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Janos Szasz's "The Notebook," last year's foreign Oscar film entry from Hungary, explores the dark side of inseparability among innocent yet cruel twin boys. And Dp Christian Berger ("The White Ribbon"), who is now busy prepping Angelina Jolie's next directorial effort, "By the Sea," which will co-star the newly married Jolie and Brad Pitt, was immediately drawn to the brutal topic. "I was right away fascinated by the novel from Agota Christof and her stringent and radical story about the eternal fight between barbarism and civilization, and how thin the skin is," recalls the Austrian Berger, who is accustomed to dealing with this eternal fight through his longtime collaboration with director Michael Haneke. "Janos wanted to change his style of filming with that project and I think that was one of his reason's to ask me for that collaboration. And it was a collaboration in the best way. How »
- Bill Desowitz
Today I’ll be going back once again and looking at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. I mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be doing that here and there, there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more. Alright, here goes nothing: Best Picture – Argo The nominees here for this ceremony were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. »
- Joey Magidson
Behind Every Great War Is a Great Story: Szasz’s Captivating, Grotesque Portrait of Life During Wartime
World War II takes on the ambience of an exquisitely grim fairy tale in Hungarian filmmaker Janos Szasz’s The Notebook, based on the famed novel by Agota Kristof. Reuniting the director with Danish star Ulrich Thomsen, who starred in Szasz’s last film, Opium: Diary of a Madwoman (2007), it’s a strikingly photographed, pervasively bewitching account of adolescent twin boys and their development into (mostly) apathetic killing machines due to the inhumane conditions of wartime. Winning the top prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2013, the infrequently working Szasz (also a veteran stage director) is a name ripe for rediscovery, heretofore best known for his 1994 film, Woyzeck (the stage play that would also provide the basis for Herzog’s 1979 version).
Nearing the end of WWII, a privileged father (Ulrich Matthes) decides »
- Nicholas Bell
The trickle of foreign film submission info has become and soon it will be a flood. Over the new few days I'll be filling out a lot more of the foreign language submission charts which are written by me and my multi-lingual friend A.D. who knows so much about foreign cinema in so many atypical places he sometimes makes my head spin. But before all that charty speculation a handful of actual news items.
Jhola from Nepal
New Official Submissions
Jhola is the official submission from Nepal. Nepal enjoyed one previous nomination in this category for Caravan (1999) but they haven't submitted regularly. Jhola is a period piece about the Nepali society custom of the wife having to set herself on fire when her husband dies and go with him. Horrific! Actress Kanchi Garima Panta is said to be very good in the lead role.
Beloved Sisters was announced today to represent Germany. »
- NATHANIEL R
Main Street during The Telluride Film Festival
The Telluride Film Festival seemingly appears overnight against the gorgeous backdrop of rugged mountains. It lasts just four days but in fact it takes more than a month of intensive labor to transform the elementary school, high school, hockey rink, library, the park in the middle of town and a masonic temple into theaters. Now in its 41st year,up until recently this hallowed Labor Day weekend event has long been a quiet fixture on the festival circuit. As most of the festival world knows, the escalating word of mouth about the quality of Telluride’s unofficial premieres caused the Toronto International Film Festival to issue an ultimatum to those hoping to land choice spots in the fall line-up: if you choose to screen at Telluride first, your film will be pushed back on Tiff’s slate. Realistically- Toronto has little to fear from Telluride besides buzz. »
- Lane Scarberry
Paris– Adele Haenel (“Love at First Fight”), Anais Demoustier (“The New Girlfriend”) and Reda Kateb (“Lost River”) are among the 10 Talents to Watch selected by Unifrance, the French film promotion org.
The other actors and directors selected by Unifrance are actors Raphael Personnaz, Celine Salette, Gaspard Ulliel and four femmes directors Celine Sciamma, Mia Hansen-Love, and Alix Delaporte and Melanie Laurent, who is also a popular actress.
Haenel, who delivered a breakthrough performance in Katell Quillevere’s “Suzanne,” showed her range in Thomas Cailley’s “Love at First Fight” (“Les Combattants”), in which she played the lead actress. A fresh romantic dramedy set in an Army survival program, “Love at First Fight” proved to be Directors’ Fortnight hit, winning a record four awards.
Haenel also starred in Andre Techine’s “French Riviera” which played at Cannes in the official selection.
Demoustier made her debut at age 13 in Michael Haneke’s »
- Elsa Keslassy
We're not sure who's idea it was, but well done. A couple of weeks back, to help promote Catherine Breillat's "Abuse Of Weakness," the folks at Film Society of Lincoln Center had the terrific idea to get John Waters to interview the film's star Isabelle Huppert. And now you can watch that entire conversation. The pair seems to get on quite well, and the talk is wide ranging, from Breillat's film to the nature of celebrity to Huppert's impressions of the differences between theatre roles and film work. "Doing movies for me is like a vacation," Huppert said. "Stage for me is like climbing a big mountain, and movies for me is like doing a nice little walk… it's really easy for me to make movies… Movies have to be the routine and stage has to be the exception." Huppert also shared her thoughts on one of her most controversial films, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Having been involved in the early career of John Woo, the 30 year partner of maverick director Tsui Hark and producer of “Infernal Affairs,” Nansun Shi is one of Asia’s top producers. She will be honoured next Monday by Locarno with the Raimondo Rezzonico award, named after the festival’s founder, for best independent film producer.
