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Here in my car by Anne-Katrin Titze

Claude Lelouch on Howard Hawks's Bringing Up Baby and his own La Bonne Année as films to watch to cheer you up: "Very good choices!" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up for tomorrow's opening night screening of Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael’s Ghosts (Les Fantômes D'Ismaël) starring Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard with Louis Garrel and Alba Rohrwacher, and a score by Grégoire Hetzel. Claude Lelouch with Un Homme Et Une Femme, starring Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant, in 1966 had won Palme d'Or honours and with Pierre Uytterhoeven, a Best Screenplay Oscar.

Mr and Mrs Gallois (Charles Denner and Judith Magre) with Simon (Jean‑Louis Trintignant) in Le Voyou: "One must learn how to detect cheaters."

Driving with Fanny Ardant, Dominique Pinon, and Audrey Dana in Roman De Gare, Abbas Kiarostami and cars, Un + Une in India with Jean Dujardin and Elsa Zylberstein,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek

Agnès Varda shooting “Lions Love (and Lies…)”: PhotoFest

Now is your chance to catch up on — or revisit — the works of Agnès Varda. Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek has announced an upcoming six-film series celebrating the acclaimed auteur’s work. Widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in modern French cinema, Varda briefly located to California in the late-1960s and 80s. It’s this time period that the film series, titled “Varda in California,” commemorates.

“Varda has often derived inspiration from her surroundings,” a press release from BAMcinématek notes. “Soaking in the people, landscapes, and politics of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area, Varda created films that reflect life in America as only an outsider (she) could see it. Eschewing the ever-present specter of Hollywood, Varda instead became fascinated by the political and social movements roiling the state’s sunny demeanor.”

Films screening include 1980’s “Mur Murs,” a documentary about murals in La and the artists who created them, and 1981’s “Documenteur,” a work of autobiographical fiction that centers on a French mother and son’s search to find a home in La.

“Varda in California” runs from May 31 to June 13. Check out the full schedule and synopses of the films below, courtesy of BAMcinématek. For more information and tickets, head over to BAMcinématek’s site.

Wed, May 31

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 1

4:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Fri, Jun 2

2pm: Model Shop4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sat, Jun 3

2pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sun, Jun 4

2pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Mon, Jun 5

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Tue, Jun 6

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Wed, Jun 7

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 8

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Fri, Jun 9

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Sat, Jun 10

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Model Shop

Sun, Jun 11

2pm: Model Shop

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Mon, Jun 12

8pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Tue, Jun 13

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Film Descriptions

*All films play multiple times throughout the series.*All films directed by Agnès Varda unless otherwise noted.

Black Panthers (1968) An unapologetically radical dispatch from the front lines of the Black Powermovement: Varda profiles members of the Black Panther Party as they fight for the freedom of imprisonedactivist Huey P. Newton. Dcp. 30min.

Documenteur (1981) With Sabine Mamou, Mathieu Demy, Tom Taplin. This moving work of autobiographical fiction follows a young French woman in Los Angeles as she copes with a recent breakup and wanders the city in search of a home for her and her son. Aptly subtitled “An Emotion Picture,” the mysterious, serenely melancholic Documenteur captures Varda’s ambivalent feelings about America. Dcp. 65min.

Lions Love (. . . And Lies) (1969) With Viva, James Rado, Gerome Ragni. This irresistibly kooky time capsule takes a bevy of 60s counterculture luminaries — Warhol superstar Viva, the creators of Hair, and filmmaker Shirley Clarke — and throws them together in a luxe Hollywood home. Madness ensues, as they make prank calls, “try out” parenting with a bunch of borrowed children, and revel in the joys of free love. It’s a wildly funny perspective on the hippy-dippy oddity of La as seen by Varda. Dcp. 90min.

Model Shop (1969) Dir. Jacques Demy. With Anouk Aimée, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay. Jacques Demy, along with his wife Varda, ventured to Hollywood for the one and only time in his career to make this tender, quintessentially La movie about the brief but momentous encounter between a failed architect (Lockwood) and a French erotica model (Aimée). It’s a gorgeous, pastel love letter to the “real” La — its sprawling freeways, parking lots, and seedy margins — far removed from the Dream Factory fantasy. Dcp.97min.

