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Distributor TWC-Radius managed a difficult feat with an inspired marketing campaign for the release of foreign arthouse horror film Goodnight Mommy, the excellent directorial debut of duo Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz. In its seventy days of release during its Us theatrical run, the film racked up over a million in ticket sales and enjoyed some excellent word of mouth attention. The Venice premiered item has also acquired notable critical acclaim and, at the time of its Blu-ray release, has made it to the shortlist of possible nominees for a Best Foreign Language Academy Award nomination. Grisly, uncomfortable, and beautifully executed, it’s an unprecedented amount of attention considering the subject matter.
In the isolated Austrian countryside, nine-year-old twins Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) live alone with their mother (Susanne Wuest). Recently, she’s undergone cosmetic surgery, her face completely bandaged as she attempts to recover peacefully in their quiet home. »
- Nicholas Bell
It’s the nature of the beast: a quiet, left-of-center project that a famous woman writes, directs, and leads alongside her also-famous husband is labeled a “vanity project” and disposed of by know-nothing entertainment journalists before it has any fighting chance of making an impression. This is the fate that’s been assigned By the Sea, Angelina Jolie Pitt‘s third feature as a director, her first as a screenwriter, and a work that’s deeply fascinating because of who is making it.
Also responsible for its creation is Christian Berger, a cinematographer best-known for his multiple collaborations with Michael Haneke. By the Sea shows off a different set of skills, however, being a far warmer and intimate work, though voyeurism, a favorite focus of the Austrian director’s, becomes a major part of its fabric. (While using it rather excellently, I should add.) When the film came to Poland’s Camerimage International Film Festival, »
- Nick Newman
The Eyes Have It: Ray’s Unnecessary Remakes Pales Next to Source
Thanks to mainstream America’s huffy dismissal of subtitles when it comes to cinema, we continue with another unnecessary remake of a foreign film, Secret in Their Eyes, an English language, celebrity studded face-lift of Argentinean Juan Jose Campanella’s 2009 title (which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film that year). Screenwriter Billy Ray, after snagging his own Oscar nod in 2014 for penning Captain Philips, makes his third directorial effort here, following 2007’s Breach and 2003’s Shattered Glass. Reworking Campanella’s pulpy subtext into a post 9/11 Los Angeles neo noir, kudos to Ray for revisiting a particularly awkward moment within a provocative framework. But the result is a glossy, Hollywood reworking which never feels better than a subpar rehash of something much greater. To be fair, Campanella’s original has its own set of problems, with »
- Nicholas Bell
Long-buried truths are exhumed, and a foreign-language Oscar winner gets a clever but workmanlike Hollywood retooling, in “Secret in Their Eyes,” a time-shuffling tale of murder, corruption, paranoia and the many varieties of obses sion. Neatly swapping in post-9/11 counterterrorism for late-’70s Argentinean political upheaval, writer-director Billy Ray’s thriller-procedural plays like a serviceable feat of narrative surgery, though it does boast one masterstroke in the reworking of a key role, played here by Julia Roberts with a piercing restraint that silences any lingering doubt that she was born to be more than just America’s sweetheart. This second major release from Stx Entertainment (after the recent sleeper hit “The Gift”) should parlay its cast names, including Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor, into solid year-end counterprogramming.
- Justin Chang
The strained marriage of an artistic couple is at the heart of By the Sea, the new directorial effort from Angelina Jolie Pitt. She and husband Brad Pitt star as the unhappy pair and while most will be quick to prejudge and deem this a vanity project the movie while not perfect is much deeper than its superficial exterior. By the Sea is a deliberate departure for the Hollywood power couple, the kind of movie that was commonplace in the 70s but can only be made now with the influence of these two megastars. Everything from the immaculate cinematography by Christian Berger (The White Ribbon) to the lush score by legendary composer Gabriel Yared (The Talented Mr. Ripley) evokes a forgotten era of filmmaking. An era Jolie Pitt is obviously very familiar with and despite a few bumps in the road manages to create in her own unique style. Roland »
- Marco Cerritos
The Sterile Cuckoo: Jolie’s Handsome Relationship Drama is Long in Tooth
Moving on from last year’s suffocatingly honorable Pow reenactment drama Unbroken, Angelina Jolie returns with her third and most simplistic narrative to date with By the Sea. A small scale passion project which finds the director acting alongside her real-life husband and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) co-star Brad Pitt, Jolie proves, once again, she has great curatorial tastes as far as who she assembles both in front of and behind the camera.
