KNIGHT OF CUPS - Featurette For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Reveals New Footage>
By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist
September 4, 2015
It seems Terrence Malick isn't going to drop two movies this year. The director unveiled his latest, "Knight Of Cups," in Berlin in February, but it looks like neither his follow-up "Weightless" or his documentary "Voyage Of Time" will surface before the year is out. "Knight Of Cups" won't open theatrically until next year, but this featurette should hold you over.
Running a few minutes long, it finds cast members Natalie Portman, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, and Isabel Lucas sharing their experiences of shooting the movie, as lots of new, swooping footage from the film fills everything in. But what does it all add up to? According to our critic in Berlin, not a lot really, as she described it as "neither here nor there, neither great nor terrible, just an eternal dance of recollections in which nothing is answered, nothing concludes, and no one grows anything but older and more aware of the impossibility of holding on to all the fragments of time they rented throughout their lives."
"Knight Of Cups" opens on March 4, 2016.
THE LOBSTER - The Lobster: Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in exclusive trailer for dark dating satire >
The Guardian | 3 September, 2015
The Lobster, which impressed critics at this year’s Cannes film festival, stars Colin Farrell as a man living in a dystopian future that requires all single people to find love or risk being turned into wild animals. The offbeat dating satire also stars Rachel Weisz and John C Reilly and comes from Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos. The Lobster is released in the UK and Ireland from 16 October.
THE LOBSTER - Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster to have its US Premiere as the opening night film of Fantastic Fest 2015>
Austin, TX - Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - Fantastic Fest is excited to announce the second wave of programming featuring the US Premiere of Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE LOBSTERas the opening night film. Lanthimos will be in attendance to share his wonderfully surreal examination of human connections. Joining THE LOBSTER is a dazzling array of the year’s most anticipated genre films from heavyweight directors including Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic THE MARTIAN, Ben Wheatley’s HIGH-RISE and Jeremy Saulnier’s GREEN ROOM.
Fantastic Fest will also host the World Premiere of LAZER TEAM, the first feature film from web series gods Rooster Teeth. LAZER TEAM director Matt Hullum and cast members Burnie Burns, Alan Ritchson, Colton Dunn, Michael Jones, and Gavin Free will be in attendance to celebrate the highly anticipated sci-fi comedy and join Fantastic Fest’s official opening night party, presented by Rooster Teeth.
“This is a big year for genre cinema. We’re exceptionally proud to honor incredible filmmakers and welcome back some of Fantastic Fest’s favorites,” said Tim League, Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse CEO/Founder.
Fantastic Fest filmmaking alumni are represented in three of the fest’s hottest titles: HIGH-RISE, GREEN ROOM and KLOVN FOREVER. Since his debut Down Terrace world premiered and sold at Fantastic Fest, Ben Wheatley has seen all of his subsequent films play at the festival. That streak continues with HIGH-RISE, his dizzying adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s chilling view of modern life. Jeremy Saulnier follows up his Fantastic Fest smash BLUE RUIN with GREEN ROOM, a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band. On a lighter note, the lovingly idiotic Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen reunite for KLOVN FOREVER, the latest installment in their hilariously disturbing friendship.
Sticking true to Fantastic Fest’s penchant for chaos and explosive events, they welcome Itchy-O to Austin for the first time. A blazing, 32-member aural assault from the darkest depths of Colorado, Itchy-O is a wholly immersive, musical experience on a massive scale. Said festival director Kristen Bell, “We cannot wait for them to unleash their percussive mayhem on our audience as hysteria has a welcome home at Fantastic Fest.”
Emphasizing the “world” in World Premiere, this year’s slate is proud to debut titles from all corners of the globe. Regional hotbeds South Korea (Lee Sang-woo’s DIRTY ROMANCE), Denmark (Bo Mikklesen’s WHAT WE BECOME) and the United Kingdom (Gareth Bryn’s THE PASSING) are dutifully represented while attention is paid to the less familiar markets like Puerto Rico (Angel Manuel Soto’s LA GRANJA). And for the first time in Fantastic Fest history, we’re world premiering a film out of the United Arab Emirates, Majid Al Ansari’s electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller, ZINZANA.
See below for the full lineup of newly announced film titles for Fantastic Fest 2015. Final wave of titles to be announced shortly.
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD
France, Belgium, Canada, 2015
US Premiere, 90 min
Director - Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci
In an alternate history where Napoleon's heirs rule France, scientists and scholars have gone missing for years, leaving behind a world deprived of their technological innovations. In this land powered by coal and steam, young April searches for her missing scientist parents.
US Premiere, 110 min
Director - Eiichiro Hasumi
The most heart-warming, touching coming-of-age tale of 2015 just also happens to be the story of how one classroom of kids gets trained as assassins so they can kill their teacher before he destroys Earth.
US Premiere, 97 min
Director - Can Evrenol
It’s a quiet night on the beat for a mobile unit of Turkish police until they’re called out to support a squad encountering trouble in a remote building.
BELLADONNA OF SADNESS
Regional Premiere, 86 min
Director - Eiichi Yamamoto
A young and in love Jeanne is attacked by the local lord and makes a pact with the Devil himself in one of the most important rediscoveries of this year. Never before released in the US, this seminal psychedelic masterpiece has been painstakingly restored in 4k digital.
THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT
North American Premiere, 110 min
Director - Jaco Van Dormael
When Ea gets fed up with her overbearing father (who happens to be God), she decides to follow in her older brother's footsteps by leaving the house, gathering her own apostles, and writing her own testament.
US Premiere, 98 min
Director - Pablo Larraín
In a secluded Chilean village, four men lead a quiet life, trying to redeem themselves of their past sins. Their existence is threatened by the arrival of a man whose own secret may reveal all which the four have worked to forget.
COZ OV MONI 2
North American Premiere, 63 min
Directors - King Henry Blackson & FOKN Bois
Beaten, robbed and left for dead, Wanlov and M3NSA are back and looking for revenge. But first, singing. And lunch. Prepare yourself for “the world’s second first pidgin musical”!
US Premiere, 94 min
Director - Marcin Wrona
A day after discovering human remains in the backyard of their new home, a man begins experiencing strange things which come to a head on his wedding night.
South Korea, 2015
World Premiere, 94 min
Director - Lee Sang-woo
In Lee Sang-woo’s follow up to last year’s I AM TRASH, Chul-joong is too busy forcing his friend to sexually please his developmentally disabled sister to notice someone may want to actually love her for who she is.
US Premiere, 81 min
Director - Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Lucile Hadzihalilovic returns to directing with a surreal tale of a young boy on a remote island who develops a mysterious illness and is subjected to sinister medical treatments.
United States/Canada, 2015
US Premiere, 93 min
Director - Osgood Perkins
The lives of two high school students will be linked together when they’re forced to stay at their boarding school over the winter break and an evil presence starts to stalk them.
United States, 2015
US Premiere, 94 min
Director - Jeremy Saulnier
Green Room is a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band.
World Premiere, 110 min
Director - Allan Ungar
A tactical assault officer is saddled with a hard partying star out to rehabilitate his image – and avoid jail time – in this throwback to the odd couple buddy action flicks of the early ‘90s.
HARD TO GET
South Africa, 2014
Regional Premiere, 94 min
Director - Zee Ntuli
Supremely confident ladies man TK may have bitten off more than he can chew when he sets his sights on Skiets, a township beauty with an edge who sets the pair off on a non-stop rollercoaster ride through the local underworld.
United Kingdom, 2016
US Premiere, 118 min
Director - Ben Wheatley
Laing, a young doctor, joins a community in a luxury building in Thatcher’s England, who exile themselves from society and gradually divide into violent tribes.
THE KEEPING ROOM
United States, 2015
Texas Premiere, 95 min
Director - Daniel Barber
In the waning days of the Civil War, three southern women (Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld and newcomer Muna Otaru) defend themselves from two Yankees in Daniel Barber’s second film.
International Premiere, 90 min
Director - Mikkel Nørgaard
Five years have passed since the first KLOWN, and with their friendship at risk of fracturing forever, Frank must follow Casper to America... with typically disastrous results.
Texas Premiere, 120 min
Director - Frédéric Tellier
Frederic Tellier’s tight police procedural recreates the events around the decade-long search and trial of “The Beast of the Bastille,” France’s first serial killer, who was tracked down using DNA evidence.
Puerto Rico, 2015
World Premiere, 100 min
Director - Angel Manuel Soto
The lives of a midwife, a young boxer, a mute kid and a young couple collide unexpectedly in a story about the desperate pursuit of happiness on the streets of Puerto Rico.
United States, 2015
World Premiere, 93 min
Director - Matt Hullum
When Earth is threatened by an advanced alien race, our only hope lies in four morons, the self-proclaimed “Lazer Team.”
Ireland, Greece, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, 2015
US Premiere, 119 min
Director - Yorgos Lanthimos
Somewhere in the near future, single people face a choice: Join a program to find a mate in forty-five days or be transformed into an animal.
US Premiere, 92 min
Directors - Q & Nikon
Time and space collide when a possessed game grabs hold of two friends eager for a sinful night of sex and drugs in Indian auteur Q’s first foray into horror.
MAN VS SNAKE
United States/Canada/Italy/Japan, 2015
World Premiere, 93 min
Directors - Andrew Seklir and Tim Kinzy
1984. One shiny quarter. 44.5 hours of continuous play. The race to be the first gamer in history to score one BILLION points. Until recently, Timothy McVey (not the terrorist) thought he had — for all these years — held the world record on Nibbler. Note: a Nibbler cabinet will be available in the lobby for the duration of Fantastic Fest for attendees to attempt to break the current world record.
United States, 2015
Special Screening, 120 min
Director - Ridley Scott
Get ready to be blown away by Fox's latest action-packed 3D adventure, THE MARTIAN starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig with a special screening of the upcoming film directed by Ridley Scott. THE MARTIAN is the story of what happens during a manned mission to Mars, when Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission.
MEN AND CHICKEN
US Premiere, 100 min
Director - Anders Thomas Jensen
Mads Mikkelsen as only his longtime absurdist Danish collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen could conceive, a chronic masturbator with a hair-trigger temper, desperately searches for his true identity.
THE MIND’S EYE
United States, 2015
US Premiere, 87 min
Director - Joe Begos
On the heels of his Fantastic Fest debut ALMOST HUMAN, Joe Begos returns with a classic battle of good versus evil. A drifter with suppressed psychic powers must learn to unleash them to save the woman he loves.
THE MISSING GIRL
United States, 2015
US Premiere, 89 min
Director - A.D.Calvo
Mort, a lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, has fallen for his new employee Ellen, a smart, aspiring graphic novelist. A dark past and a missing girl, however, will complicate their story more than anyone can imagine.
United Kingdom, 2015
World Premiere, 87 min
Director - Gareth Bryn
After their car is driven off the road and crashed into a river, a young couple on the run is taken in by a simple man living with his secrets in his isolated home.
US Premiere, 99 min
Director - Eric Hannezo
Four violent criminals escaping a robbery take a man, an ailing child and a young woman on a nightmarish road trip in this remake of Mario Bava’s near-lost Euro-crime nasty.
US Premiere, 88 min
Director - Jamie M. Dagg
In the south of Laos, an American volunteer doctor becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant's body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control.
United States, 2015
Regional Premiere, 107 min
Director - Dennis Hauck
A troubled private eye trawls through the belly of Los Angeles looking for a missing young woman, slowly revealing a careful web of intrigue, lies and connections.
WHAT WE BECOME
World Premiere, 85 min
Director - Bo Mikkelsen
An idyllic suburban summer is shattered with the outbreak of an unexplained disease. With residents forced into quarantine with no explanation, the situation quickly spirals out of control.
Canada/United States, 2015
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director - Robert Eggers
Sixty years before the Salem witch trials, a Puritan moves his family away from civilization to a homestead which shares its borders with inescapable evil.
Texas Premiere, 115 min
Director - Takashi Miike
After a yakuza vampire boss is struck down, his most loyal disciple takes it upon himself to avenge his mentor’s death and eliminate the assassins and their giant plush frog leader in Miike’s classic yakuza tale turned inside out.
United Arab Emirates, Jordan, 2015
World Premiere, 91 min
Director - Majid Al Ansari
Talal wakes up in a cell with no memory of the night before with no I.D. and no escape. Nothing can prepare him, however, for the arrival of a brilliant psychopath and the games he wants to play.
