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Thursday, August 20, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 5 - From Europe and Asia


Turn to check two (2) bi-continental directors, Emin Alpert from Turkey and outstanding Aleksandr Sokurov from Russia

Emin Alper

Not much info about this director but here are the basics; most data comes from Berlinale official site. Born on August 13, 1974 in Konya, Turkey. Trained in Economics and History at Bogazici University-Istambul; holds a PH.D. degree in Turkish Modern History. He teaches at Istanbul Technical University's Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

He is the writer and director of the short films, 2005 Mekup (The Letter) and 2006 Rifat. He has also occasionally acted in a couple of short films. His debut feature film, Tepenin Ardi (Beyond the Hill), collected multiple accolades all over the world after premiering in 2012 Berlinale Forum section.

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Day 3 #Venezia72


Today Venezia72 has its first major Hollywood star walking the streets near the Lido and later -still early when I'm writing this- will walk the Red Carpet ... yes, I'm talking about Johnny Depp that already has large crowds outside the Black Mass photocall and press conference events.

But while watching the hundreds of Depp photos at those sites with not-free photos I came to realize something quite especial, tell me: who could imagine that relatively newcomer Dakota Johnson was going to have two (2) films in La Mostra? Plus both films have major cinema stars like Depp but also Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes. Intersting, isn't?

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

72nd Venice Film Festival Lineup - Update 1


Two new titles complete the lineup of the festival that is directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The first is Tharlo by Tibetan director Pema Tseden in the Orizzonti section and the second is Out of Competition documentary I ricordi del fiune by Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio. Also today was announced the Orizzonti opening film and is none other than the film by Rodrigo Plá, Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas (A Monster with a Thousand Heads).

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

72nd Venice Film Festival Award Winners


After a so-so festival, especially after day four, great surprises in the award ceremony make this edition of La Biennale quite outstanding for Latin American cinema and to films that critics did NOT predict as favorites to win accolades, which always is great as a very refreshing breeze.

But my emotion is more for who did the films that got top awards as Lorenzo Vigas has behind him some of the great Latin American filmmakers and now he absolutely deserves to be equal to them; besides in his film is one my very favorite Latin American actors that always give outstanding performances, Alfredo Castro. Then you have always GREAT Pablo Trapero winning the Silver Lion and Charlie Kaufman the Grand Jury Prize!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Отец и сын -Otets i syn (Father and Son)


I’m going to be honest with you all and tell that I had no clear idea what this movie was about until I started to read about it. I believe that the amazing opening scenes totally confused me as those scenes are so strong that you cannot see any father and son love, but two men in love and from then on you still see the same. Obviously that is not Aleksandr Sokurov intention, but it is truly hard not to see exactly what you’re seeing in the screen.

So with the help of what I read here is an outline of the story that basically is about the time when a father and his son have to part to go their own ways and since they have been living together for so many years after the mother died, the separation is a true drama told in the most poetic way, with very little but important dialogue, outstandingly beautiful camera close-ups that totally expose actors expressions of what they are feeling and with astonishing visuals that totally play with light and a brownish-sepia color that just looks outstandingly superb. Even when I was having a hard time grasping the story, the imagines hypnotize me and I could get my eyes one second from the screen.

But to be clearer I’m going to reproduce here Sukorov's preface to this movie that speaks about the story. I know that this unusual, but if you want to see this movie, I believe that you better read about the story before watching the movie.

The story of the family

A small family — a father and a son — lives on the top floor of an old house.

The father retired from the military, leaving his beloved air regiment. He ended his military career not of his own wishes — circumstances forced him to. A former participant in military actions, now he has been transferred to the reserve as he begins middle age. When he was a student in flight school, he experienced the first and the only love of his life. This girl became his wife and she gave birth to his son. Both of them were twenty years old then. The wife died when she was young. This love remained his secret unique happiness.

The son grew up, and he will probably be a military man like his father. The son's features constantly remind the father of his wife. He doesn't separate his son from his still persisting love: this is his unity with his beloved woman. The father cannot imagine his life without his son. The son loves his father devotedly and deeply, a filial feeling intensified by an instinctive moral responsibility that is being tested by life. Their love is almost of mythological virtue and scale. It cannot happen in real life. This is a fairy-tale collision.

Actors’ performances are more than superb and I felt they have an air of acting for the stage but it flows like a movie, so it does not bother at all, it makes it even more interesting. Both performers are non-actors and honestly you cannot tell at all as especially the father is not only a fantastic performer, but also the takes and the lighting that Sokurov uses in his scenes makes him look extremely handsome and attractive.

