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I must admit upfront that I turned off Alice Rohrwacher's previous film, 2011's Corpo celeste, after an hour or so, made frustrated and fidgety by the lack of mise en scène (to appropriate Jacques Rivette's definition of the much-contested term, used drolly in reference to the cinema of Joseph L. Mankiewicz). So I certainly may be approaching her follow-up, The Wonders—playing in the New York Film Festival after being well-regarded and award-winning in competition at Cannes this year—with a bias. But indeed I found much of the same problems here that I found in the earlier film, and while her Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner is an improvement in imagemaking, it still has a way to go in filmmaking.
Much of the slovenly camerawork and garbled, unmotivated editing remains, draining an already naturally lackadaisical story of any sense of urgency, but with these more forceful images »
- Daniel Kasman
Alexa here with some ephemera to celebrate Monica Bellucci's 50th birthday. I will never forget seeing Irreversible; I was aware of Monica Bellucci before that but nothing prepared me for the impact, terrible as it was, that the film would have. Soon I was consuming every performance of hers (in an attempt to wipe away the imagery of Irreversible), and when I came upon this issue of Res magazine on a newsstand in the city I couldn't resist.
The New York Film Festival begins this Friday. But our screenings have already begun. Here is Glenn on two Italian films, "The Wonders" and "Misunderstood"
If Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (2013) was an ode to the fantastical visions of Federico Fellini's Italy, then Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders is an appropriate return to the world of the country’s famed neorealist movement of the 1940s and ‘50s, concerning itself with the economic and moral quandries of so-called everyday Italians. Coming in second place at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it follows a family in rural Italy who scrape by due their honey farming, but an encounter with a television production in their hometown spearheads the eldest daughter’s desire to lift herself and her family out of the poverty line that they barely manage to survive above.
Perhaps Rohrwacher’s greatest achievement with The Wonders is »
- Glenn Dunks
Further details have emerged of the marketing and release plans for religious-themed portmanteau picture Words With Gods, which features contributions from such directors as Guillermo Arriaga, Emir Kusturica, Mira Nair and Hector Babenco.
Speaking in Venice, Paula Alvarez Vaccaro, who produced Kusturica’s contribution, has revealed that there will be “a big inter-faith” campaign to accompany the distribution of the film. This is being coordinated through Vaccaro’s London-based company Pinball.
Sales are currently being handled by Garcia’s LatAm Pictures.
“We are going to tackle different territories and different areas with different activities,” Vaccaro explained. The intention is to create events around each short that will promote inter-faith dialogue and debate as well as educational activities.
The film looks at everything from atheism to Aboriginal spirituality, from Serbian orthodoxy to Buddhism.
Words With Gods has already »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Opening Night – World Premiere
David Fincher, USA, 2014, Dcp, 150m
David Fincher’s film version of Gillian Flynn’s phenomenally successful best seller (adapted by the author) is one wild cinematic ride, a perfectly cast and intensely compressed portrait of a recession-era marriage contained within a devastating depiction of celebrity/media culture, shifting gears as smoothly as a Maserati 250F. Ben Affleck is Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary. Neil Patrick Harris is Amy’s old boyfriend Desi, Carrie Coon (who played Honey in Tracy Letts’s acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) is Nick’s sister Margo, Kim Dickens (Treme, Friday Night Lights) is Detective Rhonda Boney, and Tyler Perry is Nick’s superstar lawyer Tanner Bolt. At once a grand panoramic vision of middle America, a uniquely disturbing exploration of the fault lines in a marriage, »
In a bid to tap the hefty 38% tax breaks of Spain’s Canary Islands, Beverly Hills-based Defiant Pictures, run by producers Lucas Jarach and Nicolas Veinberg, has launched a private capital film fund in partnership with Spanish investment firm Grupo Eneas. Fund will disburse coin for an annual slate of five Canary Islands-based pics with budgets ranging from $3 million to $25 million.
Since the Canary Islands incentive requires producers to raise private capital from island-based investors to fund up to 38% of a picture’s budget, gaining access to these local investors can be a challenge, per Jarach.
Eneas’ ready access to a large pool of local private investors guarantees the stability of the financial structure. These companies can then reclaim their investment as a tax deduction at the end of the fiscal year.
Rafael Lopez is the head of Eneas’ Canary Island outfit.
- Anna Marie de la Fuente
Bellucci wears dresses from a past spring/summer collection from Dolce & Gabbana.
In 1996 she was nominated for a 'César Award' for best supporting actress for her portrayal of 'Lisa' in "L'Appartement".
She has since played in numerous films including "Tears of the Sun" (2003), "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003), "The Brothers Grimm" (2005), "Le Deuxième souffle" (2007), "Don't Look Back" (2009), and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (2010).
