Alamar (2009) - News Poster



New York’s Museum of the Moving Image Celebrates Film Movement’s 15th Anniversary (Exclusive)

Cannes — Naji Abu Nowar’s Academy Award-nominated “Theeb,” Maysaloun Hamoud’s “In Between” and Lucia Puenzo’s “Xxy” screen in a 15-title film series presented by New York’s Museum of the Moving Image to pay tribute to New New York-based independent distributor Film Movement.

Entitled Film Movement: A 15th Anniversary Celebration, the screening series runs June 8 through July 2.

The showcase could easily have shown other titles: Film Movement, a distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films, has released over 250 features and shorts. Its chosen titles, however, includes at least six first features. Two, the most recent, come from or have chosen to ficus on the Middle East: U.K.-born Naji Abu Nowar’s “Theeb,” a Wwi-era adventure film shot in Jordan; and Maysaloun Hamoud’s “In Between,” from Arab-Israeli writer-director Maysaloun Hamoud, a female friendship dramedy, which proved one of the most notable of international debuts last year.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Europe-Latin America Buyers Guide: Titles Cross Over

In international, every territory is its own story and that includes arthouse markets — but patterns emerge. In some parts of Latin America, such as Mexico and Colombia, arthouse audiences may be growing, though from a low base. The key: Dedicated arthouse/alternative circuit construction, and support from major exhib circuits. Many, but not all, European markets suffer diminishing youth attendance and TV sales.

Big hits can be spectacular, including “Beauty and the Beast” for Peru’s Delta and Cine Colombia’s “La Famille Belier.” Individual initiatives are encouraging: ABC Cinemien’s monthly Lgbt night creates an event out of theatrical attendance. One problem for Latin American movies in Europe is that they are frequently not European films. Euro titles, in contrast, far more often tap Euro distribution awards. But Latin American films will always have Paris. The surprise isn’t that Brazil’s Tucuman Films has set up a French distribution op there,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look 2013

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Entering its second year, the Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look series provides a strong, welcome antidote to the generally anemic cinematic landscape that is January. Its eclectic selection of undistributed features and shorts, programmed by Dennis Lim, Rachael Rakes, and David Schwartz, occasions an invigorating mixture of moods and approaches from established as well as emerging directors. It’s indicative of the series’ dedication to distinctive, often divisive cinematic voices that Bruno Dumont’s decidedly non-crowd-pleasing Hors Satan was chosen as the opening night film nearly two years following its Cannes premiere.

Whereas earlier films like Twentynine Palms or Hadewijch pushed the French director’s worldview in new directions, Hors Satan sits solidly in Dumont’s comfort zone, down to the cryptically religious title that links it to his debut, The Life of Jesus. His protagonist is a drifter with a scruffy, narrow face like Pasolini’s proletarian Christ,
See full article at MUBI »

Leopard Prints: Digital Dreams at the 2012 Festival del Film Locarno

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This week's announcement that Olivier Père, former programmer of Cannes's Directors' Fortnight, will be stepping down from his post at the helm of the Festival del Film Locarno marks the end of brief but important era for this film festival, one of the longest-running in the world. In just three years, Père has helped to put the annual event back on the festival map, drawing an annual influx of celebrities and industry-types for red-carpet world premieres, jury prizes, and lifetime achievement awards. Perhaps more than ever in its sixty-six-year history, Locarno is an important station on the fall festival circuit, forecasting the slates of Toronto and New York and providing useful international gateway for cinema from all over the world.

