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Making good on its director’s large promise, “Paulina,” the second feature from Santiago Mitre, whose “The Student” was one of Latin America’s standout recent debuts, topped the Cannes Film Festival’s 54th Critics’ Week, taking its Nespresso Grand Prix on Thursday.
Sold by Versatile Films and produced by Argentina’s La Union de los Rios, Paris-based Full House, Walter Salles’ VideoFilmes and Telefonica Studios, “Paulina” centers on a woman lawyer in a humble neighborhood who is brutally attacked but refuses to give up on her social work.
In a double whammy for Latin America, “Land and Shade” scooped both the France 4 Visionary Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Sacd Prize. The slice-of-life feature debut from Colombia’s Cesar Acevedo is a family drama set on a blighted sugarcane plantation, portraying a rural way of life condemned to extinction. Burning Blue’s Diana Bustamante (“Crab Trap, »
- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy
Several of the world’s leading filmmakers have pledged their support to Film4Climate, an initiative to encourage the film and entertainment industry to take action on climate change.
Among those supporting the initiative are Bernardo Bertolucci, Wim Wenders, Fernando Meirelles, Walter Salles, Atom Egoyan, Bob Rafelson and Pablo Trapero. In a call to action, Bertolucci said: “There is no doubt the earth is in danger. I am looking forward to see testimonies about the climate changes.” Wenders added: “To combat climate change is one of the major tasks of our generation.”
Film4Climate is an initiative of the World Bank’s Connect4Climate program.
“It’s time for a global creative and influential alliance to tackle the climate crisis,” said Lucia Grenna, program manager for Connect4Climate.
Film4Climate will be presented at Cannes with events at the Doc Corner brunch and Next pavilion on May 18-19.
- Leo Barraclough
Amy Adams drop dead gorgeous on Oscars' Red Carpet Amy Adams at the 83rd Academy Awards Looking drop dead gorgeous, Amy Adams is pictured above donning a scintillating blue dress while arriving at the 2011 Oscar ceremony, held on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in the fast-thumping heart of Hollywood. Adams was – for the third time in six years (more info below) – a Best Supporting Actress nominee. This time around, she was shortlisted for her performance in David O. Russell's The Fighter, a generally well-regarded and surprisingly successful (in the U.S.) boxing drama that earned fellow supporting actress Melissa Leo the evening's Oscar. Another The Fighter actor, Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar statuette. In fact, the film's only major cast member left without an Oscar nomination in the acting categories was lead Mark Wahlberg (pictured with wife) – though he did »
- D. Zhea
Brazil’s economy is languishing, hit by plunging commodity prices. Since last year’s Cannes, the real has depreciated 36% against the dollar, hitting film imports hard. And thanks to preparations for 2016’s budget-busting Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Rio’s regional movie funding has dwindled.
So does 2015’s Cannes catch the Brazilian industry in retreat? Not at all.
Muscular state coin is still in place — last July, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced a 1.2 billion real ($397 million) package of film-tv incentives. Total Brazilian box office, including U.S. movies, powered up 11.7% in 2014 to $744.7 million, according to Filme B.
Requiring cable channels to air 3.5 hours of primetime Brazilian content weekly, 2011’s Law 12,485 has galvanized indie TV production levels. Brazil’s pay TV homes grew 6% year-on-year to 27.3 million in 2014, per the Business Bureau.