Though this familiar scenario (Jolie’s first screenplay) is enhanced majestically by the public’s fascination with the celebrity couple, one gets the sense Jolie, inspired by a tradition of late 60s to 70s European influenced cinema examining dark nights of the soul, is a master of dissection and exhibition rather than homage. Sometimes visually stunning to behold, the film more often feels like an animated corpse, »
- Nicholas Bell
Retreating from wartime horrors (“Unbroken,” “In the Land of Blood and Honey”) to explore the less perilous minefield of a troubled marriage, Angelina Jolie Pitt pulls off a halfway compelling trick with “By the Sea,” an unabashed vanity project that struggles to turn its own beautiful inertia into a virtue. Drenched in so many photogenic shades of cream, tan and khaki that it might as well have been titled “Beige Valentine,” this glossy Euro-modernist-art-film throwback casts the writer-director and her husband, Brad Pitt, as a gorgeously unhappy 1970s American couple seeking to escape their demons during an extended stay on the Maltese coast. Meandering and overlong in ways that will test the patience of even die-hard Brangelina fans, the film ultimately feels too dramatically reductive and obvious to pull off its desired cocktail of Albee and Antonioni, limiting its appeal primarily to those viewers who can get drunk on visual pleasure alone. »
- Justin Chang
Berlin-based Films in Motion is partnering with Czech producer Sirena Film and Norway’s Merkur Films on two World War II-related films that promise high-caliber talent both in front and behind the camera.
Films in Motion, headed by U.S. producer Rene Asch, has recruited German helmer Jo Baier (“Henry of Navarre”) and award-winning Swiss filmmaker Markus Imboden (“The Foster Boy”) for the projects, both penned by American writer J. Frank James.
Spanish sales company Moonrise Pictures has picked up world sale rights for both titles, which are set to go into production next year.
Baier is attached to helm “Bones of the Wise Man,” which will be co-produced by Sirena and shot entirely in Prague.
The film, about a mentally challenged man manipulated into embarking on a seemingly impossible mission, is set to star Max Hopp (“Who Am I — No System Is Safe”), Benjamin Sadler (“One Breath”), Steffi Kuehnert (“The White Ribbon”), Silke Bodenbender, »
- Ed Meza
By The Sea – written, directed, produced by and starring Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie Pitt and also starring and produced by Academy Award winner Brad Pitt – will be the Opening Night Gala of AFI Fest 2015 presented by Audi on Thursday, November 5.
On Friday, Universal Pictures released a brand new trailer for the upcoming film.
By The Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives. In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience, By The Sea is inspired by European cinema and theater of the 1960s and 1970s. »
- Michelle McCue
One of the more curious projects that has yet to screen this year is Angelina Jolie Pitt’s follow-up to Unbroken, the intimate drama By the Sea. Co-starring alongside her husband, Brad Pitt, Jolie also scripted the feature, which follows them as a couple on a getaway in 1970’s France. The story specifically finds Jolie as Vanessa, a former dancer and Pitt as Roland, a writer, both entangled in a crumbling marriage as they find rejuvenation after coming across a quiet, seaside village. Today now brings a promising new trailer for the film set to debut at AFI Fest soon.
“I wanted to suggest and guide and give hints to the audience but not bore them or reveal all before the film itself. I like trailers that don’t explain the whole film; that tell you exactly what to expect,” Angelina Jolie Pitt tells EW. “It isn’t my intention »
- Leonard Pearce
The film is written, directed and produced by Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie Pitt. The dramatic film stars Brad Pitt and Jolie Pitt, who are supported by an international ensemble led by Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup and Richard Bohringer.
By the Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives.
In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience, By the Sea is inspired by European cinema and theater of the ’60s and ’70s. »
- Paul Heath
By the Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Brad Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Angelina Jolie), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Mélanie Laurent) and François (Melvil Poupaud) and village locals Michel (Niels Arestrup) and Patrice (Richard Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives. The supporting cast includes Sarah Naudi, George Camilleri, Anna Cachia and Frédéric Dessains. EW has our look at the new trailer.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt share the big screen for the first time since 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith in By the Sea. Angelina Jolie says she had an easier time writing and and directing the movie thanks to her husband. Universal Pictures has set a November 13 release date for By the Sea. »
London — Variety has been given exclusive access to the first trailer from the two-part TV drama “A Dangerous Fortune,” which is based on Ken Follett’s best-selling novel. Global Screen will be selling the show at Mipcom, the TV market that takes place in Cannes next week.
Follett’s book, which has sold more than 7 million copies, is set in Victorian London. It is a tale about “love, unfulfilled passion, greed, power, and political and amorous intrigues,” Global Screen said.
Rich banker’s son Hugh Pilaster is made an orphan when his father shoots himself. Hugh finds himself at the mercy of his beautiful, power-hungry aunt Augusta. Hugh and his best friend Solly venture into London’s underworld, and both fall in love with working-class beauty Maisie. When Solly takes the unthinkable step of proposing to Maisie, Hugh escapes to America. Six years later he returns rich and successful, only »
- Leo Barraclough
Historical thriller secures deals out of Toronto.
Beta Cinema’s The People vs. Fritz Bauer has scored a series of sales out of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Lars Kraume’s riveting historical thriller, which won the audience award at Locarno, has been acquired by Italy’s Valerio de Paolis Cinema, Caramel (Spain), Cineart (Benelux), Scanbox (Scandinavia), Strada Films (Greece), Lev Cinemas (Israel), Alfa Films (Argentina), and New Select (Japan).
