18 items from 2015
Written by Damián Szifron
Directed by Damián Szifron
Wild Tales fulfills an Argentine need for release and catharsis. It’s engineered to reflect the zeitgeist or, at least, its own interpretation of the national mood. It stages a multidirectional offensive against marriage, city and national governments, illogical bureaucracy, class and ethnic resentment, and even parenthood. Damián Szifrón, its director and writer, locates six unconnected narratives in clearly Argentine contexts, but mostly avoids specifics: they happen in the present day, are symptomatic of ongoing social and political tensions, but also occur during an unspecified time, as likely today as yesterday and tomorrow, and no people, groups, or parties are explicitly singled out for criticism. No one and everyone is to blame for our spiteful and violent collective moment.
This is no subtle analysis of reasons and origins, only a spectacular, sensational snapshot, or rather an hilarious, infinitely-watchable, and ultimately adolescent cry. »
- Guido Pellegrini
Scott Foundas: Well, Peter, another Berlin Film Festival has come to a close, ending on a high note with the awarding of its top prize, the Golden Bear, to Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi.” Panahi’s film screened right at the start of the festival and emerged as an early consensus favorite among critics here. As it turns out, the Darren Aronofsky-led jury felt the same way, and I’d like to think their decision was based solely on the movie’s artistic merits, rather than the unfortunate position in which its director finds himself in his native Iran, where he’s been under house arrest for the last four years. It’s impossible, of course, to watch “Taxi” without thinking about the unusual circumstances under which it was made — something this highly self-reflexive film very much invites you to do. But what makes “Taxi” a great movie, I think, »
- Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas
Sony Pictures Classics acquired North and Latin American distribution rights to Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Nazi-era drama 13 Minutes early on at the Berlin Film Festival. The story of Georg Elser, who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939, has its official screening out of competition today and was met with high praise from the press corps this morning. This is a return to familiar territory for the Oscar-nominated Downfall director after 2013’s savaged English-language biopic Diana.
A compelling portrait of the resistance fighter, 13 Minutes is not the first time Elser’s story has come to the screen, but is a rarity. Klaus Maria Brandauer starred in and directed Seven Minutes in 1989 which focused more on the building of Elser’s poorly-timed bomb. The failed deed was put in motion during a speech given by Hitler for the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. The bomb Elser had placed behind the lectern detonated »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Before making yet another film about the Third Reich, it would be wise for filmmakers to ask why. Is it to “never forget,” or is it because there always seems to be funding available for a Nazi pic? Oliver Hirschbiegel’s cinematic return to the era, “13 Minutes,” resurrects the story of Georg Elser, Hitler’s would-be assassin in 1939, yet as with countless films set in the period, the absence of subtlety combined with predictable dollops of sentimentalism once again trivialize events in the name of making them understandable. Unsurprisingly, international sales have been brisk, and Sony Classics’ early Berlinale pickup indicates confidence in the possibilities for a full-scale U.S. rollout.
Why is it taking so long for people to question whether a constant stream of trite movies on major subjects is really the best way to commemorate a tragedy? The answer, unfortunately, is that simplistic movies make the unfathomable comprehensible, »
- Jay Weissberg
Sony Pictures Classics has grabbed North American and Latin American rights to "13 Minutes" from Beta Cinema and director Oliver Hirschbiegel. Starring Christian Fridel and Burghart Klaußner of "The White Ribbon," and co-starring Katharina Schüttler and Johann von Bülow, the film follows a carpenter "who could have changed world history and saved millions of human lives. If only he had had 13 more minutes. With 13 more minutes, the bomb he had personally assembled would have torn apart Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. But this was not to be, and on 8 November 1939, Hitler left the scene of the attempted assassination earlier than expected - leaving Elser to fail catastrophically," per the press release. Hirschbiegel is best known for his Academy Award-nominated "Downfall," the 2004 German-language, WWII-era drama about the last days of Hitler. "13 Minutes" is produced by Lucky Bird Pictures in »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Berlin – In the biggest buy to date on a high-profile film at the Berlin Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American and Latin American rights to “13 Minutes,’” directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (“The Downfall”), and a chronicle of the attempted assassination of Hitler.
Sold by Beta Cinema, “13 Minutes” plays out of competition at this year’s Berlinale.
“13 Minutes” stars Christian Friedel (“The White Ribbon”), Katharina Schuettler (“Generation War”) and Burghart Klaussner (“The White Ribbon”). The film centers on Georg Elser’s failed bomb attack on Hitler on Nov. 8, 1939, in the Munich Buergerbraukeller, where the Nazi dictator left the scene only 13 minutes before the explosion. 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.
