Improving the Blog

Since a long while ago I wanted to publish the blog's posts in facebook and wanted to be active in Twitter. Isn't until this very moment that finally I'm able to do both!

As you can see there is a new Twitter widget showing whatever could be in my mind and most important, showing the latest Movie On posts. Alright, I'm so excited that haven't tuned the settings, but I'll do it in a moment. As a matter of fact after a couple of hours playing with Twitter I already got three (3) followers! (Thank You Very Much fellow tweetee's) That's the power of Twitter, everything goes really fast in there.

Now my facebook friends will also get in their News feed whatever I post in the blog, so only if they're interested in reading they will have to come to the blog. Since my Wall is public anyone with a facebook account can check the wall to find what's going on at the blog and visit only what calls their attention.

So my dear friends, now you can follow me by coming to the blog, checking Twitter and/or facebook as everything is integrated and communicates with each other.

My first experiment will be with La Mostra, will try to have different information in each service, but as mentioned, blog posts will be in all services. Absolutely will continue learning until I hope to know 'everything' and be completely ready for 2011 Cannes.

This is the second important step into becoming again myself. The third is having all my stuff with me, which will happen soon.

2011 is the year of the new re-invented me and my new profession that has lots to do with movies, but also with the Internet, software and other related stuff.



67th Venice International Film Festival News

Today is a good day to start this year's coverage of La Mostra that as we all know will officially start tomorrow with the opening ceremony at 7:pm followed by the premiere of Aronofsky's much awaited film Black Swan. Here are some interesting news.

- Persol 3D Award

The Persol 3-D Award is the first international prize of its kind, awarded to the film that has used stereoscopic 3-D in the most creative way. It was instituted for the first time in 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival, and was awarded in its inaugural edition to The Hole 3D by Joe Dante, one of this summer’s Italian box-office “surprises”. The award will be attributed this year again to the most creative of the 3D films distributed in Italy (or shown as a world premiere screening in Italian film festivals) between September 11 2009 and September 10 2010.

These are the 3D films eligible for the second Persol award.

G-Force by Hoyt Yeatman
Planet 51 by Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad, Marcos Martínez
A Christmas Carol by Robert Zemeckis)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Avatar by James Cameron
Call of the Wild 3D by Richard Gabai)
Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton
How To Train Your Dragon by Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Clash of the Titans by Louis Leterrier
Toy Story – 3D by John Lasseter
OceanWorld 3D by Jean-Jaques Mantello
Toy Story 2 - 3D by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich
The Final Destination 3D by David R. Ellis
U2 3D by Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington
Toy Story 3 by Lee Unkrich
Shrek Forever After by Mike Mitchell
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore by Brad Peyton
The Last Airbender by M. Night Shyamalan

Furthermore, another 3-D film will be eligible, and screened in its world premiere screening Out of Competition at the 67th Venice Film Festival: Tungngaan 3D (The Child’s Eye 3D) by Oxide and Danny Pang.

My personal wish is that Avatar doesn't get the award, for me still is a mediocre film with great special effects. To check the complete press release go here.

- Midnight [Madness] Screenings

Tomorrow at midnight will be the world premiere of the anticipated film by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis, Machete that I'll probably watch (no rush) mainly because of the cast -well, the female cast- and in the right mood, I can actually enjoy Rodriguez's films.


Believe it -or not- tonight at 8:30pm (Italian time) there is a "pre-opening" event with the screening of Profumo di Donna (Scent of a Woman) by Dino Risi at Arena di Campo San Polo. This 1974 film starts none other than great Vittorio Gassman as il capitano Fausto Consolo (yes, watch it a long-long time ago).

This year coverage will be simultaneous in the blog and at facebook; obviously with different content and information, that know will complement each other, as facebook is very useful -as well easy to use- to have links to everything (news, videos, trailers, gossip, etc) related to La Mostra.

As expected most news coverage come from Italian news so I'll be checking them on daily basis to find and share what I believe is at least "interesting". Will start tomorrow with the daily coverage, similar to Cannes fest, BUT won't be able to do much on Thursday, Friday and maybe Saturday as finally my stuff is arriving, it took a little bit more than a month! But, I'm really happy that soon everything will be back to where it belongs, with me! (LOL!) and I'll be ready to finally go back to watch great movies with all my system installed.

Let's hope that everything goes smoothly and I can be back earlier than expected.


Fall Preview: The 33 Must See Films

As Peter Knegt (yes, I will always say again-and again- that he's my favorite net writer) says, summer is over! (I'm so glad!) not necessarily by the calendar but certainly when it comes to festivals and movies. For many of us tomorrow the fall festival season starts with La Mostra/La Biennale/Venice Film Festival and the 2011 award season already started.

But Mr. Knegt today delighted readers with his Must See Films for the American fall and even if there are some that will not be must be seen for me (but surely will watch), we agree with many like -for example- Aronofsky's Black Swan (he says, "think of it as a violent, sexual, ballet world update of "All About Eve" -wow! - I know have to control expectations); Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist (the follow-up of extraordinary The Triplets of Belleville"); Schnabel's Miral; Julie Taymor's The Tempest; hmm... he's talking about Heartbreaker, maybe should watch it, with Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis); Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger; and others that could be interesting.

To check the complete article please go here.

By the way, the other favorite net writer, Anne Thompson is in Venice, so hope she does more than just reviewing movies, which will allow us to enjoy more the fest. Well, well... today she also has an interesting column "Critic vs. Critic: The Changing Landscape of Movie Coverage"... yep, about the many Internet "informal" critics/reviewers ... like me (LOL!). Suggest to read the article here.

رباره الی Darbareye Elly (About Elly)

Took me a very long wait but finally I was able to watch this magnificent film by Asghar Farhadi who captivated me with Chaharshanbe-soori (Fireworks Wednesday) and continue captivating me with another interesting exploration on human relations in a film with sophisticated storytelling depicting a story that according to what I read, could mean different things to different people. Fascinating.

The film tells about three families traveling to the Caspian sea for a week-end holiday. They arrive only to find that the house they rented was not available and end-up staying in a tore down house near the sea. While they are setting in all is happiness, fun, we are introduced to the characters and the basic plot of the story, but everything -and I mean everything- changes when one little boy is missing and find him floating far away in the sea. What actually changes is the group dynamics plus characters behavior and you have no idea how well-develop the characters are, how the story will evolve and involve you.

To me the story is about women and their perhaps so common behavior all over the world, so it's not a story that only belongs to Iranian women; but to others the story is about lies and their consequences. Whatever you see in the story is up to you, but definitively is not only a very interesting story but also an universal story.

Great performances by excellent actors in this high value production that's set mainly at the beach house, so you have a movie that's all about characters and narrative, while tech specs are good the main thing is that they do not disturb the human drama that's being told so superbly.

As we know the film was Iran's submission to 2010 Oscar and while traveling the fest circuit was honored with multiple awards including a Silver Bear at the 2009 Berlinale for Best Director and the film in competition for the Golden Bear; and the Best Narrative Feature at 2009 Tribeca. Because I believe it's a great summary for the film, here is a reproduction of the Jury statement at the 2009 Viennale where won the Der Standard Readers' Jury Prize.

“Darbareye Elly is an artistically convincing, multi-layered drama about morals, responsibility to oneself and others, as well as the relationship to truth revealed by the dynamics of interpersonal relations. At the same time, it provides a rare view of Iran’s middle-class.”

So it's not just me that believes that Asghar Farhadi is the most outstanding Iranian filmmaker that allows us westerners to see a different side of Iranian culture in films with very compelling (universal) stories. If you haven't seen the film I strongly suggest you don't miss it as I highly recommend it.


