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A furious slew of titles in the works would seem to prophesize a robust main competition slate for Cannes 2016. Though our initial list will eventually be pruned down as the year progresses (Berlin may snag something in here, especially if their 2016 lineup looks anything like their landmark selection from this past January), we’re confident that we will be seeing another round of heavy hitting auteurs unveiling their latest bits on the Croisette.
Absent from the main competition in 2015 were the Romanians (Muntean and Porumboiu were assigned to Un Certain Regard) and any trace of Latin filmmakers. The 2016 edition looks to make up for lost ground. For the Romanians, a couple heavy hitting titans from the New Wave will be ready. Cristi Puiu, who previously won Ucr in 2005 with The Death of Mr. Lazarescu should hopefully be getting a competition invite for Sierra Nevada. Meanwhile, previous Palme d’Or winner »
- Nicholas Bell
As anyone who reads this site probably knows, there's something infectious about seeing one's love of film. It's a little hard to explain, but simply watching one talking affectionately about how various strips of celluloid affected them over the years is a fantastic way to get the blood flowing and your fingers itching to type in Netflix in the next browser tab. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend you check out the Criterion Collection's closet visit series. Whether it's Robert Downey Sr. reminiscing about past conversations with Jack Nicholson, Rudy Wurlitzer and Robert Downey Jr. while looking at copies of Two-Lane Blacktop and Easy Rider, Guillermo Del Toro gushing over their various Blu-Rays, Nicolas Winding Refn getting his day made with a copy of William Cameron Menzies' Things to Come or Bill Hader deep admiration of Nobuhiko Obayashi's House, each of these videos are fun little »
- Will Ashton
At the moment, Michael Cera is in London kicking off a UK tour as part of Alden Penner's band, but before he went abroad to exercise his musical chops, the actor stopped by The Criterion Collection, dipped into its archives, and came up with some surprising selections. Read More: Review: 'Magic Magic' Starring Michael Cera, Juno Temple & Emily Browning The actor showed off his arthouse knowledge, selecting Yasujiro Ozu's "Good Morning," Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up," along with the Eclipse set "The Actuality Dramas Of Allan King" (the color design which Cera hilariously notes matches his shirt). But for his final pick, Cera opts for Sydney Pollack's classic "Tootsie." The actor has some pretty nice insights on all the titles, and it's worth spending a quick five minutes to check out the movies you might not expect Cera to champion. Watch below. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
It may seem unusual for a renowned film director to suddenly switch mediums and helm an opera, but such a thing has happened a number of times before: for example, Woody Allen has directed Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” for the Los Angeles Opera; legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has helmed Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” for the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Julie Taymor has directed Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as the Broadway musical adaptations of "The Lion King" and "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark"; Roman Polanski has helmed Verdi's “Rigoletto” for the Bavarian State Opera; William Friedkin has directed a version of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”; and Werner Herzog has helmed a number of Wagner productions including “Doktor Faust,” “The Flying Dutchman” and “Parsifal”. Read More: Terry Gilliam: My Life In Eight Movies Terry Gilliam is among this elite group, »
- Timothy Tau
"There was no better filmmaker working at the dawn of the twenty-first century than Abbas Kiarostami," argued Michael J. Anderson in 2009. Today, we celebrate the renowned Iranian filmmaker's 75th birthday by linking to a few essential essays, such as Michael Sicinski's on Certified Copy and Jonathan Rosenbaum's dialogue with Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa on Shirin, and flagging the new issue of the excellent magazine, Fireflies. We've got a snippet from an interview in which Kiarostami suggests that The Report, Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love might constitute a trilogy. Meantime, his next film will be out in 2016. » - David Hudson »
If you happened to attend this year’s Midnight Sun Film Festival in northern Finland — one of those bucket-list destinations for the handful of globe-trotting movie lovers who’ve heard of it — you might have allowed yourself to be hypnotized by all five-and-a-half hours of “From What Is Before,” Lav Diaz’s black-and-white historical epic about the collapse of a barrio in his native Philippines. Then again, you might have opted for the more manageable endurance test of “L’il Quinquin,” Bruno Dumont’s 197-minute comic miniseries about murder in a small French village, or perhaps sampled one of three two-hour installments of Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights,” a recent critical sensation at Cannes.
These are films that, if you give yourself over to their dense narratives and marathon running times, can dramatically alter how you experience the passage of time. As such, they made for ideal viewing at »
- Justin Chang
Earlier this year, Nandana Sen represented India on the International Jury of the Pune Film Festival; Nandana is now in Austria, serving on the World Feature Film Jury of the Innsbruck International Film Festival, the largest festival of the region. But being elected to film juries is not new to Nandana, who has previously served on prestigious juries such as the Roma Fiction Fest, and Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (along with Abbas Kiarostami, no less).
