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Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 Beijing Opening Ceremony

Thanks to a dearest friend that recorded the Opening ceremony and was so kind to let me borrow it, today I was able to finally watch the complete Zhang Yimou unbelievably good segment that absolutely had his particular filmmaker style and looked as the most amazing film that when and if they ever release a DVD of only the segment, it will go to my large collection of Zhang Yimou’s movies, not only to complement it, but also as one of the most spectacular films that tell Chinese history, with present ideas and wishes for the future.

If you notice I’m writing about the ceremony here in the movie blog and I have been calling the segment a Film. Yes, if for 50 minutes or so you forget that this is a sports event, you’ll be able to see it as a film and one of the most amazing films you ever seen, as not even grandiose epic films have so many performers (if you count the audience plus the show performers you’ll have an awesome 91,000 plus 15,000 –i.e. 106,000- number of performers), such an extraordinary use of technology, amazing use of light, color, spectacular costumes, music, sound, awesome and surreal fireworks (in the outdoor takes the smog gave fireworks a surreal look) and the most elaborate script for each and every one of the segments telling the story.

And you have to think that compressing more than 5,000 years of Chinese history into a less than a hour segment must have been one of the most difficult task Yimou and others had to face. Still the total spectacle was a comprehensive vision of some relevant aspects of Chinese history. Well, comprehensive if you can decipher symbols that are so common in Yimou’s films.

But what interests me in this post is to share with you some comments from different articles that you find in the net and from the after the ceremony official press conference.

“The ancient art of calligraphy figured in the ceremony. Zhang has used calligraphy in his movies as a way of displaying Chinese resolve under pressure, as well as a sign of ingenuity.” Variety

“Olympics ceremony director Zhang Yimou said directing an Olympic ceremony was more complicated than directing a movie. He also dropped a hint about the August 24 closing ceremony, the most important feature of which, he said, would be the extinguishing of the flame.” Press conference

“He said that mounting such a performance combining the latest gadgetry with traditional forms is "100 times more complicated than making a movie". Press conference

“Zhang Yimou said the huge scroll used in the opening ceremony was the team's masterpiece. "It's the biggest performance art prop in the world, and should be preserved for posterity." He suggested putting it in the Olympics Museum or auctioning it to a private collector.” Press conference

“Zhang Yimou s'est, lui, toujours défendu d'être fasciné par le spectacle visuel. "Si dans vingt ans, on ne garde dans les livres qu'une seule phrase à mon sujet, j'aimerais que ce soit : "Le style de Zhang Yimou se caractérise par une présentation visuelle forte dans une tournure typiquement chinoise"", dit-il à Time Magazine en 2004.” Le Monde

If you want to read how Zhang Yimou became the Chief Director and some events since 1991 when he did the promo video with Jackie Chang go here for a short story with photos.

This video is the Olympics advertisement done also by Zhang Yimou with what I believe was an expression of his concept and obviously after seeing the ceremony it makes total sense.

This is my little homage to Zhang Yimou for giving us one of the most memorable spectacles my eyes will ever see and I only hope that those serious cinema lovers can appreciate the complex and outstanding work invested in creating this outstanding presentation that since the second it was over became a must be seen Zhang Yimou oeuvre to treasure along his amazing films.

Last I want to share with you that every single time I have been able to see the segment I discover new things that I have not seen before, there are so many things happening at the same time that it is truly hard to see everything that’s going on with only one time watching. So, I strongly suggest that if you have access to a recording, watch it several times to grasp everything that’s going on in the screen.

Big Enjoy!!!

P.S. If you're unable to see the video, perhaps is because Youtube is deleting all videos related to the Olympic games... Still this is just advertising, but for now seems we would not be able to watch ads too. :)

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Monday, March 07, 2011

三槍拍案驚奇 Sānqiāng Pāi'àn Jīngqí (A Simple Noodle Story aka A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop)

I knew that this Zhang Yimou film was not his usual style, this was “different”. Actually is not that different as his arresting visuals and his peculiar use of color are all over the movie. What I was not prepared for was what I read at the opening when it says that film is based on Blood Simple, yes the 1985 debut film by Joel and Ethan Coen. Film is Zhang Yimou’s homage to Coen brothers’ movie that is claimed he cites as one of his favorites.

Not being a Coen bros fan the moment I saw the opening I got not only surprised but concerned. So film opens with a scene that has beautiful colors (costumes) in a darkish setting but shows the unexpected from Zhang Yimou, comedy! Yes, oriental slapstick/screwball comedy, which also I’m not a fan. Oh! I should have stopped watching, but no I continued watching only to discover a story that does not distance itself much from the tragedies that Zhang Yimou likes to tell but the continuous comedy moments really annoyed me and if it wasn’t for the serious moments plus the truly arresting images this film would have become the very first Zhang Yimou movie that I can’t watch. But watched until the very end and my honest reaction when film was over was to ask myself: what did Zhang Yimou smoked to make this movie?

So from Texas story moves to China to become a period drama set in a desert town in Gansu province with a noodle shop in the middle of nowhere being the axis to all the drama that rotates around a rich man that abuses his wife and when he finds that she’s having an affair with one of the noodle shop employees, hires a police detective to kill them. Everything, absolutely everything goes wrong and in good “western” style everyone dies, except the only two women in the story. Crazy, crazy but the scenes with the killer (or serious moments) are quite good and thrilling.

Obviously had to watch film as not only is Zhang Yimou but also film was in competition at the 2009 Berlinale plus from trailer was fascinated by the colors and dramatic images. I believe I understand those that don’t like the movie but also understand those that like it as I didn’t liked the comedy (in this or any other oriental cinema) but I liked (a lot) everything else, especially several situations that puzzled me but wasn’t until I read about the movie that I started to understand that film is full of Chinese symbolisms that of course I’m not familiar with, so now that I know some of the symbols there is the possibility that will watch movie again to enjoy it more.

As I find it enlighten I’m reproducing an excerpt from the director’s statement at the movie official press kit:

"I gave the remake a rich Chinese flavor, casting Xiao Shenyang – a young comic actor who recently shot to fame in China – to add in a sense of farcical humor at the beginning. The fun soon turns into riveting suspense. I also adopted the aesthetic style of the old Chinese opera piece, San Cha Kou. The result is the confinement of all the characters within the same space, each of them shifting roles with one another and making similar mistakes. This lays bare the absurdity of life – something ironically repetitive, always beyond our control."