Watch trailer @Movie On Companion


Not exactly what I was hoping for based on mainly headlines (don't read articles) and trailer. Definitively I fell into the marketing trap that yes, raised my expectations. Maybe if I had approached this film with no expectations I would have enjoy it more as entertainment as is not a bad summer movie with some nice special effects and a good fantasy story even when I did guess everything quite early, too early, and the story just became predictable with a very noisy ride as the noise level even made my seat shake and there was no earthquake, lol!

But it was an entertaining ride with some thrilling moments and absolutely liked the idea of "dream worlds" against reality, plus the dream within a dream, within a dream (so on and so forth) seems unbelievably appealing to me (lol!). That's why I identified with the character that doesn't want to come out from that fantastic dream (s) world (s) and as I don't want to spoil the story, won't tell you who the character is, but if you already saw it you have to know.

I'm torn with telling you what's the story about, as if I tell you what I saw will absolutely spoil the film for you; so, the official plot says about a highly skilled thief (DiCaprio) of hidden (corporate) secrets who is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job till date and do an inception. Inception is (more or less) planting an idea in a person while dreaming so when wakes up believes is his own idea.

The film has a great cast and was a true pleasure to watch Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard, has outstanding production values and some good special effects -nothing extraordinary in my opinion. Due to my (high) expectations wanted to watch the movie in the big screen but honestly it wasn't worth it. If you haven't watch it yet wait for the DVD and if you have a good theater system at home you probably will enjoy it the same or even more at home.

Will the film get an Oscar nomination? Probably or more likely, sure. Has all the elements that Academy members like plus general audiences like too. Could win the top award? Maybe as buzz and marketing for this film seems has been very successful and the film definitively is a crowd pleaser.

Do I recommend the film? Yes as good entertainment, but be aware that this Christopher Nolan film is NO Dark Knight.


Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

Ajami (عجمي‎ - עג'מי‎)

Soon we will learn Israel's submission to the Oscar and if is anything alike to last year submission and Oscar nominee, will have to watch it immediately as the debut by Scandar Copti (Palestinian born and raised in Ajami) and Yaron Shai (Jewish Israeli) is an amazing film that from the very beginning up to the end grabs your attention and won't let it go, not even for a second, not to think twice what's happening, not to analyze a thing; the film is one non-stop ride into the a slice-of-life of some characters presented not in chronological order, with the story moving back and forth, plus re-telling from a different point-of-view, until all stories merge in one point and it's the end. Amazing, truly amazing especially because you will not see violence (when everything is violent), you'll not see political statements or something in particular besides what could be normal life in an impoverish neighborhood with a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians.

It's a story that looks and feels so real, but the way is told is what makes this film a cinematic experience in storytelling, hard, very-hard to believe that is the debut film of two young directors (and screenwriters), as shows great storytelling mastery with amazing narrative and especially the awesome cinematic language that fast involves you and doesn't let you go until the very end. Fantastic.

It was such an intense one long sigh voyage that when the film was over I had to stop my mind and review the whole film -in my mind- to really grasp everything that I watched for the past two hours; not the story, but the visuals and the amazing editing that creates an unique -and very compelling/involving- storytelling style. Absolutely a must be seen film that I hope many have already seen by now.

As brief as possible here is a plot summary, the story is narrated by young Nasri and tells about his older brother Omar fighting a criminal vendetta against his family. Omar is Muslim and in love with Christian Hadir, his boss daughter; the boss Abu Elias owns a restaurant where Omar and illegal immigrant Malek work. Malek is desperately trying to make money for her mother's life-saving surgery. Dando is a Jewish police officer obsessed with finding his missing brother and last, Binj a Palestinian dreaming of a future with his Jewish girlfriend and played by none other than Scandar Copti. Most -if not all-characters are played by non-actors, which absolutely adds to the realistic look of the story and film.

The film collected many honors including Special Mention Camera D'Or at 2009 Cannes, winning the top awards at 2009 Ophir Awards, and being one of the five Oscar nominees in the Best Foreign Film category.

Strongly suggest you don't skip this movie that I know will watch more than once as I have to understand -more- the amazing storytelling style.


Watch trailer @Movie On Companion


I was really looking forward to watch a film that has been called "unusual" because "narrative style combines realism, symbolism, almost mystical lyricism, and strong visual approach with superb cinematography". A mix of documentary and narrative. Alright the movie has all the above plus an intriguing cast with two actresses I've been following, very exotic Magaly Solier and also exotic Jasmin Tabatabai, BUT (and is a big but) I didn't like it!

I find it an absolutely pretentious mix of many styles -some from many of my favorite directors- to tell a tale that's more serious, down-to-earth, simple yet complex, and never a dream (like filmmakers say) as tells something that really happened in Peru. But actually what this film absolutely lacks is great storytelling and great filmmakers, which -in my opinion- both directors and co-writers absolutely are not.

This is the third role where Magaly Solier plays a Quechua and can't be more different to her previous two roles in Madeinusa and La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow). So different that while watching I think I discovered what was really missing in this movie was a great director and a superb storyteller like -for example- Claudia Llosa that in her movies explores almost same Peruvian mysticism and symbols with realism but she does it with a magical narrative and is able to extract true awesome performances from her actors.

In Altiplano Magaly Solier doesn't have an awesome performance as she looks and feels woody, theatrical, underused and sometimes performing the absurd; the same happens with Jasmin Tabatabi, just add that she's distant and never feels inside her character. True shame that such good actresses were subjected to an underuse of their respective capabilities.

The film tells two stories, one about a small village in Peru where an US company discovers gold, contaminates with mercury the town of Turubamba, and inhabitants start to die. The other about a war photographer (Tabatabi) suffering from depression that loses her Belgian, humanitarian doctor husband to the hands of the Turubamba inhabitants rage against foreigners and leads her to initiate a redemptory journey to the small Peruvian village. The two stories never merge according to me, unless you consider that the "symbiotic/symbolic" merge of Grace and Saturnina makes the story merge at the end. I don't.

I don't recommend this very pretentious film unless you have never seen the beauty of Peruvian (and sometimes thought was the Chilean) Altiplano. But then, you better rent a National Geographic documentary or watch the NatGeo TV channel and will be able to watch the Altiplano beauty without all the nonsense in this film.

The film really upset me for under-using great actresses; but most of all, for so unsuccessfully copying -or trying to copy- styles that belong to great master filmmakers.


Watch trailer (at your own risk) @Movie On Companion

Die Fremde (When We Leave)

An excellent film by Feo Aladag that is very disturbing film especially for westerners who have in their various cultures, customs and traditions nothing similar to what is shown here. I learned a new word thanks to this movie, Namus and to share with all here is the etymology.

The Arabic word "nāmūs" (ناموس) may mean "law", "custom", or "honor". The Hebrew words "nmūs" (נמוס) or "nūmūsā" (נומוסא) again means "law". The Ancient Greek word "nómos" (νόμος) meaning "law, custom".

And here is the context.

For a man and his family, namus, among other things, may mean sexual integrity of women in the family, their chastity in particular. On the other hand, the man has to provide for his family and to defend the namus of his house, his women in particular, against the threats (physical and verbal) to members of his extended family from the outer world.

Namus of a man is determined by namus of all the women in his family (i.e., mother, wives, sisters, daughters). In some societies, e.g., in Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan, namus goes beyond the basic family and is common for a plarina, a unit of the tribe that has a common ancestral father.

For an unmarried woman, the utmost importance is placed on virginity before marriage, and "proof of virginity" in the form of bloodstains on a bed sheet is required in some cultures to proudly demonstrate after the wedding night. Professor of sociology Dilek Cindoğlu writes: "The virginity of the women is not a personal matter, but a social phenomenon".

In the Middle East, for a woman, namus is in obedience, faithfulness, modesty (in behaviour and in dress), "appropriateness".