QUEEN OF EARTH - Queen of Earth NY Times Review : Elisabeth Moss at All Angles in ‘Queen of Earth’>
The NY Times | August 25, 2015 | by Manohla Dargis
When you first see Catherine, she’s looking upward, her teary, blotchy face filling the frame. She’s suffering, all right, you better believe it, although she doesn’t seem to be doing a particularly good job of convincing the guy who’s mostly off-camera. She looks like a mess — pathetic, really, with her smeared black eye makeup and the tears that just keep pooling and dribbling. The funny thing is that with her wet raccoon eyes and red nose, Catherine — a sensational Elisabeth Moss — also looks like a sad clown. All that’s missing is the black velvet background.
By the time Catherine exits “Queen of Earth,” her frown has turned upside down and a grimace of abject misery has transformed into a vision of manic happiness as if she had traded in her tragedy mask for a comedy one. That it’s unclear which face is scarier, more unnerving, is in keeping with the director Alex Ross Perry’s gift for destabilization, for setting a mood only to violently upend it with cutting looks, dissonant musical chords and off-kilter camera angles. That Catherine seems to be swapping theater masks even as Ms. Moss brings tremendous depth of feeling to the role is in line with the arch self-consciousness of “Queen of Earth,” an art film in quotation marks.
Women’s tears — drops of joy and madness both — have nourished innumerable movies, art cinema included. The wellspring for Catherine’s opening waterworks is twofold: Her beloved father, a famous painter, has recently died, and her lover, James (Kentucker Audley, all smiles and spinelessness), is now leaving her for another woman. In many contemporary movies, the director would cut back and forth between Catherine and James’s faces during this scene, for a typical shot, reverse-shot exchange. Often, the camera would make like Tinker Bell, flitting between the characters to peek from behind one and gawp at the other. Mr. Perry avoids over-the-shoulder shots, but, as suggested by the opener that turns Catherine’s face into a landscape of pain, he likes claustrophobic close-ups.
Like the movie, these close-ups are alternately mesmerizing and suffocating, which dovetails with Mr. Perry’s pull-push strategy of bringing you uncomfortably close to the action, to the tears and the drama, only to shove you away. Some of this may be a matter of artistic temperament and Mr. Perry’s interest in exploring the more rancid manifestations of human behavior, but it also serves his narrative experimentation here. “Queen of Earth” largely focuses on Catherine during a summer visit with her ostensible best friend, Virginia (Katherine Waterston), who’s been given the keys to a country retreat belonging to relatives. And while Catherine may be ready to lick her wounds, she doesn’t stand a chance given how deeply Virginia jabs her fingers in them.
Perched comfortably between art house and mainstream filmmaking idioms, Mr. Perry does a great deal with his hybrid visual style, emotional palette, restricted location and a minimal cast that includes a very good Patrick Fugit as Virginia’s neighbor. The story folds in several time frames, including the days of Catherine’s visit that are announced on screen in red, elegant typeface. The typeface was designed by Teddy Blanks, who created the Philip Rothian books strewn through Mr. Perry’s last feature, “Listen Up Philip,” a few of which — “Madness & Women” included — pop up in “Queen of Earth.” As beautiful and slashing as Catherine and Virginia, the typeface looks similar to the one in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” one of the classics that inform Mr. Perry’s work here.
You may also think of the two women in Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” whom Susan Sontag described as “engaged in a desperate duel of identities” — a nice, concise description of what happens in “Queen of Earth” too. In “Persona,” a mute patient and a talkative nurse circle each other in what Sontag also described as “the duel between two mythical parts of a single self.” It’s worth nothing that someone in “Queen of Earth” has put a statue of two fencers in the room that Catherine stays in and where she retreats into herself. It’s there that she stares down plates of wilted salad that would make suitable appetizers for the putrefying rabbit (a would-be dinner) that haunts Catherine Deneuve in Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion,” yet another touchstone about crazy women and the male directors who love them.
There are times in “Queen of Earth” when Mr. Perry, who’s content to skim the surface rather than break it, comes across like an exceptionally gifted student trying his hand at art-cinema pastiche. To that end, it can be entertaining to watch him flip through its playbook, trying out oblique angles and off-center staging while the composer Keegan DeWitt’s dissonant, mood-altering score samples the Euro-style hits.
Mr. Perry and his cinematographer, Sean Price Williams, oscillate between fixed and moving cameras, and there’s a terrific scene in which the camera shifts from Catherine to Virginia and back again as each shares a defining story. Ms. Waterston, a Modigliani in motion and often in black, easily holds your attention, but it is Ms. Moss, with her intimate expressivity, who annihilates you from first tear to last crushing laugh.
QUEEN OF EARTH - Alex Ross Perry Is Living the Arrogant, Obnoxious Film-Student Dream>
Vanity Fair | August 24, 2015 | by Jordan Hoffman
When students enter Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the dare-to-dream goal is to hold public office. When they enter the film program at N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts, the goal, whether they know it or not, is to be Alex Ross Perry. He’s a prolific writer-director respected by critics and other filmmakers, and he just got his first big studio paycheck. But he still makes time to attend every hip N.Y.C. rep screening, from Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek to Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, and write the occasional column and kibbitz on the slightly amorphous public forum known as “Film Twitter.” Whether you like his work or not is slightly beside the point—the guy is living the dream.
“If you had asked me when I was an arrogant, obnoxious film student what my future would be like, I would have described it being this,” Perry tells me while nursing a mug of tea in one of Brooklyn’s few remaining ungentrified diners. “I have no other interests or marketable talents.”
At age 31 his fourth feature, Queen of Earth, is hitting the art-house circuit after a successful bow at the Berlinale. His last picture, Listen Up Philip, starring Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss, landed on many critics’ Best of 2014 lists. His first feature, Impolex, made for $15,000 (“less than my thesis film!”), loosely riffs on “the Zone” from Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. His follow-up was the savagely funny sibling comedy The Color Wheel, which, along with Listen Up Philip, intentionally evokes the spirit of Philip Roth. All of Perry’s movies are shot, unlike nearly every other modern indie movie, on film.
Queen of Earth feels different from the opening frame, with a bit of florid, almost supernatural dread. Elisabeth Moss is Catherine, a woman getting dumped just after her father, an important artist, has died. She takes an annual retreat to a lake house owned by the family of her friend (Katherine Waterston). Things quickly get moody, dark, and maybe dangerous. Like the best of Roman Polanski, it’s a claustrophobic, tense, and strangely engrossing look at a descent into madness. It’s a terrific film, but a triumph for the two leads, who grab our attention during an epic single-take dual-monologue early in the movie.
“We did three takes. The first was perfect, but we rolled-out with maybe four sentences to go,” Perry shrugs, offering no overture to the fact that this issue is essentially an anachronism in a world where every low-budget filmmaker shoots on video. “We made slight adjustments, but it was to fast. It threw the rhythms. The third take had maybe 30 feet left on the roll.”
Early notices for Queen of Earth have mentioned Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and Polanski’s The Tenant, but it was Robert Altman’s somewhat forgotten film Images that was the biggest influence. “We showed [Elisabeth] stills from Images and also two Fassbinder films that are single-location movies about women, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Martha.” Normally Perry is queasy about asking actors to watch other performances, but he and longtime D.P. Sean Price Williams wanted her to have a reference point for any shorthand they might have used on set.
Familiarity is an increasing boon for Perry, who hopes to continue working with Moss. “It would be peculiar to make two movies 11 months apart when we’re 30 and never work together again,” he tells me. “Plus, you don’t really have to clear your schedule if you are only shooting for 12 days in one location, with no one giving you notes, no one interfering.”
Perry is currently at work on two new projects. One is an option on Don DeLillo’s The Names, a somewhat experimental novel from 1982 about an American risk-assessment analyst based in Athens, and, in a clear and obvious complement to that, writing the screenplay for Disney’s live-action revamp of Winnie the Pooh. That’s not a misprint!
The basic pitch is that Christopher Robin, now older, returns to the Hundred Acre Wood and sees his old pals again. Sound a tad familiar?
“I am fortunate in that I don’t like Hook and did not see it as a kid, so I am in no danger of being drawn to it,” Perry promises as I rib him a bit on the similarities to Steven Spielberg’s grown-up Peter Pan riff. He’s also a little cagey about whether Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and the others will be animated or live-action. “Winnie the Pooh is not about animals, it’s about stuffed animals. A common problem for Pooh Bear is that he splits his seam, not that he bleeds. It’s not Doctor Doolittle.”
While it may seem odd that Perry’s the one who got the gig, he says it grew out of shopping a different children’s project around for some time. “Disney is right now looking at their vault, trying to find new ways to create versions of classic stories. I got on the phone with a producer with a take. I’ve done this 10 other times for 10 other jobs that I didn’t get. Eventually I was the only one left they were talking to. The studio development process has been fascinating to me, ever since I saw Robert Altman’s The Player. ‘We hear 10,000 pitches a year. We make 12 movies.’”
The Names seems the more appropriate evolution for Perry, even if it is the first time he’s adapting someone else’s work. “It’s mainly character sketches,” he agrees, when I comment that The Names isn’t exactly plot-heavy. “In all of DeLillo’s books all there are engagements with genre. Thriller elements. The wrong way would be to embellish that in a way that diminishes what he’s trying to do.” He quickly adds that if that were his plan, he’d never be in a position to do it—he’d never get the rights. “ There aren’t a lot of options on his books,” Perry tells me, before complimenting David Cronenberg’s 2012 adaptation of Cosmopolis starring Robert Pattinson. “It’s very maligned, but I loved it. It’s true to the work.”
A conversation with Alex Ross Perry is quick to dovetail into his, as he puts it, democratic love of film. You are as likely to run into him at a six-hour event screening of a new Matthew Barney project as a four-in-a-row marathon of Jean-Claude Van Damme pictures at the Yonkers outpost of the Alamo Drafthouse. “I always selfishly fantasize that I’m the only person who’ll go to this and to this, but I know it’s not true,” he confesses. But as his calendar gets busier, he admits that he’s more likely to go with “low, trash cinema” when given options. “Seven Giallo [Italian horror] films at Anthology Film Archives or another Raoul Walsh movie. I’ve seen 15, 20 Raoul Walsh movies, there are another 60 to go. I went with a friend to one last night and we said, ‘This has nothing to offer us.’ What do I go to the movies for? I go to enjoy myself.”
As our tea cooled and the doughnut on my plate was reduced to mere crumbs, we began a bit of cinephile ping-pong. Does someone with such voluminous moviegoing tastes have any genres that just don’t land with him?
“The twee, teen feel-good indies. I can’t watch those. And I can’t do a second- or third-tier computer animated. I’ll see a Pixar movie, but that’s as far as I can go.”
Any beloved auteurs that just never clicked?
“I don’t dig Ozu. The kind of simple, elegant, understated humanity doesn’t connect with me at all. I’ve seen around five of his films, so not enough to state ‘this is how I feel,’ but I’ve never seen one that makes me want to see another 10. Also, I’m now at a point where Altman’s Images is such a big film for me, but he never meant much to me before. I would put five of his films in my top 250 of all time, but the rest in the discount bin, basically.”
Favorite Spielberg film?
“Zabriskie Point. I’ve seen Blow-Up in the theater six times and I’ve fallen asleep during it six times. I’ve had to stop saying ‘Oh, man, I’m so tired’ and just admit, ‘You know what? I don’t like this movie.’”
“Juliet of the Spirits.”
“The Touch. Masterpiece. Four stars. He’s got other four stars, but that one immediately jumps out at me. I thought of that film when I was writing Listen Up Philip. A miserable piece-of-shit man.”
Brian De Palma?
“Blow Out. I’m from Philadelphia, and it’s a great Philadelphia movie.”
“Probably Rushmore. I admire the transition from Bottle Rocket to Rushmore.”
“For years I was saying The Tenant, but now I honestly think The Ghost Writer.”
“I don’t know. Maybe Masculin Féminin. I watched all those movies a lot when I was in college. Then they all came around again a few years ago—that one emerged as my favorite. I never liked Pierrot le Fou. It’s one of those like Blow-Up. I’ve seen it, like, four times and every time I’m like, ‘This will be the time I just love it!’ And then it’s, ‘I don’t like this movie.’”
“I’m very fond of Kiss Me, Stupid, which had a bizarre controversy to it at the time. And I like One, Two, Three a lot.”
“Husbands and Wives. There could be no debate for me. This is it, by a mile. I think it’s for me and my personal taste the most aesthetically perfect film I’ve ever seen. I have never seen, and I may never see, a movie that gets closer to my ideal version of what cinema should look like.”
