Showing posts sorted by relevance for query carlos reygadas. Sort by date Show all posts
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Cannes 2012 Official Selection Preview - Post Tenebras Lux by Carlos Reygadas

The much awaited (by me) semi-autobiographical fiction film by outstanding master filmmaker Carlos Reygadas that with only three feature-length films has established himself as one of the most prominent master filmmakers in contemporary world cinema and one of the most adored directors by me, mainly because his breathtaking realistic visuals, outstanding framing/compositions and stories that blow and could shock your mind is finally here. For me he does films that are the complete "package", the complete filmmaking/storytelling experience where everything you see and everything you hear are seen and hear at the right moment, in the right sequence and with the right storytelling technique. So close to perfection. This is what I expect from his latest oeuvre.

There is no doubt in my mind that Post Tenebras Lux, Latin for Light After Darkness, will have breathtaking images and you'll agree while watching these stunning images.

Clearly we can see that Reygadas realistic approach to visuals style is in these pictures as it is in his own description about what film is all about. At the 2010 Berlinale Reygadas told Variety what follows.

"Lux" will be about "feelings, memories, dreams, things I've hoped for, fears, facts of my current life," ... "reason will intervene as little as possible, like an expressionist painting where you try to express what you're feeling through the painting rather than depict what something looks like,".

Those comments absolutely blow my mind as tell about something I have always appreciated in great films, visuals that I can compare to paintings, that allow me to have an experience similar to when I see a great paint but also a great photography, a sculpture, a miraculous piece of architecture, and in a few words, a work of art.

The synopsis is puzzling especially when you add his own comments as we can see that hardly fits them; but no worries, most of Reygadas film synopsis have truly very little to do with the cinematic experience you live while watching them.

Juan and his young urban family live in the countryside of Mexico. There, they enjoy and suffer a world that understands life in a different way. Juan wonders if those worlds are complementary or, truly, they fight unconsciously to eliminate one another.

So I suggest to place our attention into the gorgeous visuals as if narrative will have very little reason, then this will be another very visual film.

Carlos Reygadas in Cannes

Reygadas opens his Cannes relationship in 2002 when his debut film Japon is screened at a parallel section and goes to win a Caméra d'Or Special Mention; in 2005 comes back with his second film, Batalla en el Cielo (Battle in Heaven) competing for the Palme d'Or. His third film Silent Light competes for the 2007 Palme d'Or and goes to win the Jury Prize ex aequo with Persepolis.

I believe that Reygadas has a long and fruitful cinema career ahead and know that eventually will win the Palme d'Or; but even do probably could deserve it with this film, this year eclectic jury could find film odd and "too different". Still I have my hopes as Reygadas has a solid history with the festival and maybe, only maybe, could get some significant recognition. Buzz around serious movie sites is high and positive especially after the release of the photographs, some predict it as the top winner. If Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux wins the top award there will be a BIG party here.

A must be seen movie for me and one that I highly recommend even if I haven't seen it. If you're not familiar with the work of this director my best suggestion is to start watching him chronologically, first Japon, followed by Battle in Heaven and last, Silent Light; after the feature-length movies watch his shorts.

Film Specs
Directed by Carlos Reygadas
Written by Carlos Reygadas
Starring: Non-professional actors. Adolfo Jimenez, Natalia Acevedo, Willebaldo Torres, Eleazar Reygadas and Rut Reygadas
Language: Spanish
Nationality: Majority Mexican (France, Mexico, Netherlands)
Runtime: 2h
Production year: 2011

There is no trailer yet but a clip is promised as "coming soon" at Matarraya twitter account.

End Notes
Post Tenebras Lux at Cannes site go here.
Reygadas in Cannes go here.
Topkapi Films go here.
Le Pacte go here.
Unifrance go here.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 9 at 2012 Cannes

Today our first award ceremony which makes us realize that the end is near. Sigh.

Main Competition

Post Tenebras Lux by Carlos Reygadas

I've been waiting for so long for another Reygadas movie that my expectations were really high, if you wish to read about my spontaneous expectations please go here.

Then saw opening night clip and my expectations went down -still was denying the evident-; when poster and first clip were released I became speechless as no, I didn't like both. It is not until five days ago when teaser 2 was released, when the very-fast expectations crashing-down stopped, as is the only clip that contains images that I can relate to Reygadas. Last, yesterday after first press viewing, reliable critics' started to twit terrible comments about movie. I wasn't surprised, as when a serious filmmaker starts to release movie clips that look more like bad family videos, then something has to be wrong.

Still today serious reviews while not being strongly positive, claim to recognize Reygadas style in many moments; this gives me hope that I will be not that much disappointed. Sigh. Some general samples.

erickohn: "Post Tenebras Lux" is Reygadas' weakest movie, but frequently awe-inspiring nonetheless
Greg Chapman: I'll be the judge of that! Reygadas’ 'Post Tenebras Lux' Is Singularly Strange, But Not Especially Impressive
@Variety's Jay Weissberg on Carlos Reygadas' POST TENEBRAS LUX, which "makes Djuna Barnes feel like Dan Brown"

"No me ha gustado. Está sobre-intelectualizada. No es generosa. No es bella. Yo adoré las dos primeras, pero en esta no hay nada. No soy hostil a este cine pero esta no. Lo siento", declaró el crítico de la televisora privada gala, Canal Plus, Xavier Leherpeur. ... Por el contrario, medios españoles y algunos de otros países como Tailandia expresaron más respeto por la película "que tiene belleza y es diferente y siempre interesante", comentaron a esta agencia.

retweeted several times: "Post tenebras lux" de Carlos Reygadas se proyecto en el Festival de Cannes. Compite x La Palma de Oro. Termino abucheada x periodistas

This chaotic accumulation (aggravated by time distortions in the editing that are difficult to explain) may revolt the director’s critics, but is not a major problem for those who prefer an intuitive approach to his work. That having been said, one cannot however justify all excesses in Post Tenebras Lux because that would be taking one step too far.

The one comment that really makes sense to me after recalling reactions/comments about Batalla en el Cielo is this one:
"According to Twitter, POST TENEBRAS LUX is the greatest/worst thing ever. In other words, it's a Carlos Reygadas film"

Surely is better not to know so much about reactions but when you want to write about Cannes, de-facto you will learn too much. But I know will erase everything from my mind before watching. So let's go to the fun part.

Photocall has the director, his actors plus a producer and is peaceful, quiet. TVFestival de Cannes has Natalia Acevedo and Adolfo Jimenez plus Reygadas. A film "almost autobiographic", "my real son and daughter"; both are non-actors and Natalia speaks really good French. Watch in French as everyone is speaking that language. I already "know" Reygadas and like his personality, but if you're not familiar with him suggest to watch to "meet" him. Obviously there are no spoilers in interview, think is impossible to learn spoilers from this film. Haven't seen the violent images but as Jimenez says, yes happens in reality, I add: not only in Mexico but in other countries. Mexico bleeds, Mexico sangra... so true and in this context whatever is in his film surely will make sense.

Press conference also has Jaime Romendia, the producer. Yes the blur/haze is only in outdoor scenes done for esthetic purposes. As I already started to imagine, some tech specs come from Reygadas short in Revolucion... what he learned/liked. By the way many didn't liked that short, I love it. If I only watched videos and didn't paid attention to news then would have imagined that press actually liked the movie. Interesting. Humor in Reygadas? Well he says is there. Love the answer he gave to one journalist asking for the director to do their job. He blushes, his face gets red after the Spanish-language writers question, hmm... why? Too many answers in my head. But answer comes later and one that I imagined and highly understand "me hice el loco" [para no contestar] (avoided to mention names). Pictorial tradition... interesting... and there is a lot of truth. Smart, very smart press conferences.

Sometimes is better not to read much, this is one of those times. Let see what happens when finally I'm able to see movie.

Does Reygadas has chances with this film? I think that Reygadas will always have opportunities in Cannes, but maybe as it happened with Batalla en el Cielo, his film will not collect honors this year.

The Paperboy by Lee Daniels

I couldn't watch Precious but seems that I have to watch Nicole Kidman playing what today was called "White Trash Slut" and "Oversexed Barbie Doll", I won't miss that no matter if film is not that good. The good news for me is that one of my favorite critics twitted "I loved the lurid, ridiculous, overblown The Paperboy. Bad cinema at its best" and we usually have the same taste for certain kind of movies. Great.