If you want to learn more about Namus I suggest you check wikipedia here.

Why am I talking about Namus? Because that's what the story in this movie is all about and I wished I knew about this concept before watching the film as I know would have make it a lot easier to watch, as without knowing it became almost unbearable to watch such (to me) absurd behavior in women, brothers, father, mother, siblings, etc especially in the times that we are currently living. I took it like a cultural behavior, but now I know is more than that, more than Turkish 'traditions' and the story, as well as the film, became completely different in my mind.

Excellent production values plus extraordinary performance by Sibel Kekilli makes this film totally a must be seen for every woman in the world (men too) as shows the struggle that some women have to live when they want something different for them and their children while trying to keep one of the basic life elements, family, intact.

The film tells the story of Umay (Kekilli) abused by her husband she flees Turkey with her little son and goes back to her family in Germany. Her family gives her a chilly welcome as they realize she's doing something forbidden, leaving her husband. Eventually she has to leave her "home" as the family wants to return her son to the "true owner", the father in Turkey and ends up in German protection services, who ask her not to be in touch with her family at all. But that's not easy for Umay, she needs her family. As the story unravels you will never suspect the ending, unless you learn more than what I told you about Namus.

Strongly suggest to learn about Namus before watching this film that absolutely is a must be seen. This is not a film to enjoy, but to keep the ratings system I'll will close with it. I believe that this is a film to learn something many of us westerners are totally unaware of. The film won the Label Europa Cinemas award at 2010 Berlinale and got many nominations in the 2010 German Film Awards (Lola's) including Best Director to Feo Adalag, who was better known before as an Actress but her directorial debut assures her the transition to great storyteller and filmmaker.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

It’s no secret: The Academy makes some strange choices

Just love this article about Oscar's Foreign Language Film category, very cleverly written. The first I ever like from Metacritic! As a teaser, a brief excerpt.

"So if the Academy voters aren’t selecting the most critically-acclaimed films, what exactly are they picking? The most accessible films? That doesn’t appear to be the case, either. As you can see above, the Academy’s selections rarely coincide with Metacritic user preferences. And, more surprisingly — given that an Oscar victory presumably provides some sort of box office bump — the Oscar-winning foreign film more often than not performs more poorly in U.S. theaters than at least one other nominee. Apparently, the only people who agree with Academy voters are … Academy voters."

You'll find data and much more. I strongly suggest you take a look at the complete article here.

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival - Made in Spain

If something I totally agree with today's press release is that the 19 films that comprise the selection in this section has (a huge) diversity and shows the vitality of last year Spanish cinema production. From serious awards winner dramas like Celda 211, to a visual stunning film about a voyage to Mongolia in La Terra Habitada (The Inhabited Land), passing by Codero's Rabia (Rage), last Biennale [REC] 2, comedy in Velilla's Que se Mueran Los Feos (To Hell with the Ugly), Berlinale's Nacidas Para Sufrir, Silver Biznaga winner Fake Orgasm, and many more.

But what really made write this post is a film that I'm simply 'dying' to watch, Julio Medem's Room in Rome; just for this movie I wish I could go to San Sebastian this year. LOL!

To check all films in this section plus info and photos, please go here.

Very Early 2011 Oscar Possible Nominations

Some newspaper men/critics/cinema aficionados are starting to list what each considers as probable contenders for the 83rd Academy Awards that will take place on Sunday, February 27, 2011. But as some of you know the Oscar race starts a lot earlier when countries start to announce their chosen submissions to the Best Foreign Language category. As a matter of fact registration for the Bleacher Seats starts in September 13, so we can say that this post inaugurates the Oscar season in the blog.

Our first key date is Tuesday, January 25, 2011 when the nominations will be announced to the world.

Our second key date is October 1st, 2010 that's the deadline for all countries to send in their submissions for Best Foreign film. My next post will start one of my very favorite posts, the slowly build up of all submissions to this Oscar edition.

So let's play around with what some have been publishing as possible Oscar contenders.

From my favorite net writer, Peter Knegt. To check the complete list go here.

Best Picture - Safe Bets: Inception
Best Director - Safe Bets: Chirstopher Nolan for Inception
Best Actress: Safe Bets: Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
Best Actor - Safe Bets: None
Best Foreign Language Film - Safe Bets: None

Another of my favorite net writers, Ann Thompson. Check her article here.

Best Actress: possibilities Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right, Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs, Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone, Lesley Manville in Another Year, Helen Mirren in The Tempest, and Hilary Swank in Conviction.

Last, from Cinematical. Check article here.

Best Actress - Safe Bets: Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.

Well is just a little teaser to make you all feel that the Oscar season just started. Been following the Best Actress category because some claim that this year Noomi Rapace could get a nomination for her extraordinary, outstanding, magnificent, and all the superlative adjectives you can imagine in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not all agree that she could qualify, but I still hope she makes it, as the film surely was screened in USA in time for the nominations.

So as of this very moment, the Oscar Party has started!


35th Toronto International Film Festival

Some of you maybe recall that I'm not really a fan of this festival as find it's too commercial for my taste, has the North American premiere of many films that come from prestigious festivals, and most of the films are simply not interesting to me. But I do recognize that's an important fest in North America and maybe it's the largest. This year will screen 246 films in many sections and programs; will run from September 9 to 19 and here are sections that the fest has.

Canada First - First time Canadian directors
Canadian Open Vault - Special presentations of recently restored, iconic, Canadian films
City to City - An Exploration of the urban experience through film. Each year a city is spotlighted
Contemporary World Cinema - Best films from every corner of the earth. (Maybe the most interesting program)
Discovery - Showcase for innovative new filmmakers
Future Projections - Cinema meets visual arts with moving-image projects throughout the city of Toronto
Galas Presentations
Masters - Films made by the most influential directors living today
Mavericks - Unforgettable dialogues with some of the most compelling figures of working in cinema today
Midnight Madness - Weird and wonderful films from misfit directors for those audiences who appreciate the wild side of cinema
Reel to Reel - Candid and unscripted, the best documentaries of the year
Short Cuts Canada -Canadian shorts
Special Presentations - Crowd pleasing films
Sprockets Family Zone - Films for children and adults alike
TIFF for Free - Free public screenings showcasing gems from festivals past
Vanguard - Films that defy convention (another sometimes interesting section)
Visions - Poetic films that take radical and innovative approach to filmmaking and the art of storytelling (ditto above)
Wavelengths - Film is art. Vibrant and aesthetically stunning works from the world's leading and emerging film and video artists.

To check films in each section/program go here.

These are some of the films I find interesting and are new to the blog.

All About Love, Ann Hui, Hong Kong, 2010 (lesbian interest)
Inside America, Barbara Eder, Austria, 2010
Jucy, Louise Alston, Australia, 2010 (is a womatic comedy!)
Last Night, Massy Tadjedin, France and USA, 2009 (Intriguing cast, but hope is not too American)
The Piano in a Factory, Zhang Meng, China, 2010

La Nana (The Maid)

Not an easy movie for me to review, so I cheated and read a lot of critics and users reviews to get some inspiration. Unfortunately all reviews or viewers comments refer to the story, including those from 'professional' critics, so I have no choice but to share with you all my personal experience with this movie that was not what I expected, a comedy, but a drama that could touch many in so many different ways. Yes, definitively has a powerful story that if you identify with it or not, you will absolutely get absorbed by it.

Why is not easy for me to write about this movie? See, I had a live-in maid when I was growing up and she was part of the family. When I grew up and became independent, never had a live-in maid -came and go everyday- but still became part of my family. The point, I have always had a maid, no matter where I lived and always developed a very close relationship with them. So, the story touched me in several levels regarding this point, one is related to my own experience with maids as being part of my family; another is how maids take control of your domestic life, another how your privacy is invaded by maids, last how maids have an awful position within your family as they really don't belong to your family (period). All the above is a subject matter no one discuss or talk about no matter which country you live in.

