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'Stripped' ('Erom'): Film Review | Venice 2018

One of four Israeli films making their bow in Venice this year, Stripped (Erom) in the Horizons section marks the long-awaited return of Yaron Shani, who co-directed the foreign-language Academy Award contender Ajami with Palestinian director Scandar Copti. His first solo feature feels a little disappointing: sometimes touchingly on target and engrossing, at other times tripped up by labored storytelling, narrative inconsistencies and the bizarre faux-censorship of nude scenes. However, the non-pro cast is engaging and believable, reinforcing the cinema verite feeling conveyed by the realistically detailed scenes and preference for close-ups. The film’s exploration of intimacy has a peculiarly ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

First trailer for Yaron Shani’s Venice Horizons title 'Stripped' (exclusive)

The first of Shani’s ‘The Love Trilogy’ premieres on August 29.

Celluloid Dreams has unveiled the first trailer for Israeli director Yaron Shani’s emotional drama Stripped ahead of its premiere in Venice’s Horizons sidebar this evening (Aug 29).

The film revolves around the life-changing relationship between successful 34-year-old novelist Alice, who is suffering from acute anxiety, and 17-year-old Ziv, a talented classical musician who is forced to put his passion on hold while he completes compulsory military service.

Stripped is Shani’s debut solo feature, after the award-winning 2009 drama Ajami, which he co-directed with Scandar Copti, and is also
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Celluloid Dreams boards Israeli director Yaron Shani's 'The Love Trilogy' (exclusive)

First look at project mostly non-professional actors who were were asked to live the lives of their fictional characters for a shooting period of over a year.

Paris-based sales company Celluloid Dreams has taken world rights sales to The Love Trilogy by Israeli director Yaron Shani.

It is Shani’s solo debut feature, after Ajami, which he co-directed with Scandar Copti. That film was Oscar-nominated in the Best Foreign Film category and also won a Caméra d’Or special mention at Cannes Film Festival in 2009.

The first film Stripped is currently ending post-production. Screen is able to reveal an exclusive first look image,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

'Soy Nero' producer teams with Israel, Cyprus

  • ScreenDaily
'Soy Nero' producer teams with Israel, Cyprus
Exclusive: Producer of Rafi Pitts’ Berlinale Competition title is lining up several new projects.

Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion, the German producer of Rafi Pitts’ Berlinale Competition title Soy Nero [pictured], is lining up projects from Israel and Cyprus.

Twenty Twenty’s managing director Thanassis Karathanos told Screen that principal photography on Israeli filmmaker Veronica Kedar’s Family began at locations in the German city of Halle last week.

Although the film’s story is set in Israel, Family will be shot completely in Germany. It marks another collaboration for Karathanos with Mosh Danon’s Inosan Productions after working together on Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s 2009 film Ajami.

Kedar’s second feature had been pitched at the 2014 edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market where Twenty Twenty’s second project, Christos Georgiou’s Happy Birthday, was also presented to potential co-producers.

A March start is planned for the shooting of Georgiou’s first feature since the 2008 comedy Small Crime and
See full article at ScreenDaily »

The 9 Best Indie Films with Interlocking Story Lines (and 4 of the Worst)

The 9 Best Indie Films with Interlocking Story Lines (and 4 of the Worst)
People are still talking about that unfortunate year at the Oscars when Paul Haggis' "Crash" won Best Picture over "Brokeback Mountain." The 2004 winner is here on our list (check the bottom portion), but this week, Paul Haggis returns to the same form with "Third Person," which jumps from Paris to Rome to New York as it traces the hidden connections between three very different men played by Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody and James Franco. That got us thinking about our favorite films that have multiple story lines that either run simultaneously, or are interconnected in some way. Here's our list of nine of the best indies that use hyperlinked narratives, and four that aren't so memorable. Let us know your favorites in the comments. "Third Person" opens June 20. "Ajami" Dir. Scandar Copti, Yaron Shandi (2009) "Ajami" is the result of an astonishing collaboration between Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani.
See full article at Indiewire »

Whatever happened to the Qatari film industry?

