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Janos Szasz's "The Notebook," last year's foreign Oscar film entry from Hungary, explores the dark side of inseparability among innocent yet cruel twin boys. And Dp Christian Berger ("The White Ribbon"), who is now busy prepping Angelina Jolie's next directorial effort, "By the Sea," which will co-star the newly married Jolie and Brad Pitt, was immediately drawn to the brutal topic. "I was right away fascinated by the novel from Agota Christof and her stringent and radical story about the eternal fight between barbarism and civilization, and how thin the skin is," recalls the Austrian Berger, who is accustomed to dealing with this eternal fight through his longtime collaboration with director Michael Haneke. "Janos wanted to change his style of filming with that project and I think that was one of his reason's to ask me for that collaboration. And it was a collaboration in the best way. How »
- Bill Desowitz
Behind Every Great War Is a Great Story: Szasz’s Captivating, Grotesque Portrait of Life During Wartime
World War II takes on the ambience of an exquisitely grim fairy tale in Hungarian filmmaker Janos Szasz’s The Notebook, based on the famed novel by Agota Kristof. Reuniting the director with Danish star Ulrich Thomsen, who starred in Szasz’s last film, Opium: Diary of a Madwoman (2007), it’s a strikingly photographed, pervasively bewitching account of adolescent twin boys and their development into (mostly) apathetic killing machines due to the inhumane conditions of wartime. Winning the top prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2013, the infrequently working Szasz (also a veteran stage director) is a name ripe for rediscovery, heretofore best known for his 1994 film, Woyzeck (the stage play that would also provide the basis for Herzog’s 1979 version).
Nearing the end of WWII, a privileged father (Ulrich Matthes) decides »
- Nicholas Bell
The trickle of foreign film submission info has become and soon it will be a flood. Over the new few days I'll be filling out a lot more of the foreign language submission charts which are written by me and my multi-lingual friend A.D. who knows so much about foreign cinema in so many atypical places he sometimes makes my head spin. But before all that charty speculation a handful of actual news items.
Jhola from Nepal
New Official Submissions
Jhola is the official submission from Nepal. Nepal enjoyed one previous nomination in this category for Caravan (1999) but they haven't submitted regularly. Jhola is a period piece about the Nepali society custom of the wife having to set herself on fire when her husband dies and go with him. Horrific! Actress Kanchi Garima Panta is said to be very good in the lead role.
Beloved Sisters was announced today to represent Germany. »
- NATHANIEL R
Oliver Davis reviews East of West #14…
“‘Warbound. The Endless Nation makes the first cut in the carcass once called America. The Apocalypse marches on in East Of West #14.”
Again, East of West jumps from one storyline last issue to a different one here. Sometimes, several months could go by without us ever hearing a peep from our favourite characters. In that way, it somewhat recalls the great American television series as of late – most comparatively the sprawling scope of Game of Thrones - focusing on characters and subplots at will, dedicating entire episodes to minor players. Eventually, this will make a compelling graphic novel, each distinctive issue being much more suited to chapters in a book. As a monthly series, however, the plot lacks drive and momentum.
In issue 14, we open on the aftermath of President Burkhart’s death, an event that happened two issues ago. In a neat flashback, »
- Oliver Davis
Chances are that you’ve heard of German director Oliver Hirschbiegel from one of two places: either from his remarkable (and horribly depressing) story of Hitler’s last days in the film Downfall, or his ill-conceived and lambasted biopic Diana. Departing once more from his foray into the British Royal Family, Hirschbiegel has now set his sights on returning to World War II, as he plans to direct the film Georg Elser, a true story about Adolf Hitler’s would-be assassin.
Georg Elser’s story is not a happy one. He was a resistance fighter who planned to kill Hitler on November 8, 1939, during a speech the Nazi leader was giving for the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Elser misjudged his timing, however, and the bomb placed in the lectern ended up going off a full thirteen minutes after Hitler had left, instead killing eight other people. Elser was captured, »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
The Downfall director will tell the little-known story of the German carpenter.
Elser organised a complex attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1939.
He was held in a concentration camp and executed weeks before the end of the war in Europe.
Christian Friedel (The White Ribbon) will play Elser, with Katharina Schüttler (Generation War) as his girlfriend Elsa and Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) as Arthur Nebe, the head of the Criminal Police of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt.
Hirschbiegel's 2004 Downfall - which told the story of the last days of Hitler's life - was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
The director's most recent feature was the poorly received biopic Diana.