If you’re a Zhang Yimou fan like I am you need to read as much as you can or wish before watching the movie as understanding his motives, the symbols and yes, the use of comedy will surely help you to enjoy film beyond the outstanding use of color plus the breathtaking desert landscapes.

No, won’t be watching the original as this remake is more than enough for me and yes I do recommend movie but as mentioned in the previous paragraph I strongly suggest you learn as much as possible about the movie before watching. Then if you are not a Coen bros fan don’t need to be concerned as according to me, story does not feel or look (even when is said that’s a very close remake) like a Coen bros film at all.


Watch trailer @MOC

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 7 at Cannes 2014

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

The Competition

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

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

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

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Huozhe (To Live)

Revisiting a movie is always done when you have seen it not long ago and want to see more details among many other things; but revisiting a movie you saw many years ago and have good memories about it, it is sometimes risky as the movie does not change, but you do.

This was not the case with this classic and epic movie that today was as splendid as the first time I saw it. This 1994 Zhang Yimou film tells the story of a family and follows them from the 40’s, the 50’ and the 60’s and into some years later. While telling the story of the family you learn the story of a country in those key decades of change in China.

Based on the novel by Yu Hua that was born during the Cultural Revolution and directed by Zhang Yimou that was a teenager when the Cultural Revolution broke, this film has the best of two different visions about the history of China and the result is a tale that moves slowly telling the family story and fast to tell how society was, started to change and continuously kept changing.

Outstanding performances by Ge You and Gong Li that play the husband and wife who find a path for survival and they do survive loss of wealth, poverty, happiness, sorrow and most important all the transcendental changes Chinese society had in those decades. Worth mentioning are the spectacular and mesmerizing puppet shows that will delight your eyes.

This classic won the Grand Prize of the Jury and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for Zhang Yimou, and the Best Actor for You Ge in the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, also the film was nominated for the Golden Palm. Won the 1995 BAFTA for Best Film not in the English Language and had a nomination in the 1995 Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film. Gong Li had a nomination for Best Actress in the 1995 Chlotrudis Awards.

This is a masterpiece that everyone has to see at least once and if you saw it years ago, I suggest you revisit it again; if you are just discovering Zhang Yimou, then this is one that you cannot miss

At the end I think that all Zhang Yimou movies can be seen several times in different periods of your life and still enjoy them as much (if not more with age) as the first time you saw them.


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Monday, October 25, 2010

山楂树之恋 Shan zha shu zhi lian (Under the Hawthorn Tree)

An unbelievable beautiful film by one of my favorite Chinese directors Zhang Yimou about a theme that I have never seen before in his films: Classic Pure Love. Not only the theme is new (for me) but also the film is very different to his previous ones as does not have his grandiose cinematic style or the outstanding cinematography. BUT this is a film about performances and you have no idea how extraordinary is first time acting Dongyu Zhou performing city girl Jing Qiu that slowly, very-slowly, falls for handsome young Lao San (Shawn Dou). It’s such a beautiful love story that I’m afraid will have to label the film –from a western point of view- as a girly film that I’m sure women will love while some men will not.

Seems that Zhang Yimou is exploring new territories as his previous film, San qiang pai an jing qi (A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop aka A Simple Noodle Story), also seems to have a different style; haven’t seen the film yet (yes, dying to see it) but at least from photos and trailer I can say that has some of his master filmmaker trademarks like amazing use of colors, epic scenes and extraordinary use of cinematography , which Under the Hawthorn Tree does not have at all. BUT because of story the storytelling technique Yimou’s used in this film absolutely succeeds to make an intense story out of what could have been a very common and often told story.

Still story allows us a brief vision of what some Chinese lived during China’s Cultural Revolution and how some policies affected their everyday lives. Set in 1975 in a small village in Yichang City, Hubei Province story tells about a pure, moving and teary (yes, I cried) love story between Jing Qiu and Lao San during their “zhiqing” days towards the end of the Cultural Revolution. Zhinqing refers to young urban dwellers that were sent to the countryside during the turbulent decade, from 1966 to 1976. Jing Qiu’s family has a difficult life after her father was labeled as right-winger and imprisoned; but when she meets Lao San, who has a promising future because of his high-ranking military officer father, her life becomes really complicated as she starts to risk what’s left of a possible future for a girl with her background. Lovely story adapted from a novel by Ai Mi.

If you’re expecting a ‘normal’ Zhang Yimou movie please be advised that this film is not; consequently could disappoint many or could positively highly surprise you like happened to me as is such a lovely and beautiful film that, honestly, is not easy to digest that was done by master filmmaker Zhang Yimou, but it is.

I do strongly recommend the movie but I think is the kind of film that you have to watch when you’re in a ‘special’ mood; a mood that allows you to enjoy the story that yes, has a very sad ending and surely you will shred more than a few tears.


Watch trailer @MOC

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Coming Soon

For those so kind to ask me if I haven’t seen any movies because I’m not posting the reviews I have to tell them and all of you that yes, I have been seeing movies but unfortunately I haven’t had the necessary time to do the reviews due to my traveling and not really having my head in the right place to write (lol!).

But so I do not forget let me share the movies that will have a review “soon”…

The Day the Earth Stood Still, Scott Derrickson, USA, Canada and Australia, 2008 – Really bad!
Breakfast with Scot, Laurie Lynd, Canada, 2007 – fun to watch entertaining gay interest film

Yao a yao yao dao waipo qiao (Shanghai Triad), Zhang Yimou, France and China, 1995 – not only is a Zhang Yimou film but Gong Li is the star – Fantastic!!! A must be seen for Zhang Yimou and Gong Li fans.
Qiu Ju da guan si (The Story of Qiu Ju), Zhang Yimou, China and Hong Kong, 1992 – simply beautiful and compelling drama of a determined woman played by none other that Gong Li… yes I’m watching her movies and still have a few more to see.

I’ll be adding more titles as soon as I see them and/or finally write the reviews…

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Ju Dou

I know that I have to still write the reviews about the other Zhang Yimou and Gong Li films I have watched but I have to write about this movie right away as truly impressed me with a compelling story, excellent performances, absolutely outstanding cinematography and a young Zhang Yimou that clearly showed what was going to come next from him in this visually outstanding film that he co directed with Fengliang Yang.

