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1-20 of 49 items from 2009   « Prev | Next »

The best foreign films of 2009

30 December 2009 3:04 PM, PST | | See recent Roger Ebert's Blog news »

Look at it this way. We have the chance to see virtually every American film that's released, and many of the English language films in general. But with the crisis in U.S. distribution, the only foreign-language films are those someone paid hard cash for, and risked opening here. "You always like those foreign films," I'm told, often by someone making it sound like a failing. Not always, but often. They tend to involve characters of intelligence and complexity. If

they're about people of subnormal intelligence, they're about that, or acknowledge it. In most of the world, people want to hurry into adulthood, not clinging to adolescence.

Have you noticed how many American mainstream films are about stupid people who are presented as normal? One opened recently: "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" No one in that film has an interesting thought as they stumble from one plot point to the next. »

- Roger Ebert

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Best films of the noughties No 9: Time Out | Catherine Shoard

23 December 2009 1:06 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Loosely based on the true-life story of a white-collar family man who went spectacularly off the rails, Laurent Cantet's perceptive drama was made in 2001 but couldn't be more pertinent today

Jean-Claude Romand was a wealthy, white-collar Frenchman; married with two children, he worked as a doctor for the World Health Organisation in Geneva. Or so he said. In fact, he'd never graduated from medical school, or held down a job, and lived off savings he'd weaseled out of his parents, in-laws and mistress, to whom he'd promised huge returns on covert investments. About to be found out, he opted not to confess, but to kill his entire family, dog included, then burn his house to the ground.

Two brilliant works of art have emerged in France from the tragedy. A gripping, slippery memoir by the novelist Emmanuel Carrère, The Adversary, based partly on his correspondences with Romand in a »

- Catherine Shoard

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European Discovery noms: Ajami, Katalin Varga, The Other Bank, Sois Sage and Autumn

12 December 2009 6:25 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

The European Film Academy have nominated five films for the Discovery Award - which recognises a director’s first full length feature film. Previous winners include Bruno Dumot's La vie de Jésus (1997), Laurent Cantet's Human Resources (2000), Andrey Zvyagintsev's The Return (2003) and last year the award went to the very deserving Steve McQueen's Hunger. - The European Film Academy have nominated five films for the Discovery Award - which recognises a director’s first full length feature film. Previous winners include Bruno Dumot's La vie de Jésus (1997), Laurent Cantet's Human Resources (2000), Andrey Zvyagintsev's The Return (2003) and last year the award went to the very deserving Steve McQueen's Hunger. The favorite among this year's batch would be the just selected Israeli film from Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani. Ajami received a special mention at Cannes. Here are the five noms.: Ajami, Germany / Israel written »

- Staff

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Review: Precious

23 November 2009 12:11 AM, PST | The Film Crusade | See recent The Film Crusade news »

She’s sixteen, illiterate, and fat as all get-out.  And she’s pregnant.  With her second child.   Her first had the Down’s Syndrome.  Her mama?  She’s on the welfare and real mean.  I mean, Cinderella, you think your mama’s mean, you ain’t seen nothing like this bitch.  And guess who the father is?  It’s her daddy.    Oh and did I mention?  He just died of the AIDS.   Illiteracy, incest, teen pregnancy, obesity, welfare and the AIDS – a six-pack of hot-button issues, all in one melodrama!

What is most remarkable about “Precious”, based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, is that it doesn’t suffocate under the psychic weight of its overburdened source material.   Claireece Precious Jones inhabits three distinct cinematic universes that touch but never commingle(with the exception of one scene – more on that later):  the melodramatic one, dominated by her monstrous mother »

- Jeffrey Janger

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'Chloe' opens San Sebastian

20 September 2009 5:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Madrid -- The 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival kicked off Sept. 18 with Canadian director Atom Egoyan gracing the stage at the festival's inaugural gala to present "Chloe," which opened the Official Section.

Producer Margaret Menegaz picked up the Fipresci grand prize for Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon," voted the best film of 2009 by the Federation of International Film Critics.

The inaugural ceremony, held in the futuristic Kursaal convention center, was presented by Spanish journalist Edurne Ormazabal, with Francis Lorenzo and Barbara Goenaga, in Spanish, English and the local Basque language as is customary for the festival held in Spain's northern Basque region.

