6 items from 2015
“Aferim!” comes from Ada Solomon, the producer of 2013 Golden Bear winner “Child’s Pose.” It is a Western set in the Wild East of 19th-century Romania, directed by Radu Jude (“Everybody in our Family”).
In search of a fugitive gypsy slave, policeman Costandin, a “charismatic mixture of a funny Stalin and a somewhat more pragmatic Don Quixote,” and his introverted son ride through the countryside meeting hundreds of characters.
Dutch filmmaker Sacha Polak, who received the international film critics’ Fipresci award at the 2012 Berlinale for “Hemel,” delivers her second feature film, “Zurich,” a road movie starring singer and performance artist Wende Snijders. »
- Leo Barraclough
Updated with details and quotes: The Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony tonight in Park City saw a dramatic dual decision and strong political voices to put a cap on a hot-deals festival. Like last year, when Whiplash took both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award on its way to an Best Picture Oscar nomination, the much-sought Me And Earl And The Dying Girl took both this year.
“I want to dedicate this to all the young filmmakers in my hometown of Laredo, Texas,” said director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon onstage. Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush teamed to land the pic earlier this week after frenzied bidding, with a 2015 release planned. The Jesse Andrews script follows Greg, who is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But »
- Dominic Patten and Patrick Hipes
Taking a more serious and less busily contemporary path after his primarily comedic 2011 indie, “Delhi in a Day,” writer-director Prashant Nair’s sophomore feature, “Umrika,” is a straightforward, ingratiating drama that builds toward a satisfyingly expansive close. Chronicling a rural youth’s journey to the big, bad city to discover what really happened to his supposedly America-bound brother, the pic belies its potentially cliched themes with likable understatement. The lead presence of “Life of Pi” star Suraj Sharma (in his first Bollywood role) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel’s” Tony Revolori should draw some interest beyond the usual home and expat auds for Indian cinema.
An entire mountain-farming village turns out to send off ambitious Udai (Prateik Babbar), who’s doing the unimaginable by starting on the long journey to the United States, an almost mythical place for this isolated community. When he fails to be heard from for months on end, »
- Dennis Harvey
Festival resurges as launch pad for awards contenders while sales agents are prepared for healthy market
Those up in arms over Hollywood’s limited roles for women and minorities should be excited for the diversity of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with no shortage of films that address the broad range of human experience, while renewing the festival as a key launch platform for awards season hopefuls.
- Jeff Sneider
Do: check the instructions (Wild)
This month sees the release of Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir about her solo hike along the gruelling 1,000 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) certainly doesn't make it easy for herself, buying the wrong type of gas cylinder for her stove and thus being forced to subsist on a diet of "cold mush."
Don't: give up (Touching The Void)
Consider the obstacles that Joe Simpson faced during his calamitous attempt to climb Peruvian mountain Siula Grande: a broken leg; a fall into a crevasse; and zero hope of rescue after partner Simon Yates left him for dead. And yet, as recounted in classic documentary Touching The Void, Simpson gritted his teeth and dragged himself through hell to reach safety.
Do: stay calm (Life Of Pi)
Travel is unpredictable. One minute, like Indian teenager Pi (Suraj Sharma), you're emigrating to Canada aboard a freighter. »
The film will receive its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan 24 and is the only Indian title in its World Cinema Dramatic Competition. North America sales will be handled by ICM Partners.
Set in the mid-1980s, a small village in India is invigorated when one of their own travels to America and details his adventures through letters home. But when the letters mysteriously stop, his younger »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
6 items from 2015
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