64th Festival de Cannes – Today’s News

Today organizers announced several additions to the Official Selection and an innovation for the 2011 edition that will become an annual event: A Guest Country. To begin the tradition the first country chosen is Egypt.

The tribute to Egypt will take place on Wednesday May 18 and will include several activities like the screening of 18 jours a work grouping of ten filmmakers short films; a screening in Cannes Classics, another screening at the Cinéma de la Plage and a concert with a group of Egyptian musicians. Egyptian films are or will be in the blog at the Cannes section post.

Also there are two new Special Screenings in the Official Selection, both are documentaries one by Mourad Ben Cheikh and the other by Josh Tickell. Both films are already add to the main Cannes blog post.

In the School Screenings for secondary pupils, two films have been added to the program, but can't find the complete program. As soon as I find it will evaluate if I do a post or not.

To read the official press release go here .

Les Bien-aimés by Christophe Honoré will be the closing film that will be screened after the awards ceremony; with a superb cast, Catherine Deneuve, Ludvine Sagnier, Louis Garrel, Chiara Mastroiani, and Milos Forman, among others, film definitively is a must be seen for me but when I check the film description: “Actors embody characters that draw us into Prague of the sixties, London of the '80s, the world of Sept. 11 and Paris of today in a singular, melancholy and romantic work of art” becomes a lot more appealing and interesting for me.

A while back was announced a new Out of Competition film that was created exclusively for Cannes 2011 produced by Shekhar Kapoor &
UTV Motion Pictures with Ronnie Screwvala and Trishya Screwvala directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist: Bollywood-The Greates Love Story Ever Told a documentary with narrative, sort of a compilation of Bollywood movies that of course will have scenes from Aish movies and definitively becomes must be seen for me.

We only have 12 days to opening ceremony and in about five days (7 days before opening) films information will be up at the site for us to browse and hopefully learn more about each film, as some still have very little info and many no trailers.

64th Festival de Cannes – Cannes Classics Lineup

A few days ago the fest unveiled the films in the Cannes Classics section that showcases heritage cinema, allows re-discovering films and screens restored prints. This year the section has fourteen (14) films, five documentaries, a Masterclass by Malcom McDowell, and some other surprises.

These are the films.

Feature Films
Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1971
La Macchina Ammazzacattivi (The Machine to Kill Bad People), Roberto Rossellini, Italy, 1952
A Bronx Tale, Robert De Niro, USA, 1993
Il Conformista (The Conformist), Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, 1970
Rue Cases-Négres (Sugar Cane Alley), Euzhan Palcy, France, 1983
Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Jerry Schatzberg, USA, 1970
Hudutlarin Kanunu (The Law of the Border), Lufti O. Akad, Turkey, 1966
Niemandsland (No Man’s Land), Victor Trivas, Germany, 1931
Les Enfants du Paradis (The Children of Paradise), Marcel Carné, France, 1945
Despair, Rainier Werner Fassbinder, Germany, 1978
Le Sauvage (The Savage), Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France, 1975
Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer), Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, France, 1960
L’Assassino (The Assassin), Elio Petri, Italy, 1961

Short Films
Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon), Georges Méliès, France, 1902, 16’

The Look, Angelica Maccarone, Germany and France, 2011
(*) Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel, Alex Stapleton, USA, 2011
Belmondo … Itineraire, Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech, France, 2011
Kurosawa, la Voie (Kurosawa’s Way), Catherine Cadou, France, 2011
Il était une fois… Orange mécanique (Once Upon a Time … A Clockwork Orange), Antoine de Gaudemar and Michel Ciment, France, 2011

(*) First Film, competes for Camera d’Or

Have to admit that this year there are quite a few films in this selection that I haven’t seen with some that call my attention. Of course have seen Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange that fascinated and yes, scared me when I saw it a very long time ago, which reminds me to share that this year there are some Stanley Kubrick activities in France and if you haven’t check the amazing exposition and retrospective at la Cinémathèque Française, I strongly suggest you do at their official site that has many opportunities to explore the exhibitions and different activities; the only thing I’m missing is actually go to Paris and visit la Cinémathèque! Sigh. By the way, Cannes Classics will screen a restored print that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the film.

As find very interesting the info about Georges Méliès’ most famous film I reproduce what the press release says:
Found: A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune)
The color version of Georges Méliès’ most famous film, A Trip to the Moon (1902) is visible again 109 years after its release: having been long considered lost, this version was found in 1993 in Barcelona. In 2010, a full restoration is initiated by Lobster Films, Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for Heritage Cinema. The digital tools of today allows them to re-assemble the fragments of 13 375 images from the film and restore them one by one. The premiere of the film will take place in May 2011 with an original soundtrack by AIR.