Spanish film academy president Alex de la Iglesia was on hand to help launch Spain's biggest festival, as were members of the official jury, including jury chair Laurent Cantet, actors Daniel Gimenez-Cacho, Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Leonor Silveira, and directors Bong Joon-ho, John Madden and Samira Makhmalbaf. »

- By Pamela Rolfe

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'Basterds' to attend San Seb opening gala

4 September 2009 1:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Madrid -- Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz will attend the opening gala on Sept. 18 of the 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival, as they present "Inglourious Basterds," running in the Zabaltegi-Pearls Section.

Also expected on hand for the opening night, is Atom Egoyan, who will screen the international debut of his "Chloe," while Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington are scheduled to attend the closing ceremony on the 26th, as they help Rodrigo Garcia present his latest work, "Mother and Child."

French film director Laurent Cantet will chair the official competition jury. He will be accompanied by Mexican actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Korean director Bong Joon-ho, the Spanish actress Pilar Lopez de Ayala, British director John Madden, Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf and Portuguese actress Leonor Silveira.

British actress Saffron Burrows will chair the New Directors Jury, responsible for awarding the €90,000 ($110,000) top prize. The jury is rounded out by director Borja Cobeaga, »

- By Pamela Rolfe

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Blu-Ray Review: Palme d’Or Winner ‘The Class’ Gets Great Release

17 August 2009 11:20 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Chicago – It’s truly amazing how very few films not in the English language find audiences in this country. A film as universally acclaimed as “The Class,” the winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a nominee for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, should have been able to find an audience, but the fact is that most people skipped it in theaters and I worry they will on Blu-Ray and DVD as well. Don’t miss this one.

Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0 Laurent Cantet’s near-documentary style drama is about the trend of modern eductaion towards the median. Smart kids are not encouraged because it’s assumed that they don’t nee the help and kids who arguably are never going to succeed take all of the professor’s time. We’re all moving toward the average.

The Class was released on Blu-Ray on August 11th, »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Laurent Cantet: The Hollywood Interview

12 August 2009 7:04 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Interview | See recent The Hollywood Interview news »

(Director Laurent Cantet, above)

by Terry Keefe

Director Laurent Cantet's The Class is no Dead Poet's Society/Mr. Holland's Opus/Stand and Deliver, and that's a good thing. Francois, the youngish teacher in the French junior high school depicted in the film, has an often unruly classroom of adolescents to manage, but he certainly doesn't have all of life's answers for them, or even for himself. Shot in a quasi-documentary fashion, loose and handheld, the truths of The Class come from its determination to avoid any sentiment or artifice, and to show life in the classroom as realistically as possible. The cast features real junior high school students and it's an immediate reminder that real 13-year olds don't look like the model types seen in Hollywood high school films. These kids are also socially awkward, and often irritating, and teaching them requires the patience of Job. Francois is played by co-screenwriter Francois Begaudeau, »

- The Hollywood

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DVD: Review:DVDs In Brief: August 12, 2009

11 August 2009 10:00 PM, PDT | | See recent The AV Club news »

The strength of male bonds has been a running theme in the Apatow Age, but I Love You, Man (Paramount) goes that next step by attaching the unctuous term “bromance” and sending its sensitive hero on “man-dates” to find himself a best man for his wedding. But the immensely likeable Paul Rudd and Jason Segal make a winning team, and their genuine chemistry together goes a long way toward bucking the film’s gimmicky conceit… The deserving winner of the Palme D’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Laurent Cantet’s The Class (Sony) uses a sophisticated mix of »

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Spin-ematical: New on DVD for 8/11

11 August 2009 9:02 AM, PDT | Cinematical | See recent Cinematical news »

I Love You, Man

Bro-mance, schmo-mance, this is a funny movie, centered by a very good performance by Paul Rudd as a befuddled "ladies' man" in search of a best man for his upcoming wedding to Rashida Jones. He starts awkwardly 'man dating' until he stumbles across the happy-go-lucky bachelor Jason Segal, and an unlikely triangle is formed. "A sweet, amusing, and perfectly acceptable comedy all around," wrote Eugene Novikov. Also on Blu-ray. Buy it.