Cinematography is breathtaking and not for landscapes but for the aura and mood that gives to the whole movie, but what I found absolute amazing is the lighting, Sukorov really plays with light in this movie and produces amazing visual poetry. Outstanding! Then what really blew my mind was to discover that the outdoor takes were done in Lisbon, as knowing that he’s a Saint Petersburg filmmaker I imagined that was somewhere in that city, besides the takes are flawlessly integrated that unless you have been in that specific street in Lisbon, I imagine you cannot guess the actual location. Still, you’re so engrossed into watching everything (and me guessing what was going on) that it is truly non-important where the location was. This is a movie where you follow the actors with their amazing performance.

The movie was in competition for the Palm D’or at the 2003 Cannes where won the FIPRESCI Prize with a jury statement that says: For brilliant images and the director's original way of depicting the powerful bond that unites a father and a son.

This 2003 movie is the second of a family trilogy that starts with 1996 Mother and Son and will end with Two Brothers and a Sister that Sokurov has not filmed yet.

Absolutely not for all audiences, this masterpiece is truly art cinema with amazing visual poetry in almost all the movie scenes. So you really have to like art cinema to enjoy this movie that I strongly recommend to all serious cinema lovers.

I feel sorry that I didn’t watch first Mother and Son, but soon I’ll be watching the first Sokurov oeuvre of the family trilogy that has to be as amazing as this movie that I absolutely loved.

Big Enjoy!!!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mariya (Maria)


This documentary has two chapters that are very different even when they tell the same story. The first chapter was shot in 1978 when Aleksandr Sokurov was an employee of Gorki City Television, but it became his VGIK film school graduation work once the Soviet authorities suppressed his intended graduation work, the feature film “A Lonely Voice of a Man” as it was deemed ‘unfit’. The second chapter was shot nine years later when he returned to the Gorki suburbs and completed the portrait of a tragedy that had been anticipated in the first pastoral section.

The first chapter is shot in color with some scenes in black/white that totally relate to sorrow; it tells about a few summer months in the life of a peasant woman, Maria; but actually tells about how men stopped working the fields (“they’re unhappy”) and women doing all the field hard chores. It is a beautiful shot film with excellent cinematography and some outstanding takes. According to what I read the filmmaker purpose is to communicate his impressions to the audience and to plunge the spectators into a pastoral atmosphere and believe me, he not only outstandingly succeeds but also does it in a beautiful art full manner.

The second chapter is in black and white with a sad mood and elegiac narration (that’s why this documentary is also know as ‘Peasant Elegy’) and Sokurov’s intention was to communicate the fate of a particular person in a particular set of circumstances. But as a spectator you totally get the message of how a way of life disappeared in almost a decade and I am not really sure if it was for the better or for the worst. I believe is open to all interpretations, as he only gives facts.

So with the first chapter he mesmerizes you with a beautiful pastoral tale that at the same time puzzles you with all the women doing all the hard work; then with the somber second chapter he takes you into a dark or grayish voyage into sorrow, obviously done with outstanding cinematography and some very long takes.

For creating two so different chapters and for so successful integrating them into one film with a very interesting story I believe that to me it confirms that Sokurov is a great filmmaker and storyteller; then we have to remember that he was Tarkovsky protégée and he helped him during his early career because Tarkovsky was impressed with his work.

This is a documentary that I strongly recommend to all serious cinema lovers and as a must be seen to all that are interesting to learn the body of work of an outstanding master filmmaker.

Enjoy!!!

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

68th Venice Film Festival Award Winners


Not sure that this festival is as exciting as the other one from Cannes that not only really gets my attention but undoubtedly gets the attention of most of the world. During the fest there was a seminar about the “future of festivals” and I was talking about the same subject -but referring exclusively to La Mostra- with a friend, in our discussion we tend to agree that fest hast to go back to be less American and more non-American (you know what we mean), should be an Italian stage that showcases the world cinema -yes should go face-to-face with the one from France as one is early in the year and the other is later in the year and each year has enough months and days to have two world worthy cinema festivals.

Anyway there are not many films that I’m “dying” to see from this year fest, but obviously there are some that are absolutely must be seen for me. So, here are the Award winners.

VENEZIA 68 (The Competition)

Golden Lion for Best Film: Faust, Alexander Sokurov, Russia
Special Jury Prize: Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese, Italy

Silver Lion for Best Director: Shangjun Cai for People Mountain People Sea, China and Hong Kong
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Michael Fassbender in Shame, Steve McQueen, UK
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Deanie Ip in Tao Jie (A Simple Life), Ann Hui, China and Hong Kong)

Osella for Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos for Alpis (Alps), Greece
Osella for Best Cinematography: Wuthering Heights, Andrea Arnold, UK

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Shôta Sometani and Fumi Nikaidô in Himizu, Sion Sono, Japan

Lion of the Future – Luigi de Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film: Là-bas (A Criminal Education), Guido Lombardi, Italy

To check all the winners go here.

