唐山大地震 Tangshan dadizhen (Aftershock)

Since 2010 Cannes I heard about this film but with the English name of Aftershock honestly I paid no attention to the film and with a literal translation of Tangshan Earthquake I was not going to be a masochist to watch an earthquake film when I actually lived a real -massive-deadly one. Plus knowing that was the first IMAX movie made outside USA didn’t add to my interest as I imagined the end-product was going to be a mess. So I forgot about it. You have no idea how WRONG I was.

All right there is an earthquake in the film at the beginning -good special effects- but my skeptical (and scary) me tried to laugh with the special effects and was repeating to myself: is not real, are special effects. The only thing missing was a small (or big) real earthquake (every day there are many where I live now, but not all are perceptible to humans) and I know I’ll be running out of where I was watching the film. My skepticism didn’t last long as without noticing I was already absolutely inside the movie living the earthquake, the aftermath plus the narrative kept me inside for the entire movie feeling all kind of emotions, with my 5 senses in complete motion, and yes, I cried like a baby a few times. When was over I was exhausted but absolutely felt that I watched a Great Movie that moved me beyond my wildest imagination. Extraordinary and outstanding film by Feng Xiaogang, a director I was not familiar with as such but that I recalled -after watching photo- as an actor in crazy Kung Fu Hustle.

Basically film tells the story of three family members that survived the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, two very young twins and their mother. The uniquely emotional story goes from 1976 up to 2008 when the Sichuan earthquake happens. In between those 32 years you will see –and live- a very moving and compelling story of Yuan Ni, the mother, Da Feng, the son, and Fang Deng, the daughter. Just this story is more than worth to watch the movie but there is also another story in the background, shown so flawlessly entangled with the family story that becomes very natural: the story of China’s transformation over the past 40 years with all its political, economical and social changes. For sure the best China recent history movie I have ever watch and I have watched quite a few that do the same –one front story with a secondary China history in the back- but this one is outstanding.

As a movie is superb with flawless performances by young and older actors (that I suspect many were non actors, as many extras were real-life 1976 earthquake survivors), cinematography that allows you to live the disaster but after absolutely complements and integrates to the drama (and trauma) as well as camera moves and framing evolve with the times the narrative is telling and goes from classic compositions to more modern storytelling techniques. As a matter of fact tech specs in the movie are very interesting, but won’t bore you with how great they are.

I hate they named the film Aftershock in English as does not allow/facilitate many that love Chinese cinema to realize that this film is not Hollywood, is not a “special effects” disaster movie, and definitively there is no aftershock (strict word definition) after the 1976 earthquake. This is great Chinese cinema as good as many extraordinary films from better-known to me directors like Jia Zhang ke or Zhang Yimou, for example. But I found one very-important difference; this powerful film looks and feels with more universal appeal than any other good Chinese cinema films I have seen, this is a film that world audiences could be exposed to and they could cheer as a good film. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if always ‘strange’ Academy members are moved and give this grand epic film the top award in 2011 as the film truly deserves it. But you never know with them.

You cannot enjoy or love this film for the story, but is a very satisfying and complete cinematic experience that I know will move many and it is obvious but I strongly recommend it as must be seen for everyone in the world. Still, I know that in-between the two earthquakes the film evolves like great Chinese cinema which is unfamiliar territory for many and wonder if they could appreciate the film to the full greatness. Nevertheless I imagine that if you’re not familiar with good Chinese cinema you could be moved by the story and maybe will realize how great Chinese cinema can be.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Baarìa

Giuseppe Tornatore’s emotional homage to his natal city has an interesting visual narrative for most of the film but I didn’t particularly enjoyed his storytelling technique that looked more like if I was watching a moving old photo album and definitively this technique breaks the story into fragments of moments that not necessarily all show continuity even when he does some kind of morphing to represent that the young character became adult. Honestly I highly disliked those special effects.

Basically the story tells about Peppino Torrenouva since he’s a very young kid with bad temper, grows up to be a school boy with problems at school, continues to grow, falls in love, marries, has children and no, he doesn’t live a happy ever life as he’s interested in politics, which makes him most of the time unemployed until he runs for office, wins and prosper. But this story is the excuse to also tell the story of Italy and to show what progress brings to a tiny village that becomes a flourishing city. The village that turns into a city is Bagheria, which locals call by its Phoenician name: Baarìa.

I don’t complain about the story that basically was what kept me watching even when time transitions sometimes left me wondering for a while what happened and took me a while to grab the storyline again. But the movie felt long, too long, as narrative rhythm was like a plain straight line and there were moments somewhere in the middle that I was getting bored and please remember that I enjoy Bollywood movies that are even longer than this one, so was not the length but the monotony what almost made snooze.

Performances are acceptable with mainly unknown-to-me actors and what somehow distract for the not positive are the too brief appearances of known actors like Monica Bellucci or not-so-brief like Raoul Bova or Enrico Lo Verso.

What this movie really has is good tech specs that absolutely will delight your eyes, but you need more than beautiful images to enjoy a movie and this film was weak in everything else.

As you can notice I didn’t enjoyed much the movie and in general I was disappointed as Tornatore has great movies like La sconosciuta, beautiful Malèna and unforgettable Cinema Paradiso. So do I recommend it? Not really, but it’s a Tornatore film and know that many probably already watched; if you haven’t maybe the best way is to rent the dvd for 2 or 3 days to watch like a miniseries, a little each day.

Enjoy!

Watch trailer @MOC

Carancho

I believe I watched this movie in one long sigh, probably with my mouth open all the time. I suppose is not an easy-to-watch film for many as so realistically shows what is truth in so many countries in the world. It was hard-to-watch for me because I know that I just have to go to other side of the city I’m currently living to watch live many of the things portrayed here even if insurance payouts does not really exist here as a flourishing industry. Maybe because of the last comment the film make me feel similar emotions as when I watched Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.

I was absolutely overcome by the story but this could not have been  possible if the movie was not almost flawless. Pablo Trapero’s movie is a very complete cinematic experience that successfully travels many film genres and with a film noir (strict term definition) style tells about the sleazy lawyer business that takes advantage of people misfortunes. Set in a Buenos Aires bleak suburb film slowly introduces characters, so slowly that you start to get anxious for the drama to explode and when it does you find no relief as tension only goes up. Very painful to watch but also very gratifying if you appreciate good world cinema. Yes this Trapero’s movie belongs to world cinema as absolutely goes far beyond the Latin American current cinema jungle.

As I said before, I’ll watch everything with Ricardo Darin, he’s such a multifaceted actor that since the first film I saw with him, a very long time ago, has blown my mind as he always so-well creates intense complex characters no matter the role he plays. Sleazy lawyer Sosa is no exception, as with sights, body language and facial expressions makes a non-likable character totally human in every sense of the word. Amazing. But here we also have Pablo Trapero’s real-life wife in another mesmerizing-to-watch role. My first experience with Martina Gusman was in Trapero’s Leonera (Lion’s Den), have seen some of her TV work but definitively is one actress that I’ll follow especially after watching how good she created Luján the complex young doctor that recently arrived to Buenos Aires from the provinces. Superb actors and great cast.

As a movie has a technical quality equal… no, above great world cinema. I know that many will inevitably make comparisons between this movie and the one that won the Oscar last year for Best foreign language film as both star Ricardo Darin, but not only Darin has two very different roles but also films are very different. Is precisely in the technical quality where both Darin’s stellar films have the most difference as Trapero’s film is superior to The Secret of Their Eyes. That’s how good tech specs are in this movie as absolutely are essential part of everything that happens in the narrative.

Definitively not an easy-to-watch movie but one that everyone that loves great world cinema should watch and as such I strongly recommend it; absolutely must be seen to those that chose to follow Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman performances and most of all, to realize how Pablo Trapero is becoming a master filmmaker.

My fourth 2010 Cannes film and it’s official, I’m slowly changing my perception of the festival film quality from the so-so to the great! Hope the trend continues as I go on further exploring the films.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival Awards Winners

Today the fest will close and I’m sure later on there will be an award ceremony but the awards have been announced and here they are.

