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Film Review: ‘By the Rails’

Film Review: ‘By the Rails’
A young couple’s relationship coalesces and fragments repeatedly, for cloudily motivated reasons, over the course of one fraught night in the diffuse and often frustrating third feature from Romanian director Catalin Mitulescu (“The Way I Spent the End of the World,” “Loverboy”). With episodic pacing despite the controlled one-night time frame, the film lacks any real buildup of momentum; in fact, the stakes seem to dwindle as the sky lightens and the ceaselessly turning wheel of make-up and break-up just keeps on spinning. The performances are committed, and nearly the whole middle section of the film is taken up with an entertainingly rambunctious wedding party that feels authentic in its random outbursts of violence and excessive sentimentality, but “By the Rails” stumbles hard in making its characters’ moody behaviors relatable, or even particularly interesting to anyone but, apparently, each other.

The solipsism of the central relationship essentially derives from
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Karlovy Vary Review: ‘By The Rails’ Is A Romanian Relationship Drama That Hits A Dead End

Karlovy Vary Review: ‘By The Rails’ Is A Romanian Relationship Drama That Hits A Dead End
Adrian’s wife, Eva, appears to be the only woman who doesn’t want to have sex with him. Working as a waiter at a beautiful Italian beach resort, Adrian (Alexandru Potaceanu) is surprised to discover that the air grows thick when he tells his boss that he wants some time off in order to visit his spouse and their son, whom he hasn’t seen in a year. His employer is resentful — burned too many times by migrant workers who have promised to return only to leave her in the lurch — but she also appears to feel rejected. On the long bus back towards Bucharest, there’s an encounter with another passenger, a girl whose overture towards Adrian is so subtle that it makes the gestures in “Carol” seem virtually pornographic by comparison.

When he arrives in Romania, however, he finds that Eva (Ada Condeescu) is cold and distant
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Sarajevo CineLink selection revealed

Sarajevo CineLink selection revealed
Tinatin Kajrishvili, Aida Begic, Hüseyin Karabey films among lineup.

Sarajevo Film Festival’s co-production market CineLink, which will take place during the final days of the festival’s 21st edition (Aug 14-22), has unveiled its full selection.

Nine projects have been added to the previously announced eight, including three guest projects from Qatar, Syria and Russia.

The selection targets projects from established regional names, which are in advanced stage of development and financing.

The line-up includes Georgian director Tinatin Kajrishvili’s Manji, the filmmaker’s second feature after 2014 Berlinale title Brides.

Also featured is A Ballad, the third film by Bosnian film-maker Aida Begić, who won awards at Cannes with Snow in 2008 and Children Of Sarajevo in 2012.

Coming from Turkey is Hamarat Apartment, the new feature by Hüseyin Karabey, whose feature debut My Marlon And Brando received the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actress for Ayca Damgaci in 2008, and whose last outing Come To My Voice won the
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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #84. Catalin Mitulescu’s Rumeno


Director: Catalin Mitulescu // Writer: Catalin Mitulescu

2015 is shaping up to be a big year for several of Romania’s most noted auteurs, and among them is the more obscure Catalin Mitulescu, whose first two features The Way I Spent the End of the World (2006) and Loverboy (2011) both premiered at Cannes, though the latter film never received Us distribution. His latest, Rumeno, stars Alexandru Potocean of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days and reunites him with Loverboy actress Ada Condeescu (who also starred in the Mitulescu produced If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle and Love Island). Deserving of equal acclaim as his peers, we’re hoping his third feature secures a wider audience. The film revolves around Radu, a young man who returns to his Romanian family after working for one year in Italy. He is warmly welcomed by his wife Monica and his small son, Luca, but both seem very different.
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Venice Market to Showcase ‘Bang Gang,’ ‘Dead & Beautiful,’ ‘Sworn Virgin’

Venice Market to Showcase ‘Bang Gang,’ ‘Dead & Beautiful,’ ‘Sworn Virgin’
Madrid – Eva Husson’s “Bang Gang,” David Verbeek’s “Dead & Beautiful” and Laura Bispuri’s “Sworn Virgin” (pictured) will be presented at the first Venice European Gap-Financing Co-production Market, which runs August 29-30.

