5 items from 2017
East meets West, and the two gingerly fall in love through art in Charles de Meaux’s “The Lady in the Portrait,” a period yarn evoking the unique rapport between a French missionary and the Manchurian Empress whose portrait he’s ordered to paint. Exquisitely-costumed and voluptuously shot, the film evokes life in the Qing Dynasty court with studied elegance and rare intimacy that make it more than just another Bertolucci or Zhang Yimou wannabe. Added last minute to the Cannes official selection as a tribute to Chinese diva Fan Bingbing, who’s serving on the jury, the film will definitely pique art-house interest in Europe, but isn’t likely to make a dent in China’s commercially driven market.
If anything, the story itself serves as an allegory of Chinese-Western co-productions, in which both sides are simultaneously turned on and put off by each other’s values and working methods. »
- Maggie Lee
Paris- and Hong Hong-based All Rights Entertainment is handling international sales on “The Lady in the Portrait,” the historical romantic drama that Cannes recently added to the festival program as a tribute to Chinese jury member Fan Bingbing.
Fan plays the 18th century Chinese empress Ulanara at the moment she meets Jesuit Jean Denis Attiret (played by Melvil Poupaud) one of the official painters to the imperial court. The film plays on the romantic tensions between the two, the rigid court etiquette and the most extreme cultural differences between East and West.
“Portrait” was directed by Charles de Meaux (“Stretch,” “Shimkent Hotel”) and written by de Meaux and Michel Fessler (“March of the Penguins,” “Ridicule”). It will play in Cannes on May 24. Production was by Evergrande Pictures, Sfdc and Anna Sanders Films, in association with Back Up Films.
All Rights has enjoyed initial Cannes success with sales of “Hostiles,” an »
- Patrick Frater
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Evolution (Lucile Hadžihalilovic)
Near the beginning of Evolution, there’s a shot that hangs underwater, showing a seemingly harmonious aquatic eco-system that’s glimpsed just long enough to create the sense of something that, while somewhat familiar, is distinctly outside the human world. This fleeting image though shows the promise of the film Evolution could’ve been. – Ethan V. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Fire at Sea and »
- The Film Stage
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways (2012) is showing March 18 - April 17, 2017 in the United States.In a 2012 interview, the great French actor Melvil Poupaud said of his meeting with Canadian wonderboy director Xavier Dolan in Laurence Anyways that it had been one of the great moments in his career. Poupaud had identified four directors that gave him the gift of transformative roles:Raúl Ruiz (in 1983’s City of Pirates, when the actor was only 10), Éric Rohmer (in 1996’s A Summer’s Tale), François Ozon (in 2005’s Time to Leave) and Dolan in what was then only the director’s third feature. Whether the Canadian will go down in history like the revered Ruiz and Rohmer or be more of a hit-and-miss journeyman like Ozon, only the future will be able to tell. But there is no denying that, ever since »
Paris – Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” with Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert, Francois Ozon’s period drama “Frantz” and Bruno Dumont’s “Slack Bay” lead the nominations at the 42nd Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars.
“Elle,” which competed at Cannes, has already earned Huppert a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for best actress. Set in France and produced by Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt, “Elle” has been described as a powerful rape-revenge thriller laced with dark humor. Huppert recently received a honorary prize from the French culture ministry and promotional organization UniFrance. The movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes.
- Elsa Keslassy
5 items from 2017
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