If you wish to read my spontaneous expectation go here.

Photocall is must be seen if only to see Nicole Kidman dressed in a color that absolute makes her look glorious. But also to catch a glimpse of John Cusack -I like him a lot and think he is very handsome- and well, the other actors too. Hope to find a free photo with Nicole and John, have seen it at the not-free site. TVFestival de Cannes has the same cast/crew as photocall. Interviewers says film has a different style (than Precious), I say great. Matthew McConaughey: "the reality not the morality" "everyone is wonderful dysfunctional". Great answer by John ... that finishes with "I listened to Bob Dylan". Watch it is very brief as seems don't want to talk about the "morality" of this film. Let's see what happens in the press conference.

Press conference has the same group. The Almodovar relationship comes first, great as haven't been able to learn story. Oh! gosh having fun, real fun! Laugh hard with reactions to Zac Efron "eroticize" question. Drying my eyes while Matthew talks so seriously... the moment is gone, agwh. True, agree with Daniels when speaking about merging good actors and not-to-easy to finance films. Oh! Matthew plays homosexual. I think I'm enjoying this press conference a lot more than what I imagined and yes is turning around my first impressions. Love the way John looks at Nicole while she's talking. Very interesting comments, suggest you watch.

I should thank someone or something that makes me watch so many movies not caring if I would like them or not, as many times films surprise me. But I'm grateful, like today, when I see a "different" side from directors/actors as definitively change my perceptions, stimulate my imagination and make wish to see their films. If only I could do this press conference "thing" more often. Truly good experience for me to see the press conference video.

Red carpet video starts with Nicole signing autographs, dress is too pale after the one she wore this morning. Oh! Kidman husband, what's his name? Keith Urban. Is okay, watch only for entertainment purposes.

Seems that after tonight premiere at the Grand Theatre reaction from audience was different than from press, as there was a 10-minute standing ovation.

Does Lee Daniels have chances in Cannes? Not sure about movie, but just from what I learned today about Kidman character plus previous buzz, I know she is the other big contender for the actor top award, along with Cotillard. Still there could be surprises, sentimental surprises. But let's hope award goes to Kidman or Cotillard.

Un Certain Regard

Miss Lovely by Ashim Ahluwalia

Admit I'm interested in movie that seems could be interesting for story, about India's C grade films (a blend of horror, gangsters and porn), and great visuals; synopsis is really long so if wish to learn more about film suggest go here where you can also watch a long clip/trailer.

Thierry Fremaux pitched movie by saying "Mean Streets meets Boogie Nights" and after watching clip can tell you that his pitch is very accurate, almost literal. But maybe is the headline "a Baroque fairytale in the Bollywood slums" more accurate. Nevertheless, clip images suggest great visual trip, which is explainable as director videos have been exhibited at the Tate, MoMa and Centre Pompidou.

Will watch as soon as comes near me.

Trois Mondes by Chaterine Corsini

Corsini returns to Cannes after being in competition with amazing 2001 La Repetition (yes THAT movie with Emmanuelle Beart and Pascale Bussieres) now telling a story of three very different characters all being 30-years-old. The synopsis.

Al, a young man from a modest background is about to marry his boss’ daughter, along with succeeding him as the head of a car dealership. One night, while coming back from his bachelor party, he is guilty of a hit-and-run accident, urged by his two childhood friends present in the car. The next day, gnawed with guilt, Al decides to inquire about his victim. What he does not know is that Juliette, a young woman, has witnessed the entire accident from her balcony. She is the one who had called 911 and helped the victim’s wife Vera, a Moldavian illegal-immigrant.
But when Juliette recognizes Al as the reckless driver in the Hospital corridor, she is unable to denounce him…

Don't need to learn much about movie as I know will watch the moment that comes near me, but if you wish to see film clips go here.

Special Screenings

The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David Mcmahon

Not particularly attracted to film because story, this is the synopsis.

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, the film tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.

To read more about documentary go here.


Short Films Program 2 with the following shorts, Abigail by Matthew James Reilly, Pude Ver un Puma (Could See a Puma) by Eduardo Williams, Slug Invasion by Morten Helgeland and Casper Wermuth, and Les Ravissements (The Raptures) by Arthur Cahn

Cannes Classics

Les Barbouzes (The Great Spy Chase) by Georges Lautner

A 1964 comedy about four secret agents working for four different governments looking for the same top secret document. To read more about movie and watch clips go here.

Around the Selection

Today History Masterclass with Normand Lloyd and to read more go here.


Dae Gi Eui Wang (King of Pigs) by Sang-ho Yeun

Violent story animation is not my kind of movie at all but have to mention that South Korean animation looks and feels with top-animation quality. Still violence in clip and story will not make me watch film. The synopsis.

Kyung-min, a businessman, and Jong-suk, a failed writer, are former schoolmates. During a reunion dinner they look back on their school days, when a particularly cruel group of students, "the dogs", exercised a reign of terror by hazing and bullying part of the other students, the "pigs". One day, Kim Chul, one of their mates, stood up to the "dogs", becoming the only hope of ending their tyranny. Fifteen years on, he remains a hero. But behind this figure, the two men recall the murky story of their bond.

Dangerous Liaisons by Hur Jin-ho

At first asked myself, do I want to see another version of this quite often told story? My spontaneous answer was no. Then saw cast, immediately became MUST BE SEEN for me, as star is Ziyi Zhang. Here is synopsis.

As war looms in Shanghai, glamorous libertine Mo Jieyu runs into womanizer Xie Yifan, an ex boyfriend who's never stopped loving her, and persuades him to play a treacherous game. She must seduce the innocent and naïve Du Fenyu and then dump her. But the game becomes increasingly dangerous as Xie falls in love with Du. Set in 1930s Shanghai the glamorous, tumultuous « Paris of the East » this is an adaptation of the French novel « Les Liaisons dangereuses » by Choderlos de Laclos.

Really enjoy Ziyi's performances and of course will not miss the opportunity to watch a Chinese cinema movie -which I simply love-, so no matter whatever I think about story, was going to watch this Must Be Seen movie.

Short Films Program 2 will screen the following shorts, Portret z pamieci (Drawn From Memory) by Marcin Bortkiewicz, The Curse by Fyzal Boulifa, Tram by Michaela Pavlatova, Os Mortos-vivos (The Living Dead) by Anita Rocha da Silveira, and Wrong Cops by Quentin Dupieux.

Semaine de la Critique

Award Ceremony - check post for award winners.

Two closing short films.
Walker by Tsai Ming-Liang
Mesmerizing and visually stunning 27 minutes no dialogue short film is absolutely MUST BE SEEN for me. Watch trailer here.

Manha de Santo Antonio (Morning of Saint Anthony's Day) by JoãoPedro Rodrigues
Not much info available, just one photo and the following synopsis.
Tradition says that on June 13th, Saint Anthony’s Day – Lisbon’s patron -, lovers must offer small vases of basil with paper carnations and flags with popular quatrains as a token of their love.

Invitation a Nisi Masa Cine-boat: 6 short films
A European network of young cinema, NISI MASA brings together associations from 26 different countries. Strengthened by the diversity of its members, NISI MASA is able to experiment in every direction: script contests, scriptwriting and directing workshops, distribution of short films, publications, conferences etc…

Today the 2012 catalog is up with info about everything that happened in La Semaine; suggest you check the 80 pages catalog here.


Today Noor by Çağla Zencirci & Guillaume Giovanetti film that calls my attention and has gay interest. The synopsis.

Noor wants to be a man. He doesn’t belong anymore to the Khusras, Pakistan’s transgender community. And he is definitely done with the love story he had with one of them, that had drastically changed his life. Now, he is doing a man’s job in a truck decoration center and he’s made up his mind : he will find a girl who will accept him as he is...

Not only story seems interesting but films seems to have outstanding visuals, suggest to look film stills here.

Cannes News

Announced, but not yet at official site, is the winner of the L'Atelier prize for best project. Winner is: In Your name by Dutch Marco van Geffen. Will confirm when news are posted at Official site.

Today two films will have an "exclusive" preview at Cannes. First Nicolas Winding Refn Only God Forgives with Ryan Goslin; second, Must Be Seen for me, The Grandmasters by Wong Kar-wai.