In its first edition, the Market looks set to bring to Venice a brace of Europe’s newest generation of producers, some with already buzzed-up or anticipated projects with sales agents attached.

10 of the 15 production companies behind the Market’s film have been up-and-running for just a decade or less.

The Market also looks set to pinpoint trends in European cinema: A diaspora in shoot locales which range, in a search for originality as much as lower costs, beyond Europe to Beijing and India; the still energetic social-issue focus of much European arthouse production as directors examine youth sexuality in an Internet age, politics as theater, the impact of immigration, social conformity and the abuse of authority.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Review: ‘Love Island’

Film Review: ‘Love Island’
Helmers with an impressive run of serious-issue movies should be applauded for changing style occasionally and making comedies, yet Jasmila Zbanic’s cringe-worthy “Love Island” is a misfire on all counts. Set in a Croatian summer resort populated by kooky holiday makers, this Europudding laffer follows a couple whose marriage turns rocky when the pregnant wife reconnects with her first love, another woman. Aiming for a “Mamma Mia” vibe but even more cartoonish, the pic will no doubt get decent distribution in Europe, and may see respectable returns in dubbed versions.

French Liliane (Ariane Labed, “Alps,” “Before Midnight”) and Bosnian Grebo (Ermin Bravo, in his third Zbanic film) come to the coast from Sarajevo for sun and fun. Grebo in particular lets loose, demonstrating his former-rocker chords to an appreciative audience of vacationers who are keen to party. Then Liliane locks eyes with Flora (Ada Condeescu, “Loverboy”), the entertainment hostess at the resort,
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Top 200 Most Anticipated Films for 2014: #152. Jasmila Zbanic’s Love Island

Love Island

Director: Jasmila Zbanic

Writers: Aleksandar Hemon, Jasmila Zbanic

Producers: Deblokada Produkcija, Komplizen Film, Okofilm Productions, Ziva Produkcija

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available

Cast: Ariane Labed, Franco Nero, Ada Condeescu, Leon Lucev

We’re ecstatic to see Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic working so frequently. 2013 saw the premiere of For Those Who Can Tell No Tales in Toronto, and now she’s already wrapping up her fifth film, Love Island. Zbanic has assembled a rather intriguing cast, including Greek actress Ariane Labed, winner of the Best Actress award in Venice 2010 for Attenberg (she’s also appeared in Lanthimos’ Alps and Linklater’s Before Midnight) and Romanian actress Ada Condeescu from Loverboy and If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle. And oh, yeah, Franco Nero. The project received some bad news back in 2011 when it was rejected by the Cinema Fund of the Ministry of Culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina because
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Sarajevo unveils Competition line-up

  • ScreenDaily
Sarajevo unveils Competition line-up
Feature film competition five world premieres and four regional premieres, including multi award-winner In Bloom.

The Sarajevo Film Festival (Sff), running August 16-24, has announced the Feature, Short and Documentary Competition titles comprising 50 films.

Selectors and the Sff team viewed 750 films from the region, including 200 feature films, 150 documentaries and 400 short and animated films.

Across the three Competition sections are 15 world, seven international and 18 regional premieres.

The main competition will feature five world premieres including Carmen, the first feature by Romanian director Doru Nitescu.

It is a family drama co-written by Tudor Voican, known for Periferic and Medal of Honour. The Filmex Romania production stars Doru Ana from Principles of Life, Adrian Titieni from Child’s Pose and Maia Morgenstern.

Greek director Dimitris Bavellas’ debut feature Runaway Day is a black-and-white film exploring how young Greeks feel lost in modern day Athens, a city under financial occupation. It starts Maria Skoula from Wasted Youth.