Georg Elser began shooting in Munich this week. »
It has been a decade since filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel arrived with "Downfall," with the film meme-generating, critically acclaimed film, instantly putting him on the map. But he's struggled to maintain that success. "The Invasion" saw the director and studio at odds, "Five Minutes In Heaven" was an intimate thriller that didn't catch on, while last year's "Diana" was simply a disaster. So he's returning to WWII for another tale about Hitler. Hirschbiegel is now in production on "George Elser," following the man "from his early years in the Swabian Alps—when National Socialism arrived in his hometown—to his last days at the Dachau concentration camp, where he was killed shortly before the end of the war at the command of the one whom he himself wanted to kill, Hitler." And if there's one reason to be excited for this, it's that Christian Friedel, the lead in Michael Haneke's excellent "The White Ribbon, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
A decade after "Downfall" explored the last days of Adolf Hitler, director Oliver Hirschbiegel is set to helm Lucky Bird Pictures' "Georg Elser," a biopic of the resistance fighter who attempted to assassinate Hitler in a Munich beer hall in 1939.
The story follows Elser from his early years in the Swabian Alps to his last days at the Dachau concentration camp, where he was killed shortly before the end of the war. Elser nearly changed world history with his attempt, but Hitler left the venue earlier than expected.
Christian Friedel ("The White Ribbon") will play Elser, Katharina Schuttler ("Generation War") will portray his girlfriend Elsa and Burghart Klaussner ("The White Ribbon") will play Arthur Nebe, the head of the Criminal Police of the Reich Defense Office.
Shooting began yesterday and will continue through until early September. Locations include Berlin, the province of South Tyrol in North Italy, and the south »
- Garth Franklin
Shooting on Georg Elser, a portrait of the resistance fighter who tried to assassinate Hitler in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller in November 1939, started yesterday (July 2) in Wackershofen, Southern Germany.
It marks a return to Hirschbiegel’s home turf after making biopic Diana, about the last two years in the life of Princess Diana, which was poorly received by critics.
Hirschbiegel replaces Torsten C. Fischer, who had previously been attached to direct.
In the upcoming film, Christian Friedel (The White Ribbon) will play Elser, Katharina Schüttler (Generation War) will portray his girlfriend Elsa and and Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) will play head of the Criminal Police of the “Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Defense Office) Arthur Nebe.
The crew includes »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Repped in international markets by Munich-based Beta Cinema, the historical drama toplines “The White Ribbon” stars Christian Friedel and Burghart Klaußner, as well as Katharina Schüttler (“Generation War”).
Written by Fred Breinersdorfer (“Sophie Scholl”), the drama portrays Georg Elser, a German carpenter who had assembled a bomb and plotted an attack on Hitler in November 1939, shortly after the start of WWII. The failed assassination attempt led Elser to be imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp where he was killed 70 years ago, just a few days before the end of the war.
- Elsa Keslassy
If you're interested in an anniversary conversation that really has some bearing on today's film industry, I highly recommend American Cinematographer's recent chat with "Collateral" Dp Dion Beebe. It's been nearly a decade (if you can believe it) since Beebe and Paul Cameron carved out a serious place for digital with that film, earning an American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) nomination in the process. It got me thinking about the history of the industry's acceptance of digital as reflected in the nominations handed out by both the Asc and Academy's cinematography branch over the last 10 years. Academy members were a bit slower on the uptake, as you might recall. Beebe and Cameron were snubbed by the branch despite the Asc nomination. Of course, that was still a dicey time for the technology. The first feature films shot digitally were Lars Von Trier's "The Idiots" and Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration, »
- Kristopher Tapley
The universal theme of personal principle vs. human necessity gets a workout in languid but inexorably powerful morality play, “Runoff.” Set against the backdrop of an economically challenged rural America, and driven by a riveting performance from Joanne Kelly (TV series “Warehouse 13,” “Hostages”) as a woman who discovers how far she’s willing to go to save the family farm, the film is an impressive calling card for first-time writer-director Kimberly Levin, and could sustain an arthouse run for a savvy distributor with a nationwide strategy. After the movie’s debut in competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the bees in the field won’t be the only things buzzing.
A slow montage accompanied by an appropriately foreboding dirge of drum and strings shows us elements of the food chain — establishing the thing most at risk in the film — before the camera settles in on Betty Freeman (Kelly »
- Bill Edelstein
Quentin Tarantino, during his Cannes Film Festival press conference (watch it here), mentioned an email chain he was a part of where he and some friends discussed what they believed to be the ten most exciting directors working today. Among those listed he said only David Fincher and Richard Linklater where in everyone's top ten, he wasn't sure why Pedro Almodovar wasn't on everyone's list and he also qualified what he believed it meant for a director to be the "most exciting". Here's how he put it: "I think what that means is, you feel that their best work is still in front of them. That's what makes a filmmaker exciting, that's what makes you anticipate a new movie coming out. Because the new movie could be their best one. From this day on that will be the new barometer from which they're judged. We could be wrong, and their »
- Brad Brevet
Award-winning director and screenwriter Michael Haneke is apparently about to begin production work on his next film, Flashmob. The two-time Palme d’Or recipient – who mounted the Cannes Film Festival podium for both The White Ribbon in 2009, and Amour in 2012 – will begin shooting the movie this summer, sparking expectations of a triumphant return to La Croisette in 2015.