It was a fun game, and could have gone on another hour, especially with me chiding him. (Winter Light is Bergman’s best, come on!) But there’s talking about movies and there’s the business of making them. Perry had deadlines waiting for him back at his apartment, and a lot of work to do.
CHEVALIER - Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier wins a Special Jury Mention at the 21st Sarajevo Film Festival and its male ensemble receive the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor>
Screendaily | 22 August, 2015 | By Vladan Petkovic
Acting awards split between casts of Mustang and Chevalier, Son Of Saul wins Special Jury Prize.
The 21st Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 14-22) wrapped tonight with Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang winning the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Feature Film.
The film also received the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actress, which went to its whole female cast: Güneş Şensoy, Doga Doğuşlu, Tuğba Sunguroğlu, Elit İşcan, and Ilayda Akdoğan.
László Nemes picked up the Special Jury Prize for Holocaust drama Son Of Saul.
Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier won a Special Jury Mention, and its male ensemble, consisting of Yorgos Kéntros, Vangelis Mouríkis, Panos Kóronis, Makis Papadimitríou, Yorgos Pyrpassópoulos, and Sakis Rouvás received the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor.
The Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary went to Alexander Nanau’s Toto And His Sisters, while the same award in the short film competition went to A Matter Of Will by Montenegro’s Dušan Kasalica.
CineLink awards saw A Ballad by director Aida Begić and producer Adis Djapo win the Eurimages Co-production Development Award, while the project The Son by director Ines Tanović and producer Alem Babić received the Macedonian Film Agency Award, and EAVE Scholarship for the latter.
In the Works in Progress selection, the Post Republic Award went to The Fixer by director Adrian Sitaru and producer Anamaria Antoci, and director Ralitza Petrova and producer Rossitsa Valkanova got the Restart Award for Godless.
COMPETITION PROGRAMME – FEATURE FILM
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST FEATURE FILM:
Turkey, France, Germany, Qatar
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Financial Award, in the amount of 16,000 €, is provided by Council of Europe
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE:
SON OF SAUL / SAUL FIA
Director: László Nemes
Financial Award, in the amount of 10,000 €, is provided by Agnes B.
SPECIAL JURY MENTION:
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTRESS:
Güneş Şensoy, Doga Doğuşlu, Tuğba Sunguroğlu, Elit İşcan, Ilayda Akdoğan (Mustang / Turkey, France, Germany, Qatar)
Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTOR:
Yorgos Kéntros, Vangelis Mouríkis, Panos Kóronis, Makis Papadimitríou, Yorgos Pyrpassópoulos, Sakis Rouvás (Chevalier / Greece)
Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €
COMPETITION PROGRAMME – SHORT FILM
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST SHORT FILM:
A MATTER OF WILL / BISERNA OBALA
Director: Dušan Kasalica
SPECIAL JURY MENTION:
DAMAGED GOODS / KALO
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Director: Nermin Hamzagić
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
TUESDAY / SALI
Director: Ziya Demirel
COMPETITION PROGRAMME – DOCUMENTARY FILM
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM:
TOTO AND HIS SISTERS / TOTO ŞI SURORILE LUI
Director: Alexander Nanau
Financial award, in the amount of 3,000 €, is provided by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR COMPETITION PROGRAMME DOCUMENTARY FILM:
Director: Tamás Almási
Financial Award, in the amount of 2,500 €, is provided by Al Jazeera Balkans.
SPECIAL JURY MENTION:
Director: Vladimir Tomić
HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD:
ONE DAY IN SARAJEVO / JEDAN DAN U SARAJEVU
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria
Director: Jasmila Žbanić
Award for the best film of the Competition Programme - Documentary Film dealing with the subject of human rights. Award in the amount of 3,000 € is granted by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
YOUNG AUDIENCE AWARD
NEXT TO ME / PORED MENE
EURIMAGES CO-PRODUCTION DEVELOPMENT AWARD:
A BALLAD (Director: Aida Begić / Producer: Adis Djapo)
ARTE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS CINELINK AWARD:
HAMARAT APARTMENT (Huseyin Karabey / Su Baloglu)
MACEDONIAN FILM AGENCY CINELINK AWARD:
THE SON (Ines Tanović / Alem Babić)
LIVING PICTURES SERVICE CINELINK AWARD:
SOLDIERS (Ivana Mladenović / Ada Solomon)
in kind support up to 10,000 €
SYNCHRO FILM VIENNA CINELINK AWARD:
A BALLAD (Aida Begić / Adis Đapo)
HAMARAT APARTMENT (Huseyin Karabey / Su Baloglu)
THE SON (Ines Tanović / Alem Babić)
in kind support up to 2,500 € each
WORK IN PROGRESS AWARDS
POST REPUBLIC AWARD:
THE FIXER (Adrian Sitaru / Anamaria Antoci)
in kind post production services worth 50.000 €
GODLESS (Ralitza Petrova / Rossitsa Valkanova)
in kind support worth 20.000 €
QUEEN OF EARTH - Queen of Earth Review>
Paste magazine | August 23, 2015 | by Andy Crump
Is Alex Ross Perry America’s best contemporary filmmaker? If your voice is counted among the uproar raised over Perry’s 2014 film, Listen Up Philip, that shouldn’t even be a question, but that film plays only to palates honed to withstand the acrid taste of wanton awfulness. Perry makes lovely, fractured movies about hideous people. Watching his work delights the mind while corroding the soul. Sharp staccato dialogue and humor as black as pitch don’t ameliorate the bothersome notion that we’re enabling his parades of misery. Taken from that angle, Perry’s latest, Queen of Earth, feels like more of the same, except that it overflows with an urgent sense of humanity that his past efforts willfully elide.
The movie is no less disquieting for Perry’s newfound compassion, of course. Why wouldn’t it be? Perry doesn’t go easy on his viewers, which in part is why he’s earned such cachet among cinephiles with such a slim feature filmography. The Perry experience is a sprint. You have to be quick on your feet if you expect to keep up with him. He crams so much writing and tension into each scene that Queen of Earth feels longer than it actually is, which is more of a compliment than it sounds. Faint-hearted types might want to give the film a pass, then, if not for its density then for its disposition. It’s a kinder picture than Listen Up Philip that amazingly manages to be twice as merciless. We have no reason to give a damn about Philip. Here, we can’t help but feel for Catherine (Elisabeth Moss). She’s a woman smack-dab in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
We’re introduced to Catherine in the most unflattering of ways as Queen of Earth opens. Perry’s lens presses relentlessly toward her face while she stares off-frame, wild-eyed and tear-streaked as her boyfriend James (Kentucker Audley, the absolute worst movie boyfriend in 2015) breaks up with her. Their disunion isn’t the worst thing to happen to Catherine: Her dad, a preeminent New York artist, is recently deceased, too, and the sudden split with James leaves her in a precarious mental state and with almost no one left to love her. The only caring soul Catherine can reliably call on is her bestie, Virginia (Katherine Waterston), and so Catherine makes for Virginia’s parents’ lake house to patch herself up and move on with her life.
Moving on swiftly becomes a bleak, agonizing farce. If you haven’t seen any of Perry’s movies, you can’t begin to imagine how poorly that goes, and even if you have, Queen of Earth still may knock you off your guard. The film is about women trapped in cycles of dissatisfaction and disappointment, and how their personal cycles merge into a larger, more insidious cycle. Decorum dissolves with breathtaking alacrity once Catherine and Virginia settle in: The seams of their relationship start splitting several stitches at a time. Men—not just James, but Virginia’s neighbor, Rich (Patrick Fugit)—are only a partial factor in the sundering of this friendship. The rest is all passive-aggression, aggressive-aggression, and resentments both spoken and unspoken.
Perry crystallizes the fault lines in their bond before the first act scarcely begins. He’s making real-life horror: No skeletons, spirits, or haunts, just the mounting dread of Catherine’s slow disintegration. Queen of Earth is chiefly about her, but Virginia remains the audience surrogate. Like us, she can only watch helplessly as Catherine molders right in front of her. Catherine complains of pain in her face, she barely eats, she breaks out in fits of incongruous giggling, and even though she met Rich a year prior, she can’t remember him in the present. She’s bad with faces, she claims, but funny thing: Perry is great with them. He seems to have cast Moss and Waterston explicitly for their faces, in fact, littering the film with reaction shots, monologues, and duologues to get the most mileage out of their expressive and emotive gifts.
All the while Perry’s camera busies itself by invading his leads’ personal space, most notably in a stellar extended take that glides back and forth from one actress to the other as they trade emotional war stories and bitter reflections on human nature. We feel like we’re intruding on, and adding to, their rising friction. The effect is mesmerizingly voyeuristic and intimately cinematic. Perry’s previous films draw inspiration from writers. Queen of Earth, appropriately enough, takes its cues from the movies instead: Ingmar Bergman and Herk Harvey, Adrian Lyne and Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Robert Altman. For that reason alone, Perry’s fourth outing feels like better proof of his claim as the heir apparent to the throne of U.S. independent film than either Listen Up Philip or 2011’s The Color Wheel.
But if Queen of Earth is the most definitive step in the director’s ascendancy, its best merits are its leads. Moss and Waterston deliver. The movie is theirs first and Perry’s second, though when you’re directing women this gifted, you probably don’t mind that they’re overshadowing you.
QUEEN OF EARTH - Elisabeth Moss breaks down in exclusive clip from Queen of Earth>
Entertainment Weekly | August 21 2015 | By Clark Collis
In the new drama Queen of Earth, Elisabeth Moss plays a woman named Catherine who decides to spend time at the vacation home belonging to the family of her friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston from Inherent Vice and the forthcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) to recover from a traumatic chapter in her life.
Written and directed by Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip), and costarring Patrick Fugit, Kentucker Audley, and Kate Lyn Sheil, Queen of Earth opens in New York on Aug. 26 and will also be available to watch on VOD and via iTunes from that date.
You can see a traumatized Moss in the opening, expletive-featuring, scene from Queen of Earth, below, as well as the film’s trailer.
KNIGHT OF CUPS - New International Poster For Terrence Malick’s 'Knight Of Cups'>
By Edward Davis | The Playlist
August 14, 2015
Terrence Malick is no longer the cinematic equivalent of Halley’s comet. But even though the elusive filmmaker has shot three films in the last few odd years or so, none of them have come out theatrically, yet. The first is actually 100% done and in the can. It's the filmmaker’s expressionistic drama about the emptiness of success in Hollywood, “Knight Of Cups” which premiered earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival (read our review). Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman, along with many other notable appearances, the reception was somewhat mixed. That however, didn’t stop distributor Broad Green Pictures from snapping up the movie rights for 'Cups' plus two more in-the-can Malick films.
The second project, once going by the loose title of “Weightless” (though that won’t be its final title), is a relationship love triangle film set in Austin, Texas and its music scene. It stars Christian Bale, Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, and Michael Fassbender along with more potential cameos. While that film shot in 2013, it still hasn’t surfaced and it doesn’t seem likely that it will be appearing at any of the fall film festivals either.
The third project is a documentary that Malick has been working on for quite awhile. Titled “Voyage Of Time,” and reportedly akin to a NOVA or Discovery Channel movie about the creation of the universe in IMAX, with narrations by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Since this has been under wraps for several years, it's unsure what it will eventually turn into, or if their contributions remain.
You won’t get a chance to see a new Malick movie until next year; Broad Green is releasing the movie in March 2016. Considering there’s no Malick on the horizon in Venice, Toronto or Telluride, Malick and Broad Green could repeat this pattern for a few years: you’ll see a movie theatrically every year, but a new one will probably pop-up along the festival circuit too. In the meantime, check out a new international poster for “Knight Of Cups” below.
CHEVALIER - Indiewire Review : 'Chevalier' is a Buddy Comedy With a Bigger Purpose From Athina Rachel Tsangari>
Indiewire | August 12, 2015 | By Eric Kohn
The director of "Attenberg" is back with another original look at human behavior.
An early poster for Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari's "Chevalier" features the cryptic tagline "a buddy movie without buddies," which aptly describes the macho rivalries at its center. Tsangari's inventive story follows six apparently wealthy men on a ship in the Aegean Sea playing a vaguely-defined game to determine which of them holds the greatest traits. It's never entirely clear whether they're all just messing around or feel a deeper urge to triumph in their eccentric contest. The only certainty is Tsangari has delivered another intriguing and thoroughly original character study, which this time serves as an apt metaphor for Greece's larger problems.