The 2011 documentaries are all about films and as the press release says: “Films about movies are also films. Like a novelist writing a literary essay on the work of another writer, a filmmaker can tell in pictures the history of cinema. Each year, Cannes Classics focuses on these documentary films, which are also films.” So these documentaries trace Kurosawa’s life and work, Charlotte Rampling career, Roger Corman bio, Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange film, and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Also there is an addition to the Cannes Classics selection that was announced minutes ago and will be screened as part of the event Egypt, guest country.

Al Bostagui (Facteur), Hussein Kamal, Egypt, 1968

To check the official press release go here and here for today's announcement.

Maybe is because haven’t seen many films or maybe because organizers changed the section structure, but I find that this year the section is more interesting than in previous years. Nevertheless now comes the hard task of waiting until I’m able to watch some of the selection films.


Marie-France Pisier

This was unexpected and in a way, tragic. She was due to travel to Cannes Film Festival for the Jean-Paul Belmondo homage. Truffaut discovered her and he directed her first film... then she became Téchiné regular ... she was so young (1944-2011). Will miss her particular style and performances, but she will always live in her films. R.I.P.

This is like I remember her and will always remember her.

Hævnen (In a Better World)

A very good movie, extremely good indeed as while telling a not so extraordinary story, perhaps even told before, film becomes absolutely out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact have to conclude that film is perfect, yes there is perfection in this Susanne Bier’s carefully crafted movie as there is art, there is drama, there are outstanding performances by adult and children actors, there are magnificent visuals, absolutely amazing illumination, great indoor and outdoor framing and compositions, use of music to enhance the moment (yes I noticed music score), not many words –just the necessary- and a narrative that flows many times like a dream while little by little builds an intense tension that hurts inside and propels to feel many emotions. Exhausting, intense but very gratifying cinematic experience.

Took me a while but the Academy Award winner in the Best Foreign Language Film category absolutely deserves the honor even when I still have one movie to watch from the five nominated I’m positive that this has to be the best, as Bier’s oeuvre is so complete, so well-crafted that not often my eyes have the opportunity to watch such perfection. Truly, truly amazing.

Somehow I feel banality when telling what story is about, as summarizing plot doesn’t give you an idea of what this experience is all about; still will tell that is about school bulling, adult bulling, a boy with deep rage, and people from a very civilized society that at times their behavior seems fantasy, but is real; and there is a parallel story in Africa, a refugee camp with a big bully man. What you imagine, what you expect will not happen, as story will evolve so civilized that again seems fantasy, out of this world that surrounds us, like in a better world, that world that nowadays seems so foreign. Magnificent.

Absolutely must be seen and I just hope that everybody that has the privilege of watching this extraordinary oeuvre will experience all the emotions that crushed me but at the same time absolutely delighted me with an intense and complete cinematic experience. Chapeau Madame Bier. Bravo!!!


Watch trailer @MOC

The Other Woman

Honestly I was not expecting much from this film that decided to watch probably because Natalie Portman was on top of my mind after her honors in this award season. Before her amazing role in Black Swan I did not enjoyed much her performances and since this movie was done before -surely was released to take advantage of all the buzz- I assumed that film was going to be similar to her previous ones. On top Lisa Kudrow whom I also don’t enjoy much was also here. Still, I gave it a try as lately have the need to watch easy-to-watch movies.

With all the above out of my system let me share that you have no idea how wrong I was.

Natalie performance is one of her best –not as good as in Black Swan, but close- in a dramatic role as a troubled woman carrying too much baggage from her far and recent past which makes her today quite sarcastic, especially with her stepson William. Portman has an unattractive character maybe as unattractive as her character in Black Swan, which makes me think that probably she feels more comfortable playing this type of roles thus making them more believable. But Portman shines with this pas de deux between her and Charlie Tartan who plays young William; yes, is her movie but Tartan also shines and makes Portman shine. Then Lisa Kudrow character is awful, loud and even when was a bit overplayed, I did like her performance. Is the husband, Scott Cohen who was on the not good acting spectrum which was a true shame as could have made movie more compelling.

Film tells the story of Emilia (Portman) that recently lost her just born child, trying to make a family with her husband and his very special –and lonely- son; she’s the second wife and is seen as the home wrecker especially by William’s school moms; she’s a disaster with William, with her husband and with herself. You try to understand Emilia, sympathize with her but she will make it hard until slowly, very slowly more details are revealed and then you will be not only inside the story but also very shocked. Still it’s an American movie so yes, has a happy ending.

Does not hurt that story is set in Manhattan and New York City looks quite nice in many scenes; but this is a film to watch because Portman performance and the strong drama in a nice film by Don Roos.

I like the movie, a lot more than what I could expected and I do recommend it to those that enjoy surprisingly good dramas with the plus of a remarkable Natalie Portman performance that makes everything believable.


