Can an old-fashioned monster movie still work in the 1980s? The dedicated cast for this overachieving chiller takes its story of ‘Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers’ in directions most punk-era horrors do not.



Arrow Video (U.S.)

1984 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 96 + 88 min. / Street Date November 22, 2016 / Available from Amazon Us 39.99

Starring John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, Eddie Jones, Ruth Maleczech, J.C. Quinn, John Ramsey, George Martin, John Bedford Lloyd, Frankie Faison, John Goodman, Hallie Foote, Jon Polito.

Cinematography Peter Stein

Editor Claire Simpson

Makeup Effects John Caglione Jr.

Original Music David A. Hughes

Written by Parnell Hall, Shepard Abbott

Produced by Andrew Bonime

Directed by Douglas Cheek

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

How does the monster show C.H.U.D. rate in the general parade of 1980s horror features? I don’t know — I spent the ’80s avoiding those pictures. A few years earlier at the New Beverly, Sherman Torgan
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Berlin 2016: Middle East and North Africa at the Berlinale

This year we are seeing many films from Mena, that is an acronym for the Middle East and North Africa. More commonly called “Arab” cinema, (though the term is inaccurate because several countries in the region are not actually “Arab”) the films of this region are winning many awards and garnering much interest worldwide.

More than 10 Arab films participated in the Berlinale’s Forum and Forum Expanded programs this year, in addition to the ones which participated in the Official Competition (“Inhebek Hedi”/ “Hedi” from Tunisia and “A Dragon Arrives!” by Mani Haghighi from Iran). This makes an especially remarkable year for Arab cinema’s presence in Berlin.

The Forum focus on Arab cinema, represented with films from Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia highlights mostly young directors whose works explore both the past and present of their homelands.

The films included: “A Magical Substance Flows into Me” by artist Jumana Manna (Palestine), “Akher ayam el madina”/ “In the Last Days of the City” (Egypt) by Tamer El Said (international sales by Still Moving), documentary “Makhdoumin”/ “A Maid for Each” (Lebanon) by Maher Abi Samra (Isa: Docs & Film), “Barakah yoqabil Barakah”/ “Barakah Meets Barakah” (Saudi Arabia) by Mahmoud Sabbagh and Manazil (Isa: Mpm), “Bela abwab”/ “Houses without Doors” by Syrian-Armenian director Avo Kaprealian. Of course the 46th Berlinale Forum also screens films from European, Latin American and Asian directors.

The Tunisian film in Competition “Inhebek Hedi”/ “Hedi” by Mohamed Ben Attia, won the Best First Feature Award and its leading man, Majd Mastoura, received the prestigious Silver Bear for Best Actor for his role as Hedi. Attia’s debut feature film is a thoughtful love story about identity and independence in Tunisian society. It is being sold internationally by Luxbox.

Palestinian director Mahdi Fleifel won the Silver Bear Jury Prize for Short Film for “ A Man Returned”, a 30-minute portrayal of a young refugee struggling to make a life for himself in Lebanon’s Ain El-Helweh camp, being sold internationally by 3.14 Collectif. He previously made an award-winning documentary about his own experience as a refugee. The short film was also selected as the Berlin Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards.

The Ecumenical Jury awarded the Forum Prize to Saudi filmmaker Mahmoud Sabbagh for his well-received romantic comedy “Barakah Yoqabil Barakah”/ “Barakah Meets Barakah”, a social commentary on the lives of young people in Saudi Arabia. It shared the prize with Danish production “Les Sauteurs”/ “Those Who Jump” – a film that also highlights the plight of Europe-bound refugees.

Egyptian filmmaker Tamer El-Said’s feature film “Akher Ayam El-Madina”/ “In the Last Days of the City” won the Caligari Film Prize. The film looks at a young filmmaker’s struggle to complete a film about Cairo. It was the only Egyptian film to participate in the 2016 Berlinale Forum.

Lebanese filmmaker Maher Abi Samra’s documentary “Makhdoumin”/ “A Maid for Each”, a look at the legal system that controls the lives of Lebanon’s foreign domestic workers, won the Peace Film Prize.

