Le voyage du ballon rouge (2007) - News Poster


Review: Three Times (Personal Favorites #49)

It's been a while since Hsiao-hsien Hou made anything substantial. Safe a quick short film (as part of the 10+10 anthology project) little has been heard from him ever since he released Le Voyage Du Ballon Rouge. At one point rumors whispered he was going to direct a martial arts epic starring Tadanobu Asano, but that's about it. So it's a relief the man left us with a magnificent oeuvre to cover the distance between now and what will hopefully become his future set of films, because his work is definitely one of a kind.Zui Hao De Shi Guang (or Three Times as it's known in the West) is a good starting point if you're interested in Hou's work. It's an anthology project, covering three...
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Notebook's 4th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2011

  • MUBI
Looking back at 2011 on what films moved and impressed us it becomes more and more clear—to me at least—that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, our end of year poll, now an annual tradition, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2011—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2011 to create a unique double feature. Many contributors chose their favorites of 2011, some picked out-of-the-way gems, others made some pretty strange connections—and some frankly just want to create a kerfuffle. All the contributors were asked to write a paragraph explaining their 2011 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative
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AFI fest puts Public Enemy on list

Two documentaries, including a look at the 20-year history of innovative rap group Public Enemy, will make their world premiere at this year's AFI Fest, set for Nov. 1-11 in Los Angeles.

Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome, directed by Robert Patton-Spruill, gives a rare insight into the group and features interviews with musicians Henry Rollins and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. Meanwhile, director Andrea Kreuzhage's documentary 1000 Journals focuses on the social/art project initiated by San Francisco-based artist "Someguy".

Two foreign films will make their U.S. debut at the festival: the Canadian drama The Tracey Fragments, directed by Bruce McDonald, and With Your Permission, an entry from Denmark directed by Paprika Steen.

Another 11 films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival also will screen, including 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days directed by Cristian Mungiu; Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit; Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiter; Gael Garcia Bernal's Deficit; Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Hao Hsiao-hsien's Flight of the Red Balloon; Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen's Jellyfish; Jason Reitman's Juno; Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis; Tamara Jenkins' The Savages; and Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine.

Passes are on sale through the festival's Web site at AFI.com, or by phone, (866) AFI-FEST.

Full slate for 2007 Toronto Film Festival

  • The final tally and full list of films presented at this year's Tiff have been announced today and hardcore cinephiles will have many options available to them out of the 261 film selected. With a massive slate comes massive headache. What to choose? Where to begin? I’ll be examining the selections – and hopeful offer you readers some cool coverage on films that won't be popping into theaters weeks and/or months from now. Our provisional coverage begins with preview pages listed below - simply click on the links for more info (we'll be updating the list daily) - and hopefully will have every angle covered. Galas: "Across the Universe," Julie TaymorJulie Taymor
[/link], U.S."The Days of Darkness (L'Âge des ténèbres)," Denys Arcand, Canada"Blood Brothers," Alexi Tan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong"Caramel," Nadine Labaki, Lebanon/France"Cassandra's Dream," Woody Allen, Britain"Cleaner," Renny Harlin, U.S."Closing the Ring,
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Three at fest headed to IFC

Three at fest headed to IFC
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NEW YORK -- IFC Films has nabbed three features that have North American premieres at next month's Toronto International Film Festival: Harmony Korine's pop-culture fantasia "Mister Lonely", starring Diego Luna and Samantha Morton; Jacques Rivette's French period romance "The Duchess of Langeais", starring Guillaume Depardieu; and, in partnership with Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment, Christophe Honore's French musical drama "Love Songs".

The art house trio rounds out an impressive seven IFC features on the Toronto slate, including Gus Van Sant's teen drama "Paranoid Park", Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", Hou Hsiao-hsien's fantasy "The Flight of the Red Balloon" and Catherine Breillat's erotic period romance "The Last Mistress".

"Mister Lonely" marks the return of enfant terrible director Korine ("Gummo", "Julien Donkey Boy"). With brother Avi, he wrote the story of a Parisian Michael Jackson impersonator (Luna), guided by a faux Marilyn Monroe (Morton) to an impersonator commune in the Scottish Highlands, where Abe Lincoln, The Three Stooges, the queen, the pope, Madonna and other impostors stage a gala performance.

New York Film Festival sked ends at 'Persepolis'

New York Film Festival sked ends at 'Persepolis'
NEW YORK -- Sony Pictures Classics' animated coming-of-age film Persepolis will close the 45th annual New York Film Festival, which announced Wednesday an eclectic lineup featuring new works from Sidney Lumet, Gus Van Sant and, in his NYFF debut, Brian De Palma.

"There really was an unusually high number of high-quality American films," said Film Society of Lincoln Center program director Richard Pena, who celebrates his 20th year heading the NYFF selection committee. "I've often wondered why directors didn't make a more creative use of genre, and this year they have. It's also been an incredibly strong year for directors who've delivered the best films they've done in a while."

Pena singled out Lumet's ThinkFilm thriller Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and De Palma's Redacted, an Iraq War drama from Magnolia Pictures. He said the latter film "will really be a bombshell. People will be upset and offended by (its depiction of) how some U.S. soldiers are treated and what some U.S. soldiers have done."

The committee chose Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis -- a French adaptation of Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novels about growing up in Iran -- because the Festival de Cannes winner is "a truly expressive work of art," Pena said. "You feel the writer is baring her soul."

IFC Films has four projects in the lineup, all from its VOD/theatrical simultaneous releasing program IFC First Take. They include two more Cannes winners -- Van Sant's adaptation of Blake Nelson's novel, Paranoid Park, about a skateboarding teen involved in a murder, and Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Two of its other entries also screened at Cannes: Hou Hsiao-hsien's French family drama The Flight of the Red Balloon and Catherine Breillat's adaptation of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's The Last Mistress.

Film geeks will relish the North American premiere of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner: The Definitive Cut, a 25th anniversary edition of the sci-fi classic with some further tweaks made to the 1992 director's cut.

Shanghai Film Fest high and dry

Shanghai Film Fest high and dry
SHANGHAI -- A screening of Flight of the Red Balloon brought the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival to a gentle landing following the closing Jin Jue awards ceremony at Shanghai's Grand Theater with some of the film's Asian stars making a show of support for their film. The film, written and directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou, has been characterized as an homage to the 1956 Albert Lamorisse classic The Red Balloon. As a sign that the SIFF, held in China's most cosmopolitan city, is trying to meet its aspiration to become a truly world-class festival, the closing ceremony was a well organized and well attended event. There was a host of big name Asian stars including Jackie Chan (Forbidden Kingdom), Gong Li (Curse of the Golden Flower), Aaron Kwok (After This Our Exile) and director Hou.

The top award went to the German film According to the Plan by Franziska Meletzky; the jury Grand Prix was taken by the Swedish film The New Man by Klaus Haro; and Tian Zhuangzhuang garnered best director for China's The Go Master.

Production designer Phillip Vasels said it was a well executed event, especially compared to the previous night's Asian New Talent Award ceremony where he was one of the intrepid guests to brave the monsoon that struck just before the ceremony, flooding streets and making travel difficult.

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