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Cannes Review: Pope Francis Documentary Is a Modest Film About a Bold Man

Cannes Review: Pope Francis Documentary Is a Modest Film About a Bold Man
There are very few directors who have made both top-notch narrative films and documentaries, among them Michael Apted, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and a recent addition to the list, Cannes juror Ava DuVernay. But the German director Wim Wenders, who won the Palme d’Or for the masterful “Paris, Texas” in 1984 and recently was nominated for Oscars for the remarkable documentaries “Pina” and “The Salt of the Earth,” has to be near the top of the list.

And now he’s come to the Cannes Film Festival with “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word,” a modest and prosaically titled film about the Roman Catholic pontiff who has made it his mission to work on behalf of the poorest and most troubled, even if it means veering closer to controversial liberation theology than to the usual priorities of the Church.

The first thing to say about Wenders appearing at Cannes is that it’s probably a good thing that he’s doing so with a documentary. The 72-year-old director’s last few narrative films have been real duds: “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” “The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez” and “Submergence” were clunky and awkward.

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival 2018 Preview: No Selfies, No Netflix, No Problem

Meanwhile, his two prior documentaries were deserving Oscar nominees. 2011’s “Pina” was a bold and magical performance film about the pioneering choreographer Pina Bausch, with a brilliant use of 3D to create the spaces in which Bausch’s art could take place, while 2014’s “The Salt of the Earth” was a lyrical and incisive look at Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, the father of Wenders’ co-director, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

“Pope Francis,” in many ways, is far closer to “Pina,” which is focused on performances of Bausch’s work, than to “The Salt of the Earth.” In fact, it’s also of a piece with other Wenders films like “Buena Vista Social Club,” because it is, in essence, a performance film.

That’s not to say that the pontiff sings or dances in the movie; his performance lies in conversation. The heart of the movie is Pope Francis sitting in a chair — sometimes a red brocade chair in a room with burnt orange walls, sometimes a pale chair in a garden surrounded by trees, with a church steeple in the distance — and delivering a message.

One of his first comments is, “The world today is mostly deaf,” and from there he spends the early stretches of the film upbraiding the Church for its emphasis on wealth. “I wanted a poor Church for the poor,” he says, and a moment later, “We either serve God or we serve money … As long as the Church is placing its hope on wealth, Jesus is not there.”

Also Read: Is Something Wrong With This Picture? Pope Francis Meets Trump

From there, we get a veritable Pope Francis’ Greatest Hits: washing the feet of poor South Americans (he himself is Argentinian), saying that it’s the duty of church officials to report pedophilia to the authorities, visiting refugees in Greece, decrying Donald Trump’s border wall and commenting, “If a person is gay and is searching for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”

The whole point of the film, driven home by black-and-white reenactments, is that the pope is a revolutionary in the mold of his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who sought to moderate a truce between Christians and Muslims during the Crusades. But in tone and approach, this is an understated, affectionate film, more reverential than revolutionary; it’s less a portrait of the pope than a recital by him, with the boldness of his ideas undercut by the modesty of their telling.

In one way, that’s a strength of “Pope Francis” because it simply presents the man as he is, with a simplicity befitting the pope’s own demeanor. It’s not going to make converts out of anybody — I was raised Catholic, I’m definitely not one anymore and all the movie did was convince me that the pope is a good man.

Then again, Pope Francis is a healer, not a proselytizer. And Wenders knows enough to stand back and let him say his piece and make his peace.

Read original story Cannes Review: Pope Francis Documentary Is a Modest Film About a Bold Man At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

Wim Wenders on His Early Career, ‘Submergence’ and His Pope Francis Doc

Wim Wenders on His Early Career, ‘Submergence’ and His Pope Francis Doc
In an eclectic career spanning half a century, Wim Wenders continues to channel the zeitgeist: his romantic thriller “Submergence” recently opened in the U.S. and his documentary “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” is set to premiere at Cannes.

Wenders helped define New German Cinema with his road-movie trilogy starting in 1974, “Alice in the Cities,” “Wrong Move” and “Kings of the Road”). Over the years, he has also brought to the big screen timely social commentary, a unique perspective on the American experience, and exuberant celebrations of music and dance in “Buena Vista Social Club,” “The Soul of a Man” and “Pina.” The filmmaker is also busy restoring past films, including 1987 classic “Wings of Desire.”