Sarah Gadon and Emily Hampshire win the first Birks Canadian Diamond award in Telefilm Canada's Tribute to Canadian Talent.

Not really Cannes news, but very interesting that Lea Seydoux gets lead role in French version of Beauty and the Beast with Vincent Cassel and Gerard Depardieu.

Cannes market continues in Cinando, where also and ony IF you're a paying member will be able to stream ALL films in La Semaine.

Not-so-serious Comments

Americans continue to play their Oscar game, still with the same movies -different source-; but includes one film, Pablo Larrain's NO as possible Chile submission to Oscar. I say no doubt film has all the right credentials, but country procedure works in "mysterious" ways plus Larrain seems to me, is not that loved in Chile. What do you think?

Love black and white photography and have admit that there are some from last night with Robert Pattinson that are really good photos. Sigh.

In Cannes, Tara Reid, Heidi Klum, Chris Tucker, Ivana Trump, Antonio Banderas.

Photo of the Day

Two great actors.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mexican Filmmakers

Today I found information about three Mexican movies that could be very interesting to watch.

Rudo and Cursi. Produced by Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñarritu, Guillermo del Toro and others. Can you imagine a movie produced by this trio?? Written and directed by Carlos Cuarón (he wrote Y Tú Mamá También screenplay and is Alfonso’s brother) tells about two brothers that are soccer players (hmm) played by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna. Currently in post-production this comedy/drama seems doom to attract local and international audiences.

Cosas Insignificantes (Insignificant Things). Andrea Martinez first feature is a co-production by Tequila Gang (Guillermo del Toro and Bertha Navarro) and Warner Mexico. Tells about secrets unfold from the ordinary treasures an adolescent girl guards in a box. Cast includes Barbara Mori and Fernando Lujan.

But the most interesting of the three is Los Bastardos and as you can see finding info about this movie also allowed me to find information about other Mexican movies and one very international director that works in Argentina and I’m looking forward to meet. This makes me very-very happy!

Los Bastardos (The Bastards). The second film by Amat Escalante that nabbed widespread critical attention with his first feature Sangre. Produced by Mantarraya Producciones (the production company that releases Carlos Reygadas movies, besides I found out that Escalante is Reygadas protégé!) this movie could be very-very interesting and I now I have to see Escalante’s film Sangre (2005) that won many awards including the FIPRESCI Award at 2005 Cannes.

By the way if you like Carlos Reygadas movies as much as I do, I suggest you check the following movies produced by Mantarraya. Carlos Reygadas is the producer of many of them.

A Mexican Story, Artour Aristakisian, 2008, Mexico and Russia
El Arbol (The Tree), Carlos Serrano Azcona, 2008, Mexico
La Influencia (The Influence), Pedro Aguilera, 2008, Mexico and Spain (movie site is here).
Nippon e Yokoso, Pablo Aldrete, 2005, Mexico
Opera, Juan Patricio Riveroll, 2007, Mexico

Also interesting are the following movies by Lisandro Alonso that Mantarraya distributes in Mexico.

Fantasma, Lisandro Alonso, 2006, Argentina
La Libertad (The Liberty), Lisandro Alonso, 2001, Argentina, France and Netherlands (trailer is here.)
Los Muertos, Lisandro Alonso, 2004, Argentina, France, Netherlands and Switzerland (similar to Reygadas Japon, wow!!!) (Also known as Sangre in Argentina) (check Lisandro talking about this movie here available only in Spanish)
Liverpool, Lisandro Alonso, 2008, Argentina, France and Netherlands (currently in post-production)

To learn about this interesting Brazil born director that works in Argentina, has lived in Europe and now lives in Chicago (!!) check this article in Senses of Cinema.

To check Mantarraya site go here.

Wow! Now I have many more interesting movies to look forward to watch, this has been a very exciting morning for me!

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

26th International Cinema Festival of Uruguay Award Winners

From March 15 to 30 the fest was held in Montevideo and here are the winners.

Signis Award for Best Film: Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico

Best Film: Gongyuan (The Park), Yin Lichuan, China
Best Ibero-American Film: Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico
Best First Film: Gongyuan (The Park), Yin Lichuan, China
Special Mention to La Ragazza del Lago (The Girl by the Lake), Andrea Malaioli, Italy

Fiction Films
Best Film: My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin, Canada
Best Fist Film: Meduzot (Jellyfish), Edgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Israel
Best Latin American Film: Estômago (Estômago: A Gastronomic Story), Marcos Jorge, Brazil
Special Prize for Artistic Quality: Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico

To check all the awards go here available only in Spanish. I suggest you check the list of all the films screened in this festival as there are many that seem quite interesting, the list is here.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Stellet Licht (Silent Light)

This is a very different Carlos Reygadas film, this is definitively the work of a much serene, mature and with an outstanding clarity director. I truly have problems reading about what critics’, cinephiles, and viewers have written and my only conclusion is that is a very personal film that each person will understand whatever they want not only about the story, but also about the film itself.

Thanks to the wonderful net I decided to read mostly Reygadas words and I was able to read him in several languages. His words gave a context to all my reactions while watching the film and to all my thoughts that come and go with questions, doubts, and assertions. I wish I could talk to him in person, but since that’s hard, I had my conversation with Reygadas through everything he’s been saying about this film.

Why some of us are capable of being mesmerized by slow images sequences with no dialogue, while others cannot stand that “nothing” is happening? Why some of us go wild when we find movies where everything –including people- in the screen becomes images that create compositions, while others see each element (background, set, people, sounds, music, etc) apart from each other and tend to follow whatever action is happening in the screen and if they do not find any action they are not able to see what else is there?

Those two questions are key for you to enjoy this movie; if you belong to the first part of the questions you will go crazy with this movie and if you belong to the second part of the questions you will fall asleep or get very restless and wont be able to endure this film.

See, there is a love story in the film, but as Reygadas says “I hate the idea that the film is actually telling a story” and personally I totally understand what he means. If you want to see this movie for the story, you will be totally disappointed as the story it tells could be told in perhaps 20 minutes and the movie version the DVD has lasts for a little more than 2 hours, in Cannes was even longer.

So to absolutely spoil the story for you I’m going to tell you what is all about. A Mennonite man struggles with his religious ways that totally forbid infidelity, as he loves his wife, but also loves his lover and knows that she’s the woman he has to be with. Recalls Carl Dreyer’s Ordet in many ways, one of which is the story resolution that ends with a miracle.

Why would I want to spoil the story when always I go out of the way to not give away stories? Well, because this film is one you have to see not for the story it tells but for the most amazing, incredible, outstanding and mesmerizing images that will provoke in you the most unbelievable emotions and reactions.

Just to mention one, the very beginning of the movie is one of the most incredible cinematic moments in movies and will just blow your mind, it did blow mine and I have to admit that I have been lucky enough to see many live and alike sunrises in my life. But no matter what you have seen in real life, you are not ready for this particular six-minute composition. It is breathtaking, magnificent and totally sets the mood to what follows, where images and image compositions predominate as is a very-very slow succession of one image after the other, with very long takes from regular and others not so common angles.

Real life Mennonites non-actors from different countries converge in Chihuahua to be in a real Mennonite community, all are part of the images compositions and the scarce dialogue they speak in Plautdietsch is in monotonous low voice; even when they express feelings, when they cry, they are poker faced and they belong to the image composition. This is just splendid! Which speaks a lot about the efforts that Reygadas had to do with non-actors and be sure to check the DVD extras to understand more what I’m trying to say here.

According to Reygadas the movie is not about Mennonites, he chose them because “I was intrigued by the beautiful dresses, the houses and the faces, I noticed that they were uniformly monolithic: there were no social or economic classes, pre-judgments about physical beauty, or anything like that. So I thought it would be like telling a children's story, like "Little Red Riding Hood" or something. I wanted archetypes. It's not a film about Mennonites. It's a film about people.” Still, I cannot help but being honest with you all, I knew very little about Mennonites (most knowledge comes from USA films that show us mostly the Amish sect) and I was absolutely intrigued when I saw them in the screen. Thanks to the DVD extras I also learned about Larry Towell Mennonite photos and after browsing the net, saw many of them and are just spectacular.

