15 items from 2011
Released by Studiocanal UK on November 18th, Special Forces stars Diane Kruger as a French journalist in Afghanistan who is kidnapped by the Taliban. Written and directed by newcomer Stéphane Rybojad, the film also stars Djimon Hounsou (Amistad, Never Back Down) and Benoît Magimel (La Haine, Little White Lies).
In anticipation of the debut of Special Forces on Friday at the French Institute – Cine Lumiere, we’ve been sent eight new images from the film. Check them out below:
Intouchables storms the box office as critics hail it as a comedy masterpiece
It's the surprise French box office hit of the year: a caustic comedy about a quadriplegic aristocrat and his awkward, black home-help from one of Paris's poor, suburban high-rise ghettoes.
Intouchables – or the Untouchables – has confounded French critics who dreaded the possibility of a cliche-ridden, ham-fisted take on the poor suburban "banlieue", race and disability. Instead, the film has been hailed as a masterpiece, and the comedy of the year. It sold 2m tickets in under a week. Paris crowds are queueing around the block and pre-booking tickets. It is set to open in 40 countries, including the United States in March, where Harvey Weinstein has bought an option for an American remake.
"Is this the new Amélie?" asked the daily Liberation, comparing it to the whimsical French romantic comedy that captivated foreign audiences 10 years ago. Critics are »
- Angelique Chrisafis
To round off our coverage of the 55th BFI London Film Festival were taking a look back at one of the most prominent strands of the festival – the French Revolutions programme.
One of the festival’s chief pledges is to bring the best of the world’s cinema to London and Jack Jones leads us through the varied line-up and recommends which films we need to look out for when a theatrical release rolls around.
For all our other coverage of the London Film Festival click here, and read on for Jack’s take on the festival,
The Best Yet? French Cinema Just Keeps on Going
For those who are deeply engrained in cinema, it is often hard to admit that sometimes there are years when we have few films which impress us. For film festivals there is much the same sentiment. It seems as though every year critics hail »
With the release of previously convicted murderer Amanda Knox in Perugia last night, legally a victim of being wrongly accused for a murder she didn’t commit, we thought it would be apt to re-post this Top Ten from last November.
Of course the truth of British student Meredith Kercher’s horrific murder four years ago is likely to never be fully known, but Knox’s attestations to pleading innocence throughout the case and the dozens of flaws in the prosecutor’s arguments led the Italian jury this week to believe an innocent person had been let down by the justice system.
The theme of innocent people being wrongly accused of crimes or mistakenly embroiled in some form of misdemeanor has been a staple of the thriller film genre for decades. Whilst it is far from enjoyable in real life to be accused of a crime you haven’t committed, »
- Stuart Cummins
Tiff has just announced the final batch of films slated to hit the fest in September. The number of additions is overwhelming especially found in the completed Gala and Special Presentation lineups.
Some films that really stick out in my opinion are Rebellion by Mathieu Kassovitz who directed one of my favourite films of all time La Haine and Sleeping Beauty by Julia Leigh. Here is the press release.
Toronto – The Toronto International Film Festival® announces the addition of 8 Galas and 17 Special Presentations to the high-calibre selection of crowd-pleasers premiering in September. Today’s announcement includes 14 World Premieres and reveals that Festival-goers will be treated to a programming lineup featuring world premieres from directors including Nick Murphy, Gary McKendry, Joel Schumacher, Gianni Amelio, Agnieszka Holland, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Pankaj Kapur, Anne Fontaine, Mathieu Kassovitz and Geoffrey Fletcher.
- Kyle Reese
Our Day Will Come is released on Blu-ray from Monday 22nd August and we have three copies of the Blu-ray to give away to our readers. Read on to find out how;
The directorial debut of Romain Gavras, best known for his controversial Music videos for M.I.A (Born Free) and Justice (Stress), Our Day Will Come is a bold and savagely humorous outsider epic, telling the story of Patrick (Vincent Cassel) and Remy (Olivier Barthelemy) a pair of outcasts joined together by their dislike of society and their own red hair.
Patrick is a charismatic but cynical therapist, long bored with listening to the banalities of his clients’ problems, he is desperate for any situation he can manipulate for his own amusement. A defining opportunity comes in the form of Remy, an awkward, alienated teenager, bullied by his family and ostracized by his peers who use his red hair as prime ammunition for their taunts. »
- Matt Holmes
It seems increasingly difficult for Danny Boyle to lock down the cast for his next film, the art heist thriller Trance. Michael Fassbender dropped out, then his X-Men: First Class co-star James McAvoy came aboard. Then Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson joined the project, but the former has now fallen out due to scheduling issues, and Twitch reports a possible replacement.
It is for the role of Aiden, who was originally going to to Fassbender then Firth, but now Black Swan star Vincent Cassel has been offered the role. There is no word on whether he will take it, but his schedule is seemingly clear and it seems to high-profile to turn down. Aiden is “the shady leader of the gang who partners with the assistant.” Check out a synopsis below.
An assistant at an auction house masterminds the heist and teams up with a gang of thieves, but suffers »
- Jordan Raup
Just a few days after it was revealed that actor Vincent Cassel would be teaming with director Costa Gavras for his upcoming financial thriller, Capital, the film appears to be moving along at one hell of a clip.