Watch trailer @MOC (please be aware that trailer tells story TOO MUCH and in order, which is not the case with the movie)

Largo Winch II (The Burma Conspiracy)

After my positive entertaining experience with the first Largo Winch I was looking forward to the sequel hoping to have a good escape moment again with this French comic-to-screen character that looks and feels so human which is refreshing for a change from typical Hollywood movies. But this time I did not enjoyed the film that much as in my opinion this film lacks many key entertaining elements that were present in the first installment, including the story, the amazing locations, the cinematography, the action, the car chases with the WOW cars, the “normal” fights, a remarkable evil character -like Kristin Scott Thomas character in the first- and yes, the raw sex scenes typical of French cinema.

Still have to admit that Tomer Sisley again had a good performance which helped me to watch until the end and most surprising was to see Sharon Stone looking good in the big screen and yes, in that scene with the white dress that absolute recalls her most famous film. Have to share that during her scenes I was looking at her lips and to my surprise seems like she was speaking French, but there were some moments where I could tell she was not; still according to Sisley, Sharon Stone speaks good French and that’s news for me (LOL!).

Seems that I was more interested in finding if Stone really speaks French than following the story that starts with Largo being W Group’s CEO and on the very day he announces his intention to sell his corporation and use the proceeds to create a humanitarian foundation, he’s accused by the United Nations of crimes against humanity. To prove his and his deceased adoptive father innocence he will retrace the steps of his past three years, which will take us mainly to the Burmese jungle. According to what I read this time producers decided to create an original story while keeping some of the graphic novels characters; surely because of this decision, story ended up being a lot less interesting and entertaining.

To watch only if you wish to see Sharon Stone speaking (?) French and looking a lot better than in her previous films; but if you skip it won’t be missing much.


Watch trailer @MOC

Un Giorno Perfetto (A Perfect Day)

Thanks to a my dear photographer friend was able to watch this Ferzan Özpetek film that absolutely blew my mind thanks to a slow buildup (even if you knew the outcome as is the beginning), great style, interesting camera moves and the most outstanding performance by Isabella Ferrari as Emma. Ferrari is truly impressive performing but also her wardrobe and makeup are perfect for the character making the watching her experience quite unique for contemporary Italian cinema, as in a way made me recall great performances by the likes of La Loren and La Magnani from the Italian cinema glory days.

Based on Melania Gaia Mazzucco novel Özpetek’s tells about love; yes love… from kids’ love, to forbidden love, to love for your work and position, to unrequited love and most of all: obsessive love. Main story is about Emma and Antonio (Valerio Mastrandea) who are separated with Emma, her daughter and son living at her mother’s (great Stefania Sandrelli) home; the other stories are satellites that rotate around them and their children. In just 24 hours the life of this broken family will be not the same anymore.

Film premiered in competition at 2008 Venice fest where Isabella Ferrari won the Best Actress award and in 2009 she was nominated for a Nastro d’Argento that after watching the film -and with my almost blind adoration for Giovanna Mezzogiorno- I say that this award should have gone to Ferrari instead of Mezzogiorno’s performance in Vincere. That’s how good Ferrari is in this role; but also Mastrandea and the supporting cast –including the children- give compelling performances.

Strongly suggest not to miss this movie that’s perfect for those that enjoy great films by Özpetek, very good European cinemas and strong performances in strong dramas in films that tend to be noir.


Watch trailer @MOC

64th Festival de Cannes Short Film Lineup

The Short Film Competition, composed of previously unreleased works, has in the past led to the discovery of more than one auteur director who has gone on to achieve fame: Jane Campion or Xavier Giannoli, for instance, as well as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Lynne Ramsay and Catalin Mitulescu, who are in the 2011 Official Selection, all drew notice when they made their debuts with a short film in the Cannes competition.

Completing the list of the Official Selection of the 64th Festival de Cannes, and composed this year of nine films from nine different countries, the 2011 competition brings together a great variety of cinematographic concepts, differing in style, genre, length and national origin.

The Selection

Badpakje 46 (Swimsuit 46), Wannes Destoop, Belgium, 15’
Bear, Nash Edgerton, Australia, 8’
Ce n’est Rien (It Is Nothing), Nicolas Roy, Canada, 14’
Cross (Cross-Country), Maryna Vroda, France and Ukraine, 14’
Ghost, Dahci Ma, Korea, 10’
Kjøttsår (Cold), Lisa Marie Gamlem, Norway, 11’
Meathead, Sam Holst, New Zealand, 10’
Paternal Womb, Megumi Tazaki, Japan, 15’
Soy Tan Feliz, Vladimir Durán, Argentina and Colombia, 14’

Jury (also jury to Cinéfondation competition)
President: Michel Gondry, Director, France
Corneliu Porumboiu, Director, Romania
Jessica Hausner, Director/producer, Austria
João Pedro Rodrigues, Director, Portugal
Juliet Gayet, Actress/producer, France

To check press release go here. To check info, synopsis, photos, etc. go here.

Please remember that in 2011, the Festival has created Cannes Court Métrage, which combines the Short Film Competition and the Short Film Corner, to foster the promotion of short films. Designed as a showcase for films and a meeting place for directors, producers and international buyers, Cannes Short Films will provide professionals with a complete panorama of young creative talent from around the world.