Coincidentally, the only Indian film selected by Innsbruck is Ketan Mehta’s recently released critical success Rang Rasiya, starring Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen, which earned the controversial actress a Kalakar Award for Best Actress. When asked why he selected Rang Rasiya, Festival Director Helmut Groschup responded, “Rang Rasiya is the best Indian film I saw in the last year. It opens our European eyes to Indian culture in a non-exotic way, and the »
- Press Releases
A former critic for The Playlist, Chris Bell fulfills the promise of the observant, patient lens he wielded in shorts such as Bridges with his feature length character study, The Winds That Scatter. Baring more in common with the films of the great Abbas Kiarostami than say your average Brooklyn-based filmmaker, The Winds That Scatter follows a Syrian immigrant named Ahmad as he moves from job to job in nondescript New Jersey. Primarily structured in long takes and slow-burning, affecting episodes, The Winds That Scatter will have its world premiere at the Northside Film Festival next Wednesday at UnionDocs. Filmmaker: You’ve spoken about wanting to create something […] »
- Sarah Salovaara
Paul Risker chats with actor Stelio Savante…
The short film Once We Were Slaves to the upcoming docu-dramas American Genius and The Making of the Mob have seen actor Stelio Savante journey from the ancient world to the modern world. But time is not the only aspect to this journey as he steps into the shoes of two men who are world’s apart: pioneer of television and radio David Sarnoff and underworld mobster Joe Masseria. Speaking with Savante he explained: “Working is indeed a privilege and I’ve been blessed to do it for many years now, albeit in NY theatre for the first fifteen years.” Currently playing the festival circuit, Once We Were Slaves earned Savante the Marquee award for Best Actor at The American Movie Awards. His upcoming projects include: Windsor (Jury Award Winning Best Feature at The Garden State Film Festival), Selling Isobel that sees Savante »
- Gary Collinson
The new issue of Artforum features Hito Steyerl and Laura Poitras in conversation, J. Hoberman on Jack Smith and Amy Taubin on Crystal Moselle's The Wolfpack. Also in today's roundup: Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme discuss Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case; Jonathan Rosenbaum on Abbas Kiarostami; Adrian Martin on horror; Alyssa Rosenberg on The Wire and Baltimore; Geoffrey O'Brien on Jean-Pierre Melville's Le silence de la mer; Thomas Vinterberg on taking Ingmar Bergman's advice; Ian Tan on Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light and Carl Theodor Dreyer's Ordet; Erich Kuersten on John Carpenter's Escape from New York, Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine twenty years on—and more. » - David Hudson »
[Editor's Note: This interview was originally published last October. "Clouds of Sils Maria" opens this Friday, April 10 in select theaters.] Juliette Binoche, also known as La Binoche, is one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation. The first actress to win the Triple Crown (Best Actress awards at Cannes, Venice, and Berlin), she's appeared in some of the most widely-praised films of the last several decades, and worked with directors such as Leos Carax, Abbas Kiarostami, Jean-Luc Godard, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, among others. This year, she appears in four of vastly different films: "Words and Pictures," "Godzilla," "Clouds of Sils Maria," and "1,000 Times Good Night." We sat down to speak with the beloved actress about her acting philosophy and the unreliability of the internet. "1,000 Times Good Night," which marks her latest release, opens in select theaters and is available on video on demand platforms on »
- Greg Cwik
Mohammad Rasoulof, maker of The White Meadows and Manuscripts Don't Burn, is the very model of the filmmaker as defiant activist, an Iranian artist who confronts injustice and repression through his cinema knowing full well the consequences of such an act. In the 1990s, when Iranian cinema first broke out of film festivals and museum programs and started appearing in arthouses, filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi worked within the severe government-imposed limitations on subject matter (everything from politics to physical contact between the sexes) by focusing on films about children and rural life. Other filmmakers hid messages and social commentary in genre trappings and metaphor.>> - Sean Axmaker »
The real magic of the I for Iran series in Toronto lies in curation: the talent they have recruited to present and contextualize the various films screened is a testament to their commitment to offering the best possible cinematic experience. More so than not, each film is accompanied by a presenter – a variety of filmmakers, writers and scholars – who offer invaluable insight and context. While this has always been the case, the I for Iran series has been particularly rich.
Presenting the opening screening was Roya Akbari, who participated with Abbas Kiarostami on the film Ten and is a filmmaker in her own right. Her poetic short Only Image Remains was the opening film of the series, and featured her own reminiscence as well as interviews with many top Iranian filmmakers. This set the tone for presenters like Shahram Tabe, Hamid Naficy, Amir Soltani and, perhaps most notably, acclaimed Iranian »
- Justine Smith
Spaces Between: Green’s Controlled, Heavily Stylized Metaphor
Eugène Green is an American born filmmaker who has been steadily making foreign films over the past decade or so, more often than not in French. With his fifth feature, La Sapienza (Italian for ‘the wisdom’), Green provides a playful experiment of heavily stylized tone, focusing intently on specific, purposeful compositions that lends the film a rather off-putting dramatic pallor, especially for those seeking to emotionally engage with the material. Even as it explores certain ideas pertaining to the relationships between people, their past and present, and the distance between time, memory, and themselves, the film’s rigid artificiality often works staunchly against its overall effectiveness.