But this sad tale with a few tragicomic moments also touched me on a human level on how we human beings could lose perspective of our own lives and end up living lives with other human beings that care for you when is convenient for them and how you become an 'object' they get used to see every day and can't or aren't willing to get rid of it. It's up to each individual to face true reality -against imaginary reality- and get out of a situation, or accept it as such to live a happier life.

Very complex and layered story in a movie with outstanding performances by most of the supporting cast, but the lead Catalina Saavedra performance is truly amazing from any point of view that you analyze it, with special mention to how she transforms right in front of your eyes. Great performance. The movie as a movie has its flaws, but you won't be able to easily see them as the story will grab your attention quite fast and will hold it until the very end. This is the incredible good work of a filmmaker, Sebastián Silva, than in his second film shows great timing mastery, so good that kept the story flowing flawlessly.

The story is very simple, a live-in maid discovers her reality and is allowed to live her own life for the first time in twenty years, since she came to the home of a wealthy Chilean family when she was very young. Obviously for her to finally be able to do it many, but many, things will happen that will portrait her as a villain, a manipulative woman, a caged woman, a very tired woman, an innocent/naive woman, (etc.) up to a more assertive woman that accepts and starts to enjoy her 'real' life.

Did I like the movie? Today I do, but when I saw it I was feeling so 'not good' that I almost regretted having watch it. The story was too close and personal, absolutely identified with it and touched so many 'forbidden to talk' issues that became unbearable. Not many stories in film make me feel so many 'not positive' emotions and took me a long while to realize that I liked the movie (a lot) as this incredibly good performed and directed story broke some of my own taboos.

Will this happen to you? Probably not, but IF you have had live-in maids while growing up or today, then maybe. Still, I strongly suggest you don't miss it as is an awfully good story in a good film that some critics dared to claim has reminiscences of Hitchcock or Godard and yes I do agree with them. The film became a huge success in the festival and awards worldwide circuit and got 24 wins, plus 7 nominations, including a nomination at the 2010 Golden Globes in the Best Foreign Language Film and winning the Grand Jury Prize at 2009 Sundance fest plus Special Jury Prize to Catalina Saavedra.

Again, I suggest you don't miss this amazing film.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

4th Queer Lion Awards Lineup

These are the films that will be competing for the Queer Lion.

Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky, USA (lesbian interest) - Main Competition
Capo Dio Monte, Pappi Corsicato, Italy (documentary about gay artist) - Venice Days -Spazio Aperto
Drei (Three), Tom Tykwer, Germany (gay interest) - Main Competition
En el Futuro, Mauro Andrizzi, Argentina (gay interest) - Orizzonti -
Et in Terra Pax, Matteo Botrugno and Daniele Coluccini, Italy (gay interest)- Venice Days
Happy Few, Antony Cordier, France (gay interest) - Main Competition
Lisetta Carmi, A Soul on the Road, Daniele Segre, Italy (sort of gay interest?) - Venice Days (Italian Portraits and Landscapes)
Potiche, Fracois Ozon, Frace (gay interest) (Must be seen) - Main Competition
La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers), Saverio Costanzo, Italy, Germany and France (gay interest) - Main Competition
The Tempest, Julie Taymor, USA Closing Film (first is Taymor, second Helen Mirren, THIRD Mirren plays Prospera that in the original Shakespeare play is a man and here is a 'virile woman', must be seen)- Out of Competition
Sposerò Nichi Vendola, Andrea Constantino, Italy (gay interest) - Controcampo Italiano (Short Film)

As expected there is only one really lesbian interest as The Tempest I'm doubting will have any specific interest, but will be interesting watching Helen Mirren playing the role. Also think that Potiche is in the considered films because is Ozon as was described as being totally 'queer' because the actresses. Will check for more info about the genre as news start to appear.

To check information and photos for each film go here where you can also browse the other related activities. Award ceremony will be on September 10th.


Expecting a comedy I found one of the most lovely dramas that I have seen lately that touched all my fibers and make me feel everything. I even cried, a little. Laugh, a little, with great Nordic humor. But most of all I was mesmerized by the awesome storytelling style that makes what could have been a common story into a unique emotional voyage thanks to the outstanding weaving of small incidents that make the whole a unique emotional experience even when excellent actors did mostly deadpan, emotionless, stiff body and cold performances. BRAVO!

I always felt that storytelling is one of the most important elements in a movie -if not THE most important- and this movie absolutely confirms what I've felt. With clean and almost perfect visuals that totally complement actors performances, your attention immediately goes to the story, to the characters, to the narrative and it takes a bit to understand the style but once you get it you stop thinking about whatever you think when watching movies (me, I think a lot) and enjoy the ride. Little by little, slowly, the story weaving involves you. Fantastic!

Lately multilingual films are becoming my favorites as definitively represent reality in countries with immigrants. Here we are in Norway and actors speak Norwegian, but you have a Russian character, Maria (extraordinary Agnieszka Grochowska) that communicates in English but speaks home in Russian. She's the only warm, wait not really, she's the only hot character and truly does it so well that makes the contrast to other characters more evident. Then we have Yanne and Axel, two characters that are Asian but absolutely behave like any other Norwegian, as they were adopted when were very young. The last character Per is a young Norwegian that was in Afghanistan and now is a student. The story is about these four characters and believe me, looks and feels very real.

So what's the story about? I won't tell you as I'm sure will spoil the movie; please try to watch without knowing absolutely nothing about the story (like me), it's important if you want to really enjoy the storytelling amazing style. I won't even post a trailer so you have no clues.

Big chapeau to director Sara Johnsen for an amazing film and for an excellent screenplay as she's also the writer. All recognitions that she gets are extremely well-deserved. As you know Johnsen and the film were the big winners at the recent Amanda Awards.

Absolutely must be seen if you enjoy great (and very simple) excellent cinema, but you have to at least be familiar (a little) with Nordic cinema to fully enjoy the film.

Yes, is the best Norwegian film that I've seen up-to-date.


26th Amanda Awards

Last night the Norwegian yearly top awards had the awards ceremony and the big winner was Sara Johnsen's Upperdog that got most of the top awards. Here are the winners.

Best Norwegian Cinema: Upperdog, Sara Johnsen
Best Director: Sara Johnsen for Upperdog
Best Actress: Agnieszka Grochowska in Upperdog, Sara Johnsen
Best Actor: Stellan Skarsgård in En ganske snill mann (A Somewhat Gentle Man), Hans Petter Moland

Best Foreign Cinema: The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke

To check winners in all categories go here available only in Norwegian.

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival - Official Selection

Organizers haven't finished the official selection but here are some films already announced.

Opening film: Chicogrande, Felipe Cazals, Mexico

《老那》Addicted to Love, Liu Hao, China
*Aita, José María de Orbe, Spain
Akma-Reul bo-at-da (I Saw The Devil), Kim je-woon, Korea
Amigo, John Sayles, USA and Philippines
*Cerro Bayo (Mount Bayo), Victoria Galardi, Argentina
Elisa K, Judith Colell and Jordi Cadena, Spain
Genpin, Naomi Kawase, Japan (documentary)
El Gran Vazquez (The Great Vazquez), Oscar Aibar, Spain
Hjem til jul (Home for Christmas), Bent Hamer, Norway, Sweden and Germany (will watch)
A Jamaâ (The Mosque), Daoud Aoulad-Syad, Morocco and France
Misterios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon), Raúl Ruiz, Portugal
Neds, Peter Mullan, UK, France and Italy
Pa Negre (Black Bread), Agustí Villaronga, Spain
*Satte Farben Vor Schwarz (Colors in the Dark), Sophie Heldman, Germany and Switzerland

*Eligible for the Kuxta-New Directors Award

Out of Competition
Closing Film: Elle S'Appelait Sarah (Sarah's Key), Gilles Paquet-Brenner, France
Bicicleta, Cullera, Poma (Bicycle, Spoon, Apple), Carles Bosch, Spain
Eat Pray Love, Ryan Murphy, USA

President: Goran Paskaljevic, director, Serbia
Jo Allen, make-up artist
José Coronado, Actor, Sppain
Claudia Llosa, filmmaker, Peru
Raya Marin, director, Philippines
Pablo Trapero, director/producer, Argentina
Lucy Walker, director, UK

Julia Roberts will receive the Donostia Award on September 20, an award that last year went to Sir Ian McKellen.