This has been a unique and overwhelming experience that I hope many of you serious cinema lovers could love it as much as I did. I had to wait almost a year to be able to see this movie, but never imagined that it would be like it was. Now I’m left wondering what would come next from Reygadas and I have no answer as seems that he could go in any different way, as he has done in his three films.

This is a multiple award-winning movie with many nominations and accolades just browse the blog and you’ll find some of them including the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes.

Yes I could go on and on about this movie but let me close by saying: Big Chapeau to Reygadas for allowing us to see transcendental visual poetry with the most outstanding Mexican surrealism I have ever seen, as this was a Mexican facet I didn’t know it exists and absolutely contrasts with Mexico reality… but, still it is geographical Mexico.

Not for all audiences, you have to like extraordinary art cinema.


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Sunday, March 02, 2008


The first feature film by Amat Escalante is good but according to me is very far away from Carlos Reygadas excellent films. What I just said means nothing more than an effort to separate both filmmakers from each other, even when they had worked together in movies like Batalla en el Cielo and Carlos Reygadas is the producer of Escalante’s films. So, with this said lets talk about Sangre.

Seems there is a trend in world cinema to do more films in which apparently “nothing happens” until something does. I’m particularly thinking about some Romanian movies as well as from other European countries. Sangre is a film that seems to follow this trend.

For non-regular art cinema lovers this film will seem like there is nothing happening in most of the picture and almost in the end “something” happens that if you’re not alert you could miss it, until the main character Diego does something that clearly explains what happened.

But while you may feel that “nothing is happening” as you’re watching the life of an absolutely ordinary working class couple that leads a mundane existence there is actually a lot happening. The thing is that everything is happening not with words but with facial expressions and with what they do in their ordinary lives. So, I could say that is not an easy to watch movie as you really have to pay attention to things that you usually take for granted in most movies.

The movie tells about Blanca that works in a Japanese fast food joint and Diego that works in an unmentioned government office counting the people that enter the office. Both are married and submerged in a banal existence that does not leave their everyday routine of sleeping, eating, working, watching TV and having emotionless sex. If they speak it will be monosyllables or because they argue. Nothing is exciting in their lives anymore and no one is doing something to change it. Both are stuck in a senseless relationship and life, and both are not aware of the senselessness or care for that matter. Does this seem familiar to some of you? I believe it does, either you have someone you know living like this or you have seen it from afar. There most be many couples in the world living like Diego and Blanca.

Such senseless existence can only be shown in one way; slowly showing the very senseless details of an ordinary –and very common- existence and that’s exactly what this movie does. In a way I do relate the storytelling technique that Escalante used to that Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? a movie that bores you as much as Mr. R. life is and you not only get the main simple message but you also live and feel it while watching. If you open your mind you will get the straightforward simple message in Sangre and you will also be able to live and feel the tediousness of a senseless and ordinary existence.

As in the Fassbinder movie where almost at the end something terrible happens, Sangre also has something bad happening at the very end. But unlike Fassbinder movie, here the something bad unfolds like their own existence: in a senseless way.

Everything that I have mentioned about the story could no be well told if actors performances were not outstanding as well as directing, editing, framing, cinematography, etc. What’s really remarkable is that all actors are non-actors (for example, Diego was Escalante’s real life neighbor) and that Escalante was able to extract from them such good performances. I also find outstanding the “dry” humor sparkled allover the screenplay written also by Escalante.

Cinematography was very good but not breathtaking (that’s one thing that separates Reygadas from Escalante according to me) with the exception of one or two scenes that where truly spectacular, the film looks and feels like ordinary urban settings, which highly contribute to the ordinary and senseless story, but not to viewer’s pleasure.

The movie has multiple honors in fests and awards allover the world that includes the FIPRESCI Award and being in competition at the Un Certain Regard section at 2005 Cannes.

I enjoyed the movie very much but I recognize that could be a very exhausting experience –against an entertaining experience- so, the film absolutely is not for all audiences but only for those that enjoy extremely slow paced (some scenes are real time), not easy to sustain and get behind the obvious and “new” cinema style in totally art house movies.


P.S. Sangre means blood in Spanish, but there is no red blood in this movie. The main relation I find is to blood relatives, as Diego gets into something bad with one blood relative and there is a crucial and symbolic scene where what it looks like a father and a son were physically fighting. Yes, this movie is full of symbols too, like the cows in the garbage dump or the rotten fruits that fall from the tree.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Japón (Japan)

This first feature by Carlos Reygadas is all about images and sounds and less about a story, that definitively you do not miss that much as you are absolutely hypnotized and mesmerized by the combination of images and sounds. There are not many movies that can be described as Visual Poetry, this is one of them with the plus that the soundtrack is also essential part of the poetry.

Most of the movie I was wondering how Reygadas did those outstanding takes of Mexico’s countryside. To me they looked so surrealistic, like those photos that come from painted or treated negatives. If it wasn’t because the DVD comes with a feauterette I would have had to do hard research, but thanks to Reygadas explanation I understand that the main effect comes from shooting in 16mm and then transferring to 35mm, besides the spectacular use of light that I will comment next.

This is a movie that uses total presence of light, total absence of light and everything in-between. You have here long dark screens, long white screens, all sorts of chiaro-oscuro and many light overexposures. The results are breathtaking scenes outstandingly framed to convey feelings. Then you have exquisite music soundtrack that not only complements the visuals but also becomes part of it. When there is no music, you have sounds that do exactly the same and if it was not enough, you have silences that also do the same. Outstanding!!

Is hard for me to believe that this is Reygadas first feature film as is quite exquisite, very European alike with some influences that I believe also come from eastern cimena and he express them with the extremely slow pace, extremely long shots and more than enough time to see not only details but to divagate into your own thoughts.

I’ve been writing all this without reading anything about the movie, now I’ll stop and read. Not much to say except that if I believe in Reygadas own words, the movie was not shot in Super 16mm nor in Cinemascope, it was plain 16mm with anaphormic lenses. I’m so glad I saw the featurette!

Well, the movie is set in the Mexico's State of Hidalgo in a small village near a ravine and the simple story told with very few dialogues and mostly actors expressions is about a city man that decides to go to this isolated place to kill himself. All actors are non-professionals and perform quite realistic, which allows me to mention that this movie is cinema verité.

Most critics and viewers after seeing the movie question why is called Japan and I have to say I did it too. According to Reygadas he didn’t want to have name for this movie and wanted to call it “Untitled” like many paintings, but he realized that it will became a pretentious name. So thinking about eastern cinema techniques he realized that in the movie there were many images, long silences, respect to everything that surrounds, etc and thought about calling it Taiwan, Korea or Japan. Eventually Japan stayed. After all he did the same as Brazil the movie , that has nothing to do with the country.

As you can realize by now I’m really impressed with the work of this Mexican director and now more than ever I need to see his latest film Silent Light. I could go on writing about this movie, but everything else I have to say relates to outstanding technical aspects of the movie that most people do not like to read and the director’s influences and inspiration, so I’ll stop.

The movie has 16 wins and 8 nominations in awards and festivals around the world. Among the incredible achievement of so many wins for a first feature director he won the Camera D’Or at the 2002 Cannes.

Absolutely not for all audiences as this is really an art movie with images and sounds telling a story, more than characters telling a story. Perhaps if you are familiar with Andrei Tarkovsky films then you will totally enjoy this movie. Me, I just loved this outstanding visual and sound experience.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#Cannes2017 Wish List - Part 2 - Prominent Diversity

As you can imagine, started to write post a while back and a few things have happened that wish to update you all.  First Official Selection submission closed on March 10 but Critic's Week deadline was extended until March 17 and Directors' Fortnight deadline is March 24 with no extensions announced up-to-this moment.

Yesterday reliable news agency AFP announced that the Official Selection press conference will be on April 13 in Paris.  Some industry journalists made extrapolations to estimate Quinzaine and Semaine press conferences but considering their submissions deadline seemed improvable to me. Today better estimates were published with Critic's Week press conference con April 24 and Quinzaine's on April 25.  So we still have a bit less than a month to play around with possible film speculations, buzz and gossip.  Next news from Official Selection has to be the opening film that probably will come before the end of March. End of Update.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

65th Festival de Cannes Official Selection Lineup - Update 5

The jury of the Un Certain Regard is announced and posted here. Only 2 days for Opening Ceremony and the cinema feast will start once more, can't wait. Check facebook page for a photo that shows that today the posters are going up. Cheers!!!
---End of Update 5---

As of today we can check at the fest official site info, photos and/or videos for ALL the films in the Cannes Selection that includes all the films below; go here.
---End of Update 4 ---

Today organizers announced a new film in the Official Selection Special Screenings section, Le Serment de Tobrouk by Bernard-Henri Levy.