Mur Murs (1980) Varda takes her camera through the streets of late-70s Los Angeles to document the vibrant murals that cover the walls of the city and the artists who made them. Mur Murs is both an essential record of La’s street art and a lively celebration of the city’s diversity. Dcp. 80min.

Uncle Yanco (1967) Varda’s first American film — in which she journeys to meet a long lost bohemian relative living in Sausalito — is a freewheeling family affair that grooves on the good vibes of sun-kissed 60s California. Dcp. 18min.

Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Jacques Demy’s international breakthrough musical gives us Catherine Deneuve and wall-to-wall Michel Legrand pop-jazz — it’s a different animal than La La Land but they’re being compared anyway. The story of a romance without a happily-ever-after is doggedly naturalistic, despite visuals as bright and buoyant as an old MGM show.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 716

1964 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 92 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Les parapluies de Cherbourg / Street Date April 11, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner, Mireille Perrey, Jean Champion.

Cinematography: Jean Rabier

Production design:Bernard Evein

Film Editors: Anne-Marie Cotret, Monique Teisseire

Original Music: Michel Legrand

Produced by Mag Bodard

Written and Directed by Jacques Demy

What with all the hubbub about last year’s Oscar favorite La La Land, I wonder if Hollywood will be trotting out more retro-nostalgia, ‘let’s put on a show’ musical fantasy fare.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The observer by Anne-Katrin Titze

Claude Lelouch with Anne-Katrin Titze on Quentin Tarantino and Le Voyou: "He told me if he hadn't seen that film he wouldn't have made Pulp Fiction." Photo: Sylvie Sergent

On the afternoon of the Focus on French Cinema screenings at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York of Un + Une (One Plus One) with Jean Dujardin, Elsa Zylberstein, Christophe Lambert and Alice Pol, and Un Homme Et Une Femme (A Man And A Woman), starring Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant, I met with the director/screenwriter Claude Lelouch at his hotel.

Disguises in La Bonne Année (Happy New Year) with Lino Ventura and Charles Gérard, kidnapping in Le Voyou (The Crook) with Trintignant and Christine Lelouch, traveling with Fanny Ardant, Dominique Pinon, and Audrey Dana in Roman De Gare (Crossed Tracks), influencing Terrence Malick, Abbas Kiarostami and cars, Howard Hawks's Bringing Up Baby, Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, dogs versus cats,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

If you haven’t read My Family and Other Animals, do so – preferably with a child

It’s great that ITV is showing The Durrells so a new generation can meet this family of talented oddballs but read the book before you watch it

Growing up in America, my only association with the Durrell family involved Lawrence and a beautiful set of The Alexandria Quartet on my parents’ bookshelves. In the 1960s, when my family moved in moderately intellectual Boston circles, I spent a bookish childhood nosing into novels I couldn’t possibly understand.

I picked up Justine when I was 12, about the time the Anouk Aimée/Dirk Bogarde film came out. Book and film both promised sexual enchantment, risque pleasures, the sultry mysteries of Cairo. So I dived in, expecting enlightenment, titillation, adult pleasures – all of which failed to materialise. I remember the frustration of trying to make sense of Durrell’s adult prose. Worse, this sexually progressive (ie, obscene) novel seemed to have no sex scenes in it.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Classic French Films Continue to Influence Popular Fashion

Classic French Films Continue to Influence Popular Fashion
“The film fashions of today are your fashions of tomorrow.” That prediction came courtesy of Elsa Schiaparelli, whose rival, Coco Chanel, was one of the first designers to capitalize on the image-making potential of the silver screen when she began designing costumes for Hollywood stars in 1931 at the request of MGM boss Samuel Goldwyn.

Few epochs have informed fashion more than France’s New Wave Cinema of the 1960s and ’70s, which spawned such enduring icons as Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Seberg, Romy Schneider, Jeanne Moreau and Anouk Aimee.