With a script by Heng Liu the film tells about a woman, Ju Dou (Gong Li), married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill that falls for her husband’s nephew, gets pregnant and the husband believes is his own son. Eventually the husband learns the truth and the most surrealistic situations develop until his death, and beyond this point the movie becomes truly like a Greek tragedy. Incredibly good and fascinating story!

Amazingly outstanding performance by a Gong Li that ages so credibly in the screen that you can hardly believe that the chubby faced young woman from the beginning becomes the lean faced older woman when she gets older. Truly amazing as I believe is not done with makeup, but with the outstanding use of light.

This is a movie done with no special effects and honestly the fire scenes that are over imposed (probably in editing) does not look real but who cares, as this is a movie that deals with colors and this is what really marveled me. As we will be able to see in his future films that “play” so good with colors, in this movie he absolutely plays with hot colors like red, orange and yellow and mixes them with the coolest one: blue. The palette allows the creation of visually outstanding takes, but here I find that the use of color is totally integrated into the story and in many moments the color(s) tells about what will happen next. Amazing and absolutely beautiful!

This 1990 film is definitively a must be seen Zhang Yimou and Gong Li film that if you haven’t seen it I suggest you rush to rent or buy the DVD. The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1991 Academy Awards and was premiered in competition for the Palm D’Or at the 1990 Cannes; has many more honors in fests and awards around the world.

Definitively this is the most outstanding movie that I have seen lately and one that I highly recommend to all audiences (yes, all audiences) as I’m sure that you will enjoy the movie even when you do not particularly like art cinema.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Qin Yong (A Terracotta Warrior)

What a strange yet amazing story this movie tells. Starts as a beautiful Chinese epic period romance/drama, jumps 3,000 years to China 1930’s where becomes a comedy/fantasy/romance that looks similar to any Indiana Jones movie and ends up in the present time. Tells the story of a forbidden love between a court lady and a soldier in the Qin dynasty and how they are bound to be together forever and this time forever, means really forever in time.

An amazing Zhang Yimou plays (yes, PLAYS) Tian Fong the soldier and very young and beautiful Gong Li plays Winter/Lili Chu the soldier’s love. According to what I read this is the only movie where Zhang Yimou played the leading role, to later become the glorious director he is. Gong Li is just fantastic in her Winter role and a little strange to my eyes in the 1930’s, but becomes the serene beauty she is in the present time, even if is just for a few minutes.

Directed by Ching Siu-tung this movie has wonderful cinematography, amazing views of the Great Wall of China, grandiose Qin dynasty scenes (loved the white birds!) and superb dramatic scenes, including when the two make love, in the first part of the movie.

The movie won two awards and has seven nominations in 1989 Asian Film Festivals.

This is a must be seen movie if you are a Zhang Yimou follower –you really have to see him acting- and if you love to see Gong Li performances.


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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

60th Berlinale Competition Program

This year the fest is sixty-years-old and there will be some Anniversary Events that if you feel to check them please go here. To start the coverage of the fest this year here is the Competition Lineup.

In Competition

Opening Ceremony: Tuan Yuan (Apart Together), Wang Quan’an, China, 2009 (must be seen)
Bal (Honey), Semih Kaplanoglu, Turkey and Germany, 2009 (have to see it -the last of the trilogy)
Caterpillar, Koji Wakamatsu, Japan, 2010
Der Räuber (The Robber), Benjamin Heisenberg, Austria and Germany, 2009
En Familie (A Family), Pernille Fischer Christensen, Denmark, 2010 (interesting)
En Ganske snill mann (A Somewhat Gentle Man), Hans Petter Moland, Norway, 2009
Eu cand vreau sa fluier, fluier (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle), Florin Serban, Romania and Sweden, 2009 (seems interesting, adaptation of a stage play and is Romanian)
Greenberg, Noah Baumbach, USA, 2009
Howl, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, USA, 2009 (yes is about the Allen Ginsberg poem starring James Franco, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker… could be interesting)
Jud Süß - Film ohne Gewissen (Jew Suss – Rise and Fall), Oskar Roehler, Austria and Germany, 2010 (Actor life during WWII, could be interesting)
Kak ya provel etim letom (How I Ended This Summer), Alexei Popogrebsky, Russia, 2010
Mammuth, Benoit Delépine and Gustave de Kervern, France 2010 (Must be seen for me)
Na putu (On The Path), Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Germany and Croatia, 2010
Rompecabezas (Puzzle), Natalia Smirnoff, Argentina and France, 2010 (interesting)
San qiang pai an jing qi (A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop), Zhang Yimou, China, 2009 (is a Zhang Yimou movie: MUST BE SEEN FOR ME!)
Shahada (Faith), Burhan Qurbani, Germany, 2009
Shekarchi (The Hunter), Rafi Pitts, Germany and Iran, 2010
Submarino, Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, 2010 (Dogma but story seems hard-to-watch)
The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski, France, Germany, and UK, 2009 (Polanski, yeah will watch)
The Killer Inside Me, Michael Winterbottom, USA and UK, 2009

Out of Competition

Closing Film: Otouto (About Her Brother), Yoji Yamada, Japan, 2009 (is a Yoji Yamada movie, must be seen)
Exit Through The Gift Shop, Banksy, UK and USA, 2009
My Name is Khan, Karan Johar, India, 2010
Please Give, Nicole Holofcener, USA, 2009
Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese, USA, 2010
The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko, USA and France, 2009 (lesbian interest Annette Bening and Julianne Moore)

As you can see the program is eclectic and has films from allover the world, some very well-known directors and stories for almost everyone. The fest will run from February 11 to 21 and if you want to read about each movie go here and filter by Competition.

I will try to find trailers and will post the link here as soon as is ready.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

6th Asian Film Awards Winners

A few minutes ago the Hong Kong Film Festival Society announced the award winners and here they are for main categories. Winners are in *BLUE. To check winners in all categories go here


Today Hong Kong International Film Festival Society announced the nominations and right now official site has crashed due to “capacity problems”! Nevertheless here are the nominees from different sources and will confirm nods as well as post link to official site when site is up again.

Finally I’m in the official site and here is an excerpt from the official press release.