Also you will notice that as of today there are trailers for some short films competing at the Short Film and the Cinéfondation. Since last week I have been searching for trailers of all Cannes 2012 films on daily basis so every day there is at least one new trailer to watch at MOC.

After watching many trailers my first spontaneous impression is that films this year are very visual as many have breathtaking images. Let's hope that stories are as great as the outstanding visuals.
---End of Update 3---

Today organizers announced new films that will complement the Official Selection, one in the Special Screening, two in Midnight Screenings and three in Un Certain Regard. In Un Certain Regard section there are a total of 20 films. Also a new film in Cannes Classics that will be included in the specific post; this film will close the section on May 25.
---End of Update 2---

The jury of the main competition has been announced and there are many well-known people for me that surely will color the festival with their presence and hopefully will select the best of the best in the selection.
---End of Update 1---

Today at the Intercontinental – Le Grand Hotel in Paris Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux announced the much awaited official selection and to my personal joy there are several extraordinary directors with their latest masterpieces. Among them have to mention Haneke’s Amour, Carlos Reygadas’ Post Tenebras Lux, Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love, Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills, and many more.

Without further comments here is the 2012 Cannes Official Selection

Opening film: Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson, USA

Amour (Love), Michael Haneke, France, Austria, and Germany
Baad el Mawkeaa (After the Battle), Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt
După dealuri (Beyond the Hills), Cristian Mungiu, Romania
Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg, France, Canada, Portugal, and Italy
다른 나라에서 Da-reun Na-ra-e-suh (In Another Country), Hong Sangsoo, South Korea
De Rouille et d’Os (Rust & Bone), Jacques Audiard, Belgium and France
돈의 맛 Do-nui Mat (The Taste of Money), Im Sang-soo, South Korea
Holy Motors, Leos Carax, France
В тумане V Tumane (In the Fog), Sergei Loznitsa, Germany, Netherlands, Belarus, Russia and Latvia
Jagten (The Hunt), Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark
Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik, USA
Lawless, John Hillcoat, USA
ライク・サムワン・イン・ラブ Like Someone in Love, Abbas Kiarostami, France and Japan
Mud, Jeff Nichols, USA
On The Road, Walter Salles, France, UK and USA
Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love), Ulrich Seidl, Germany, France and Austria
Post Tenebras Lux, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, France, and Netherlands
Reality, Matteo Garrone, Italy and France (is this Big House?)
The Angels’ Share, Ken Loach, UK and France
The Paperboy, Lee Daniels, USA
Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet), Alain Resnais, France

Out of Competition
Closing film: Thérèse Desqueyroux, Claude Miller, France
Io e Te (Me and You), Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy
Madagascar 3, Europe’s Most Wanted, Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, USA
Heminway & Gellhorn, Philip Kaufman, USA

The Jury
President: Nanni Moretti, director, actor and producer, Italy
Hiam Abbass, actress, Palestine
Andrea Arnold, director and scriptwriter, UK
Emmanuelle Devos, actress, France
Diane Kruger, actress, France
Jean Paul Gaultier, designer, France
Ewan McGregor, actor, UK
Alexander Payne, director, scriptwriter and producer, USA
Raoul Peck, director scriptwriter and producer, Haiti

Un Certain Regard
Closing Ceremony: Renoir, Gilles Bourdos, France
7 Dias en la Habana, 7 directors: Benicio del Toro, Pablo Trapero, Julio Medem, Elia Suleiman, Juan Carlos Tabio,, Gaspard Noé, and Laurent Cantet, France and Spain
11・25自決の日 三島由紀夫と若者たち11•25 jiketsu no hi: Mishima Yukio to wakamono-tachi (11.25 The Day he Chose his own Fate), Kôji Wakamatsu, Japan
*Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg, Canada and USA
A Perdre La raison (aka Aimer à perdre la raison) (Loving without Reason), Joachim Lafosse, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Switzerland
*Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin, USA
Confession of a Child of the Century, Sylvie Verheyde, France
Después de Lucía, Michel Franco, Mexico
Djeca (Children), Aida Begić, Bosnia Herzegovina
Elefante Blanco (White Elephant), Pablo Trapero, Argentina and Spain
*Gimme the Loot, Adam Leon, USA
*La Playa, Juan Andrés Arango, Colombia
La Pirogue (The Pirogue), Moussa Touré, Senegal and France
Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan, Canada and France
Le Grand Soir, Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern, France
Les Chevaux de Dieu (God’s Horses), Nabil Ayouch, France, Morocco, Tunisia (?)
Miss Lovely, Ashim Ahluwalia, India
Mystery, Lou Ye, China
Student, Darezhan Omirbayev, Kazakhstan and France
Trois Monde, Catherine Corsini, France

Un Certain Regard Jury
President: Tim Roth, actor and director, UK
Leïla Bekhti, actress, France
Tonie Marshall, director and Producer, France
Luciano Monteagudo, cinema critic, Argentina
Sylvie Pras, Head of Cinemas at Centre Pompidou and Artistic Director of La Rochelle Film Festival

Special Screenings
A Música Segundo Tom Jobim, Nelson Pereira Dos Santos, Brazil
Der Müll Im Garten Eden (Polluting Paradise aka Garbage in the Garden of Eden), Fatih Akin, Germany
Journal de France, Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon, France
Les Invisibles, Sébastien Lifshitz, France
Le Serment de Tobrouk (The Oath of Tobruk), Bernard-Henri Lévy, France
Mekong Hotel, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, Laurent Bouzereau, UK and Germany
The Central Park Five, Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon, USA
*Trashed, Candida Brady, UK
*Villegas, Gonzalo Tobal, Argentina, Netherlands, and France

Midnight Screenings
愛と誠 Ai To Makoto (The Legend of Love & Sincerity), Takashi Miike, Japan
Dario Argento’s Dracula, Dario Argento, France, Spain and Italy
Maniac, Franck Khalfoun, USA and France
*The Sapphires, Wayne Blair, Australia

65th Anniversary
Une journée particulière, Gilles Jacob and Samuel Faure, France

*First Film, competes for Camera d’Or

Short Films Competition
Ce Chemin Devant Moi, Mohamed Bourokba (aka Hamé), France, 15’
Chef de Meute (Herd Leader), Chloé Robichaud, Canada, 13’
Cockaigne, Emilie Verhamme, Belgium, 13’
في المنافسة Falastein, Sandouk Al Intezar Lil Burtuqal (Waiting for P.O. Box), Bassam Chekhes, Syria, 15’
Gasp, Eicke Bettinga, Germany, 15’
Mi Santa Mirada, Alvaro Aponte-Centeno, Puerto Rico, 15’
Night Shift, Zia Mandviwalla, New Zealand, 14’
Sessiz-be Deng (Silent), L. Rezan Yeşilbaş, Turkey, 14’
The Chair, Grainger David, USA, 12’
Yardbird, Michael Spiccia, Australia, 13’

The Cinéfondation Selection
Fifteen films have been selected out of more than 1,700 submissions from 320 film schools across the globe. For the first time, a Lebanese school features in the selection, which covers fiction and animation and highlights films sharing the same film-making ambition and the expression of a very personal vision.

