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Why Jeanne Moreau Was One of the Greatest French Actresses of All-Time

Why Jeanne Moreau Was One of the Greatest French Actresses of All-Time
Jeanne Moreau was to French cinema as Manet’s “Olympia” was to French painting — the personification of the gait, glance, and gesture of modern life. Her darting brown eyes and enigmatic moue were the face of the French New Wave. Her candid sensuality and self-assurance, not to mention the suggestion that she was always in control, made her the epitome of the New Woman. From Orson Welles and Luis Bunuel to Joseph Losey and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Moreau was the muse to the greatest directors of world cinema.

“She has all the qualities one expects in a woman,” quipped Francois Truffaut, director of her most beloved film, “Jules and Jim” (1962), “plus all those one expects in a man — without the inconveniences of either.”

Surprisingly, this quintessence of French femininity had an English mother, a dancer at the Folies Bergere. Her French father, a hotelier and restaurateur, upon learning that his daughter likewise had theatrical ambitions,
See full article at Indiewire »

Jeanne Moreau, French New Wave Icon, Dead at 89

Jeanne Moreau, a legend of French cinema and one of the French New Wave's leading actresses with roles in Jules & Jim and Elevator to the Gallows, died this weekend at the age of 89.

French authorities confirmed that the actress died at her Paris home; no cause of death was revealed, the BBC reports.

French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted of Moreau, "A legend of cinema and theater … an actress engaged in the whirlwind of life with an absolute freedom."

Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, said in a statement,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Jeanne Moreau, Star of French Film Classics, Dies at 89

Jeanne Moreau, Star of French Film Classics, Dies at 89
Acclaimed French actress Jeanne Moreau, whose films include such masterpieces as “Jules and Jim” and “Diary of a Chambermaid,” has died. She was 89.

The mayor of the Paris district in which Moreau lived confirmed her death.

French President Emmanuel Macron called her “a legend of cinema and theater … an actress engaged in the whirlwind of life with an absolute freedom.” Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, tweeted: “She was strong and she didn’t like to see people pour their hearts out. Sorry, Jeanne, but this is beyond us. We are crying.”

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Moreau was honored with a 1965 Time magazine cover story, rare for a foreign actress, and was compared to such screen greats as Garbo and Monroe. Since her rise to prominence in the mid-’50s, she epitomized the tenets of the French new wave, boasting a womanly sexuality and a fierce independent spirit. Orson Welles,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Ends with…Awards — 3rd of 3

Cannes Ends with…Awards — 3rd of 3

The heightened security with machine gun armed soldiers and policemen constantly patrolling was intensified after the Manchester Massacre. With a pall over the festival, one minute of silence was observed for the 22 murdered and flags hung at half-mast. In addition to that, the sudden death at 57 of the Busan Film Festival deputy director Kim Ji-seok and that of the James Bond star Roger Moore brought the film world into a new perspective as we join the larger world to face the random indications of human mortality. High security vs. cinema as a sanctuary of freedom is highlighted this year like no other time that I can recall in my 31 years here.President of the jury, Pedro Almodovar

But life does go on, the jury judges, the stars get press attention on the red carpet and the rest of us continue to wait patiently in
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Walter Hill: ‘Don’t Feel Sorry for Film Directors’

Walter Hill: ‘Don’t Feel Sorry for Film Directors’
Lyon, France — Walter Hill’s films are not renowned for sentimentality. In “Driver,” “The Long Riders,” and “Southern Comfort,” men fight, win or lose, live or die. And that’s the way it goes.

The same could be said about Hill himself. At a Lyon Lumière Festival masterclass, he fielded questions for an hour-and-a-half on Monday, talking frankly in his deep voice – much more frankly than most giving masterclasses – about how he got started, his influences, and his big hit “48 Hrs.” On occasion, especially when he recalled people rather than films, a sense of big-heartedness, and some pain, shone through.

Here are 10 things Hill said at Lyon.

1. Sam Peckinpah

By 1972, when Hill wrote “The Getaway,” Peckinpah was “an alcoholic, and I don’t think that is a secret I’m sharing.” For Hill, “The Getaway” was probably “the last film Peckinpah made where he was absolutely in full control of his faculties as a filmmaker…
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Le Pacte Unveils Ada Loueilh’s ‘So Long Africa’ at Unifrance’s Rendez-Vous

Paris– Le Pacte is set to distribute and handle international sales on Ada Loueilh’s “So Long Africa” (“Papa Lumiere”) which will be unveiled at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous.