ORIZZONTI AWARDS

Best Film: Kotoko, Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan
Special Jury Prize: Whores’ Glory, Michael Glawogger, Austria and Germany

Best Medium-Length Film: Accidentes Gloriosos (Glorious Accidents), Mauro Andrizzi and Marcus Lindeen, Sweden, Denmark and Argentina
Best Short Film: In Attesa Dell'Avvento, Felice D'Agostino and Arturo Lavorato, Italy

Special Mentions
O le Tulafale (The Orator), Tusi Tamasese, New Zealand and Samoa
All The Lines Flow Out, Charles Lim Yi, Singapore

Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards: Hypercrisis, Josef Dabernig, Austria

To read Jury statements please go here.

CONTROCAMPO ITALIANO

Best Film: Scialla!, Francesco Bruni
Best Documentary: Pugni Chiusi , Fiorenza Infascelli
Best Short Film: A Chjána, Jonas Carpignano
Special Mentions
Black Block, Carlo Augusto Bachschmidt
Francesco Di Giacomo for the cinematography of Pugni Chiusi

To check winners official announcement go here.

COLLATERAL AWARDS

FIPRESCI Prize
Best Film from Venezia 68: Shame by Steven McQueen, UK
Best Film from Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week: Two Years at Sea, Ben Rivers

SIGNIS Award: Faust, Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia
Special Mention: Tao jie (A Simple Life), Ann Hui, China

CICAE Award: O le tulafale (The Orator), Tusi Tamasese

International Critics’ Week Award: Là-Bas, Guido Lombardi, Italy
Label Europa Cinemas Award for Best European Film: Présumé Coupable (Guilty), Vincent Garenq, France

Queer Lion Award: Wilde Salomé by Al Pacino, USA (To check the 12 films that were considered go here, almost all are gay interest)

La Navicella – Venezia Cinema Award: Tao jie (A Simple Life), Ann Hui

Leoncino d'Oro Agiscuola Award: Carnage, Roman Polanski
Cinema for UNICEF Commedation: Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese
Frasceso Pasinetti (SNGCI) Award: Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese
SNGCI Commendation: L’ultimo terrestre, Gian Alfonso Pacinotti
Brian Award: The Ides of March, George Clooney
C.I.C.T. UNESCO Enrico Fulchignoni Award: Tahrir 2011, Tamer Ezzat, Ayten Amin, Amr Salama

Arca CinemaGiovani Award
Best Film Venezia68: Shame, Steve McQueen, UK
Best Italian Film: L’ultimo terrestre, Gian Alfonso Pacinotti

To check all the collateral awards winners go here.

Other Awards

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Marco Bellocchio
Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award 2011: Al Pacino
Persol 3D Award for Most Creative Stereoscopic Film of the Year: Zapruder Filmmkaers Group
L’Oreal Paris Award for Cinema: Nicole Grimaudo

Award Ceremony Highlights

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

30th European Film Awards Winners


Last night the European Academy had their annual awards ceremony and have to admit that enjoyed the show, at least the first half as believe Wim Wenders speech was outstanding and the #MeToo moment was relevant - will take a lot for me to forget what the Polish lady said-.

Then there were the clip collages with kudos to the 30th anniversary video which gave me satisfaction as to my viewing pleasure, have seen almost all the movies they shown.  Always homages have nice videos with the honored filmography, but Aleksandr Sukorov video was breathtaking with many well-crafted images from his outstanding oeuvre.  Images from Mother and Son will always move me beyond tears as not often you see such beauty in cinema.  Gorgeous homage to Sukorov.

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 1 - The Italians Part 1


Series Intro

As the Cannes Series gave a more detailed view of the films in the main competition, today decided to start another "Check Series" this time for Venice International Film Festival, also known as La Mostra or La Biennale.

The 2015 edition has twenty-one (21) films in the main competition and assume there will no more as a few days back were announced two more films that "completed" the selection. So, let's check some facts for these 21 films.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

7th Transilvania International Film Festival Award Winners


This edition of this Romanian fest was held in Cluj-Napoca from May 30th to June 8th and will be held in Sibiu from June 11 to 15. But the awards were given yesterday and here they are.

