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Even when his choice of material has been suspect, Alejandro G. (formerly Gonzalez) Inarritu has never given us reason to doubt him as one of the most purely gifted filmmakers of his generation. For him, no less than for Michael Keaton, this ferociously inventive plunge into the corroded soul of American celebrity represents a career-reigniting comeback; for that wizardly cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, it’s the latest in a steady stream of digital long-take miracles, like “Black Swan” as directed by Max Ophuls. (Venice, Telluride, New York)
“From What Is Before”
The extreme length is inseparable from the power and conviction of Lav Diaz’s historical epic about the devastation of a small Filipino barrio amid the political and military unrest of the early 1970s. As a slow-burning study of social decay, this winner of Locarno’s Golden Leopard prize is both a thematic companion piece to Michael Haneke »
- Variety Staff
“But no man moved me till the tide / Went past my simple shoe /And past my apron and my belt / And past my bodice too / And made as he would eat me up / As wholly as a dew…”
Whether or not this poem by Emily Dickinson, published under the title By the Sea, served as inspiration for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s new film of the same name, the spirit seems to match up with its story of a woman caught in an undertow of passion and rejuvenation while visiting a seaside village with her husband.
- Anthony Breznican
A retrospective of work by the Polish cinematographer, who worked with Polanski and Haneke, to screen at the festival.
Camerimage, the cinematography festival held in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, is to pay tribute to the late Jerzy Lipman with a retrospective of his work.
Films shot by the Polish cinematographer will be screened as part of Camerimage’s Remembering the Masters series throughout the 22nd edition of the festival (Nov 15-22).
Lipman, who died in 1983, is considered one of the most eminent cinematographers in Polish cinema history and is a co-originator of the Polish Film School movement.
Lipman endured occupation and imprisonment during the Second World War before he became a celebrated filmmaker. After his release in 1948, he joined the Cinematography Department of the National Film School in Łódź and graduated in 1952.
As a student, he was the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
The next few months will be filled with prestige pictures, serious dramas and other fare all looking to go the extra mile to the Oscars. It can create atmosphere that's a bit cinematically stifling. So if you need something to cleanse the palate, a picture that's a bit dangerous, bonkers and delightfully weird, check out "Borgman." Directed by Alex van Warmerdam, and featuring a committed, oddball and even scary turn by Jan Bijvoet, this dark fable follows an upper-class family who find their lives turned upside down the arrival of a vagrant. One part David Lynch, and another part Michael Haneke, the film uses the guise of domestic life to tell a story about deep-seated evil, with the film ratcheting up the surrealism with each passing moment. Didn't catch it in cinemas? Well, we have copies of "Borgman" on Blu-ray for some lucky readers. For a chance to win, follow »
- Kevin Jagernauth
"Veronika Franz, the journalist and wife of Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl, makes her debut, co-directing with Severin Fiala, for this chilly, angular, ultra-violent arthouse horror," wrote the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw when he saw Ich seh, Ich seh (Goodnight Mommy) in Venice. It’s all topped off with a huge psychological twist, and this ending would appear to be influenced by a very specific director and very specific film. Naming these would be unsporting, but it is generally comparable to Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Jessica Hausner’s Hotel." Now that it's screening in Toronto, we're collecting reviews and posting clips. » - David Hudson »
Written and directed by Ruben Östlund
The folly and arrogance of masculinity is harshly scrutinized in Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, an intense and intelligent domestic drama that asks some cutting questions about modern gender roles. High up in the French Alps, a family of four slowly crumbles after an instance of cowardice manifests itself and continues to marinate over the course of five days. That the act takes places in just the first ten minutes and slowly festers up until the last few scenes speaks volumes about Östlund as a stylist. While only sporadically involving as an unsettling study of race and class in contemporary Sweden, the director’s last film, Play (2011), hinted at what the director could accomplish with a tighter and more absorbing project. While Force Majeure isn’t a perfect film by any stretch, it should instantly make Östlund a household name. »
- Ty Landis
Anais Demoustier grew up in the North of France with her three siblings, and developed a love for cinema thanks to her brother, Stephane Demoustier, who’s now a director and producer. (His latest film, “Terre Battue,” unspooled in Venice’s Critics Week.)
Time To Shine
The 26-year-old’s career took off in 2003 when, at age 13, in her second film, she co-starred alongside Isabelle Huppert in Michael Haneke’s “Time of the Wolf.” “I remember being fascinated by her,” Demoustier says of Huppert. “She was in a bubble during the shoot, completely immersed in her role. It made me want to be become part of this world that’s full of strong emotions and enlightening encounters.”
Anais has made some 30 movies, working with some of France’s most respected filmmakers, from Christophe Honore (“The Beautiful Person”) to Robert Guediguian (“The Snows of Kilimanjaro”) and Bertrand Tavernier (“The French Minister »
- Elsa Keslassy
Madrid — Finally getting something like global recognition, Richard Linklater has won the 2014 Intl. Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Grand Prix for film of the year.
Shot over 12 years between 2002 and 2013, and tracking boy actor Ellar Coltrane’s coming-of-age, “Boyhood” world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It went on to take the Berlin Festival’s Best Director Silver Bear and to be hailed as a masterpiece by many critics.
“Whatever else it may be — an epic cinematic bildungsroman, an aughties pop-culture time capsule, an apt demonstration of Jacques Rivette’s maxim that every film is a documentary of its own making — ‘Boyhood’ feels above all like that great movie rarity, a fully realized experiment,” Justin Chang wrote in Variety.