Official Selection

Golden Shell for Best Film: Neds, Peter Mullan, UK, France and Italy

Special Jury Prize: Elisa K, Judith Colell and Jordi Cadena, Spain

Silver Shell for Best Director: Raúl Ruiz for Misterios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon), Portugal

Silver Shell for Best Actress: Nora Navas for Pa Negre (Black Bread), Agustí Villaronga, Spain
Silver Shell for Best Actor: Connor McCarron for Neds, Peter Mullan, UK, France and Italy

Jury Prize for Best Cinematography: Jimmy Gimferrer for Aita, José María de Orbe, Spain

Jury Prize for Best Screenplayer: Bent Hamer for Hjem til jul (Home for Christmas), Bent Hamer, Norway, Sweden and Germany
Special Mention: A Jamaâ (The Mosque), Daoud Aoulad-Syad, Morocco and France for “the complexity achieved by a simple story”.

FIPRESCI Award: Genpin, Naomi Kawase, Japan
SIGNIS Award: 《老那》Addicted to Love, Liu Hao, China

Zabaltegi-New Directors

Kusta-New Directors Award: Los Colores de la Montaña (The Colours of the Mountain), Carlos César Arbeláez, Colombia and Panama
Special Mentions:
La Vida Util (A Useful Life), Federico Veiroj, Uruguay and Spain
Smukke Mennesker (Nothing's All Bad), Mikkel Munch-Fals, Denmark

Horizontes Latinos

Best Film: Abel, Diego Luna, Mexico
Special Mention: A Tiro de Piedra (A Stone Throw Away), Sebastián Hiriart, Mexico

Films in Progress
Industry Award: Entre la Noche y El Dia, Bernardo Arellano, Mexico
Casa de America Award: Asalto al Cine, Iria Gomez Concheiro, Mexico

Cinema in Motion Award: Sur La Planche, Leila Kilani, Morroco and France

Another Look Award: Cerro Bayo, Victoria Galardi, Argentina
Special Mention: Blog, Elena Trape, Spain

Solidarity Award: 《老那》Addicted to Love, Liu Hao, China
Special Mention: Bicicleta, Cullera, Poma (Bicycle, Spoon, Apple), Carles Bosch, Spain

Sebastiane 2010 Award: 80 Egunean, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, Spain (lesbian interest)

Euskaltel Youth Award: Abel, Diego Luna, Mexico

IX International Film Students Meetings Awards
Panavision Award: Los Minutos, Las Horas, Janaina Marques – Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV- Cuba
Second Prize: Mitten marjoja Poimitaan, Elina Talvensaari – Aalto University- Finland
Third Prize: Ambiente Familiar, Carlos Leiva – Pontificia Universidad Catolica- Chile

Audience Awards
Best Film: Barney’s Version, Richard J. Lewis, Canada and Italy
Best European Film: How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster, Norberto López Amado and Carlos Carcas, UK and Spain

To read about winners today is in the home page at the official site but later I assume will be in the awards and jury members tab. Also there are two videos with jurors reading the awards at the press conference. I imagine that later there will be a video with the closing ceremony. Festival home page is here and other awards are here.

So it’s over see you next year.

Sveti Georgije ubiva azdahu (St. George Shoots the Dragon)

In what has become an insurmountable quest to watch all the movies I couldn’t watch during the last year I took a tiny step and watched the Serbian submission to 2010 Oscars. It’s an epic film and tale based on a successful stage play and tells in the central story about a love triangle between two soldiers and the woman they love. But the love story is the excuse to tell what some says is a true story and others that’s not, about sending crippled troops to the front.

Set between two wars, the end of the First Balkan War and the beginning of WWI, tells the story of how Dorde saved Gavrilo life in the first war when he tried to kill himself after losing his arm plus all that evolves when they return to their village to the woman they both love and one is married to. But easily you will notice that the village is divided between those inhabitants that are healthy and the segregated crippled soldiers from the war and that’s basically the dynamic of the story that also is transferred to the love triangle.

Maybe is an interesting story told in a epic way but I couldn’t find much more than that in this film that in my opinion does not well represent East European cinema as seems like is trying too hard to –unsuccessfully- resemble Hollywood movies which is really a shame as I have seen many excellent East European films and unfortunately this one is less than average. Still I watched the entire movie trying to understand why this film was submitted to the Oscars and  to end, my conclusion is that I have no idea.

Sigh.

Watch trailer @MOC

Sans Laisser de Traces (Traceless)

Some of my regular readers know that I simply LOVE French cinema, that I have an eclectic taste and end-up watching many odd films; by odd I mean commercial cinema (lol!). So, sometimes I dare to explore French mainstream cinema and that’s exactly what I was doing when I decided to watch this film. No, it didn’t surprise me as for me is mainstream cinema but I found it entertaining and at times felt it was thrilling. Still, have to admit that I enjoyed quite a lot Benoît Magimel performance as the young executive on the rise with a troubled past that becomes more complicated present.

Film tells about Etienne (Magimel) that is about to become President of a large corporation but his conscience is troubled because an injustice he committed to start climbing the business ladder. Convinced by a youth friend he visits the man object of his injustice but things turn bad and his friend kills the man. From that moment on life becomes a true torment/conscience-conflict as Etienne is a good man that wants to do the right thing. Is a moral story, thus makes it not a bad story and definitely one that Hollywood will not like to remake.

Also enjoyed the clean settings that made me think of some cold/clean/aseptic Nordic or German cinema settings and only at times felt thrills, which is exactly why I call the film mainstream as I think the director needed to carry his storytelling with lots of more thrilling moments to take the film out-of-the-ordinary. The story gave room to have many more thrilling moments. Also the film has the unthinkable in a French movie (well, the ones I like) as not only has a clear ending but has a happy ending.

Anyway is a nice and positive story for a film labeled as crime and Magimel’s performance is enjoyable with his great body language, sometimes deadpan face and sometimes facial expressions that tell all. If you’re in the mood to watch ‘the other’ French cinema then perhaps you should give this movie a try that probably will entertain you.

Enjoy!

Watch trailer @MOC

Copie Conforme (Certified Copy)

My third Cannes film and absolutely the best I have seen up-to-date (haven’t I say this before?) which only makes me anxious to continue my voyage into 2010 Cannes films. Have I before talk about perfection? Yes with an almost always before, but this time there is no almost before as this is perfect, my perfect movie. Chapeau Master Kiarostami you delighted all my senses with your magnificent oeuvre d’art. I praise you and dearly thank you for that. You confirmed me my very own personal reasons why I love cinema. Thank You.

After trying to get rid in the above paragraph of all the emotions I felt while watching this film I’m going to try to be objective and share some thoughts with you all about this extraordinary film that I know will make you feel strong emotions thanks to a very ambiguous story that will lead to numerous interpretations and I honestly wish I could share some of my own interpretations with you all but if I do definitively will spoil the movie for you. This is a movie that you have to watch without knowing much about the story not only to be surprised but to be able to elucidate your own interpretation. Still I can tell what I knew before watching about the story: film tells about an English writer that goes to Tuscany to promote his latest book and meets a French woman who takes him to the village of Lucignano. That’s it and is enough.

Indeed I believe that the story –no matter which interpretation I found- is very common but what makes it most interesting and absolutely out-of-the-ordinary is the way it’s told visually and with narrative. Visually is all about original and copy, when the copy is better than the original, like for example when you see yourself in a mirror and sometimes realize that your reflection is much better than the way you see yourself. Visually there are many reflections in this film, but there are more in the narrative. Amazing!!!

The film is layered, brainy and very complex but to some eyes could be seen as a very linear story in a ‘plain’ film that tells not much about their characters and with too much talking that says nothing interesting about anything in particular as conversations divert into the banal and the unfamiliar to many. But please don’t be fooled and as I like to say: look beyond the end of your nose, which sounds really funny in English, but means to see beyond your limits. Believe me the movie is worth the effort.