The fest other sections include the Classic Retrospective this year dedicated to Don Siegel, creator of American B-Movies some becoming classic like 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but better known for 1971 Dirty Harry. Also the Thematic Retrospective this year dedicated to non-fiction cinema has the title: .doc-New paths of non-fiction.

Will update the post as movies are announced, there could be one or two that maybe are not in the main competition and will be screened out of it. To check info about the films go here.


Thanks to a great friend from China -that noticed I'm back- was able to watch this great movie that even when is an American production doesn't look or feel like one; maybe because director Mikael Håfström is Swedish, the writer was born in Iran and the amazing cast comes from China, Japan, Germany and USA or maybe is the noir style that gives the film an air of old fashion movie from the times when Casablanca or Citizen Kane were born.

Yes the cast is outstanding and for starters here we have the extraordinary, beautiful and expressive Gong Li reunited with none other than great Yun-Fat Chow; next amazing Ken Watanabe and with a more supporting role Rinko Kikuchi representing Japan; from Germany great Franka Potente and from USA one of the few actors I really enjoy watching, John Cusack. Eclectic cast isn't?

Tells about an undercover American agent posing as a journalist Paul Soames (John Cusack) that's call to Shanghai to follow his friend -and also agent- investigation and find who kill him. All happens in the eve of December 1941 when Shanghai was the only major China's city not yet occupied by the Japanese and was a potboil of foreign and local inhabitants; a city divided into districts according to nationality, so you had the Japanese district, the German district and the American district. Also important to the story are the Chinese resistance with urban fighting against the Japanese.

Is in this scenario that Paul meets Anna Lan-Ting (Gong Li) the wife of Chinese mob and Japanese collaborator Anthony Lan-Ting (Yun-Fat Chow) and as Paul follows Anna trying to uncover the connection to his friend, the story unravels at times tense, at times with very sophisticated drama, some action, some not-usual romance, and most of the time looking and feeling like great Chinese cinema. The last surely happened because I saw a Mandarin dubbed version that today I'm sure is the best that happened to me to really appreciate and enjoy more the film.

This is another film that when was over I wanted more and be sure that I'll watch the movie again, as well as when the DVD is available will go directly to my collection along with all great Gong Li films.

I simply love the movie and believe that the chemistry between Gong Li and Cusack is unexpected, unimaginable but real which was an incredibly good surprise for me, as Gong Li has had some foreign co-stars that simply don't fit her unique style, kill the romance and make them a not-believable couple.

If you're a Gong Li fan this is absolutely must be seen for you; also if you appreciate good Chinese cinema (I know is an American production but is a reference) you have to watch this film. If you're expecting Hollywood in this film be sure that you will not find it in the narrative, the style, the performances, and the visuals; maybe there is a little Hollywood in the scenarios and tech specs but nowhere else.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

There is another more commercial movie poster but I HAD TO post here the Chinese poster.


When the movie started I thought I was watching a Bond film with the only difference that Pierce Brosnan was not there and instead I was watching a barely dressed Angelina Jolie! So blond Jolie (don't like her blond and still doubt she could do Marilyn Monroe) does lots of action moves -that absolutely suits her perfectly- while we the audience stay wondering which side her loyalty resides. At the end I got the unsatisfying sensation that this film was more like a pilot for a TV series that nowadays almost look like big screen films.

But watching Angelina Jolie when she's not too skinny, like here, is always a pleasure that I can't miss and didn't. My problem was with the story that was (badly) rewritten for a female lead after none other than Tom Cruise was out of the project. Still there is lots of action and somehow I liked not knowing her side, that is until I saw her doing the spider thing that totally gave away her true loyalty and the story became less interesting.

Tells the story of Evelyn Salt a CIA agent that may or may not be a Russian spy as she was part of a Soviet Union old project that trained little kids to become "sleepers" while reaching adulthood and becoming successful professionals in key/strategic positions. When a Russian defector accuses her of being a Russian spy everything unravels and for the rest of the story is action , rest a few minutes, action, rest, and the same until the movie finally ends.

I know that Salt is not a video game character but might as well be the next video game and why not, the next TV series where she does all the follow-up to the SO predictable end. Summer action flicks are always not my favorites, but once in a while, one becomes the exception. Unfortunately this is not the case with Salt that again is worth watching ONLY to kill some time and IF you have to watch everything with Jolie.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The video game has been called one of the "most visually stunning video games ever made" and the movie has good visuals but not stunning, at least for my eyes. Still I found the film to be very entertaining with an original story that easily grabs your attention and keeps it, even when watching the multiple very long -and sometimes boring- fights (don't we always know who will win?).

This video game based film tells the story of a young orphan, Dastan, that's adopted by the King of Persia and grows up to be equally loved by his two adopted brothers and father. But when his older brother decides to attack the holy city everything changes as the King is poisoned with a robe that Dastan gives him and we saw his older brother gave him. Dastan becomes a fugitive with Princess Tamina and nothing that will happen is like we think it is, which is what makes the story entertaining.

Lots of action, visual effects and predictable romance make this summer movie a worth watching film to kill some time and be aware that it's quite noisy! This is the kind of movie that critics dislike but young and always-young audiences tend to like. Seems that those that play the game also enjoyed watching the characters in the big screen.

I liked the movie because of the story and what I call "extreme" performances by Ben Kingsley and mostly by Alfred Molina. Do I recommend it, well ONLY if you have nothing else to watch and wish to kill some time with an entertaining story.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

2010 Montreal World Film Festival

With none other than Gérard Depardieu giving a master class the fest will open on August 26 and will run until September 6.

Here is the Official Selection for the World Competition

Adem (Oxygen), Hans Van Nuffel, Belgium and Netherlands, 2010
Akunin, Lee Sang-il, Japan, 2010
Box: Hakamada jiken - innochi towa, Banmei Takahashi, Japan, 2010
Dalla Vita in Poi, Gianfrancesco Lazotti, Italy, 2010
De La Infancia (On Childhood), Carlos Carrera, Mexico, 2009
L'Heritage, Christian Lara, Guadeloupe and Gabon, 2009
Hisshiken Torisashi, Hideyuki Hirayama, Japan, 2010
The Land of the Astronauts, Carl Colpaert, USA, 2010
Das Lied in Mir, Florian Cossen, Germany, 2010 (interesting story)
Limbo, Maria Sødahl, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Trinidad and Tobago, 2010
Le Mariage à Trois, Jacques Doillon, France, 2010 (will watch)
Nannerl, La Soeur de Mozart, René Féret, France, 2010 (I'm curious)
Peremiriye, Svetlana Proskurina, Russia, 2010
Rendez-vous Avec Un Ange, Sophie de Daruvar and Yves Thomas, France, 2010 (will watch)
Route 132, Louis Bélanger, Canada, 2010
Tannod, Bettina Oberli, Germany and Switzerland, 2009
Tête de Turc (Turk's Head), Pascal Elbé, France, 2009 (with Ronit Elkabetz, will watch)
Tromper Le Silence (Silencie Lies), Julie Hivon, Canada, 2010
Twelve Thirty, Jeff Lipsky, USA, 2010
Wenecja (Venice), Jan Jakub Kolski, Poland, 2010

To check information about each film and also to check the shorts in competition, please go here. Also the fest has the First Films World Competition with some very interesting movies that you can check here.