This year's festival featured a characteristically dizzying mix of international festival ephemera, an Otto Preminger retrospective, and much-heralded appearances by the likes of Kylie Minogue, Alain Delon, and Harry Belafonte on the festival's main stage,
See full article at MUBI »

Locarno Roars with a Slate of Hot Art House Superstars

While Cannes’ Quinzaine struggles to reframe its identity, its former artistic director Olivier Père continues to impress in his new job at the Locarno Film Festival. On Wednesday, he and his programming team unveiled a lineup that is absolutely salivatory, a who’s who for high-minded cinephiles. Perhaps most impressive of all, he has managed to once again nudge the festival’s selection aesthetic even deeper into esoteric ‘experimental’ territory without seeming all that radical. More than any other festival, Locarno is the home for the edgy projects that are too sophisticated for Cannes, whose cold shoulder to avant-garde narrative filmmaking becomes more glaring with each passing year. Check out the complete line-up at the bottom of this page.

In their International Competition, in which films compete for the increasingly prestigious Golden Leopard, we have a collaboration between João Pedro Rodrigues and his partner João Rui Guerra da Mata called
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LatinoBuzz: More Generation Mex Filmmakers on the Rise

Last week we featured some of Mexico’s young filmmakers who have emerged as part of a recent revival in Mexican cinema. These new directors have pushed out the old guard and persevere in difficult situations, using public funding and micro-budgets to create films which take aim at Mexico’s social ills, broach difficult subjects, and take stylistic risks. These original and innovative artists are carving out a space for Mexican films in the international art house market. Here we continue to highlight even more directors from Generation Mex.

Gerardo Naranjo

Probably the most buzzed about Mexican director of late, Naranjo’s fourth feature Miss Bala (Isa:tcf) premiered at Cannes, went on to play festivals in Toronto and Los Angeles and was selected as Mexico’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Loosely inspired by real events it tells the story of Laura, a young woman who aspires to compete in the Miss Baja beauty pageant. Instead she finds herself amidst narcos as an unwilling participant in Mexico’s drug war. Using long takes and very few cuts Naranjo accomplishes the difficult, a melancholy thriller and pensive allegory punctuated by intense moments of violent but often quiet action. 20th Century Fox released the film in limited theaters late last year. In his previous films Voy a explotar (I’m Gonna Explode) (Isa:Elle Driver), Drama/Mex, and Malachance he experimented stylistically but they all reflect his signature, emotionally resonant and sensitive depictions of characters on the edge.

Yulene Olaizola

Having only recently graduated from the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (Ccc), one of the two major film schools in Mexico, she has already directed three feature-length films. Her thesis project, the award-winning documentary Intimidades de Shakespeare y Victor Hugo (Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo) (Isa:Interior13 Cine) traces her grandmother Rosa's friendship with Jorge Riosse, her young, troubled tenant. Paraísos Artificiales (Artificial Paradises) (Isa: Interior13 Cine), named after an anthology by the 19th century French poet Baudelaire, was her impressive fiction debut. It’s dreamy, serene, and breathtaking landscapes of the lush seaside hills of Veracruz, Mexico provide the backdrop, as a young woman addicted to heroin tries to free herself from the compulsive need for a fix while staying at a beach resort. Her newest film Fogo is days away from its world premiere at The Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. In a departure from her previous projects, she chose to make a film in English focusing on the deterioration of a small community in Fogo Island, located off the coast Canada.

Pedro González-Rubio

In an effort to create an intimate environment for his second film Alamar (Isa: MK2 Diffusion), he wrote, directed, shot and edited the picture himself. Set in a small house on stilts that sits above the crystal-clear blue waters of the Yucatan Peninsula, it explores the bond between a father and son as they share a fishing trip together. When asked whether Alamar is a documentary or fiction at a festival screening he defiantly answered, “It’s a film.” Having invented parts of the story but documenting real events, he seamlessly blends reality and fiction in a picturesque and introspective cinematic meditation that at times almost becomes a photographic essay. Film Movement acquired the theatrical and DVD rights in North America. His directorial debut, Toro Negro, an unflinching look at an alcoholic bullfighter, won prizes at Havana, San Sebastian and Morelia Film Festivals.

