—as they should because they’re all awesome releases. But how about a little love for the documentary?
Maybe you don’t think docs have a ton of rewatch value, and maybe you’re right in some cases. Criterion’s A+ supplements and video quality—not to mention the timelessness of the films they choose—ought to be enough to sway you in the right direction. But if they aren’t, we’re diving a little deeper into ten of the best Criterion documentaries ever. »
- John Gilpatrick
Despite calls for his release by Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov (“Gamer”) has been denied bail at a Russian court hearing. He will now remain in prison until his trial Oct. 11.
Sentsov was arrested by Russian Fsb security forces in his house in Simferopol in the Crimea on May 11 and taken to Moscow. On May 30, the Fsb announced that Sentsov – who had actively opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, delivering food supplies to Ukrainian army troops trapped in their barracks – would be charged with planning to bomb two World War II monuments and setting fire to other buildings.
Sentsov made a speech in court from behind iron bars this week. (http://tvrain.ru/articles/ja_ne_krepostnoj_chtoby_s_zemlej_menja_peredavat_rech_ukrainskogo_rezhissera_olega_sentsova_v_sude-371693/)
In a summary by U.K. producer Mike Downey, who is spearheading the European »
- John Hopewell
Richard Linklater's Boyhood has landed on the covers of both Sight & Sound and Film Comment, just in time for the film's opening in New York and Los Angeles before it begins rolling out across the country all summer long. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Francis Ford Coppola, Agnés Varda, Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Manoel de Oliveira, Costa-Gavras, Stephen Frears, William Friedkin, Bernardo Bertolucci and Souleymane Cissé pay tribute to Henri Langlois. » - David Hudson »
Outgoing director of the London Film School to join Australian Film School.
Ben Gibson, the departing director of the London Film School, has been appointed to a new senior role at Aftrs, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, as director, degree programs. He will start work in Sydney in September.
Gibson will play a key leadership role in ensuring the successful delivery and development of a new three-year Aftrs Bachelor of Arts (Screen) degree and Aftrs Screen and Screen Business Masters degrees, which are being restructured and relaunched for 2015.
Prior to joining the Lfs in 2001, Gibson worked as a film distributor and independent producer, and as head of production at the British Film Institute (BFI) from 1988 to 1998.
His production and executive production credits include Terence Davies’ The Long Day Closes, Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein, John Maybury’s Love is the Devil, Carine Adler’s Under the Skin and Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People, as well as »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Well, this is a refreshing choice. At major festivals, the position of jury president is usually the preserve of directors and actors. At Cannes, for example, you have to go all the way back to 1983 to find a president -- novelist William Styron -- who doesn't tick either of those boxes. And while exceptions have been made for writers, it's very rare for below-the-line artists to take the top position. Production designer Dante Ferretti did the honors at the 2005 Venice Film Festival, and it's the Italians who are once more taking that route: composer Alexandre Desplat will preside over the Competition jury at Venice this year. While it's an unexpected appointment, it's hardly an undeserved one. Desplat is currently among the hardest-working craftsmen in the business, having scored over 60 features in the last decade -- his intricate compositions frequently an invaluable component of films that range from megabudget Hollywood blockbusters »
- Guy Lodge
Winter of Our Discontent: Amini’s Problem with Narrative Pabulum
Few crime writers can boast such a weighty lineage of cinematic adaptation as that of Patricia Highsmith, probably falling somewhere between Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell, if one were to measure. Wim Wenders, Rene Clement, Anthony Minghella and Liliana Cavani have all reincarnated her most celebrated character, Tom Ripley, to the big screen, while Hitchcock, Michel Deville, Claude Chabrol (and later this year, Todd Haynes) have adapted some of her signature titles. And so, it is with great regard that screenwriter Hossein Amini arrives with his directorial debut, The Two Faces of January, a promise of scrappy ne’er-do-wells conning each other for money or guilty pleasures of the carnal sort, performed by a trio of renowned actors that rival Minghella’s starry line-up of The Talented Mr. Ripley. And yet, there’s something unnervingly stale about the whole endeavor, »
- Nicholas Bell
Curzon has acquired a raft of titles showcased at the Cannes Film Festival for release in UK and Eire.
The films include Palme d’Or nominated Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas’ follow up to Something in the Air, which stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. The deal was negotiated with MK2.
Set in the Swiss alpine lake district of Sils Maria, Binoche stars as an actress at the peak of her fame who is thrown into turmoil after a younger woman is signed to play a role that made her famous two decades previously.
Another Cannes competition contender acquired by Curzon is Damian Szifron’s Argentinean dark comedy Wild Tales, co-produced by Pedro Almodovar. The deal was negotiated with Film Factory.
Curzon negotiated with Coproduction Office for Ruben Ostlund’s dark »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
The Munich Film Festival, which runs June 27-July 5, will kick off with the German premiere of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet,” and close with “I Origins” from U.S. helmer Mike Cahill.
The festival features four sections — CineMasters, CineVision, Spotlight and International Independents — packed with German premieres.
“This year’s films hit their targets — they go straight to the heart or the solar plexus,” said festival director Diana Iljine in a statement.
Films making their Teutonic preems include Wim Wenders’ “The Salt of the Earth,” Tommy Lee Jones’ Western “The Homesman” and Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” with Scarlett Johansson. Sky Italia’s high-profile TV series “Gomorrah” will also unspool at the festival.