Performances are extraordinary in another pas-de-deux (lately been seeing many) between marvelous Juliette Binoche and William Shimell. Is hard to believe that is Shimell’s first acting role as he creates a cold character so-well that at moments will absolutely annoy you up to the point of strongly dislike him. Binoche is Magnifique and all honors she has and will collect for this role are not only well-deserved but will never truly recompense her extraordinary performance. Outstanding cast!!!

But this film, the second he does outside Iran, is Abbas Kiarostami’s opus magnificent that continues masterly exploring human relationships in visually compelling films. Is his film a work of art? Yes it is for me, but is not art cinema. The film looks and feels like great European cinema and paraphrasing something I read this is what I feel about this film: you don’t know if this is Kiarostami doing European cinema or is European cinema by Kiarostami.

Strongly recommend the film to those that love ‘perfect’ cinema, European cinema and the work of Abbas Kiarostami. But also I do recommend it to those that are in the mood to make an effort and go beyond their usual limits while watching a movie.

I LOVE the movie beyond Juliete Binoche’s performance and those who know me will easily understand that the impossible happened as Binoche is one of very few favorite actresses that sometimes (almost always) don’t allow me to watch films beyond her performance. That’s how much I liked this movie.

BIG, but BIG ENJOY!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Villa Amalia

Seems that lately I have been choosing to watch films where female protagonists leave everything behind to start a “new life”. First was Nothing Personal and now Villa Amalia. Is someone sending me a message? (LOL!) Anyway this Benoît Jacquot film couldn’t be more different than the Irish film as not only is a great example of what I can call very-very French cinema but the lead character is played by none other than Isabelle Huppert.

Film tells about Ann (Huppert) that what she sees in one night detonates not only the rupture of her love life but also propels a decision that as you get to know her story and circumstances you will totally understand why she does what she does. This is a story that explores themes of identity and fugue. Yes Ann leaves her live-in boyfriend, her successful concert pianist and composer career, and her possessions to search for a new meaning for her life. Not totally willingly helped by Georges -a childhood friend she re-encounters in that one night- she ends up at the island of Ischia in Italy.

This is a film with what some have called “gay subtext” because Georges ‘seems’ gay as well as Ann meets Giulia and she ends up sharing her bed. But I believe is not subtext as I was able to clearly see that Georges is gay and it was very clear what happened to Ann with Giulia. In a sense I regret that the treatment to the lesbian interest moments was so superficial, but if I take into account Jacquot storytelling technique absolutely understand why he chose to do those moments the way he did them.

As always extraordinary performance by Isabelle Huppert that more than with words is with her body language and facial expressions that make you feel all kind of emotions that range from numbness to total sympathy for whatever the character is doing, feeling or living. As a movie has good cinematography, slow pace, many extraordinary silences (most notably during Ann’s last visit to her mother), is full of narratives ellipses plus truncated conversations which transmits fracture and makes the storytelling technique quite extraordinary.

I liked the film for the story, great performance by Huppert and her co protagonists, and beautiful sights of the Italian island; but most of all I liked for Jacquot narrative and visual storytelling technique and as such I do recommend it to those that enjoy great –but very particular- French cinema. Also I don’t recommend the movie to those that enjoy the lesbian or gay interest genre as absolutely is not the ‘normal’ genre film; still is important to share that the film has been in the European LGTB fest circuit, so some maybe dare to give the film a try.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Io Sono l’Amore (I Am Love)

This Luca Gudagnino film is a melodramatic tragedy that resembles Italian cinema of another era with good cinematography (especially Milan in winter), elegant settings and a story that the best part for me was visiting the upper class lifestyle as the Recchi family private life was like a microcosm of everything that seems fine but it’s a melting pot ready to burst.

The last comment describes better what the story is all about as you get introduced to all characters at a dinner party and while you watch you start to try to guess that from all the seemly perfect individuals who is going to burst and propel the drama and as the story evolves you keep guessing wrongly until one character, perhaps the most perfect of all, starts to get out of the perfect life that somehow looks like the perfect prison. I believe that this is movie where you have to pay attention to the little details in words and in what you look so if you don’t appreciate very-slow story development –perfect life is not really entertaining- you will surely get bored and miss when the drama explodes to continue with tragedy and ‘crazy’ freedom. Even if I made the story seem simple have to add that story and film are quite complex.

The complete cast performs well but Tilda Swinton absolutely steals the film, she’s unbelievably good in this role and just because her performance this is a must be seen film. Still I was impressed with Alba Rohrwacher performance but she was so little in the screen that I wished her character had more time and can’t help to mention that it was a true pleasure to see Marisa Berenson again in the big screen.

Can’t say that I enjoyed a lot the film, but when the one character that burst goes wild the film becomes more interesting and engaging not only because actor performance but also filmmaker decision to use extra-close close-ups to accentuate the impact of what happens. (This is me trying to not spoil the story for those that haven’t seen the film).

Do I recommend it? Yes I do, especially to watch Tilda Switon performance and if you like Italian cinema of the 50’s and 60’s you have to watch this Luca Guadagnino film that definitively looks and feels like the work of master directors of that era (s). I saw in here traces of Pasolini (yes, from my favorite movie of all times), Visconti, and maybe Rosellini, but mainly Italian critics’ mention in their film critics many more great master filmmakers.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival - Films in Progress 18 Award Winners

This year the section will present on September 21 and 22 seven (7) films from Latin American countries. As you remember this is an aid program that happens twice a year, once in San Sebastian and another at the Rencontres Cinémas d'Amérique Latine in Toulouse.

Here are the seven selected projects from 97 projects submitted from 19 countries.

*Asalto al Cine (The Cinema Hold-Up), Iría Gómez Concheiro, Mexico Winner of Casa de America Award

Distancia (Distance), Sergio Ramírez, Guatemala
*Entre la Noche y el Dia (Between Night and Day), Bernardo Arellano, Mexico Winner of Industry Award
Karen Llora en el Bus (Karen Cries on the Bus), Gabriel Rojas Vera. Colombia
Machete Language, Kyzza Terrazas, Mexico
Mitomana (Mythomaniac), José Luis Sepúlveda and Carolina Adriazola, Chile
Todos Tus Muertos (All Your Dead Ones), Carloss Moreno, Colombia

To check info about each project go here. To read the award announcement go here.

Habitación en Roma (Room in Rome)

Thanks to a very dear friend I was able to watch this movie that have been waiting too long to watch and had very HIGH expectations regarding the story, the film and the director’s work. The film exceeds by far my high expectations in so many levels that it was really “painful” to watch such a beautiful film. To talk about this film have to use my dual brain, one brain will talk about the lesbian interest film and the other about the mainstream arty film.

Up-to-date this is the best lesbian interest film that I have ever watched as tells a story that is so REAL but the way is told makes even more real and I know that many that have ever lived a one-night-stand at a hotel room will easily understand why I say this film story resembles real-life. But more amazing is the way is told and seems that Julio Medem had excellent source(s) of information about what happens beyond the close doors when two women meet and fall in love. Still even more amazing is the fact that this film is inspired by Matias Bize’s En la Cama, a Chilean film that tells a similar story but the protagonists are a man and a woman. How a filmmaker can portrait so good real-life about something I’m sure has never seen much less lived? Interesting.

The films tells about two strangers, one Russian and one Spaniard, that meet on their last night in Rome, feel attracted to each other, end-up in Alba’s room and slowly -very-slowly- start to open themselves to each other until they tell truth, get scared for what they’re feeling and it’s too late as feelings have overcome whatever they have to face in their real-lives they tried so hard to protect. Very simple story told with many conversations, some sex but more love, some silences, many sights and many facial expressions. Fantastic!!!

I’m totally biased but I enjoyed more Elena Anaya’s Alba than Natasha Yarovenko’s Natasha, after all Anaya is a more accomplished actress and her performance here is just perfect for the role she’s playing, but Yarovenko’s performance was acceptable as both actresses are in almost every scene and indeed they are what makes the film so beautiful and interesting to watch, besides the story.