4th Queer Lion Award News

Been checking everyday for news and today found that the list will be available next Monday, August 23 finally. Let's hope that this year there will be more diversity, but from the films I have been able to identify in the main competition seems that will be as always with gay interest films as a majority.



For many regular blog readers is no surprise that I had to watch this movie because I watch everything that Aishwarya Rai does, but what maybe could be a surprise is that I liked this movie a lot that I even forgot that I was watching Aish and absolutely saw her character in this film that not only is visually spectacular but also tells a compelling story and, for a change, I enjoyed Abhishek Bachchan performance which I haven't since Guru.

This Mani Ratnam film is a remake of a 1984 film that I haven't seen, so I can't make comparisons to the original and probably helped me to get so involved with the story in this not so traditional Bollywood movie (but more traditional than Kites, for example) as even when there are songs and dances, the last seem to be more seamless integrated into the narrative which makes it more enjoyable.

Unfortunately I believe I watched a shorter version as I was expecting the regular 3 hours film and to my disappointment was only a little over two hours. Disappointment because wanted to watch more as Raavan is one of the few Bollywood movies that makes me feel all kind of emotions and absolutely stimulated my all senses.

At the beginning I started to think that I was about to watch the Bollywood version of a mad Robin Hood but soon enough noticed that was not the case. This is a strong love story between a man, Beera Munda (Abhishek), and a woman, Ragini (Aish) that happens to be a story told so many times that's not easy to believe that could be told different. How many times have we seen the story where the kidnapped falls for the abductor? Many, but never like this story and with a style that is not totally Bollywood and definitively not Hollywood, but more international cinema. Is told with a little bit of madness, some mythology, lots of action, spectacular jungle scenarios, some foggy and darkish scenes, and a few scenes with special lenses that were outstanding!

Yes this is what some call a "crossover" film that definitively is appealing to wider international audiences and in my opinion absolutely succeeds. So if you like good international cinema this is one movie that you cannot miss. Please notice that I'm not saying that this movie resembles a Hollywood movie as absolutely does not.

Hope that Indian filmmakers explore more this style that's a lot better than trying to do Hollywood-ish films, but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't as the film was a flop in India their natural market; but somehow surprises me that American critics -and some viewers reviews- rate the movie quite well, so there is hope.

Needless to say that I truly loved Aish performance and liked her dances, but her husband was magnificent especially when playing those little mad-man moments.

I highly recommend this film to those that enjoy good international films with strong story, strong performances by lead actors, spectacular cinematography and most tech specs, especially editing.

Absolutely loved the movie and is going directly to my collection.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion


What a terrible movie! Yes I was restless in my seat and almost leave, but I did stay as I couldn't believe that a "filmmaker" could do such a terrible movie. I strongly suggest to stay away even if you have enjoyed as entertainment previous romance/comedy movies with Ashton Kutcher and/or Katherine Heigl.

Tells about a hired gun (Kutcher) that falls for a vacationing woman (Heigl) in Nice. Back home they marry but she doesn't know the husband's other identity until everything is uncover. Silly, very silly plot awfully performed, scripted, directed, and even with tech specs flaws.

I do not recommend this movie.


Watch trailer (at your own risk) @ Movie On Companion


Started to read reviews but stopped as more or less talk about what I imagined while watching the movie. Yes, I imagined that regular Bollywood circuit countries audiences will not like (if not hate) the film, while not regular Bollywood circuit countries audiences will like this movie and seems I was right. Why? For starters this is NOT your normal Bollywood film even when has the same story structure (everything is good in the beginning, in the middle things get bad, to finish with a happy ending or a terrible finale), has many songs, some dances, actors speaking Hindi perform in their particular way, and -of course- the leading man cries.

Before I go on let me tell you that I'm sure that I watched the international version which probably was not shown in India as has way too many kisses and even one scene with the main actors making love. So with this said, I say: this is the BEST Bollywood/Hollywood film I've seen up to date! Still has room for improvement but this action/western/romance/drama/tragedy film has little to envy any Hollywood similar story and style movie.

Alright, I don't say this is 'great cinema', but for entertainment purposes is quite entertaining and... Strange! Is like a roller-coaster of many styles that keep your eyes glued to the screen following the not-so-predictable story (thanks to great editing that moves back and forward in time) now with action a la Hollywood, now with scenarios and narrative a la Hollywood western, now with sugary romance a la Mexican soap opera, now with drama a la Bollywood and now with tragedy a la Greek ... and they do most styles not once but several times during the 130 minutes. On top the film is in Hindi, English and Spanish plus not all characters speak the same language to communicate and the 'icing on the cake' the story is set in Las Vegas!

Okay I'll admit it, I liked the movie more than I ever imagined in my wildest dreams plus the two leads very handsome Hrithik Roshan (Jay) and diva Barbara Mori (Natasha/Linda) are absolutely eye-candy! LOL!

Tells the story of a low-life Jay -or J- (Roshan) making his living in Vegas marrying woman to help them get the green card and doing odd jobs until he finds riches when he meets a very wealthy girl, whose father and brother are casino owners and -obviously- Mafiosi. At the brother engagement party J finds that the soon bride-to-be is none other than the only woman he married that touched him, so things get a lot complicated when Natasha (Mori) shows him that he also deeply touched her. I'm telling the basics but the excellent thing is that the story is not told correlative or -if you wish- in order and I left out a lot to not spoil too much the movie.

As expected by now, yes I do recommend the film as a very strange but good Bollywood/Hollywood movie like no other you have seen before; obviously for pure entertainment purposes or to kill some time in a -very- different way. Plus if you enjoy watching American dancing movies or shows, you have to see the excellent dances in this film that are only at the very beginning.

The only not-so-good thing about this movie is that recently I watched a film with a similar story that unfortunately I didn't reviewed and totally forgot the name. But was a Mexican movie.

Have to say this, up-to-date this is the best Barbara Mori film I've watched, but does not mean much as her previous films are really terrible.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

63rd Locarno Film Festival Award Winners

Just a few minutes ago winners were announced and here they are as published in the official fest site.

Golden Leopard: Han Jia (Winter Vacation), Li Hong qi, China (Watch film excerpt @ Storyteller facebook wall, link in first column)

Special Jury Prize: Morgen, Marian Crisan, Romania, France and Hungary

Best Director: Denis Côté for Curling, Canada

Leopard for Best Actress: Jasna Duric in Beli Beli Svet (White White World), Oleg Novkovic, Serbia, Germany and Sweden
Leopard for Best Actor: Emmanuel Bilodeau in Curling, Denis Cote, Canada

Filmmakers of the Present

Golden Leopard: Paraboles (The Art of Speaking), Emmanuelle Demoris, France (documentary)
Special CineCinema Jury Prize: Foreign Parts, Verena Paravel and JP Sniadecki, USA and France
Special Mention: Ivory Tower, Adam Traynor Canada and Frace

Best First Film: Foreign Parts, Verena Paravel and JP Sniadecki, USA and France
Special Mention: Aardvark, Kitao Sakurai, USA and Argentina

FIPRESCI Award: Han Jia (Winter Vacation), Li Hong qi, China
Special Mention: Karamay, Xu Xin, China

Ecumenical Jury Award: Morgen, Marian Crisan, Romania, France and Hungary
Arte & Essai CICAE: Beli Beli Svet (White White World), Oleg Novkovic, Serbia, Germany and Sweden
FICC/IFFS Award: Morgen, Marian Crisan, Romania, France and Hungary

Variety Piazza Grande Award: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Jalmari Helander, Finland, Norway, France and Sweden.