In Doha, there was once a buzzing festival and schemes to nurture local talent, but now much of the the money in the Qatari film business goes to projects elsewhere – such as the $55m co-production Black Gold

Black Gold: Jean-Jacques Annaud's Arabian frights

A video appearing to show Omar Sharif slapping a woman was not supposed to be the biggest story to come out of the 2011 Doha Tribeca film festival. The focus should have been on Black Gold, a $55m Qatari co-production – and arguably the most ambitious film shot in the Middle East since Lawrence of Arabia – which had had its world premiere just days earlier. To the irritation of the organisers, however, it was the right arm of the 1962 epic's octogenarian breakout star, incensed by a persistent fan, which stole the headlines.

Landing less than a year after this diminutive, gas-rich Gulf state contentiously won the right to host the 2022 World Cup,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Berlinale: Take 'Ajami' Director Scandar Copti's Workshop on Directing Actors

Berlinale: Take 'Ajami' Director Scandar Copti's Workshop on Directing Actors
If you are attending the Berlinale, there's still time to register for Scandar Copti's two day workshop on directing actors. The intensive workshop, limited to 25 participants, takes place February 16-17 and will focus on Copti's method to elicit natural performances from actors. It is intended for directors, actors and film students. Copti's 2009 film "Ajami" won the Camera d'Or Special Mention at Cannes, and was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (watch the trailer below). More info on the workshop is below and here.   Workshop info: Filmmakers often use the element of surprise to direct actors for certain scenes to get authentic emotional responses. The directors of Ajami based their film entirely on this principal. Unlike other forays into improvisation, Ajami had a very precise screenplay and a well-constructed plot that demanded precise emotional responses from its actors. The actors ended up acting out a...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

First shoots of freedom: has the Arab spring liberated film-makers?

Last week's Doha Tribeca film festival showcased an uprising of Arab films shot straight from the streets

Last week, delegates from across the Arab world met in Doha to discuss the future of a liberated Libya. Meanwhile, across town, Tarak Ben Ammar was launching his new movie. Black Gold is an epic spun from the discovery of oil on the Arabian peninsula, and as its producer, Ben Ammar was keen to keen to play up its timeliness. "We were shooting in Tunisia just as Ben Ali fell," he told a sweaty crowd in a small air-conditioned room at the Doha Tribeca film festival. "Those events became history not only for Tunisia but for the world. Let's hope this is a new age for Arab cinema too."

Across from Ben Ammar sit some of his cast: Freida Pinto, Tahar Rahim and Mark Strong. They echo his sentiments, project their belief that,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The desert blooms: culture in Qatar

When Fifa awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, there was widespread disbelief. But the bid was just another step in the ambitious emirate's plan to become a global player – not just in sport, but culturally, with events such as a Robert De Niro-endorsed film festival. Welcome to the Gulf's latest Brave New World

"Rich is good, obviously," an eminent Qatari tells me. Obviously. "But to be cultured, well, that's something else…" He's talking less about individuals than states, in particular his own which is now – on a per-capita basis – the richest country in the world, a status chiefly explained by Qatar possessing plenty of what the world most wants: oil and gas.

It also now has the World Cup – or will have in 2022, after Fifa's decision late last year to award the tournament to the Gulf state. The decision provoked plenty of commentary, little of it entirely complimentary.

A
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Doha Tribeca Film Festival: Opening Night!

Rachid Bouchareb, Amanda Palmer, H. E. Sheikh Jabor Bin Yousuf Al Thani © 2010 Getty Images, Credit: Sean Gallup A spectacular outdoor film screening is fast becoming a Doha Tribeca Film Festival trademark, and award-winning French-Algerian director, Rachid Bouchareb, was proud to present his Outside the Law as the opening night screening. "Outside the Law is not just about the Algerian struggle for independence," said Bouchareb, "it also explores how an individual's culture is integral to their sense of identity and belonging in the world, a universal theme which I am sure Dtff audiences will be able to connect with." From left to right: Chadi Zeneddine (Dfi Mentor), Amanda Palmer (Dfi Executive Director), Scandar Copti (Dfi Head of Education and Film Programmer), Maggie Kim (Dfi Managing Director), David Kwok (Tribeca Film Festival (Tff) Director of Programming), Genna Terranova (Tribeca Film Festival (Tff) Senior Programmer) The excitment and glamour of Dtff's Opening Gala
See full article at Tribeca Film »

Joshua Reviews Scandar Copti And Yaron Shani’s Ajami [DVD Review]

Going into any year’s respective Oscar season, one area of Academy Awards is often unknown to the general public: the foreign film category.