As a mainstream arty film is complex with Medem’s magic realism leading the story this time with paintings that if you’re familiar with the paintings, the simple painting’s presence will (sort of) tell you what the story will be about and if not, narrative will tell. Then you have Cupid that needs no explanation. If this had been a man and a woman story I’ll be talking SO different about the story and would have made a better analysis of what the story is really about. I saw the story but since Medem chose to have two women, it totally became irrelevant to me as the lesbian interest story became not only more interesting but so resembling real life that overcame me. But will share that yes Medem’s magic realism could have made the story a dream and yes, the visual narrative has a lot to do with two symbols, maps (including the great take with the upside down map of Microsoft’s Bing – plus all the other-) and mirrors.

Still I was able to appreciate the movie beyond the story and the two protagonist pas-de-deux and one… no, two particular scenes blew my mind. The first is when the camera enters the room -at the beginning- and the second is when the camera exits the room –at the end-in the same fashion as the first but backwards. In general the best this movie has –as a movie- is framing, camera takes and camera moves. Still there are a few, perhaps too many for such a beautiful film, really bad framing's.

I was reading a few reviews as well as viewers comments and since I know that this film is a must-be-seen for those that enjoy the lesbian interest film I have to share with you all that this is not necessarily a ‘normal’ genre film. First please remember that is European and second absolutely is a Julio Medem’s film. The second comment may be explained better if you saw -or could see before watching this one- Medem’s Sex and Lucia, for example. I’m mentioning this as if you know Medem’s work I’m sure you will enjoy this film a lot more than just watching because is a lesbian interest movie.

I strongly recommend the film beyond the lesbian interest genre but please don’t expect steamy sex as the many trailers suggest and even if the two protagonists are nude almost the entire film (which is exactly how you are in real-life inside the closed doors of a hotel room) after about ten minutes you will forget that they’re nude.

Of course I LOVE the film as a lesbian interest film but also as a Julio Medem’s film.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC (well, if I find one that doesn’t exploit the sex scenes – it’s impossible so no trailer)

Nothing Personal

Not an easy movie to explain but wonderful to watch in so many levels that honestly I'm wordless when trying to write about it. So I will ramble. An extremely beautiful to watch pas-de-deux between Stephen Rea and Lotte Verbeek that maybe is a non-traditional love story or maybe is a quiet, slowly, peaceful expression of human relationships told in this story by two lonely individuals that find each other. One chooses to be lonely, the other is a widow. One doesn’t want to be found, the other doesn’t want to be alone. In the end is all about irony. See, no matter what I write it really doesn’t express what you will see in this movie as I believe everything I wrote above is in this movie but doesn’t really explain the story or what you will see.

For the first time I’m going to cheat and write an excerpt of the synopsis as written in the movie official site that surely will describe better what this movie is all about, if you want to read more go here.

A young female rebel and an old sage challenge each other in a story about personal freedom and attachment. She is a young Dutch woman, who after throwing away all her possessions becomes a vagabond by choice and finds the solitude she was looking for in an austere landscape of Irish Connemara. He is an old man who lives a solitary life in a secluded house in Ireland. She is radical and uncompromising. He is wise and ironic. What connects them is solitude they both see as freedom.

Alright that’s what the filmmaker intended but I’m sure that some of you after watching will discover other meanings, story and/or interpretation. I did but I’m not speechless, I’m wordless. Since writing here is the first time it happens to me. I also suggest if you want to learn more that you read an interview with director and writer Urszula Antoniak that’s here as will give you some insights about her film.

As a movie is almost perfect. Extraordinary landscapes of Irish Connemara, great cinematography, silences, very little dialogue, more actors expressions, very-slow pace, and a very attention grabber story told in five acts via words in black screens: Loneliness, The end of a relationship, Marriage, Beginning of a Relationship, and Alone but the words tell nothing about what follows or better, tell everything in a tangential way.

As you can tell I’m absolutely perplexed by this film that’s absolutely (cacophony on purpose) a work of art with a very-intriguing story told in the most unconventional possible way.

This extraordinary film collected major awards at 2009 Locarno fest including Best First Film for Urszula Antoniak and Best Actress for Lotte Verbeek as well as more awards and nominations in festivals around the world.

I strongly recommend the film to those that appreciate Art and European cinemas, but as the film has a clearly told story maybe some of you that don’t like this type of cinema could enjoy it too. To close a photo of one scene that I need to have here.



Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

The Special Relationship

A quite interesting film about the relationship of two powerful men, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, that if is accurate or not is not relevant; what is relevant for me is how their friendship aligns with what I can call “English-speaking” foreign policies that probably opened the door to more incidents that we can imagine. I’m very political but promised myself to not write anything political in this blog, so won’t do more than the above comment that perhaps some of you will notice my (not so) hidden sarcasm.

Anyway the film tells about Tony Blair going to Washington D.C. before getting elected and gets some smart advice on how to take the Labor party on top again. While on campaign Blair calls Clinton attention, gets an invitation to visit him and when Blair arrives in DC gets the VIP treatment. Blair gets elected and the so-called “special relationship” between UK and USA becomes more real as both leaders form a complex personal friendship. Just for the relationship story the movie is interesting but I believe is sprinkled with some very important words that I’m sure will make many think a lot about how world leaders handle world situations.

Performances are very good with Michael Sheen doing an extraordinary representation of Tony Blair as he has done in Stephen Frear’s The Deal and The Queen, so good are his performances than in my mind the imagine of real Blair is absolutely blurred by Sheen’s interpretation. But this made-for-TV movie reminded me of the real Tony Blair with the last real-life scenes with Bush and I’m really glad that director Richard Loncraine decided to skip the Bush-Blair relationship from the final cut as would have change the movie tone and manner to the not positive. Totally agree that the Blair-Clinton relationship not only is more colorful but also is more entertaining.

As a movie is acceptable for a made-for-TV film and at the end what makes it entertaining are actors’ performances and the story being told that even when we know it still can surprise us in many aspects when we’re watching a dramatization of true events.

If you enjoyed The Deal and The Queen I’m positive that you’ll enjoy this film and if you didn’t, you can also enjoy the film as a portrait of two powerful world leaders’ relationship as I believe this is the most interesting ‘political-wise’ story of the three. Can’t help to say that I strongly recommend this movie to everyone that does NOT live in UK or USA as maybe will make you think about issues that most people (and media) avoid to think (or talk) about.

Enjoy!!

Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

58th San Sebastian International Film Festival Opening Ceremony

Just finished watching the opening ceremony at the official site which I found more interesting than last year mainly because it was faster and had clips of ALL films in the different sections that comprise the fest.

Still, there were some awkward moments like presenters that didn’t say a word, like John Malkovich and too many languages without translation to a more common language than very hard Basque. The last comment is most important when I don’t speak nor understand Basque -even when my last name root comes exactly from that region- and wanted to understand what they were saying while the multiple clips were screened; but probably tonight will watch the ceremony again as TVE will broadcast surely with subtitles or dubbed. But then, this is exactly what I like from European festivals, the huge diversity of films, the colorful characters and the many languages in the screen and outside of movie theaters.

The most interesting part of the ceremony are obviously the movie clips and from watching I got interested in several films, so probably will check every day to see what the fest has and maybe will do a daily short coverage. Also the fest and/or opening ceremony theme was “opening doors” so there was a nice collage of films from all over with opening doors scenes plus the ceremony stage had doors that opened constantly.

The ceremony was opened with the FIPRESCI Grand Prix and Olivia Williams receiving the award in the name of Roman Polanski.

To watch the opening ceremony at the official site go here, go down to San Sebastian Festival TV, click the Ceremonies tab, select the Opening Ceremony video and a window will pop-up.

So the most famous Spanish and Spanish-speaking festival in the world has started and soon we will learn what this edition has in store for films in the different competitions.

Cheers!!!

