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With only hours ago before the official selection for the Main Competition is announced, we’ve narrowed our final predictions to the following titles that we’re crystal-balling as the films that will be included on Thierry Fremaux’s highly anticipated list. Despite an obvious drought of Asian auteurs (we’re thinking the rumored frontrunner Takashi Miike won’t be included in tomorrow’s list) who’s to say there won’t be some definite surprises, like Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch of Sin last year.
Several hopefuls appear not to be ready in time, including Malick, Hsou-hsien, Cristi Puiu, and Innarritu, to name a few. But there does appear to be a high quantity of exciting titles from some of cinema’s leading auteurs. We’re still a bit tentative about whether Xavier Dolan’s latest, Mommy, will get a main competition slot—instead, we’re predicting another surprise, »
- IONCINEMA.com Contributing Writers
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona is probably the great Swedish filmmaker’s most perplexing and thought-provoking work; it’s certainly his most surreal. Unusual imagery and curious narrative developments aren’t necessarily foreign to the rest of his filmography, but they have never been as frequent as they are here, nor have they been as overtly inexplicable. (Even if their meanings remain unclear, at least the dream sequences in Wild Strawberries can be clearly identified as dreams; there is no such easy rationalization here.) With so much happening in this 1966 feature, so many levels of story and visual complexity, it’s little wonder that Persona has yielded a great deal of discussion and analysis. And subsequently, it’s little wonder that the newly released Blu-ray/DVD from the Criterion Collection is accompanied by an excellent gathering of supplemental material, enhancing an already fascinating film, »
- Jeremy Carr
Few films have ever been as dissected and analyze as Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona”, recently released on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time with new special features. It’s somewhat ironic that so many people have spent so much intellectual energy on a film that Bergman admits came to him at a point of low health almost in a dream. In fact, “Persona” somewhat becomes less interesting to me as it’s dissected, much like Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” or Malick’s “Tree of Life”. They are distinctly emotional, symbolic pieces and perhaps they should just be appreciated as such instead of such analysis of “what they mean.” However you choose to appreciate one of Bergman’s most influential films, you should do so with the Criterion edition from this day forward.
As for special features on this new edition, the two that are most powerful for me are »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
It appears that Chelsea Handler might be leaving "Chelsea Lately" after her contract with E! expires this year, which raises a couple of questions: 1) Did she simply run out of intrusive things to ask Chuy? 2) What's she going to do next? The first answer is unknowable, but the second is clear: probably a lot. I assume a couple of books will be on the immediate horizon, and she's almost certainly courting offers for hosting shows on major networks. But in case she wants to choose a less expected path to continued prominence, we have her covered. Here are our seven suggestions for Chelsea's next move. 1. A smaller, quieter celebrity interview webshow. Chelsea Lately has always been divided into two starkly different halves: the comedian roundtable and the celebrity interview. Though the roundtable is what gives "Lately" a specific brand of irreverence, Chelsea's main gift is tapping into her famous guests »
- Louis Virtel
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona is now available in a sharp and stunning Blu-ray from Criterion. This 1966 production has attained a special place in critics’ hearts over the years, and stands proudly at #17 on Sight & Sound’s prestigious greatest films list; the highest ranking earned by any Bergman product. Persona contains many of the distinct elements – and a number of the iconic images – that have come to define the late Swedish master’s oeuvre, and at the time the film was considered an artistic breakthrough, tilling new grounds of style and substance.
In fact, Persona deals with universal themes that had deeply fascinated Bergman ever since his transition from interpreter to auteur in the early 1950s. The silence of God, and man’s floundering follies in response, is a major conceptual catalyst, surging through Persona’s bleak gray skies like a web of jangled nerves. What makes the film unique is »
- David Anderson
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
"The Great Beauty" (Criterion)
What's It About? A blast from the past sends man-about-town Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) reeling and reminiscing about his life and loves in Rome. The 65-year-old writer (of a sort) has had quite a life so far, but has he grown to take the richness of life and Rome for granted?
Why We're In: Even if you're not hip to Italian cinema and Sorrentino's influences, you'll still enjoy this Oscar-winning film.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"The King of Comedy" (30th Anniversary Edition)
What's It About? Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is desperate to become famous. Once he meets talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), he's sure his dreams of fame and fortune are coming true. All he has to do is convince Langford to have him on his show, and then Rupert will be the real king of comedy. »
- Jenni Miller
The Criterion Collection
A Mystery of Faces
Much has already been written about Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 head-scratcher, Persona—it’s been analyzed, dissected, reconstructed, and debated, and it still remains a cinematic enigma, and a brilliant one at that. Of all of the Swedish master’s challenging works, Persona is undoubtedly the most complex, audacious, radical, and experimental film Bergman ever made. It’s also been widely parodied and imitated. Its influence on other filmmakers, and on pop culture itself, cannot be taken lightly.