The CineMasters entries will compete for the Arri/Osram Award. The lineup includes Turkish director Tayfun Pirselimoglu’s “I am Not Him,” Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria,” Jean-Luc Godard’s experimental »
- Carole Horst
London — Some of Europe’s top filmmakers — Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, Aki Kaurismaki and Mike Leigh, among them — have called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to clarify the status of detained Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Putin, other leading Russian politicians, including Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, and the head of Russia’s security service Fsb, Alexander Bortnikov, a group of 19 leading European directors and producers asked the Russian government to ensure the safety of Sentsov, and to make known his exact whereabouts.
They also asked that Sentsov be charged with a “recognizable offence or released,” and that the government “instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the Fsb in order to bring all those responsible to justice.”
The letter, which was the idea of the board of the European Film Academy, was also signed by helmers Stephen Daldry, »
- Leo Barraclough
In a letter to Russian authorities, European film-makers have expressed their worry about the fate of Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov
The Board of the European Film Academy has initiated a letter to Russian authorities about Oleg Sentsov.
Sentsov was arrested last month [see separate story here] and European film-makers have signed the letter to express their worry about the fate of the Ukrainian film-maker.
The letter states that “we are deeply worried and cannot stop wondering how he is and what his future will be,” and goes on to call upon the Russian authorities to ensure the safety of Sentsov and to make public his whereabouts.
The letter in full
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - President of Russia
Sergey Evgenyevich Naryshkin – Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Alexander Wassiljewitsch Bortnikow - Director of the Fsb
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kolokoltsev - Russian »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Ian Sandwell)
German thesp Udo Kier will be honored by the Munich Film Festival with its CineMerit Award, given to an actor whose career spans Europe and the U.S.
Kier’s career is full of daring choices, and he’s worked with such icons as Andy Warhol (“Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein”), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (“Lili Marleen,” “Lola” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz”) and Lars von Trier (nine films including both volumes of “Nymphomaniac”).
“Udo Kier is an actor who leaves a lasting impression, no matter what the role,” said festival director Diana Iljine in a statement. “He is an actor who is not afraid to take chances. And many of them have paid off. Udo Kier himself is a work of art.”
Previous recipients of the CineMerit Award include actors Julie Christie, »
- Carole Horst
Wim Wenders' upcoming documentary "The Salt of the Earth" screened well at Cannes this year: the audience sprang to its feet and burst into applause after its premiere. Check out the first batch of clips: they're beautiful, evocative and very Wenders-esque. "The Salt of the Earth" focuses on Brazilian photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, whose work over the last 40 years has focused on social issues, exploring the challenges facing the Earth's diverse--and dispersed--communities. Salgado has travelled to more than 100 countries, and in the last 10 years has shifted his attention to a project he calls "Genesis," a series that focuses on documenting unspoiled nature and the human societies that live in such environments in accordance with ancestral and not modern conventions. At Cannes, Wenders's film, which he made along with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado--the photographer's son--won the Un Certain Regard jury's special Prize. Variety called it a »
- Jacob Combs
As we eagerly await Wim Wenders‘ next narrative effort, the James Franco-led 3D drama Every Thing Will Be Fine, the legendary director has been hard at work on another project, the documentary The Salt of the Earth. Exploring a globe-spanning journey of Sebastião Salgado, the famous Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist, the film premiered at Cannes to favorable reviews and […] »
- Leonard Pearce
Paris– Rolling off a busy Cannes market, Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte has almost sold out a pair of critically-acclaimed official selection players: Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu” and Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribero Salgado’s “Salt of the Earth.”
Acquired last week by Sony Pictures Classics, “Salt of the Earth,” which played in Un Certain Regard and won a Special Prize award, was picked up by Artificial Eye (U.K., Ireland), Respect (Japan), Mantarraya (Latin America), Imovision (Brazil), McF (Former Yugoslavia), Against Gravity (Poland), Art Fest (Bulgaria), Independenta Film (Romania) and Filmarti (Turkey).
- Elsa Keslassy
Rome – U.S. music and movies producer Danny Bramson will head the jury of Italy’s Biografilm Festival, the unique event billed as a cinematic celebration of human lives which will open with Bramson-produced Jimi Hendrix Biopic “All Is by My Side,” directed by John Ridley and toplining Andre 3000.
To celebrate its tenth edition the Bologna-based fest, headed by Italo critic and film industry entrepreneur Andrea Romeo, will also fete documaking greats Donn Alan Pennebaker, Michel Gondry, Nicolas Philibert, and performance artist Ulay, as well as Bramson, with lifetime achievement awards.
D.A. Pennebaker and his wife and frequent co-director Chris Hegedus will also be honored with a mini-retro comprising rockumentaries “Don’t Look Back,” “Jimi Plays Monterey,” and campaign strategy-themed “The War Room.”
- Nick Vivarelli
The full line-up has been announced for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday 18th to Sunday 29th June. In total, 156 features from 47 countries will be screened, with 11 world premieres, 7 European premieres and 95 UK premieres.
The festival opens with the world premiere of British drug trafficking thriller Hyena from writer-director Gerard Johnson, starring Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, Neil Maskell, and MyAnna Buring. The closing night gala is the international premiere of romantic comedy We’ll Never Have Paris, directed by husband and wife team Jocelyn Towne and Simon Helberg (best known for The Big Bang Theory). Written by and also starring Helberg, it features Melanie Lynskey, Maggie Grace, Zachary Quinto, and Alfred Molina in its cast.
We’ll Never Have Paris
- Josh Slater-Williams
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