Over the course of "Chevalier," friendships are indeed tested, gossip circulates and flaws are scrutinized, all within the confines of the boat. The minimalist setting fits a premise so tightly contained that it constantly threatens to become overly precocious. Instead, Tsangari maintains an impressive grasp of each man's oddball tendencies, yielding a fascinating — if occasionally meandering — study of competitive spirit.
Such inquisitive themes and bizarre conceits should hit a familiar note for anyone versed in the so-called "Greek Weird Wave," composed mainly of Tsangari's films and those made by her regular collaborator Yorgos Lanthimos ("Dogtooth," "Alps," "The Lobster"). While Lanthimos' dark comedies tend to follow twisted paths, Tsangari offers comparatively warmer, playful encounters with baffled characters trapped in cycles beyond their control.
"Chevalier" excels at this tendency: By boiling down its premise to a single environment and focusing on the way obsession can lead to chaos, it offers a keen allegory for the institutional dysfunction that may have led to Greece's debilitated economy. But it also rises above the restrictions of topical metaphors. Joining Tsangari's idiosyncratic coming of age tale "Attenberg" and her experimental look at femininity "The Capsule," the new movie offers further proof of Tsangari's status as one of the most innovative chroniclers of human behavior working today.
While the earlier movies focused on women, Tsangari's shift to an all-male cast points to her wry scrutiny of gender dynamics. In its most basic form, the story unfolds as an absurdist comedy about virile behavior reduced to a primal state. While near-ethnographic in theory, "Chevalier" only occasionally struggles from cerebral remove; mostly, the filmmaker delivers a fun and constantly unexpected ocean romp wherein seemingly innocuous challenges lead ludicrous antics.
As "Chevalier" begins, the men depart from a relaxing day at the beach and begin to head home. At first, it's unclear exactly how they all relate to each other. Tsangari hurdles through a series of mundane exchanges about fish, women and other routine topics, a keen method of universalizing the scenario. Eventually, however, their particular dynamic takes shape. Lording over the vessel is a wealthy doctor (Yorgos Kentros) who regards his companions with a stern paternal gaze.
That's especially true for Christos (Sakis Rouvas), who's married to the doctor's daughter, though he's also concerned for Josef (Vangelis Mourikis), an older, hard-partying free spirit convinced of his lasting sexual prowess. But everyone tends to regard the portly goofball Dimitris (Makis Papadimitriou) as the least responsible of the group, as he wanders around with a confounded stare, providing the greatest source of comic relief.
Over the course of an evening over drinks, the men come around to deciding they'll engage in a competition to determine which of them deserves the title of "best ever," a hilariously imprecise concept that leads to various outrageous outcomes. Before long, the men are wielding notebooks and scribbling down judgements of their pals while forging alliances in the hopes of upping their odds for winning the chevalier signet ring they've agreed to be their prize. (The staff looks on with continuing bewilderment.) Carefully scripted by Tsangari and Efthimis Filippou, "Chevalier" reveals this scenario with such subtlety that by the time all the pieces take shape it's easy to forget the sheer ridiculousness of the stakes.
Tsangari's premise can only carry the material so far, and at times "Chevalier" lags from redundant exchanges as it continues to linger in the obsessive exchanges taking place around the boat. In the process of turning the peculiar material into something credible, Tsangari normalizes it, to the point where some scenes have a tendency to drag. Still, the wildly different traits among this close-knit ensemble contributes to a generally unpredictable trajectory, as well as a macabre quality that suggests these misadventures could take a dark turn at any moment.
"Chevalier" could easily have been conceived as a juvenile studio comedy aimed squarely at the sensibilities of boorish young men. (The fuzzy-haired dolt played by Papadimitriou suggests the love child of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill.) Instead, Tsangari threads the conceit into a highbrow look at the psychological forces behind the outrageous hijinks in play.
Even so, "Chevalier" remains eager to please, with the narrative repeatedly arriving at hilarious sequences, including one revolving around a self-described "beautiful erection," not to mention a ridiculous song-and-dance number, and more than one instance of comical bloodshed. Considering the sheer inanity of the contest, the ridiculous extremes embraced by each man provide a recurring source of humorous payoff.
Gorgeously shot almost exclusively within the confines of the boat, "Chevalier" joins Roman Polanski's "Knife in the Water" in the small pantheon of movies that wield that setting to their advantage. With few distractions, the entire narrative revolves around the nuances of facial expressions and body language. The movie presents these details like puzzle pieces with no precise fit. Clarity only arrives with the surprisingly charming finale, which posits that life is just one big game no matter one chooses to play it.
CHEVALIER - Athina Rachel Tsangari's 'Chevalier' to have it's world premiere at the 2015 Locarno Festival>
Locarno to open with Demme's 'Flash'; 14 world premieres in main competition
World premieres for new films by Athina Rachel Tsangari, Hong Sangsoo, Ben Rivers; Southpaw, Trainwreck among Piazza Grande titles.
The 68th Locarno Film Festival (August 5-15) will open with Jonathan Demme’s musical comedy-drama Ricki And The Flash, in which Meryl Streep stars as a musician who tries to make things right with her family after giving up everything to pursue her dream of rock-and-roll stardom.
Written by Diablo Cody, the film gets a Piazza Grande berth alongside Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, Catherine Corsini’s La Belle Saison and Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw.
Also playing is Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter. Cimino is being honoured with a Pardo D’onore Swisscom and will be taking part in an onstage conversation.
14 of the 18 films competing in the festival’s International Competition section for the Golden Leopard Award are world premieres including Andrzej Zulawski’s Cosmos, Ben Rivers’ The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier and Hong Sangsoo’s Right Now, Wrong Then.
The Cineasts of the Present section, showcasing first and second features, is made up of 14 titles, including Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, Vincent Macaigne’s Dom Juan and Senem Tuzen’s Ana Yurdu.
The Signs Of Life section, which launched in 2014 and is aimed at showcasing experimental films and new voices, includes L’accademia Delle Muse by José Luis Guerin and Jiongjiong Qui’s Mr Zhang Believes.
Among this year’s honourees are Edward Norton, who will be presented with the festival’s Excellence Award as well as taking part in an onstage conversation; Andy Garcia, who will take away the Leopard Club Award; Teco Celio, who will receive the Premio Cinema Ticino; and Russian filmmaker Marlen Khutsiev who will receive the Pardo alla carriera.
Other high profile attendees at the festival are expected to include Chantal Akerman, Clémence Poésy, Marco Bellocchio and Amy Schumer.
This year’s retrospective is dedicated to Sam Peckinpah while strand Open Doors will focus on films from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.
Amnesia, dir Barbet Schroeder (Switzerland/France)
Bombay Velvet, dir Anurag Kashyap (India)
Der Staat Gegen Frtiz Bauer, dir Lars Kraume (Germany)
Erlkonig, dir Georges Schwizgebel (Switzerland)
Floride, dir Philippe Le Guay (France)
Guibord S’en Va-T-En-Guerre, dir Philippe Falardeau (Canada)
Heliopolis, dir Sérgio Machado (Brazil)
Pugni In Tasca, dir Marco Bellocchio (Italy)
Jack, dir Elisabeth Scharang (Austria)
La Belle Saison, dir Catherine Corsini (France)
La Vanite, dir Lionel Baier (Switzerland/France)
Le Dernier Passage, dir Pascal Magontier (France)
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, dir Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (US)
Pastorale Cilentana, dir Mario Martone (Italy)
The Laundryman, dir LEE Chung (Taiwan)
Southpaw, dir Antoine Fuqua (US)
The Deer Hunter, dir Michael Cimino (UK/US)
Trainwreck, dir Judd Apatow (US)
Bella E Perduta, dir Pietro Marcello (Italy)
Brat Dejan, dir Bakur Bakuradze (Russia/Serbia)
Chevalier, dir Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece)
Cosmos, dir Andrzej Zulawski (France/Portugal)
Entertainment, dir Rick Alverson (US)
Happy Hour, dir Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)
Heimatland, dir Lisa Blatter, Gregor Frei, Jan Gassmann, Benny Jaberg, Carmen Jaquier, Michael Krummenacher, Jonas Meier, Tobias Nölle, Lionel Rupp, Mike Scheiwiller (Switzerland/Germany)
James White, dir Josh Mond (US)
Right Now, Wrong Then, dir Sangsoo HONG (South Korea)
Ma Dar Behesht (Paradise), dir Sina Ataeian Dena (Iran/Germany)
No Home Movie, dir Chantal Akerman (Belgium/France)
O Futebol, dir Sergio Oksman (Spain)
Schneider Vs Bax, dir Alex van Warmerdam (Netherlands/Belgium)
Suite Armoricaine, dir Pascale Breton (France)
Sulanga Gini Aran, (Dark in the White Light), dir Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka)
Te Prometo Anarquia, dir Julio Hernández Cordón (Mexico/Germany)
The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, dir Ben Rivers
(UK) World Premiere
Tikkun, dir Avishai Sivan (Israel)
CINEASTS OF THE PRESENT
Dead Slow Ahead, dir Mauro Herce (Spain/France)
Der Nachtmahr, dir Akiz (Germany)
Dom Juan, dir Vincent Macaigne (France)
Dream Land, dir Steve Chen (Cambodia/US)
El Movimiento, dir Benjamín Naishtat (Argentina/South Korea)
Le Grand Jeu, dir Nicolas Pariser (France)
Les Etres Chers, dir Anne Émond (Canada)
Lu Bian Ye Can, dir BI Gan (China)
Moj Brate – Mio Fratello, dir Nazareno Manuel Nicoletti (Italy/Canada/Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Olmo & The Seagull, dir Petra Costa, Lea Glob (Denmark/Brazil/Portugal/France)
Siembra, dir Ángela Osorio Rojas, Santiago Lozano Álvarez (Colombia/Germany)
The Waiting Room, dir Igor Drljaca (Canada)
Thithi, dir Raam Reddy (India)
SIGNS OF LIFE
88:88, dir Isiah Medina (Canada)
CHI (Mr. Zhang Believes), dir QIU Jiongjiong (China)
Deux Remi, Deux, dir Pierre Léon (France/Switzerland)
L’Accademia Delle Muse, dir José Luis Guerin (Spain)
L’Infinita Fabbrica Del Duomo, dir Martina Parenti, Massimo D’anolfi (Italy)
Machine Gun Or Typewriter, dir Travis Wilkerson (US)
Recollection, dir Kamal Aljafari (Germany)
Slackjaw, dir Zach Weintraub (US)
SEVEN CHINESE BROTHERS - Seven Chinese Brothers wins Founders Prize Special Award at Michael Moore's festival>
"Michael Moore and our Board of Directors presented an array of awards to this year’s amazingly talent class of TCFF filmmakers and guests. Read the list of all of our Founders Award and Audience Award winners.
AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS
Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Short: “The Present“
Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Short: “Birthday“
Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Short: “Naneek“
Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Film: “Fiddlesticks“
Audience Award Runner Up for Best Foreign Film: “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared“
Audience Award Winner for Best Foreign Film: “Tangerines“
Audience Award Runner Up for Best American Film: “Learning to Drive“
Audience Award Winner for Best American Film: “Kill the Messenger“
Audience Award Runner Up for Best Documentary Film: “The Hunting Ground“
Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Film: “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story“
SHORT FILM WINNERS
Founders Prize Special Mention Short Film: “Let Your Light Shine“
Founders Prize for Best Narrative Short: “Discipline“
Founders Prize for Best Documentary Short: “My Enemy, My Brother“
Lifetime Achievement Award: Geraldine Chaplin
Visionary Award: Robert Altman
Michigan Filmmaker Award: Roger Corman
Discovery Award: Kaouther Ben Hania, “Challat of Tunis“
Changemaker Award: Ross Caputi, “Fear Not the Path of Truth“
Stuart J. Hollander Prize for Best Kids Film: “Fiddlesticks“
Buzz Wilson Prize for Best Avant-Garde Film: “Journey to the West“
Founders Prize Special Award: “7 Chinese Brothers“
Founders Prize Special Award: “The Trials of Spring“
Founders Prize Special Award: “The Wolfpack“
Founders Prize Special Award: “Roseanne for President!“
Founders Prize Special Award: “The Armor of Light“
Founders Prize Special Award: “Wild Tales“
Founders Prize Special Award: “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem“
Founders Prize Special Award: “The Last Five Years“
Roger Ebert Prize for Best Film by a First Time Filmmaker: “T-Rex“
Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking: “Tangerine“
Founders Prize for Best Documentary: “The Wanted 18“
Founders Prize for Best Comedy: “Finders Keepers“
Founders Prize for Best Drama: “Two Days, One Night“
Founders Prize for Best Film: “Listen to Me Marlon“
TCFF DOWNTOWN WINDOW DECORATION CONTEST
First Place: Great Lakes Bath & Body and Paperworks Studio
Second Place: Toy Harbor
Third Place: Haystacks
FIM GROUP BUMPER CONTEST
SHORT AND TALL
THE KID AND HIS CITY
ANTONIA - “Antonia” by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino receives a special jury mention at the 50th edition of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival>
Variety | 11 July 2015 | Will Tizard
KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — Diego Ongaro’s debut feature, a portrait of a prickly American iconoclast, “Bob and the Trees,” won the top prize, the Crystal Globe, at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival Saturday. The event, which is Eastern and Central Europe’s leading film festival, wrapped amid nostalgic film clips of past decades and an emotional tribute to its 50th edition.