Frustrated architect Alexandre (Fabrizio Rongione) decides to take his wife Alienor (Christelle Prot) on a trip with him to Italy where he plans to research 17th century architect Francesco Borromini. It’s apparent that their relationship has become a stagnant union, »
- Nicholas Bell
Style-Over-Substance in a Fancy Baroque Package
French “artiste” Eugène Green’s latest work is further evidence that his overriding career trajectory of indulgent reminiscence, has a deliberately staged, minimalist, ultimately alienating style that reflects only the most superficial aspects of the values and artistic sensibilities it emulates. La Sapienza is a testament to the male ego—a vanity piece—that idealizes the past and eschews the present to justify a projected ideology that purports the value of chasing dreams and attempting to recreate the past as a way of coping with the fear of death and ideas of legacy.
The premise is simple. Alexandre Schmid (Fabrizio Borromini), an aging architect aiding urban sprawl by designing box city housing complexes that serve commerce over culture, decides to embark on a research expedition to Tinico, Switzerland, the birthplace of Francesco Borromini, a renowned 17th Century architect. His quest, as defined by the »
- Robert Bell
As the I for Iran series has taken the Tiff Lightbox by storm, with several sold out screenings and great press coverage, Sound on Sight has taken a moment to ask some questions on what has brought the series to Toronto and the greater impacts of Iranian cinema are within an increasingly globalized world.
Brad Deane, who is the Senior Manager, Film Programmes at Tiff, and the programmer for the series at Tiff Cinematheque.
Amir Soltani, a Toronto-based film critic and contributor to The Film Experience and Movie Mezzanine, who also writes and co-hosts a podcast about Iranian films at Hello Cinema. Amir Soltani will be introducing Hamoun, Dariush Mehrjui’s incisive, ironic, and finally dreamlike study of middle-class Iranian life, on Saturday, March 28 at 3:45pm.
Check out the rest of the series schedule Here
What has brought the I for Iran series from Fribourg International Film Festival to Toronto? »
Read More: SXSW: Complete List of Winners at the 2015 Film Awards In advance of this year's SXSW Film Festival, Indiewire sent out a questionnaire to the filmmakers taking their work to Austin. Below you'll find some of the inspirations for the competing films, both narrative and documentary. Here are the filmmakers' responses: Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti ("A Woman Like Me"): We were inspired by a wide range of movies: "All That Jazz," Agnes Varda's "The Beaches of Agnes," "Symbiopsychotaxiplasm," "Day For Night," "The Wizard of Oz," "Blue Vinyl," "Reds," Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up…." Alison Bagnall ("Funny Bunny"): I don't know if certain films inspire me anymore, though Jerry Schatzberg's "Scarecrow" is always an inspiration. Certain directors inspire me. The usual European suspects; Polanski, Pasolini, Fassbinder-but now it's »
- David Ballard
Written and Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Jean-Luc Godard is attributed with a quote from one of his films, “Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” Film is made to suspend your disbelief, and yet in your mind, a part of you is accepting what you’re seeing to be true.
In Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 film Close-Up, a man named Hossain Sobzian is arrested for impersonating an Iranian filmmaker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and convincing the Ahankhah family into accepting him into their home, loaning him money, and believing they would become part of his next film. He is soon found out to be a phony, and during Sobzian’s trial, the judge asks him just how far he intended to take this act: “As far as they were prepared to go.”
Close-Up is a movie about a fraud, as it is a documentary based on actual events in »
- Brian Welk
With the world’s most prestigious film festival just around the corner, cineastes have been lasciviously salivating about what’s going to show up at Cannes, with wish lists appearing almost immediately after Berlin (a fest that had one of their most impressive line-ups ever) announced their awards. The remainder of the 2015 fest circuit looks to be a plentiful, diverse porridge, with many of the world’s most renowned auteurs’ sporting brand new titles. While many prognosticators will be sharing the same lists, more or less, hopes are incredibly high for a handful of sure bets, and a gaggle of hopefuls. The main competition always seems easier to postulate, though Thierry Fremaux always throws a few curves, (After the Battle in 2012, The Hunt in 2013 or last year’s Timbuktu, which won the Cesar for Best Picture recently, are a couple ready examples of under-the-radar titles).
Italy seems primed for saturation at the fest. »
- Nicholas Bell
Kicking off the I for Iran: A History of Iranian Cinema by Its Creators on March 5th is a short film program introduced by Roya Akbari, an actress from Kiarostami’s acclaimed film Ten. A filmmaker in her own right, her poetic short Only Image Remains headlines the day’s programming and initiates a month long series on Iranian cinema. Over the course of the month a variety of films that have helped define Iranian cinema will be screened, many of which are rarely seen due to rigorous domestic censorship and poor international distribution.
The series originated last year during the Fribourg International Film Festival 2014 after Artistic Director Thierry Jobin invited 14 contemporary Iranian filmmakers including Asghar Farhadi, Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof , and Mohsen Makhmalbaf to select their favourite films from the entire history of Iranian cinema. Fribourg sought to present as many of these films as possible at the festival, »
- Justine Smith
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