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The eagerly awaited Official Selection for this year's 68th Cannes Film Festival (13-24 May) was announced in Paris this morning. As previously revealed, celebrated sibling filmmakers and Cannes regulars Joel and Ethan Cohen will preside over the jury this time around. Emmanuelle Bercot will become the first female director to open the festival in 28 years with her comedy-drama La Tête Haute (Head Held High), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rod Paradot. Meanwhile, highlights of this year's Palme d'Or race include new films from Jacques Audiard, Matteo Garrone, Todd Haynes, Jia Zhangke, Paolo Sorrentino, Gus Van Sant and Denis Villeneuve. Directors whose latest films appear to have missed out this year include Terence Davies, Michael Haneke and Ben Wheatley.
- CineVue UK
It had enough admirers to snag several Oscar nominations, including best picture, but I confess I found the 2004 movie Finding Neverland a decorous yawn, starring a somnambulant Johnny Depp opposite Kate Winslet in a role that under-utilized her talents. But the preciousness and mawkish emotional manipulation of the movie seem like the austere work of a Michael Haneke by comparison with this long-aborning stage musical adaptation. Bombastic and exhausting, the show confuses childishness with an affinity for the child inside, at times recalling Wicked in its busily assaultive hyperactivity, but without that show's catchy songs or engaging
- David Rooney
Along with fresh interviews with Martin Scorsese, Don Hertzfeldt, Olivier Assayas and Bong Joon-ho, we post links to the Paris Review archive of great conversations with the likes of Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Jean Cocteau, Michael Haneke, Susan Sontag, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Terry Southern, Tom Stoppard, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner and Budd Schulberg. Plus, a 1960 BBC interview with Orson Welles, Noah Baumbach's 2012 conversation with Brian De Palma, a New York Times profile of Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany and the Hollywood Reporter's interview with Claudia Cardinale. » - David Hudson »
"The world is no longer a predictable place," we hear in Parabellum as we follow the featureless man and a group of blindfolded tourists into a swamp delta for a survival training unlike any other. Lukas Valenta Rinner directs with confidence and a detached gaze the goings-on in the explorer's camp that offers courses on homemade explosives and the mandatory survival underwater training. John Huston's The African Queen and Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen are about two different kind of personal survival. Austrian parallels come into play with his New Directors/New Films colleagues, Goodnight Night Mommy directors, Veronika Franz, and Severin Fiala, as well as Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl. Pablo Seijo connected with his character through Michel Houellebecq's books.
The participants »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's Goodnight Mommy starring Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz and Susanne Wuest, produced by Ulrich Seidl is the corner of your mind where Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Georges Franju, Damien Hirst and Michael Haneke meet in Nobuhiko Obayashi's House (Hausu) and invite Gregor Samsa to converge with the von Trapp family.
After a short prelude in the form of a clip from an Austrian version of the Sound Of Music story, starring Ruth Leuwerik, we settle into the country house of a woman (Wuest) who has just undergone extensive facial surgery. Her twin sons, Lukas and Elias, are seen spending the time on the grounds around the isolated house.
Hello Mommy Susanne Wuest: »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Franz Kafka is to film what lightning is to a bottle: many filmmakers try to capture him, but few succeed. Courageous men like Michael Haneke and Aleksey Balabanov have attempted the feat of translating Kafka's final work, “The Castle,” into the medium of cinema, only to end up with a square peg in a round hole. Now, we have a couple of new brave souls. Darhad Erdenibulag and Emyr ap Richard are co-directors from Inner Mongolia, who have chosen to tackle the labyrinthine world of bureaucratic abyss in Kafka's seminal novel as their sophomore feature. A supreme undertaking, and a valiant effort, ultimately, “K” is a resounding failure and a butterfingered attempt to capture the essence of a literary genius. For those unfamiliar with Kafka's work: firstly, I must implore you not to watch Erdenibulag and Richard's interpretation as an introduction. Secondly, the plot is wonderfully basic at its core. »
- Nikola Grozdanovic
Thrillers come in all shapes and sizes, from sophisticated legal dramas to high-octane and shocking action features.
With the atmospheric and absorbing Netflix original series Bloodline arriving this week, here are some of the best TV and movie thrillers on Netflix:
Not for the faint of heart, South Korean director Park Chan-wook's Oldboy tells the story of a man who is locked away for 15 years without knowing the identity of his captor or the reason for his punishment.
When he is released just as inexplicably, he finds himself with only five days to unravel the mystery, save the woman he loves and seek vengeance against the people who destroyed his life.
With non-linear storytelling and a powerful atmosphere of paranoia over five seasons, you'll learn to suspect everyone, »
At the finale of Robin Campillo's masterful Eastern Boys, bourgeois, middle-aged Frenchman Daniel (Oliver Rabourdin) has overhauled his relationship with the Ukrainian hustler Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) into something totally unexpected. The journey to that climax is a rollercoaster of flirtation, betrayal, larceny, lust, love, dauntless deeds, comeuppance, and finally a benevolent acceptance of the pair's interconnectedness in a manner that neither of these devoted halves could foretell.