In domestic, the major market trend is robust diversification. Once largely known abroad for arthouse movies, top outfits have initiated blockbuster franchise production (Gullane, »
- John Hopewell
Kristen Stewart 'On the Road' dancing, with Garrett Hedlund on the right Down memory lane: Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart 'On the Road' images At the time best known as The Twilight Saga's conflicted human Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart was cast as the exuberant Marylou in Walter Salles' film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's iconic 1950s novel On the Road. Salles had been impressed with Stewart's pre-Twilight work in Sean Penn's Into the Wild. Based on LuAnne Henderson, Kerouac's close buddy Neal Cassady's first wife, Marylou is described as a "beautiful little sharp chick." Apparently, one who also likes to move seductively to the sound of music – as can be attested by the Kristen Stewart picture above, which first came out online in early 2011. Besides Stewart, On the Road also features Garrett Hedlund – at the time best known for Tron: Legacy – as Dean Moriarty, »
- Zac Gille
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Check here for a complete list of our essays. Just one glance at the Oscar nominees for 1998 might make it seem less a questionable choice for “best year in film” — and more an insane one. Instead of a 1974 – The Godfather II, The Conversation, Chinatown, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, etc – or even a 1994, where Shawshank, Quiz Show, and Pulp Fiction lost to Gump – you choose a year where the Oscars would allow Roberto Benigni to climb atop both the figurative and literal chairs of the Shrine? Fine, step away from the Oscars. Would you still celebrate a year that saw not one, but two movies about asteroids threatening the Earth? A year that saw such scars carved across cinematic history as Patch Adams, My Giant, Stepmom, and Krippendorf’s Tribe? It bears repeating: Krippendorf’S Tribe? »
- Michael Oates Palmer
Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson on the Oscars' Red Carpet Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson at the Academy Awards Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson are seen above arriving at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony, held on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 95-year-old Wallach had received an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November 2010. See also: "Doris Day Inexplicably Snubbed by Academy," "Maureen O'Hara Honorary Oscar," "Honorary Oscars: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo Among Rare Women Recipients," and "Hayao Miyazaki Getting Honorary Oscar." Delayed film debut The Actors Studio-trained Eli Wallach was to have made his film debut in Fred Zinnemann's Academy Award-winning 1953 blockbuster From Here to Eternity. Ultimately, however, Frank Sinatra – then a has-been following a string of box office duds – was cast for a pittance, getting beaten to a pulp by a pre-stardom Ernest Borgnine. For his bloodied efforts, Sinatra went on »
- D. Zhea
Paris — Elie Wajeman’s “The Anarchists,” a period drama starring Tahar Rahim (“The Past”) and Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”), is set to world premiere on opening night of Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival, anchoring a strongly French-flavored lineup of first and second features.
Set in 1899 Paris, “The Anarchists” (pictured above) turns on a cop who infiltrates a network of anarchists and unexpectedly develops a sincere attachment for the group. It’s Wajeman’s follow-up to his 2012 debut film, “Aliyah” which played in Directors’ Fortnight, the festival’s other parallel program.
In addition to “The Anarchists,” Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson selected two French films — Louis Garrel’s “Les deux amis” and Mathieu Vadepied’s “La Vie en grand” — for the Special Screenings section.
- Elsa Keslassy
Alfonso Ruizpalacios’ “Gueros” was the most-laurelled Latin American debut of 2014. This year, Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul,” a Guatemala-France co-pro, is shaping up to inherit that crown, having already won Berlinale’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, then topped Guadalajara and Cartagena, Mexico and Colombia’s biggest fests, respectively. Described by Variety’s Scott Foundas as “a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature” and “downright Herzogian (far more Herzogian than Herzog’s own ‘Queen of the Desert’),” “Ixcanul” is produced by Guatemala’s La Casa de Produccion and Edgard Tenembaum’s Paris-based Tu Vas Voir, whose credits also include Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The story of a young Mayan woman, living in a community of Kaqchikel-speaking coffee farmers, whose unwanted pregnancy brings her into final — and shocking — contact with the modern world she dreamt so much about, “Ixcanul” delivers a sucker punch about what Bustamante has called one driving theme of »
- John Hopewell
