9 items from 2014
Shining a light on two new European talents to track, the 14th Marrakech Film Festival awarded its top prize, the Golden Star, to Russian Ivan Tverdovsky’s “Corrections Class” while Swiss Simon Jacquemet’s “Chrieg” scooped both its Jury Prize and best actor nod for Benjamin Lutzke.
Feature debuts, both deliver bleak, but not unsparing, takes on the fortunes of Europe’s youth, leavened by their protagonists’ vitality.
Post Cannes Critics’ Week winner “The Tribe,” yet another withering portrait of special needs education in Eastern Europe, here lacerated via a callously indifferent teaching staff, bullying and attempted gang rape, “Corrections Class,” Tverdovsky’s first fiction feature, already won Karlovy Vary’s East of West Award and the Thessaloniki Fest’s Audience Award. »
- John Hopewell
Much of “The Last Hammer Blow,” the latest film from French writer-director Alix Delaporte, features scenes of its young protagonist, Victor (Romain Paul), in transit. He walks, runs, scooters, and hitches from place to place, never staying still, constantly on the move. This is probably an apt representation of his mental state—roving and restless. Victor doesn’t have much stability in his life: his mother (Clotilde Hesme) is sick, fragile, and dead broke, and the two live in a camper among a surf tribe of sorts at the beach. She’s prone to impulsive decisions and Victor is starting to realize he needs to take some responsibility for her. At the same time, he’s also seeking out his father, an accomplished conductor in town to conduct Mahler’s 6th symphony. Victor starts stalking him at rehearsals, but the gruff Samuel (Gregory Gadebois) isn’t having it. Victor stays »
- Katie Walsh
The Returned has begun filming its second series.
The supernatural thriller - known as Les Revenants in its native France - started shooting earlier this week and will continue until March 20, 2015.
All of the original cast will return for eight new episodes, with actor Laurent Lucas also joining for series two.
Set six months after the conclusion of the first run, the new episodes will see Adele (Clotilde Hesme) about to give birth to Simon's (Pierre Perrier) child, while Lena (Jenna Thiam) and her father Jerome (Frederic Pierrot) search desperately for Claire (Anne Consigny) and Camille (Yara Pilartz).
Matters are complicated further when a stranger named Berg - who knows more than he claims - arrives into town. Worse still, a new wave of resurrections could be about to occur.
The show will return to Canal+ in late 2015. Channel 4 has confirmed that it will air series two in the UK, »
★★★★☆"It's called tragic but don't let's snivel," says a character in director Alix Delaporte's new film The Last Hammer Blow (2014), a refreshing and perfectly restrained coming-of-age tale which enters the running for the Golden Lion at Venice. Romain Paul plays Victor, a young lad living with his mother Nadia (Clotilde Hesme) in a caravan park by the sea near Montpelier. He spends his time playing football - he's talented and his coach encourages him to prepare for some important trials coming up - and tutoring the son of a neighbouring Spanish family in French, which incidentally gives him the opportunity to glimpse the boy's surly older sister, Luna (Mireia Vilapuig), for whom he has a crush.
- CineVue UK
Alix Delaporte uses Mahler’s Sixth Symphony both as the soundtrack and as a powerful and emotionally charged protagonist in this engaging coming of age tale, playing here in competition.
14-year-old Victor (Romain Paul) lives with his mum Nadia (Clotilde Hesme) in a caravan on the beach. Nadia is stick thin and has been undergoing chemo; both she and their home are in a precarious state. Having decided to halt her treatment, she takes her son out on a jaunt and cajoles him into jumping into a river from the steep bank. When he seems scared, she leaps in, her wig becoming detached and floating on the water’s surface. It is at once a declaration of her illness and her release from its constraints. Also living on the beach are a Spanish couple whose young son Miguel has French lessons with Victor and whose daughter (Mareia Vilapuig) is a »
- Jo-Ann Titmarsh
Tapping into France’s new generation of femme filmmakers, Pyramide Intl. has struck early sales on Alix Delaporte’s “The Last Hammer Blow,” which world premieres in competition at Venice.
In first “Hammer Blow” sales, Palace Films acquired rights to Australia and New Zealand, and Lumiere to Benelux territories.
Starring theater vet Gregory Gadebois and Clotilde Hesme,“Hammer Blow” turns, however, on a teen: Victor who, when he enters the Montpellier Opera House, knows nothing about music nor his father (Gadebois), who is about to conduct Mahler’s 6th Symphony. Music, however, allows their halting relationship to grow.
Hailed by France’s Telerama as a “true discovery,” actress-turned-director Borleteau’s debut “Fidelio” centers on Alice (Ariane Labed, “Before Midnight”), a 30-year-old sailor. She embarks as second mate on Fidelio, »
- John Hopewell
The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.
Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice.
A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence, directed by Roy Andersson
Starring Holger Andersson, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Premiered on November 26th 2012 on Canal+
Satisfying the hunger of movie and television consumers in dire need of original content grows more difficult with each and every passing year. Not only do the people who produce content want to release more of the same, but the very fact of the matter is that nearly every story has already been told. What bold, creative new ideas can emerge in this early 21st century, where the quantity of the content grows exponentially at a dizzying rate? Making a television show that looks, sounds, and most importantly feels like no other is no small order. One option is to genre mash; that is, splicing two or more disparate genres together to make something that, while familiar, »
- Edgar Chaput
Mother Load: Kurys Revisits Plight of Parents in Post WWII France
For those familiar with the work of director Diane Kurys, the material that inspired her latest film, For a Woman, may seem old hat. What seems to serve as the third installment of a rough trilogy concerning the lives of her parents (while Kury’s first two features seem to be about her own childhood) shortly after World War II, was first realized in her excellent 1983 film, Entre Nous, then again in 1990’s C’est La Vie. Comparatively, this latest chapter serves as the weakest of the three, but that’s not to say it isn’t compelling and engaging. More often than not, it’s a tensely paced period piece with one or two notable performances, even as it’s needlessly set in the early 80s, waffling back and forth between flashbacks to the meaty past, where it could have been entirely set. »
- Nicholas Bell
9 items from 2014
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