The film begins documentary-like, and you won't be able to guess who the lead characters are for the first ten minutes or so as the camera goes sightseeing amongst a bevy of young males meandering to and fro at a train station among self-absorbed travelers. Are the lads thieves or hustlers or just out for a lark? Some men eye them warily with a slight lust unsure of whether to approach or not. One station guard's suspicions are raised due the actions »
- Brandon Judell
“Prejudice” is one of the projects developed and produced by Benoît Roland’s Wrong Men, a Brussels-based, up-and-coming outfit that aims at supporting emerging Belgian talent and producing local movies for the international market.
The family drama features an international cast led by Nathalie Baye, Arno (pictured above with Cuypers), Thomas Blanchard and Ariane Labed, who recently won best actress at Locarno. The pic marks Cuypers’s follow up to the short film “A New Old Story.”
“Prejudice” centers around a family celebration that unravels after a young women (Ariane Labed) announces to her brother Cedric (Thomas Blanchard) and parents (Nathalie Baye and Arno) that she’s expecting a baby. Cedric reacts to the news with anger and starts exposing the prejudice he claims to be facing. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Scott Foundas: Well, Peter, another Berlin Film Festival has come to a close, ending on a high note with the awarding of its top prize, the Golden Bear, to Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi.” Panahi’s film screened right at the start of the festival and emerged as an early consensus favorite among critics here. As it turns out, the Darren Aronofsky-led jury felt the same way, and I’d like to think their decision was based solely on the movie’s artistic merits, rather than the unfortunate position in which its director finds himself in his native Iran, where he’s been under house arrest for the last four years. It’s impossible, of course, to watch “Taxi” without thinking about the unusual circumstances under which it was made — something this highly self-reflexive film very much invites you to do. But what makes “Taxi” a great movie, I think, »
- Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas
America’s Second Amendment inadvertently serves to keep Mexican drug cartels stocked with U.S.-made, military-grade artillery in “600 Miles,” an understated, astutely gauged look at the way weapons flow south to arm Latin American infighting, as seen through the eyes of two characters on opposing sides of the law: a low-level Mexican weapons smuggler (Kristyan Ferrer) and the American Atf agent (Tim Roth) he kidnaps after a bust goes bad. Whereas many directors would be tempted to exploit the subject in over-the-top action-movie mode, first-timer Gabriel Ripstein opts for a less sensational, true-to-life approach suited for discriminating festival and arthouse audiences.
Following in the gritty-realism tradition of “Maria Full of Grace,” while acknowledging that the illicit traffic flows both ways — in this case, from north to south — “600 Miles” tackles an issue that’s gotten considerably less exposure in the news for the simple fact that Americans don’t seem »
- Peter Debruge
We're knee-deep in awards season at the moment, with all the attendant speculation, drama and controversy you would expect. Who should win? Who was snubbed? Who will fall over before they reach the podium? We're looking at you, Jennifer Lawrence.
Around this time, we tend to realise the shocking number of lauded films from previous years which we still haven't seen. So here's a selection of the best award-winning films you can catch up with on Netflix:
Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 classic hardly needs an introduction from us. The film took three Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor for Marlon Brando, as well as a record five Golden Globes and further nods from the Grammys, and Writers and Directors Guilds of America.
Paris — The Paris-Ile de France region is increasingly positioning itself as Europe’s premier film production hub, while simultaneously building synergies with its closest rival, London, and also with production centers in Belgium and Luxembourg.
In recent years there has been a sea change in the way the local industry works. Since the Nouvelle Vague, France has charted its own distinctive path in the film world, including a strong emphasis on auteur films. But this underlying commitment to the “Art et Essai” — broadly, arthouse — films is complemented by a new generation of directors interested in integrating VFX and animation work within their projects.
In the wake of the digital revolution, all areas of French film production have gone digital, including subtle use of “invisible” VFX on auteur films. Recent examples include VFX work by Mikros Image on Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone” and Buf »
- Martin Dale
Paris – France’s Mikros Image, with headquarters in Paris and offices in Montreal, Los Angeles, Liège, Brussels, Luxembourg and Milan, plans to reinforce its animation and VFX work, revolving primarily around its three-main operation centers: Paris, Belgium and Montreal.
With a 250-strong workforce, the company is one of France’s veteran and most highly-respected VFX shingles.
Mikros rose to international recognition with its 2010 Oscar-winning toon short “Logorama” and bowed a dedicated animation division in June 2012 in Levallois-Perret, Paris.
Its first animation feature, Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier’s €37 million ($42 million) “Asterix: the Land of the Gods,” was released in France on Nov. 26, clocking up 0.93 million admissions for distributor Snd in its opening week. The film’s cumulative 3.2 million admissions, complemented by worldwide sales, makes it one of the most successful French toon pics ever.