To close here is Olivia Williams with the FIPRESCI Grand Prix.

Hierro

After watching the visually outstanding trailer decided that I had to watch the movie with none other than Elena Anaya in the lead. Yes the movie is visually outstanding with many very interesting compositions plus magnificent sights of El Hierro island, but have to admit that most of the extraordinary scenes were in the trailer which makes the trailer editing a lot more interesting than the movie itself.

Movie tells a tragedy told many times before and unfortunately does not succeed to tell it in a different way. As a matter of fact tells it so boringly that you don't even try to guess what will happen. Tells the story of a young mother whose little son disappears while riding the ferry to El Hierro and her quest to find him.

I liked Anaya's performance -and looks as not often you can see her with long-hair- but unfortunately her good performance plus the sporadic outstanding cinematography doesn't truly save the film labeled as mystery/thriller that in my opinion does not have much mystery and definitively no thrills. My belief is that director Gabe Ibáñez storytelling skills need to improve but he has time as this is his feature-film debut.

For this role Anaya won the Best Actress award at the 2010 Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival as well as in the 2010 Fatasporto fest in the 20th Directors Week. The film had its world premiere at 2009 Cannes sidebar Semaine de la Critique.

I only recommend this film if you enjoy Anaya's performances or if you never heard about this actress and you're 'dying' to watch Medem's Room In Rome it's a good film to watch her performing quite well.

Enjoy.

Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

Sex in the City 2

Needed some time to relax so gave this movie a try. Love the beginning, the wedding was really nice and fun to watch; after became too serious for being a story from this franchise and maybe as Carrie's flop book talk about something she was unfamiliar, writers have a hard time to write about the girls when they aren't single anymore. The movie is uneven and I didn't enjoyed their time in UAE at all as felt it was disrespectful to country traditions.

In general the movie tells about the girls dealing with married life, motherhood and the only single left, with menopause. By the way maybe it was only me but two actresses look really older, especially when they have close-ups.

Won't invest more words on this movie that some like it and many didn't. Do I recommend it? Not really, but the gay wedding is so good that I do recommend watching the beginning, after the wedding is over stop don't watch anymore.

Enjoy.

Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

Claude Chabrol

One of the great masters of French Cinema and one of my favorite French directors passed away today and we will miss him very much as he was still active directing movies and TV shows.

His last movie is 2009 Bellamy with great Gérard Depardieu that haven't seen and the one before is great La fille coupée en deux (The Girl Cut in Two) from 2008 that has a review in this blog as well as La Fleur du Mal (The Flower of Evil), but I have seen many more films of his extensive filmography.

One of the most recent honors that I recall was given to him by the 32nd Moscow International Film Festival who did a very comprehensive retrospective of his work.

To honor him I need to share with you some key data about his very successful career and here are some notes that I extracted from MUBI.

He was contemporary of Rohmer, Truffaut, Godard, Rivette among many others that left a strong milestone in French Cinema when they attempted to turn topsy-turvy the entire cinematic value system. That the theories of authorship remain today a basic (albeit modified and continuously examined) premise certainly indicates the success of their endeavor.

Derry suggests dividing the oeuvre into "five semi-discrete periods: 1) the early personal films, beginning with Le beau Serge in 1958 and continuing through Landru in 1962; 2) the commercial assignments, beginning with The Tiger Likes Fresh Blood in 1964 and continuing through The Road to Corinth in 1967; 3) the mature cycle of masterpieces, beginning with Les biches in 1968 and continuing through Wedding in Blood in 1973, almost all starring his wife Stéphane Audran, and produced by André Génovès; 4) the more diverse (and uneven) accumulations of films from 1974 to the mid-1980s which have tended neither to garner automatic international release nor to feature Audran in a central role; and 5) the more recent films of higher quality, if sometimes uneven still, produced in the 1980s and 1990s by Marin Karmitz's company MK2 and including a new set of regular collaborators."

I certainly will miss him, but his body of work not only will live forever but will be my pleasure to revisit one and many times until I die.

Rest in peace Claude Chabrol.

Levanon (Lebanon)

Been delaying to watch this movie because was sold as a war movie and yes, it is a war movie and we will see some terrible scenes but it's also a tremendous human drama and most of all, an incredibly good movie with the word ART in capital letters. I'm still in shock or better, in trance from thinking so many things about what I saw. Still haven't digest much how art cinema and war can combine so good as in this film, it's not easy for my mind to understand it but that's exactly what this movie did by combining what I can call oil and water. Fantastic, fantastic.

This Samuel Maoz film is based on his own experiences as a soldier and basically tells about the first day of the Israel - Lebanon war when for the first time soldiers face the reality of war after only being exposed to training with decoys or better, without humans to kill or that can kill you. Four very young soldiers inside a tank with some paratroopers outside go into an easy mission that gets very complicated due to the inexperience of everyone involved. That's all I'm saying to not spoil the intense and excellent story.

So we viewers go into the war also inside the tank. For almost the entire movie -except two scenes- we will be inside the tank too and will only see the exterior by the tank visors just like real soldiers inside a tank can do. This extraordinary and unique visual storytelling technique generates the most intense emotions while you watch soldiers reactions to whatever is happening, plus there are many takes that show the atrocities of war and the youth of the four soldiers that are simply beautiful. How can you have two so opposite words -war and beautiful- in the same sentence? Only in this unique film that grabbed my total and complete attention since the very first long still camera take that lasted for more than a minute until the very last scene at the same place but now with an intruder that completely fits the setting. Grabbed my attention and never let it go, but became intense quite fast and was no roller-coaster, was intense all the way for the hour and a half it runs. Absolutely amazing.

Maybe some of you will remember that I dislike traditional war movies and it's hard for me to analyze the war side of the movie so I won't go there. I like to analyze the human behavior in this movie that was portrayed so realistic that absolutely transported me inside the tank and became like a voyeur of everything happening in the very small space and the little we could watch by the visors. All that I lived while watching made me think about how little are we prepared for the unknown, no matter how much we have studied, read, and practiced in controlled situations. Think I better stop or this will be too long but if you reached this point you will have a clear idea of how much this movie affected me, not really because of the story -that has been told many times- but by how it was told with extraordinary use of visuals, editing and one intrusive/repetitive sound special effect when the visor moved.

What better day to watch the 2009 Biennale top winner than today? Yes, Lebanon was last year Golden Lion winner and I'm sure that this and all the honors it has collected in the fest and awards circuit are well deserved.

It took me a while to decide to watch but today was an excellent day as I had a good state-of-mind and the correct mood to watch it. I strongly suggest that if you haven't seen it search for your right moment to watch it as this is not a movie to watch just any other day.

Not a movie to enjoy, wait that's not true! If you appreciate great visual compositions, extraordinary camera angles, fantastic close-ups, and more, you will definitively enjoy this movie as much as I did. I highly recommend this film and urge you to not miss it if you haven't seen it yet.

BIG ENJOY!!!

Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

67th Venice International Film Festival Awards Winners

In what I perceive as a very 'conventional' award ceremony the Jury honored some (exactly One) movie that definitively I don't agree even if have only seen the trailer but know quite well the director's style and filmography. Still it should not be a surprise as this is the fest that in a previous edition gave the Golden Lion to The Wrestler.

Here are the winners.

Main Competition

Golden Lion: Somewhere, Sofia Coppola, USA

Jury Special Award: Essential Killing, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, Norway, Hungary, and Ireland

Silver Lion for Best Director: Alex de la Iglesia for Balada Triste de Trompeta (A Sad Trumpet Balad), Spain and France

Copa Volpi for Best Actress: Ariane Labed in Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece
Copa Volpi for Best Actor: Vincent Gallo in Essential Killing, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, Norway, Hungary, and Ireland
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Rising Star: Mila Kunis in Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky, USA

Osella for Best Screenplay: Balada Triste de Trompeta (A Sad Trumpet Balad), Alex de la Iglesia, Spain and France
Osella for Best Cinematography: Ovsyanki Овсянки (Silent Souls), Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia

Special Lion for His Career: Monte Hellman

Luigi de Laurentiis Award for Best First Film: Cogunluk (Majority), Seren Yüce, Turkey

To read the awards announcement in Italian go here and in English here.