Georg Elser, the film argues, was a man who could have changed world history »
- John Hopewell
The Polish film "Ida" is now the 49th film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film race and also gain another Oscar nomination. The film's other nod is in Best Cinematography for Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski. But does that extra attention from another branch actually boost its chances to win in the foreign category against "Leviathan," "Tangerines," "Timbuktu," and "Wild Tales"? -Break- Updated: Experts' Oscars predictions in 24 categories Only two films have been in the same situation "Ida" is in since the Foreign Language category was permanently created in 1956. "Farewell My Concubine" (1993) from Hong Kong and "The White Ribbon" (2009) from Germany gained additional bids in cinematography. Both films lost in both categories. Four other films have been nominated in other categories in addition to Foreign Film and Cinematography: " »
The weirdly compelling story of 19th-century author Heinrich von Kleist’s dark desire for a married woman has an undertone of absurdity
Jessica Hausner’s Amour Fou is a strange tragicomic chamber piece based on the life of the 19th-century author Heinrich von Kleist. The film is as carefully composed and disquieting as earlier Hausner films such as Lourdes (2009) and Hotel (2004) but more inert, more deathly: an effect entirely deliberate.
It is set in the Berlin of the Romantic era, where von Kleist has had a sensational success with his 1808 novel The Marquise of O. Christian Friedel – who played the kindly schoolteacher in Haneke’s The White Ribbon – is Heinrich himself, overwhelmed at despair at the human condition and longing for death. Conceiving a doomed passion for a young married woman Henriette Vogel (Birte Schnoeink), he tries to persuade her to join him in a suicide pact, having failed to »
- Peter Bradshaw
By Anjelica Oswald
Of the five foreign-language films nominated this year, Poland’s Ida is the only film to receive an Oscar nomination in another category. The black-and-white film is nominated for best cinematography.
Eighteen foreign-language films have received nominations for their cinematography and four have won. Only six of the 18 films were also nominated for best foreign-language film; however, three of the six won for their cinematography.
The first foreign-language film to earn both a best foreign-language film nomination and a cinematography nomination was Sweden’s Fanny & Alexander in 1984. The film won both awards, as well as best art direction and costume design. Writer-director Ingmar Bergman was also nominated for best director and original screenplay.
Ten years later, Hong Kong’s Farewell My Concubine received both nominations as well. It lost the foreign-language race to Spain’s Belle Epoque and lost the cinematography award to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, »
- Anjelica Oswald
★★★★☆ Jessica Hausner's Amour Fou (2014) has enjoyed considerable praise since it premiered in the Un Certain Regard section back at the Cannes Film Festival last May and is a quietly effective denunciation of the idea of dying for love. It's a reserved period piece, but as with her brilliant 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 Vienna and Luxembourg-based firm, co-founded by Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu and Bady Minck, are currently at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) (Jan 21-Feb 1) for the world premiere of its new film, Dreams Rewired narrated by Tilda Swinton.
Speaking in Rotterdam, the producers revealed that the first project in development with Jelinek is La Belle Dormeuse (The Beautiful Woman Sleeping), to be directed by Ulrike Ottinger. It is described by the producers as “a modern feminist vampire story”.
The second is Die Liebhaberinnen (Women As Lovers), which is adapted from Jelinek’s 1975 novel of the same name and will be directed by newcomer Caroline Kox.
Amour Fou is already producing a short film by Kox, titled Casting A Woman.
The Jelinek projects are likely to shoot in 2016.
In the meantime, the company »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
A fiercely committed ensemble and an exquisite sense of historical detail conspire to cast a highly atmospheric spell in “The Witch,” a strikingly achieved tale of a mid-17th-century New England family’s steady descent into religious hysteria and madness. Laying an imaginative foundation for the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials that would follow decades later, writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche. With its formal, stylized diction and austere approach to genre, this accomplished feat of low-budget period filmmaking will have to work considerable marketing magic to translate appreciative reviews into specialty box-office success, but clearly marks Eggers as a storyteller of unusual rigor and ambition.
A New England-born, Brooklyn-based talent who started out in the theater, Eggers has several film »
- Justin Chang
Wenders’ 3D film “Every Thing Will Be Fine” stars James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams. Franco plays Tomas, a writer who accidentally causes the death of a child and spends the next 12 years examining the effect of the tragedy on his life and that of Kate, the child’s mother.