Abigail, Matthew James Reilly, NYU, USA, 17’
Derriere Moi Les Oliviers (Behind Me Olive Trees), Pascale Abou Jamra, ALBA, Lebanon, 20’
ДОРОГА НА Doroga na (The Road To), Taisia Igumentseva,VGIK, Russia, 32’
Head Over Heels, Timothy Reckart, NFTS, UK, 10’
Les Ravissements (The Raptures), Arthur Cahn, La Femis, France, 50’
Los Anfitriones (The Hosts), Miguel Angel Moulet, EICTV, Cuba, 16’
Matteus, Leni Huyghe, Sint-Lukas Brussels, Belgium, 18’
Pude ver un Puma (Could See a Puma), UCINE, Argentina, 17’
רסן - טריילר Resen (Dog Leash), Eti Tsicko, TAU, Israel, 26’
Riyoushi (The Barber), Shoichi Akio, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, 39’
Slug Invasion, Morten Helgeland, The Animation Workshop, Denmark, 6’
Tabăra Din Răzoare (The Camp in Razoare), Cristi Iftime, UNATC, Romania, 22’
Tambylles, Michal Hogenauer, FAMU, Czech Republic, 58’
Terra (Land), Piero Messina, CSC, Italy, 23’
The Ballad of Finn + Yeti, Meryl O’Connor, UCLA, USA, 18’

Short Films and Cinéfondation Jury
President: Jean Pierre Dardene, director, scriptwriter and producer, Belgium
Karim Ainouz, director and scriptwriter, Brazil
Emmanuel Carrere, writer, scriptwriter and director, France
Arsinée Khanjian, actress, Canada
Yu Lik Wai, director of photography and filmmaker, China

Well the Competition has a lot of Hollywood stars that surely will walk the red carpet plus give us full serious and not-so-serious material, just check some names: Zac Efron, John Cusac, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Eva Mendes, Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart, Kriisten Dunst, Bruce Willis, etc. But –thankfully- great actors will also grace the red carpet like Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mads Mikkelsen, Juliette Binoche, and Marion Cotillard.

To check announcement at official site go here or check the press release here.

Watch Main Selection trailers @MOC
Watch Un Certain Regard trailers @MOC
Watch Short Films trailers @MOC
Watch Cinéfondation trailers @MOC
Watch trailers and clips at Cannes Official site.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Revolución (Revolution)

As many of you recall I don’t like to read about movies before watching and this anthology was no exception; so had no idea what was going to see and maybe in the back of my head I had a thought that was a series of short films about the infamous Mexican Revolution and yes, Pancho Villa. You have no idea of how deeply WRONG was I and it’s a true shame to admit what I was expecting when the compilation had films by Reygadas, Escalante, Plá, Eimbcke, and Naranjo, I should have known better!

My head is still spinning from watching the shorts but I’m clear that there are at least two ways to watch the outstanding film: one as representation of current trends in contemporary Mexican cinema (or easier, as films –which most serious reviewers seems tend to do) and second, as a series of films with stories that could simply blow your mind IF you’re familiar with Mexico past and present history, Mexican idiosyncrasy and Mexican traditions. To me the one way that totally blew my mind is the second that I should really expand from Mexico to many other countries in the world that had revolutions at one (or more) time (s) in their History, especially those Latin American countries that have ‘similar’ idiosyncrasies to Mexico.

Ten films reflect and some literally tell what I can call “the effects of the revolution 100 years after” and I know that many will not be prepared at all to what you’re going to watch as honestly is not easy to admit that not much has changed after 100 years and like it’s said in a short: “we need another revolution”. Almost all topics of Mexican idiosyncrasy are touched in the films from religion, traditions, expectations, behaviors, feelings, and so many more things that wont list as list could be very long. Maybe I’m totally biased but story wise Carlos Reygadas This is My Kindom is the ONE that stunningly shows in one scenario (had to be a party) the huge diversity of Mexican population plus their appalling behaviors and views of life. Not what I was expecting visually from Reygadas BUT the storytelling technique fits the absolutely impactful story. Amazing and quite hard to watch if you know what happens in many Latin American countries including the one I’m currently ‘visiting’.

Visually I was taken aback with Amat Escalante outstanding short El Cura Nicolas Colgado (The Hanging Priest) with many visually breath taking images and compositions plus a style that some are relating to Buñuel and Jodorowsky but I believe that in this short, more than in his films, he is developing a style that should explore further to make it his own. Briefly, is an excellent short with a strong story that for a moment I thought it was Reygadas, but soon enough decided was Escalante and felt relief when I was right, gasp.

Fernando Eimbcke’s Bienvenida (The Welcome Ceremony) opens the compilation with a visually outstanding film shot in black and white that absolutely plays with light and darkness while telling a compelling story about how today expectations are still peculiarly fulfilled or maybe totally unfulfilled. Gerardo Naranjo’s R-100 tells about how to save something you have to destroy something else as no one will help you saving without first thinking about consequences or how to run away from your past; a gritty story with nice use of digital colors. Rodrigo Plá’s 30/30 (is a ‘corrido’) is perhaps the only that directly deals with a story about politics with a visual style that plays with photos and moving pictures to effectively show disrespect for what is verbally/sentimentally most respected Mexican past; obviously a story that talks about politics but also about almost everything else.

Most impressive for the message and style is Rodrigo García’s La 7th y Alvarado that with what looks like real footage of the Los Angeles intersection blends filmed images of Revolution revolutionaries. The effect is superb with special mention to opening scene; story made me think about how the “real” revolution consequence is now also happening in some streets of USA. I’m so tempted to do an analysis of what I saw in all the above films and a well-known revolution: the American Revolution, but the post will be long and will have to get into ‘dangerous’ not cinema-related issues, so I leave the analysis up to you reader if you feel like getting into those troubled -but very interesting- similarities.

The other shorts by Marina Chenillo, Patricia Riggen, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal are acceptable less impactful stories with more ‘normal’ styles that help to rest/entertain from the ones that have stronger stories plus more interesting storytelling, cinematography and style.

In summary an interesting compilation of different styles, different stories and one theme in common, what’s happening after 100 years since the infamous Revolution.

Wish I could say what’s the natural target for this omnibus but is not easy to figure out. My instinct says that is Must Be Seen for those that enjoy strong human stories and don’t mind to think a lot beyond what the eyes see and the ears hear; but also should be an ‘obligate’ tour-de-force for everyone that lives in Latin America and all countries with a revolution (or war) in the past or present. Obviously must be seen for those that enjoy extraordinary good and art cinema for the films by Reygadas, Escalante, Eimbcke, Naranjo, Plá, and García.

I enjoyed the compilation beyond any expectations and absolutely understand why the film was in Semaine de la Critique in 2010 Cannes, 2010 Berlinale and transited other fests in the festival circuit. Some short films are simply perfect shorts, the kind that leaves you with the sensation that you have seen everything; you don’t need more as they are complete stories. Excellent!!!


Watch trailer @MOC

Here is a photo with the ten directors at the Berlinale.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

55th Sydney Film Festival

Described as one of the longest running festivals in the world, this festival starts today until June 22nd and here are the 12 films in Competition

Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh, UK, 2008
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, Belgium and UK, 2008
Lake Tahoe, Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico, 2008
My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin, Canada, 2007
Caos Calmo (Quiet Chaos), Antonello Grimaldi, Italy and UK, 2008
Rain of the Children, Vincent Ward, New Zealand, 2008
Stellet Licht (Silent Light), Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, France, The Netherlands and Germany
The Square, Nash Edgerton, Australia, 2008
Stop-Loss, Kimberly Peirce, USA, 2008
Three Blind Mice, Mattew Newton, Australia, 2008
Tokyo Sonata, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, Hong Kong and The Netherlands, 2008

Take 3 program will screen the three Carlos Reygadas movies; also there is a program called ¡Nuevo Mexico! with interesting films. There are many sections with good movies, documentaries and short films and if you want to check their site go here.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

43rd Chicago International Film Festival

Today this festival ends with special screenings of award winners and audience favorites. So, the 2007 awards are already announced and here they are.

International Film Competition

The Gold Hugo for Best Film: Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico (for its mesmerizing power to make us hear silence in a world of sound)

The Silver Hugo – Special Jury Prize: Tuya’s Marriage, Wang Quanan, China (for its strong portrait of a woman struggling to survive a remote landscape)

The Silver Hugo for Direction: Roy Andersson for You, The Living, Sweden (for his extraordinary, quirky vision and humor)

Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress: Yu Nan for Tuya’s Marriage, Wang Quanan, China
Silver Hugo Award for Best Actor: Sam Riley for Control, Anton Corbijn,UK
Silver Hugo Award for Best Screenplay: Matt Greenhalgh for Control, Anton Corbijn UK

Plaques: Chico Teixeira for Alice’s House, Brazil (for recognizing a dynamic new talent in Latin filmmaking)

New Directors Competition

Gold Hugo: Saverio Costanzo, In Memory of Myself, Italy
Silver Hugo: Philippe Barcinski, Not By Chance, Brazil

If you want to learn about this festival or read about the movies that were screened go here.