Collateral Awards

FIPRESCI Award Main Competition: Ovsyanki Овсянки (Silent Souls), Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia
FIPRESCI Award Sidebar Sections: El Sicario Room 164 by Gianfranco Rosi, France and Italy (documentary from Orizzonti)

SIGNIS Award: Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, USA
CICAE Award: La Belle Endormie, Catherine Breillat, France

There are many more collateral awards that you can check in Italian here and in English here.

Orizzonti

Gran Premio Orizzonti: El Verano de Goliat by Nicolás Pereda ,Mexico and Canada

Jury Award: The Forgotten Space by Noël Burch and Allan Sekula, Netherlands and Austria (documentary)

Medium-Length Film: Tse (Out) by Roee Rosen, Israel, 34'
Special Mention: Jean Gentil, Israel Cardenas and Amelia Laura Guzman, Dominican Republic

Short Film
: Coming Attractions, Peter Tscherkassky, Austria
Short Film nominated for the European Film Awards: The External World, David Oreilly, Germany

To read announcement at the official site in Italian go here and in English go here.

So this is it for this year with a festival that I found to have too many Italian movies (more than half) but was very diverse with films for almost all viewers tastes. Some are sad as ended too soon, some are disappoint that couldn't watch but a few films, some were surprised to find that people in this fest actually are there to watch the movies, and some were counting the days to go to Toronto's fest that has more parties, more glamor and more show business... American style.

Me, I had a great time really learning and sharing about the films in this fest as is only when you do a daily coverage that you really learn much about each film. But I'm exhausted and won't be doing this again until next May with the mother of all festivals like I call Cannes.

Arrivederci, ci vediamo nel 2011.

Day 11 @ 67th Venice International Film Festival

Last day is main awards day but today the fest will screen one movie that I'm looking forward to watch Taymor's The Tempest that I hope has all her peculiar style as some of us already know the story.

Out of Competition
Closing Film: The Tempest by Julie Taymor, USA

As we all know before the screening of the closing film is the awards ceremony that I'm not sure if I'll be able to watch, but I can always follow it by twitter. The ceremony is at 7:00pm local time.

Orizzonti

Most of the films screened today come from this section that will have its award ceremony at 5:30pm.

So this is the shortest post for Venice daily coverage as all left to do is to wait for the main awards, but to close it here are some predictions for possible winners.

From news dispatches
-Venus Noire is a worthy contender
-Favorites are: China's The Ditch and Russia's Silent Soul (the last with stunning visuals)

If you consider eccentric [sic] Tarantino's tastes
-Chile's Post Mortem
-Japan's 13 Assasins

Italian press
-Chile's Post Mortem

American press
-Meek's Cutoff Golden Lion; Jury Prize: Silent Souls

Truth is like what happened in Cannes, there is not ONE movie that standouts as a clear winner, which makes the award ceremony more interesting. Still there is one award that I HOPE is a sure thing, the Best Actress HAS to be for Catherine Deneuve, as from trailer she's just delicious and outstanding; the only problem could be that the film is a very French comedy, so will see what happens.

So, from trailers my Lions go to these movies

Golden Lion: Silent Souls
Jury Prize: Post Mortem
Best Director: (impossible to say from trailers)
Best Actress: Catherine Deneuve
Best Actor: (have no idea, lol)

News

Haven't left Venice many directors, which we all know it could mean that will get an honor, so two are coming back: Sofia Coppola and Alex de la Iglesia; still there: Takashi Miike, Monte Hellman, Wang Bing, and Richard J Lewis.

Is the first time I hear about this award that has a great, yet funny, name: Mouse or should I say, Mice as there are two awards. (lol) Given by Italian online critics this year Golden Mouse for best film in competition goes to Russia's Silent Souls and the Silver Mouse for best film in the other sections to Canada's Incendies.

According to a dubious source "Lesbian acts are increasingly prevalent in cinema, seen here in Attenberg, Black Swan, La Solitudine and Happy Frew, and these days pass by almost without comment." Well, to me the source is not reliable but since I wish the comment to be true (hopefully) when I'm able to watch them will let you all know if was true or not.

It's over my next post shall be the awards.

Ci vediamo nel 2011!

4th Queer Lion Award Winner

No surprise that a gay interest film won the fourth Queer Lion, as the only lesbian interest film in the selection seems like a not so-positive portrait of lesbianism; but is a pleasant surprise to learn that the winner film is from Argentina. Winner comes from Orizzonti sidebar.

Queer Lion: En el Futuro (In The Future), Mauro Andrizzi, Argentina

Tonight -probably right now- many are celebrating at the party that followed the award ceremony. I really hope that next year the selection will be more balanced -interest wise. To read the announcement at the official site go here.

See you next year.

25 Settimana Internazionale della Critica Award Winner

Today the audience award "Region del Veneto per il cinema di qualità" for the best film in competition at the International Film Critics Week was announced and here it is.

Best Film: Svinalängorna (Beyond), Pernilla August, Sweden

Not that I needed this film to win the award as is must be seen for me. To read the announcement at the section official site go here. Another section closes and we'll learn the Orizzonti and Main Competition awards tomorrow.

7th Venice Days Award Winner

Not long ago the Europa Cinemas Label Award for Best European Film in Venice Days section was announced and here are the award and the mention

Best Film: Le Bruit des Glaçons (The Clink of Ice), Bertrand Blier, France

Jury statement: “This is an extremely witty film - a pitch black comedy about cancer and alcohol. Blier’s anarchic and politically incorrect take on this apparently taboo subject has the same energy and freedom of spirit shown in his earlier films like Les Valseuses. Brilliantly made and performed, the film never preaches and is sure to be enjoyed and spark debate around European arthouses.”

27 Times Cinema Mention

Best Film: Incendies, Denis Villeneuve, Canada and France
Statement: We love this film for its tackling of themes close to us as young adults. The characters found purpose through their investigation into their own distant cultural and family history through razor-sharp cinematography and its strong, surprising narrative structure.

The other two finalists were:
Cirkus Columbia (Circus Columbia), Danis Tanovic, Bosnia Herzegovina, France, UK, Slovenia, Serbia and Belgium
Life in the Time of Death, Andrea Caccia, Italy (Italian Portraits and Landscapes.

The 27 Times Cinema campus was composed by 27 young European film-goers and is a special project promoted by the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament in partnership with Venice Days and with the collaboration of Europa Cinemas and Cineuropa.org. Cultural partner: Variety.

To read the official announcement go here.

So this is it for this year in this section that had films that didn't call my attention too much because of the stories filmmakers are telling. If they want to emulate Cannes Directors' Fortnight they will have to do much better, but they're still very young -only 7-years-old so time is absolutely on their side.

Cheers!!!

Day 10 @ 67th Venice International Film Festival

It's almost over but there are still many films today.

In Competition

Road To Nowhere, Monte Hellman, USA
Barney's Version, Richard J. Lewis, Canada and Italy
Drei (Three), Tom Tykwer, Germany (gay interest)

Out of Competition
L'Ultimo Gattopardo: Ritratto di Goffredo Lombardo, Giuseppe Tornatore (documentary)
Dai Nostri Inviati - La Rai Racconta La Mostra del Cinema 1954-1967 by Giuseppe Giannotti and Erico Salvatori, Italy
Dante Ferretti - Production Designer by Gianfranco Giagni, Italy (documentary)

After Dante Ferretti's film the Bianchi Award ceremony took place and this year's award went to (Oscar winner) Dante Ferreti. This award is given by the SNGCI (Sindicato Nazionale Giornalisti Cinematografici Italiani).

