2010 Tribeca Award Winners

Award Winner in *RED. To check winners in all categories go here.

I was checking the films in the fest and there are two in competitition that definitively are Must Be Seen for me. But this year they are doing something exceptional they'll bring the fest online for Premium Passholders across the USA.

On April 23, the fest will launch Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Premium, an 8-day full Festival experience. Passholders will have access to 8 feature films and over 15 short films, plus live red carpets, live panels and live filmmakers Q&As.

I just hope that eventually an event like this one is open to the citizens of the world! Torn down mental barriers, do business worldwide!

If you have access to the Virtual experience I suggest you do not miss Elvis & Madona by Marcelo Laffitte, Brazil, 2010 that's a 'little' lesbian interest.

Anyway the fest will run from April 21 to May 2 and here are the films in the World Narrative Feature Competition.

Buried Land, Geoffrey Aland Rhodes and Steven Eastwood, Bosnia and Herzegovina, UK, and USA, 2009
*Dog Pound, Kim Chapiron, Canada and France, 2009 - Best New Narrative Filmaker
Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime... Moin Non Plus, Joann Sfar, France, 2009
*Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons), Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy, 2010 (Ozpetek is MUST BE SEEN! - Gay Interest) - Special Jury Mention
Lucky Life, Lee Isaac Chung, USA, 2010
My Brothers, Paul Fraser, Ireland, 2010
Open House, Andrew Paquin, USA, 20100
Paju, Park Chan-ok, South Korea, 2009
Snap, Carmel Winters, Ireland, 2010
*Die Fremde (When We Leave), Feo Aladag, Germany, 2010 (Interesting) Winner of the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
Keshtzarhaye Sepid (The White Meadows), Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 2009 (Must Be Seen!!!)
William Vincent, Jay Anania, USA, 2010

To read about each movie go here as well as to browse the fest to check the complete program.

Gitmek: Benim Marlon ve Brandom (My Marlon and Brando)

When I check festivals there are films that really call my attention for no specific reason, try not to read about them even when I post synopsis and/or trailers and forget about them. In 2008 at the Rotterdam film the catchy film name stick to my mind and it wasn't until today that I was able to watch it as the film is screened online for free at The Auteurs.

The film slowly starts to involve you until it becomes really mesmerizing for Ayca Damgaci performance, when the story hits the road to show great landscapes, watching ordinary people in ordinary situations even when there was war nearby, and very tacky video love letters that show a lot more than a love message.

Reading about the film learned that is Huseyin Karabey first feature film as he mainly does documentaries and surprisingly learned that the story is real, happened to Ayca Damgaci -who reenacts her love story- and the video love letters are the real ones she received from her beloved Hama Ali Kahn.

Yes the film is a love story between a Turkish actress and an Iraqi actor that met during the filming of a film and fell in love; their problem is that when the film is over, each went back to their country and all happens not long before the Iraq war. They want to see each other but Hama is not allowed to leave Iraq, especially when the Americans start to bomb Iraq and war explodes. So Ayca decides to go to him and the most extraordinary and very exotic to my eyes trip starts from Istanbul into Turkey's north, the Iraq border, and Iran. You can really tell that Karabey's has great experience as a document recorder as his directing style travels collecting little details that surround his main character Ayca.

Is a fascinating film at many levels, especially to my occidental eyes that never been around that part of the world and much less in times of war, which is another level as silently in the background shows people reactions to the war, from indifference in Turkey to what we see in the love video letters and other situations Ayca faces during her trip.

Definitively not for all audiences but I believe that because tells a 'love story' could appeal to many and if they dare to watch I'm sure many will become mesmerized by Ayca performance, the situations and will watch until the end. But this docudrama is artish, so do not expect fast story development and you will enjoy more the ride.

I highly recommend this film -that collected several awards since premiered at 2008 Rotterdam fest- as an odd real-life woman story, a document of a war most of us know from the 'other side', and the most marvelous trip into not often seen in movies areas of the world.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

A Single Man

What a BEAUTIFUL movie! Beautiful, beautiful. The esthetic is perfect. The use of light and color absolutely dreamy and enhances what you will feel from the scenes. This is a movie about feelings, your feelings, the ample range of feelings you will feel while watching.

I could go on and on talking about the few handheld camera takes to shake whatever was happening, the amazing compositions, the absolutely fantastic storytelling with a pace that goes slow, slowish, faster, back to slowish, slow and so on. Tom Ford successfully plays with all resources to make his audience feel.

To think that Ford could provoke Colin Firth to do perhaps his best ever performance, he's not mesmerizing, he's above mesmerizing with those facial expressions and the body language makes you feel like if you were there close to him and if you extend your hand you will touch him. Glorious performance. Bravo!