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17 Again

Personally, I have zero interest in seeing this movie, but if you're a devoted fan or even curious about the star, help yourself. 17 Again is "a run-of-the-mill family comedy that would be tiresome," Jette Kernion opined, "if not for [Zac] Efron and a few of the other cast members." Also on Blu-ray. Skip it.

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The Class (Entre les Murs)

Laurent Cantet »

- Peter Martin

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Collector's Choice: The Class, Katyn, London to Brighton, Apres Lui, Gigantic

11 August 2009 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Tuesday August 11th sees some Euro titles worth renting out (Katyn, London to Brighton and Apres Lui), a Palme D'or winner worth buying (The Class) and an American indie film starring Zach Galifianakis as a life-threatening menace that was critically panned but in my books: is an oddity worth seeing. Among the Euro titles we have Gael Morel's Apres Lui with Catherine Deneuve as Camille, a divorcee whose beloved 20-year-old son has just died in a car accident. She is overcome with grief, but her anguish manifests itself in the strange obsession she develops for her son’s best friend.     Coming out on Blu-Ray with a wealth of extras, Laurent Cantet's The Class includes features such as a Video Commentary, Making of The Class, Actors' Workshop and Actors' Self Portrait.     Koch Lorber Films Foreign Oscar nominated film from Polish helmer Andrzej Wajda The crime that Stalin couldn’t hide. »

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Michael Haneke to be honored in Munich

26 May 2009 3:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Cologne, Germany -- Director Michael Haneke, who won Cannes' Palme d'Or Sunday for his period drama "The White Ribbon," will be honored at next month's Munich Film Festival with the CineMerit Award.

Haneke will be honored at a ceremony in Munich July 3, which will be followed by a screening of "The White Ribbon." The 27th Munich Film Festival (June 26 – July 4) will also feature a retrospective of the Austria director's recent work.

This will mark the second year running a Cannes winner has been featured in Munich. Laurent Cantet's "The Class" opened the 2008 Munich Film Festival. »

- By Scott Roxborough

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Who will win the Palm d'Or? Not who you think

23 May 2009 1:34 PM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Cannes, France (AP) — Billed at the outset as a showdown between big-name auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and Lars von Trier, the Cannes Film Festival is nearing its end with lesser-known filmmakers among the favorites to win the Palme d'Or, the event's top prize. Two French films, Jacques Audiard's prison saga "A Prophet" and Xavier Giannoli's ex-con tale "In the Beginning," had warm receptions and could bring France its second-straight festival triumph after Laurent Cantet's school drama "The Class" won last year. Before that, a French film had not won at Cannes since 1987. Cannes prizes will be »

- David Germain (AP)

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Movie Review: 'The Class'

22 May 2009 1:25 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

The inspirational teacher narrative has been told countless times in movies, almost always with the same structure.

An entire year's worth of frustration, anger, boredom and occasional insight is condensed into a series of teachable moments; the illiterate kid learns to write his name, the angry girl reveals abuse at home, the teacher finally understands how to communicate on their level. At the end of the year something is inevitably learned, with no acknowledgement that, come September, the inexorable cycle will begin anew.

The Class, based on the memoir by Francois Begaudeau, who also stars, isn't exactly interested in turning that traditional narrative on its head. Instead it starts from the only world Begaudeau knows-- reality-- and creates a loose narrative as fascinating in its specific details as it is enlightening on a grand scale. Though it tackles very specifically French ideas of race and identity and education, The Class »

- mihirkula

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Foreign Objects: The Class (Entre Les Murs)

14 May 2009 9:45 AM, PDT | | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… France! Thirty minutes into last year's Palme d'Or winner, The Class, I was wondering aloud why the film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, how the film had earned so much critical praise, and what I was going to have for lunch.  An hour and a half later I was poo-pooing the Academy's flawed final decision (the Oscar went to Japan's Departures), agreeing with much of the film's unanimous acclaim, and gathering ingredients for French Toast.  The Class is an engrossing slow-burn of a film that surprises with its power and bravery even as it consciously avoids providing answers to many of the questions it raises. Francois Marin (Francois Begaudeau) is a teacher at a Parisian »

- Rob Hunter

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San Sebastian to honor Richard Brooks

9 May 2009 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Madrid -- The 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival will honor director Richard Brooks and contemporary French filmmakers with retrospectives, organizers announced Friday as they revealed this year’s posters and gave the first glimpses of the festival’s lineup.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Sweet Bird of Youth” and “In Cold Blood” are a few of the particularly memorable films Brooks directed, according to the festival, which said it will screen 24 films Brooks directed and another five that he wrote in a tribute.