Massachusetts logger Bob Tarasuk, who inspired the U.S. independent film and played himself, confessed he had never acted, and had never held a passport nor left the U.S. before, prompting cheers for his venture to the land of his grandmother.
Visar Morina, another first-time director, won the helming prize for the touching immigration story “Babai,” a German/Kosovo/Macedonia/France co-production.
Czech thesp Alena Mihulova won the actress prize for her turn as an overextended nurse in Slavek Horak’s feature debut “Home Care,” while Krystof Hadek’s performance as one of two troubled small-town brothers, appearing opposite his real-life sibling Matej in “Snake Brothers,” took the actor prize, shoring up a strong Czech presence among the winners.
Another Czech thesp, beloved comic actress Iva Janzurova, had brought the audience at the communist-era Hotel Thermal great hall to their feet earlier as she accepted the president’s prize from fest topper Jiri Bartoska.
Icelandic juror Olafur Darri Olafsson, himself a comic actor, praised the fest’s bravery in fostering talent, noting that five prizes were going to first-time filmmakers: “It gives you hope for the future of cinema.”
The jury prize went to Peter Brunner’s tender look at aging, “Those Who Fall Have Wings,” while special mentions went to Romanian Anca Damian’s wildly expressive animated story of a Polish anti-communist dissident, “The Magic Mountain,” and to Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s tribute to an Italian poet, “Antonia.”
Fest drew north of 12,000 revelers to the picturesque promenades and 18th-century architecture in which the country’s largest film event is set, with youthful crowds lining up for hours to catch pics such as audience prize winner “Youth,” starring fest fave Harvey Keitel. The Brooklyn-born thesp promised not to drop his prize on his foot as he does in a fest trailer he filmed years back.
Audience polls also indicated a strong liking for Nadine Labaki’s Toronto hit “Where Do We Go Now?,” a French/Lebanese/Italian comedy centered on multi-faith women taking charge of a mountain village that screened at fest’s tribute to work from the Middle Eastern country.
Critics and students alike also packed cinemas for 60s and 70s Ukrainian films by Larisa Shepitko, which rendered Soviet life with remarkable humanity, and for talks with the godfather of zombie flicks, George Romero, along with workshops and half a dozen industry events promoting upcoming work.
“The Wednesday Child” by Hungary’s Lili Horvath, about cycles of abandonment for orphaned children, took home the East of the West kudo, honoring the best in cinema from former Soviet states, with special mention for Romanian Nicolae Constantin Tanase’s “The World is Mine,” a tough social drama built around teen rivalry.
Czech documentarian Helena Trestikova won the feature docu prize, taking the stage with her subject, a former addict for whom “Mallory” is titled. The beaming woman thanked Trestikova for a work that “opens not just eyes but hearts.” Docu special mention went to Austria’s Albert Meisl for “The Father Tapes,” another tribute to limited time with a loved one.
“Tangerine,” Sean Baker’s iPhone-shot celebration of transgender life in LA, took home the Forum of Independents prize, which honors boundary-pushing work.
Leo Barraclough contributed to this article.
OFFICIAL SELECTION – COMPETITION
Tim League, U.S.
Angelina Nikonova, Russia
Olafur Darri Olafsson, Iceland
Hengameh Panahi, France
Ondrej Zach, Czech Republic
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE
“Bob and the Trees,” directed by Diego Ongaro (U.S.)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“Those Who Fall Have Wings,” directed by Peter Brunner (Austria)
Visar Morina, “Babai” (Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France)
Alena Mihulova, “Home Care,” directed by Slavek Horak (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
Krystof Hadek, “The Snake Brothers,” directed by Jan Prusinovsky (Czech Republic)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“The Magic Mountain,” directed by Anca Damian (Romania, France, Poland)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“Antonia,” directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino (Italy, Greece)
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST JURY
Gaby Babic, Germany
Alexis Grivas, Greece
Tomas Lunak, Czech Republic
Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia
Olena Yershova, Ukraine
EAST OF THE WEST AWARD
“The Wednesday Child,” directed by Lili Horvath (Hungary, Germany)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“The World Is Mine,” directed by Nicolae Constantin Tanase (Romania)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
Paolo Bertolin, Italy
Teodora Ana Mihai, Romania
Ivana Pauerova Milosevic, Czech Republic
DOCUMENTARY FILM OVER 60 MINUTES
“Mallory,” directed by Helena Trestikova (Czech Republic)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“The Father Tapes,” directed by Albert Meisl (Austria)
DOCUMENTARY FILM UNDER 30 MINUTES
“White Death,” directed by Roberto Collio (Chile)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“Women in Sink,” directed by Iris Zaki (U.K., Israel)
FORUM OF INDEPENDENTS – COMPETITION
FORUM OF INDEPENDENTS JURY
Katrin Gebbe, Germany
Michael Malek, Czech Republic
Yeo Joon Han, Malaysia
FORUM OF INDEPENDENTS AWARD
“Tangerine,” directed by Sean Baker (U.S.)
“Youth,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy, France, Switzerland, U.K.)
CRYSTAL GLOBE FOR OUTSTANDING ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA
Richard Gere (U.S.)
FESTIVAL PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO CZECH CINEMATOGRAPHY
Iva Janzurova (Czech Republic)
AWARD OF INTERNATIONAL FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI)
“Box,” directed by Florin Serban (Romania, Germany, France)
THE ECUMENICAL JURY AWARD
“Bob and the Trees,” directed by Diego Ongaro (U.S.)
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“Song of Songs,” directed by Eva Neymann (Ukraine)
“Heavenly Nomadic,” directed by Mirlan Abdykalykov (Kyrgysztan)
“The Wednesday Child,” directed by Lili Horvath (Hungary, Germany)
EUROPA CINEMAS LABEL AWARD
For the best European film in the Official Selection, Competition, and in the East of the West, Competition.
“Babai,” directed by Visar Morina (Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France)
PARK - Greek Film ‘Park’ Wins Works-in-Progress Prize at Karlovy Vary Film Festival>
Variety | July 7, 2015 | Alissa Simon
KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — Fourteen Central and Eastern European projects, plus a bonus project from this year’s country-in-focus, Lebanon, were pitched as part of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s Works-in-Progress competition on July 6. The jury, comprised of New Europe Film Sales honcho Jan Naszewski, German producer Titus Kreyenberg, and the Berlinale’s Paz Lazaro, selected the Greek pic “Park,” written and helmed by Sofia Exarchou, to receive €10,000 ($13,600) in services from Barrandov Studios.
“Park” was presented by Exarchou and producer Amanda Livanou. It follows a group of youths wilding in Athens’ decaying Olympic Village. The jury statement reads: “Set in the ruins of past glory, this film takes us to the bottom of society and ignites a firework of raw energy. A portrayal of a young generation that has been betrayed and deprived of its future.”
Variety’s Choice: Our Selection of Notable Projects in the Works-in-Progress Section
“The Wolf of Royal Vineyard Street”
(Czech Republic, France, Slovak Republic)
Director: Jan Nemec
An audacious biopic-comedy inspired by the life of helmer Nemec, a key figure of the Czech New Wave (“Diamonds of the Night,” “Report on the Party and the Guests”). Shot guerrilla style, with several layers of narration, it encompasses the political turmoil of 1968 and his time in exile in the U.S.
“The Black Pin”
Director: Ivan Marinovic
This rollicking black comedy is set amongst the wild, natural beauty of Montenegro’s Lustica peninsula and marks the FAMU-trained helmer’s feature debut. A priest called Peter finds himself at odds with the other inhabitants of his small, rural parish when he opposes a large property sale.
Director: Marian Crisan
Marking a change of style for Crisan (“Morgen,” “Rocker”), this low-key thriller centers on a family that starts a new business managing a guesthouse deep in the west Romanian mountains. By the time they realize the area is under the control of an outlaw, it is too late.
Director: Senem Tuzen
Femme-helmer Tuzen’s feature debut is a drama portraying a modern Turkish woman torn apart by feelings of both love and hatred for her traditional mother. Produced by Olena Yershova (“Blind Dates,” “My Joy”), the project participated in the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab and nabbed awards at several co-production markets.
“Houston, We Have a Problem!”
(Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, Qatar)
Director: Ziga Virc
Who knew that the Yugoslav government sold their secret space program to the U.S. in 1961? Slovenian helmer Virc, an Academy Award nominee for the short “Trieste Is Ours,” makes his feature debut with a fresh and innovative approach to a Cold War topic that mixes actors and public figures.
(Slovak Republic, Czech Republic)
Director: Marko Skop
Experienced Slovak producer and documaker Skop makes his fiction helming debut with this character-driven drama starring Emilia Vasaryova. The first lady of Slovak cinema plays an alcoholic actress past her prime, who is trying desperately to regain the love of the person she has hurt most: her son.
Director: Kuba Czekaj
A stylish and unusual coming-of-age drama about a 14-year-old physics prodigy whose opportunistic mother pushes him into entering a prestigious competition. Boasting an extraordinary mind and a wounded soul, the boy develops a theory of parallel worlds, which, he initially believes, are linked by light.
(Latvia, Estonia, Poland)
Director: Laila Pakalnina
Prolific Latvian helmer Pakalnina creates a blackly comic parable using the narrative of a never-released film from 1937, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, about a Pioneer hero who denounces his father to Stalin’s secret police. Her modern update shows that the topic of individualism vs. authoritarianism never goes out of style.
Director: Alexandros Voulgaris
The ambitious, highly stylized and provocative fourth feature from multihypenate Voulgaris (who also works as a producer, actor, composer and musician) uses the genre tropes of sci-fi and fantasy to create a parable about dictatorship. It contrasts the P.O.V. of a mother and her son, played by the same performer.
ANTONIA - Antonia by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino to have it's world premiere in competition at the 50th Anniversary Edition of Karlovy Vary Film Festival>
Variety | 02 July, 2015| Leo Barraclough
The Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which is Central and Eastern Europe’s leading movie showcase, may be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but it is putting the emphasis on youth and up-and-coming talent, with seven directorial debuts in the competition section.
“This year, we are excited to present the youngest competition line-up in the festival’s recent history: the average age of the filmmaker in the main festival section is 39 years old,” the fest’s artistic director Karel Och said.
The festival will feature seven world and six international premieres, including the latest movies by German director Dietrich Brueggemann, who earned plaudits for “Stations of the Cross,” and Romanian filmmaker Florin Serban, whose “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” was a standout at Berlin. Brueggemann’s anti-Nazi satire “Heil” “delivers acrid, rapid-fire commentary on the state of German society,” while Șerban’s intense drama “Box” follows the relationship between a talented 19-year-old boxer and an attractive, older theater actress.
“Bob and the Trees,” a U.S. production by Massachusetts-based Frenchman Diego Ongaro, is one of the seven debuts in competition. Shot in cinema verite style, the story features 50-year-old logger and farmer Bob Tarasuk, a charismatic workhorse with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap. Another debut comes from Polish documentary director and d.p. Marcin Koszalka: “The Red Spider” is a precisely constructed psychological thriller about the rise of a mass murderer. Leading Danish documentary-maker Daniel Dencik brings his first feature, “Gold Coast,” which is an “original historical film that blends lyric poetry with a terrifying nightmare while offering clear-cut testimony about European colonialism.”