To round out the offering of short films and give the greatest possible number of emerging filmmakers access to the Festival de Cannes, the Short Film Corner was created in 2004 to offer producers and directors the opportunity to present their films and engage in meetings and initiatives that could be decisive for their future careers. Gathered in a single location in the heart of the Palais des Festivals, the Short Film Corner facilitates access to short films and offers an annual programme that can be tailored to individual needs, combining workshops and conferences. This year again, registrations from around the world reveal a growing interest in the short film format, with over 1,900 films registered, representing every continent. To check official site go here.

Watch some trailers, info, photos @MOC

43rd Quinzaine des Réalisateurs Lineup

A few minutes ago the last selection of Cannes 2011 was announced and this year the Directors’ Fortnight selection has some (in my opinion is very European or shall I say French?) geographic diversity while still being eclectic. There are eight first film -that still have to identify- and from all the films that still was hoping to see in Cannes this year only Ruben Östlund’s Play landed in this parallel section; so yes there are some inexcusable omissions in the complete Cannes selection but will talk about it in another post.

The Quinzaine selection includes some interesting films that surely will be controversial after their screening like for example Sion Sono’s Koi no Tsumi that’s a special screening and was described by Frédéric Boyer, Quinzaine Artistic director, as “kind of a sexual thriller”. The excellent news are that according to Boyer “this is a very good year for France, with some amazing films” as if true this year will also be another year with unbearable waiting time until I’m able to watch those “amazing films” and confirm my true love for French Cinema. Sigh.

These are the twenty-one (21) films in the main selection.

Opening Film: La Fée, Fiona Gordon, Domique Abel and Bruno Romy, France and Belgium
Closing Film: Les Géants, Bouli Lanners, Belgium, France and Luxembourg

(*)Après le sud, Jean-Jacques Jauffret, France
(*)Atmen (Breathing), Karl Markovics, Austria
Blue Bird, Gust Van den Berghe, Belgium
Busong (Palawan Fate), Auraeus Solito, Philippines
Chatrak (Mushrooms), Vimukthi Jayasundara, India and France
Code Blue, Urzula Antoniak, Netherlands and Denmark
(*)Corpo Celeste, Alice Rohrwacher, Italy, Switzerland, and France
(*)Eldfjall (Volcano), Rúnar Rúnarsson, Denmark and Iceland
(*)En Ville (Iris in Bloom), Bertrand Schefer and Valérie Mréjen, France
Impardonnables, André Téchiné, France
Jeanne Captive, Philippe Ramos, France
(*)La Fin du Silence (End of Silence), Roland Edzard, France
O Abismo Prateado, Karim Aïnouz, Brazil
Play, Ruben Östlund, Sweden, France and Denmark
Porfirio, Alejandro Landes, Colombia, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina and France
(*)Return, Liza Johnson, USA
Sur la Plance, Leila Kilani, Morocco, France and Germany
The Island, Kamen Kalev, Bulgaria and Sweden
(*)The Other Side of Sleep, Rebecca Daly, Netherlands, Hungary and Ireland

(*) First Film, competes for Camera d’Or

Special Screenings
Des Jeunes Gens Mödernes, Jérôme de Missolz, France and Belgium
El Velador, Natalia Almada, USA, Mexico and France
Koi no Tsumi (Guilty of Romance), Sion Sono, Japan
La Nuit elles dansent, Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault, Canada

Also the selection includes fourteen (14) short films that you can check in the list here that also includes links with information, photos, etc for all films in the selection.

Yesterday was announced that the Carrosse d’Or this year will go to imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. There will be an empty chair symbolizing his absence and other activities including the screening of his film Offside.

Most interesting (because opens the festival to "normal" audiences) is La Quinzaine à la Bocca (the The Fortnight in the Bocca's district) a project that aims to try out an original dynamic in cultural activism aimed at an outlying quarter of Cannes that is part of a wider policy of democratization and access to culture. Linked with the Directors’ Fortnight, it aims to extend the reach of the event to the district of la Bocca.

This outreach project consists of screening films from the Directors’ Fortnight in two local cinemas (the Licorne and the Raimu) for the kinds of audiences that are often excluded from the festivities. So these audiences are not only given access to screenings but also an opportunity to meet Fortnight filmmakers and take part in screen education workshops. It is a matter of familiarizing such audiences with challenging cinematic forms, encouraging their appreciation of the films, and getting them more involved throughout the year in following the films.

Watch trailers @MOC

50th Semaine de la Critique Lineup

This year the infamous parallel section is 50 years old and their motto, 50 years of discoveries, truly describes the many extraordinary directors that made their debut at this section with the likes of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros to Wong Kar-Wai’s As Tears Go By, Erice’s L’Esprit de la ruche, Crialese’s Respiru and so many more that you can read here.