Bellucci dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film "Shoot 'Em Up" (2007), also voicing 'Kaileena' in the video game "Prince of Persia: Warrior Within" and the French voice of 'Cappy' for the French version of »
- Michael Stevens
At Cannes this year, I cried at the end of The Wonders by Alice (A-lee-che, she's Italian) Rohrwacher. Crying at The Wonders is one thing I have in common with Nicolas Widing Refn.
I didn't expect to cry. At first, the film reminded me of two nauseating clichés. One is the coming-of-age summer, when some unexpected boy arrives on the scene and changes everything. The other, in this film about an eccentric family of beekeepers in Tuscany, is that sort of softcore porn of the European idyllic countryside (with soft backlighting) that finds easy audiences in the United States. Summer Hours is one recent example.
Yet about halfway through, The Wonders defied my expectations through filmmaking choices with texture, costume, and music. I'd guess that a song in the credits is what pushed Refn to tears. It's a John Hughes-type cue used much more subtly than Refn's own music choices. »
- Miriam Bale
Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman present the Palme d'Or to Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Winter Sleep. Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan has won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize the Palme d’Or with Winter Sleep in the year that Turkish cinema is celebrating its centenary with a special focus in the Festival.
Although the film was touted as a strong contender early on, Ceylan looked genuinely surprise at the accolade, which he received before a red carpet crowd in the 2300-seat Lumière theatre.
With an epic running time of some 196 minutes the film tested the patience of many but clearly not Jane Campion’s jury.
- Richard Mowe
Exclusive: Producer is in Cannes with slate that includes a restored William S Burroughs doc and On The Milky Road.
Brookner launched a Kickstarter campaign in late 2012 to restore the film, which his late uncle directed and remains the only feature doc about the Naked Lunch author, born 100 years ago.
Criterion is on board to release on DVD and Janus Film will distribute theatrically at the end of the year after Burroughs: The Movie returns to the New York Film Festival, the site of its world premiere 30 years ago.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Due to some unfortunate circumstances (laptop’s hard drive went kaput), I wasn’t able to update our grid for Day 3, but we’re finally back and will report back daily until the fest’s end. On day 4 of the comp, we saw Tommy Lee Jones return to the fest with his sophomore Croisette feature. He took home Best Director and Best Actor for 2005′s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and didn’t deviate too far off with another Old West portrait – this one starring Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and himself. We didn’t get enough grades to (just yet) to make a generalized opinion from our set on The Homesman, but that’ll surely correct itself shortly.
The second film of the day, which got an early screening the night befor,e was among the two true surprise selections of the Main Comp. The Wonders (aka Le Meraviglie »
- Eric Lavallee
Written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher
Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders often sets itself up as if a rural Italian Little Miss Sunshine. A dysfunctional beekeeping family live under the patriarchal reign of Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck), fully contained in a proud rural lifestyle without doors, privacy, or privilege. Rohrwacher takes a standard fish-out-of-water comedy , throwing in a few moments of beauty and absurd humor, but ultimately falls short of anything other than an updated but familiar tale of adolescence.
The film’s titlecard, humbly showing us “The Wonders”, comes on screen immediately after a brief scene of an entire family crowding a room in anticipation of little girl Marinella (Agnese Graziani) using the bathroom. It’s a kind of juxtaposition that sets the tone for the rest of the film — bleakly pastoral with a not-so-ironic sense of cheer. Such is the feeling of “The Wonders »
- Zach Lewis
The mood of Alice Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders” is similar to that of her 2011 debut, “Corpo celeste”: Dardennes-inspired lensing, impressionistic sequences capturing the developing spirit of an adolescent girl, and a sense of people out of step with the world. Here the helmer-scripter is inspired by her backstory, with mixed Italian-German parentage, strong sister personalities and a farm in central Italy figuring into the story. Aiming to capture a young teen’s sense of belonging in a family determined to steer its own course, the pic has intermittent rewards yet isn’t weighty enough to justify a Cannes competish slot. Smaller fests and a modest Euro release make more likely venues.
Like “Corpo celeste,” the film opens with an indistinct nighttime scene that appears unmoored from what’s to come. Hunters imprecisely glimpsed in roaming flashlights are never seen again, and later only the occasional sound of rifle discharges, »
- Jay Weissberg
The Italian film business, coming off an Oscar win this year for Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty,” should be on a roll. But the Italo industry’s story is more complex, as shrinking budgets and a stagnant box office hamper a filmmaking community that’s stubbornly slow to shed its insular ways. Yet fresh faces are emerging, thanks to co-productions across Europe, helping the sector to stumble ahead.
