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In the early 20th century, when the public’s love affair with cinema began, we were first introduced to this beguiling new art form through its stars, and this is exactly how the powers that be wanted it. When the Hollywood studios ran the film industry like a tightly controlled, upper-class bordello, the emphasis was placed on the faces you could see, the actors, and a films director existed in some theoretical dark corner of the silver screen, practicing some ethereal cinematic wizardry that the plebeian film fan could never even hope to understand. As the Hepburns’, Davis’, Borgarts’, and Gables’ of the world began to age though, and their box office power diminished, the studios were briefly forced to let the inmates run the prison, handing over the keys to the pesky directors. Suddenly, the auteur was born.
While technically speaking, Auteur Theory, the belief that a »
- Christopher Lominac
The Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have never made a bad movie. These painstaking writer-directors carefully prepare, rehearse for three weeks before filming, and always deliver something compelling and watchable. The Dardennes first approached Marion Cotillard when they were involved in producing Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone." As soon as they met her they knew they wanted to work with her, they said in Cannes. The feeling was mutual. A longtime admirer of the Dardennes, Cotillard signed on first for a story about a rural doctor and then a different script inspired by true stories from the economic crisis about a working class woman. The result is the stunning "Two Days, One Night" which failed to win a prize at Cannes (which has showered the Dardennes with prizes over the years). Watch the new trailer below. Oscar-winner Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") manages to fold herself into this everyday woman, »
- Anne Thompson
Award-winning composer will chair a jury that will award the Golden Lion for best feature at the 71st Venice Film Festival.
Alexandre Desplat, the internationally renowned French film composer whose credits include The King’s Speech and Argo, has been named president of the International Jury for the Competition section of the 71st Venice International Film Festival (Aug 27 to Sept 6).
It marks the first time a film composer has been chosen to chair Venice’s Competition jury, which will comprise nine members and award the Golden Lion for Best Film and other official prizes.
Desplat is a six-time Oscar nominee (The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The King’s Speech, Argo, and Philomena) and winner of a Golden Globe, three Césars, two European Film Awards, and a Bafta.
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Rome – French film composer Alexandre Desplat will preside the main jury of the upcoming 71st Venice Film Festival, marking the first time a musician will head the panel of jurors that gives out the fest’s Golden Lion and other top prizes.
Desplat, a six-time Oscar nominee whose film scores include “Argo,” “The Queen,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The King’s Speech,” and “Philomena,” was praised by Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera as “not only one of the greatest composers of film scores today but an ardent cinephile, whose extraordinary artistic sensitivity is sustained by a profound knowledge of cinema, of its history, of its language.”
Desplat, whose many prizes include a Golden Globe, three Cesars, two European Film Awards, and a Bafta, has collaborated with scores of highly regarded helmers, including Roman Polanski, Terrence Malick, Jacques Audiard, Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, and Ang Lee.
“It is a great honour and »
- Nick Vivarelli
Sony Pictures Classics honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have been feted up one side and down the other lately. The duo celebrated 20 years of Spc in 2012 and have received awards from the Museum of the Moving Image and the Gotham Awards as of late. Tonight they will receive the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence Award as the love keeps pouring in. Given that we recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Fox Searchlight — another crucial entity in the indie film space — it seemed like we were over due for a similar appreciation of Sony Classics' 22 years of output. The interesting thing, though, is that unlike Searchlight, there isn't necessarily anything outwardly identifiable about Sony Classics films as, well, "Sony Classics films." They all have a strong whiff of good taste but they don't have the heavy marketing footprint of some of the studio's contemporaries. Barker and Bernard's cinephile passion is always evident, »
- Gregory Ellwood, Guy Lodge, Kristopher Tapley
Ever since her breakout role as a deaf office worker, Carla, in Jacques Audiard's audacious caper flick Read My Lips, Emmanuelle Devos has risen to become one of the top French actresses of our time, working with auteur filmmakers such as Arnaud Desplechin and Alain Resnais and rubbing shoulders with Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardeu. The thing is, I can't think of another actress who made a career out of her frumpiness more successfully than Devos. And she happens to be a favorite of mine.In Martin Provost's biopic of a post-war French writer Violette Leduc, Devos delivers another gold-star performance, again using her arguably unremarkable physical attributes as a weapon.The film starts with Violette's black market smuggler days during WWII, when she is helplessly in...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Annecy– Marion Cotillard is set to topline “Mal de Pierres,” a period romance drama directed by critically-acclaimed auteur Nicole Garcia and produced by Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor, one of France’s top independent film companies.
An adaptation of Milena Agus’ eponymous novel set after WWII, “Mal de Pierres” (“Mal di pietre”) spans 20 years, following the destiny of a passionate, free-spirited woman who is in a loveless marriage and falls for another man.
A bestseller, the book has been translated in more than 15 languages.
Cotillard will play the leading role. Garcia co-wrote the script with her regular co-scribe, Jacques Fieschi.