A few hours ago organizers announced the films that this milestone anniversary conform the Selection and even when they are not yet at the site here are the seven (7) films (only first or second film) that made the Selection plus the other films that are Special Screenings and the Short Films.

The Selection

17 Filles, Delphine and Muriel Coulin, France
Avé, Konstantin Bojanov, Bulgaria and France
Las Acacias, Pablo Giorgelli, Argentina and Spain
(*) הנותנת Hanotenet, Hagar Ben Asher, Israel and Germany
Sauna on Moon, Zou Peng, China
(*) Snowtown, Justin Kurzel, Australia
Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols, USA

(*) First Film, competes for Camera d’Or (not sure about the others, so will wait to confirm)

President: Lee Chang-dong, director, South Korea

Special Screenings
Opening Film: La Guerre est déclarée, Valérie Donzelli, France
Closing Film: Pourquoi tu pleures?, Katia Lewcowicz, France
Walk away Renée, Jonathan Caouette, USA, France and Belgium
(*) My Little Princess, Eva Ionesco, France (with Isabelle Huppert!)
Mourir auprès de toi, Spike Jonze and Simon Cahn, France (short film)

Short Films

Alexis Ivanovitch vous êtes mon héros, Guillaume Gouix, France
Black Moon, Amie Siegel, USA
Blue, Stephan Kang, New Zealand
Boy, Topaz Adizes, USA
Bul-Myul-Ui-Sa-Na-Ie, Moon Byoung-gon, Korea
Dimanches, Valérie Rosier, Belgium
In Front of the House, Lee Tae-ho, Korea
La inviolabilidad del domicilio se basa en el hombre que aparece empunando un hacha, Alex Piperno, Uruguay and Argentina
Junior, Julia Ducournau, France
Permanencias, Ricardo Alves Junior, Brazil

President: Jerzy Skolimowski, actor, producer, scriptwriter and director, Poland

To check films at official site please go here. Suggest to watch video as has photos from films and also, English subtitles!

Watch Trailers @MOC

I know is extraordinary news but the more I learn about the movies in this year Cannes the more women directors I find; still it’s starting to look as if it was done “on purpose”. I really hope that’s just my twisted imagination and that all selected directors (no matter the genre) truly deserve to be in the many selections. Sigh.

Tribute Series

As we know in May, La Semaine de la Critique will celebrate its 50th year. Since 1962, La Semaine de la Critique has been unwavering in its dedication to discovering new talent through showcasing directors’ first and second feature films from all over the world. This anniversary gives us the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to all of the filmmakers who made their debuts with us.

All around the world, Festivals and Cinemas have agreed to help celebrate our 50 years of discovery, by presenting tribute series or retrospectives of important films originally selected by La Semaine de la Critique.

The tour started on March 18th at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will travel to Lebanon, Thailand, South Korea, India, Belgium, Peru, USA, Brazil, and many cities in France. But most interesting is that MUBI will be part of the event by programming some films selected at La Semaine de la Critique over the last 20 years. Films will be available from May 12th all over the world at MUBI site. I really hope that “all over the world” means exactly what it says and MUBI has the rights to all countries and not just some.

The Posters

This year for a change I really like the posters with scenes from movies, so the poster that opens the post comes from Barbet Schroeder’s More and the following are from Bernardo Bertolucci’s Prima della Rivolozione, Wong Kar-wai’s Wang jiao ka men (As Tears Go By), Jaques Audiard’s Regarde Les Hommes Tomber and, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Amores Perros. Enjoy!

ノルウェイの森 Noruwei no mori (Norwegian Wood)

Maybe is me and my mood, maybe are the movies I’ve choosing lately or maybe there are many movies that start so “normal” that you start to wonder why you decided to watch that much talked about movie; then suddenly out of the blue in the most unexpected moment movie and story becomes intense, takes your breath away with the most magnificent visuals and cuts right inside your self with the most spectacular original music score.

Not often have the opportunity to watch movies that so successfully use music to generate emotions but the outstanding Jonny Greenwood score plus the extraordinary use of music at the right moment by Anh Hung Tran made music score to literally go inside me, grab everything that found inside and squeeze it! That’s how good the music score could be when used at the right moment, truly extraordinary use of music in film.

When movie changes so does story that moves to the country to show the most dramatic beauty in the most outstanding framing compositions that are kept when story comes back to Tokyo making your visual, narrative and score listening very but very intense. Definitively is one of the few movies that really touch me not only from what my eyes are watching, the words and most of all, the music my ears are hearing all merged into one magnificent cinematic moment that continues one moment after the other. Superb.

But the beginning is so normal that if you start to wonder why are you watching the movie please stay as will change when you least expect it.