Hong Kong, 17 January 2012 – The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) announced today the nominees in the 14 categories and the jury for the 6th Asian Film Awards (AFA). Eric KHOO, Singapore-based director and producer, will take up the mantle of Jury President, heading the panel of international film community notables who will select the winners of these prestigious awards. The Asian Film Awards Presentation Ceremony will be held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Grand Hall on 19 March 2012.

To continue reading press release go here.

Best Film
*Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader and Simin, A Separation), Asghar Farhadi, Iran
Ichimai no hagaki (Postcard), Kaneto Shindô, Japan
金陵十三釵 Jin líng shí san chai (The Flowers of War), Zhang Yimou, China
龍門飛甲 Long Men Fei Jia (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate), Tsui Hark, Hong Kong and China
賽德克•巴萊 Seediq Bale (Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale), Wei Te-sheng, Taiwan
ज़िन्दगी ना मिलेगी दोबारा Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Don’t Get Life a Second Time), Zoya Akhtar, India

Best Director
*Asghar Farhadi for Nader and Simin, A Separation, Iran
Teddy Soeriaatmadja for Lovely Man, Indonesia (okay I'm curious about film)
Sono Sion for 恋の罪 Koi no Tsumi (Guilty of Romance), Japan
Tsui Hark for Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong and China
Wei Te-sheng for Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Taiwan
Zhang Yimou for The Flowers of War, China

Best Actress
Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture, India
Michelle Chen in 那些年,我们一起追的女孩 Na Xie Nian, Wo Men Yi Qi Zhui De Nu Hai (You Are the Apple of My Eye), Taiwan
Eugene Domingo in Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank), Philippines
Leila Hatami in A Separation, Iran
*Deanie Ip in Tao Jie (A Simple Life), Hong Kong

Best Actor
Chen Kun in Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Hong Kong and China
*Donny Damara in Lovely Man, Indonesia
Andy Lau in Tao Jie (A Simple Life), Hong Kong
Park Hae Il in Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal (War of the Arrows), South Korea
Yakusho Koji in Waga haha no ki (Chronicle of My Mother), Japan

Best Newcomer
Ko Chen-tung in You Are the Apple of My Eye, Taiwan
Eric Lin Hui-min in 星空 Starry Starry Night, Taiwan
Maeda Ohshiro in 奇跡 Kiseki (I Wish), Japan
*Ni Ni in The Flowers of War, China
Gita Novalista in Laut Bercermin (The Mirror Never Lies), Indonesia

To check nominations in all categories go here.Can’t help but to comment that infamous Christian Bale is NOT nominated (lol!); I’m so glad as he was really bad on role even when you consider that his character was another century person that used to live in China like “conquerors” do. Got really interested in watching Lovely Man that has LGBT interest, specially in the T, but is the story of a child that finds that her father is a she-prostitute that sells herself in the streets.

As it says in the press release award ceremony will be on March 19.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Qian Li Zou Dan Qi (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles)

After Hero and The House of Flying Daggers and before Curse of the Golden Flower Yimou Zhang directed and co wrote this film and it could not be more different that his previous and later work.

This is a film that if you are a human being will tear apart your emotions and makes you cry like a baby… it did it to me. And I am not an emotional person. I am still overwhelmed, but not a little bit sorry for watching this glorious movie.

Yimou Zhang is a great storyteller and his body of work is proof of that, but as a director probably this is his masterpiece as he directs an all non-professional cast with two exceptions, famous Japanese actor Ken Takakura and Japanese Shinobu Terajima, and manages to make an intense emotional movie based mainly in actors/performers expressions.

As in all his movies cinematography is fabulous and this time he filmed in the southwest of China, the breathtaking stunningly Yunnan Province providing a feast of the most spectacular views of landscapes, villages and countryside’s. It is claimed that the Yunnan Provice is the inspiration for the famous James Hilton novel Shangri-La, so imagine what you will be able to see.

Outstanding amazingly performance by Ken Takakura as Gou-ichi Takata, as well as from all the other performers in lead and not lead roles make this film as credible as you probably hardly have ever seen. You are totally sucked into the movie and forget everything else that surrounds you.

The story is quite simple as is about a Japanese father that travels to China’s Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star. But actually is about a life changing voyage of discovery, those voyages that probably many of us would like have at least once in a lifetime.

The movie is a winner of three awards for Best Asian Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Actor for Takakura at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.

Do not miss this movie and if you do not like Yimou Zhang action packed movies, give this one a try as is totally different.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

69th Annual Golden Globe Awards Winners

Last night the awards ceremony was (a lot) less funnier and entertaining than last year, I do believe that Ricky Gervais censored himself more, which undoubtedly helped to make ceremony duller. Just for example, the few jokes I laugh (like Jodie Foster Beaver) were so "clean", straight-forward and NOT sarcastic or dark that felt "elegant" in Gervais mouth. Anyway think that last year the shock-effect was what made show so remarkable and that happens only once.

At the end what I enjoyed most was watching the actors, lol!, especially Johnny that was a great positive surprise. What shocked me most was what press people were tweeting about the golden globes, some comments were truly insulting and I follow press people from Variety, Indiewire, NYT, and other minor Internet "famous" sites. What they tweeted is common or accepted knowledge (the HFPA awards don't have a good reputation), but was the "style" the "words" and the "intent" what was out of line especially when was coming from colleagues as all are news people. Disgusting.

So I kept tweeting nonsense, was to only way to keep busy and not fall asleep! LOL! But I made it until the end, so I suppose that my activity to keep-me-awake will be repeated on every awards show this year.

The good news is that this is the last awards show from critics and now is the turn to start learning if the Industry will behave -or not- the same. Here are the winners for some categories and if you wish to learn about all categories the official site is here. Winners are in *BLUE. The big winner of the night with three wins is The Artist.