Set in 2011, “Africa” stars Niels Arestrup as Jacques, a longtime expat who gets exiled in France with Safi, a daughter he hardly knows, to escape the political uprising that shook Abidjan that year. The movie charts their journey across France and depicts Safi’s longing for her mother, Gloria, who is still trapped in the turmoil back in Abidjan.

Julia Coma, Natacha Lindinger and Bruno Todeschini complete the cast.

“Papa lumiere” earned Loueilh the Sopadin prize for best script in 2012. Some themes in the film are inspired by Loueilh’s life experience, as she grew up on the Ivory Coast before moving to France to study.

A promising writer-turned-helmer, Loueilh graduated from France’s prestigious film school La Femis and also attended
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Me, Myself and Mum,’ ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Top Noms For France’s Cesar Awards

‘Me, Myself and Mum,’ ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Top Noms For France’s Cesar Awards
Paris –Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the Cannes Palme d’Or. But the Wild Bunch-sold title has some serious competition at France’s Cesar Awards – the country’s equivalents of the Oscars.

Announced Friday by France’s Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences at the Fouquet restaurant on the Champs Elysees Friday, “Blue” scored in eight categories, two behind Gaumont’s “Me, Myself and Mum,” the directorial debut of Comedie Française-trained actor Guillaume Gallienne, which, having won two prizes at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, broke out to a more than two million tix sales at the French box office, making it one of France’s only considerable hits of last year.

Also in the running for select trophies are Catherine Deneuve (“On My Way”), Mathieu Amalric (Jimmy P.”) and Lea Seydoux – for “Blue.”

“Blue” and “Me, Myself and Mum” are two gems discovered at Cannes:
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Gaumont Sells Berlinale Special Gala Player ‘Diplomacy’ (Exclusive)

Gaumont Sells Berlinale Special Gala Player ‘Diplomacy’ (Exclusive)
Paris– French major Gaumont has closed key sales deals on “Diplomacy,” Volker Schlondorff’s WWII drama that’s set to open in the Berlinale’s Special Gala section.

In the run up to Berlin, “Diplomacy,” which centers on the real-life story of a German officer who saved Paris from destruction, has sold to Brazil (Providence), Spain (A Contracorriente), Greece (Odeon), Benelux (Lumiere), Portugal (Lusomundo), Former Yugoslavia (Cinemania) and Middle East (Four Star). It was previously snatched up by Koch Media for Germany and German-speaking territories, Jmh for Switzerland and Metropole for Canada.

Yohann Comte, Gaumont’s deputy head of sales, said the company was also in negotiations to close Italy.

Taking place on the day Paris was liberated by the Allies, “Diplomacy” chronicles the tense confrontation between the Swedish ambassador (Andre Dussollier, “Same Old Song”) and the German military governor of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup, “A Prophet”). The
See full article at Variety - Film News »

New Year, New York, Jews in the News, Part I

To my friends and readers: We are about to conclude the Jewish High Holidays which began 10 days ago with Rosh Hashanah and ends tomorrow with Yom Kippur. In the spirit of this season, I must ask everyone, if I have offended any of you, whether knowingly or unknowingly, I ask your forgiveness. If I have not published articles I promised you I would, please forgive me. I meant to when I said I would but have so many other commitments and things I must do. I am sure that the article is not forgotten and I may get to it in the coming year. But I ask forgiveness for overreaching and for commitments and promises I have not kept.

By the way this free ranging stream of consciousness blog will go, it could also be called Jews in the News, the “News” being New Years and New York, and of course films. Imagining this as a new feature, and because it might only run once a year, I am going to use it here as a platform to mention everyone on my mind as they come up as a sort of New Year’s wrap up of things left undone.

To begin, I am writing about all the people and things I saw and did in New York and, again, I hope friends I don’t mention will forgive me. Like Lynda Hansen whom I did see at New York Film Society's Walter Reade Theater…or Wanda Bershan whom I saw across the room at a press screening or Gary Crowdes the editor-in-chief of Cineaste Magazine and whom I meant to greet but didn’t. I saw so many old New York friends and acquaintances and because it was New Years and a time of reflection, I revisited what were my circumstances when I left it in 1985 to return to L.A.

When I first moved to New York in 1980 to work for ABC Video Enterprises, I had spent 5 years practicing Orthodox Judaism. Being in New York represented the apotheosis of all things Jewish (outside of Israel, whose films and festivals will be the subject of another blog - excuse me Katriel Schory of the Israeli Film Fund and Alesia Weston the new director of the Jerusalem Film Festival). In New York, even those who were not Jewish by religion seemed Jewish to me by virtue of living in New York. When I realized this, my own Orthdoxy fell away from me as if I were shedding a cloak. I understood that my Jewish self was Jewish no matter what life style I would live. And I liked the New York life style most of all.