Outstanding performance by Rinko Kikuchi as Naoko, a role that gave her a nomination for Best Actress at the 2010 Asian Film Awards but also Kenichi Matsuyama gives a splendid performance in his normal university student moments as in his most dramatic instances. It’s not my first Anh Hung Tran film as a long time ago I discovered his magnificent The Scent of Green Papaya and if any of you have watched this movie you will recall his particular narrative rhythm while watching first part of film, but nothing prepares you to when he moves story to the country that perhaps because story happens in Japan, his style absolutely recalls the style of contemporary Japanese directors like for example, Naomi Kawase. Beautiful but very beautiful to watch.

According to what I read story is not the same as the one told in the book that inspired Anh Hung Tran’s screenplay, so maybe it’s better to say that Haruki Murakami’s novel gave Hung Tran an idea to create a different tale. Film tells about three young kids that grew and went to school together; we have Kizuki that knows Naoko since they were 3-years-old, kiss in 6th grade and now older teenagers are in love. The third is Kizuki’s best friend Toru Watanabe and the three do almost everything together. Story is told by Toru and when Kizuki commits suicide Toru leaves town, as far as he could; cut to the sixties, the Vietnam war, Tokyo, with Toru being at university, see his everyday life, the student protests, his love of books, his solitary attitude, and his sex experimenting. Everything is flat, robot-like life until one day he sees Naoko and yes, everything changes in the story and in the movie. Is a love story, a beautiful told not really happy but with a happy ending (maybe?) story.

Movie premiered in competition at 2010 Venice and traveled the fest circuit but surely the most deserved honor is winning Best Cinematography at the 2011 Asian Film Awards. A must be seen film for those that enjoy Japan set beautiful art cinema done by a renown French Vietnamese director and in my opinion seems that film will be more enjoyable if you haven’t read novel by Muramaki as story will be new which will allow to more easily admire the complete package of narrative, visuals and music score.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Post Mortem

Film started like a story about a deadpan face obsessive stalker-alike neighbor that wanted to “meet” Nancy, his front door neighbor. Continued with all his life little dull life nuances at home and at work, where he was an autopsy recorder of the very old fashion and traditional style. Life was monotonous and Mario found the way to meet Nancy but she literally escapes from his company. A discussion at work, only way to keep what they have is with arms… finally film touches the theme I was waiting for! Yes I knew what film was about and for more than half the film I was impatiently waiting for the film to start. Big mistake!

If you want to enjoy movie first half I strongly suggest you learn nothing about this movie otherwise you will be just like me “waiting for the movie to start”.

Pablo Larraín film will hit you hard probably as much as really hit those that live it and lived to tell. Set a few days before the other September 11th, tells Mario’s story but as you can imagine is only the excuse to tell what was happening before, during and after that fatidic date in 1973 and Larraín chooses to tell it in an unconventional, unique, and unexpected way that will hit you hard while watching but more after when you play the movie again in your head. Still on the surface is a dark non-romantic love story. But after all movie is about the death of a nation, about dead people and about a love that dies; I’m sure it will hit you more than what you imagine and could expect.

With only a few characters and starring incredible Alfredo Castro of Tony Manero’s fame film showcases very interesting visual narrative with high production values that will keep your undivided attention even when movie has slow pace that feels slower in the first half and so fast in the second half even when rhythm is the same the entire picture. But film’s provocation does not only comes from the story, also comes from an astoundingly beautiful framing and composition, especially in many takes with the space off the screen when we cannot see what goes on.

Premiered in competition at 2010Venice and followed with San Sebastian fest at Horizontes Latinos, film continued to collect honors in the fest circuit, including the one I gave it from just watching the trailer that now I absolutely confirm as this is an almost perfect cinema masterpiece. Chapeau Pablo Larraín.

Not for all audiences, you have to enjoy art cinema with strong stories that are not easy to watch and yes, to understand if you’re not familiar with true history; still I believe movie could be interesting even if only you can see is the dark love story. But again, be prepared as film will hit you hard and harder after watching.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch Trailer @MOC

2011 German Film Awards Winners

On April 8th they had the award ceremony and winners are in *BLUE. To check the complete list of award winners go here for German or here for English.


Last Friday the 16 categories of the Deutscher Filmpreis, better known as Lola Awards, were announced and here are the nominees for some categories.

Best Film
*Vincent Will Meer (Vincent Wants to Sea), Ralf Huettner BEST FILM IN GOLD
*Almanya- Willkommen in Deutchland;(Almanya – Welcome to Germany), Yasemin Samdereli BEST FILM IN SILVER
*Wer Wenn Nicht Wir (If Not Us, Who), Andres Veiel BEST FILM IN BRONZE
Der Ganz Große Traum, Sebastian Grobler
Drei (Three), Tom Tykwer
Goethe! (Young Goethe in Love), Philipp Stölzl

Best Director
Florian Cossen for Das Lied In Mir (The Day I Was Not Born)
*Tom Tykwer for Drei (Three)
Wim Wenders for Pina

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Bernadette Heerwagen in Die Kommenden Tage (Days to Come),
Lena Lauzemis in Wer Wenn Nicht Wir (If Not Us, Who), Andres Veiel
*Sophie Rois in Drei (Three), Tom Tykwer

Best Actor in a Leading Role
August Diel in Wer Wenn Nicht Wir (If Not Us, Who), Andres Veiel
Alexander Fehling in Goethe! (Young Goethe in Love), Philipp Stölzl
*Florian David Fitz in Vincent Will Meer (Vincent Wants to Sea), Ralf Huettner

To check nominations in all categories go here or here  available in German or here for English.