Variety first mentioned Wenders in an Aug. 26, 1970 report about financing for his upcoming project “The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick” (based on a novel and referred to as “Goal Keeper Frightened
See full article at Variety »

Buena Vista Social Club: Adios review – thoughtful final look at the Cuban music phenomenon

Lucy Walker’s documentary usefully fills in gaps left by the wildly successful 1999 Wim Wenders film about the band and its few ageing survivors

This thoughtful if somewhat scattered documentary takes a last look at the hugely influential Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon, a project that started out as an album recording tracks by ageing Cuban musicians brought together by British impresario Nick Gold and produced by American musician Ry Cooder. Director Wim Wenders made a wildly successful documentary in 1999 that helped increase sales the album, while the artists it featured (most of whom had never worked with each other before) became near household names in metropolitan, world-music-curious households across the world.

Here, director Lucy Walker interweaves interviews with many of the surviving band members and archive footage to provide biographical, political and historical background. That usefully fills in gaps the first documentary left unsaid, but then part of the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

New to Streaming: ‘Something Wild,’ ‘Beatriz at Dinner,’ ‘Lemon,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

All These Sleepless Nights (Michal Marczak)

Blurring the line between documentary and fiction like few films before it, Michal Marczak‘s All These Sleepless Nights is a music-filled ode to the ever-shifting bliss and angst of youth set mostly in the wee hours of the day in Warsaw, Poland. Marczak himself, who also plays cinematographer, is wary to delineate the line between narrative and nonfiction, and part of the
See full article at The Film Stage »

Toronto ‘17’: Visionary Works Headline Tiff ‘17’s Platform Slate

Toronto ‘17’: Visionary Works Headline Tiff ‘17’s Platform Slate
by StaffDirectors’ cinema, now: Tiff’s three-year-old Platform program returns for 2017 with more original voices and visionary films.

Last year, Platform included celebrated works such as William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth — currently playing at Tiff Bell Lightbox — Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, and Barry Jenkins’ Academy Award Best Picture winner, Moonlight. The 12 films in this year’s programme are another showcase for the artistry of a group of bold, dynamic voices in contemporary cinema.

Sweet CountryIf You Saw His Heart

This year’s lineup presents 12 films from eight countries on five continents. All selected films will compete for the Platform Prize, to be awarded by a jury made up of award-winning filmmakers Chen Kaige, Małgorzata Szumowska, and Wim Wenders.

The program will open with the world premiere of The Death of Stalin, from award-winning director-writer Armando Iannucci (In the Loop, Veep). The historical epic follows the final days leading up to the Soviet dictator’s death.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Broad Green: How Wall Street Wealth, A-List Talent, and Brash Decisions Made an Indie Player Implode

It takes guts to join the indie distribution fray, especially when the market is challenged by big buyers like Netflix and Amazon Studios (which, along with Annapurna, is optimistically taking over its own theatrical distribution) and television is chasing down the hottest indie talent. Even one-time high-flyer The Weinstein Co., which once knew better than anyone how to play the indie game, is evolving to survive during these changing times.

When Wall Street billionaires Gabriel Hammond, 38, and his brother, Daniel, 34, launched independent producer-distributor Broad Green Pictures three summers ago, Hollywood was skeptical. It was a strange time to reinvent a dying economic model.

Now, after trying to use arcane algorithms to determine what movies to make, Gabriel has decided to pull the plug on production. The breaking point was the July 14 release of John Leonetti’s “Wish Upon,” which grossed $13.2 million on a $12 million budget. (Theaters return about half of the take to the distributor,
See full article at Indiewire »

Broad Green: How Wall Street Wealth, A-List Talent, and Brash Decisions Made an Indie Player Implode

It takes guts to join the indie distribution fray, especially when the market is challenged by big buyers like Netflix and Amazon Studios (which, along with Annapurna, is optimistically taking over its own theatrical distribution) and television is chasing down the hottest indie talent. Even one-time high-flyer The Weinstein Co., which once knew better than anyone how to play the indie game, is evolving to survive during these changing times.

When Wall Street billionaires Gabriel Hammond, 38, and his brother, Daniel, 34, launched independent producer-distributor Broad Green Pictures three summers ago, Hollywood was skeptical. It was a strange time to reinvent a dying economic model.

