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[Tiff Review] Lipstikka

  • The Film Stage
Dealing with the tenuousness and unreliability of memory, Jonathan Sagall has crafted a sophomore feature that isn’t easy to shake. An Israeli-raised, Canadian-born filmmaker, many at the Toronto International Film Festival were interested to discover why he chose to tell a story about two Palestinian women. Attempting to remain as politically correct and honest as possible, his response was a resounding, “This is a story about people”. To Sagall, his work doesn’t deal with two sides of a never-ending war or two religions at odds with one another. Whereas audience members wanted an underlying salacious manifesto of political turmoil, they received the complicated love story built around the loss of innocence found on its surface. The message would be the same if the characters were Jewish, Muslim, Christian, male, or female. Those attributes are merely details in the grand scope of the unforgettable horror soon revealed, one that
See full article at The Film Stage »

Tiff 2011: ‘Lipstikka’ – an intimate and understated drama

  • SoundOnSight
Lipstikka

Written by Jonathan Sagall

Directed by Jonathan Sagall

Israel, 2011

Armed with understatement and nuance, director Jonathan Sagall has created in Lipstikka the sort of film that demands a careful viewing and prolonged digestion. I find myself writing this review several days after having seen the film—not out of laziness, but because I required the time to think it over. It’s the type of thing that, once ended, demands to be experienced a second time in order to be properly understood.

Lipstikka is through-and-through an intimate drama. It takes place in London (at the present) and is intercut with flashbacks (to London in the past and Ramallah further in the past). However, the real setting of the film is the emotional landscape between Lara (Clara Khoury, The Syrian Bride) and Inam (Nataly Attiya, Yom Yom), lifelong friends and erstwhile lovers (young Lara and Inam are played by Ziv Weiner and Moran Rosenblatt,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Arabs and Muslims on Turner Classic Movies: Schedule

Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit Josephine Baker, Abbas Kiarostami, The Band's Visit, The Battle Of Algiers: Arabs & Muslims on TCM Schedule (Et) and synopses from the TCM website: 8:00 Pm Princess Tam Tam (1935) A French novelist passes off a Tunisian shepherdess as royalty to get back at his cheating wife. Dir: Max Montagu Cast: Josephine Baker, Albert Prejean, Germaine Aussey. Bw-77 mins 9:30 Pm The Band's Visit (2007) An Egyptian police band gets lost in Israel. Dir: Eran Kolirin Cast: Saleh Bakri, Khalifa Natour, Ronit Elkabetz. C-87 mins Letterbox Format 11:15 Pm Rana's Wedding (2003) When her father orders her to marry, a Palestinian girl searches for her lover in occupied Jerusalem. Dir: Hany Abu-Assad Cast: Ismael Dabbagh, Clara Khoury, Khalifa Natour. C-86 mins Letterbox Format 1:00 Am The Battle Of Algiers (1967) Algiers revolts against the French Foreign Legion. Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo Cast: Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Brahim Haggiag. Bw-
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Berlin 2011 Review: Odem (Lipstick)

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars

When the director of Nader and Simin, A Separation, the Iranian Asghar Farhadi, was asked what he made of being in the same competition as an Israeli film here at Berlinale, he was noble in sentiment. “Films are very expensive to make” he said, “so I hope they can all win prizes regardless of which country they are from.” Everybody applauded this spirit of cinematic brotherhood and we all felt that a blow had been struck in the name of world peace. It was an emotional time.

Yet had Farhadi the chance to see that rival film, Odem (or Lipstick in English), I’d like to think he’d have been less diplomatic. Odem is without a shadow of a doubt the single worst film I have seen in the official selection. It is one of the worst films I have ever seen in any context in fact,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Berlinale 2011: Jonathan Segal's Lipstikka

The first Golden Bear competing titles for the upcoming Berlin Film Festival were announced today, and among the 8, we find the Israeli film Lipstikka by director Jonathan Segal. Segal was a successful actor, a part of a trio who stared in Lemon Popsicle, an enormously successful comedy about the sexual experiences of teenagers that had 6 (!) sequels in the 1980's. In the 90's Segal turned to directing, and his first feature, Kesher-Ir (Urban Feel) screened in Berlin in 1999. His new feature caused controversy while it was in production last year. The controversy was so massive, that even the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) had a meeting concerning Lipstikka. The film tells the story of two Palestinian girls who sneak to the Jewish part of Jerusalem in 1993 to go to the cinema and see a film staring their idol, Mel Gibson. A brief encounter with Israeli soldiers turns into a romantic game with fatal consequences.
See full article at ioncinema »