If you’re wondering why Die Fremde is not nominated you have to check last year nominations as was nominated and competed against Das Weisse Band that of course won. Film with most nominations (6) is Tom Tykwer’s Drei (Three), followed with five by Andres Veiel’s If Not Us, Who and Ralf Huettner’s Vincent Wants to Sea.

The Lola Awards ceremony will be held on April 8th at the Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin.

64th Festival de Cannes Cinéfondation, Short Films Competition and More News


Also announced today is the selection of short and medium-length films from schools all over the world with a total of sixteen (16) works selected this year from countries like Czech Republic, Singapore, USA, Israel, Belgium, Brazil, France, Argentina, Italy and South Korea. To learn the films please go here and scroll down to the Cinéfondation section.

The jury headed by Michel Gondry will announce the three Cinéfondation Prizes on May20th.

Both sessions of the Résidence 2011 (21 and 22) will be represented at the Festival and the films will be screened by Cannes Short Films. The residents will present their scripts during a session organized in the CNC pavilion and debates will be organized with professional filmmakers who have shown interest in their projects. To check participants in sessions 21 and 22 go here.

This year, the Atelier has selected 15 projects from 15 different countries. Directors will take part in the Festival along with their producers and individual meetings will be organised to help them complete funding for their films.

Escafandra by Pablo Reyero (Argentina)
Now is the Future of the Past by Huang Weikai (China)
Augustine by Alice Winocour (France)
Khibula by George Ovashvili (Georgia)
Luton by Michalis Konstantatos (Greece)
Hier by Bálint Kenyeres (Hungary)
The Train Station by Mohamed Al Daradji (Iraq)
Of Our Economical Situation by Elad Keidan (Israel)
Il Sud è Niente by Fabio Mollo (Italy)
La delgada línea amarilla by Celso García (Mexico)
Full Contact by David Verbeek (Netherlands)
El Mudo by Daniel & Diego Vega (Peru
Wolf by Bogdan Mustata (Romania)
Kings by Deniz Ergüven (Turkey)
Mr Kaplan by Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay)

Cannes Short Films

This year the Short Film Competition and the Short Film Corner will be linked to become Cannes Short Films in order to foster the promotion of short movies.

The list of the short films in competition will be announced on Monday, April 18. Michel Gondry is also the Jury's president of the Cannes Short Films.

Cannes Classics

Most interesting is the film that will open this section as is none other than Jerry Schatzberg’s 1970 Puzzle of a Downfall Child starring Faye Dunaway. Film has a new copy restored by Universal Studios and both director and leading lady will be on attendance. Remember that Dunaway’s Cannes 2011 poster has a photo taken by Schatzberg.

Another interesting event is the screening of a new restored copy of a film that shocked and marveled me when I saw it a long time ago Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 A Clockwork Orange. I don’t doubt that this event is related to the current extraordinary exhibition at la Cinematheque Francaise as also will screen Il était une fois Orange Mécanique, the documentary by Antoine de Gaudemar.

The full Cannes Classics program will be announced on Friday April 22nd.

Other Activities

There will be an unusual exhibition at Grands Foyers Lumière and Debussy. Palais des Festivals where Cannes will welcome the Kobal Collection that celebrates the glossy world of the Pin-Up; an exhibition with cinema-related photographs of the likes of Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Sennett Girls among many more.

Not long ago was announced that Melanie Laurent will be the Mistress of Ceremonies at the 2011 festival and that the most unusual event will happen at the Opening Ceremony where an Honorary Palme d’Or will be given to Bernardo Bertolucci. In previous years Honorary Palms have been given before the festival, but is the first time during the festival; still recall that in 2009 Clint Eastwood was honored. The good news is that from now on will be an annual event and always will be presented during the Opening Ceremony.

Last, this year the festival will honor the great Jean-Paul Belmondo with a gala evening in celebration of his talent and career that will take place on Tuesday, May 17 where Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech’s documentary Belmondo, The Career will be premiered.

Some Movie Bits

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Think I skipped one installment, but nevertheless I imagine movie has its lovers; I’m not one of them and felt asleep like a baby! Sigh.

Rubber by Quentin Dupieux. Was very curious about “the tire” film, but can’t say that enjoy it much; still watched completely. Enjoy.