Variety caught up with her to talk about the skills needed to be a producer, film festivals and the trends within the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese industries today.
Variety: How did you become a movie producer?
Nansun Shi: By accident. I was in TV and it was the done-thing in those days. I was asked to join Cinema City, which needed some management. I ran the company and my nickname was ‘the butler’ as the other guys just went and made movies, while I did everything else.
Variety: Didn’t you want to be the director too? »
- Patrick Frater
Renowned film star Jacqueline Bisset believes she’s an even better actress than she used to be, certainly backing up such a statement by turning in one of her bravest roles of her career to date, in Abel Ferrara’s contentious drama Welcome to New York.
Inspired by the now infamous Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, Bisset plays Simone, the beleaguered wife to Gérard Depardieu’s sociopathic, somewhat repulsive Devereux, who is going through a court case following his sexual assault on a hotel maid. Bisset, who shines in her supporting role, tell us that she’s better now than she’s ever been, which is certainly saying something, given she’s starred in productions such as Bullitt and Murder on the Orient Express, across what has been a truly illustrious career.
“I’m a much better actress now than I was then,” she said. “I have a lot more life experiences, »
- Stefan Pape
An Evening with Isabelle Huppert, the star of Catherine Breillat's Abuse Of Weakness (Abus De Faiblesse) was held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with John Waters. Discussing Michael Haneke's sense of humor, Barbara Loden's Wanda - Andy Warhol connection, working with Werner Schroeter and not Fassbinder, lead to Huppert wishing she had worked with Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel, Jean Renoir, Douglas Sirk, Alfred Hitchcock and Waters himself. Marguerite Duras, Jean-Luc Godard, Nathalie Sarraute ending with a David O. Russell - Lily Tomlin moment rounded out the evening.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Oliver Davis reviews East of West #14…
“‘Warbound. The Endless Nation makes the first cut in the carcass once called America. The Apocalypse marches on in East Of West #14.”
Again, East of West jumps from one storyline last issue to a different one here. Sometimes, several months could go by without us ever hearing a peep from our favourite characters. In that way, it somewhat recalls the great American television series as of late – most comparatively the sprawling scope of Game of Thrones - focusing on characters and subplots at will, dedicating entire episodes to minor players. Eventually, this will make a compelling graphic novel, each distinctive issue being much more suited to chapters in a book. As a monthly series, however, the plot lacks drive and momentum.
In issue 14, we open on the aftermath of President Burkhart’s death, an event that happened two issues ago. In a neat flashback, »
- Oliver Davis
This is reprint of our review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. What is behind the desire to punish an audience? Truthfully, few filmmakers besides Michael Haneke maybe intentionally want to torture viewers (at least I think), but many dark and depressing indie movies attempting to explore the condition of suffering can often feel excruciating. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a grim and sad narrative—one so-called “miserablist” movie I love is “Bitiful,” and last year’s bleak “Sunshine Jr.” had a lot of value. These emotions are part of our existence, thus they shouldn’t be shied away from, but rather must be examined. But what is the value when a movie wallows in these kinds of dire feelings without ever illuminating the human condition beyond the superficial notion that grief is difficult? What then? Devastation both personal and removed shrouds “War Story” like an oppressive funeral veil devoid of light. »
- Rodrigo Perez
In an odd turn of events, this list has a number of films that don’t have English-language titles. They just go by whatever the original title was. Good for us. What we do see in this portion of the list is a few movies that weren’t really created specifically to be horror films, but their themes and visuals made it so. In addition, we have some heavyweights of non-horror cinema creating horror films that push the genre all the more upward. “Thinking man horror,” if you will.
20. Le locataire (1976)
English Language Title: The Tenant
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski has made one of the greatest horror “trilogies” of all time with 1965′s British production Repulsion, 1968′s American production Rosemary’s Baby, and 1976′s French production The Tenant, completing his “Apartment Trilogy.” Unlike the other two, Polanski actually stars in The Tenant as Trelkovsky, a reserved man renting an apartment in Paris. »
- Joshua Gaul
Mike Cahill’s I Origins is sci-fi semi-thriller that takes the debate of science and religion to the unexplainable mystery of the human eye. Actor Michael Pitt plays Ian, a scientist who seeks to find a cure for blindness in order to disprove Creationism. More questions than answers are provided, however, when Ian finds himself in a spiritual journey that challenges his cause-and-effect convictions.