Recently, the Italian Culture Ministry revealed alarming figures that show a 27% drop in Italian film investments in 2013 to €358 million ($495 million), compared with 2012, while the country’s cinematic output remained substantially stable, at 167 pics. The average budget of an Italian movie these days is a measly $2.3 million.
“The numbers show that the budgets of quality midrange movies are getting slimmer, and this is terrible,” comments producer Riccardo Tozzi, who heads Italy’s national motion picture association, Anica.
Tozzi predicts shrinking budgets would »
- Nick Vivarelli
Ad vitam has acquired the French rights to “Le Meraviglie” (The Wonders), the second feature from Alice Rohrwacher, which is in Cannes’ competition. Brazil-based Alfa Filmes has picked up all Latin American rights. The Match Factory is selling the film in Cannes.
Ad Vitam released Rohrwacher’s debut feature, “Corpo Celeste,” which premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2011.
“Le Meraviglie” is about a father who wants to keep his family together and retain the traditions of country life, while his daughter desires the world on TV shows.
The film was produced by Italy’s Tempesta with Rai Cinema, in co-production with Amka Films Prods. in Switzerland and Pola Pandora in Germany.
“Alice is an exceptional director with a unique cinematographic language, and I’m sure ‘Le Meraviglie’ will be warmly embraced by the audience,” said Michael Weber, managing director of the Match Factory. »
- Leo Barraclough
Among the 18 feature films competing for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard is presenting his 19th film at the Cannes Film Festival, Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language).
Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language): Godard’s first film to compete at Cannes was Cleo de 5 a 7, which premiered at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. Since then, 18 of his films have been screened at the festival, though not all in competition. Goodbye to Language is Godard’s first film in competition in over 10 years.
Captive (The Captive): Atom Egoyan directs this Canadian thriller starring Ryan Reynolds, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos and Scott Speedman. This will be Egoyan’s fifth film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival; the writer/director won the Grand Jury Prize for The Sweet Hereafter in 1997.
Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night): Directors and brothers »
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, one of the clear (or not-so-clear) wild cards of the lineup: Alice Rohrwacher's "The Wonders." The director: Alice Rohrwacher (Italian, 33 years old). Amid the laundry list of usual-usual auteurs returning to the Competition, a few names raised eyebrows when Thierry Fremaux announced the lineup last month, and Rohrwacher's was one of them. After making a strong impression in Directors' Fortnight three years ago with her debut feature, the Catholic Church-themed coming-of-age drama "Corpo Celeste," an Un Certain Regard berth seemed the logical next step for her follow-up, but this was an unexpected promotion for the young Italian, »
- Guy Lodge
Exclusive: Leading art house sales outfit The Match Factory has revealed details of its packed Cannes slate.
Among the titles the Cologne-based company is presenting on the Croisette are three films in Official Selection.
Rohrwacher, whose Corpo Celeste screened in the Directors’ Fortnight in 2011, worked on the new feature with her regular producer, Carlo Cresto-Dina (Tempesta) in co-production with Switzerland (Amka Films Productions) and Germany (Pola Pandora).
The Match Factory is also handling Snow in Paradise, the first feature film by renowned UK editor, Andrew Hulme. The film is screening in Un Certain Regard.
The film is based on the true story of Martin Askew who grew up in a crime-riddled east end of London in a culture of violence.
The sales outfit is also representing Cannes regular Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, which will play »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Conventional wisdom says to wait until a foreign trailer has subtitles before posting, but the gist is apparent enough in this first snippet from Alice Rohrwacher’s Cannes Competition entry Le Meraviglie. Set in the Umbrian countryside, the film centers on the eldest daughter of a provincial bee-keeping family, whose summer is upended by the arrival of a young German boy and local television competition, headed by none other than Monica Bellucci. Already silly/offensive conjectures are being batted around about Rohrwacher’s chances given the fact that both she and jury president Jane Campion are women, but we’ll see if they’re at all warranted in the ensuing weeks. »
- Sarah Salovaara
The story follows a pair of siblings from a performance artist family whose parents suddenly disappear. Walken plays their father. [Source: Screen]
Monica Bellucci will star in Guy Edoin's ensemble drama "Ville-Marie" about four different people's lives that eventually intersect at the Ville-Marie Hospital.
Bellucci plays a French actress on location in Montreal who attempts to patch up relations with her son while he strives to discover the true identity of his father. [Source: Screen]
Britt Robertson has scored the female lead role in George Tillman Jr.'s film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel "The Longest Ride". Scott Eastwood signed on to star in the film earlier this week.
The story follows a young college student (Robertson »
- Garth Franklin
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