Yeah I know that Carlos Reygadas movie is winning awards and great accolades all over the world, hope I’m able to see this movie when it comes to DVD.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Revolucion Worldwide Premiere

Thanks to Mubi who's in partnership with Celluloid Dreams this weekend, meaning ONLY Saturday November 20th and Sunday November 21st, we are able to watch the Premiere of the Cannes-selected Revolución made in honor of the Mexican Revolution 100 Anniversary and the following is a synopsis (from MUBI) of the short films that take a look back at that turbulent time in Mexican History.

The Mexican revolution began one hundred years ago with the overthrow of the country’s dictatorial President Porfirio Díaz. Revolución is a portmanteau film in which ten directors look back in ten short films at the violent upheaval that was to bring dramatic changes to the country. In his film, 30/30, Rodrigo Plá observes commemorative events and local politicians’ speeches. In EL CURA NICOLÁS COLGADO by Amat Escalanate, a boy and a girl come across a priest hanging in a tree. In ESTE ES MI REINO, Carlos Reygadas describes a group of proud Mexicans who invite their foreign friends to join them for a celebration in the country. In LA TIENDA DE RAYA Mariana Chenillo reminds us that, even today, workers are sometimes paid in coupons, which, just as in pre-revolutionary Mexico, they can only redeem in shops owned by their employers. Patricia Riggen’s film, LINDO Y QUERIDO, revolves around an American’s dying wish to be buried in the land he was once forced to leave. The titular protagonist LUCIO in Gael García Bernal’s film is enlightened by his cousin, Omar, as to the sometimes contradictory meanings of certain national symbols. Daniel has an unpleasant altercation with his wife in Diego Luna’s PACÍFICO. He winds up at the beach where he begins to realise that he can only fulfill his dreams by being at home with his family. In R-100 by Gerardo Narango, two workers try to run away from their past; Rodrigo García has the ghosts of deceased revolutionaries pay a visit to Los Angeles in LA 7TH Y ALVARADO, and, in LA BIENVENIDA, Fernando Eimbcke portrays a village that awaits the arrival of a special guest.

I'm embedding the video so we can watch the compilation together and it's not necessary but I stress that one of the shorts is by Carlos Reygadas, who is my favorite contemporary Mexican director and consequently absolutely MUST BE SEEN. But also there are shorts by interesting directors like Fernando Eimbcke, Amat Escalante, Rodrigo Pla, and Gerardo Naranjo; looking forward to watch the films by other Mexican directors I'm not familiar with their work.


Note:  I watched the film in my TV and if you have the computer connected to the TV with an HDMI cable I strongly suggest that you watch the film at MUBI that has the best quality; the film is here.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

10th Motovun Film Festival Award Winners

I just “discovered” this festival that run from July 28th to August 1st and since is better later than never here are the award winners from this fest that has the following description.

Hosted in the small medieval town of Motovun, in the Croatian Istria, and situated on a hill 277 meters above sea level, it was created in 1999 by a group of people closely related to filmmaking, with the idea of showing films that don't usually surface in the Croatian national distribution circuit.

SILENT LIGHT / STELLET LICHT, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, France, Netherlands
Jury: Milena Zupančič, Pawel Pawlikowski, Pavle Levi
It was not easy to decide the winner of 10th Motovun Film Festival. The program was rich, with plenty of interesting works. The work of the jury was even harder due to the diversity of the films' genres and styles. All this made for a difficult decision.
The film we picked - the winner of Motovun 2008 - is an outstanding work in every way. Distinguished by an original visual and narrative style, it is a poetic, emotional film which, dealing with the subject of love, also speaks of the spiritual aspect of our lives. The Motovun Propeller for 2008 is awarded to Silent Light by Carlos Reygadas.

OD A DO A Award
REVANCHE, Götz Spielmann, Austria
Jury of siblings: Teona Mitevska, Labina Mitevska, Nenad Puhovski, Žarko Puhovski
Jury from A to A states that the films competing for the prize have shown an impressive thematic diversity and a pluralism of film expression which is becoming typical for the region. The prize is awarded to Revanche by Götz Spielmann, with particular appreciation of the convincing way in which it treats both the eastern and the western post-communist situtuation. The modern-day claustrophobia is presented through impressive performances of the cast, skillfull camerawork and a consistent directing approach.

BETWEEN WALLS / INTRE ZIDURI, Ana Felicia Scutelnicu, Germany
Jury of 3 Stefans: Stefan Kitanov, Stefan Uhrik, Stefan Laudyn
Special mention: FAREWELL / RASTANAK, Irena Škorić, Hrvatska

BLIND LOVES / SLÉPE LÁSKY, Juraj Lehotský, Slovakia
Jury: Stefan Ivančić, Gabriele Barrera, Gábor Böszörményi
For its original and human approach to extraordinary everyday life of blind people searching for happiness.

ESTRELLITA, Metod Pevec, Slovenia
Jury: Nataša Senjanović, Ferdi Haliti, Dušan Miljuš
Estrellita is a modern and universal story intertwining the destinies of members of a traumatized minority in the midst of geographically close, but culturally remote environment. This forms the basis for further exploration of relations between family members, between sexes, and between different opinions on social values, which adds to the film's depth and quality.This is also a story of prejudice which doesn't condemn those who hold it, but tries to understand their actions. Estrellita fullfills all the key criteria of the Amnesty International Human Rights Award.

BEHIND THE GLASS, Zrinko Ogresta, Croatia
The winner was decided by audience vote using Vip SMS text messages.

For extraordinary achievement in broadening the borders of acceptable and decent in film, for single-mindedness and originality, the love of play and unpredictability, for persistence and above all, a mastery of cinematic art.


To check the fest site and all the films screened go here and if you feel like watching videos from the festival check here.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

29th New Latin American Cinema International Film Festival Winners

Here are the Coral Prize winners for feature films.

First Prize: Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, France and Netherlands
Second Prize: El Año que mis Padres Salieron de Vacaciones, Cao Hamburguer, Brazil
Third Prize: El Otro, Ariel Rotter, Argentina, France and Spain
Special Jury Prize: Madrigal, Fernando Perez, Cuba and Spain
Jury Mention: Fiestapatria, Luis R. Vera, Chile and Peru
Director: Carlos Reygadas for Silent Light
Male Performer: Julio Chavez for El Otro
Female Performer: Roxana Blanco for Matar a Todos, Esteban Schoroeder, Uruguay

Opera Prima
First Prize: La Casa de Alicia, Chico Teixeira, Brazil
Second Prize: Partes Usadas, Aaron Fernandez Lesur, Mexico
Third Prize: Personal Belongings, alejandro Brugues, Cuba
Best Artistic Contribution: Pablo Fendrik for El Asaltante, Argentina
Mention: La Leon, Santiago Otheguy, Argentina and France

FIPRESCI Prize: Una Novia Errante, Ana Katz, Argentina
SIGNIS Prize: Matar a Todos, Esteban Schroeder, Uruguay
UNICEF Prize: XXY, Lucia Puenzo, Argentina, France and Spain

I really want to see El Otro and of course I'm "dying" to see Stellet Licht or Silent Light or Luz Silenciosa!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

18th Stockholm International Film Festival Winners

Today the festival closed and here are the award winners.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Schrader
Visionary Award: Wes Anderson

Best Film: 4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 Zile (4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days), Cristian Mungiu Romania. This brilliant film expresses the impact of societal repression on its characters with honesty and devastating humanity. Every aspect of the film – script, photography, performances and most importantly direction – uncovers profound truth in the smallest gestures. With its opinionated use of long takes and off-screen space, Cristian Mungiu understands the power of simplicity.

Best First Feature: La Zona (The Zone), Rodrigo Plá, Spain and Mexico. This film features an intelligent and original execution of an increasingly evident and alarming global problem. Through its microcosm and thriller-like suspense, The Zone keeps the audience alert to the good and bad and the fear we all carry within. The simplicity of the storytelling and the genuine characters, combined with an elegant and subtle musical score, result in a film that stays

Honorable mention, Best First Feature: Control, Anton Cobjin, UK. Never resorting to clichés about the iconic Ian Curtis, Control creates a stark, fully realized world. Featuring powerful performances throughout, Anton Corbijn goes beyond the genre of the “rock film” into an evocative portrait of these characters lives. The spare simplicity of the camera and compelling use of music captures the emotional despair and alienation of Joy Division’s sound.