After Tiff 12 (Toronto International Film Festival 2012), Peter and I came for a week of relaxation to New York City. What a city! So New York, in-your-face, loud, crowded, lots of horns honking, and people: People. The best. We saw our friends, we saw New York with New Eyes.

We arrived by train from the airport, straight to our apartment! What great rapid transit, even if it is old and ugly, so blackened by dirt and age. I noticed new decorations on some walls of some stations, some works were better than others. I wish we had such a quick easy way to zoom around our fair city of L.A.

We stayed in an apartment in Chelsea – that of our daughter’s mother-in-law who lives half the year in the apartments built by the Amalgamated Ladies Garment Union. (The other half she spends in Truro.) Such history! Coincidently these are the very apartments I had wanted to live in when I was leaving NYC in 1985.

We were invited to a screening by Hisami Kuroiwa, whose friendship goes back to our early days in Cannes, or back to the days she produced Smoke and Blue in the Face with my other old friend Peter Newman. Araf (Venice Ff, Tokyo Ff, Isa: The Match Factory), which she associate produced, will be presented at the New York Film Festival (NYFF50), September 28 – October 14. The press screening at the new Walter Reade Theater was a great treat. The film’s director, Yesim Ustaoglu, ♀, who also directed Journey to the Sun and Pandora’s Box spoke via Skype at the press Q&A afterward.

Araf in Turkish means “somewhere in between”. The Somewhere in Between in the film is a 24-hour restaurant halfway between Ankara and Istanbul. The young girl whose first job it is; her friend – an “older” woman, not much older than herself who becomes her guide to adulthood; the girl’s childhood friend who works there as a teaboy and whose mother is not much older than the other two women and a truck driver who comes through en route, are the protagonists in this piece which brings to life a very distant place where the people’s most intimate issues are very much like our own to the degree that all the women share the same life issues of sex, love, work and family today in a world where traditions are giving way to the exigencies of modern life.

The issues are so much the same as what we are facing today, namely, our own bodies and all that entails. Parenthetically, these are the same issues in The Patience Stone (Isa: Le Pacte), which takes my prize for the Best Female Film at Tiff 12.

Both of these films deeply affected me in my own ways. When I say “affected”, what I mean is that some thought comes into my head which seems unrelated to the film but comes so suddenly and vividly to me and illuminates some part of my life. When this happens to me during a film, I know the film is really good because it is affecting a subconscious part of me and of something of concern to me. A thought comes to me which makes my life come together in a new way and I sometimes feel transformed by the experience. This is my criteria for what makes a good film. Of course story, script, direction, cast, music, costume and art decoration also count, but in the end, it is the emotional impact a film has upon me as a passive viewer which makes it a winning film for me. The same pertains to me for all art, whether painting, architecture (Wow factor here for NYC on the architecture front!) , sculpture, music, dancing, etc.

We were given a week’s guest pass to The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers by Alan Adelson whose documentary about James Joyce's hero, Leo Bloom in Ulysses, In Bed with Ulysses, is an exciting new film which I hope to see in the upcoming festival circuit. At the dinner, prepared and served by Alan and his wife Katie Taverna, an editor, who also has a new documentary about to surface, I was astounded by their home - so New York. Only in New York could someone live in Tribeca’s 19th century warehouse district in such an architecturally unique home amid such astounding works of art. Docu filmmaker, Deborah Schaffer and her late dear husband, the N.Y. architecht, Larry Bagdanow, introduced us to Alan several years ago. He also publishes Jewish Heritage Press, and he gave me a beautiful book entitled, The Last Bright Days: A Young Woman’s life in a Lithuanian Shtetl on the Eve of the Holocaust . Beile Delechy who, along with her brother, were the photographers for a small town called Kararsk in Lithuania, brought her photographs with her when she left Europe for the U.S. in 1938. They show the everyday reality for Jews and Lithuanians during the 1930s. Published by Jewish Heritage and Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, this book embodies my own aspirations. If I could have my books on my family published in such a way as this, I would die happy.

Speaking of Lithuania and this blog, being Jews in the News, must also cover some other Eastern European news because like New York, its innate character still seems Jewish, even though there are very few Jews there. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in the subject however, among the third generation since the Shoah.