Kristen Stewart, 'Camp X-Ray' star, to join cast of 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' Kristen Stewart to join 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' movie After putting away her Bella Swan wig and red (formerly brown) contact lenses, Kristen Stewart has been making a number of interesting career choices. Here are three examples: Stewart was a U.S. soldier who befriends an inmate (Peyman Moaadi) at the American Gulag, Guantanamo, in Peter Sattler's little-seen (at least in theaters) Camp X-Ray. She was one of Best Actress Oscar winner Julianne Moore's daughters in Wash Westmoreland and the recently deceased Richard Glatzer's Alzheimer's drama Still Alice. She was the personal assistant to troubled, aging actress Juliette Binoche in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria, which earned her a history-making Best Supporting Actress César. (Stewart became the first American actress to take home the French Academy Award. »
- Andre Soares
With films by David Fincher, Walter Salles, and Olivier Assayas under her belt, and upcoming movies from Drake Doremus, Woody Allen, and Kelly Reichardt on the horizon, Kristen Stewart has found a steady groove of working with auteurs. And now she's adding another big name to her CV. The Wrap reports that the actress has joined Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." She'll join Joe Alwyn, Steve Martin and Garrett Hedlund in the Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire," "127 Hours") penned adaptation of Ben Fountain's National Book Award Finalist about a young infantryman, who survives a firefight in Iraq in 2005 and is honored by George W. Bush during the Dallas Cowsboys halftime show at Thanksgiving, along with his fellow soldiers. After the celebration, they all return to Iraq to serve their country. Lensing will begin on the movie later this month and while it might seem like a tight squeeze »
- Kevin Jagernauth
There are still three weeks to go before the Cannes Film Festival unveils its official-selection lineup, but so far, the latest Pixar 3D animated extravaganza and new films from Woody Allen, Todd Haynes, Jeff Nichols, Denis Villeneuve and Arnaud Desplechin appear to be securing their positions in the event’s 68th annual edition (May 13-24).
In keeping with his longtime habit of avoiding festival accolades, Allen will likely receive an out-of-competition berth for his 45th feature, “Irrational Man,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone (who starred in the director’s “Magic in the Moonlight”). Among other U.S. fare, Cannes will get an early start on the summer blockbuster season with Disney/Pixar’s feature toon “Inside Out,” marking a second trip to the Croisette for director Pete Docter (who co-helmed with Ronaldo Del Carmen) after his “Up” opened the festival in 2009. As already announced, George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road, »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
The trophy will be presented to del Toro at the San Francisco Film Festival’s awards night April 27 at the Armory. He will also be honored at “An Evening With Guillermo del Toro” on April 25 at the Castro Theatre with an interview, selection of clips, a sneak peek at upcoming projects and a screening of “The Devil’s Backbone.”
“Guillermo del Toro’s remarkable ability to shift between intimate political drama and blockbuster action is shared with only a very few select filmmakers at the top of the field,” said Noah Cowan, executive director of the society, in a statement. “This award is a tribute to his boundless imagination and to his deep understanding of cinema history. Del Toro is both a great teacher and a boisterous communicator of why »
- Dave McNary
Jayro Bustamante’s debut “Ixcanul,” the flagship of a burgeoning Guatemalan cinema, continued its triumphant festival march, winning Official Fiction Competition best picture at Colombia’s 55th Cartagena Festival, which wrapped Tuesday night.
A Berlin Festival Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize winner, “Ixcanul” took top honors – best Ibero-American picture and director – just last Saturday at Mexico’s Guadalajara Fest. Described by Variety’s Scott Foundas as “a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature” and “downright Herzogian (far more Herzogian than Herzog’s own ‘Queen of the Desert’),” “Ixcanul” has now achieved the near unthinkable for a Guatemalan movie just a few years back: a French co-producer, Edgard Tenembaum’s Paris-based Tu Vas Voir, whose credits also include Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries”; a sales agent, Vicente Canales’ Film Factory, now one of the biggest dealers in not only Spanish but Latin American films; top fest plaudits and major territory sales to distinguished distributors, »
- John Hopewell