Fernando Eimbcke

He had film festivals, critics and distributors clamoring for his attention after his black-and-white directorial debut, Temporada de Patos (Duck Season) (Isa: Traction Media) premiered at Cannes in 2004. It won prizes at AFI Fest and Guadalajara Film Festival and later several Ariel Awards (the Mexican equivalent of the Oscars.) The comedy-drama about two teenage boys who must entertain themselves after a power outage went on to play more than 70 festivals and was sold in more than 30 countries. He followed up this smashing success with Lake Tahoe, a minimalist quiet film in which teenaged Juan crashes his family's car into a pole and then scours the streets searching for someone to help him fix it. Eimbcke studied film in Mexico City at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (Cuec).
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

"Robert Gardner: Artist/Ethnographer"

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"It seems curious that as little biographical information exists in the recent books about the ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner as in his movies featured in the partial retrospective of his work starting today at Film Forum," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "For much of a career that has spanned more than a half-century and circumnavigated the globe, Mr Gardner has trained the camera on people whose lives, rituals, beliefs and bodily ornamentation can seem so far from early-21st-century Western life as to be from another galaxy. Yet despite Mr Gardner's seeming reluctance to share personal details, the work in Robert Gardner: Artist/Ethnographer makes it clear that he's been telling his own story all along."

J Hoberman in the Voice: "A man of many worlds, Robert Gardner is a descendent of Boston aristocrat Isabella Stewart Gardner (as in the Museum), the founder (and funder) of Harvard's Film Study Center,
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Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) 2011: Nominations: El Infierno, Chicogrande, Abel

El Infierno, Chicogrande, and the other nominations of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) have been announced. The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) are presented by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. “The Ariel is the Mexican Academy of Film Award. It has been awarded annually since 1947. The award recognizes excellence in motion picture making, such as acting, directing and screenwriting in Mexican cinema. It is considered the most prestigious award in the Mexican movie industry.” The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) “ceremony will take place on May 7 [, 2011] at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.” The full listing of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) nominations is below

Best Picture



El infierno (Hell)

Best Director

Felipe Cazals, Chicogrande

Luis Estrada, El infierno (Hell)

Diego Luna, Abel

Best Actress

Karina Gidi, Abel

Mónica del Carmen, Año bisiesto (Leap Year)

Maricel Álvarez, Biutiful

Úrsula Pruneda, Las
See full article at Film-Book »

First Person Rural: The New Nonfiction: Lisandro Alonso On La Libertad

"Film must provide audiences the opportunity to discover questions."--Lisandro Alonso. When I interviewed programmer Diana Sanchez at the 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff), she admitted--within the parameters of curatorial taste--her fascination with the appearance of a new genre she was noticing in such films as Pedro González-Rubio's sophomore feature Alamar (To the Sea, 2009), Oscar Ruiz Navia's debut feature Crab Trap (El Vuelco del Cangrejo, 2009), and the films of Lisandro Alonso, José Luis Guerín, and Miguel Gomes; a genre that she described as "a mix of documentary and fiction with a real sense of play between these two forms." The Pacific Film Archive (Pfa) celebrates the appearance and critical popularity of this new documentary-fiction hybrid with their upcoming series...
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Mark Kermode's DVD round-up

The Arbor; Jackass 3; Alamar; Leap Year

I wrote previously in this column of the "subversion" of the documentary format by films as diverse as Catfish, I'm Still Here and Exit Through the Gift Shop, all of which provoked heated debate about authenticity versus artifice. Yet, adventurous as they may be, none of these titles come close to the generic redefinition of The Arbor (2010, Verve, 15), an extraordinarily impressive meditation upon the short life and troubled legacy of gifted playwright Andrea Dunbar. Indeed, whether this masterfully assured feature debut from director Clio Barnard even qualifies as a documentary at all remains a matter for debate, the strange mix of fact and fantasy being closer in tone (although not form) to the equally indefinable Waltz With Bashir.