Miranda July and Victoria Mahoney Heading to the "February Festival"

Now we know why this announcement was put on hold. Seeing as both fests are back to back and one ends up supplying the other, Sundance John Cooper kindly obliged before annoucing the inclusion of Miranda July's The Future, a German-u.S co-production title that Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick is obviously pleased to include in his festival. After announcing that the Coen Brothers’ excellent True Grit would open the comp, here comes the first batch of 8 competition titles which include a Wim Wenders film we actually want to see, Turkish filmmaker Seyfi Teoman's Our Grand Despair and one filmmaker who we were sure was headed to Park City will instead receive a huge showcase in Berlin in Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling to the Sky”. Here's the complete list of titles: “Bizim Büyük Çaresizligimiz” (Our Grand Despair); Turkey / Germany / Netherlands by Seyfi Teoman (Tatil Kitabi/Summer Book) with Ilker Aksum,
See full article at ioncinema »

Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling To The Sky” Will Debut At Berlin International Film Festival

About a week after the Sundance Film Festival announced its complete lineup, the Berlin title with (the Berlin International Film Festival) just publicized the first batch of films that will be in competition at the festival, and, a film that I fully expected would debut at Sundance (but obviously will not) is one of Shadow And Act’s Filmmakers To Watch, Victoria Mahoney’s feature film debut, Yelling To The Sky – a film we’ve given mucho pixels to on this blog, which stars Zoë Kravitz, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Blake Nelson, Antonique Smith, and many others.

So, congrats to Victoria and company! I’d even further say that a Berlin debut could be considered more prestigious than a Sundance birth. The competition is stiffer, and your film may get more international exposure. Victoria can count veteran Wim Wenders and Miranda July as some of her competition.

The Coen Brothers’ remake
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

'Lipstikka' adds cast

'Lipstikka' adds cast
London -- Writer/director Jonathan Sagall has signed up Natali Atia, Clara Khoury, Daniel Caltagirone and Tali Knight to star in his project "Lipstikka."

The movie, due to shoot here in the British capital and on location in Haifa, Israel, details the story of two teenage girls -- one Christian, one Muslim -- who decide to celebrate a birthday by an illicit trip to the cinema and sneak over the divide into West Jerusalem where their paths cross two Israeli soldiers. Years later the two girls come together in London and the layers of remembered events are stripped away revealing vastly different stories that have scarred their lives.

Sagall also produces along with Guy Allon with John Reiss and David Willing taking exec producer roles.

The project is backed by Israel Film Fund, John Reiss & Associates and Monumental Productions. The film is scheduled to be ready for release Spring 2010, the filmmakers said.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Rana's Wedding

Rana's Wedding
Arab Film Distribution

NEW YORK -- Using a thin plot pretext to explore the emotional and physical ramifications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Rana's Wedding", now receiving its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York's Cinema Village, is ultimately more interesting for its sociological than cinematic aspects. The story concerns a 17-year-old girl, Rana (Clara Khoury), who is suddenly handed an ultimatum from her well-heeled businessman father. He is relocating his business from Jerusalem to Egypt, and she has until the end of the day to get married to the suitor of her choice. To help her decide, he provides a handy list of eligible men, none of whom she has actually met.

Rana, needless to say, is not happy at this prospect and instead decides that she will stay in her homeland and marry her boyfriend, Khalil, who is a theatrical director in Ramallah. Unfortunately, she has no idea where Khalil actually is, so she spends the day frantically racing around Jerusalem trying to find him.

Thus, the film provides both an emotional and literal travelogue of the area, delivering a series of vignettes in which Rana comes face to face with various aspects of the conflict, including a tense standoff between Israeli soldiers and rock-throwing Palestinians during which a young boy is killed. At times, her quest achieves absurdist dimensions, as when a plastic bag she has accidentally left behind is blown to smithereens by Israeli soldiers suspecting that it contains a bomb.

While the film, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, provides a vivid portrait of the landscape, its dramatic aspects are less impressive, with the contrived plot and paper-thin characterizations basically serving to provide a framework for its impressionistic portrait. Even in that department, however, the filmmaking comes up short, with far too much of the running time devoted to endless close-ups of the admittedly beautiful lead actress and lengthy sequences depicting her walking up and down hills, streets, etc.

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