8 items from 2017
May kicked off the summer movie season, but June brings some studio tentpoles actually worth seeing (yes, we didn’t like that one everyone else did last month). Along with popcorn entertainment, there’s some of the finest independent films of the year, ranging from a long-delayed final feature from a late master to Sundance favorites and more. We should also note that, despite getting a release last year, IFC seems to be putting the Palme d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake back in theaters this week, and we recommend seeking it out if you missed it.
Matinees to See: Past Life (6/2), Band Aid (6/2), My Cousin Rachel (6/9), Megan Leavey (6/9), Score: A Film Music Documentary (6/16), Maudie (6/16), Harmonium (6/16), The Journey (6/16), All Eyez on Me (6/16), Lost in Paris (6/16), Pop Aye (6/28), The House (6/30), and The Little Hours (6/30).
15. It’s Only the End of the World (Xavier Dolan; June 30)
Synopsis: It would have been a lovely family dinner. »
- Jordan Raup
East meets West, and the two gingerly fall in love through art in Charles de Meaux’s “The Lady in the Portrait,” a period yarn evoking the unique rapport between a French missionary and the Manchurian Empress whose portrait he’s ordered to paint. Exquisitely-costumed and voluptuously shot, the film evokes life in the Qing Dynasty court with studied elegance and rare intimacy that make it more than just another Bertolucci or Zhang Yimou wannabe. Added last minute to the Cannes official selection as a tribute to Chinese diva Fan Bingbing, who’s serving on the jury, the film will definitely pique art-house interest in Europe, but isn’t likely to make a dent in China’s commercially driven market.
If anything, the story itself serves as an allegory of Chinese-Western co-productions, in which both sides are simultaneously turned on and put off by each other’s values and working methods. »
- Maggie Lee
“The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” marks the first English-language film from French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan, the 28-year-old filmmaker behind such films as “Mommy, “Laurence Anyways” and “Tom at the Farm.” The film is set for release in 2018, and now we have photos from the set, released exclusively by Collider.
10 years after the death of television star John F. Donovan (Kit Harington), a young actor opens up about the written correspondence they once shared. Susan Sarandon plays John’s mother, Grace Donovan. “When editing, [during a shooting break] it became clear that the heart of this film would be the mother-son relationships,” Dolan told Collider. “And you, know that realization didn’t bother me. I could spend the rest of my life talking about mothers and sons and still be »
- Yoselin Acevedo
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Evolution (Lucile Hadžihalilovic)
Near the beginning of Evolution, there’s a shot that hangs underwater, showing a seemingly harmonious aquatic eco-system that’s glimpsed just long enough to create the sense of something that, while somewhat familiar, is distinctly outside the human world. This fleeting image though shows the promise of the film Evolution could’ve been. – Ethan V. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Fire at Sea and »
- The Film Stage
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways (2012) is showing March 18 - April 17, 2017 in the United States.In a 2012 interview, the great French actor Melvil Poupaud said of his meeting with Canadian wonderboy director Xavier Dolan in Laurence Anyways that it had been one of the great moments in his career. Poupaud had identified four directors that gave him the gift of transformative roles:Raúl Ruiz (in 1983’s City of Pirates, when the actor was only 10), Éric Rohmer (in 1996’s A Summer’s Tale), François Ozon (in 2005’s Time to Leave) and Dolan in what was then only the director’s third feature. Whether the Canadian will go down in history like the revered Ruiz and Rohmer or be more of a hit-and-miss journeyman like Ozon, only the future will be able to tell. But there is no denying that, ever since »
Exclusive: Company scores sales on titles inlcuding Middleground, Petersburg, A Selfie, and Aestetik.
Fledgling Russian sales outfit Indie Vision, the arthouse label of Moscow-based Russian World Vision, has announced deals on its inaugural European Film Market (Efm) slate.
These include a multi-picture deal with Chinese outfit Hugoeast.
Also on Indie Vision’s inaugural Efm slate (and already sold to Hugoeast) is Petersburg, A Selfie, a seven-story portmanteau pic set in St Petersburg and with seven female directors helming each segment. It is described as an anthology film in the vein of Paris, I Love You. One of the producers is Sergey Selyanov (Brother, Mongol).
Indie Vision has closed an unusual deal with Al-Jazeera on its animated short Listening To Beethoven, directed by legendary Russian animator Garry Bardin. The film screened in the Cannes Quinzaine.
The company »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
Maintaining its acquisition of select upscale fest hits, Philadelphia-based Breaking Glass Pictures has picked up North American rights to “Jesus,” Fernando Guzzoni’s wrenching father-son drama-thriller which is set against a background of youth cut adrift in contemporary Chile.
Well-reviewed – Variety praised Guzzoni’s “striking” second feature – “Jesus” will have its U.S. premiere on Jan. 27 at the Neighboring Voices Series held by the Film Society of New York’s Lincoln Center.
Chilean Guzzoni established himself as a talent to track winning the San Sebastian New Directors Award with his debut, “Dog Flesh,” a portrait of a former torturer under Augusto Pinochet, suggesting old habits of violence die hard.
Exploring the anomie of much modern day youth and Chile’s generational chasm and insinuating the spinelessness of an older generation of Chileans, “Jesus” joins a Breaking Glass film roster which includes Xavier Dolan’s Cannes-winner “Laurence Anyways,” Dominican Republic-set “Sand Dollars, »
- John Hopewell
Xavier Dolan’s latest family drama “It’s Only the End of the World” made its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it garnered polarizing reviews and won the coveted Grand Prix award. It spent all last year on the festival circuit, screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, AFI Fest and more. It also recently made the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film despite not currently having U.S. distribution. Though it’s already been released in France, it will finally hit UK theaters next month. Watch the UK trailer for the film below.
Read More: ‘It’s Only the End of the World’ Reviews: Xavier Dolan’s Latest Is a ‘Total Misfire’
- Vikram Murthi
8 items from 2017
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