Audience Award: The Human Resources Manager, Eran Riklis, Israel, Germany and France

Settimana della Critica Award: Reindeer Spotting - Escape from Santaland, Joonas Neuvonen, Finland
Special Mentions
Blood Calls You, Linda Thorgen, Sweden
The Furious Force of Rhymes, Joshua Litle, France and USA

To check other awards and the short film winners please go here.

Just Wright

As a few days ago Queen Latifah was in the news (with some very "old news") and since had some time to watch a film decided to give a try to her latest as -for entertainment purposes- I have enjoyed some of her romantic comedies. Unfortunately this is not the case with this film even when there is good chemistry between Latifah and Common but the story not only is too predictable but the ride becomes boring with many not so credible situations that annoy you for being so much out of reality and you get to think "how on earth Latifah didn't changed the dialogue and narrative".

Story tells about Leslie Wright, 35-years-old, single, heavy basketball fan, and physical therapist that cares too much for others and not much for herself, until she meets Scott, the star basketball player; but he falls for Leslie's best friend... until he realizes that she's not the love of his life, is Leslie. Gosh, sounds so silly and honestly, the story is kind of silly.

But watched the complete movie just because I do enjoy her screen presence and definitively if you enjoy her you have to watch the film that she totally saves by just being there.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival Donostia Zinemaldia - Horizontes Latinos

This is the section that has only Latin American movies and here are the eleven (11) films that will participate this year.

Abel, Diego Luna, Mexico
A Tiro de Piedra (A Stone Throw Away), Sebastián Hiriart, Mexico
Agua Fria de Mar, Paz Fábrega, Costa Rica, France, Spain and Mexico
Lo Que Mas Quiero, Delfina Castagnino, Argentina
La Mirada Invisible (The Invisible Eye), Diego Lerman, Argentina, Spain and France
Norberto Apenas Tarde (Norberto's Deadline), Daniel Hendler, Uruguay and Argentina
Nostalgia de la Luz, Patricio Guzmán, France, Germany and Chile
Octubre (October), Daniel Vega and Diego Vega, Peru
Por Tu Culpa (It's Your Fault), Anahí Berneri, Argentina
Post Mortem, Pablo Larraín, Chile, Mexico and Germany
Rompecabezas (Puzzle), Natalia Smirnoff, Argentina and France

To read about each movie and see photos go here. Will update list if necessary when published to the official site, as list comes from press release.

Haven't been very active this year but even me have heard about most of the films in competition this year, there are only four films that are new to me and from those, most come from Argentina. Most films were in Cannes, other will be at La Biennale and few were in BAFICI. Not many new, only films doing the festival circuit.

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival Donostia Zinemaldia - Zabaltegi-New Directors

From September 17 to 25 the Best festival for movies in Spanish and from Latin American countries will have its yearly screening of good films that obviously also include films from all over the world. The official site is starting to publish films in some sections, so here are the fifteen films from seventeen countries that will participate in Zabaltegi-New Directors.

Beautiful Boy, Shawn Ku, USA
Blog, Elena Trapé, Spain
Los Colores de la Montaña (The Colours of the Mountain), Carlos César Arbeláez, Colombia and Panama
Chrzest (The Christening), Marcin Wrona, Poland
Gesher, Vahid Vakilifar, Iran
Izarren Argia (Stars To Wish Upon), Mikel Rueda, Spain
Lucia, Niles Atallah, Chile (interesting story)
Marieke, Marieke, Sophie Schoukens, Belgium and Germany
Las Marimbas del Infierno (Marimbas from Hell), Julio Hernández Cordón, Guatemala, France and Mexico (is this a documentary??? or cinema verite??)
Podslon (Shelter), Dragomir Sholev, Bulgaria
Principii de Viata (Principles of Life), Constantin Popescu, Rumania (another must be seen)
Schemer (Dusk), Hanro Smitsman, Netherlands
Single Man, Hao Jie, China
Smukke Mennesker (Nothing's All Bad), Mikkel Munch-Fals, Denmark
La Tete Ailleurs (Elsewhere), Frédéric Pelle, France
La Vida Util (A Useful Life), Federico Veiroj, Uruguay and Spain (like the director will watch)

To check information about each movie go here. Will be checking the news and if applicable will update the post.

63 Festival del Film Locarno - Open Doors Awards

Today the fest co-production lab announced the award winners of the 2010 session devoted to cinema from Central Asia. A total of 12 projects, selected from 114 applications from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the Open Doors Factory.

These are the winners of the grants for production or development.

Production: Sunny Days, Nariman Turebayev, Kazakhstan
Development: Aral, Ella Vakkasova, Uzbekistan
Development: Barzagh, Saodat Ismailova, Uzbeistan

To read the announcement at the official site go here.

7th Giornate degli Autori at 67th Biennale

The other parallel section of the Biennale promises also to be outstanding with twelve (12) films from same number of countries, a special event and what they call "an extraordinary closing night". Venice Days celebrates European Cinema and this year they have a new initiative in collaboration with the European Parliament, Europa Cinemas and Cineuropa. Along with Label Europa Cinemas Award, the section will present the three finalists of the European Parliament's 2010 Lux Prize.

Here are the films in this parallel section.

L'Amore Buio (Dark Love) Antonio Capuano, Italy (with Valeria Golino)
Le Bruit des Glacons (The Clink of Ice), Bertrand Blier, France
Cielo Senza Terra (Heaven Without Earth), Giovanni Maderna and Sara Pozzoli, Italy
Cirkus Columbia (Circus Columbia), Danis Tanovic, Bosnia Herzegovina, France, UK, Slovenia, Serbia and Belgium
Cogunluk (Majority), Seren Yüce, Turkey
Et in Terra Pax, Matteo Botrugno and Daniele Coluccini, Italy (wow! early Passolini comes to mind... have to see this one)
The Happy Poet, Paul Gordon, USA
Incendies, Denis Villeneuve, Canada and France
Noir Ocean (Ocean Black), Marion Hänsel, Belgium, France and Germany
Notre Etrangere (The Place In Between), Sarah Bouyain, Burkina Faso and France
Pequeñas Voces (Little Voices), Jairo Carrillo and Oscar Andrade, Colombia
La Vida de los Peces (The Life of Fish), Matias Bize, Chile

Additionally will screen four (4) films in the section Italy: Portraits and Landscapes and six (6) films in the section Cinema Under the Sky.

To check brief info about each film as well as to learn the ten films in the other sections check the press release and to read complete info plus some videos go here.

25 Settimana Internazionale della Critica Lineup

This Berlinale parallel section will screen this milestone year the following seven (7) films.

Angèle et Tony, Alix Delaporte, France, 2010
Hai Paura del Buio, Massimo Coppola, Italia, 2010
Hitparzut X (Naomi), Eitan Zur, Israel and France, 2010
Hora Proelefsis (Mother Earth), Syllas Tzumerkas, Greece, 2010
Martha, Marcelino Islas Hernandez, Mexico, 2010
Oča (Father), Vlado Škafar, Slovenia, 2010
Svinalängorna (Beyond ), Pernilla August, Sweden, 2010

All seven films are world premieres.

Out of Competition
Opening Film: Notte Italiana, Carlo Mazzacurati, Italia, 1987
Closing Film: Limbunan (The Wife's Room), Gutierrez Mangansakan II, Philippines, 2010

There will be a special event on opening night to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. To read the news go here -available only in Italian- or here within the fest official site. Section's official site is here, available in English.