“At that time — Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) — cinema was really considered an art,” says Camille Seydoux, sister and stylist to thesp Lea Seydoux. “Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, all those directors were really inspired by fashion. When you see ‘Belle de Jour,’ you can see that fashion is a really important aspect of the movie,” says Seydoux of Luis Bunuel’s masterpiece.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

From the Terrace

This is as sexy as Hollywood pix got in 1960. John O'Hara's novel about class snobbery and the drive for success posits Paul Newman as a moody go-getter. In glossy soap opera fashion, his silver spoon-fed bride Joanne Woodward morphs into an unfaithful monster. Some adulterous relationships are excused and others not in this glossy, morally rigged melodrama. In other words, it's prime entertainment material. From the Terrace Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1960 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 144 min. / Ship Date January 19, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Myrna Loy, Ina Balin, Leon Ames, Elizabeth Allen, Barbara Eden, George Grizzard, Patrick O'Neal, Felix Aylmer. Cinematography Leo Tover Art Direction Maurice Ransford, Howard Richmond, Lyle R. Wheeler Film Editor Dorothy Spencer Original Music Elmer Bernstein Written by Ernest Lehman from the novel by John O'Hara Produced and directed by Mark Robson

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

1960 saw the release of
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Remembering Actress and Pioneering Woman Producer Delorme: Unique Actress/Woman Director Collaboration

Danièle Delorme: 'Gigi' 1949 actress and pioneering female film producer. Danièle Delorme: 'Gigi' 1949 actress was pioneering woman producer, politically minded 'femme engagée' Danièle Delorme, who died on Oct. 17, '15, at the age of 89 in Paris, is best remembered as the first actress to incarnate Colette's teenage courtesan-to-be Gigi and for playing Jean Rochefort's about-to-be-cuckolded wife in the international box office hit Pardon Mon Affaire. Yet few are aware that Delorme was featured in nearly 60 films – three of which, including Gigi, directed by France's sole major woman filmmaker of the '40s and '50s – in addition to more than 20 stage plays and a dozen television productions in a show business career spanning seven decades. Even fewer realize that Delorme was also a pioneering woman film producer, working in that capacity for more than half a century. Or that she was what in French is called a femme engagée
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Collins' Sex Novels Have Enjoyed Unexpectedly Few Film Versions (The Stud, The Bitch)

Joan Collins in 'The Bitch': Sex tale based on younger sister Jackie Collins' novel. Author Jackie Collins dead at 77: Surprisingly few film and TV adaptations of her bestselling novels Jackie Collins, best known for a series of bestsellers about the dysfunctional sex lives of the rich and famous and for being the younger sister of film and TV star Joan Collins, died of breast cancer on Sept. 19, '15, in Los Angeles. The London-born (Oct. 4, 1937) Collins was 77. Collins' tawdry, female-centered novels – much like those of Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz – were/are immensely popular. According to her website, they have sold more than 500 million copies in 40 countries. And if the increasingly tabloidy BBC is to be believed (nowadays, Wikipedia has become a key source, apparently), every single one of them – 32 in all – appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list. (Collins' own site claims that a mere 30 were included.) Sex
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Special Sir Christopher Lee Tribute Screening & 40th Anniversary Screening of The Four Musketeers (1975) in Los Angeles

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

Update: Producer Ilya Salkind now also slated to appear.

Richard Lester’s film The Four Musketeers is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. With an all-star cast that includes Oliver Reed, Faye Dunaway, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, and Sir Christopher Lee, the film will be shown on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 7:00 pm as a special tribute to Sir Christopher as well as part of the theatre's Anniversary Classics series. Actors Richard Chamberlain and Michael York are scheduled to appear at the screening and take part in a Q & A and discussion on the making of the film.

From the press release:

Last year the Anniversary Classics series presented a successful 40th anniversary screening of The Three Musketeers, director Richard Lester's stylish and entertaining retelling of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel. Join us this year to see Lester's stirring conclusion of the tale, The Four Musketeers
See full article at CinemaRetro »

British Film Noir Collection | DVD Review

In a novel effort to stress that film noir wasn’t a film movement specifically an output solely produced for American audiences, Kino Lorber releases a five disc set of obscure noir examples released in the UK. Spanning a near ten year period from 1943 to 1952, the titles displayed here do seem to chart a progression in tone, at least resulting in parallels with American counterparts. Though a couple of the selections here aren’t very noteworthy, either as artifacts of British noir or items worthy of reappraisal, it does contain items of considerable interest, including rare titles from forgotten or underrated auteurs like Ronald Neame, Roy Ward Baker, and Ralph Thomas.