While details are sketchy, it seems that Flashmob is a multi-character drama, featuring a story set partly in the Us and focusing on the “fragile relationship between media and reality.” The plot will apparently involve a variety of different people who connect on the internet, before their individual stories come together for the titular flashmob.
Those details certainly sound like a Short Cuts for the digital age, but this type of story is something Haneke has been exploring in different ways for decades. The distancing effect of the trappings of modern society are regular themes in his work, »
- Sarah Myles
Being one of the most incendiary filmmakers of the past couple of decades, Michael Haneke’s projects are always highly anticipated. Having focused on screen violence in both the European and Us versions of Funny Games, the causes of World War I in The White Ribbon and the nature of love beyond pensionable age in Amour, his next movie (though he probably wouldn’t like it to be called that) Flashmob concerns a distinctly 21st century phenomenon. Known to the wider world through its use in advertising, flashmobbing is a random, often mystifying event performed live without warning by a group of conspirators. Random and mystifying isn’t a bad way to describe Haneke’s own work so this could be an excellent fit and not just a case of an elderly man attempting to get down with the trends.
Taking place partly in America, the narrative (again apologies to »
- Steve Palace
It was reported a little over a week ago that Alfonso Cuaron was in "deep talks" to direct the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at Warner Bros., but that appears to be false. Speaking with Spanish news agency Efe (via Digital Spy), Cuaron doesn't sound like he wants anything to do with heavy visual effects coming off the effects-heavy feature Gravity, at least for the time being. "Directing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was a very beautiful experience for me," Cuaron said. "I have a lot of love for that universe and I tremendously admire J.K. Rowling, but today, for the present, projects based around lots of visual effects don't attract me. I'm coming out of a five-year process of doing visual effects and now I sort of want to clean my palate of that a little bit." Oh, and the talk of »
- Brad Brevet
★★★★☆Following on from the Cannes premieres of her first two features, Lovely Rita (2001) and Hotel (2004), Jessica Hausner's Amour Fou (2014) - which screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival this week - is a quietly effective denunciation of the idea of dying for love. It's a reserved period piece, but as with her brilliant Venice entry Lourdes (2009), it's Hausner's restraint that ends up imbuing her argument with power. We meet German romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel, who audiences may recognise from fellow Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning The White Ribbon) as a young, melancholy poet more than a little in love with the notion of death.
- CineVue UK
The deadline for project submissions for Fest Pitching Forum 2014 is May 31. The Forum will be held on June 27 in Espinho, Portugal.
The Forum accepts film projects of all types and duration, fiction or documentary. Only 15 projects will be selected. There is an entry fee of Euro 50.
More than 10 film producers, financiers and film developers will evaluate the projects and be present in the Fest Pitching Forum, including Tim Corrie (Deputy Director of the BAFTAs) Gareth Willey (Producer of “Match Point” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) and Michael Katz (Producer of “Amour” and “The White Ribbon”).
Fest Pitching Forum is a unique opportunity for filmmakers, who are looking to finance, produce or develop new projects, to present their projects to top industry producers, In a 6 minute pitch, each participant will be asked to unwrap their project, in whatever way seems more appropriate. The forum will have video and power-point projection facilities.
At the end of each pitch, »
The 12 Years a Slave actor will play a former Mi-5 agent who heads to Boston, Massachusetts to aid a team of FBI agents, who are investigating an unsolved murder.
Read our review of 2009's The Secret in Their Eyes
The original movie was made in 2009 by Argentine director Juan José Campanella, who also co-wrote the script.
The film is to begin production in Boston later this year. »
11 Cannes Film Festival classics have been made available to watch online through the BFI Player.
Cinema fans will be able to rent any of the titles - including Palme d'Or winners Apocalypse Now, Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - for £2 until Sunday, May 18 as part of the collection's introductory offer.
The BFI Player's list of films includes four Palme d'Or winners, three holders of the Caméra d'Or, a pair of Grand Prix classics and two films from Un Certain Regard.
The full list of BFI Player titles is as follows:
Apocalypse Now (1979)The White Balloon (1995)Tulpan (2008)A Prophet (2009)Dogtooth (2009)The White Ribbon (2009)Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)Las acacias (2011)The Kid with a Bike (2011)Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)
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