“It’s a passion project for both Nicole and us,” Attal told Variety.” It’s a very romantic and intense story about a woman whose quest for absolute love is the essence of life, her ‘raison d’etre.’” Attal added that Cotillard was taken by the script, the »
- Elsa Keslassy
Quentin Tarantino, during his Cannes Film Festival press conference (watch it here), mentioned an email chain he was a part of where he and some friends discussed what they believed to be the ten most exciting directors working today. Among those listed he said only David Fincher and Richard Linklater where in everyone's top ten, he wasn't sure why Pedro Almodovar wasn't on everyone's list and he also qualified what he believed it meant for a director to be the "most exciting". Here's how he put it: "I think what that means is, you feel that their best work is still in front of them. That's what makes a filmmaker exciting, that's what makes you anticipate a new movie coming out. Because the new movie could be their best one. From this day on that will be the new barometer from which they're judged. We could be wrong, and their »
- Brad Brevet
London — The surge in support for the U.K. Independence Party — demonstrated at the European Union election last week — may have major consequences for the British film and TV industry.
UKIP, which advocates an exit from the European Union, took first place among British parties in the EU election, the results of which were just announced. It is the first time a party other than the Conservatives or Labor Party has come first in a national election for 100 years.
The Ukip vote surged 11% to nab 27.5% of the votes cast, compared with 25.4% for Labor, and 23.9% for the Conservatives, which forms part of the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, whose support fell 6.87%, leaving it with just 6.87% of the vote.
There is a double threat to EU membership posed by the Ukip surge. First, if Ukip wins next May’s general election, then the U.K. will definitely leave the EU. Second, »
- Leo Barraclough
Not surprisingly, critics' fave "Winter Sleep" directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylon, won the Cannes Palme D'Or Saturday. (Our review here.) Lead contenders were Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner," starring Timothy Spall, who was the favorite to win Best Actor; Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," which won best director; the Dardennes' "Two Days, One Night," starring Best Actress contender Marion Cotillard, who was also overlooked for Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone." In an upset, Julianne Moore took home the prize for David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," which was better received by the Europeans than the North American press. Also passed over was Anne Dorval, star of 25-year-old Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," which shared the jury prize with 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard's "Goodbye to Language." Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard were happy, as they are releasing three of the award-winners, fest hits "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner" and "Leviathan, »
- Anne Thompson
The Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have never made a bad movie. These painstaking writer-directors carefully prepare, rehearse for three weeks before filming, and always deliver something compelling and watchable. And the Cannes juries have responded enthusiastically over the years, rewarding them Palme d'Or awards for their first competition entry "Rosetta" in 1999 and "L'Enfant" in 2005, Best Screenplay for "The Silence of Lorna (2008) and the Grand Prix for "The Kid with the Bike" (2011). This year, the most likely win for "Two Days, One Night" is Best Actress for Marion Cotillard, by far the biggest star to join a Dardennes film. The Dardennes first approached Cotillard when they were involved in producing Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone." As soon as they met her they knew they wanted to work with her, they said in Cannes. The feeling was mutual. A longtime admirer of the Dardennes, Cotillard signed on first for »
- Anne Thompson
“The Impossible” producer Apaches Ent. is teaming with Spain’s Atresmedia Cine (“I Want You,” “Red Lights”), Zircocine (“Operation-e”) and Escandalo Films (“Eva”) to produce “Toro,” which looks set to raise the bar of full-on upscale action thrillers coming out of Spain.
Written by up-and-coming scribes Fernando Navarro (“Anacleto: Secret Agent”) and Rafael Cobos (“Unit 7,” “Marshland”) “Toro” stars two of Spain’s most popular actors, Mario Casas (“Unit 7”) and Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice.”) Claudia Vega (“Eva”) co-stars.
Billed as hyper-realistic, Maillo’s sophomore pic stars Mario Casas as Toro, an ex-con going straight until his brother, who owes money to the mob, embroils him a frenetic, violent and wild escape that endangers his and his niece’s lives. »
- John Hopewell
Even in a contemporary film culture where no idea seems too thin to try twice, the arrival of two Yves Saint Laurent biopics in the space of five months counts as a distinct curiosity: The enduring influence of the French fashion god, who died in 2008, is beyond question, but his life doesn’t seem an obvious source of fascination to the filmgoing public. Yet if Jalil Lespert’s bland, authorized “Yves Saint Laurent,” which bowed domestically in January, represents the pret-a-porter version of its subject, Bertrand Bonello’s glossily intuitive vision is pure haute couture — considerably more spectacular, but also less practical, with its baroque ornamentation and slip-sliding chronology. The result, while seductively silly and largely unmoving, does a better job than its predecessor of celebrating Saint Laurent’s flamboyant artistry.