American Ultra stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg will be reunited later this year in another project: Woody Allen's next as yet untitled feature. Bruce Willis is the third cast member whose name has been publicly announced. The source for this information is an "exclusive" report via Deadline.com's Mike Fleming Jr. So far, as Fleming explains in his brief piece, Woody Allen and "his people" haven't confirmed the casting. In other words, things could change in the not-too-distant future. See also: Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt Movie Project, also featuring Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Unsurprisingly, no plot details about the upcoming Woody Allen project have been forthcoming. In fact, one wonders if Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Bruce Willis – in case they have indeed joined the fold – know what the movie is going to be about. Allen's latest collaborators – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson – will be producing the film. »
- Zac Gille
Kristen Stewart joins Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project (photo: Kristen Stewart in 'Clouds of Sils Maria') This news bit has been everywhere online, but just in case you've missed it: History-making César Award winner Kristen Stewart has joined three-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams and two-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern in an as yet untitled drama set in Montana and to be directed by Kelly Reichardt.* Deadline.com first broke the story last week (Feb. 27, 2015). If all goes as planned, Kristen Stewart will play Boise lawyer Beth, who, nervous after accepting a teaching position in a small Montana town, befriends a local woman, Jamie, auditing her class.† Kelly Reichardt's usual partners Neil Kopp and Anish Savjani are producing the project, which is supposed to consist of a series of vignettes based on short stories by Maile Meloy. Also in the cast: James Le Gros (Point Break), Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows »
- Zac Gille
Madrid — Described by Variety’s Scott Foundas as “a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature” and “downright Herzogian (far more Herzogian than Herzog’s own ‘Queen of the Desert’),” Guatemalan Jayro Bustamante’s Berlin competition entry “Ixacanul” has broken out to major territory sales, with many more deals on the way.
From its first screening at Berlin – sales agent Film Factory opted not to send out screeners or links before Berlin –
“Icxanul” has closed Italy and Japan, both with significant indie distributors: Andrea Occhipinti’s Lucky Red and Japan’s Gaga Communications. Arp Selection, one of France’s major art film distributors, took distribution »
- John Hopewell
★★★★☆ In 1998, Walter Salles brought Central Station (1998) to the Berlinale and came home with the Golden Bear. It was here that Salles met Jia Zhangke, a then relatively unknown Chinese director premièring his debut film Xiao Wu (1997). Salles, like many others, was enthralled by Jia's singular style and unique brand of social realism. As the cultural landscape has morphed and buckled under the weight of globalisation, films such as The World (2004), Still Life (2006) and most recently A Touch of Sin (2013) have increasingly become one of the few ways to witness the real China. Now, Salles returns to the Berlinale this year to premiere his tribute to the critically revered sixth generation director.
- CineVue UK
The Second Mother
Anna Muylaert, Panorama
Playing both Sundance and Berlin, “The Second Mother” has been picked up by the Match Factory. It stood out at Locarno’s Carte Blanche showcase and is produced by Gullane Filmes. A dramedy of manners — with Regina Case playing a nanny whose daughter arrives to take exams for Sao Paulo U.’s exclusive architecture school — it also tackles head-on one key to narrowing Brazil’s gross social gulfs: Access to top-notch education. “While prioritizing story and character, ‘The Second Mother’ talks maturely about deep social change in and outside Brazil,” says Fabiano Gullane.
Lirio Ferreira, Panorama opener
Given up at age 9 to the Neptuno Circus by his mother, Pedro returns 20 years later as Zolah the Cannon Man just as his sister is getting married. Sweeping October’s Rio Fest — best fiction feature, director, supporting actor (Romulo Braga) winner — “Blue Blood” is set on a stunning volcanic isle. »
- John Hopewell
The 67th Berlin Festival looks set to go down in history for marking Latin America’s coming of age. Sporting 21 features in Competition, Panorama and Forum, Berlin’s 2015 Latin presence — comprising movies from Latin America, Spain and Portugal — outranks Asia (20) and North America (15). Including all of Berlin’s official sections and Co-Production Market, Ibero-America boasts 63 films, 49 of them features, its highest movie count in memory.
Brazil leads the charge. Though lacking competition players, it has four films in Panorama, including its opener, Lirio Ferreira’s oneiric tale of impossible love “Blue Blood.” Five more works and two installations play Forum or Forum Expanded.
Berlin has always embraced Brazil, and Latin America in general. Wieland Speck, head of the Panorama, which focuses on international cinema, and Christoph Terhechte at the Forum, which frames younger filmmakers, both visit Brazil annually.
- John Hopewell
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