Variety is reporting that actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz (La Haine), has joined the film’s cast, and will play the role of president of one of Europe’s largest investment banks. He’ll play Marc Tourneuil, President of Europe’s Phoenix Bank, who becomes the target of the U.S.’ largest hedge funds. Trying to stay in power, he makes a move to pick up a Japanese bank with considerable debt.
Gabriel Byrne has also joined the film’s cast, and will play one of Phoenix’s “new main shareholders.”
As a fan of Gavras’ work (such as Z and Missing), he is absolutely the perfect name to see take on the financial crisis. »
- Joshua Brunsting
My first introduction to Vincent Cassell was in 1997 when I saw him in Mathieu Kassovitz brilliant and controversial black and white French film La Haine, one of my ten favorite films of all time. That same year I decided to also check out Jan Kounen’s Doberman which also starred the famous French actor. These two films served as my gateway to contemporary French cinema. Doberman (based on a series of novels by Joël Houssin), was fantastic, an over the top, highly stylish but extremely entertaining heist film following the criminal known as Dobermann (Vincent Cassel), who leads a gang of brutal robbers with his beautiful, deaf girlfriend Nat the Gypsy (Monica Bellucci).
Now fourteen years later, Screen Daily reports that the star is in talks for a sequel to the crime flick, with Marco Polo Productions and Acteurs Auteurs Associés (also behind the international heist flick Sleight of Hand)backing the movie. »
First-time director Joe Cornish excels in this very funny comedy about an alien invasion on a London council estate
Back in 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz gave us a brutal inner-city classic called La Haine (Hate). Now British comedian-turned-film-maker Joe Cornish has created something from much the same world. But this good-natured and endlessly likable debut could as well be called La Gaiété, or L'Espoir, or indeed L'Amour. It's a terrifically funny, gutsy action-adventure comedy about invaders from space attacking a council tower block in south London. The extra-terrestrials, with their hairy lupine bodies and glowing blue fangs, make aggressive planetfall right in the middle of a council estate, to the astonishment of a petty gang of lairy teens who have just mugged a defenceless nurse for her money and jewellery, and are about to move up to the big time, selling drugs for a paranoid gangland leader holed up in his reinforced strongroom, »
- Peter Bradshaw
Dear 20-something female readers, imagine: your birthday party was a complete blast; Paul, the cute boy you just met, actually showed up and you can tell you're already falling for him. When you wake up next to him he's your husband, the father of your three children and 12 years have passed. You're suddenly 37, in the middle of a divorce and you can't remember a thing. That's the terrifying premise of the directorial debut by French actress and writer Sylvie Testud. Life of Another (La Vie d'une Autre) is the sort of project that could add up to nothing more than a very long list of French actresses turned directors, but it actually carries a lot of promise when you have Juliette Binoche toplining the pic. Cineuropa reports that production begins next week. First and foremost let's detail the amazing cast, which I will summarize in one scream of adoration: Binoche! »
From the pioneers of the silver screen to today's new realism, French directors have shaped film-making around the world
France can, with some justification, claim to have invented the whole concept of cinema. Film historians call The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, the 50-second film by the Lumière brothers first screened in 1895, the birth of the medium.
But the best-known early pioneer, who made films with some kind of cherishable narrative value, was Georges Méliès, whose 1902 short A Trip to the Moon is generally heralded as the first science-fiction film, and a landmark in cinematic special effects. Meanwhile, Alice Guy-Blaché, Léon Gaumont's one-time secretary, is largely forgotten now, but with films such as L'enfant de la barricade trails the status of being the first female film-maker.
- Andrew Pulver
French actor Vincent Cassel is an unlikely sex symbol. Having made his name by playing violent, intense men, he's been cast in another dark, morally dubious film role in the new ballet thriller
At first, I didn't think I knew who Vincent Cassel was, because he has one of those faces that can look completely different in every movie he makes. That's not so unusual for a character actor, but it is for a sex symbol. In his native France he's been a leading man for many years, and if there can be a pretender to the crown last held by Gérard Depardieu then it must be Cassel – but only now, at 43, is he beginning to emerge as an international movie star.
- Decca Aitkenhead
Vincent Cassel is one smooth operator. Back in October, at the London Film Festival, all the journalists gathered at the roundtable interview we attended were thoroughly charmed by his suave manner and gently frank sense of humour. It's these positive qualities that resound even in Cassel's darkest, most complex roles, from the volatile Parisian street punk Vinz in La Haine, to the international criminal Jacques Mesrine.
In Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky's psycho-thriller of obsession, madness and ballet, Cassel stars as the manipulative, yet still dashing, director who pushes Natalie Portman's dancer towards perfection. With this in mind, we asked Cassel about his relationship with directors, his background in dancing and the experience of working in both French and American film industries.
Did you train as a dancer for the part?
I trained »
During the London Film Festival last year, Obsessed with Film was invited to interview Vincent Cassel about his role as Thomas Leroy, an obsessive and demanding ballet director, in Darren Aronofsky’s probable Oscar contender Black Swan. The interview was conducted at a round-table with other journalists and below is the majority of the transcript taken from that twenty minute session with the mercurial French actor, famous for roles in such films as Eastern Promises, La Haine and Mesrine.
Q: Any feedback from people in ballet on your character?
Vc: Up to now especially from Benjamin Millepied who is the choreographer of the movie and part of that was like really becoming a star of the ballet world. What Benjamin manages to do is be a dancer for the NYC Ballet and for the opera in Paris, which is not usually possible, and plus he directs plays in both of »
- Robert Beames
15 items from 2011
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