A few minutes ago the nominations were announced and spontaneously I believe there are some surprises for me, but will comment after doing the post.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
*The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
*The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week With Marilyn

Best Animated Feature Film
Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
Puss in Boots
*The Adventures of Tintin

Best Foreign Language Film
*Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation), Iran
Jing Ling Shi San Chai (The Flowers of War), China
Le Gamin au Velo (The Kid With The Bike), Belgium
In The Land of Blood and Honey, USA
La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In), Pedro Almodovar, Spain

Best Director
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
George Clooney for The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
*Martin Scorsese for Hugo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glen Close in Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis in The Help
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
*Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Jodie Foster in Carnage
Charlize Theron in Young Adult
Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids
*Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet in Carnage

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Motion Picture
Berenice Bejo in The Artist
Jessica Chastain in The Help
Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
*Octavia Spencer in The Help
Shailene Woodley in The Descendants

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
*George Clooney in The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender in Shame
Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March
Brad Pitt in Moneyball

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
*Jean Dujardin in The Artist
Brendan Gleeson in The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50
Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love
Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks in Drive
Jonah Hill in Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method
*Christopher Plummer in Beginners

Best Screenplay
*Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon for The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash for The Descendants
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for Moneyball

Best Original Score
*Ludovic Bource for The Artist
Abel Korzeniowski for W.E.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Howard Shore for Hugo
John Williams for War Horse

Best Original Song
Hello Hello from Gnomeo & Juliet, Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
The Keeper from Machine Gun Preacher, Music & Lyrics by Chris Cornell
Lay Your Head Down from Albert Nobbs, Music by Brian Byrne, Lyrics by Glenn Close
The Living Proof from The Help, Music by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason, Jr., Lyrics by Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas
*Masterpiece from W.E., Music & Lyrics by Madonna, Julie Frost, and Jimmy Harry

To check the official announcement and later on the official list go here or here. The Award ceremony will be on Sunday, January 15, 2012 and will be broadcast by NBC, no matter what happens with the lawsuit (I believe).

So again the red carpet will be full of celebrities and some great actors (lol!) as for sure Brad and Angelina will be there along with Leonardo, George , Tilda, Meryl, Glenn and a few others that just with their first name you know who I’m talking about. As has been happening with other awards/nominations announcements The Weinstein Company is the motion picture distributor that has more nominations, here has 12; so it’s NO surprise that the movie with the most nods is The Artist with 6, followed by The Descendants and The Help with 5 each.

By now the news have reached the world and reactions are coming from all over, I like those from France, Belgium and be sure that will check China reaction to Zhang Yimou’s latest oeuvre nomination. Okay the biggest surprise for me is that Rooney Mara got a nomination, but as there are 10 nominated actresses, she was able to make it; still my five fav are included and can’t deny that I’m pleased with the honors given to Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet for their roles in Carnage which, strangely enough, no male roles made got any honor.

Then perhaps I’m more surprised by the omissions than for the movies that got nominations, most annoying is the absence of nominations for The Tree of Life and Melancholia, not that I liked both movies, but obviously this group always includes movies with high buzz in the festival circuit and imagine the reason why must be related to both directors being no-show at public events. LOL! Also miss Aki’s Le Havre, but in general I’m really pleased with the foreign-language film nominees especially IF Zhang Yimou (and not an actor) comes to the award show. The only exception is “you know who” but have to be fair and will comment only after watching In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Haven’t seen three of the six Best Motion Picture – Drama nominees and not really looking forward to watch them as believe that will be too predictable, so whoever wins will be all right for me as from those that have seen the best for me is The Help (?!).

More excited with the news that thanks to the TV categories great actresses will be in the red carpet like the one from my favorite TV show, Julianna Margulies and Claire Danes, followed by Maggie Smith, Eva Rachel Wood, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Elizabeth McGovern, and Romola Garai. By the way have to mention that excellent Downton Abbey and very good Mildred Pierce are the top TV shows with 4 nominations each, followed by Boardwalk Empire, Cinema Verite, Homeland, The Hour, Modern Family, and Too Big to Fail each with 3 nods.

So here is the list with each movie and the number of nominations it got.

50/50 2
W.E. 2
CARS 2 1

Here is the video with the announcement of the first nominations that were not broadcasted live on national networks.

The second video is a recording of what was broadcasted live on national TV.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day Minus One at Cannes 2014

In about 24 hours we will have already watched the red carpet and as of this very moment when I'm writing this, we will be waiting for the Opening Ceremony to start. But as we know tomorrow starts a lot earlier with the press screening, press photocall and press conference of the opening film, as well as with the arrival of the "celebrities" at Nice airport and their hotels.

This year has been unusual as most of the Cannes official site info was not released one week before the festival begins but today, few hours ago finally movies info was released and yes I have been watching movie clips from all films that have them, as there are a trio of films in competition that still have no videos, Leviathan, Sils Maria and The Search. Also the iphone/ipad app was not updated until today. No idea yet why the digital coverage came too late but hope we will learn the reason eventually. Sigh.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Mang Shan (Blind Mountain)

This very interesting Yang Li film is set in the early 90's and tells an amazing story about an urban university educated young woman tricked into a fake job that make her go to a remote small village where she's purchased as a wife for a peasant. What follows is her shock, her repulsion, trying to escape, being abused, etc. etc. until a great not expected abrupt finale.

The film style recalls a lot the look of the Fifth generation of Chinese directors (like for example Zhang Yimou) and a lot the work of the Sixth generation directors (for example Jia Zhang ke) suggesting to be a film of transition between lyric narrative and bare raw-reality, which makes it quite interesting if you enjoy slow paced films, with good indoor and outdoor cinematography, absence of music, plus actor and non-actors excellent performances.

The way the director chose to tell the story is also interesting as it's not really emotional and you don't necessarily empathize with the main character during a long while; but suddenly you will and at the strong finale you will feel a plethora of contradictory feelings. Great storytelling!

A film that I strongly recommend especially to women from all over the world as even when most critics talk about China politics in the story, for me definitively is not about politics, is an universal women story that with or without variations happens all over the world.

The movie has been honored with awards at festivals like the 2007 Bratislava and 2008 Istambul fests, all well deserved honors for a movie that slowly, very slowly uncovers a thought provoking story.

A must be seen for those that enjoy Chinese cinema and compelling women stories.


Watch trailer @ Movie On

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

唐山大地震 Tangshan dadizhen (Aftershock)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

9th Asian Film Awards Winners

The 9th Asian Film Awards (AFA) ceremony was held at The Venetian Macao last night, commemorating another year of excellence in Asian cinema. The 9th AFA was jointly organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA), and its constituent partners – Busan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival and Hong Kong Film Festival.

Hong Kong pop star, and breakout actress Ivana Wong opened the 9th AFA ceremony with a heartfelt singing performance. Later, South Korean band Infinite entertained guests with an energetic musical set, which was then followed by loud applause from their dedicated fans.