Persona, which means “mask” in Latin, is all about artifice. Bergman makes no pretentions that what the audience is viewing is make-believe—it is an invented drama about personalities hiding behind “masks,” if you will, performed for a camera that translates the images onto celluloid. In fact, Bergman begins Persona with an extraordinary prologue consisting of »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
From Jack leching over Jennifer to John Wayne's farewell and Brando's no-show, these are just some of the greatest moments at the Oscars ceremonies ever
1. When Jack met Jennifer
This is perhaps my favourite Oscar moment ever, and it is from last year: the 85th Academy Awards in 2013. Tellingly, it does not take place up on stage, in the often tense and frozen ritual of the awards ceremony itself, but happens in the cheerful buzz of the post-show melee backstage. This single, endlessly replayed clip probably did more for Jennifer Lawrence's public profile than anything on the big screen.
George Stephanopoulos, the former Bill Clinton aide who later made a career in TV, was conducting on-the-hoof interviews for ABC and had grabbed 22-year-old Lawrence to talk about her best actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook. The »
- Peter Bradshaw
Justin Chang: Scott, I know it will come as little surprise to you that when Peter Debruge and I sat down to discuss this year’s Oscar nominees for best supporting actor and supporting actress, we spent almost as much time talking about the performances that should have been nominated as we did talking about the ones that actually were. This is hardly a new ax for any critic to grind, but it bears repeating: Those who vote on the Academy Awards are largely in the business of making movies — not seeing them, thinking about them and writing about them week in and week out. No wonder this organization’s choices often strike us as so pedestrian and provincial, less engaged by the boundary-expanding possibilities of cinema than beholden to the power of hometown hype.
See Also: Oscars Picks: Variety Critics on Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor »
- Justin Chang and Scott Foundas
Seven decades later, the creative well has somehow not yet run dry on the ripple effects of Nazi Germany's offenses, though writer-director Georg Maas's slick and sulky second feature is not another dime-a-dozen Holocaust tragedy.
Loosely based on both historical fact and Hannelore Hippe's novel Eiszeiten, this domestic psychological drama concerns the tense, long-dormant plight of Katrine (Juliane Köhler), a middle-age Norwegian grandmother whose family is asked to testify against the state on behalf of war orphans.
Katrine, it's revealed early on, is a product of Lebensborn breeding and repatriation, the daughter of an occupying German soldier and Norwegian screen legend Liv Ullmann, whose rare appearance seems especially fitting for a project that plays l »
Director: Michel Spinosa
Writers: Agnes de Sacy, Michel Spinosa
Producer: Patrick Sobelman
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
English speaking audiences perhaps know French director Michel Spinosa better for his screenwriting credits, which include two films directed by Gilles Bourdos, the rather awkward Afterwards (2008), and the celebrated Renoir (2012). However, Spinosa has a trio of his own directorial efforts under his belt, including the excellent 2007 psychological thriller/character study, Anna M., which features a stupendous performance from Isabelle Carre. We’re thrilled to see him back with his return to the director’s seat and starring real life couple Attal and Gainsbourg.
Gist: Gracie, a young Tamil woman living near Madras, has been having behavioural disorders since the day she was married. The memory of her French friend Catherine, who died in unresolved circumstances, seems to be haunting her. Catherine’s grieving ex-husband, Joseph, decides »
- Nicholas Bell
Director: Liv Ullmann
Writer: Liv Ullmann
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
While IFC Films/Sundance Selects will hopefully release Two Lives sometime this year, an excellent German film in which Liv Ullmann stars, we’re even more excited to see her return to the director’s seat for the first time in fourteen years with this adaptation of Strindberg’s theater staple. There are several other film versions out there, perhaps most famously is Alf Sjoberg’s 1951 treatment. But with leading ladies like Chastain and the sublime Samantha Morton, this is destined to be one of the year’s most welcome re-interpretations.
Gist: Over the course of a midsummer night in Fermanagh in 1890, an unsettled daughter of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy encourages her father’s valet to seduce her. »
- Nicholas Bell
The Beloved Sisters
Director: Dominik Graf
Writer: Dominik Graf
Producer: Uschi Reich
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
A member of what’s known as the Berlin school of filmmakers (including Christian Petzold and Christoph Hochhausler), Graf has worked almost exclusively in television and he contributed to the 2011 triptych Beats Being Dead. His latest is an ambitious period piece and features a handful of bright faces in the German film industry, and, with a little luck, will be a breakout success for Graf.
Gist: 1788 in Rudolstadt, a small provincial town in Germany. The beautiful Caroline von Beulwitz is unhappily married, longing for love and life. Charlotte von Lengefeld, her shy sister, dreams of finding a husband. The two are a heart and soul, until He enters their lives: Friedrich Schiller, the man who wrote “The Robbers”, an overnight sensation, the espouser of proto-revolutionary republican ideals. »
- Eric Lavallee
London — Dietrich Brueggemann’s “Stations of the Cross,” which won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for script, and Edward Berger’s Berlin competition entry “Jack” were Beta Cinema’s hot sellers at the European Film Market in Berlin.