They Met in the Dark

The earliest title in this collection is a 1943 title from Karel Lamac, They Met in the Dark, a pseudo-comedy noir that barely meets the criteria. Based on a novel by Anthony Gilbert (whose novel
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Fellini estate clear new 'La Dolce Vita' film

  • ScreenDaily
Modern take on classic film in the pipeline from Ambi Group.

A new feature is in the works that has been dubbed “an homage” to La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini’s classic film starring Marcello Mastroianni as a philandering paparazzo journalist in Rome.

Los Angeles-based Ambi Group has closed an option agreement with the Fellini family and estate make the new feature, which they will finance and produce with Italian producer Daniele Di Lorenzo.

Di Lorenzo will produce the film through his Ldm Productions banner. Ambi, in addition to financing and producing through Ambi Pictures, will oversee global distribution of the film through its international sales division, Ambi Distribution.

Francesca Fellini, niece of Federico Fellini, said: “We’ve been approached countless times and asked to consider everything from remakes and re-imaginings to prequels and sequels. We knew it would take very special producers and compelling circumstances to motivate the family to allow rights to be optioned.”

She
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Jackson Returns! Two-Time Oscar Winner and Former Labour MP to Star in Zola Adaptation

Glenda Jackson: Actress and former Labour MP. Two-time Oscar winner and former Labour MP Glenda Jackson returns to acting Two-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson set aside her acting career after becoming a Labour Party MP in 1992. Four years ago, Jackson, who represented the Greater London constituency of Hampstead and Highgate, announced that she would stand down the 2015 general election – which, somewhat controversially, was won by right-wing prime minister David Cameron's Conservative party.[1] The silver lining: following a two-decade-plus break, Glenda Jackson is returning to acting. Now, Jackson isn't – for the time being – returning to acting in front of the camera. The 79-year-old is to be featured in the Radio 4 series Emile Zola: Blood, Sex and Money, described on their website as a “mash-up” adaptation of 20 Emile Zola novels collectively known as "Les Rougon-Macquart."[2] Part 1 of the three-part Radio 4 series will be broadcast daily during an
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

See Intimate Photos of Godard, Karina, Belmondo and More on Classic New Wave Sets

See Intimate Photos of Godard, Karina, Belmondo and More on Classic New Wave Sets
Jean-Luc Godard's earth-shaking masterpiece debut "Breathless" turns 55 this year. In spirit, an essential new collection of photographs titled "Raymond Cauchetier's New Wave" comes out this month.  Cauchetier catches candid moments of New Wave stars and filmmakers at their most intimate, from Anouk Aimée titillating in Jacques Demy's first film "Lola" to Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo (the coolest screen couple ever) sharing electric chemistry on the "Breathless" set. These photos will appear in a new exhibit of the 95-year-old photographer's work at London's James Hyman gallery from June 17 to August 18, 2015. See highlights below, and head to Vanity Fair for more. Read More: "Alphaville" Turns 50 -- Why It's Must-See Godard
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Movie Review – 8 1/2 (1963)

8 1/2, 1963.

Directed by Federico Fellini.

Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo.

Synopsis:

A successful filmmaker struggles for inspiration, and has to reflect on his life and loves to work out where to go in his next film…

“It’s about creative procrastination” said, director of Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer in 2002. While I doubt Michael Bay fails to acknowledge Fellini’s 8 ½ as inspiration (his 8 ½ film sitting somewhere between Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon), when you flip open the pages of any film magazine the artists, from Woody Allen to Wes Anderson and Charlie Kaufman to Terry Gilliam, all owe a debt to Fellini’s masterpiece. In fact, the Best Picture of 2014, Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman, would play exceptionally well against Fellini’s 8 ½.