With most of the film’s not getting the chance to screen outside of places like New York or La, many of the films that are nominated for the Best Foreign Film award seem to come out of nowhere, particularly knowing the process behind getting nominated (each country can submit only one film for consideration).

Well, with nominated films like A Prophet and The White Ribbon both hitting DVD earlier this year, and the award winner The Secret In Their Eyes still making its way throughout theaters stateside, Israel’s submission and subsequent nominated film, Ajami, has finally been released on DVD.

And I have to say, it was well worth the wait.

Ajami, named after an area of Jaffa where Jews, Christians, Palestinians and Arabs attempt to live together,
See full article at CriterionCast »

Ajami

 Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson 

Rating (out of 5): ***

Scandar Copti, a Palestinian, and Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew, teamed up to direct the crime drama Ajami. It received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film, which seems more a result of that behind-the-scenes achievement than anything that occurs onscreen. Indeed, comparing it to some of Amos Gitai's better films (Yom YomKadosh, etc.) it feels rather graceless, and compared to something like City of God,Ajami feels practically inert.

And yet the film is still effective in its own, small way. It follows several characters in five overlapping chapters, all set in one multi-ethnic section of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv. It begins as a man working on a car is gunned down in the street. It turns out that the real target was the neighbor who sold him the car, Omar (Shahir Kabaha), an Arab Israeli. Worse, Omar
See full article at GreenCine »

Christopher Walken Survives on "$5 a Day," Cassavetes With a "Machine Gun," and More New DVDs

  • IFC
Christopher Walken Survives on
A look at what's new on DVD today:

"$5 a Day" (2008)

Directed by Nigel Cole

Released by Image Entertainment

A refugee of the bankrupt Capitol Films, this dramedy starring Christopher Walken as a raconteur who claims he's able to live a full life on the titular Lincoln bill is finally seeing the light of day after premiering at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival. Alessandro Nivola co-stars as his son who drives him to New Mexico when he falls ill. Sharon Stone and Amanda Peet are along for the ride.

"2:22" (2008)

Directed by Phillip Guzman

Released by Inception Media Group

A quartet of thieves scheme to rob a boutique hotel on New Year's Eve, but find out that what's waiting for them on the inside is even colder than the snow-caked streets outside. Just as he did for his 2006 crime thriller "Played," star/co-writer Rossi called upon famous pals Gabriel Byrne and Val Kilmer
See full article at IFC »

UK Trailer for Oscar Winner The Secret In Their Eyes

  • HeyUGuys
The Secret In Their Eyes scooped the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s award ceremony, beating other nominees Ajami (Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani), The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke), A Prophet (Jacques Audiard) and The Milk of Sorrow(Claudia Llosa). Now, after month’s of waiting, the film is being released in the UK.

Synopsis: In 1999, retired Argentinian federal justice agent Benjamín Espósito is writing a novel, using an old closed case as the source material. That case is the brutal rape and murder of Liliana Coloto. In addition to seeing the extreme grief of the victim’s husband Ricardo Morales, Benjamín, his assistant Pablo Sandoval, and newly hired department chief Irene Menéndez-Hastings were personally affected by the case as Benjamín and Pablo tracked the killer, hence the reason why the unsatisfactory ending to the case has always bothered him. Despite the department already having two other suspects,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Ajami: Film review

Taking its name from a benighted neighbourhood of the ancient coastal city of Jaffa, Ajami represented Israel with a nomination in the foreign language category at the Academy Awards earlier this year. It is, however, co-directed and co-scripted by Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew, and Scandar Copti, who carefully calls himself a "Palestinian citizen of the Israeli state". As their film shows, what you are and where you're from ultimately defines your destiny in Ajami.

The film borrows from the techniques of Gomorrah and the Mexican new wave as typified by, say, Amores Perros, in weaving characters and storylines to create a tapestry of lives. The drama is kickstarted by a drive-by shooting that kills an innocent boy, mistaken for one of the main characters, Omar (Shahir Kabaha). It's the result of a vendetta between two crime clans and revenge for the shooting of a Bedouin weeks earlier.

Terrorised, Omar's
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

This week's new films

Ajami (15)

(Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani, 2009, Isr/Ger) Shahir Kabaha, Ibrahim Frege, Eran Naim. 125 mins.

