4 items from 2014
At the moment of this typing 67 films have been announced by their home countries as Oscar submissions and our famous charts are all updated to tell you about them with posters, running times, languages spoken, official site links, synopsis and more. This year's race has three countries who've never submitted before (Kosovo, Mauritania, and Panama). That's not a record since that was also true last year. Can we attribute the continual growth of this category to the general democratization of film now that (nearly) everything is digital and filmmaking is (theoretically) more affordable? Or perhaps it's a sure sign that the Oscar is still one of the most significant icons around the world?
The most exciting news this past week was Russia daringly choosing Cannes hit Leviathan - not the kind of film they normally would send.Other new additions to the chart include Egypt's Factory Girl, India's Liar's Dice, »
- NATHANIEL R
French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb has lately alternated between sweeping historical dramas (the WWII drama "Days of Glory," the Algerian War portrait "Outside the Law") and sentimental two-handers with quieter approaches ("London River," "Just Like a Woman"). In all cases, however, Bouchareb tends to deal in similar themes of contrasting political and personal relationships. "Two Men In Town," a loose remake of José Giovanni's 1973 tale of a paroled murderer trying to get his life back together, applies this tendency to the least-ideological of Bouchareb's movies, resulting in a thinly executed tale littered with uneven performances. Nevertheless, a committed turn by Forest Whitaker in the lead role, paired with "Holy Motors" and "My Life in Pink" cinematographer Yves Cape's evocative images of the spare western landscape, lead to an intriguing contrast between the half-baked material and a handful of stronger ingredients. It's a movie at war with its deficiencies. "Two Men. »
- Eric Kohn
The Olympics have long been many things that have nothing to do with sports, and it would be naive to think otherwise. Beyond international politics, the Games are a huge marketing apparatus, creating ready-made advertising pitchmen, propaganda opportunities for host countries and potential windfalls for networks, with showbiz values and demographic concerns trumping athletics.
That said, amid an age of cynicism, there is still something noble about the Olympic ideal — nations and their most physically gifted representatives meeting on the track or ice rink, pool or ski slope, in the name of friendly competition.
All that’s a preamble to the latest Olympics to arrive saddled with a preexisting controversy, predicated on Russia’s anti-gay policies. Some have argued the U.S. and others should boycott the Games, sending a message, as the Carter administration did, by skipping the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, in that case, triggered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. »
- Brian Lowry
Paris– Reteaming with leading French production outfit Why Not, Wild Bunch has come on board to handle international sales on thesp-turned-helmer Roschdy Zem’s social dramedy “Bodybuilder” in the run-up to the UniFrance Rendez-Vous mini-mart in Paris.
Penned by Zem and Julie Peyr (“Jimmy P.”), “Bodybuilder” tells the tale of a 20-year-old boy who reunites with his father, whom he’s never met, and discovers the world of professional bodybuilders. Zem, whose best-known acting credits include Rachid Bouchareb’s “Days of Glory” and “Outside The Law,” earned critical acclaim with his debut, “Bad Faith,” a comedy turning on the complicated romance between a Jewish woman (Cecile de France) and a Muslim man (played by Zem himself), and sophomore outing “Omar Killed Me,” a drama chronicling the real-life story of Omar Raddad, a Moroccan immigrant who was unjustly convicted of a murder. “Faith” earned a Cesar nomination for best first film, »
- Elsa Keslassy and John Hopewell
4 items from 2014
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