Trust the Man by Bart Freundlich. This 2005 movie with Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny and Billy Crudup is a NYC set talkie that has its good moments; maybe the best is the too short scene with Ellen Barkin as the “lesbian predator” to Maggie G character, which was funny as director tried to make it so normal, that became hilarious (at least to me). If you haven’t seen it yet, won’t miss much if you skip it. Enjoy.

Hereafter by Clint Eastwood. I really like this movie mainly because the subject matter that in my opinion can be interpreted in so many ways that becomes a layered story; still the obvious is about death and what happens after. Triptych stories are good, but best is the one with Celine de France that has the tsunami excellent special effects (still after watching real tsunami images, nothing comes close to reality). I do recommend movie for more than entertaining purposes. Enjoy!!!

Mildred Pierce. Watch the 1954 original with Joan Crawford; but DO NOT MISS the miniseries with Kate Winslet is just FANTASTIC and not similar to movie! Enjoy!!!

64th Festival de Cannes Poster

Here we have the very elegant poster for the 2011 Cannes fest with some info about the poster.

This photo of Faye Dunaway was taken by Jerry Schatzberg in 1970. Model of sophistication and timeless elegance, it is an embodiment of the cinematic dream that the Festival de Cannes seeks to maintain.

Jerry Schatzberg is a filmmaker from New York who won the Palme d’Or in 1973 for Scarecrow. He began his career as a photographer and his work is quickly noticed, in particular a series of Bob Dylan photos from the 60s which ultimately are used on the cover of the legendary album Blonde on Blonde. In the early 70s Schatzberg turns to filmmaking and his first film, Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), reveals an exceptional sense of framing and lighting for a first-timer. Panic In Needle Park (1971) with newcomer Al Pacino and Scarecrow follow and are both award-winners in Cannes.

Puzzle of a Downfall Child, in which Faye Dunaway has the starring role, has been restored by Universal Pictures. Rarely seen on the big screen the film will be distributed in France by Carlotta in the fall and the restored print will be screened in Cannes in the presence of the director and his actress.

The poster was produced by the H5 design agency, which is also providing the graphics for the 2011 Festival. Artwork: H5 (M. Lelièvre, B. Parienté)

We have only 36 days to Cannes. Sigh. (suggest to click photo to see larger version of this great poster)

Must Be Seen

A smart C4 documentary that is Must Be Seen for everyone that lives in an earthquake zone. It's a serious, scientific oriented documentary that explains how the Japan earthquake and later the tsunami happened.

Even if is serious and scientific has some moments that are not easy to watch, especially at minute 30.

I live in an earthquake zone where two platforms collide, have lived a massive earthquake plus strong aftershocks, but even with my experience it's impossible for me to imagine an earthquake that could last 5 minutes. If this happens here (or should I say when it happens here) 5 minutes will destroy everything and the energy that could be liberated will definitively change the geography of this country. It's very scary but I wish I could learn more information about this area, as good as the excellent explanation given to what happened in Japan. Knowledge is always good and absolutely helps to understand what could happen and what you could do. Of course in this country as well in neighboring countries/area we don't get any earthquake education.

Please watch this excellent documentary I'm sure will teach many what earthquakes are all about.


Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel latest film is not similar to his previous movies where in my opinion art and filmmaking merged more successfully; maybe first half of this movie, before Miral becomes the center story, camera moves and editing look and feel artier but everything changes to more “normal” narrative when the little girl becomes a teenager. Then this so-called controversial movie because of the story it tells, is to my eyes and ears not really controversial as tells a known story, Israel/Palestine conflict, told from the Palestine point-of-view, which also has been told in films like for example Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains that I believe was more emotionally successful conveying what Palestinians had to live since the Israel state was created thanks to extraordinary use of dark comedy.

Based on a novel by Rula Jebreal, who did the screenplay and seems is real life Schnabel companion, film tells the story of Miral but for more than half the movie you will not see her as the actual story told is about Hind Husseini, marvelously played by Hiam Abbass, the wealthy woman that takes in her house orphan children from the 1948 war with the orphanage eventually becoming a school for girls that still exists today. Not only this part of the story is visually told more interesting but also story and Abbass performances are compelling. Miral story per se is interesting but I believe that was not translated into the screen in a compelling way as you can’t sympathize with her not-really-shown struggle deciding between becoming active in the urban guerilla or do something to promote peace.

Not exactly what I was hoping from Schnabel and end-product is not as interesting as could or should have been as telling the story of four women Hindi Husseini, Nadia (Miral’s mother), Fatima (Nadia’s cell mate) and Miral HAD to be more interesting especially when most of what happens is true life facts and reality.

Can’t recommend the movie but have to share that story got me curious, so curious that think will read the book by Rula Jebreal as I need to know details that so obviously were left out in the movie. Still IF you’re interested in a Palestinian vision from the Israel-Palestine conflict I strongly suggest you to watch Elia Suleiman marvelous The Time That Remains, but be prepared for non-conventional art cinema.


Watch trailer @MOC

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