Best Script: Stellet Light (Silent Light), Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, France, Netherlands, Germany. Carlos Reygadas’ screenplay in Silent Light captures the essence of life. With sparse, poetic and often painfully simplistic delivered dialogue (and through an almost documentary feeling), the film features genuine performances enhancing the cruelty of the silence. With an incredible backdrop of grand nature, Silent Light is a raw and truthful tale about human’s incapability for dealing with love, desire and responsibility.

Best Acress: Anamaria Marinca, 4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 Zile (4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days), Cristian Mungiu Romania
Best Actor: Jason Patric, Expired, Cecilia Miniucchi, USA

Best Music Award: Oliver Bernet for Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud, France. In this mesmerizing and original animated film, the music of Oliver Bernet enhances and contrasts the emotional experiences of the characters. His original score intertwines and explores different genres in a skillful and precise way.

Best Cinematography: Januz Kaminski for Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Julian Schnabel, France and USA. Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography brings expressive subjectivity and an original, off-kilter point of view to this powerful story. His bold photographic choices succeed in grounding us in the unforgettable perspective of the film’s protagonist, Jean Do. Combining visual economy with poetic lyricism, the photography of The Diving Bell and The Butterfly looks at the world with a fresh eye.

FIPRESCI-prize for Best Film: Caramel, Nadine Labaki, Lebanon and France.

Audience Award: Juno, Jason Reitman, USA

ifestival – World Wide Web Award: Two Times Now, Michalis Konstantatos
Guldbubblan – Let’s Make a Film: Nikklas Fröberg

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 9 Cannes News

Sorry about yesterday but today is a better day for Cannes and for me.

Today @ Cannes

Official Competition: Today Doug Liman’s Fair Game, please read below in Serious Nots what I think about this film. Also Daniele Luchetti’s La Nostra Vita (Our Life) and the last film to enter the competition Route Irish by Ken Loach that is a must be seen film for me even when early British critics’ reviews are not on the positive side.

Out of Competition: Yesterday the last film in this program was screened. I imagine that many of you have not much idea who Carlos is, but I do and hopefully I will be able to watch the 5 hours 33 minutes TV miniseries and not the 2 ½ movie version. Yes, I’m curious about this portrait of the so-called Jackal that has broken a no-no in Cannes when screening in such prominent way a TV program.

Un Certain Regard: Today a film that has stimulated my total curiosity, Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs) by Lodge Kerrigan and I really hope that does not disappoint me when I’m able to watch it. Also Simon Werner A Disparu… (Lights Out) by Fabrice Gobert that French critics say "starts like an American film" but 'fast' becomes more" (lol!).

Cinefondation: Today Programme 2 and 3 with six short films. Tomorrow we will learn the award winners.

Cannes Classics: Yesterday they had the only Lecon de Cinema of the fest (?!?!) with Marco Bellocchio, plus had one movie that would like to watch the restored version, John Huston’s 1951 classic, The African Queen.

Today a film that I wonder if I wish to revisit as really shocked me when I first saw it and prefers to keep that souvenir than erase it today, restored version of Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock. Also, Roberto Rossellini’s 1941 short film, Il Ruscello di Ripasottile and 1973 Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (A River Called Titash) by Ritwik Ghatak. But the one I have to watch is Men Filmen Ar Min Alskarinna (But Film Is My Mistress) the documentary by Stig Bjorkman about Ingmar Bergman.

With these films the program closes today, but I hope that excellent DVD labels like Criterion will be able to hopefully soon release some of these restored versions, so we cinema lovers can enjoy those films again.

Cinema de la Plage: Today Roy Rowland’s 1963 The Girl Hunters.

Quinzaine: Yesterday they had one film that seems visually very interesting, Todos Vos Sodes Capitan’s by Oliver Laxe, plus one of the few with a female director, Alicia Duffy’s All Good Children and last the Rolling Stones documentary, Stones in Exile by Stephen Kijak.

Today one gay interest film that calls my attention beyond the genre, Picco by Philip Koch. Also Boxing Gym by Frederick Wiseman, plus the first (of two) screening of short films.

Wish to remind you that this section is non-competitive, still some awards are handled every year, like Label Europa Cinemas, Art Cinema Award and Prix SACD for feature films and Prix SFR for short films.

Semaine de la Critique: Today is the last day of this parallel section and will screen films that are an invitation to Mexican Festival de Morelia, Revolución by many great Mexican directors, especially Carlos Reygadas!!! (for sure will watch it in MUBI as I’m simply dying to watch Reygadas work); also the short film Señora Pajaro by Veronique Decroux and Julio Barcenas.

At 8:00pm Cannes local time the Award Ceremony will start with the screening of the two ‘unexpected’ short films Bastard by Kirsten Dunst and The Clerk’s Tale by James Franco. About 20 mins later the award ceremony will start and will follow it live at the section facebook site, so expect news as they happen. Additional collateral awards will be announced tomorrow evening.

Serious Notes

I’m watching the Fair Game press conference and if you are like me that wasn’t that much interested in an American film about a recent known story, I suggest you watch it as my impression changed dramatically. Yes, now I’m very interested in watching this film that –according to what they say- does not tell a ‘political’ story but a –sort of universal- story about first an incredible working woman and second about her colorful husband. My expectations have risen but I still remember that the director did a terrible film, Mr. & Mrs. Smith… which by the way was the last question!!! (lol!). His answer is acceptable and probably spoke truth.

Talking about the film and miniseries Carlos, some of you have to be interested in learning that in USA, IFC will release the 2 ½ film version and even before its theatrical release, Sundance channel will air the complete miniseries. Also Telluride and New York Film Festival have the film in this year’s program. By the way, American critics write very positive reviews (including the ones I read)… my question: should I worry? Nah, I’ll watch it anyway… even if really is similar to those action movies they mention, like The Bourne Identity (but they say “with more substance”). (lol!)

IFC also got the rights for North America of Xavier Dolan’s Les Amours Imaginaries; the film will be released on theaters and VOD.

As always Un Certain Regard Official Selection will be screened at Paris from May 26th to June 1st and if you’re interested check the schedule here.

The last (has to be) film to join the selection yesterday, Making Fuck Off is a documentary by Fred Poulet who followed the filming of Mammuth by Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern and starring Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Yolande Moreau and Anna Mouglalis. The documentary seems very interesting, as well as the film that was at the last Berlinale!

In the eve of the fest coming to an end this weekend I have to say that my spontaneous reaction to this year’s films is that they are not like last year at all. We know that’s hard to really ‘know’ if you’re going to like or not a film before watching, but at least you can feel curious about the latest job of a particular director, about a performance, a story and/or visual imagery. I really hope I’m absolutely wrong and many films from all the programs do ‘surprise’ me when I’m able to watch them, as we all know that the Cannes Selection ‘seal’ is not given freely to any film and let’s hope that this year is not the exception.

I strongly suggest to my photographer friend to check information about JR’s very interesting and complete project. The film Women are Heroes documents his work, but the scope of the project is wider than one film. Check all about the exhibition of this photographer that specializes in “illegal pasting”. Very interesting as a photography exhibition. The film has to be hard-to-watch with women telling their stories, but I’ll will watch.

The Not so Serious Notes

Vanessa Paradis will be at the red carpet during the weekend (probably the closing ceremony) I really hope Johnny Depp is with her (lol!).

The Irreverent News

If you’re into watching -for fun- the Worst Dresses at the fest, take a look at Canal+ slideshow here some are truly horrible! (like the one with an ‘eye’, lol!).

Recently a film that I didn't paid much attention was screened, Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. Today I found many positive reviews by French critics and press writers. My surprise is that Michelle Williams not only plays the lead but also is a producer. Yes, now I'm interested in this film and to feel better here is today's photo with very nice-looking Michelle walking the Cannes streets.

I imagine that many of you know that if you click the picture you will see it larger (size is small so page loads faster), but in case some of you don't, I'm telling you.

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