5 items from 2007
Dror Shual's Sweet Mud and Sean Ellis' Cashback tied for the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Award for best narrative feature at the 10th annual Bermuda International Film Festival, which concluded Saturday.
Jury member Carrie Fisher called Mud, the story of how a child copes with a mentally ill mother, "a very sad but hopeful film. It is a dark film with a light at the end of the tunnel." Jury member Richard Dreyfuss said of Cashback that "the film had a perfect whimsy that didn't try to become something that it was not."
The short film jury, made up of actor Ben Newmark, director Vito Rocco and producer Tamara Tarasova, chose I Want to be a Pilot by Diego Quemada-Diez as the winner of the M3 Wireless Bermuda Shorts Award. Special mentions were given to My Backyard by Choy Aming and T.O.M. by Tom Brown and Daniel Gray.
Sundance Institute at BAM returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music from May 31-June 10, featuring award-winning feature and short films, live performances and panel discussions.
This year's dramatic features include Tom DiCillo's Delirious, Sterlin Harjo's Four Sheets to the Wind, JJ Lask's On the Road With Judas, Christopher Zalla's Padre Nuestro, Jeffrey Blitz's Rocket Science, David Gordon Green's Snow Angels and Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud.
The series also will highlight musical performances by Ljova, the Blue Jackets with Bradford Reed, Rhythm Republik and Sussan Deyhim. New York-based theater company Mabou Mines will perform selections from "Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting," directed by Ruth Maleczech, which is scheduled for full production in September.
The full program for the Sundance Institute at BAM will be announced in April. »
NEW YORK -- The Bermuda International Film Festival marks its tenth anniversary with a lineup that includes 85 films from 32 countries, including several award-winning entries from other fests.
Sean Ellis' Cashback, Slalomed Fatback's Retrieval and Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud (Adam Meshuga'at) will compete with other features for best narrative feature. Luke Wolbach's Row Hard, No Excuses, Yael Klopmann's Storm of Emotions and Adam Bardach's Living with Lew are three of the films vying for the docu prize.
"A Conversation With...Earl Cameron" will honor the Bermuda native and U.K. acting vet on Mar. 17.
The rest of the extensive lineup can be seen in several programs, including World Cinema Showcase, Special Presentations, From the Archives: Festival Favorites, Midnight Madness, BIFF Kids, Czech Republic sidebar films and Onion Patch: Five Films with a Bermuda Connection. »
NEW YORK -- Andrea Arnold's Scottish thriller Red Road took home the World Cinema features $25,000 prize and the International Federation of Film Critics prize at the 24th annual Miami International Film Festival.
The awards were announced Saturday along with the news that the fest's director for the past five years, Nicole Guillemet, will be succeeded by former 20th Century Fox Theatrical marketing director and inaugural 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival executive director Patrick de Bokay. Guillemet's departure was announced in December.
Marco Williams' international look at prisoner love stories, Banished, won the $25,000 best documentary jury prize, and Francisco Vargas Quevedo's Mexican political drama The Violin (El Violin) won the $25,000 Ibero-American dramatic features prize.
Audience awards in the three main categories went to Dror Shaul's Israeli coming-of-age tale Sweet Mud (Adama Meshuga'at) in the World Cinema section, Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo's thriller The Night of the Sunflowers (La Noche de Los Girasoles) in the Ibero-American dramatic feature section and Alberto Arvelo's Venezuelan youth orchestra docu To Play and To Fight (Tocar y Luchar) in the documentary features group. »
PARK CITY -- Only someone who grew up on an Israeli kibbutz could have made "Sweet Mud". Screenwriter-director Dror Shaul infuses this almost-memoir with a sweet melancholy. A viewer gains a real appreciation for the spirit and romantic idealism of a commune -- and how things can go so wrong. This is a film from the heart, from a firsthand familiarity that yields conflicted emotions over the gap between an ideal and its realization.
"Sweet Mud", the Israeli entry for the foreign-language Oscar, has limited though solid art house potential in North America because it touches on such coming-of-age issues as identity and first love along with the central issue of communal vs. individual needs.
Shaul said the film "is not an entirely true story" but admits he plumbed childhood memories as a Boy Born and raised on a kibbutz. The story he tells is of 12-year-old Dvir (a resourceful Tomer Steinhof), who enters his bar mitzvah year in 1974 in an isolated kibbutz. Like all children, he is raised collectively by the community, sleeping in the "children's house" and assigned farm chores. His solitude is more extreme than most, however, since his father has died -- in circumstances pointedly kept from him -- and his mother Miri (an extraordinary Ronit Yudkevitch) has only recently returned from a mental hospital. An older brother gets distracted by young women and military service, while most of the community is uncomfortable around the mentally fragile Miri, who no longer fits the kibbutz ideal.
A visit by Miri's boyfriend, a much older Swiss gentleman (Henri Garcin), brings things to a head. Just when Miri is happiest, her dreams get dashed and with them her spirit. Dvir must grow up fast to take care of his beloved mother and to understand his growing affection for a young French girl, who suffers from a similar alienation from her parents and community.
Shaul has cinematographer Sebastian Edschmid shoot the kibbutz and surrounding countryside in warm, earthen tones that make the rural community hugely inviting. The utopian spirit is certainly inviting at first, but the discord and small tyrannies become clear over time. Shaul steps through this delicate minefield adroitly, seeing things for what they are yet understanding the ideals that makes utopian communities seem so viable. What the film makes clear is that such collectives have no real way to deal with truly vulnerable individuals.
5 items from 2007
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