The plaudit from the world’s leading »
- John Hopewell
The poll for the Fipresci Grand Prix 2014 - Best Film of the Year gathered votes from 553 members throughout the world.
In the first phase, participants nominated feature-length films that received their world premiere no earlier than July 1, 2013. This led to a final round between the four finalists: Boyhood by Richard Linklater, Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski, The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson, and Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
This is the first Linklater has won the prize, which has previously gone to Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jafar Panahi, Pedro Almodóvar, Jean-Luc Godard and Nuri Bilge Ceylan, among others, since its establishment in 1999.
Boyhood will have a special screening at the San Sebastián Film Festival on Sept »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
The English-language title “40-Love” hints that Stephane Demoustier’s misleadingly low-key thriller will eventually steer its way into high-stakes tennis matches, though going in, you’d never guess how the tale unfolds, unless perhaps you know the news report on which it’s based. , while revealing new psychological layers nearly every quarter-hour. It’s an imperfect debut but a remarkable one nonetheless, liable to bore sensation seekers, while tipping an impressive new talent toward more subtlety-oriented fest auds.
Who is the main character of “40-Love”? Is it Jerome Sauvage (Olivier Gourmet), the middle-aged sales manager who refuses to accept defeat after losing his job at a chain store? Or is the protagonist really his 11-year-old son, Ugo (impressively unaffected newcomer Charles Merienne), whose impassive face fills the pic’s final shot? On the surface, this is a film about the Sauvage family, but dig into its rich trove of themes, »
- Peter Debruge
A fairy tale for “Dogtooth” enthusiasts, But that’s only the beginning of this family’s dysfunction, as tension escalates to torture in the duo’s elegantly stylized, thoroughly unnerving attempt to creep the heck out of arthouse horror fans. The project, which recalls such child-centric chillers as “I’m Not Scared” and “The Orphanage,” was backed by fest vet Ulrich Seidl (for whom Franz co-wrote several pics), allowing it to court both genre and auteur fests.
Mommy looks monstrous when she comes home from the hospital, her body sexy but her face wrapped entirely in bandages. The clues are scarce at first, slyly delivered through a game of “Who am I?” where yes/no questions help us (but not her) identify the answer stuck to her head: Mama. Why doesn’t she recognize herself in this game? What happened to her face? And is that really her under all that gauze? »
- Peter Debruge
Honorary Oscars have traditionally bypassed women: Mary Pickford, Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo among rare exceptions (photo: 1976 Honorary Oscar winner Mary Pickford) September 4, 2014 Introduction: This four-part article on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Honorary Awards and the dearth of female Honorary Oscar winners was originally posted in February 2007. The article was updated in February 2012 and fully revised before its republication today. All outdated figures regarding the Honorary Oscars and the Academy’s other Special Awards have been "scratched out," with the updated numbers and related information inserted below each affected paragraph or text section. See also "Honorary Oscars 2014 addendum" at the bottom of this particular post. At the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony, groundbreaking film pioneer D.W. Griffith, by then a veteran with more than 500 shorts and features to his credit — among them the epoch-making The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance — became the first individual to receive the Academy »
- Andre Soares
A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home construct a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help a terminally ill pal in “The Farewell Party,” a poignant, provocative dramedy from Israeli helmers Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit. with dignity. Theatrical returns in Israel should be, er, out of this world, while offshore, positive word of mouth should smooth the way for this compassionate handling of inherently depressing material.
The opening scene cleverly riffs on the underlying theme of who has the right to play God, as retired inventor Yehezkel (Ze’ev Revah) phones an ailing nonagenarian, and speaking through a device that infuses his voice with a celestial grandeur, claims to be the Almighty and tells her not to give up on life. It’s typical of the kindly Yehezkel, who, with his inveterate tinkering, tries to come up with new and original ways to improve the lives of his neighbors and his pretty, »
- Alissa Simon
Bent Hamer’s “1001 Grams” is set to represent Norway in the foreign)language Academy Awards’ race.
Pic will play in the Masters sidebar at the Toronto film fest.
“1001 Grams stands out with a clear international profile – in Hamer’s unique way it depicts sorrow, love and the small and big challenges of life,” said Sindre Guldvog, who chairs the Norwegian Oscar Committee and runs the Norwegian Film Institute. “It is a compelling addition to Hamer’s impressive filmography that has previously represented Norway internationally.”
Pic marks Hamer’s third submission for the Oscars, following “Kitchen Stories” (“Salmer fra kjøkkenet) in 2003 and “O’Horten” in 2007.
Sold by Paris-based Les Films du Losange, “1001 Grams” stars Ane Dahl-Torp as a recently divorced, work-obsessed woman scientist in her late 30s, who travels to Paris to attend a seminar about the actual weight of the kilogram. While there, she falls in love with a French colleague. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Venice – Not since Michael Haneke unleashed a pair of psychotic young sadists on an unsuspecting family in his original 1997 Funny Games has a summer getaway in the peaceful Austrian countryside seemed less like a vacation. A wicked little chiller full of foreboding and malevolent twists, Goodnight Mommy is the first narrative feature from writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, respectively the partner and nephew of producer Ulrich Seidl. As that connection might imply, this insidious tale of a mother-son bond gone haywire is squirm-inducing stuff. It has cult potential stamped all over it. "Come play
- David Rooney
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
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