At the centre of Barnard's mercurial film is a dramatic device which sounds like it shouldn't work at all: a series of intimate audio interviews with
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Movie Poster of the Week: "Eternity"

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Movie Poster of the Week is off to the Rotterdam Film Festival, always a treasure trove of international arthouse film posters. This one sheet for Thai Tiger Award competitor Eternity already caught my eye. Though it may feel as if we’ve seen this image in Asian cinema many times before, I like the way the jungle horizon is mirrored, framing the title (though the title itself could be prettier). One of fourteen international feature films competing for the award (won last year by Pedro González-Rubio’s wonderful Alamar, among others), Eternity, the debut film of director Sivaroj Kongsakul, is described as a film which “follows a man through three stages of being - as a ghost wandering through his childhood home, as a young man falling in love with his future wife, and as an absence in the life of his surviving family in the days following his death.
See full article at MUBI »

The Daily Notebook's 3rd Writers' Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2010

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With 2010 only a week over, it already feels like best-of and top-ten lists have been pouring in for months, and we’re already tired of them: the ranking, the exclusions (and inclusions), the rules and the qualifiers. Some people got to see films at festivals, others only catch movies on video; and the ability for us, or any publication, to come up with a system to fairly determine who saw what when and what they thought was the best seems an impossible feat. That doesn’t stop most people from doing it, but we liked the fantasy double features we did last year and for our 3rd Writers Poll we thought we'd do it again.

I asked our contributors to pick a single new film they saw in 2010—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they saw in 2010 to create a unique double feature.
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The Moments of 2010

  • IFC
The Moments of 2010
Moving Image Source has made an annual tradition of gathering from their contributors, but also artists, writers and others, their pick for the "moving image moment or event" of the year. What makes this list so interesting is that it ranges far past just the movies, to include videos on the web, TV shows, news footage and more, from critics and from creators. The whole thing is worth perusing, but here's a sampling:

Dan Streible, director of The Orphan Film Symposium

Nothing was more compelling than the latest season of the HBO series In Treatment, in which psychotherapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) begins his own talk therapy with a young new doctor (Amy Ryan). She nails him on all of his rationalizations and offers devastating insights into his psyche and his practice. Their verbal duels are sharply written and Byrne, who must carry every episode, creates one of the deepest,
See full article at IFC »

The Best Films of 2010

  • IFC
The Best Films of 2010
Alison Willmore:

If 2010 has been the year of the fuzzy line between fact and fiction, it's also been the year in which the truth became subjective and, often, incidental. These past 12 months saw the arrival of the avowed documentary many suspect is staged "Catfish," and the admitted staged film that pretended to be a documentary "I'm Still Here," but as the dust has cleared, what remains is the question of their bona fides as stand alone films. Does Banksy's puckish "Exit Through the Gift Shop" lose some of the bite of its bitterly funny art world commentary if it turns out to be more engineered than it claims? Is it important that "The Social Network" elides and ignores details about Mark Zuckerberg and the website he founded? Would "Alamar" be less of a movie if it were populated by unrelated actors instead of a father and son?

Your answers may differ,
See full article at IFC »

The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions)

  • IFC
The Best Double Features of 2010 (Updated With Reader Suggestions)
The double feature is the moviegoing ritual most deserving of a comeback. It's the stuff of movie palaces, drive-ins, and getting more bang for your entertainment buck. The double feature is that magic that happens when two totally separate movies get juxtaposed together and begin talking to one another in strange and exciting ways. As part of's year-end hullabaloo, I decided to list the five most interesting hypothetical double features of 2010, along with five more runners-up. In no particular order, they are:

Money, Family, and Escape in Modern Boston

"The Town"

Directed by Ben Affleck

with "The Fighter"

Directed by David O. Russell

Though these films are from totally different genres -- one a classic one-last-job heist movie, the other an inspirational boxing film -- they share a common theme at their respective cores: a working-class man's obligation to his friends and family and his realization of his
See full article at IFC »

Viennale Kicks Off With Cannes Winner 'Of Gods and Men'