As previously announced, the festival is to present Wenders with an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement, and will screen 10 of his movies as part of an homage. Wenders directed seminal pics like “Paris, Texas” and “Wings of Desire,” and has been nominated three times for an Oscar, most recently for “The Salt of the Earth.”
Larrain’s “The Club,” which was shot off the radar, turns on four disgraced priests, who »
- Leo Barraclough
Good Morning Oscar fans! Today is nomination day!
Wamg was in the thick of nomination morning fever at the home of the Oscars – the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Prior to the announcement, A.M.P.A.S. and the show’s producing team, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, gave the press assembled in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre a first look at the new Oscar promo featuring host Neil Patrick Harris, titled “Anything Can Happen,” and given what went down this morning, that’s certainly the case.
Let’s get right to the big shockers – No Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature or Life Itself in Best Documentary Feature.
Also missing among the presumed nominees were Ava DuVernay (Selma, directing), Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, directing), Jennifer Aniston (Cake, best actress), David Oyelowo (Selma, best actor), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, best actor), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, best actor), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, »
- Movie Geeks
The cinema of Michael Haneke may be described as cold, distant, even isolating, as the Austrian auteur prizes the examination of estrangement and the discontent of families or individuals trapped within the confines of what we refer to as modern society. He also cares little for coddling audiences, often directly criticizing what we’ve come to expect and desire from cinematic narratives. Starting out as a director in television in the early 1970′s, it would be his 1989 feature debut The Seventh Continent that first garnered attention, followed by 1992′s Benny’s Video (starring Angela Winkler), which played at Director’s Fortnight, as did his 1994 title 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. In 1997, Haneke would direct a television adaptation of Kafka’s The Castle, starring Susanne Lothar and Ulrich Muhe, the acting couple that would headline one of his most galvanizing titles also that year with Funny Games, »
- Nicholas Bell
Working with the likes of Bonello, Östlund, Assayas, Hansen-Løve and Baumbach, when you count the 2014 festival release year alone, actor Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin; Funny Games U.S.; Simon Killer) has built quite the impressive resume working with the auteur set. While The Childhood of a Leader is his feature length directing debut, this counts as back to back years working in the filmmaker capacity when you take into account his writing creds in Mona Fastvold’s overlooked ’14 title, The Sleepwalker, and the soon to be premiered Sundance short Rabbit, by filmmaker Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre. Initially announced as starring Juliette Binoche (Corbet’s co-star from Clouds of Sils Maria), she was later replaced by Berenice Bejo. It goes without saying that most of the attention will be placed on Robert Pattinson, continuing his tour of difficult, auteur driven and inspired cinematic projects, »
- Nicholas Bell
While she’s mostly known for having co-written Gaspar Noe’s infamous 2009 film, Enter the Void, Lucile Hadzihalilovic is an accomplished director of her own right, having made the underappreciated 2004 film Innocence (trailer below), which is a strange, meditative, and very creepy film about a boarding school for young girls and starred Marion Cotillard. Now, she’s back over a decade later with her sophomore film, Evolution. The story revolves around 11-year-old Nicolas, who lives with his mother in a seaside housing estate. The only place that ever sees any activity is the hospital. It is there that all the boys from the village are forced to undergo strange medical trials that attempt to disrupt the phases of evolution. Hadzihalilovic cites The Island of Dr. Moreau as inspiration, and the film stars Roxane Duran (supporting player from The White Ribbon, 17 Girls, »
- Nicholas Bell
By Anjelica Oswald
The nine foreign-language films shortlisted by the Academy hail from three continents: South America, Europe and Africa. From South America, Argentina’s Wild Tales and Venezuela’s The Liberator made the list. From Africa, Mauritania’s Timbuktu did as well. From Europe, Estonia’s Tangerines, Georgia’s Corn Island, the Netherlands’ Accused, Poland’s Ida, Russia’s Leviathan and Sweden’s Force Majeure all made the top nine.
This year could mark the first Oscar nomination for Estonia, Georgia, Mauritania (whose film was the country’s first Oscar-submitted film) and Venezuela. Argentina, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden have each received two Oscar nominations in the past 14 years. Of those four countries, Argentina is the only one to win an Oscar, which it did in 2010 for The Secret in Their Eyes. If Russia lands a nomination, it will be the country’s second in the 21st century. »
- Anjelica Oswald
18 items from 2015
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