Now, after trying to use arcane algorithms to determine what movies to make, Gabriel has decided to pull the plug on production. The breaking point was the July 14 release of John Leonetti’s “Wish Upon,” which grossed $13.2 million on a $12 million budget. (Theaters return about half of the take to the distributor,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

All of the Films Joining FilmStruck’s Criterion Channel this August

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This August will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Tuesday, August 1

Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train

Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Anatomy of a Disaster: Inside the ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ Sequel That Became a Fiasco

Anatomy of a Disaster: Inside the ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ Sequel That Became a Fiasco
Back in January, Lucy Walker was on the verge of debuting her fifth feature at Sundance — the high-profile sequel to Wim Wenders’ 1999 Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Buena Vista Social Club.” It was the best-possible launchpad, with a prime slot of January 20, the first full day of the festival. Sundance had good reason to bet on the title: It continued a story that grossed $23 million worldwide and created a platinum-selling album, and could carry fresh meaning with the changes in Cuban-American relations. As Sundance described it:

As the sun sets on the careers of Cuba’s finest musicians, the Buena Vista Social Club, we get their side of the whole story, which stretches back to the beginning of the Cuban Republic, through the Grammy-winning 1998 album and Wim Wenders’ film, up to the new Cuba today.

And then, hours before the premiere, distributor Broad Green Pictures did the unthinkable: It pulled the film from the lineup.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Anatomy of a Disaster: Inside the ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ Sequel That Became a Fiasco

Anatomy of a Disaster: Inside the ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ Sequel That Became a Fiasco
Back in January, Lucy Walker was on the verge of debuting her fifth feature at Sundance — the high-profile sequel to Wim Wenders’ 1999 Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Buena Vista Social Club.” It was the best-possible launchpad, with a prime slot of January 20, the first full day of the festival. Sundance had good reason to bet on the title: It continued a story that grossed $23 million worldwide and created a platinum-selling album, and could carry fresh meaning with the changes in Cuban-American relations. As Sundance described it:

As the sun sets on the careers of Cuba’s finest musicians, the Buena Vista Social Club, we get their side of the whole story, which stretches back to the beginning of the Cuban Republic, through the Grammy-winning 1998 album and Wim Wenders’ film, up to the new Cuba today.

And then, hours before the premiere, distributor Broad Green Pictures did the unthinkable: It pulled the film from the lineup.

“We at Broad Green are disappointed that we will not be able to premiere this compelling documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival,” Broad Green said in a statement. “The film’s post production process has taken longer than expected and thus the decision was made to wait to introduce the film to audiences until it can be presented in its best possible iteration.”

Broad Green CEO Gabriel Hammond’s decision seemed bizarre: While there’s no shame in a documentary playing Sundance in less-than-final form — in 2013 Jehane Noujaim’s “The Square” premiered as a work in progress, and went on to receive an Oscar nomination — pulling a film from the festival, much less moments before its debut, was virtually unheard of.

No one was more baffled than Walker. An ambitious, high-profile documentarian with a Sundance audience award and two Oscar nominations to her credit, she had rushed to the Sundance-submission finish line. She thought she had finished her movie.

And then the mystery deepened. Two weeks later, in a February 1 Instagram post, she commented, “it’s not clear for now if that work will be seen or appreciated which is the purgatorial pitstop we are in currently.” Later, she added: “Any minute now we’ll be able to explain! I’m still dreaming the beautiful film we made might be seen ever again.”

When Walker tried to reach Hammond after the festival, he was unreachable for a month, at which point movers arrived at her Venice office to cart editing equipment away.

Now, nearly six months later, it’s clear that the filmmaker never regained control of her movie. On April 22, she only learned that her film had a May 26 release date when she read about it on IndieWire. Broad Green released the overhauled film in 80 theaters for a two-week run. (Total gross: $123,445.) To this day, she hasn’t seen the film.

Walker has kept silent in the press, limiting herself to several carefully worded social media posts like this @lucywalkerfilm tweet:

Buena Vista Social Club Adios (my follow-up film) has been significantly changed (shots & scenes including narrative spine removed, other scenes added so it’s overall longer ) since I finished it before Sundance. Apparently it’s being released this week in lots of theaters (for a doc). I haven’t seen it myself but I hope audiences enjoy it.