It's an exhaustive look at cinema of the old, and the new in Austria's capital. Starting today, and moving into November (3rd), Vienna celebrates almost two weeks' worth of film culture via the Viennale (a.k.a. Vienna International Film Festival). Bookended by Xavier Beauvois's Of Gods and Men, which took home the Grand Prix from this year's Cannes Festival, and Pedro González-Rubio's Alamar, Tiger Awardee in Rotterdam, the non-competitive fest tries to balance fiction, documentaries and short films in its main program. World premieres of this edition stem from German primary rocks like Rudolf Thome (The Red Room) and Klaus Wyborny (Studies for the Decay of the West). Another highlight is the first showing of Houchang Allahyari's fictionalised doc Die Verrueckte Welt der Ute Bock (The Crazy World of Ute Bock), portraying everyday life of a locally famed asylum helper. However, features like Sofia Coppola's
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This week's new films

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (15)

(Werner Herzog, 2009, Us) Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Chloë Sevigny, Grace Zabriskie. 93 mins

Herzog produced by David Lynch: it sounds like an outsider cinephile's fantasy but it's sadly not a patch on the best of their individual works, though worth watching for the cast alone. If it weren't supposedly based on a true story, you'd think the story came out of a late-night Lynch/Herzog weird-off. While delusional am-dram actor Shannon is holed up with two hostages, having just killed his mother with a sword, the cops try to work out how it came to this. Clues include ostriches, flamingoes, jelly, Greek tragedy and, yes, a dwarf.

Tamara Drewe (15)

(Stephen Frears, 2010, UK) Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Bill Camp. 111 mins

A postcard of the English countryside with a rude message on the back, Frears's pastoral satire balances bubbly comedy and cutting observation expertly,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Film review: Alamar

This gentle Mexican film about father-son bonding is rapturous in its appreciation of an idyllic fishing community, but curiously naive about human relationships, writes Peter Bradshaw

There are some lovely, gentle moments in this documentary-style feature from Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio, set around the ravishingly beautiful coral reef of Banco Chinchorro in the Caribbean off the Mexican coast. Alamar – that is, "to the sea" – shows Jorge (Jorge Machado), a Mexican man bonding with his five-year-old son Natan (Natan Machado Palombini) from a failed relationship with an Italian woman, Roberta (Roberta Palombini). He brings him for a visit to his fishing community, perhaps as a condition of their split, although this is one of many things left unclear. The child is enraptured with Banco Chinchorro – as well he might be. The movie is evidently taken directly from life, with the participants playing themselves, but it tells us nothing about why the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

To the Sea (Alamar)

The setup to “Alamar” — literally, “To the Sea” — reads like something out of a Harlequin novel. Roberta, a metropolitan Italian woman, moves to Mexico for work and meets Jorge, a traditional Mayan man with long wavy hair who refuses to put on a shirt over his smooth, toasted skin. They fall in love but their relationship can’t last — they’re just too different. However, they do share a five-year-old son, Natan. “Sometimes, I think God made us meet so that Natan could be born,” Roberta says.

When Roberta decides to move back to Rome, Jorge takes Natan on a trip to his father’s fishing shack on Banco Chinchorro, an atoll reef off the southeast coast of Mexico. A hybrid documentary drama, “Alamar” features real people — Natan is, indeed, Jorge and Roberta’s son — in a scenario orchestrated by director Pedro González-Rubio to comment on not only fathers and
See full article at Moving Pictures Magazine »


The plot of the gorgeous Mexi can film "Alamar" -- a father-son vacation -- isn't what Hollywood calls "high concept." But thanks to director-cinematographer-editor Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, the film might be called "high enjoyment." Five-year-old Natan's Italian mother is about to take him to live in Rome. But before he goes off to "civilization," his Mexican dad, Jorge -- "part Johnny Depp, part Peter Pan," according to the press notes -- takes him on a magical trip to the Banco Chinchorro coral reef in the Caribbean.
See full article at New York Post »
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