The festival also presents “Antonia,” the feature debut from one of the rising stars of Italian cinema, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. It delivers a “ground-breaking insight” into the life of the poet Antonia Pozzi. Filomarino’s short “Diarchy” was awarded at Locarno and Sundance. Another debut in competition comes from Kosovan talent Visar Morina, who directs “Babai,” the story of a 10-year-old boy who follows his father on a dramatic journey from Kosovo to Germany. In his intimate debut “The Sound of Trees,” Canadian filmmaker Francois Peloquin portrays a drama about adolescence set against the photogenic wonder of the Quebec landscape.
The festival highlights the work of two female directors, who present markedly stylized films. Anca Damian brings her artistic-cinematic creation “The Magic Mountain,” which follows her much lauded “Crulic: The Path to Beyond.” Her latest pic explores the life of mountain climber and photographer Adam Winkler, using animated collage techniques of period materials. An acclaimed work by Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem served as inspiration for Ukrainian filmmaker Eva Neymann (“House with a Turret”), whose third picture “Song of Songs” offers “fascinating, loosely connected images of the lost world of the Jewish shtetl at the beginning of the 20th century.”
Austrian director Peter Brunnerʼs soul-searching study “Those Who Fall Have Wings,” whose title acknowledges inspiration from Ingeborg Bachmannʼs poetry, is a “cinematically ambitious, symbol-based method of coming to terms with the painful loss of a loved one.”
The Czech Republic will be represented in the main competition by two titles. First-timer Slavek Horakʼs “Home Care” fixes its gaze upon a devoted home-care nurse, whom fate has decided to burden with an almost insurmountable obstacle, relating deadly serious issues with a gentle humor. The uncompromising drama “The Snake Brothers” from Jan Prusinovsky tells the story of Cobra and Viper, each of whom deals in his own way with the desolation and lack of funds in their small Central Bohemian town.
The festival runs July 3-11 in the Czech Republic.
KARLOVY VARY FILM FESTIVAL
(All movie descriptions courtesy of the film festival.)
OFFICIAL SELECTION — COMPETITION
Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Italy, Greece. World premiere
Distinguished Italian poet Antonia Pozzi (1912–1938) was among those women who were at odds with the times in which they lived. Her poems record her inability to adapt to social norms and her desire to live fully, and in poetry she sought an escape from reality and from her own complex soul and emotional life. An exceptional debut from a talented Italian filmmaker whose short work has been awarded at the festivals in Locarno and Sundance.
Director: Visar Morina
Germany, Denmark, France, Kosovo, Macedonia. International premiere
The story of 10-year-old Nori plays out in Kosovo, Germany, and on the road between the two countries. His father Gezim dominates his entire world, however, one day he leaves for work in the West, and Nori won’t be placated concerning his sudden disappearance. This feature debut from a talented Kosovan filmmaker is rendered with exceptional intensity and a flair for portraying the emotional complexities of the child’s situation.
“Bob and the Trees”
Director: Diego Ongaro
U.S. International premiere
Massachusetts logger Bob Tarasuk, a charismatic workhorse and hard-head with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, plays himself in this verite-style drama – an unpretentiously intense character study of an individual surrounded by a landscape both majestic and inscrutable.
Director: Florin Serban
France, Germany, Romania. World premiere
The story of this keenly anticipated film by acclaimed Romanian director Florin Șerban (“If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle,” Berlinale 2010) follows a talented 19-year-old boxer named Anghel, for whom a session in the ring is everything, and Cristina, an attractive, 30-something mother who finds herself at a critical moment in her life. Two characters with their own secrets, two journeys, two outlooks. An intense drama that penetrates to the core.
“The Sound of Trees”
Director: Francois Peloquin
Canada. World premiere
At 17 Jeremie dreams of a life different from the one that awaits him at the family sawmill in the small Canadian town where he lives. Jeremie is more interested in pimping his car, listening to hip hop, and slacking off with his friends. This impressionistic debut, built upon convincing performances, tells of a summer that completely changed a teenager’s life.
“The Red Spider”
Director: Marcin Koszalka
Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic. World premiere
The feature debut by a leading Polish documentarist and cameraman was inspired by actual mass murders committed in the 1950s. A precisely constructed psychological thriller, the film delves into an intricate story of the fascination with evil that hides in places we would never expect.
Director: Slavek Horak
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic. World premiere
Everyone knows about the finality of human existence but the realization of life’s actual limits comes to each of us individually and often unexpectedly. Dedicated home care nurse Vlasta (Alena Mihulova) lives for her husband Lada (Bolek Polivka), her daughter, and her patients. But then one day things change and Vlasta is forced to react. This mature debut portrays deadly serious issues with a gentle humor.
Director: Daniel Dencik
Denmark. International premiere
Young anti-colonial idealist Wullf Joseph Wullf sets out for Danish Guinea to set up a coffee plantation but not everything goes according to plan. This bold contribution to the historical film genre casts light on a dark chapter of European history, employing the music of Angelo Badalamenti to help shift the experience into a dreamlike trip that partakes in equal measure of lyric poetry and a horrifying nightmare.
Director: Dietrich Brueggemann
Germany. International premiere
Renowned German filmmaker Dietrich Brueggemann (“Stations of the Cross”) has come out with a radical satirical comedy where, in the carefree spirit of punk, he pitches into the neo-Nazis, the media, police, and the European Union. The acrid commentary on the state of contemporary German society fed to the viewer at an impressive tempo can easily be applied to the countries bordering the director’s homeland.
“Those Who Fall Have Wings”
Director: Peter Brunner
Austria. World premiere
In the face of death, time seems to stop for those left behind. What can they do to start the clock ticking again? This inward-looking, artistically striking, and exceptionally strong drama from one of Austria’s greatest talents presents its protagonists in moments of sorrow and the occasional joy, but always as fragile, vulnerable people.
“The Snake Brothers”
Director: Jan Prusinovsky
Czech Republic. International premiere
This uncompromising drama tells the story of two brothers, who answer to the nicknames Viper and Cobra, each dealing in his own way with the bleakness, lack of funds, and the alcohol-filled evenings repeated ad nauseam in their small Central Bohemian town. Brothers Matej and Krystof Hadek excel in one of the must-see domestic films of the year.
“The Magic Mountain”
Director: Anca Damian
Romania, France, Poland. International premiere
The pic investigates the adventures of mountain climber and photographer Adam J. Winkler, who fought in Afghanistan with the mujahedin against the Soviets in the 1980s. The director employs an original artistic technique involving animated collage of period materials.
“Song of Songs”
Director: Eva Neymann
Ukraine. World premiere
The acclaimed work by renowned Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem served as inspiration for the Ukrainian filmmaker, whose third picture offers a markedly stylized vision of the lost world of the Jewish shtetl at the beginning of the 20th century. Poetic scenes created using truly magical images are loosely connected via the motif of childhood love, while the film’s imaginative form is imbued with nostalgia.
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
“The Wednesday Child”
Director: Lili Horvath
Hungary, Germany. World premiere
History sometimes repeats itself. As a nine-year-old, Maja was abandoned by her mother and placed in an orphanage. Now it’s 10 years later and she keeps returning to the institution, now to visit her four-year-old son. Will she be able to take control of her life despite the unfavorable circumstances and her own self-destructive tendencies?
“Journey to Rome”
Director: Tomasz Mielnik
Czech Republic, Poland. World premiere
There are as many stories in the world as there are people, and Vasek, a timid guard at a gallery who becomes a reluctant painting thief, hears plenty of them on his train trip to Rome. This multilevel comedy road movie (on a train) and quest for the meaning of life is director Tomasz Mielnik’s feature debut.
Director: Bartek Prokopowicz
Poland. World premiere
After a nontraditional romance blossoms between Benek and Lena, a young couple immersed in questions of life and death, they decide to defy the natural order by having a baby. A mournful yet lightly-rendered tale about the search for identity, finding love, and the battle against a fatal illness that is nearly impossible to win.
Director: Bujar Alimani
Albania. World premiere
While a mute and lonely mother lives a life that is far from easy, she nevertheless bares her lot with dignity and courage. Her 15-year-old son is trying to stand on his own two feet, but in so doing he only complicates the grim situation in the family. This sensitive coming-of-age picture is the second feature from Albanian director Bujar Alimani.
“The World Is Mine”
Director: Nicolae Constantin Tanase
Romania. International premiere
Sixteen-year-old Larisa lives in a small coastal town in a social environment where image and money afford power over others. With courage and a dogged determination that commands and intimidates, Larisa attempts to attain just such a “dream.” Talented Romanian first-timer Nicolae Tanase captures the most intense period of a person’s life with skill and disarming authenticity.
“No Matter How Hard We Tried”
Director: Grzegorz Jarzyna
Poland. International premiere
The Mother, the Daughter, the Grandmother, and other archetypal characters gradually come together in a room where they talk incessantly. Their monologues rarely cross over into dialogue but taken together they create an absurdly humorous and satirical look at contemporary Poland, which in their opinion isn’t (and perhaps never was) a nice place to live. The movie is an adaptation of Dorota Maslowska’s successful theater play.
“Dust of the Ground”
Director: Vit Zapletal
Czech Republic. World premiere
Two brothers, the elder married, the younger with a lover and a young child meet up at their parents’ country place after the father has a stroke. A subtle family drama from debut director Vit Zapletal that distinguishes itself from the usual Czech production through its unaffected accent on the Christian faith.
Director: Tolga Karacelik
Turkey. European premiere
A cargo ship anchors out at sea. It is prohibited from entering the port, so the crew is left to wait things out in a claustrophobic environment with dwindling food supplies. A Turkish psychological thriller on what becomes of the principles of power, authority and hierarchy the moment the traditional social order breaks down.
Director: Mirlan Abdykalykov
Kyrgyzstan. World premiere
There are still places in the world where people live in harmony with nature and the mythology that comes out of it. A family of nomads dwelling high in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan find contentment without the conquests of modern civilization. This poetic sketch about traditions that are slowly disappearing was based on a screenplay by renowned director Aktan Arym Kubat.
Director: Alexis Alexiou
Greece, Germany. European premiere
Thanks to the efforts of owner Stelios, musicians love his small jazz club in the heart of Athens and the place seems to be prospering. But an early demise threatens this island of quality music, and Stelios has a mere 32 hours to save his beloved nightclub – and himself. The movie’s tough generic shell (crime thriller) masks a bitter treatise on the Greek economic crisis.
“You Carry Me”
Director: Ivona Juka
Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro. World premiere
Ives, Natasa, Vedran, and his wife. Four people, four different destinies that cross during the filming of a soap opera entitled “Prisoners of Happiness.” Ivona Juka’s feature debut offers a colorful portrait of four strong personalities whose desire for satisfaction bumps up against seemingly insurmountable day-to-day problems.
Director: Gyula Nemes
Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany. World premiere
It’s 2017. Bees are dying out and, in the words of Albert Einstein: humanity has only four more years left. Young radical ecologists set out to wage a ruthless battle for their survival. A formally inventive and thoroughly nonconformist vision of the fight against globalization.
STRATOS - Stratos by Yannis Economides wins the Best Feature Orpheus Award at the 2015 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival>
LISTEN UP PHILIP - The Telegraph Review : Listen Up Philip review: 'Brilliant black comedy' ★★★★★>
The Telegraph | 4 June 2015 | Robbie Collin
"Alex Ross Perry's wince-inducing black comedy about two repellent literary blowhards marks the arrival of a major new talent
In real life, you could probably spend around five minutes with Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman) before you’d start thinking about hurling either him or yourself down the nearest fire escape. But from behind the safety screen of cinema, his company’s pure pleasure.
Philip is a low-flying gargoyle on the New York literary scene whose second novel may be about to lift him to more rarefied altitudes. We’re given to understand that Philip is a good writer – or good enough, at least. But it soon becomes clear that, within the book trade, he’s a real world-beater in two highly competitive fields: misanthropy and egomania.
When we first meet him, he’s spending an enjoyable day settling old scores: firstly with an ex-girlfriend, whose face he’s keen to rub in his coming success. “It sounds like you’re bragging,” she says, after he reels off his publisher’s plans for his new, apparently star-making novel. “That’s because I am,” he snaps back, without missing a beat.
Later, he stops by his publisher to announce he’s pulling out of his own book tour because he wants the work to speak for itself, and then tries to engineer a Hemingway-esque fist-fight for a magazine profile he’s writing on an equally awful contemporary.
Philip lives with his girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), a successful photographer, but seems incapable of taking an interest in her life, and drops her at the first opportunity to go and live with the bestselling author Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce), a subtle, Philip Roth-like grotesque who’s ensconced in a sprawling farmhouse upstate. (Compounding the Rotherie, this section plays like a riff on Roth’s 1979 novel The Ghost Writer.)