Zinzana”/ “Rattle the Cage” director, Majid al Ansari, from the Arab Emirates, was honored with Variety’s Mid-East Filmmaker of the Year Award at the Berlinale. The film is the first genre movie of its kind produced in the UAE. It was financed and produced by Abu Dhabi’s ImageNation. It is repped for Us by Cinetic and international sales are by Im Global.

Projects “Mawlana”, based on Ibrahim Issa’s best-selling novel and shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize and director’s Mohamed Yassein’s “Wedding Song” based on Naguib Mahfouz’s novel, the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature were being promoted at the Arab Cinema Center at the Market. Reflecting a decadent Egypt from the 1970s, “Wedding Song” is one of the largest TV productions in the Arab World in 2016.

“Theeb”, a Jordanian Epic about Bedouins, is the Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It played in Venice. International sales agent Fortissimo has licensed it to Film Movement for U.S., ABC for Benelux, New Wave for U.K., As Fidalgo for Norway, Jiff for Australia, trigon-film for Switzerland. Mad Solutions is handling the Middle East. “Ave Maria” a 14-minute Palestine satirical short is the Academy Award nomination for Best Short Fiction and is being sold internationally by Ouat Media. “ The Idol” (Palestine) played Tiff 2015 and other top fests and has sold widely throughout the world through Canada-based international sales agent Seville. Not since Elia Suleiman won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival for “Divine Intervention” has a Palestinian film director made as much of an impact as “The Idol” director Hany Abu-Assad whose “Paradise Now” and “Omar” both went to the Academy Awards.

Kudos for much of the success of Arab cinema go to Mad Solutions, the Cairo, Abu Dhabi and New York based marketing and distribution company for its marketing and social media strategies as well as its release of “Theeb”, “Zinzana” and “Ave Maria”. It also helped create the Arab Cinema Center which was launched last year at the Berlinale and Efm.

In all, 20 Mena films played in the Festival and Market this year.

And what of that other small country in the region called Israel (and/ or Palestine) which is not included in the term Mena? While Israeli films that showed in Berlin received international praise, they will never show in any of the Arab countries and are sometimes boycotted by international film festivals who succumb to censorship tactics.

Most of the larger Israeli features go to Cannes, Venice and Toronto; “Afterthought” went to Cannes, “Mountain” to Venice, “Barash” to San Sebastian”, “Wedding Doll” to London and “A.K.A. Nadia” to Talinn Black Nights Film Festival. In Berlin many are screened as German Premieres.

What Israeli films have won acclaim lately? Is it possible that our hero, Katriel Schory, head of the Israel Film Fund, whose stand for true art has earned him Israeli government censure at home (A prophet is never honored in his own land) and fame abroad with new countries striving to create national cinema, is being eclipsed by the growth of “Arab” cinema?

“Sandstorm” directed by Elite Zexer (international sales by Beta) made its way to Panorama from its world premiere in Sundance where it won the Best Actress Award for Palestinian actress Lamis Ammar’s portrayal of a young Bedouin woman forced to choose between modern freedom or traditional societal strictures within an arranged marriage.

Panorama also screened “Junction 48” (international sales by The Match Factory) which received international praise and audience acclaim. The Israeli-Palestinian hip-hop movie by Israeli-American filmmaker, Udi Aloni, was supported by the Israel-based Rabinovich Foundation. The story is about Kareem who lives in a mixed Jewish-Arab crime-ridden ghetto outside Tel Aviv. He deals drugs and lives dangerously until he discovers hip-hop and decides to express his life as a Palestinian youth along with young singer Manar. Palestinian and Israeli musicians drive this music movie and for Aloni, just seeing the film made, and then shown at the Berlin Film Festival proves its success.

“Suddenly a group of people just choose to make a film and the film is extremely professional. It’s very important that this bi-national energy can create high quality stuff, the high quality is almost the symbol of the resistance. We should not even have to tell the story about the issue. The fact that we could create it is amazing,” Aloni told Euronews.