Orizzonti
News from Nowhere, Paul Morrissey, USA
The Forgotten Space by Noël Burch and Allan Sekula, Netherlands and Austria
Senritsu Meikyu 3D (The Shock Labyrinth: Extreme) by Takashi Shimizu, Japan
Bangdokpi (Anti Gas Skin) by Kim Gok and Kim Sun, South Korea
Many short and medium-length films
Retrospective
Fracchia, La Belva Umana by Neri Parenti, 1981
Botta e Risposta by Mario Soldati, 1950
L'Eroe Sono Io by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1952

Venice Days
La Vida de los Peces (The Life of Fish), Matias Bize, Chile

Winner(s) has been announced but will do an independent post.

International Critics' Week
Closing Film: Limbunan (The Wife's Room), Gutierrez Mangansakan II, Philippines (out of competition)

News

Was waiting to post the Persol 3D award winner but hasn't been announced yet, so will be on tomorrow's post. Here it is, Persol 3D awards were given to Avatar by James Cameron and How to Train Your Dragon by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.

A few minutes ago was announced the winner of La Navicella: The Ditch, Wang Bing, Hong Kong, France and Belgium. The award ceremony is tomorrow.

Nine minutes ago was announced the SIGNIS Award, that goes to: Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, USA. Don't worry all major awards will go in one post but I'm having fun just learning the news.

The jury of 19 young viewers has declared Barney's Version by Richard J. Lewis the winner of the "Leoncino d'Oro Agiscuola per il Cinema" and Julian Schnabel's Miral winner of "31 Segnalazione Cinema for UNICEF".

If you believed that the fest has only major awards check my twitter with announcements of different (and until today, unknown) awards. Better stop or will never publish the post.

Today's Photo

My last photo had to be of Noomi Rapace and was so lucky to find this great photo of her while walking the "streets" -okay the very narrow sidewalks- of Venice.

23rd European Film Awards - Long List

Yesterday the European Film Academy (EFA) announced the titles of the forty-six (46) films on this year's selection list with films recommended for a nomination for the European Films Awards 2010. There are 32 countries represented and in the coming weeks the 2,300 Academy members will vote to define the nominees in the different categories.

As always the nominations will be announced on November 6th at the Sevilla European Film Festival in Spain and the awards ceremony this year will take place in Tallinn, Estonia on December 4th.

This is the selection.

3 SEZÓNY V PEKLE (3 SEASONS IN HELL), Tomáš Mašin, Czech Republic
ANOTHER YEAR, Mike Leigh, UK,
BAL (HONEY), Semih Kaplanoğlu, Turkey and Germany
CARLOS, Olivier Assayas, France and Germany
CELDA 211 (CELL 211), Daniel Monzón, Spain and France
LE CONCERT (THE CONCERT), Radu Mihaileanu, France
DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (OF GODS AND MEN), Xavier Beauvois, France
EU CAND VREAU SA FLUIER, FLUIER (IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE), Florin Serban, Romania
FILM SOCIALISME (FILM SOCIALISM), Jean-Luc Godard Switzerland
DIE FREMDE (WHEN WE LEAVE), Feo Aladag, Germany, 119 min.
THE GHOST WRITER ,Roman Polanski, France, Germany and UK
GIULIAS VERSCHWINDEN (JULIA’S DISAPPEARANCE), Christoph Schaub, Switzerland
HONEYMOONS, Goran Paskaljevic,Serbia and Albania
I0, DON GIOVANNI (I, DON GIOVANNI), Carlos Saura, Austria, Italy and Spain
Как я провел этим летом -KAK YA PROVEL ETIM LETOM (HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER), Alexei Popogrebsky, Russia
KAWASAKIHO RŮŽE (KAWASAKI’S ROSE), Jan Hřebejk, Czech Republic
KENJAC (DONKEY), Antonio Nuić, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and UK
LEBANON, Samuel Maoz, Israel
LOURDES, Jessica Hausner,, Austria, France, and Germany
MAMMA GÓGÓ , Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Iceland
MINE VAGANTI (LOOSE CANNONS), Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy
MY QUEEN KARO, Dorothée van den Berghe, Belgium and the Netherlands
NA PUTU (ON THE PATH), Jasmila Žbanić, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Austria, Germany, and Croatia
LA NOSTRA VITA (OUR LIFE), Daniele Luchetti, Italy, 98 min.
NOTHING PERSONAL, Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands and Ireland
NOWHERE BOY, Sam Taylor-Wood, UK, 98 min.
ONDINE, Neil Jordan, Ireland
PAHA PERHE (BAD FAMILY), Aleksi Salmenperä, Finland
PÁL ADRIENN (ADRIENN PÁL), Ágnes Kocsis, Hungary
LA PRIMA COSA BELLA (THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING), Paolo Virzi, Italy
PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (THE TEMPTATION OF ST.TONY), Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia
DER RÄUBER (THE ROBBER), Benjamin Heisenberg, Austria and Germany
REWERS (THE REVERSE), Borys Lankosz Poland
Cчастье моё -SCHASTYE MOYE (MY JOY), Sergei Loznitsa, Germany, Ukraine, and Netherlands
SEBBE, Babak Najafi, Sweden
EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES), Juan José Campanella, Spain and Argentina
SLOVENKA (SLOVENIAN GIRL), Damjan Kozole, Slovenia
SOUL KITCHEN, Fatih Akin, Germany
SUBMARINO, Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark
TAMARA DREWE, Stephen Frears, UK
TESSERA MAVRA KOUSTOUMIA (4 BLACK SUITS), Renos Haralambidis, Greece
TOURNEE (ON TOUR), Mathieu Amalric, France
L’UOMO CHE VERRÀ (THE MAN WHO WILL COME), Giorgio Diritti, Italy
UPPERDOG, Sara Johnsen, Norway
DE VLIEGENIERSTER VAN KAZBEK (THE AVIATRIX OF KAZBEK), Ineke Smits, Netherlands and Georgia
ZAD KADAR (VOICE OVER), Svetoslav Ovcharov, Bulgaria

To check the list at the EFA official site go here and/or here that's the European Film Awards official site.

To my HUGE surprise the famous Swedish film is not in the list, but as you noticed in the previous post was selected for the People's Choice Award. Believe that somehow I understand why is not in this list as the movie is not as good as the amazing Noomi Rapace performance. What I regret the most is that she can't be nominated for Best Actress, but maybe a kind of 'miracle' could happen and she will be nominated (not really a miracle, she's in the other awards).

As we already know some of the European countries submission to the 2011 Oscar calls my attention that what the EFA recommended and what was submitted does not match for some countries. Interesting as criteria for selection has to be influenced by what everybody believes are the USA Academy members tastes. After all American cinema and European cinema are VERY different and you have no idea how glad I am.

Sooner that we imagine the Seville fest will open and we will learn the nominations.

Cheers!!!

2010 European Film Academy - People's Choice Award

Since September 1st all my European friends are able to cast their vote for their favorite European film of the Year. Those who vote will have a chance to attend the 23rd European Film Awards on Saturday, December 4th in the Estonian capital Tallin on the Baltic coast.

These are the nominated films.

Agora, Alejandro Amenabar, Spain
Baaria, Giuseppe Tornatore, Italy
An Education, Lone Scherfig, UK
Flickan Som Lekte Med Elden (The Girl Who Played With Fire), Daniel Alfredson, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany
The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski, France, Germany, and UK
Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn, UK
Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons), Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy (gay interest)
Mr. Nobody, Jaco Van Dormael, Belgium
Le Petit Nicolas (Little Nicholas), Laurent Tirard, France
Soul Kitchen, Fatih Akin, Germany

To cast your vote please go here.

If I could vote my vote absolutely will go to the famous Swedish film starring Noomi Rapace; but I also liked An Education. Then you have two movies by two of my favorite directors, Ferzan Ozpetek and Fatih Akin that haven't seen, plus I'm curious about Baaria that I should watch soon. One film I'm sure will not get my vote, Polanski's film as I didn't enjoyed much that film and is competing against very good films/directors.

Hope all of you, that can vote, will cast your vote for your favorite film.