As previously announced Arp has acquired France and LookNow! Switzerland.
Advanced negotiations are underway with distributors from the Us, according to Beta.
The film stars German actors Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Phoenix) and chronicles the efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer is produced by Thomas Kufus’ zero one film in co-production with Terz Film, Wdr, Hr and Arte.
German distributor is Alamode. »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Island of Lost Boys: Hadzihalilovic’s Triumphant Return to Enigmatic Filmmaking
French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic returns to the director’s seat for the first time since 2004’s Innocence with the equally austere Evolution, switching from the realm of ambiguously groomed schoolgirls to grapple with a bit of gender disorientation concerning a mysterious island of young boys. Co-written with Alante Kavaite (director of this year’s Summer of Sangaile), the film is a striking odyssey of psychological fears in relation to pregnancy and penetration. Recalling the earlier body horror works of Cronenberg as it recalibrates H.G. Wells’ classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, Hadzihalilovic strikes notes of unrelenting menace with this hypnotic nightmare of signs, symbols, and subversion.
Nicolas (Max Brebant) is ten years old and lives alone with his mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier) on an isolated island populated by other young boys his age who all live under similar circumstances. While swimming one day, »
- Nicholas Bell
Put aside everything you know about the birds and the bees. Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution” proposes an entirely new paradigm to explain where babies come from, burrowing into young men’s subconscious anxieties about those aspects of their biology that they can and cannot control — including fear of penetration and pregnancy — to create an unsettling companion piece to her 2005 arthouse provocation, “Innocence.” Whereas that film was rather faithfully adapted from Frank Wedekind’s boarding school-set novella, in which prepubescent girls are groomed for ambiguous adult roles, Hadzihalilovic’s latest nightmarish allegory is entirely her own invention, an open-ended visual feast that disconcertingly turns the tables on the snips-and-snails set for a narrow, yet discriminating cult audience.
In French, the words for mother (“mere”) and the sea (“mer”) are homonyms, but if such maternal associations make you think of Freud, don’t. “Evolution” is far more Jungian in its sense of the unconscious, »
- Peter Debruge
Some 33 German films and co-productions are set to unspool in various sections of this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Veteran auteurs and up-and-coming filmmakers alike are represented in the German contingent.
Wim Wenders’ 3D drama “Every Thing Will Be Fine” (pictured), making its North American premiere at Toronto, follows a struggling writer (James Franco) dealing with the consequences of a tragic car accident. Wenders says, “It’s the first film of its kind: an intimate family drama, told in three dimensions.” He calls the character-driven study the perfect story for the kind of 3D that he had in mind. “Three-d allows you to have a whole new insight into how people feel and think. It is capable of almost looking into their souls like with x-rays. It allows actors to play and interiorize their parts on a whole different level.”
Several pictures explore the consequences of the World War II. »
- Ed Meza
The Paris-based sales outfit will co-produce alongside X-Filme, Maha Productions, Dor Film and Ideale Audience, reuniting with producer Stefan Arndt (Cloud Atlas, The White Ribbon), with whom they worked on 2014 drama The Dark Valley.
Before Dawn, currently in post-production, charts the years in exile of the famous Jewish Austrian writer who struggled to reconcile himself to events in war torn 1930’s Europe before taking his own life in Brazil.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
Mom Without a Face: Fiala/Franz’s Fiction Debut a Mesmerizing Slice of Psychological Horror
Once you’re made aware that Goodnight Mommy is the fictional directorial debut from directing tandem Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz (partner to and writer of the works of Ulrich Seidl). A delightfully perverse purveyor of Austrian social dysfunction, you’ll know to expect something kind of twisted and bizarre. Fiala/Franz certainly delivers with an eerie portrait of identical twin horror that will eventually rank as one of the more notable titles in the slim subgenre. Effectively grotesque and downright chilling by the time it spits out its final frames, Franz unleashes her own brand of sinister familial interactions that proves to surpass even Seidl’s cynical worldview.
In the isolated Austrian countryside, nine-year-old twins Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) live alone with their mother (Susanne Wuest). Recently, she’s undergone cosmetic surgery, »
- Nicholas Bell
★★★★★ Part of the Orizzonti sidebar at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, actor Brady Corbet's debut feature The Childhood of a Leader (2015) combines an Ibsen-like austere family drama with a cinematic verve that's been sadly lacking on the Lido this year. A pounding orchestral overture (courtesy of the legendary Scott Walker) sets the scene as The Great War draws to a bloody, muddy and exhausted conclusion. It's 1919 and as President Wilson convenes European leaders in Paris to draw up a treaty of reparations and carve once more at the map of Europe, in a small house in the French countryside a seven-year-old boy, Prescott (Tom Sweet), collects stones to sling at parishioners leaving a local church.
It's the first of three tantrums which will divide the film into chapters. The child flees into the darkness, hurts himself and is carried back to his mother (Bérénice Bejo). They return to the »
- CineVue UK
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