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2013 Cannes Film Festival Predictions: Bogdan Mustata’s Wolf

#90. Bogdan Mustata’s Wolf

Gist: Featuring 2013 Shooting Star selected Ada Condeescu (Mustata co-wrote Loverboy which she also starred in) this is about a 16-year-old teen named Wolf, who lives with his mother in an apartment block in Bucharest. One day, Clara shows up in his neighborhood, deliciously interrupting his adolescent ennui. At the same time, Wolf’s deceased father makes a disturbing comeback.

Prediction: If our predictions turn out to be somewhat accurate, then the 2013 edition could contain a trio of items from Romania put unlike the Un Certain Regard trajectory that the Cannes selected Loverboy followed, I’m thinking that his drama might end up being bumped into the Director’s Fortnight section. The project was selected for the 2011 edition of the Cannes L’Atelier, and it’s currently well into the post-production phase so My is looking good.

prev next
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If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle’s Ada Condeescu & Lorna’s Silence’s Arta Dobroshi Among Shooting Stars Ten of 2013

Actress Ada Condeescu who has in just a trio of films (award-winning If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, the Cannes selected Loverboy and the much anticipated Wolf) and Arta Dobroshi’s whose stunning career resume began with the Dardenne’s Lorna’s Silence, Daniel Mulloy’s brilliant short Baby, and Catherine Corsini’s Cannes-selected Three Worlds are two of the ten names/faces who’ve been added to the list of 10 European actors selected as the 2013 Shooting Stars (annually presented at the Berlin Film Festival). Here is the complete list of ten names/faces to watch out for in European cinema:

Mikkel Boe Følsgaard: Nominated by Danish Film Institute

Laura Birn: Nominated by Finnish Film Foundation

Christa Theret: Nominated by uniFrance

Saskia Rosendahl: Nominated by German Films

Luca Marinelli: Nominated by Istituto Luce Cinecitta

Arta Dobroshi: Nominated by Kosova Cinematography Center

Ada Condeescu
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Romanian Presence for Cannes 2013?: Police, Adjective’s Corneliu Porumboiu Counts ‘A Nine-Minute Interval’

Critics who flock to Cannes every year and the cinephiles who can’t get enough of the Romania’s contributions to art-house cinema will be pleased to learn that (according to Filmneweurope) 12:08 East of Bucharest and Police, Adjective helmer Corneliu Porumboiu is currently in post production on his Bucharest-shot third feature entitled, A Nine-Minute Interval. Safe to say that we can pencil in this film about filmmaking as a 2013 Cannes contender as this also happens to be a French/Romanian co-production.

Gist: The logline I’ve managed to piece together is short and sweet, but this tells the story of Paul (Bogdan DumitracheThe Death of Mr. Lazarescu, How I Celebrated the End of the World, Loverboy, Best Intentions), a young filmmaker apparently working with the digital format.

Worth Noting: Romanian 42km Film’s Marcela Ursu is producing (this is her third time working with Porumboiu) alongside Les Films
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2013 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Bogdan Mustata’s Wolf

Better know as the Golden Bear winner for his short in 2008 (A Good Day for a Swim) and more recently, as the scribe for 2011′s Cannes selected Loverboy, it’s in 2013 that I think we’ll be adding a new name to Romanian imports worth keeping tabs on with Bogdan Mustata and his project is called Lupa aka Wolf. A project which has been helped along by the Torino Film Lab, Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award and Cannes International Film Festival’s L’Atelier, production began very late in 2011, so this one is officially in the can and stars newbie actor Mihai Vasilescu in the lead role, but also includes If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle/Loverboy starlet Ada Condeescu.