Yes Julianne Moore is here and her role fits her like a hand to a glove, she should do more of this kind of roles set in the '50/60s. But also a pleasant surprise while briefly seeing Erin Daniels, she should do more films.

I don't have to talk about the costumes after all is Tom Ford so you can imagine what you'll be able to see; but have to talk again about the film esthetic with absolutely beautiful and so 50/60's sets, surroundings, cars, makeup, people... and the playing with tint, the color and light saturation, the sad greyish and the taupe melting into sepia-ish... awesome!

On purpose never read about the story and I strongly recommend you don't. You'll eventually start to guess probably right, but it's not a movie about destination is about the voyage and what a strongly felt voyage. Suffice to let you know that the story is about one day in the life of George, an English Professor living in Los Angeles area.

I cried, I smiled, I laughed. I was sad, all right, and happy. I felt everything. It was wonderful. Love the film that personally believe is superior -as a film- to Brokeback Mountain. More complete cinema experience. Yes, I'm still waiting for a lesbian interest film that so esthetically can provoke me such a torrent of intense feelings.

Absolutely must be seen and yes, this is a keeper and goes into my collection to revisit now and then. Strongly recommend you do not skip this film as is truly a great American film about love, any love; but also about life, anybody's life.


Watch trailer here.

Note: Love this movie poster that says a lot more about the movie than any other I saw in the net, don't know if is official, but after watching the film absolutely suits the movie better.

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Sticks)

By now some of you know that I LOVE French cinema and that I have a hard time with comedies. If you browse the blog you will see that the words French and comedy together are simply non-existent. That's until today.

Yes waited until was shown in cable and finally watched one of the most successful French movies in recent times. The big surprise is that I like it! Yes, I laugh (not too much but I did) and felt very good (after a terrible day) when was over.

This Dany Boon film is great for the story, the comedy timing, the type of comedy, and good actors performances that not often use exaggerated gestures that I simply and strongly dislike. Tells about Phillippe, post office director, trying to please his wife and scamming to get transferred to a nicer ocean-side town in the South. When he gets caught he's banished to the North of France to a tiny city, Berges. No worst punishment as up North is cold, inhabited by 'simple' and uneducated people, unemployed miners that speak an incomprehensible dialect called Ch'ti. His wife stays in sunny South and he alone goes to a worst place than Siberia... according to what everyone in the South says. The rest you have to watch and just let me tell you one phrase from the movie 'foreigners cry twice when they come up north, once when they arrive and another when they leave'.

Perhaps is the best story I have ever seen about prejudice and the humor made it so easy to watch that was highly entertaining. If you haven't seen it I suggest to check your cable -or movie rental- perhaps they are showing this great film that maybe looses a bit in translation, but if you understand French you will laugh and laugh with the dialect speaking very funny moments.

Excellent film for an entertaining and escape moment. A while back I remember I swore that will never watch again a French comedy, but gee this comedy was really an exception.


Watch trailer (with English subtitles) @ Movie On Companion

2010 Premiile Gopo Winners

Recently the Romanian Gopo Awards had the awards ceremony and here are the winners in the main categories. As expected the movie that sweep the awards is none other than Politist, Adjetiv by Corneliu Porumboiu.

Best Film: Politist, Adjectiv (Police, Adjetive), Corneliu Porumboiu
Best Director: Corneliu Porumboiu for Politist, Adjectiv (Police, Adjetive)
Best Actress: Hilda Péter in Katalin Varga, Peter Strickland, UK and Romania
Best Actor: Dragos Bucur in Politist, Adjectiv (Police, Adjetive)

To check winners in all categories plus the special awards go here available only in Romanian.

Afghan Star

In my insurmountable quest to watch all the foreign films submitted to the 2010 Oscars recently I took a small step and decided to watch the UK official submission, a documentary by Havana Marking that troubled me more than I was prepared for.

The documentary film tells the story of a contestants musical show very similar to American Idol -that I have to remind readers that the show format is an import from UK and not an American original idea- that happens in contemporary Afghanistan. But that's the excuse to show how Afghan society has changed since the Taliban rule and my impression is that what we see is not so impartial and has a not so hidden intention.

I'm really torn with the way the documentary was edited as somehow I got the feeling that I was seeing propaganda. I will not get into explaining why, suffice to tell that it should have been a lot better if the story was told objectively. What I really appreciate is the story of the two women contestants as an example of cultural/religious rules that totally make women less than second class citizens and human beings. Watching both being and behaving so different impressed me and the reactions to disobeying the rules were absolute appalling. But then I'm torn here too, as I know that what is 'normal' for many, is not 'normal' for others and only us that live in a society where people are allowed to have choices will find appalling not being able to choose who we are or want to be. So I'm really troubled with this film that not unintentionally tried to show how an Occidental culture contestants format brought back "life" to a country where our concept of "joy" is restricted, the terrible consequences (including death threats) for disobeying rules, and the 'silly' government actions trying to control and punish contestants and people participation.