The idea is that the trip will be a working getaway for Philip, though it soon devolves into a mutually poisonous backslapping session for these two deeply unlovely funhouse-mirror visions of writerly success.
Bubbling away throughout is a dense, swingeingly serious narration performed by Eric Bogosian, which seems to unspool directly from Philip’s head, as if he’s writing his own life story – in the third person, naturally – as he lives it.
The film doesn’t have a single remotely sympathetic character, and its sense of humour is so lip-chappingly dry every ticket should come with a complimentary jar of Vaseline. Basically, if you enjoyed Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg or Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums but wished those directors had eased off the schmaltz a bit, Philip is the scumbag for you.
This outstanding black comedy of bad manners is the third feature from the young American filmmaker Alex Ross Perry, and only at the end when you wincingly reflect on what you’ve seen do you realise what a Niagara-straddling tightrope-walk the whole thing has been.
Listen Up Philip skewers literary preciousness with Genghis Khan-like zeal, but the film itself is, very proudly, both literary and precious. For a sizeable chunk of its second act, the film drops Philip’s story entirely and refocuses on Ashley instead, which is the kind of novelistic structural trickery that’s hellishly difficult to pull off on-screen.
It was also shot on Super 16mm film, mostly hand-held and at close quarters, which gives it a highly self-conscious vintage look. Yet the film is written with such supreme elegance and shot with such vibrant and absorbing beauty that it breezily gets away with everything its characters try and fail to.
What’s more, Perry somehow allows his cast enough space in this meticulously authored environment to work creative wonders of their own. Schwartzman’s wan gaze and flair for deadpan comedy combine to create an impregnable aura of self-regard; it’s hard to think of another role that’s suited him this perfectly since Rushmore, his 1998 debut.
Pryce seizes on a role full of fine-grained unpleasantness and makes hay with it, while Moss, who’s used to middle-distance simmering on the television series Mad Men, thrives in grainy close-up. There’s a 30-second shot of her face seconds after an unhappy encounter with Philip in her flat, that’s a masterclass in screen acting: anger, disbelief, fear, uncertainty and relief, each one dovetailing perfectly with the next.
Whether Listen Up Philip is a significant step up for Perry or just business as usual, I can’t tell you: his previous two features, Impolex and The Colour Wheel, have yet to be released in the UK. But either way, this film signals a notable arrival, and the time to acquire a taste for him is now."
THE LOBSTER - ‘The Lobster’ tops Cannes winners social media buzz>
Screendaily | 28 May, 2015 | By Michael Rosser
Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan may have won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival but it was Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster that sparked the most mentions on social media, according to analysis firm Way To Blue.
The Lobster, which won the Jury Prize, generated more than 12,400 mentions while Dheepan drew close to 7,700. Lazslo Neme’s Grand Prize winner, Son Of Saul, topped 7,000.
Way To Blue ranked films by calculating numbers for “overall buzz” and “intent-to-view,” as well as most buzzed about topics and stars from a sample size of 990,000 mentions from May 13-24.
However, that figure was down 29% compared to Cannes 2014, when stars such as Robert Pattinson – a big draw for fans on social media – attended the festival.
Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road generated the most mentions with close to 19,000 mentions while Todd Haynes’ Competition title Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, came second with nearly 17,400.
The festival buzzword was ‘Feminism’, generating more than 10,200 mentions, nearly a third of which was dedicated to ‘Flatgate’, regarding women being turned away from the red carpet for not wearing heels, originally reported by Screen.
THE LOBSTER - The Lobster has won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival>
The Guardian | 24 May, 2015 | by Catherine Shoard
Jacques Audiard has cemented his place as the premier contemporary French director by winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes for his seventh feature, Dheepan.
Dheepan review - Tamil Tiger loose in the urban jungle makes powerful thriller
The new film from Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard has a former fighter in the Sri Lankan civil war trying to make a new life in France with a fake family
Audiard, 63, took the Grand Prix (or runner-up award) five years ago for A Prophet, and competed at the festival three years ago with Rust & Bone. His new film is a less-starry affair than those two; the tale of a former fighter in the Sri Lankan civil war trying to make a new life in France with a fake family.
In his speech, Audiard thanked his father, the prolific screenwriter Michel Audiard, who died in 1985.
It was a night of surprises at the 68th Cannes film festival, with many critics’ favourites thwarted and the jury – who are only allowed to award one prize per film – exhibiting eclectic taste and a pronounced accent on the celebration of French acting talent.
Son of Saul star: ‘God was holding the hand of every Jew in the gas chamber’
This year’s Grand Prix went to 38-year-old debut director László Nemes for Son of Saul, the Auschwitz-set story of a prisoner working as a Sonderkommando, guiding Jews into the gas chambers and then disposing of their bodies.
Bookies’ favourite The Lobster, a British co-production directed by Greek film-maker Yorgos Lanthimos, took the Prix du Jury (or third prize) for his satire about single people who must find a mate within 45 days or be turned into a wild animal. The director thanked his producers and actors, including Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.
Carol, Todd Haynes’s adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith lesbian romance The Price of Salt, which many had tipped for the Palme d’Or, had to console itself with one-half of a shared best actress award. Rooney Mara took the gong for her role as an inexperienced shopgirl in 1950s New York who begins a relationship with Cate Blanchett’s unhappily married mother-of-one.
Haynes, accepting the award in Mara’s absence, said both he and she were “completely blown away and surprised” by the honour. “I love you, I wish you were here,” he said.
The Lobster review - dark satire on relationships gets fishy near the tail-end
Yorgos Lanthimos’s first English-language feature is enjoyably strange but fails to follow through on its premise
Mara’s joint winner, Emmanuelle Bercot, was rewarded for her role as a woman recovering from a broken leg in little-loved French domestic drama Mon Roi.
Veteran French star Vincent Lindon earned prolonged applause as he took the stage to pick up the best actor award for Stéphane Brizé’s The Measure of a Man, in which he plays a man crushed by his job as a supermarket security guard. Lindon beat the likes of Michael Caine (for Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth), and Tim Roth, who plays a traumatised palliative care nurse in bleak drama Chronic.
That film did take the best screenplay prize went to its writer/director Michel Franco, who paid tribute to jury chairs the Coen brothers, “my heroes”, as well as to Roth, who chaired the Un Certain Regard jury who presented his previous film, After Lucia, with their top prize three years ago.
Serving under the Coens on this year’s jury were Franco’s countryman Guillermo del Toro, as well as the actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Sienna Miller. Early in the ceremony, the London singer and pianist Benjamin Clementine performed the song Fare Thee Well from Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coens’ folk drama which took the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2013. The brothers looked on, toes not visibly tapping.
In a less explicable musical interlude, The Lobster and Tale of Tales actor John C Reilly took to the stage to sing a be-bop version of Just a Gigolo with four-man Dixieland outfit the Flyboys, before presenting the Camera d’Or for best first film to César Augusto for Land and Shade. After his speech, Augusto continued the musical theme of this year’s ceremony by leading the audience in a rendition of Happy Birthday to Reilly, who turned 50.
Best director went to Taiwanese film-maker Hou Hsiao-hsien, whose martial arts epic The Assassin marks his return to cinema after an eight-year absence.
Jane Birkin presented the honorary Palme to veteran director Agnes Varda, who won a standing ovation. In an emotional speech, Varda, now 86, paid tribute to her late husband, new wave film-maker Jacques Demy, who died 25 years ago.
Critics are mixed on the overall quality of this year’s festival. Artistic director Thierry Frémaux’s programme was at pains to promote homegrown talent, with nine of the 19 competition films either French productions or co-productions, and US and UK directors thin on the ground.
But although there has been an absence of high-profile turkeys such as last year’s opener, Grace of Monaco, the number of flat-out classics was also been felt to be down. Last year’s festival saw the premieres of Leviathan, Winter Sleep, Mr Turner, Jimmy’s Hall, Foxcatcher, Wild Tales, Clouds of Sils Maria, Mommy and Two Days, One Night. The sense on the Croisette is that fewer of this year’s crop are likely to progress either to Oscar contention, or into the cinematic canon.
Instead, the headlines were dominated by the midnight screening of Gaspar Noé’s 3D sex movie, Love, and by “flatgate”, which saw the festival under attack after security guards banned a number of women – including an amputee – from premieres for not wearing high heels.
Full list of awards
Dheepan dir: Jacques Audiard
Son of Saul dir: Laszlo Nemes
The Lobster dir: Yorgos Lanthimos
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, The Assassin
Chronic dir: Michel Franco
Camera d’Or (best first feature)
La Tierra y la Sombra (Land and Shade) dir: Cesar Augusto Acevedo
Vincent Lindon, The Measure of a Ma
Best actress: (joint)
Rooney Mara, Carol; Emmanuelle Bercot, Mon Roi
Best short film
Waves 98 dir: Ely Dagher
THE LOBSTER - Alchemy Nears Deal for Festival Hit 'The Lobster'>
Hollywood Reporter | May 19, 2015 | by Pamela McClintock, Rebecca Ford
"Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' surreal parable The Lobster is nearing a deal with Alchemy for U.S. rights after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15 to rave reviews.
The movie, which marks Lanthimos' English-language debut, is set in a dystopian near-future in which people are transformed into animals of their choosing if they fail to find a matching mate within a designated time period.
Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star, with Farrell's character checking into the "hotel" for single people that gives him 45 days to find a mate. But when things go terribly wrong, he escapes and joins a group of rebel singles in the woods, where he falls in love.
Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly also appear in the film, which screened in competition.
Lanthimos' first three films were Kinetta, Oscar-nominee Dogtooth and Alps."
7 CHINESE BROTHERS - Spotlight has acquired international sales rights to Bob Byington’s Jason Schwartzman starrer>
screendaily | 20 May, 2015 | By Jeremy Kay
Seana Flanagan, Molly Christie Benson and Nancy Schafer produced 7 Chinese Brothers and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Faliro House Productions served as executive producer.
Schwartzman, Tunde Adebimpe, Eleanore Pienta and Stephen Root star in the tale of an unemployed man with a callous outlook on life who tries to change his life to win the heart of a co-worker.
Spotlight brokered the deal with producers Flanagan and Schafer.
THE LOBSTER - BBC Review : ‘One of the best films of Cannes and 2015’>
BBC | 15 May, 2015 | by Nicholas Barber
"It’s a surreal satire about a dating game in which humans who can’t couple up are turned into animals. Nicholas Barber explains why The Lobster is Cannes’ first five-star film.
So far in Cannes, we’ve had Toby Jones cuddling up to a giant flea in Tale of Tales, and Tom Hardy chomping a two-headed lizard in Mad Max: Fury Road. But neither film is as wholeheartedly and disturbingly weird as The Lobster. A deadpan comedy with echoes of Orwell, Kafka and Kubrick, it’s the third film to be directed and co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos, maker of Dogtooth, but it’s his first film in English, and his first to feature such big names as Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly and Ben Whishaw. When the project was announced, some critics worried that Lanthimos’s peculiarly Greek surrealism wouldn’t work when it was combined with these more mainstream elements, but it turns out that there was no need to fear. Bolstered by an array of pitch-perfect performances, the Lobster is as twisted and unsettling as his previous films, but it also fits snugly into the tradition of the best British absurdism, from Monty Python and The Prisoner to Big Train and Chris Morris’s Jam.
Farrell, who disguises his movie starriness with a paunch, a thick moustache, and a perpetual air of discomfort, plays an Irishman who has just been left by his wife. He has to get back on the dating circuit, but in the alternate reality of The Lobster, that’s a strictly organised process. First, he is transported to an old-fashioned coastal hotel – the kind of drab place that seems to be out of season all year round. Once the receptionist has jotted down his dietary requirements, she goes on to ask him to nominate his sexual preference; after hearing that bisexuality is off the menu, Farrell’s long, frowning pause before picking “heterosexual” is as funny as anything he does in In Bruges. The hotel’s no-nonsense manageress, a priceless Olivia Colman, then runs through the rules of the establishment. Farrell has 45 days to find a suitable life partner among his fellow guests. He can earn extra days by hunting down and capturing the single people – or ‘loners’ – who hide in the nearby woods, but if he hasn’t paired off with anyone by the end of his stay, he will be transformed into the animal of his choice. He chooses a lobster: he enjoys swimming, after all. The manageress is impressed. Most people choose dogs, she remarks, which is why there are so many dogs in the world.