Overall, Mainland China’s films stole the show, winning awards in 10 categories out of 14, including 3 out of the 4 major accolades. This year’s coveted Best Film Award went to Blind Massage. Other major winners this year include Ann Hui who took home the Best Director award for The Golden Era. Liao Fan beat out other nominees for the Best Actor Award for his role in Black Coal, Thin Ice. However, it was South Korean Bae Doo-na who was awarded Best Actress for her stunning performance in A Girl At My Door.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

La Biennale di Venezia (64th Venice Film Festival)

The 64th Venice International Film Festival, organized by the Venice Biennale, will be held on the Venice Lido from 29th August to 8th September 2007.

The line-up of the Festival includes the following sections: Venezia 64 - In Competition, Venezia 64 - Out of Competition, Orizzonti, and Corto Cortissimo. The Festival has a screenings schedule of 11 days (29th August - 8th September).

This year’s festival will cast its eye over the protagonists of the cinema of tomorrow, and over the history of cinema: the 75th anniversary Golden Lion is to be awarded to Bernardo Bertolucci, the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Tim Burton, the celebratory events are directed by Alexander Kluge, and the retrospective is dedicated to “Spaghetti Westerns”.

This duel face of the oldest film festival in the world, which never ceases to both discover and reveal cinema, will once again be seen in the selection of films which are in the various sections of the Festival. It will be a programme which unites works by young directors who are as yet unknown with works by the greatest filmmakers from around the world.

These are the films participating in the Venice Film Festival.

In Competition

64th Venice Film Festival opening film
Atonement , Joe WRIGHT - UK/USA, 123’; Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave, Romola Garai, Brenda Blethyn

The Darjeeling Limited, Wes ANDERSON - USA, 91’; Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
Sleuth, Kenneth BRANAGH - UK/USA, 86’; Michael Caine, Jude Law
Heya fawda (Le Chaos), Youssef CHAHINE - Egypt, 122’; Khaled Saleh, Mena Shalaby, Hala Sedky, Youssef El Cherif
Redacted, Brian DE PALMA - USA, 90’;Kel O'Neill, Daniel Stewart Sherman
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Andrew DOMINIK - USA, 155’; Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard
Nessuna qualità agli eroi, Paolo FRANCHI - Italy/Switzerland/France, 102’; Elio Germano, Bruno Todeschini, Irène Jacob
Michael Clayton, Tony GILROY - USA, 119’; George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack
Night Watching, Peter GREENAWAY - UK/Poland/Canada/Netherlands, 134’; Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Eva Birthistle, Jodhi May
En la ciudad de Sylvia, Jose Luis GUERIN - Spain, 90’; Pilar Lopez De Ayala, Xavier Lafitte
In the Valley of Elah, Paul HAGGIS - USA, 120’; Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon
I’m not There, Todd HAYNES - USA, 135’; Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Julianne Moore, Christian Bale, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Taiyang zhaochang shenqi (The Sun Also Rises), JIANG Wen - China/Hong Kong, 116’, Jiang Wen, Joan Chen, Zhou Yun, Jaycee Chan, Anthony Wong
Bangbang wo aishen (Help Me Eros), LEE Kang Sheng (LI Kangsheng) - Taiwan, 107’; Lee Kang Sheng, Yin Shin
La Graine et le Mullet, Abdellatif KECHICHE - France, 151’; Habib Boufares, Marzouk Bouraouïa, Faridah Benkhetache, Sabrina Ouazani
Se, Jei (Lust, Caution), Ang LEE (LI An) - Taiwan, 135’; Tony Leung, Joan Chen, Tang Wei
It’s a Free World…, Ken LOACH - UK/Italy/Germany/Spain, 96’; Juliet Ellis, Leslaw Zurek, Kierston Wareing
L’ora di punta, Vincenzo MARRA - Italy, 96; Fanny Ardant, Michele Lastella, Giulia Bevilacqua
Sukiyaki Western Django, MIIKE Takashi - Japan, 121’; Quentin Tarantino, Hideaki Ito, Kaori Momoi, Yoshino Rimura
12, Nikita MIKHALKOV - Russian Federation, 153’; Nikita Mikhalkov, Sergey Makovezkij, Mikhail Yefremov, Sergei Garmash
Il dolce e l’amaro, Andrea PORPORATI - Italy, 98’; Fabrizio Gifuni, Luigi Lo Cascio, Donatella Finocchiaro
Les Amours d’Astrée et Céladon, Eric ROHMER - France/Italy/Spain, 109’; Stéphanie Crayencour, Andy Gillet, Cécile Cassel

Jurors for Venezia 64 are: French director Catherine Breillat, New Zealand director Jane campion, Italian director Emanuele Crialese, Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Turkish origin director Ferzan Ozpetek, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven and the President of the Jury China director Zhang Yimou. This is an A-List directors jury!

On the closing evening of the Festival, 8th September 2007, the Jury will award the following prizes to feature films competing in the Venezia 64 section: the Golden Lion for best film, the Silver Lion for best director, the Special Jury Prize, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress, the “Marcello Mastroianni” Award for Best Young Actor or Actress, the Osella for Best Technical Contribution, and the Osella for Best Screenplay.

Out of Competition- Venezia Maestri

Cassandra’s Dream, Woody ALLEN - UK/USA, 108’; Colin Farrell, Sally Hawkins, Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson
Cleópatra, Julio BRESSANE - Brazil, 116’; Alessandra Negrini, Bruno Garcia, Miguel Falabella
La Fille coupée en deux, Claude CHABROL - France, 105’; Ludivine Saignier, Benoît Magimel, Mathilda May, Marie Bunel
Taek Chun-nyun-hack (Beyond the Years), IM Kwon - South Korea, 106’; Jae-hyun Jo, Jung-hae Oh
Kantoku banzai! (Glory to the Filmmaker!), KITANO Takeshi - Japan, 104’; “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, Tohru Emori, Kayoko Kishimoto, Anne Suzuki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki
Cristovão Colombo - O enigma , Manoel de OLIVEIRA - Portugal/France, 100’; Ricardo Trêpa, Leonor Baldaque, Manoel de Oliveira, Maria Isabel de Oliveira