67th Venice International Film Festival Statistics

Was reading the statistics of the 67th Venice fest and as I found them outstanding decided to share them. Take a look at those figures.

Feature films screening in the four official sections: 84
International Premieres: 4

Feature films in Main Competition: 24 (all world premieres) (hmm, in the list there are only 23... including the one that they announced today, have to check this)
Feature films Out of Competition: 27 (23 world premieres)

Feature films in Orizzonti: 21 (all world premieres)
Feture films in ControCampo Italiano: 12 (all world premieres)

Seems I'll spend lots of time trying to find info and trailers for many films as there are too many world premieres... Awsome! (the many new films, not me looking without success for info, lol!).

To check the data at the official site go here.

67th Venice International Film Festival Lineup

Today feels like a holiday as have some free time to write in the blog and what better than to post the lineup of the second most important festival in the world, La Biennale.

From September 1st to the 11th the fest will run in Venezia and definitively I'll be watching if RAI International broadcast the event as the opening film is Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan with a great cast and to my surprise a little lesbian interest in the story.

Here are the films in the Main International Competition.

Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece
Balada Triste de Trompeta (A Sad Trumpet Balad), Alex de la Iglesia, Spain and France
Barney's Version, Richard J. Lewis, Canada and Italy
Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky, USA (lesbian interest)
The Ditch, Wang Bing, Hong Kong, France and Belgium (was the surprise film!)
Di Renjie Zhi tongtian Diguo (Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame), Hark Tsui, China (with Tony Leung Ka Fai)
Drei (Three), Tom Tykwer, Germany (gay interest)
Essential Killing, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, Norway, Hungary, and Ireland (with Emmanuelle Seigner)
Happy Few, Antony Cordier, France (gay interest)
Jusan-Nin No Shikaku (13 Assasins), Takashi Miike, Japan (with Kôji Yakusho)
Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, USA
Miral, Julian Schnabel, USA, France, Italy and Israel (Most awaited, must be seen -of course)
Noi Credevamo, Mario Martone, Italy and France (with Toni Servillo!)
Noruwei No Mori ノルウェイの森 (Norwegian Wood), Anh Hung Tran, Japan
La Passione, Carlo Mazzacurati, Italy
La Pecora Nera, Ascanio Celestini, Italy
Ovsyanki Овсянки (Silent Souls), Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia
Post Mortem, Pablo Larraín, Chile, Mexico and Germany
Potiche, Fracois Ozon, France (Must be seen)
Promises Written in Water, Vincent Gallo, USA
Road To Nowhere, Monte Hellman, USA
La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers), Saverio Costanzo, Italy, Germany and France (gay interest)
Somewhere, Sofia Coppola, USA
Vénus Noire (Black Venus), Abdellatif Kechiche, France

Main Competition Jury
President: Quentin Tarantino
Guillermo Arriaga, director/screenwriter, Mexico
Ingeborga Dapkunaite, actress, Lithuania
Arnaud Despelchin, director/screenwriter, France
Danny Elfman, musician/composer, USA
Luca Guadagnino, director/screenwriter, Italy
Gabriele Salvatore, director/screenwriter, Italy

Very impressive lineup with well-established directors like Schnabel, Ozon and others like Sofia Coppola, Larrain, Skolimowski, Reichardt among others. My first impression is that this lineup is NOT similar to the -now- infamous Cannes 2010 lineup.

Up-to-today the official site has only the list, but soon will have information about each film. To check the complete list go here.

If the competition lineup is impressive just check the also impressive long list that makes the Out of Competition Official Selection.

1960, Gabrielle Salvatores, Italy
A Letter to Elia, Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones, USA (documentary)
All Inclusive 3D, Naddia Ranocchi and David Zamagni, Italy and Austria
Dante Ferretti - Production Designer, Gianfranco Giagni, Italy (documentary)
Gorbaciof, Stefano Incerti, Italy
I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, USA
Jianyu (Reign of Assassins), John Woo and Su Chao Pin (Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement)
Jingwu Fengyun Chen Zhen (Legent of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen), Andrew Lau, China and Hong Kong (Opening Night Tribute to Bruce Lee)
Last Movie, Dennis Hopper, USA, 1971
Lope, Andrucha Waddington, Spain and Brazil (with Sonia Braga... hmm)
Machete, Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis, USA Midnight Opening Film (yes, will watch no matter how gross could be)
Niente Paura - Come Siamo Come Eravamo e le Canzoni di Luciano Ligabue, Piergiorgio Gay, Italy (documentary)
Notizie Degli Scavi, Emidio Greco, Italy
Passione, John Turturro, Italy
Prezit Svuj Zivot (Surviving Life), Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic and Slovakia
La Prima Volta a Venezia, Antonello Sarno, Italy ( with Toni Servillo and only 43')
Raavanan, Mani Ratman, India (short name Raavan - Of course must be seen for me with Aish) will screen the Tamil version and as an Out of Competition Event the Hindi version
Sei Venezia, Carlo Mazzacurati, Italy
Senritsu Meikyu 3D (The Shock Labyrinth: Extreme), Japan
Sorrelle Mai, Marco Bellocchio, Italy
Taikong Xia 3D (Space Guy), Yuan Zhang, China (animation short)
That Girl in Yellow Boots, Anurag Kashyap, India
The Tempest, Julie Taymor, USA Closing Film (first is Taymor, second is with Helen Mirren, must be seen)
The Town, Ben Affleck, USA
Tungngaan 3D (The Child's Eye 3D), Oxide Pang and Danny Pang, China and Hong Kong
L'Ultimo Gattopardo: Ritratto di Goffredo Lombardo, Giuseppe Tornatore (documentary)
Vallanzasca - Gli Angeli del Male, Michele Placido, Italy
Vittorio Racconta Gassman - Una Vita da Mattatore, Giancarlo Scarchilli, Italy (documentary) (I'm interested) Yes, there will a tribute to Vittorio Gassman.
Yongxin Tiao (Showtime) Stanley Kwan, China (with Tony Leung Ka Fai)
Zebraman, Takashi Miike, Japan, 2004
Zebraman: Zebra City No Gyakushu (Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City), Takashi Miike, Japan

To check the list go here.

I'll wait for the official site to have films information to list the Orizzonti section as right now ALL (shorts, feature films, experimental films, etc) are together. But for starters here are the opening and closing fims

Opening Film: La Belle Endormie, Catherine Breillat, France
Closing Film: Ok-hui-ui yeonghwa (Oki's Movie), Hong Sang-soo, Korea

The Orizzonti section will have four new awards:

Orizzonti Award to full-length (long and very long feature films)
Special Jury Orizzonti Prize (ditto)
Orizzonti Award (short films)
Orizzonti Award (medium-length films)

The renewed Orizzonti section absorbed the CortoCortissimo and Special Events sections, so I'm really curious to find out how they will manage this section and obviously the "new trends" feature films that will screen.

Shirin Neshat will chair the Jury of the Orizzonti section and none other than Fatih Akin will chair the Luigi De Laurentiis Award given to a debut film, an award that gives US$100,000 to be shared by the director and producers - no ex aequo (tie) is permitted.

Other sections in the fest this year are ControCampo Italiano with new trends in Italian Cinema and Italian Comedy a retrospective section on Italian comedy from 1910 to 1988.

If you thought that August is a lousy summer month for movies please think again as in a few days (after the 15) the Berlinale will start to pour us with lots of information about movies as well as events from fest that starts on September 1st.

Last but not least please don't forget that this fest has the Queer Lion Award and for starters I'm almost sure that Aronofsky's Black Swan is in the list of films competing for this award, hope there are many more that we will learn as soon as they publish the list or when I research each film in the fest.

Bravo! La Biennale ha iniziato!!

To watch available trailers ONLY for films in main competition go Movie On Companion.

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