Federico Fellini, shortly after directing the sensual La Dolce Vita, was stuck. Like Guido (Marcello Mastroianni), trapped in the car,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Watch: Trailer For Federico Fellini's Newly Restored Classic '8 1/2'

There are cinema classics, and then there's Federico Fellini's "8 1/2." Sight & Sound placed it in the top ten of its Greatest Films Of All Time list, filmmakers like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese adore it, and you haven't seen it, you can't call yourself a true cinephile. Folks in the UK have a chance to see Fellini's film as it was meant to be experienced —on the big screen. The British Film Institute has dropped a trailer for the newly restored "8 1/2," and of course it looks gorgeous. The iconic Marcello Mastroianni leads the cast which includes Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo in a dreamlike movie scored by the always terrific Nino Rota. "8 1/2" returns to UK cinemas on May 1st. Watch below.
See full article at The Playlist »

Penn Is Latest Hollywood Celeb to Take Home French Academy's Honor

Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Criterion Collection: La Dolce Vita | Blu-ray Review

“The most miserable life is better, believe me, than an existence protected by a society where everything’s organized and planned for and perfect,” says Steiner (Alain Cuny), Marcello’s (Marcello Mastroianni) only friend with seemingly any moral fiber or family values in the Rome of upper-class debauchery in which they surf throughout Federico Fellini’s groundbreaking critical masterpiece on the vacuous Roman high-life of the late 50s, La Dolce Vita. Steiner’s fleeting suggestion stands as an epiphanic thesis of Marcello’s own internal struggle to find love and stability while carrying out a career in journalism that takes him gallivanting with royalty and movie stars throughout all the ancient and newly minted quarters of Rome. The final frames of the film featuring Paola’s (Valeria Ciangottini) subtle glance to the audience suggest that in this new hodge-podge of old and evolving culture, only the innocence of youth has
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Interview: Producer Michael Gruskoff on the Foreign Language Academy Award and International Hollywood

Listening to Hollywood producer Michael Gruskoff talk about his experiences with some of the most legendary directors is an awe-inspiring learning experience. In a business so reluctant to taking chances that might represent financial loss, Gruskoff has placed it all on the line in order to support original voices and talent outside the norm. Although he admits that some of his projects were more successful than others, he remains certain that he always went with his gut in pursuit of talent. In that regard, he has undoubtedly overachieved.

The list of people he has worked with includes acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog , Jean-Jacques Annaud , Mel Brooks , and Stanley Donen. Gruskoff has always had an international taste and is unafraid of searching for stories abroad. Not surprisingly, he is a member of the Academy’s Foreign Language Film branch, to which he returned, invited by Mark Johnson, the head of the Foreign Language Committee, after serving there in the past. Once again he brings his expertise and eclectic global influences to support the Academy in its efforts to highlight World Cinema as a crucial element of the film industry.

Winner of a Cesar Award for the film Quest for Fire , and an outspoken defendant of the filmmaking craft over the cult of celebrity, Mr. Gruskoff is a humble creative person. Still fully in love with cinema despite the ups and downs the industry throws at anyone who attempts to make a living out of its unstable magic, it is incredible to see that passion for a great story is still Michael Gruskoff’s prime motivation. This writer had the privilege to talk to Mr. Gruskoff’s a couple weeks ago in Beverly Hills. Here is what he shared with us.

Carlos Aguilar: Could you tell us how you got started in the film industry?

Michael Gruskoff: I started in the N.Y. mailroom of the William Morris Agency and ended my agency career at Creative Management Associates. While at Cma I was representing Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda during Easy Rider, as well as Robert Redford, Natalie Wood ,Faye Dunaway, amongst others. I started getting the producing "bug" while representing Albert Ruddy and Irwin Winkler, having been instrumental in the packaging of some of their films. It was an exciting time in the industry, with the success of Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, and The Graduate, the studios were open to taking chances with new talent and ideas. Ned Tanen at Universal set up an independent division and asked me to run it but I opted to make an overall three picture production deal. I went into business with Douglas Trumbull, Michael Cimino, Sam Shepard and Steven Bochco and independently developed low budget scripts off the studio lot. It kicked off with Dennie Hopper's The Last Movie and Silent Running, a science fiction film dealing with environmental issues. I also developed a script called Conquering Horse with Cimino, which we were going to do in the Sioux language, a predecessor to Dances With Wolves, but it was tabled because of budget issues.

Aguilar: How did your interest in foreign cinema developed?