Gist: Wolf, a 16-year-old teenager (Mihai Vasilescu), lives with his mother in an apartment block in Bucharest. One day, Clara shows up in his neighborhood, deliciously interrupting his adolescent ennui.
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The 2012 Seattle Film Festival Line-Up is the Best I've Seen in Years

I can't remember a time I went to the Seattle International Film Festival (Siff) press launch and looked over the list of films and saw so many I was interested in seeing. The claim to fame for over the years is to call it the largest and most-highly attended festival in the United States. This is a fact I've often taken issue with as I don't equate quantity with quality. Granted, there has been a large number of quality features to play the fest over the years, including Golden Space Needle (Best Film) winners such as Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), My Life as a Dog (1987), Trainspotting (1996), Run Lola Run (1999), Whale Rider (2003) and even recent Best Director winner, Michel Hazanavicius's Oss 117: Nest of Spies in 2006. That said, looking over this year's crop of films I see a lot of films I will be doing my absolute best to see.
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"Breathing" Wins Big at Sarajevo Film Festival, Angelina Jolie Given Honorary Award

The Sarajevo Film Festival completed its 17th edition over the weekend by handing out several awards. The event's top honor, the Heart of Sarajevo Award for Best Film, went to Karl Markovics' "Breathing (Atmen)," while Konstantin Bojanov's "Avé" received the Special Jury Award. In additional awards, the Heart of Sarajevo Award for Best Actress went to Ada Condeescu for her performance in "Loverboy;" Thomas Schubert received the same for Best ...
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Wrapping Cannes 2011. Un Certain Regard

High time to round up the films at this year's Cannes Film Festival that never saw entries of their own and send them on their way. Today: Un Certain Regard.

"Bakur Bakuradze's The Hunter seems like a ficticious version of Raymond Depardon's Modern Life, a trilogy on farming that was screened in Cannes in 2008," finds Moritz Pfeifer, who also interviews the director for the East European Film Bulletin. "With no soundtrack, no professional actors, little dialogue and a minimalist plot, the film depicts the daily life of Ivan (Mikhail Barskovich) as he peacefully runs his pig farm in one of the less populous areas of northwestern Russia…. Clearly, Bakuradze wants to depict an alternative world, and the spirit of his film is more utopian than its hyper-realistic images suggest."

Grumbles the Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt: "There is maybe 10 to 15 minutes of actual story located within this 124 minute slog,
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Key Players in the 2011 Cannes Market: Celluloid Dreams

Celluloid Dreams, the Sales Agent and Production Co. based out of Paris have got a pair of films playing in the festival's line-up in the closing night film Honore's Beloved and the Ucr selected Loverboy from Romania. The top title in our books is Marjane Satrapi's Chicken with Plums which is currently in post and would currently be a contender for a Venice slot and Frederick Wiseman's next docu (see pic above) and an Italian number from Marco Bellocchio called Sorelle Mai. Here is their menu items: Beloved (Les Bien-AIMÉS) by Christophe HONORÉ - Completed Greetings To The Devil (Saluda Al Diablo De Mi Parte) by Carlos Esteban Orozco - Completed Loverboy by Catalin Mitulescu - Completed Another Silence by Santiago Amigorena - Post-Production Atrocious by Fernando Barreda Luna - Completed Bullhead (Rundskop) by Michaël R. Roskam - Completed Chicken With Plums (Poulet Aux Prunes) by Marjane Satrapi
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Cannes 2011. Lineup

  • MUBI
Updated through 4/20.

Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux announced that, out of 1715 submissions, 49 features from 33 countries have been selected in total for this year's Cannes Film Festival — four of them made by women, a record. 19 titles are lined up for the Competition so far, leaving room for surprise announcements from here on to the Opening Ceremony on May 11.


Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Inhabit. As noted yesterday, here's what Variety's Justin Chang had heard as of this past weekend: "In late March, it seemed that Almodóvar, a Cannes veteran who won prizes for All About My Mother and Volver, might skip the event altogether this year. Since 2004's Bad Education, the helmer has presented every one of his films in competition at the May fest, usually following a spring local release. The Sept 2 Spanish release date for The Skin That I Inhabit (which Sony Classics will release Stateside in
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