Out of Competition – Venezia Notte – Opening and closing films

Per un pugno di dollari (1964) - restored version, Sergio LEONE - Italy/Spain/Germany, 100’; Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch
Tiantang kou (Blood Brothers), Alexi TAN - Taiwan/China/Hong Kong, 95’; Daniel Wu, Zhang Zhen, Shu Qi, Sun Honglei
REC, Paco PLAZA, Jaume BALAGUERÓ - Spain, 85’; Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terrazza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Carlos Lasarte

Out of Competition – Venezia Notte

Far North, Asif KAPADIA - UK/France, 89’; Michelle Yeoh, Sean Bean, Michelle Krusiec
The Hunting Party, Richard SHEPARD - USA/Croatia/Bosnia Herzegovina, 103’; Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Diane Kruger
The Nanny Diaries, Shari SPRINGER BERMAN, Robert PULCINI - USA, 107’; Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Chris Evans
Nocturna, Adrià GARCÍA, Víctor MALDONADO - Spain/France, 83’; animation film

Out of Competition Special Event
Hotel Chevalier, Wes ANDERSON - USA, 12’; Jason Schwartzman, Natalie Portman

Out of Competition – Bernardo Bertolucci: 75th Anniversary Golden Lion
La via del petrolio (1967) - restored version, Bernardo BERTOLUCCI - Italy, 135’; documentary
Strategia del ragno (1970) - restored version, Bernardo BERTOLUCCI - Italy, 100’; Giulio Brogi, Alida Valli, Tino Scotti

Out of Competition – Tim Burton: Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement 2007
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D, Tim BURTON e Henry SELICK Tim Burton's - USA, 76’; animation film - voices: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hicke, Carmen Twillie

Out of Competition – Alexander Kluge: Special Events of the 75th Anniversary
Mein Jahrhundert, mein Tier! - 96’
Das Phänomen der Oper - 71’
Im Sturm der Zeit /Facts and Fakes - 89’
Die poetische Kraft der Theorie - 110’
Der Zauber der verdunkelten Seele - 106’

Out of Competition Event – Venezia Giubileo (1932-2007): Homage to Carlo Lizzani
Hotel Meina, Carlo LIZZANI - Italy, 110’; Benjamin Sadler, Ursula Buschhorn, Ivana Lotto

Out of Competition Event – Venezia Giubileo (1932-2007)
Gli uomini che mascalzoni... (1932), Mario CAMERINI - Italy, 67’; Vittorio De Sica, Lia Franca

Out of Competition Special Events
L’ospedale del delitto (1950 – unreleased), Luigi COMENCINI - Italy, 12’’ short film / documentary
Putiferio va alla guerra (1968), Roberto GAVIOLI - Italy, 88’; animation film
Duetto dei gatti (Opera buffa) (1985 - unreleased), Emanuele LUZZATI, Giulio GIANINI - Italy, 2’; animation film
Pulcinella (1973), Emanuele LUZZATI, Giulio GIANINI - Italy, 12’; animation film
Pulcinella e il gioco dell’oca (1961 - unreleased), Emanuele LUZZATI, Giulio GIANINI - Italy, 2’; animation film
Pulcinella e il pesce magico (1981), Emanuele LUZZATI, Giulio GIANINI - Italy, 10’; animation film
La tarantella di Pulcinella (1959 - unreleased), Emanuele LUZZATI, Giulio GIANINI – Barilla advertisement - Italy, 2’; animation film
Makhouredia Gueye, Manda bi – Le Mandat (1968), Ousmane SEMBÈNE - Senegal, 90’; Ynousse N'Diaye, Isseu Niang, Serigne N'Diayes

Out of Competition Special Events – New Restored Versions
Intolerance (1917), David Wark GRIFFITH - USA/France/Denmark, 180’; Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, Elmer Clifton, Constance Talmadge
A Idade da Terra (1980), Glauber ROCHA - Brazil, 160’; Maurício do Valle, Jece Valadão, Tarcísio Meira, Antonio Pitanga, Ana Maria Magalhães


Opening Film
Sad Vacation, AOYAMA Shinji - Japan, 136’; Tadanobu Asano, Aoi Miyazaki, Joe Odagiri, Ken Mitsuishi

Mal nascida,João CANIJO - Portugal, 117’; Márcia Breia, Anabela Moreira, Fernando Luís, Gonçalo Waddington, Tiago Rodrigues
Searchers 2.0, Alex COX - USA, 90’; Del Zamora, Jaclyn Jonet, Ed Pansullo
Cochochi, Laura Amelia GUZMAN, Israel CARDENAS - Mexico/UK/Canada, 87’; Louis A. Lerma Torres, Evaristo C. Lerma Torres
Geomen tangyi sonyeo oi (With the Girl of Black Soil), JEON Soo-il - South Korea/France, 90’; Yu Yun-Mi, Jo Yung-Jin, Hyun-Woo Park
L'Histoire de Richard O., Damien ODOUL - France, 74’; Mathieu Amalric, Stéphane Terpereau
Sügisball (Autumn Ball), Veiko ÕUNPUU - Estonia, 123’; Rain Tolk, Taavi Eelmaa, Tiina Tauraite
Die Stille vor Bach (The Silence Before Bach), Pere PORTABELLA - Spain, 102’; Àlex Brendemühl, Feodor Atkine, Christian Brembeck, Daniel Ligorio, Georg C.Biler
Exodus, Penny WOOLCOCK - UK, 111’; Daniel Percival, Anthony Johnson, Ger Ryan
Xiaoshuo (The Obscure), LÜ Yue - China, 84’; Wang Shuo, Ah Cheng, Wang Zhiwen, Wang Tong
Closing Film
Médée Miracle, Tonino DE BERNARDI - Italy/France, 80’; Isabelle Huppert, Tommaso Ragno, Giulietta De Bernardi

Orizzonti Doc

Staub (Dust), Hartmut BITOMSKY - Germany, 90‘
Madri, Barbara CUPISTI -Italy, 90’
Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga engkanto (Death in the Land of Encantos), Lav DIAZ - Philippines, 480’; Roeder Camanag, Perry Dizon, Anglei Bayani, Dante Perez, Sophia Aves
Man from Plains, Jonathan DEMME - USA, 120’; Jimmy Carter
L’Aimée, Arnaud DESPLECHIN - France, 70’; Robert Desplechin, Arnaud Desplechin, Fabrice Desplechin
San (Umbrella), DU Haibin - China, 100’
Andarilho, Cao GUIMARÃES - Brazil, 81’
Wuyong (Useless), JIA Zhangke - China, 80’; Ma Ke
Il passaggio della linea, Pietro MARCELLO - Italy, 60’
Anabazys, Joel PIZZINI, Paloma ROCHA - Brazil, 140’; Glauber Rocha, Norma Bengell, Orlando Senna
Berlin, Julian SCHNABEL - USA, 80’; Lou Reed, Emmanuelle Seigner