Cheers!!!

Day 9 @ 67th Venice International Film Festival

Only two more days to go and the first award was handled today, so I'm starting by sharing the award winner in the Controcampo Italiano section.

Controcampo Italiano

Best Film: 20 Sigarette by Aureliano Amadei
Jury statement: “The density of this story follows the rhythm of a truth that, beyond all prejudices, becomes a personal tale which blends the elements from the practice of freedom with intelligence and hints of irony. Freedom from one’s own past to pursue a dream, freedom from own prejudices to meet people, freedom from own pain not to force the audience into predetermined views”.

Special Mention: Vinicio Marchioni in 20 Sigarette by Aureliano Amadei “for his performance which allows the audience to experience the emotional complexity of the story through a combination of instinct and technique”.

To check the official announcement go here.

Other Awards

Also today at the Lancia pavilion in Venice was the award ceremony of the Nasti d'Argento awards given by SNGCI (Sindicato Nazionale Giornalisti Cinematroafici Italiani) and this year the European Nastro d'Argento of the Year was given to Tilda Swinton. Also getting one Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds named Best Non-European Film of the Year.

Let's check what the official schedule has for today.

In Competition

La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers), Saverio Costanzo, Italy, Germany and France (gay interest)
Jusan-Nin No Shikaku (13 Assasins), Takashi Miike, Japan

Out of Competition
Notizie Degli Scavi, Emidio Greco, Italy
That Girl in Yellow Boots, Anurag Kashyap, India (maybe will watch)
Zebraman: Zebra City No Gyakushu (Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City), Takashi Miike, Japan

Controcampo Italiano (Last films before the award ceremony)
Il Primo Incarico by Giorgia Cecere
Linea Nigra by Anna Gigante (short film - out of competition)
Films after the award ceremony - all are out of competition
Flaiano: Il megio e Passato by Giancarlo Rolandi and Steve DellaCasa
Fughe e Approdi by Giovanna Taviani

Today the first section of the fest closes with the screening of the Controcampo Italiano winner film that we know is 20 Sigarette by Aureliano Amadei.

Orizzonti
Dharma Guns by F. J. Ossang, France and Portugal
Sheoeyin Kenna (We Were Communists) by Maher Abi Samra, Lebanon, France, and UAE
Zelal by Marianne Khoury by Mustapha Hasnaoui, Egypt, France, Morroco, and UAE
Many short and medium-length films

Retrospective
Il Mantenuto by Ugo Tognazzi, 1961
E Arrivato Il Cavaliere! by Stefano Vancina and Mario Monicelli, 1950 (with Silvana Pampanini!)

Venice Days
Cogunluk (Majority), Seren Yüce, Turkey
La Vita al Tempo Della Morte (Life in the Time of Death) by Andrea Caccia, Italy (Italian Portraits and Landscapes section)

I've been forgetting to share with you that this section will screen the three Lux Prize nominees. The Lux Prize is awarded by the European Parliament and awards ceremony is at the end of November.

Akadimia Platonos (Plato's Academy), Filippos Tsitos, Greece and Germany, 2009
Die Fremde (When We Leave), Feo Aladag, Germany, 2010
Illegal, Olivier Masset-Depasse, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg, 2010

International Critics' Week
Martha, Marcelino Islas Hernandez, Mexico, 2010

With the above film the section finishes the screening of all films in competition; tomorrow will be the screening of the closing film that's out of competition. Believe the awards ceremony will be on the fest last day

Comments

Maybe you noticed that the fest is really fading away as awards started to be announced plus tomorrow there will be several award ceremonies. Still tomorrow there are many films that will be screened but most are out of competition.

News

Today media attention turns to Toronto International Film Festival as today is the opening ceremony, articles started to appear since yesterday so is no surprise that there are not many news about La Mostra, obviously except in Italian press.

According to Time magazine reporters the most notable films from Venice are: Potiche, Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame and 13 Assasins. I'm just already dying to watch Potiche and wonder if the Lion will go to Asia this year.

Today's Photo

As some of you probably guessed today's photo is Tilda Swinton at the Venus Noire premiere. Great Tilda Swinton was honored today with a Nastro d'Argento.

Day 8 @ 67th Venice International Film Festival

Another day in La Mostra with some interesting films.

In Competition

Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece (If you watch the trailer you'll notice that has a "little" lesbian interest)
Vénus Noire (Black Venus), Abdellatif Kechiche, France (yes will watch)

Out of Competition
La Prima Volta a Venezia by Antonello Sarno, Italy (collage with eighty-eight memories and secrets about their first time at Venice fest with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Charlize Theron, and many more)
Sorelle Mai by Marco Bellocchio, Italy (could be interesting - filmed from 1999 to 2008 comprises 6 episodes of a single story)
The Town by Ben Affleck, USA (I like Affleck directing, not acting; but probably will watch maybe he can direct himself better)
All Inclusive (3D) by David Zamagni and Nadia Ranocchi, Italy and Austria (the story seems interesting but 3d?)
Zebraman by Takashi Miike, Japan, 2004

Controcampo Italiano
Tajabone by Salvatore Mereu

Orizzonti
A Espada e A Rosa by João Nicolau, Portugal and France
The Nine Muses by John A komfrah, UK and Ghana
Nainsukh by Amit Dutta, Switzerland and India
Many short and medium-length films

Retrospective
Eccezzziuna le... Veramente by Carlo Vanzina, 1982
Guardie e Ladri by Stefano Vanzina and Mario Monicelli, 1951

Venice Days
Et in Terra Pax (And Peace On Earth), Matteo Botrugno and Daniele Coluccini, Italy
Scena del Crimine by Walter Stokman, Netherlands (Italian Portraits and Landscapes section)

International Critics' Week
Hora Proelefsis (Mother Earth), Syllas Tzoumerkas, Greece, 2010

News

Yesteday Mani Ratman was honored with the Jaeger leCoultre - Glory to the Filmmaker Award, he received the award for the film Raavan. Unfortunately Aish wasn't there. Today finally got clear the reason why the film has two names. Raavanan is Tamil and Raavan is Hindi and as some us know, there were two versions one in Tamil and another in Hindi; so the longer name really belongs to Tollywood, while the second -the one I saw- to Bollywood.

Most news in any language are about Ben Affleck being there. At Radio Montecarlo there is an interview where he talks about his movie but also about his interest in politics, the title: Dopo Obama... Ben Affleck? (After Obama... Ben Affleck?)

Today's Photo

Very elegant Paz Vega at the red carpet of Vallanzasca -Gli Angeli Del Male premiere.

Beautiful Kate

I got really curious about this film that collected numerous nominations at Australian awards and fests because one actress that always called my attention is Rachel Ward and her directing was something that I had to watch. Unfortunately even do has a very appealing cast the movie story is so common or maybe I should say, told so many times, that you easily guess what could happen plus really does not help to have transposed the story from the American West to the Australian outback, where life in the bush seems so tedious.

Based on a novel by Newton Thornburg with a screenplay also by Rachel, the film tells the story of a family that have past dark secrets and all come alive when the youngest son Ned, now a forty-something writer, comes back as his father is dying. Slowly one strand tells the present that honestly is not that interesting, while a second strand tells the past that definitively was more interesting. Perhaps this was a story to be told in chronological order and probably the film would have been a lot more interesting.

The cast couldn't be better with Ward's real life husband Bryan Brown and one actress I like in the big screen, Rachel Griffiths; but both performances are not their best at all. Other actors are not known to me and well, won't be looking forward to watch them in the future. I'm afraid that Ward's directorial abilities couldn't extract good performances from actors.

Cinematography is one element that the film has on the good side, especially with outdoor sights takes showing the dry -desert alike- Australian outback, but there are not many of those beautiful takes as most of the drama happens indoors or around the house.

Not a film I can recommend, but if you wish to watch a story of incest, family drama, and dysfunctional father-son relationship told in a blunt and awkward way, then you should give a try to this movie.

Sigh.

Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

 
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