- Martin Dale
★★★★☆ Jessica Hausner's Amour Fou (2014) has enjoyed considerable praise since it premiered in the Un Certain Regard section back at the Cannes Film Festival last May and is a quietly effective denunciation of the idea of dying for love. It's a reserved period piece, but as with her brilliant Lourdes (2009) it's Hausner's restraint that ends up imbuing her argument with power. We meet German romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel, who audiences may recognise from fellow Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning The White Ribbon) as a young, melancholy poet more than a little in love with the notion of death.
- CineVue UK
Paris based director Yves Montmayeur has carved out quite a niche for himself with an extensive filmography of acclaimed, film-related documentaries. His 2013 Michael Haneke focused effort - Michael H Profession: Director - is something of an anomaly in Montmayeur's work in that it casts its eye on a European talent rather than to Asia but the director of Pinku Eiga: Inside The Pleasure Dome Of Japanese Erotic Cinema, Johnnie Got His Gun, In The Mood For Doyle and Electric Yakuza Go To Hell returns to his regular stomping ground of Asian cult cinema with his upcoming Meiko Kaji: Under The Sign Of Scorpion.The subject, of course, is iconic Japanese actress Kaji Meiko, leading lady in the Female Convict Scorpion and Lady Snowblood films -...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Catherine Deneuve: César Award Besst Actress Record-Tier (photo: Catherine Deneuve in 'In the Courtyard / Dans la cour') (See previous post: "Kristen Stewart and Catherine Deneuve Make César Award History.") Catherine Deneuve has received 12 Best Actress César nominations to date. Deneuve's nods were for the following movies (year of film's release): Pierre Salvadori's In the Courtyard / Dans la Cour (2014). Emmanuelle Bercot's On My Way / Elle s'en va (2013). François Ozon's Potiche (2010). Nicole Garcia's Place Vendôme (1998). André Téchiné's Thieves / Les voleurs (1996). André Téchiné's My Favorite Season / Ma saison préférée (1993). Régis Wargnier's Indochine (1992). François Dupeyron's Strange Place for an Encounter / Drôle d'endroit pour une rencontre (1988). Jean-Pierre Mocky's Agent trouble (1987). André Téchiné's Hotel America / Hôtel des Amériques (1981). François Truffaut's The Last Metro / Le dernier métro (1980). Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Le sauvage (1975). Additionally, Catherine Deneuve was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category »
- Steve Montgomery
It’s a lonely and unforgiving road to take, but daring filmmakers often like to box us into challenging places. Michael Haneke has made an entire career based on bracing confrontation, and some of the best films of 2014 were engrossingly austere and demanding in presentation and form (“Under The Skin,” “Foxcatcher,” Enemy”). But we rarely see such taxing audacity from first time filmmakers. Making his debut feature-length effort with “Take Me To The River,” Matt Sobel borrows a page from the uncomfortable school of filmmaking, but colors it with his own peculiar, but distinct, perspective. Controlled and self-assured, Sobel’s mysterious film is interested in the odd sensations of confusion, misperception, and misunderstandings. Played out like a genuinely strange waking dream, “Take Me To The River” plunges you into the cloudy waters of “what the fuck is going on?” On a Nebraskan farm, a large, but unassuming family reunion is taking place. »
- Rodrigo Perez
The Vienna and Luxembourg-based firm, co-founded by Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu and Bady Minck, are currently at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) (Jan 21-Feb 1) for the world premiere of its new film, Dreams Rewired narrated by Tilda Swinton.
Speaking in Rotterdam, the producers revealed that the first project in development with Jelinek is La Belle Dormeuse (The Beautiful Woman Sleeping), to be directed by Ulrike Ottinger. It is described by the producers as “a modern feminist vampire story”.
The second is Die Liebhaberinnen (Women As Lovers), which is adapted from Jelinek’s 1975 novel of the same name and will be directed by newcomer Caroline Kox.
Amour Fou is already producing a short film by Kox, titled Casting A Woman.
The Jelinek projects are likely to shoot in 2016.
In the meantime, the company »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Park City, Utah – There are too many films and not enough time between shuttle shuffles and line waiting to cover the festival day by day. So, in pure improvised festival-going fashion, I’ll now be posting reviews for material that I see, but necessarily in viewing order. Enjoy!
Image credit: Sundance Institute
A human being who looks better at his current age than I ever will in my entire life, Robert Redford has a sprightly screen presence that has carried him through thick and thin, even brutal storms that live-or-die on his charisma (Aka “All is Lost,” one of the best films of 2013). For his next adventure, Redford goes softer than a survival story, but nonetheless into an amusing jaunt with “A Walk in the Woods.”
Based on the nonfictional accounts by New Hampshire writer Bill Bryson, Redford embodies the author as an amusing smart-ass, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
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