Spaghetti Western - Secret History of Italian Cinema 4

The films (in chronological order):
Antes llega la muerte (1964) by Joaquin Luis Romero Marchent
100.000 dollari per Ringo (1965) by Alberto De Martino
Il ritorno di Ringo (1965) by Duccio Tessari
Ringo del Nebraska (1965) by Mario Bava and Antonio Román
Un dollaro bucato (1965) by Giorgio Ferroni
Django (1965) - Uncut - by Sergio Corbucci
The Bounty Killer (1966) by Eugenio Martin
La resa dei conti (1966) by Sergio Sollima
Navajo Joe (1966) by Sergio Corbucci
Sugar Colt (1966) by Franco Giraldi
Un fiume di dollari (1966) by Carlo Lizzani
Yankee (1966) by Tinto Brass
10 000 dollari per un massacro (1967) by Romolo Guerrieri
El Desperado (1967) by Franco Rossetti
Il tempo degli avvoltoi (1967) by Nando Cicero
La morte non conta i dollari (1967) by Riccardo Freda
Se sei vivo spara (1967) - Uncut - by Giulio Questi
Ognuno per sé (1967) by Giorgio Capitani
Preparati la bara (1967) by Ferdinando Baldi
Tepepa (1968) by Giulio Petroni
Una lunga fila di croci (1968) by Sergio Garrone
E Dio disse a Caino (1969) by Antonio Margheriti
La taglia è tua l’uomo l’ammazzo io (1969) by Edoardo Mulargia
Lo chiamavano Trinità (1970) by Enzo Barboni
Matalo! (1970) by Cesare Canevari
Vamos a matar companeros (1970) by Sergio Corbucci
La vendetta è un piatto che si serve freddo (1971) by Pasquale Squitieri
Il grande duello (1972) by Giancarlo Santi
Il mio nome è Shangai Joe (1973) by Mario Caiano
Una ragione per vivere e una per morire (1973) by Tonino Valerii
I quattro dell’apocalisse (1975) by Lucio Fulci
Keoma (1976) by Enzo G. Castellari

Events in the Retrospective:
Una Questione poco privata - Conversazione con Giulio Questi (2007) by Gianfranco Pannone
Gonin no shokin kasegi (The Fort of Death, 1969) by Kudo Eiichi

To learn more about the festival go here.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 Cannes Possible Films - The Buzz

As happens every single year, Cannes buzz starts during Berlinale and gets louder when Berlinale ends.  Even do been following the buzz since then this year haven't post anything as some of you guessed right, my life has changed and now it's not easy to keep on writing for you, loyal readers.  But no matter how many changes have happened or will occur, Cannes is Cannes for me and have to (or at least will try to) write my regular posts about the buzz, my wish list and all the other stuff done in the previous years.

No, this is not my Wish List but the usual compilation of possible films that could make it to Cannes which usually do in February but well, I'm doing it a month later and by now most industry publications have done their own lists, so it's not a novelty but will be a lot easier to make it, lol.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

75th Venice International Film Festival Lineup

As was not easy to gather info about films countries submitted to Oscars 2019, decided to do the two missing posts about the 2018 Biennale as it's a lot easier to check info from only one source.  This is the lineup, the second will list the award winners.

Let's start by sharing that the festival poster was made by Lorenzo Mattotti. Mattotti says the following about his design, "I believe that a poster must have something intriguing about it, that attracts the eye, that attracts thought, but without revealing too much. It needs to have a sort of enigma, a sort of mystery to solve. After various attempts, I developed this idea of a girl of this female character – with a very graphic, unrealistic face – who looks with a rather serious expression through a lens. And instead of this lens, there’s Earth, planet Earth, symbolizing a gaze directed at us. Then there is a white square, and I believe that this combination is a successful match, because people wonder: what is that white square? I believe it is natural to think of it as a movie screen, the white screen. The gaze directed on the planet, directed on reality, must pass through this device, must be filtered through the screen".

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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query zhang yimou. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Oscar Foreign Films Predictions

Is almost sure that today Tuesday, January 17 the Academy will announce the 9-film shortlist as will give nominees 48hrs to comply with the following requirement:

III. SUBMISSION G. - Countries whose motion pictures are shortlisted will be required to provide a second English-language subtitled print or DCP of the film to facilitate voting screenings. This second print or DCP is due at the Academy by 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

Still if is not today then has to be tomorrow.

As many I’m really curious about what films the Academy will select this year and to entertain myself and hopefully you readers, here are my predictions.

Will be nominated FOR SURE
Iran: جدایی نادر از سیمین Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader and Simin, A Separation), Asghar Farhadi

So, I just need to guess 8 more… hmm…
Germany: Pina, Wim Wenders (not really sure as will be nominated as Best Documentary)
Poland: W ciemności (In Darkness), Agnieszka Holland
China: 金陵十三釵 (The Flowers of War), Zhang Yimou
France: La guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War), Valérie Donzelli
Finland: Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki
Mexico: Miss Bala, Gerado Naranjo
Brazil: Tropa de Elite 2 (Elite Squad: The Enemy Within), José Padilha
Israel: הערת שוליים (Footnote), Joseph Cedar

Above are the ones I’m guessing Academy will short list, but if selection depended from one person, me, then the list should look like this:

Turkey: Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Germany: Pina, Wim Wender
Sweden: Svinalängorna (Beyond), Pernilla August
Lebanon: وهلّأ لوين؟ Wo Hallah La Wen? (Where Do We Go Now?), Nadine Labaki
Iran: جدایی نادر از سیمین Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader and Simin, A Separation), Asghar Farhadi
Finland: Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki
France: La guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War), Valérie Donzelli
Italy: Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese
United Kingdom: Patagonia, Marc Evans

… and my Award goes to… well, not yet but believe that we all know who will win and if does it will be extremely well –deserved.


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