What went wrong? We talked to a number of participants in this debacle, and no one comes out ahead.

Related storiesLucy Walker's Buena Vista Social Club Documentary Finally Gets a Title and Release DateBroad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here's Why.IndieWire and FilmStruck's 'Movies That Inspire Me': Lucy Walker on Seeing Cuban Music Come Alive in 'Buena Vista Social Club'
See full article at Indiewire »

Movie Review: Adios revisits Buena Vista Social Club with few insights

It’s been 20 years since the Buena Vista Social Club album made Cuban music a crossover sensation in the U.S. (for the first time since the ’50s), and 18 years since Wim Wenders’ documentary of the same title played in theaters. What’s become of the gifted musicians who found renewed or belated fame and fortune as a result of those projects? Buena Vista Social Club: Adios seeks to fill in the gap, but this sequel’s subtitle is all too literal. Many of the group’s most prominent figures were already quite elderly two decades ago. Sadly, the answer to the question “Where are they now?” tends to be “dead.” Nor did they pass away recently, after taking part in the new movie. Tres player Compay Segundo and pianist Rubén González, for example, both died back in 2003. Vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer died in 2005. Adios serves as ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Focus teams with Wim Wenders on Pope Francis movie

  • ScreenDaily
Focus teams with Wim Wenders on Pope Francis movie
Focus has acquired world rights to documentary; screens first footage of upcoming movies.

Focus Features has acquired world rights to Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word, a documentary feature about Pope Francis.

Written and directed by Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club), the film is only the second co-production that the Vatican has made with outside filmmakers and the first in which a Pope addresses the audience directly, discussing topics such as ecology, immigration, consumerism, and social justice.

Exclusive footage from the Vatican’s archive shows the Pope on journeys, sharing his ideas and ideals in different parts of the world.

Focus made the announcement at an event in Cannes to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

At the soiree the company showed first footage of Mary Magdalene, Darkest Hour, Atomic Blonde and Victoria And Abdul and confirmed that Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming fashion drama has wrapped shoot.

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word is produced
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Focus Features Acquires Wim Wenders’ Pope Francis Doc ‘Man of His Word’

Focus Features has scooped up worldwide rights to Wim Wenders new documentary “A Man of His Word,” which touts exclusive access to the beloved Catholic church leader Pope Francis. The “Buena Vista Social Club” and “Pina” director’s latest film is less a nonfiction biopic and more a ridealong with the humble Pope, whose emphasis on uplifting the poor has won him global fandom and upended his institution. The film will showcase “footage from the Vatican’s archive shows the Pope on journeys, sharing his ideas and ideals in different parts of the world,” a Focus spokesperson said. Also Read: Cannes,
See full article at The Wrap »

Cannes American Pavilion 2017 Lineup: Spike Lee, Wim Wenders, Screen Talk Live and More

Cannes American Pavilion 2017 Lineup: Spike Lee, Wim Wenders, Screen Talk Live and More
Known among with-it insiders as the Ampav, the American Pavilion has become a vital part of the Cannes Film Festival over the last 30-odd years. This year’s lineup was announced today, with such special guests as Spike Lee, Wim Wenders, John Cameron Mitchell, Christine Vachon and IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson.

Read More: Cannes: ‘Dogtooth’ Made Yorgos Lanthimos One of the Most Exciting Filmmakers in the World, and He’s Just Getting Started

Such anticipated films as “Brigsby Bear,” “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” “Rodney King,” “Wonderstruck” and “Patticake$” will be discussed; Kohn and Thompson are set to record a live edition of the Screen Talk podcast. Avail yourself of the full lineup below and let the Ampav Fomo wash over you in waves.

Read More: IndieWire’s Movie Podcast: Screen Talk (Episode 148) – Here’s What We Know (And What We Don’t Know
See full article at Indiewire »

Arik Reviews Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club [Criterion Collection Blu-ray review]

Recognition is a funny and fickle thing. This is especially true in art, where often one’s accomplishments aren’t recognized until after the artist is dead. We live under a collective myth that simply creating something of quality is enough, even though it’s plain that it’s almost never that simple. Attention is hard to corral, and there’s simply far too much going on for many incredible things to be noticed. Talent, skill, and hard work matter of course, but you also need a lot of luck.