Kaunas International Film Festival’s Tomas Tangmark, who heads distribution for the festival, is also a filmmaker whom I met at Wroclaw’s American Film Festival last November. By now his 12 minute short films should have wrapped. In Cannes, when we met again, he showed me his financial plan for “Breshter Bund – A Union Forever” which has received Development Support from the Swedish Film Institute and money from Swedish TV, has a production budget of around €25,000. It is about the workers at the Vindsberg factory in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania in 1896. Influenced by the current events in the world, the workers at the factory organize a strike. Their demand is a 10-hour working day. Whether they win, or lose, the outcome could change The Russian Empire. It was to shoot on location in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania in Yiddish this year.

This 12 minute short is only 1 of the 2 Yiddish language films we have heard about. Peter also heard about a feature which will be entirely in Yiddish. Thank you Coen Brothers whose A Serious Man opened the way!

When I was in Cannes this past year, I heard about Jewish Alley (Judengasse) at The Short Film Corner. Unfortunately Blancke Degenhardt Schuetz Film Produktion GmbH did not include any contact information on the brochure I picked up. Judengassse tells of the ordeal that the Jewish family Blumenfeld undergoes from 1933 to 1938. It is shot in B&W from a single camera position and presents the Holocaust and thoughts for the coexistence of different cultures in our modern society.

Also in Cannes I was so sorry to miss Raphael Berdugo’s second film since he left his company, Roissy Films, in the hands of EuropaCorp in 2008. The Other Son (Le fils de l’Autre) (Isa: La Cite, U.S.: Cohen Media Group) directed by Lorraine Levy ♀ about a man preparing to join the Israeli army who discovers he is not his parents’ biological son. In fact, he was inadvertently switched at birth with the son of a Palestinian family from the West Bank.

Returning to the subject of Eastern Europe in Cannes, Odessa comes to mind. Odessa cinema tradition began in 1894, a year and a half before the Lumiere brothers showed on the Boulevard des Capucines and its first studio opened in 1907. Serge Eisenstein made Odessa legend. On the very place where Battleship Potemkin was filmed, the Odessa Film Festival holds an open-air screening for 12,000 with a view of the sea. During their first year, there were 30,000 attendees. By year three, there were 100,000. It takes place in an opera house on a level of that in Vienna, but their emperor did not pay as in Austria; the people themselves paid for the building. There are $15,000 cash prizes giving for Best Film, Best, Director, and Best Actor. Tomboy won last year. It has a small market for Russian and Ukrainian films, a pitch session and a “summer school” where the students live in tents at attend master classes and a sort of Talent Campus. There is good food by the sea! Don’t you want to attend? I’m hoping to find a way to go, especially after Ilya Dyadik, the program director, so graciously showed me all that goes on there and introduced me to Denis Maslikov, the Managing Director of the Ukrainian Producers Association. It takes place in July.

Estonia is another country on my mind. During Tiff A Lady in Paris (Isa: Pyramide) warmed my soul. Starring Jeanne Moreau, and costarring Laine MÄGI, an actress who reminds me of Katie Outinen, (Kaurimaki's favorite actress) the film was about women and love and oh so French! How could you not love the imperious Jeanne Moreau wearing Chanel and being won over by an Eastern European drudge who, under Moreau’s tutelage transforms herself in a vividly chic woman. And ,Patrick Pineau, who plays the owner of of those upscale cafes you like to have lunch in when in Paris, only needs to take one small step toward Laine, and oh la la, you too fall in love with him!

Edith Sepp, the film advisor for the Estonian Ministry of Culture, met us originally at the Vilnius Film Festival in Lithuania and we had a lot of fun hanging out there. We already had a connection to Estonia because the Estonian American documentary The Singing Revolution was our client’s film. We introduced our client to Richard Abramowitz in 2006 who did extraordinarily well with the film’s theatrical release. Edith invited us to their Cannes reception at Plage des Palmes and we continued our conversation. At Tiff 12 and Karlovy Vary, their film Mushrooming screened, but the one I am really eager to see is In the Crosswind. It shot through four seasons. The director is a 23 year old young man and this is his first film. It cost 700,000 Euros which went into historical costumes, extras and a new technology he is creating to make a profound drama about the relocation of whole populations by the Soviets, a theme which has shaped European history. I hope to see it in Berlin…or Cannes…or Venice.. The film is a sort of documentary story, somewhat similar to Waltz with Bashir, but it is old in live action and with still photography. During Cannes, they were seeking 200,000 Euros to complete the film. There is much to say about both of the Eastern European countries with their new generation of articulate and talented filmmakers. I hope they will be the subject of another blog or two in the coming year.