Pitt has worked with an impressive amount of directors in a career that is just starting, with names that include Martin Scorsese, Michael Haneke, and Bernardo Bertolucci. I Origins is the second film written and directed by Cahill, who works with a larger scale production this round compared to his tiny debut Another Earth.
I sat down in a roundtable interview with Cahill and Pitt to discuss the film, what intrigues them about the other, the preparation they did for such a science-heavy movie, and more. »
- Nick Allen
I Origins, the second feature film from writer and director Mike Cahill, tells the story of Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt),tells the story about a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, and finds himself in a struggle between science and spirituality. Recently, I sat down with director Mike Cahill and star Michael Pitt to talk about the film Check it out below!
He finds his work permeating his life after a brief encounter with an exotic young woman (Astrid Bergès- Frisbey) who slips away from him. As his research continues years later with his lab partner Karen (Brit Marling), they make a stunning scientific discovery that has far reaching implications and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs. Traveling half way around the world, he risks everything he has ever known to validate his theory.
What is the impetus of the idea?
Mike Cahill : This idea »
- Melissa Howland
Chicago – The debate between science and intelligent design (God) will go on as long as man evolves and searches for answers. A new and provocative film, “I Origins,” takes on the challenge of the debate through storytelling, and features hot actor Michael Pitt (“Boardwalk Empire”), directed by Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”).
Mike Cahill also teams again up with actress Brit Marling, who plays a research co-worker to Pitt’s main scientist character. Her last collaboration with Cahill, “Another Earth” – Marling also co-wrote the script – also investigated the concept of scientific certainly when faced with the mystery of an expansive and perplexing universe. In “I Origins,” the examination of the unique nature of the eye is explored, especially within its definition as a “window to the soul.”
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Michael Pitt is the rare actor who, after 15 years in the business (including a stint on Dawson's Creek), remains idiosyncratic and whole. Clocking most of his time with independent filmmakers and esteemed names like Gus Van Sant, Michael Haneke, and Bernardo Bertolucci, Pitt remains a stranger to the throes of studio movies — Murder by Numbers and The Village being rare exceptions. He has never been forced to fit a star mold. His collaborators wouldn't have it any other way. One hundred percent undistilled Pitt ranges from brooding intensity to lunacy of every color. He does what he does, and he does it well. The maturation of television worked in his favor; Boardwalk Empire and NBC's Hannibal have Hollywood sheen and artistic souls. One might describe Pitt the same way.In I Origins, Pitt skews closer to "leading man" territory than ever before. His character, Ian Gray, is a dapper »
- Matt Patches
Isabelle Huppert on working with Catherine Breillat Abuse of Weakness and Michael Haneke on The Piano Teacher: "In a way, even with a man director with an actress, the director seems to have the actor reproduce some of them, to a certain level." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York will host An Evening with Isabelle Huppert, the star of Catherine Breillat's fantastic, heavy-duty tour-de-force Abuse Of Weakness (Abus de faiblesse). Cultural icon filmmaker John Waters will moderate a post screening discussion with Huppert on Wednesday, July 30, following the 6:00pm screening of Abuse Of Weakness.
Maud, played by Isabelle Huppert who is formidable in every scene and gesture, wakes up one morning under fresh white sheets and notices that there is something wrong with her left arm. She tries to get up and collapses. The tapestry of her world was struck down »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
The Chilean film Hidden in the Woods gained a bit of noteriaty upon its release a couple years back. It was described as "The bastard child of a Ruggero Deodato/Sam Peckinpah/Gaspar Noé pile-up gestated in the loins of Roberta Findlay" and "a deranged frenzy". An English language remake was quickly put into the works, actually being announced a few weeks prior to the original’s North American premiere at Fantasia Fest 2012. That film was produced by Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc, with Biehn also taking a lead role. Following in the footsteps of such directors as Michael Haneke and Takashi Shimizu, Patricio Valladares once again took the director’s chair.
The plot has remained unchanged. Hidden in the Woods tells the story of Two sisters, who have been raised in isolation, subjected to the torment of their abusive, drug dealing father. When they finally decide to report him to the police, »
- Chris Connors
As the most expensive art form, it’s difficult to experiment with filmmaking in the way that the new Starz show The Chair does. Produced by Zachary Quinto, Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, the program obsessively watches as two aspiring filmmakers turn the same script into different films. The closest cousin to this kind of semi-scientific meddling might be Michael Haneke remaking his own Funny Games. Or maybe Lars von Trier forcing Jorgen Leth to remake one of his short films in The Five Obstructions. Or maybe we can consider this as another in a long list of remakes that just so happens to take place simultaneously so that we can’t say which film is the “original.” Maybe I’m overthinking this (I am), but it’s exciting. Tinkering and deconstructing cinema is almost always fun, or at the very least interesting, for the audience — especially when the filmmakers themselves look to be losing their minds »
- Scott Beggs
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