If any situation justifies the multi-angled Crash/Amores Perros-style treatment, it's modern-day Israel. Co-written and directed by an Israeli and a Palestinian, mostly using non-professional actors, this is more hip, streetwise and even-handed than we're used to. Set in a mixed neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, the plot skilfully juggles intertwined stories of feuds, families, drugs and violence involving characters from all faiths.

Trash Humpers (18)

(Harmony Korine, 2009, Us/UK) Brian Kotzue, Travis Nicholson, Rachel Korine. 78 mins.

Korine preserves his enfant terrible reputation with a scrappy, seedy home video following a group of masked delinquents around. It's a vaudeville of depravity (they literally hump dustbins) that manages to be grimy without being explicit.

Wild Grass (12A)

(Alain Resnais, 2009, Fra/Ita) André Dussolier, Sabine Azéma. 104 mins.

Veteran Resnais crafts a silky, genre-hopping middle-aged romance that's full of wonders and mysteries.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Film Weekly gets animated with Sylvain Chomet

This week Jason Solomons meets the master of French animation, Sylvain Chomet, best known for Belleville Rendez-Vous. Chomet's The Illusionist, an animated reinvention of Jacques Tati's classic, opened this year's Edinburgh film festival – and that's where Jason caught up with Chomet to discuss his love of Scotland, where he set the film.

Jason also meets Scandar Copti, co-director of Oscar-nominated Israeli film Ajami. Scandar discusses the real characters and situations that were the inspiration for this tale of low-level drug dealing and communal violence.

Finally, we review the week's big releases, including Rebecca Hall in Please Give, Ashton Kutcher in Killers, and Wild Grass from veteran director Alain Resnais.

Jason SolomonsJason PhippsXan Brooks
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ajami – Review

Ajami was a labour of love for its two directors Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani. It took them seven years to get into production and shot for a mere 23 days using non professional actors, real locations, no scripted dialogue and without rehearsals. Such dedication to experimental techniques is exemplary.

What Copti and Shani decided to do was develop storylines that were true to every day life in the multi-faith, multi-cultural neighbourhood of Ajami, which gives the film its title. This quest for unrelenting realism and authenticity recalls the post-WW2 cinema of Italy.

There’s the sense the directors wanted to free themselves of certain contrivances and rules so cast ex-police officers and real neighbourhood kids putting them through a ten-week workshop, and pointedly, shooting in chronological order.

Ajami follows the lives of several, seemingly disparate, characters and moves between individual plotlines. At first it appears slightly confusing until finding its rhythm.
See full article at FilmShaft.com »

Film review: Ajami

The tensions between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East are interestingly exposed in this multi-linear Israeli film, set in a mixed neighbourhood in Jaffa, writes Peter Bradshaw

This interesting Israeli film by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani could be seen as a Middle-Eastern Short Cuts. It is a tense mosaic-anthology of embattled lives in the district of Ajami in Jaffa, Israel – a neighbourhood known for having Jewish and Arab populations living in close proximity. The brutal drive-by shooting of a teenage boy is the starting point: it appears to be a gang-grudge hit, but a further disclosure shows the killing is related to another matter entirely, involving an illegal worker from the Occupied Territories and the killing of an Israeli soldier. The pattern of connections and coincidences is a little overschematic, but the movie has energy, especially in the grippingly real shooting scene at the beginning.

Rating: 3/5

World cinemaThrillerPeter Bradshaw

guardian.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ajami Interview

Arab-Israeli Scandar Copti and Jewish-Israeli Yaron Shani co-directed Ajami, a powerful film intertwining five stories of everyday life in the religiously mixed community of the Ajami neighbourhood in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Copti caused controversy earlier this year when he renounced his connection to Israel, saying that 'the film technically represents Israel, but I don't represent Israel". Screenrush caught up with the provocative director to learn more about his explosive directorial debut...

How did you and your co-director Yaron first meet?

In 2001 I finished school - I graduated as a mechanical engineer but I decided not to practice engineering, so I was waiting for something to happen. Yaron had just finished film school at Tel Aviv university and he had this project where they gave cameras to five people to make movies, and I was one of those people.

How did you develop the story for Ajami?
See full article at Screenrush »
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