The musicians that Ry Cooder found in Cuba were long forgotten. Many of them had been stars in the 40s and 50s, but most were now languishing in poverty. More than that, they were no longer able to make their art. The records they made together, along with this film, gave quite a few of them the best years of their lives.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Buena Vista Social Club

Cuba has just been opened up to Americans, but twenty years ago musician Ry Cooder saw to it that a vanishing music tradition was preserved for posterity. Wim Wenders followed up with this rough & ready documentary that became almost as popular as the best selling album of mambos, boleros and cha-chas.

Buena Vista Social Club

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 866

1999 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 105 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date April 18, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Rubén González, Orlando ‘Cachaíto’ López, Amadito Valdés, Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, Barbarito Torres, Pío Leyva, Manuel ‘Puntillita’ Licea, Juan de Marcos González.

Cinematography: Jörg Widmer

Film Editor: Brian Johnson

Written by Wim Wenders, concept Nick Gold

Produced by Deepak Nayar

Directed by Wim Wenders

Looking for something new and invigorating, in the late 1980s Paul Simon collaborated with South African vocalists for a refreshing pop hybrid album
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

All is connected by Anne-Katrin Titze

Reda Kateb met Ben Mendelsohn on the set of Ryan Gosling's sharp Lost River Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Wim Wenders has played a big part for Reda Kateb with films Paris, Texas, The State Of Things, Buena Vista Social Club, and The Soul Of A Man and he recently starred with Sophie Semin in Les Beaux Jours D'Aranjuez, based on a Peter Handke story and appears in Wim's latest, Submergence, starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander. Longtime Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis, who is featured in Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth's 20,000 Days On Earth and is the composer for Deniz Gamze Ergüven's Mustang, got involved with Étienne Comar's Django through Reda's film Pitchoune.

Cave and Ellis did work for David Oelhoffen's intimate Loin Des Hommes, in which Reda starred opposite Viggo Mortensen. His next film, Territoires, will be with Alice Winocour's Disorder star Matthias Schoenaerts,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Broad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here’s Why.

Broad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here’s Why.
It was baffling when distributor Broad Green Pictures pulled Lucy Walker’s “Untitled Buena Vista Social Club Documentary” from the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, the same day as its intended premiere, with a press release that said the “post production process has taken longer than expected.”

Nearly a month later, Broad Green has made no further comment on the film’s status, but its homepage still boasts that “Lucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club documentary will have it’s [sic] official world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival!”

That disconnect (and typo) could be a matter of sloppy site maintenance, but multiple IndieWire interviews with people familiar with Walker’s film and Broad Green suggest more complex issues dog the three-year-old would-be studio. (Walker declined to comment for this article; Broad Green executives didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Read More: Lucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club Documentary Pulled From Sundance

Walker,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Broad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here’s Why.

  • Indiewire
Broad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here’s Why.
It was baffling when distributor Broad Green Pictures pulled Lucy Walker’s “Untitled Buena Vista Social Club Documentary” from the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, the same day as its intended premiere, with a press release that said the “post production process has taken longer than expected.” Nearly a month later, Broad Green has made no further comment on the film’s status, but its homepage still boasts that “Lucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club documentary will have it’s [sic] official world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival!”

That disconnect (and typo) could be a matter of sloppy site maintenance, but multiple IndieWire interviews with people familiar with Walker’s film and Broad Green suggest more complex issues dog the three-year-old would-be studio. (Walker declined to comment for this article; Broad Green executives didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

See MoreLucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club Documentary Pulled From Sundance

Walker,
See full article at Indiewire »

Broad Green Pulls Buena Vista Social Club Doc From Sundance

  • The Wrap
Broad Green Pulls Buena Vista Social Club Doc From Sundance
Oscar nominee Lucy Walker’s forthcoming documentary about revolutionary musicians in Cuba has been abruptly pulled from the Sundance lineup. The untitled project was a pseudo-follow up to the hit Wim Wenders doc “Buena Vista Social Club” about the ensemble from 1999. Sundance officials announced the change early Friday morning, with the film’s distributor Broad Green following up with a statement about delayed post-production. Also Read: So How Did Kristen Stewart's Directorial Debut Hold Up at Sundance? “We at Broad Green are disappointed that we will not be able to premiere this compelling documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival,
See full article at The Wrap »
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