Gruskoff: Seeing Luis Buñuel , Ingmar Bergman , Vittorio De Sica, and Akira Kurosawa's films got me interested in foreign cinema. Another filmmaker that impressed me was Gillo Pontecorvo the director of The Battle of Algiers, which is one of the great anti-war movies. I was an agent at the time, and asked him if I could represent him. He said "Michael, I don't make that many movies, and you are not going to make any money with me because I'm not interested in working in the Hollywood system" I said, "It’s Ok, you can come to me if you're having trouble raising money for a project/" He said "That could work, but please do not send me any scripts." I was also Anouk Aimée's agent when she did A Man and a Woman with Claude Lelouch. She was responsible for me meeting many people in French and Italian cinema. She's a great lady.

Aguilar : What were your thoughts on the batch of films submitted this past year for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film? Were there any you consider highlights?

Gruskoff : You always look for a diamond that might be there. You have to see films from some 70 countries and many do not work, but being part of the industry I feel it's my way of supporting the Academy. You have to see four films a week, and with the addition of seeing new films. the internet, plus cable, and family etc. It's an overload of information. I did see a jewel of a film from Iceland called Of Horses and Men directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. We have been in touch and are in the process of discussing a project he is writing. He's a bold new voice.

Aguilar: How do you think this category benefits the industry and foreign filmmakers?

Gruskoff: Foreign filmmakers want us to see their films. They have stories they want to tell and we have the ability to make their dreams come through. It benefits us to see what's being made around the world because we are all part of the film community.

It's interesting talking to Bernardo Bertolucci about Italian realism and how those great Italian films and directors came together in the late 40s, 50s and 60s with Rossellini and Fellini , Visconti, etc. After Mussolini and the end of Ww 2 there was such exuberance that filmmakers ran into streets and started making movies. It was a great period in Italian Cinema.

Aguilar: Do you believe this nostalgia for those filmmakers influenced voters to choose The Great Beauty as the winner?

Gruskoff: Sorrentino is s very talented director and he carries the torch of Fellini. I liked The Great Beauty and I also loved his Il Divo

Aguilar: When watching these or any other film, as a producer do you look for something different in them from what a director or an actor might?

Gruskoff: I'm just hoping that when the lights go down I'll see a good film. I want to be entertained and have it not be a waste my time. When I saw 12 Years a Slave it blew me away. Steve McQueen is a great filmmaker because he puts all his passion on the screen and he doesn't cop out. It was real. I like movies that don't pander to the audience.

Aguilar: Would you say all of the 76 films submitted were on a level playing field, despite some of them being obscure titles and not having a festival run?

Gruskoff : I saw a real voice in Benedikt Erlingsson, Sebastian Lelio with Gloria , The Hunt , Omar , The Past , The Missing Picture , or The Broken Circle Breakdown.The directors have something to say and they know how to say it. An interesting thing is when you are seeing that many movies in an environment where the people like films, you really start getting into it. Like being at a Festival.

Aguilar: Now that you mention the Academy wants to promote foreign films, how do you perceive the role of world cinema in Hollywood today? Is it more influential?

Gruskoff: Definitely. 2/3 of the box-office comes from foreign markets. More films will be made with Asian and European talent to bolster their international box-office. Moviegoers in those countries like to see a character they can relate to as long as it's realistically part of the story.

Aguilar: On that note, can you talk about the international filmmakers you've work with throughout your career?

Gruskoff: I met Paul Verhoeven after seeing Soldier Of Orange, one of his earlier films. We developed a screenplay called Harry’s Tale. Unfortunately, it was ahead of its time and the budget was too high.

After seeing The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by Werner Herzog , I called him. He mentioned Nosferatu the Vampyre , and said he wanted to remake it and it would be a film that "the likes of which the world has never seen before", and I told him "Please be my guest" [Laughs]. I got the financing from Fox and we made it for $900,000 starring Isabelle Adjani , Klaus Kinski and Bruno Ganz. . Werner is a tremendously innovative film director.

I briefly worked with Russian director, Andrey Konchalovskiy , we developed a story that never got to be a screenplay.

Following that, Jean-Jacques Annaud gave me the English translation of a book called “La guerre de feu”, which is Quest for Fire . The film became an international hit and it earned us 5 Cesar Awards including Best Picture. It was a great moment when Orson Welles handed me the award.

Aguilar: One of the great American directors you worked with was Mel Brooks, how did that relationship begin?

Gruskoff: I had briefly met Mel Brooks when I was working in the mail room at William Morris Agency in New York. At the time I was 22 and he was 32, and he had already achieved success in television.