One positive thing the film did to me, made me think about politics, religion, Occidental recent popular culture and it's not-so-good penetration in cultures with thousands of years, and many other subjects that definitively will not discuss in this blog.

So, do I recommend the film? No if you're looking forward to an entertaining escape moment. No, if you want to have an 'objective' document of reality. Yes, if you have to watch all the foreign films submitted to the 2010 Oscar, but be prepared to see and hear a lot more than a simply Pop Idol contestants story.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion


Sometimes it takes me a long time to be able to watch a film and this is the case with this movie that was screened at the 2008 Venice fest at the Venice Days section where won the Label Europa Cinemas Award. It took me almost two years, but the wait was more than worth it as the film really becomes mesmerizing for the most unbelievable good story and the excellent performances from unknown to me actors (or non-actors?). It's my first movie from Sri Lanka with an Italian director Uberto Pasolini that expertly handles actors and the story development.

The film looks and feels like the raw reality of the poorest inhabitants that have to emigrate as "normal" life in their country is impossible. So it's no surprise to find that is based on a true story of a group of men that have a clever idea to obtain the German visa. They invent the Sri Lanka National Handball Team, ask to participate and obtain an invitation to an international tournament in Bavaria, Germany. The problem is that none of them play handball or have the slightest idea of what the game is all about.

This is a film to watch for the story, the natural acting and a director that created an excellent and entertaining film and as such I do strongly recommend it to those that like to watch well-done dramatization of real life stories.

The film is labeled as comedy and yes there is humor in this film, but what really touched me is the drama so well presented and handled about a very sensitive subject like emigration from a poor country into developed countries.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

Boogie Woogie

A movie that's not for all tastes as you really have to enjoy British satire to laugh with all the crazy situations, crazy acting and crazy story, and if you doubt me just check the awful movie poster that's a ridicule satiric representation of what the story is all about. But boy, did I laugh with this crazy movie.

Described as 'comedy of manners' this Duncan Ward film is set in the contemporary London art world and is based on the book by Danny Moynihan -with the same name- with an excellent cast playing characters devouring each other in a very small world awash with big money. The cast includes Gillian Anderson, Alan Cumming, Christopher Lee, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgård, Heather Graham, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, and (again) Amanda Seyfried, plus many more like Gemma Atkinson that plays a lesbian artist that will do anything to be discovered and promoted.

Very fast paced film with many stories (as many as the large amount of characters) but basically revolves around the desire to acquire Piet Mondrian's painting that belongs to an old man who doesn't want to sell as he bought it directly from the famous painter and is his most precious collection piece. But that's the excuse to show us the (real) ridiculous side of art commercialism that is very similar (if not the same) all over the world.

If you have ever been close to the Art Marché in wherever you live then you have to watch this film to uncover people you probably know and if you appreciate Brit humor then the pleasure will be double. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this film to some of my loyal readers as is not the regular lesbian interest movie, but has all the ingredients including the sex scene.

Is so hard for me to find films that understand my humor (lol!) but this one definitively did, plus was a true delight to watch all the paintings, sculptures, etc that parade through out the entire film.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion


I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch this film, so I delayed as much as possible but finally I succumbed as is an Atom Egoyan film and had to watch. The good news is that visually the film has many good moments with excellent cinematography and some outstanding outdoor compositions. The bad news is that the original story was changed to make it the most awful story you can image, chemistry between main leads (Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried) was non-existent and after watching I was mad!

Remakes are most of the time awful as many times the story is changed to accommodate the morality codes of the target audience. If something I was really curious about this movie was how they were going to adapt Nathalie's very peculiar story that for me totally reflects France's morality values that are SO different to values in English speaking countries. Well, just let me tell you that the main character becomes a stalker of the worst kind, which in the original story is very-very far from it.

Yes this film is the very bad remake of Anne Fontaine's Natalie. Bad because so many things that include the awful story changes but also -for example- Nathalie was all about voices and was really erotic, Chloe tries too hard to be erotic and becomes vulgar.

If you haven't seen Nathalie I urge you to go and buy/rent the DVD so you can see the abysmal difference from Chloe. Would I have liked the movie if I haven't seen Fointaine's film? Visually yes; the story, no.

Definitively Atom Egoyan should avoid doing mainstream films, he's an excellent director that wasted his time with a terrible screenplay.

If you saw and loved Nathalie as much as I did, I suggest you stay away from this movie as I'm sure you will get upset with the old-fashion portrait of lesbianism in this film.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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