Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #2 - French Directors

Venezia71 has four French productions in the competition and a lot more co productions, making France the country with more films in the competition. These are the four French directors that are in competition.

Benoît Jacquot

Born in February 1947 Jacquot has a long career that began around the early 70's and spans from the small to the big screen. But perhaps his best known films are 2006 L'intouchable (The Untouchable) that was in competition at Venice and got the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Isild Le Besco and Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen) that won the Prix Louis Delluc and was in competition at 2012 Berlinale. But he has been in Cannes several times, not his first time in Venice nor in Berlin, so he is well-known in the festival circuit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #1 - The Poet

I know that lately I have been absent minded with too many things in my head but that is no excuse to complete scramble the movies and everything about the movies in La Mostra current edition! Yes, that happened a few days ago in a conversation with a friend. Sigh. So the best thing to do is to go in a bit depth check of what the 71st Venice Film Festival is screening.

Have to start by talking about whom has been called the Poet of Sadness and the Poet of the Everyday; the poet that perhaps is the most famous German of Turkish descent in Contemporary Cinema: Fatih Akin.

Fatih Akin

Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg, studied visual communications at Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and graduated in 2000. His short films and feature length films have won him several awards but is the 2007 Cannes award winner Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) that propels him to the stratosphere of great master filmmakers.

Is in 2004 with Berlinale Golden Bear winner Gegen die Wand (Head On) that he begins his trilogy on "Love, Death and the Devil" with absolutely awesome Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) being the second installment and the Venezia71 In Competition The Cut being the third and last installment. While Head On was about a young German-Turkish woman's strong desire to live and -supposedly- is about love, The Edge of Heaven told the stories of people in Germany and Turkey and -allegedly- is about death, The Cut -apparently- is about the devil as tells about a dark historic episode, the Ottoman government systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

71st Venice Film Festival Lineup

Organizers announced this morning the 20 films that will compete for the Golden Lion in the current edition of La Mostra, a selection that included several films that we were expecting in Cannes and now we find them here. Great. So Venezia71 competition has films by well-known directors like Benoît Jacquot, Fatih Akin, Xavier Beauvois, Abel Ferrara and Andrei Konchalovsky.

Can't complain about the main competition as there are films from several countries but it's appalling that there is not even one film from Latin America and when we check films in the Official Selection plus Autonomous Sections, the Latin American absence becomes disconcerting. Also disconcerting is the strong presence of American films (3 in competition plus too many to count in Orizzonti and other sections) so here I am wondering what is happening with world cinema when there is very little presence of Latin America and such a strong presence by USA. Not good news for me, sigh.

In a positive note the Official Selection has 55 films of which 54 are World premieres and 1 is an International premiere. Venezia71 Competition has 20 films, 19 World premieres and 1 International premiere. Organizers received and viewed 3,377 films of which 1,600 were feature films and 1,777 were short films.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

58th David di Donatello Award Winners

Yesterday the Italian Academy had their awards ceremony and to my huge surprise top award went to a movie that perhaps has a relevant story for Italian audiences but not any more for world audiences as topic has been covered extensively plus film had not much outstanding as performances, cinematography, direction, tech spec was truly average. Yes, in my opinion La Grande Bellezza as a movie is superior to Il Capitale Umano. Still, La Grande Bellezza won big with nine awards but did not got the top award. Sigh.

Event press coverage claims that the show was stolen by Sophia Loren, who was honored with a special prize for her performance in La Voce Umana (Human Voice) the short directed by her son Edoardo Ponti.

If you wish to watch the awards ceremony then take a deep breath as this is one ceremony where people really talk, talk, talk (uff!) non-stop, but here it is.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

67th Festival de Cannes Award Winners

In about six hours the red carpet will start followed by the awards ceremony, then the closing tribute to the western or better, the spaghetti western with Quentin Tarantino presenting For a Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone.

Nice closing ceremony with great award winners speeches that unfortunately chose to speak in English as the voice-over translation was loud, annoying and couldn't let you hear anything. Sigh. But imagine most will soon appear as clips all over the net. My predictions were as all Cannes predictions a futile exercise but can't deny that with one or two exceptions I approve who won the awards.

We have to realize that this year we have traditional winners but for those that wanted "fresh blood" we also have it and just for reference the youngest director in this edition, Xavier Dolan, tied with the oldest director in this edition, Jean-Luc Godard, but Alice Rohrwacher won the second top award.

So this is the end of the Cannes coverage and the end of the Festival.

À l'année prochaine!

2014 Cannes Closing Ceremony

Cérémonie de clôture (Closing Ceremony in French from Canal+)

The almost 60 minutes video with the complete ceremony in French BUT when English is spoken there are subtitles -sometimes... lol! Then is back to awful voice-over translation. Sigh.

5th Queer Palm Award Winner

Last night at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs closing party the Queer Palm had their award ceremony and since the location was announced by organizers we suspected that the winning film will come from the sidebar and will be the closing film. We were right. The award went to Pride and in my opinion the jury chose a great and the right film for the award. Great!

But is not until today that we get the award president statement and is the best I have seen in the short history of this award. Take a look at the great statement.

2014 Cannes Predictions

For entertainment purposes lets review what predictions say, but have to remind you that winners will come from an eclectic filmmakers/actors jury and not from film critics. Nevertheless I gather that the consensus is that this year the Palme d'Or winner is NOT clear, unlike -for example- what happened in 2012 with Amour and in 2013 with La Vie d'Adèle.