Transilvania Trophy: Intimidades de Shakespeare y Victor Hugo (Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo), Yulene Olaizola, Mexico, 2008
Jury Special Award: Te acuerdas de Lake Tahoe? (Impact Developer & Contractor: Lake Tahoe aka Lake Tahoe), Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico, 2008

Best Directing Award: Omar Shargawi for Ma Salama Jamil (Go With Peace Jamil), Denmark, 2008
Best Performance Award: Péter Haumann, Péter Rudolf and Milan Schruff for Kandorok (The Adventurers), Béla Paczolay, Hungary, 2008
Best Cinematography Award: Mart Taniel for Sügisball (Autum Ball), Veiko Öunupuu, Estonia, 2007
FIPRESCI Award: La Rabia, Albertina Carri, Argentina, 2008
Excellence Award: J’ai toujours revé d’etre un gangster (I Always Wanted to Be A Gangster), Samuel Benchetrit, France, 2007

Lifetime Achievement Award: Tamara Buciuceanu-Botez
Lifetime Achievement Award of European Cinema: Catherine Deneuve

Romanian Days Award for the Best Romanian Feature: The Flower Bridge, Thomas Ciulei, Romania, 2008
Debut Award: George Dorobanţu for directing, shooting and editing Elevator, Romania, 2007

For more awards and short awards go here. To those that are crazy for Romanian cinema –like me- I suggest you check the section Romanian Days as there are many interesting movies, go here. Also interesting is the section Hungarian Day that’s here.

There is a very interesting section called Real Time with three movies that were shot in real time and this have to record here as they are must be seen for me.
Russkiy kovcheg (Russian Ark) Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia and Germany, 2002
PVC-1, Spiros Stathoulopoulos, Colombia, 2007
Sábado, una Película en Tiempo Real, Matias Bize, Chile, 2003

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Aleksandra (Alexandra)


One of the most raw and direct war movies I have seen that do not show any gun fight and tears you apart by the emotions you will feel while watching a grandmother visiting her grandson at a camp inside Chechnya. Amazing!

Unbelievable good performance by opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya that plays Alexandra with a depth that will blow your mind. Just for her performance the movie is a must be seen but there is so much more in this movie.

Spectacular cinematography that creates a war-torn atmosphere with muted colors that generate views of sun bleached fields, dusk takes on camouflage hues and night is an unwelcoming darkness. The effect of the use of light and filters not only is visually outstanding, absolutely complementary to the war story but also lets you feel hot, very hot like baking in the 100+ degrees. Then the story also raises your heat, so everything is complementary here.

Even if incredibly good Aleksandr Sokurov –also wrote the screenplay- says that his film is not political it is impossible not to notice the anti war message in this highly poetic film. One sentence is still in my mind and it goes like this “you know how to destroy, but do you know how to build?”.

The movie was an Official Selection for the Palm D’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Not for all audiences this is a movie that I strongly recommend to all serious art cinema lovers.

Think I discovered another great Russian director that I will follow from now on and will try to see his previous work.

Big Enjoy!!

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Monday, November 06, 2017

30th European Film Awards Nominations


Last Saturday, November 4, at the Seville European Film Festival the nominations for the major categories were announced and my spontaneous reaction when watching live the press conference was that nominees are extraordinary films and Academy members will have a difficult task deciding their votes, as for example in the top category, voting between Cannes Golden Palm, Grand Prix and Jury Award is not easy but then you have to add Berlin Golden Bear and on top a movie by master filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki. Very difficult decision, not easy at all.

But the category that blew my mind is European Actress were you have Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert, then Paula Beer and Alexandra Borbély, and finish with almost newcomer Florence Pugh!  What an eclectic combination of talent!  To be honest, have skipped Lady Macbeth but after BIFA and now this, imagine will have to "unskip" film (lol).

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Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival Wish List


Know is very early but today was reading a magazine article with Cannes rumors and got really excited as the article included some movies by great directors and whether or not make it to the fest, it is absolutely necessary to have these movies recorded here for future viewing. Hope we all enjoy some if not ALL of the following films. Sorry for the French summaries posted when no English ones are available and me too lazy to translate (lol).

From French Directors

Bird People by Pascale Ferran with -the voice of- Mathieu Amalric plus Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier
An American arrives in Paris, checks into a hotel, turns off his cell phone and starts his life anew.

La Chambre Bleue by and with Mathiew Amalric
Un homme et une femme s’aiment en secret dans une chambre, se désirent, se veulent, se mordent même. Puis s’échangent quelques mots anodins après l’amour. Du moins l’homme le croit-il...
A man and woman who make love in secret in a bedroom. They desire and long for each other, even bite each other. Then they exchange a few banalities after making love. Or at least that’s what the man believes. Adaptation of Georges Simenon's novel with the same name (1964).

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