The festival will also showcase 40 films from contemporary French filmmakers including Laurent Cantet, Arnaud Desplechin, Gaspar Noe and Christophe Honore in its “Backwash: the cutting edge of French cinema” sidebar.

“In surf jargon, ‘backwash’ is an iconic phenomenon arising from the force and spectacular pounding together of two or more waves as they thunder on their ways in different directions. Drawing a comparison with this, »

- By Pamela Rolfe

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David di Donatello 2009

8 May 2009 1:32 AM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

2009 David di Donatello Awards 2009 David di Donatello Award nominations: April 9, 2009 2009 David di Donatello Award winners: May 8, 2009 ("*" denotes the winner in each category)   Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah (top photo); Toni Servillo in Il Divo (lower photo)   Best Film / miglior film Il divo produced by Andrea Occhipinti, Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima, Maurizio Coppolecchia directed by Paolo Sorrentino Ex produced by Fulvio Lucisano, Federica Lucisano directed by Fausto Brizzi * Gomorra produced by Domenico Procacci directed by Matteo Garrone Si può fare produced by Angelo Rizzoli directed by Giulio Manfredonia Tutta la vita davanti produced by Motorino Amaranto - Medusa directed by Paolo Virzì Best Film from the European Union / miglior film dell’Unione Europea Entre les murs, by Laurent Cantet Lemon Tree, by Eran Riklis * Slumdog Millionaire, by Danny Boyle The Reader, by Stephen Daldry Waltz with Bashir, by Ari Folman Best Foreign Film / miglior film straniero * [...] »

- Massimo David

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Michael Barker, Tom Bernard re-up with Sony

5 May 2009 7:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Longtime Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have re-upped with the studio for four more years, Sony said Tuesday.

The pair have run the New York-based specialty division for 18 years, making a name for themselves producing and distributing a range of high-end English-language and foreign-language pics. In recent months, the company released hits such as Academy Award nominee "Rachel Getting Married," Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut "Synecdoche, New York" and Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or winner "The Class."

The company is next set to release Woody Allen's "Whatever Works" and Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," both filmmakers with whom Spc has frequently collaborated. Also on its upcoming release slate are Lone Scherfig's Sundance hit "An Education" and the Audrey Tautou-toplined biopic "Coco Before Chanel."

Over the years, Barker and Bernard have worked closely with filmmakers such as Jonathan Demme, Nicole Holofcener and Errol Morris, »

- By Steven Zeitchik

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From Weddings to 'Prom' for Scribe Jenny Lumet

16 April 2009 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- If Jenny Lumet proved something with her very first script (Rachel Getting Married) is that she was able to create a realistic setting with several layers of characters that harmoniously co-exist. Perhaps this is a sensibilty that Miramax and producer Marc Platt are looking to incorporate in a project that is bound to include several characters -- perhaps the same size as Laurent Cantet's The Class? This Strange Thing Called Prom will be shot in Brooklyn. Based on the Brooke Hauser article published in the June 22 edition of the New York Times, this follows the prom adventures of high school seniors who came to Brooklyn from locales like Senegal, Venezuela, Tibet, Haiti, Poland and Gabon (one was a nomadic yak herder until age 12). The experiences of the students, who eagerly looked forward to taking part in their first prom, ranged from magical to miserable. »

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The Class:Spellbinding Cinema

6 April 2009 12:27 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

You would be at no fault at all if just before you start watching The Class, by director Laurent Cantet, you have this notion about it being one more of those courageous/ inspiring teacher who would get appointed in a school full of difficult/diffident children and after a series of adventures/misadventures would bring order to the chaos. And you would walk out of the theatre a happy person, happy at the positive vibe of the film. »

- Utpal Borpujari

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