Thirty-seven-year-old Arab-Israeli rapper Tamer Nafar plays the lead role, and has known the 56-year-old Aloni for some time. “We have been on the same demonstrations, in the parties since 2000, so we live in each other’s world. He has been to my concerts many times, he directed a video clip, I was in his movies as a producer a few times. It’s not about an old generation and new generation, it’s just about creating the right generation,” he said. “He has that gift of being a good story teller and director but he gives us the stage, no, he doesn’t give us a stage, we are building a stage together… he has his own perspective but we are all on the same level,” said actress Samar Qupty. The struggle for equal rights for Palestinians or Arab Israelis inside Israel is at its crux.

Panorama Documents screened “Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?” directed by Tomer Haymann and Barak Heymann co-directed by Alexander Bodin Saphir and being sold by Austria’s Autlook. Forum showed “ Inertia” by Idan Haguel being sold by Oration Films’ Timothy O’Brian of the U.S., and “Between Fences” by Avi Mograbi, being sold by Docs & Film’s Daniela Elstner of France. Culinary Cinema showed “Café Nagler” by Mor Kaplansky and Yariv Barel is being sold internationally by Go2Films.

Teddy 30 (the retrospective of Teddy Award winners over the past 30 years) honored Dan Wolman’s 1979 film “Hide and Seek”/ “Machboim”. Berlinale Shorts screened Rotem Murat’s “Winds Junction” from Sapir College which also holds international rights; Generation 14 Plus screened “Mushkie” by Aleeza Chanowitz from the Jerusalem San Spiegel Film School, being sold by Cinephil. Seven other films were sold in the market by various sales agents.

One of the very special events I attended at the Berlinale this year was the Shabbat Dinner, held the first Friday in the Festival and hosted by Nicola Galliner, Founder and Force of the Berlin Jewish Film Festival. There was a table full of Jews: the new Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, Noa Regev, PhD; Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director of San Francisco’sJewish Film Institute and its former Director, Peter Stein, now the Senior Programmer of Frameline, San Francisco’s Lgbtq Film Festival; Judy Ironside, the Founder and President of UK Jewish Film and of the sixth edition of the Geneva and Zurich Jewish Film Festivals, the new young director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, Ariana Cohen-Halberstam who recently moved from the New York Jcc to Boston, the prolific Israeli director, filmmaker Dan Wolman whose new film will soon be out and whose 1979 film “Hide and Seek”/ “Machboim” was part of the Teddy 30th Anniversary Retrospective held by the Berlinale Panorama.

Talk was about films, about politics including gender politics, about our concerns, (we Jews are better worriers than warriors) and just plain gossip.

Now if my readers will excuse my interjecting myself into this article:

It is my opinion that the region of the world called the Middle East, and the three major monotheistic religions of the world whose origin is there had better learn to do more than merely co-exist peacefully if we are to see peaceful and fruitful consequences which will set the world back upon its proper axis.

Art breaks down borders; it is subversive rather than observant of the exigencies of ever changing governments. It creates new perspectives and breaks down old ways of seeing. What I call “Cinema” is Art. Other movies may simply entertain and not aspire to more or they may propagate dogmas, but Art serves no master; it is not tethered; it is freedom of expression which should be honored with freedom to travel.
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Otto Sander obituary

Versatile actor at Berlin's Schaubühne theatre who made films with Wim Wenders and Eric Rohmer

The German actor Otto Sander, who has died aged 72 after suffering from cancer, made his name as one of the members of Peter Stein's Schaubühne theatre in Berlin, where he developed a versatile but precise stage presence that he brought to all kinds of roles. Sander also had more than 100 credits in film and TV productions, most notably Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (The Boat, 1981), as a drunk and disillusioned U-boat captain, and Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire, 1987), as one of the two angels in Wim Wenders's magical survey of the divided city.

Born in Hanover, Sander grew up in Kassel, where he graduated from the Friederichsgymnasium in 1961. He did his military service as a naval reserve officer. In 1965, in his first engagement at the Düsseldorf Kammerspiele, he showed a natural
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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