“Stations of the Cross” was acquired for France (Memento), U.K. (Arrow Films), Italy (Satine Film), Spain (Caramel), Poland (Aurora), Benelux (Wildbunch), Portugal (Vendetta Films), Greece (7 Films), Scandinavia and Baltics (Nonstop), former Yugoslavia (Discovery) and Hungary (Circo). Further interest is coming from the U.S. and Australia.
“Jack” will be released in France by Diaphana, in Japan by Showgate, in Norway by Europa Films, in Greece by Strada and in Hungary by Circo.
Maximilian Erlenwein’s “Stereo,” which ran in Panorama Special and stars Juergen Vogel and Moritz Bleibtreu, was picked up by Korea’s Sejong. Vietnam’s A Company acquired Philipp Stoelzl’s box-office hit “The Physician,” which stars Ben Kingsley and Stellan Skarsgard. »
- Leo Barraclough
Liv Ullmann’s last directorial credit was 2000′s Faithless, but the legendary actress recently stepped back behind the camera to direct Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell in the stage-to-screen adaptation of Miss Julie. Shooting on the film recently wrapped in Northern Ireland and now we have the first official look at the two leads.
Based on August Strindberg’s 1888 play of the same name, Miss Julie takes place over the course of one night in the 1880s at a large country estate. A tale of differences in power, it explores the struggle between Julie, a young aristocratic woman, and John, her father’s valet. In the play, the combination of mutual loathing and attraction leads to moments both seductive and savage. As the morning approaches, the pair can’t decide if their vision of a life together brings hope or hopelessness, until they eventually find their escape in the most tragic way imaginable. »
- Alexander Lowe
Stylish, gloomy, tautly constructed and extremely well acted, Georg Maas’ “Two Lives” is an impressive yet unusual attempt to fashion an emotive family drama out of a John le Carre-style premise. It never cuts quite as deeply as it intends, with its stately solemnity and sentimental core failing to fully gel, but it’s nonetheless quite successful in locating a very human hook within the distant aftershocks of the Nazi-era Lebensborn program in Scandinavia. The film opened in Germany last fall, made the Oscar shortlist for best foreign-language film, and could well attract a discerning adult arthouse audience in limited Stateside release.
While nothing here directly resembles a George Smiley novel, “Two Lives” shares with le Carre an interest in the most resolutely unglamorous aspects of espionage, and the weary psychological toll of maintaining deep-cover secrets long after their political purpose has vanished. Opening with the fall of the Berlin Wall, »
- Andrew Barker
London — Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz have come on board to play the lead roles in “The Lobster,” the first film in the English language by Oscar-nominated Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth,” “Alps”). Protagonist Pictures will be selling the pic at the European Film Market in Berlin.
The pic is set to start shooting on March 24 in Ireland.
Co-written by Lanthimos and his long-time collaborator, Efthimis Filippou, the film is an unconventional love story set in a dystopian future where finding a partner is a matter of life or death.
Partnering on the »
- Leo Barraclough
Acclaimed New Zealand director, producer and screenwriter Jane Campion will succeed Steven Spielberg in presiding the Jury of the 2014 Festival de Cannes, it was announced yesterday. Campion has long been involved with the Festival, starting with her first attendance in 1986. .Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986, I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this Queen of film festivals has only grown larger. At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival's seriousness about the Art and excellence of new world cinema,. Campion said in the announcement published on the Cannes website. Campion is also the only female director to have won the Palme d.or for The Piano in 1993, adding to her 1986 Short Film Palme d.or for Peel. »
- Emily Blatchford
Jane Campion, who remains the only female director to win the Palme d’or (for 1993′s The Piano), will head the jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. ” is a mythical and exciting festival where amazing things can happen, actors are discovered, films are financed, careers are made,” said Campion. “I know this because that is what happened to me!”
“We are immensely proud that Jane Campion has accepted our invitation,” said Thierry Frémaux, Cannes’ general delegate. “Following on from Michèle Morgan, Jeanne Moreau, Françoise Sagan, Isabelle Adjani, Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Huppert in 2009, she is the latest distinguished »
- Jeff Labrecque
The New Zealand-born director, screenwriter and producer succeeds Steven Spielberg in the role for this year's event, which takes place from May 14 to 25.
"Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986 I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this queen of film festivals has only grown larger," Campion said.
"At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival's seriousness about the art and excellence of new world cinema."
She added: "It is this world wide inclusiveness and passion for film at the heart of the festival which makes the importance of the Cannes Film Festival indisputable.
"It is a mythical and »
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