With its bigger-name cast and audio-visual sparkle, “Saint Laurent” also seems the safer commercial bet for international distribs, effectively »
- Guy Lodge
It is the voice — lilting, lightly French-accented — that one notices first, even before fully registering the famous face. You notice it because, in the movies, Marion Cotillard so rarely sounds like herself, whether affecting Edith Piaf’s nasal warble in her Oscar-winning performance in “La Vie en Rose,” the Polish dialect of the 1920s Ellis Island emigre in director James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” or her Belgian regional accent as a downsized factory worker in Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s “Two Days, One Night,” which premieres this week in competition at the
67th Cannes Film Festival.
If voice is one of an actor’s most valuable instruments, Cotillard plays hers like a first-chair virtuoso. Early in the shooting of “The Immigrant” (which debuts in the U.S. May 16), Gray asked Polish actress Maja Wampuszyc, who plays Cotillard’s aunt in the film, to evaluate the French actress’s command of Wampuszyc’s native language. »
- Scott Foundas
Marion Cotillard is never one to back down from a challenge. For her breakout, Oscar-winning role in "La Vie en Rose," the actress mastered Édith Piaf’s vocal delivery to believably portray the icon. A few years later, for Jacques Audiard's drama "Rust and Bone," Cotillard, a novice swimmer, learned to become a strong one in a matter of weeks in order to play a whale trainer. The challenge she set out for herself in James Gray's period drama "The Immigrant" trumps anything the actress has attempted before. For the film, which opens this Friday in select theaters, Cotillard had to learn a whole new language. As Ewa, the titular illegal Polish immigrant forced into prostitution by Joaquin Phoenix's character after arriving in New York in 1921, Cotillard gives a powerfully subdued performance full of hurt and anger that many are citing as her biggest achievement since portraying Piaf. »
- Nigel M Smith
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, the Competition's only African entry: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu." The director: Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritanian/French, 52 years old). Another of this year's five newcomers, Sissako has established himself as one of Africa's premier auteurs, though he's been based in France since the early 1990s -- a background that complements his favored themes of globalization and outsider identity. Born in Mauritania, he moved with his family at an early age to Mali, where he completed his schooling, before studying film at Russia's Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow -- an institution that also boasts Aleksandr Sokurov and Andrei Tarkovsky among its alumni. »
- Guy Lodge
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at next month'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: the second of four French entries: Bertrand Bonello's "Saint Laurent." The director: Bertrand Bonello (French, 45 years old). Born in Nice and now based in Paris and Montreal, Bonello began his career as a classical musician -- a background that makes sense, given the stately refinement and sensory elevation of his filmmaking. (He still serves as his own composer.) Which is not to say his work is soft, testing as it does formal and erotic boundaries: scholars of contemporary French cinema tend to group him with the likes of Gaspar Noé in the bracket of New French Extremism. »
- Guy Lodge
Jack O'Connell gives an electrifying performance as a violent teenager forced to confront parental authority in prison
When inspirational director Alan Clarke cooked up an authentic television portrait of incarcerated British youth in the late 1970s, the resultant film was so alarming that it was promptly banned by the BBC. Clarke subsequently remade Scum for the cinema, and both the small- and big-screen versions of his most notorious work have since cast long shadows over their respective mediums. Plaudits, then, to David Mackenzie for fashioning a tough but empathetic (if uneven) prison drama which marks out its own territory in an arena in which Clarke's epochal work is still the daddy, even now.
Shot (but not set) in Northern Ireland on a tight schedule and even tighter budget, this eye-catching and frequently pulse-pounding drama finds high-risk young offender Eric (Jack O'Connell) being moved up to an adult prison where he »
- Mark Kermode
They called him the French Al Pacino, but the award-winning star of A Prophet is not to be typecast. Here Rahim talks about his latest role – in the tight emotional drama The Past – and there's a Christmas comedy in the pipeline
Back in 2005, studying in Montpellier, in south-eastern France, Tahar Rahim found himself the subject of a documentary named Tahar the Student. In one scene, we see him in his bedroom, with a poster on the wall for Al Pacino in Scarface; four years on, the young French actor would be widely compared to Pacino in that very film.
Rahim had only appeared in one feature, a bit part in a horror movie, before his explosive breakthrough in Jacques Audiard's 2009 thriller A Prophet. He played Malik, a gauche young petty criminal who rises through the ranks of prison society to become a ruthless gangster, and the performance – quiet but assured, »
- Jonathan Romney
Hybrid children’s 3D hit was made using green shooting practices.
As well as securing critical acclaim, French bug picture Minuscule: The Valley of the Lost Ants (Minuscule: La Vallée des Fourmis Perdues) is also winning praise from local ecologists.
Figures unveiled at the Ile de France Film Commission’s Location Expo in Paris revealed the production had reduced its potential carbon footprint sevenfold by employing green shooting practices.
The Minuscule format is already known to millions of young viewers around the world through a popular TV series shown on channels such as BBC Four in the UK, Nhk in Japan and the Disney Channel and ABC in the Us.
The feature version hit cinema screens in France at the end of January, drawing some 650,000 spectators in the first two weeks on release. It will head to several other international territories »
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