Mike Medavoy worked as an agent at Cma during the early 70s and wanted me to come back and work with him. I wanted to continue producing, and he gave me the treatment for a movie called Young Frankenstein.written by Gene Wilder. I said I wanted to produce it , but Gene said that it was up to Mel Brooks to decide. Having met Mel Brooks earlier and since he actually remembered and liked me, he said "Let's do it ...get the deal." At that point in Mel's career, he made two terrific films, The Twelve Chairs and The Producers, both films did not make money and he was just starting to reignite his career with pre-production on Blazing Saddles.

I set Young Frankensteinn up at Columbia but they passed because the budget was too high and Mel, rightfully so, wanted to make it in Black & White. They were insisting that it should be in color. I gave it to my friend Alan Ladd Jr. at Fox and he said yes with an even bigger budget than we had. Seven years later Mel and I did My Favorite Year based on an idea I had. The original script was written by Norman Steinberg and Mel helped develop and executive produce it.. Peter O'Toole was a dream to work with and I learned a lot about filmmaking working with him.

Aguilar: Going back to the Foreign Language Academy Award, back when the shortlist and eventually the nominees were announced, there was much talk about several films being snubbed, including Gloria and The Past. Why do you think these weren't included?

Gruskoff: Gloria probably didn’t get nominated because it wasn’t as serious as some of the other films. We will be hearing a lot from its director Sebastian Lelio. On the other hand, it's about preferential viewing, Farhadi makes very specific movies. He is a serious filmmaker, and he is a very good storyteller. He is another director that tells it how it is. His films are like reading a book with great characters, It was one of my favorite films but it was a tough movie for some people. He is what he is, take it or leave it. He just does his thing.

Aguilar: Are there any filmmakers you would like to work with in the future? Anyone who has caught your eye?

Gruskoff: Sure, David O. Russell would be great. [Laughs]. Other great directors whom I would love to work with are Steve McQueen, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan , David Fincher, or Kathryn Bigelow ....who wouldn't!

Aguilar: Where do you think the industry is going, with all the awards campaigns and the more glamorous, less artistic, side of the business becoming so prominent?

Gruskoff: The industry has become more about celebrity. After seeing 12 Years a Slave at the Pacific Designer Center early on, I knew McQueen's work was just beginning. He was going to have to live between L.A. and N.Y.C. to attend press events and Q&As for the next six months....longer than it took to shoot the film. Fashion has also joined the fray to cross-promote films.

Just a few years ago when Sydney Pollack made a movie and the distribution people received the print, the filmmakers promotion schedule was not as arduous. Going to 2 or 3 major cities with the actors before the film opened. Now it has become so celebrity-driven with all the different outlets fighting for space, it has gotten out of hand. If you have Brad Pitt producing or Ben Affleck starring, you have an opportunity to promote your film on every talk show. It cuts your marketing costs, which are very expensive and getting even more expensive, even with the help of the internet.

Aguilar: What are your future plans? Looking back your career are there any regrets?

Gruskoff: As a producer you are always looking for a good story. I did Quest for Fire and my friends said “Don’t you have something better to do with your time? You will never get it made.” Miraculously it did get made. I’d like to do dark comedies in the vein of American Beauty or Fargo. It's about what turns you on, what gives you a rush, because it is such a difficult journey. You never know what's around the corner.
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A Look Back at the Cannes Palme D’Or Winners from the 60s: ‘A Man and a Woman’

A Man and a Woman (Un homme et une femme)

Written by Pierre Uytterhoeven

Directed by Claude Lelouch

France, 1966

In a driving scene roughly thirty minutes into A Man and a Woman, the host on a station playing from the car radio says, “I can tell you right away that the weather forecast is rainy. There’ll be rain all over France.” He’s certainly not wrong, as Claude Lelouch’s Cannes prize-winner might be the drizzliest film ever made, with light rain, or at least overcast skies, pervading as backdrop for most of its exterior scenes; even those without have either snow or the dimming light of dusk to encourage its characters to bundle up. It’s a film where the warmth of an emerging romance happens amid perpetual chill – Baby, It’s Cold Outside was apparently not a working title.

A widowed man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and a widowed
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