One last note on Eastern European films. A veteran Czech producer, Rudolf Biermann whom we know since the early days of Karlovy Vary's freedom from the Soviet bloc, is still producing young, fresh comedies like the one one that showed at Tiff 12, The Holy Quaternity by Jan Hrebejk (Isa: Montecristo). This romp brings marital sex which has become boring to a new and simple solution between two couples who have been best friends throughout their marriage. It's risque and sweet and plays with two generations' differing views on the sex games we play for fun.

But I have digressed from New York...And now I must go to Yom Kippur services for the rest of today. This blog will be continued tomorrow!! Watch for Part II which will be about New York!
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

The greatest film scenes ever shot

We all have film sequences that stick in our minds. Some are shared by many – such as the shower scene from Psycho – others are particular to us. Here our film critic and a panel of leading movie-makers reveal their favourites. What are yours?

Who will ever forget the first time they saw the 45-second shower-room murder in Hitchcock's Psycho? I remember 1959 and 1961 as the years when my first two children were born. But the first thing that comes to mind about the year in between was seeing Psycho, which I'd been looking forward to since a radio programme I'd produced the previous October, when Hitchcock had enticingly described Psycho as "my first real horror film". Entering the Plaza, Lower Regent Street, the day the film opened, I passed the cardboard cut-out of Hitchcock in the foyer, from which a tape recording of the Master's familiar Leytonstone undertaker's voice warned us
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

A Prophet sweeps the Césars

Jacques Audiard's prison saga takes home nine awards at the French equivalent of the Oscars, including best film, best director and best actor

The French film industry lined up behind Jacques Audiard's A Prophet on Saturday night, honouring the gripping prison drama with nine Césars, including best film, best director and best actor for its young star Tahar Rahim.

The movie, which chronicles a callow, illiterate Arab inmate's brutal education and rise to power during his six-year imprisonment, also won the awards for best original screenplay, editing, production design and cinematography. Niels Arestrup, who plays the Corsican mob boss who sees his influence ebb away to his young underling, won the best supporting actor award while Rahim was also named most promising actor. The Césars are France's equivalent of the Oscars, which A Prophet, nominated for best foreign-language film, has a chance of adding to its awards haul on 7 March.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Wings Of Desire Criterion Blu-ray Review

Wings of Desire is one of those films that I’ve always wanted to see, but been weary of getting around to watching. Sure, it’s a well-respected classic of its time, often cited as one of the great films of the 1980’s, and held the cache of “the foreign film people who don’t watch foreign films love” much like films like Amelie or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But when the film came out Pauline Kael decimated it in her review. And I hate being the movie guy who doesn’t like films that everyone else likes, which is often the case. My review after the jump.

Kael was wrong; it’s a touching fable about two angels hovering over Germany. They are Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Dumont), and they listen in on a number of different people as they observe humanity from a ablack and white distance.
See full article at Collider.com »

Blu-ray Review: Wings of Desire (Criterion Collection)

Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire is able to capture your attention despite its sparing plot for the main reason you know its about something even if that something takes its sweet time in fully revealing itself. The film follows two guardian angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), as they watch over humanity from up high above the streets of Berlin, and, more often than not, at street level.

As they walk the streets, an often visited library and ride the trains we listen in on the thoughts of others as those Damiel and Cassiel encounter can be heard. However, their thoughts don't come across as a string of cohesive sentences as much as they are fragments of ideas, occasionally offering something of substance, but most often an example of the mundane. To that effect you could say Wings of Desire is about just that, an appreciation for the simpler things in life,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Wings of Desire: Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (Der Himmel uber Berlin) centers around two guardian angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander). The duo .alongside other angels- act as witnesses to all that takes place around them on Earth (the streets of 1987 West Berlin, to be precise). Moving invisibly through the haunted city, they observe, collect and share people's thoughts, dreams, memories and fears with each other. After an eternity of observing, Damiel begins to ponder the possibility of becoming mortal, and when he encounters and falls for a lonely trapeze artist named Marion (Solveig Dommartin), he decides to take the plunge and become human.

Until Damiel makes that leap, nearly two-thirds into the movie's 127-minute running time, there really isn't much of a structured plot to speak of in Wings of Desire. The film is more of a reflection on the human condition, expressed through a series of sequences of inner monologues.
See full article at TheHDRoom »

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