According to those that play the guessing game, in 2014 there are five films running towards a "photo finish": a Canadian prodigy, a Russian corruption critic, Belgian brothers, a Turkish husband-and-wife team and a British veteran tipped for glory. If the Palme d'Or goes to any of these films, then most bet the other films will get the other top awards.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 10 at Cannes 2014

This morning the last movie of the festival was screened to the press, so by now film critics that still are in Cannes will have seen all the movies in the competition as major film critics tend to see all the in competition films and a few of the other films in the sidebars. Consequently the first thing I did today was to check the tallies to see which/who were their favorites to win awards. Seems that the critics "fight" is between Winter Sleep and Adieu Au Langage. But the last time I checked the jury composition, there is NO film critic as a member, so the filmmakers and actors jury members probably will have some differences with the critics.

Today is the last day of the festival and of the daily coverage here as tomorrow we will be talking about the award ceremony; then is adieu Cannes, until next year. As you will see today there are not many movies as yesterday La Semaine de la Critique closed and today we have the award ceremonies of Un Certain Regard and la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.

46th Quinzaine des Réalisateurs Award Winners

In a very unexpected triple play one movie wins all three feature film awards given by sponsors of this sidebar as you have to remember that this section is non-competitive. So here is the BIG winner.

Les Combattants by Thomas Cailley won SACD Prize, Label Europa Cinemas Prize, and Art Cinema Award.

From the short films the Illy Award goes to Sem Coração by Nara Normande and Tião and there was a Special Mention to Radu Jude's Trece şi prin perete (It Can Pass Through the Wall).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 9 at Cannes 2014

If yesterday was a bad day for movies, today is a great day for movies and the roller-coaster goes up once again. If my roller-coaster theory is correct -has been up to today- then I am really concern for what is going to happen tomorrow as one of my most awaited films is screened on the last day of the festival (no, it is not the Assayas film). So let's be positive and hope that the roller coaster goes up and up for a great festival finale.

Yesterday I was talking about leaving to end of the festival the American films that attract media world coverage to the festival. Still tomorrow we will find the power of an American actress in a non-American film. My expectation is that the photocall and red carpet will be full of paparazzi but since I know there will also be European photographers -as there is also a very famous French actress- I'm looking forward to see how those two events go and IF one of them wins. LOL! I don't mind who wins as Julilette Binoche and Kristen Stewart are two of my very favorite actresses and have seen/will see everything with each, the climax is having them together in one movie, LOL!!!

53rd Semaine de la Critique Award Winners

The 53rd Semaine de la Critique big winner is the sign language with no subtitles very intriguing film The Tribe by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy

The parallel section Award ceremony started a few minutes ago and winners are the following:

Grand Prize: ПЛЕМЯ Plemya (The Tribe), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine and Netherlands

Visionary Award: ПЛЕМЯ Plemya (The Tribe), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine and Netherlands

SACD Award: Hope, Boris Lojkine, France

The Gan Foundation Support for Distribution award: ПЛЕМЯ Plemya (The Tribe), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine and Netherlands

Short Films
CineAlta Discovery Prize: A Ciambra (Young Lions of Gypsy), Jonas Carpignano, Italy and France
Canal+ Award: Crocodile, Gaëlle Denis, UK

67th Festival de Cannes Short Films Selection and Cinéfondation Award Winners

Today, Abbas Kiarostami and the Jury announced the winners of the 17th Cinéfondation Selection and there we had our first award ceremony in this edition of the Festival de Cannes.

As we know each of the Cinéfondation prizes have money attached but perhaps most important is that the First Prize winner is also guaranteed that his first feature film will be presented at the Festival de Cannes. So imagine that soon we will be seeing a first feature film by a female director, American Annie Silverstein. Good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 8 at Cannes 2014

The festival is fading away as practically we get only one more day of competition as on Friday we will start to learn winners in parallel sections. Still in the main competition we have four more movies by four great directors that unfortunately were scheduled to towards the end of the fest, when most of the media are no longer in Cannes. Next year maybe organizers will schedule in the final days whatever American films they have and then we will see that media stays until the last day. Sigh.

The Competition

The Search by Michel Hazanavicius

A few days ago I had a discussion about this film as the friends I was with could not understand that a remake was in competition and on top, the remake changed almost everything in story. So the question was: why keep the name? Why he didn't changed the name? We had no answers then and surely will not have answers today, but the first reactions to film are of the not positive kind, which undoubtedly in my mind is a consequence of doing a remake, changing a lot of the story, keeping the name and a not-good director.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 7 at Cannes 2014

Today is an "UP" day in the roller-coaster as we have films by European and Asian master filmmakers, the Best of the Best from those regions. Fantastic day.

The Competition

Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days and One Night) by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

What can I say about the two-time Palme d'Or winners director-duo plus one of the most important actresses in contemporary world cinema working together? Not much. Just that it is must be seen for me and hopefully will be ASAP. But will try to add something more.

Another Dardenne social drama this time about the economic crisis that surely will be intense with extraordinary performances by Dardenne regular, Fabrizio Rongione and Marion Cotillard. Have to share that I am so grateful that Marion Cotillard always returns to Europe to do GREAT movies as her goings into Hollywood cinema have not been that good, but know that she must be making lots of money (lol!). The last time was in great Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone and now for the first time ever in a Dardenne brothers film that has to be like another great step in her career, as she said: "tourner avec eux revenait à accéder à l’inaccessible".

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