For all its craziness, The Lobster is a shrewd commentary on the societal pressures we’re all under to form relationships, and the deceptions and self-deceptions some of us resort to as a result. In the film’s totalitarian universe, hotel guests aren’t allowed to get together with someone unless they share a “defining characteristic”, but that characteristic can be as arbitrary as a slight limp or a fondness for biscuits. In our own universe, marriages have been built on less.
Having said that, The Lobster is never in danger of being a clunking, obvious lampoon. The genius of the film is that it is so downbeat and matter-of-fact about its gloriously silly concept. Speaking calmly in formal sentences, the actors never signal that there is anything ridiculous about their situation, and no one is shocked by the manageress’s regulations, even when she is instructing them to put their hands in a toaster. Everyone is used to things being the way they are. When a camel meanders past the characters, no one bats an eyelid, so it’s left to the viewer to wonder who the unlucky ungulate might once have been.
But be warned: The Lobster presents some truly grisly sequences with the same cold-blooded detachment, and the unblinking treatment of these atrocities makes them all the more distressing. Some scenes in the film’s second half are especially hard to take. When the action moves out of the hotel and into the woods, the comedy doesn’t stop, but the film also becomes a thriller, a romantic drama, and an out-and-out horror movie. Many viewers will be alienated by this harshness. But no one who sees Lanthimos’s profound and richly detailed satire will forget it. It’s bound to be hailed as one of the best films of Cannes, and of 2015."
THE LOBSTER - Yorgos Lanthimos, Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrel interview - Festival de Cannes - Page Officielle>
THE LOBSTER - Variety Cannes Film Review: ‘The Lobster’>
Variety | May 15, 2015 | By Guy Lodge
Longevity and lifelong fertility are among the reasons why a human may wish to become the eponymous creature, explains Colin Farrell’s protagonist at the outset of “The Lobster.” The tasty crustacean’s rich associations with the Surrealist movement appear to have slipped his mind, but not that of Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose supremely singular fifth feature — his first in English — takes his ongoing fascination with artificially constructed community to its dizziest, most Bunuelian extreme to date. A wickedly funny protest against societal preference for nuclear coupledom that escalates, by its own sly logic, into a love story of profound tenderness and originality, this ingenious lo-fi fantasy will delight those who already thrilled to Lanthimos’s vision in “Alps” and the Oscar-nominated “Dogtooth,” while a starry international cast should draw as-yet-unconverted arthouse auds into his wondrously warped world.
As in Lanthimos’s other features, it’s only once the complex (yet firmly cemented) rules of his narrative universe become clear that his characters’ actions accrue practical and psychological reason; “The Lobster” is a film in which nearly every scene requires bookmarking, to be intuitively cross-referenced at a later point. The stark, arresting pre-credit opener sees an unidentified woman (Jacqueline Abrahams) drive agitatedly through a stretch of soggy countryside, stopping abruptly to shoot a donkey in a field before moving on. The act is never referred to in the ensuing two hours, yet it comes to encapsulate all the film’s roiling emotional stakes in miniature.
From this point, Lanthimos and regular co-writer, Efthimis Filippou, waste little time establishing the laws of a mundane dystopia that doesn’t look severely different from the world we live in now: one of low-level shopping malls and slightly chintzy resort hotels, in which marriage and procreation is still the prized objective of polite social activity. Yet the powers that be have taken a somewhat more regimented approach to the latter institution, by which single folk are actively punished for their failure to pair up. Restricted to the rural outskirts of a damp, unnamed city, they are literally hunted down by other unattached prisoners of The Hotel, an aggressively beige institution where inmates are given 45 days to find a mate within their ranks — or be turned into an animal of their choosing and released into the wild.
If that seems ridiculous, The Hotel — and, by extension, the film — nonetheless have strict standards of what constitutes rational and irrational occurrence. While no one bats an a eyelid at the transformation of humans into flamingos, the two-by-two mandate of Noah’s Ark still applies: A wolf and a penguin cannot live together, decrees the no-nonsense Hotel manager (the splendid Olivia Colman), “because that would be absurd.”
The recipient of this lecture is new captive David (Farrell), a mild-mannered divorcee who seems less desperate to secure a match than some of his fellow guests — including a young man with a limp (Ben Whishaw) and a middle-aged one with a lisp (John C. Reilly). Only Farrell’s character is named; others are billed solely by their chief disability, also the principal criterion by which compatibility is determined here. Lovers are not mutually drawn by their most attractive virtues, Lanthimos appears to argue, but by the shortcomings that they recognize in each other. If common myopia or vulnerability to nosebleeds seem tenuous bonds on which to build a relationship, are they any less so than shared enthusiasms for Mexican food or long walks on the beach?
Thus does Lanthimos’s confounding setup emerge as a brilliant allegory for the increasingly superficial systems of contemporary courtship, including the like-for-like algorithms of online dating sites and the hot-or-not snap judgments of Tinder. If the unreasonable pressure on single people — particularly those of a certain age — to find companionship has already driven humanity to such soulless means, perhaps the scenario outlined in “The Lobster” isn’t so outlandish after all. One thinks back to the worst-case nightmare of fiction’s most fretful singleton, Bridget Jones, whose fear of being found “fat and alone and half-eaten by Alsatians” may indeed be wittily (and quite literally) referenced here.
When David’s last-ditch attempt at forcing a union with a cold-hearted inmate (played with hilariously stony relish by Lanthimos regular Angeliki Papoulia) comes to naught, he escapes the Hotel grounds only to found that society is no less forgiving on the other side of the conservative pro-couple barrier. In the forest, he falls in with militant opposition group The Loners, led by Lea Seydoux’s unsmiling anarchist, whose rigid rules forbidding any form of romantic interaction prove no less oppressive than the ideals of The Hotel. It’d be unfair to further unpick Lanthimos and Filippou’s beautifully structured tangle of poetic ironies and reversals, except to say that the payoff is at once crueller and more rapturous than in the director’s previous, fiercely disciplined work. Via the character (and enigmatic narrating voice) of Rachel Weisz’s questioning Loner, “The Lobster” gradually sheds its chilly shell, building to a soft tumult of feeling.
Lanthimos’s films are such pristinely mannered directorial creations — unmistakably bound by their deader-than-deadpan humor, tweezer-set visual composition and stark stabs of violence — that it never seems his actors should be permitted to do much more than hit their regimented marks. Once more, however, his terrific ensemble surprises with the intricate human detailing they achieve under his seemingly distant steerage. Colman is first among equals in a big-screen role that finally requires the knack for exquisitely oblivious comedy she has repeatedly demonstrated on British television, but no role of any size is wasted here: In particular, fellow Britcom graduate Ashley Jensen etches a haunting, fine-scale study of desolate singledom in a few brief scenes. Taking over from the initially cast Jason Clarke, Farrell once again proves that hangdog vulnerability, rather than rakish heroism, is his strongest suit as an actor; he’s the porous lead this potentially airtight construction needs.
Shooting largely on the wind-tousled, gray-flannel coastline of Ireland’s County Kerry, Lanthimos’s favored d.p. Thimios Bakatakis is once more an invaluable ally in establishing the spatial and social architecture of his director’s story world. His boxy, formal framing and bilious color palette reveal much about the restrictions applied to the people within them, as does the tidy, function-first bleakness of Jacqueline Abrahams’s production design.
As usual, Lanthimos eschews an original score in favor of existing classical and pop compositions, which aggressively punctuate an otherwise quietly thrumming soundscape with brute impact. Beethoven, Shostakovich and Stravinsky all put in prominent appearances, but the most evocative selection here may well be Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue’s morbid country-Gothic ballad “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” which its plaintive plea for unrestrained love: “Do you know where the wild roses grow, so sweet and scarlet and free?” Perversely romantic almost in spite of itself, “The Lobster” doesn’t offer the answer, but it suggests we keep looking.
THE LOBSTER - Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly>
indiewire | May 15, 2015 | By Oliver Lyttelton
"Six years ago, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos arrived with a bang into international cinema with "Dogtooth," a pitch-black drama that won acclaim around the world and the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes. 2011's follow up "Alps" was more divisive (though we loved it), but Lanthimos is one of most original talents to have emerged in cinema in recent years —his English-language debut "The Lobster" bolsters his status.
There is a vein of dark humour running through Lanthimos' earlier films, but "The Lobster" embraces it wholeheartedly: the film's a blend of the works of Charlie Kaufman and Luis Buñuel, an uproarious yet deadpan satire concerning societal constructs, dating mores and power structures that also manages to be a surprisingly moving, gloriously weird love story.
Colin Farrell plays David, a schlubby architect who, when he's left by his wife, has to check into a hotel. His society values coupledom, and while there, he has 45 days to find a new partner, ideally one with whom he shares a "defining characteristic" with. If he fails, he'll be transformed into an animal of his choosing, as his brother was a few years earlier (he's now a dog that accompanies David).
Overseen by a stern Hotel Manager (Olivia Colman), he soon befriends Limping Man (Ben Whishaw) and Lisping Man (John C Reilly), and scouts out the possibilities —the young Nosebleed Woman (Jessica Barden), the desperate Biscuit Woman (Ashley Jensen), and the chilly Heartless Woman (Aggeliki Papoulia, star of "Dogtooth" and "Alps"). The "guests" can also buy extra time on a hunt: for every Loner —guests who've left the hotel and rejected the system— that they bag in the woods with a tranquilizer dart, they receive a reprieve of one day.
It's an absurd premise, but one that Lanthimos and his game cast commit to with gusto: this strange not-quite-dystopia is surreal, but there's a rigorous internal logic at work, and the script painstakingly builds a world that stretches far beyond the frame of what we're seeing on screen. In part, it's thanks to the formal, straight-ahead language that every character uses: this is a world without much in the way of subtext or uncertainty (when checking in, Farrell is told that being bisexual isn't an option and that he can't have half shoe sizes), where the most passionate statements are made with coded gestures rather than words, and it does much to complete the film's milieu.
The early sections of the film set in the hotel sees Lanthimos mercilessly skewering modern relationship culture. For all the film's absurdity, it depicts a society that insists that you're not complete if you're not in a couple, where you fixate on surface similarities in the hope of a connection, and where you play pretend and try to change yourself in the hope of proving more compatible. That's not exactly a world that's going to be unfamiliar to audiences, now, is it? It helps that the film is very, very funny, and not in an uneasy-laugh or mild-chuckle kind of way: though there's darkness and even violence here, it's first and foremost a comedy, and the script is packed with excellent jokes, from wry throwaway observations (the final test for a couple at the hotel is to be sent on a vacation together, and if arguments ensue they can be "assigned" children) to broader physical bits —John C. Reilly's background with Adam McKay and Tim & Eric proves particularly useful here, even among a perfectly deadpan cast.
But this isn't all that "The Lobster" has to offer. It's a film of two halves, shifting gears and locations abruptly in the second half and introducing a second society of the woods-dwelling Loners (which includes Lea Seydoux, Michael Smiley and Rachel Weisz, also the film's narrator), who shun relationships and plot their revenge on the couples.
It's here that Lanthimos makes clear that the film's talking about bigger things than modern relationships. The Loners have their own strict rules and brutal punishments for those that break them, and as the movie mutates into a surprisingly affecting and complex romance, one realizes that the director is setting his sights more than anything on societal structure, the ways that those in power cling to it, and even fundamentalism (the latter making it an unlikely companion piece to the other early Cannes highlight "Mad Max: Fury Road").
I's impeccably crafted —from its Bernard Hermann-ish score to the carefully composed but never airless imagery. The cast don't have a weak link among them either —Farrell, as a dadbod-sporting Everyman with a dark side, delivers his best performance yet, while a quietly sleazy Whishaw, the gloriously schoolmarmish Colman, and the tragic Jensen are among the particular highlights.
In the end, all the strangeness adds up towards something genuinely significant: an atypically rich and substantial comedy that's stuffed with great scenes and performances even before you start to chew on its bigger questions. It's Lanthimos' most accessible and purely enjoyable film yet, and the first great relationship movie of the Tinder and match.com age. At one point, a character is asked what she wants to do on the night before she turns into an animal, and responds that she'd like to watch the movie "Stand By Me." If "The Lobster" was the last film put before us before we were transformed into a pony, we wouldn't complain. [A]
THE LOBSTER - Watch First Teaser Clips From 'The Lobster,' 'Sicario,' 'Love,' 'Irrational Man,' 'Macbeth' & More>
The Playlist | May 14, 2015 | By Edward Davis
"The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival has kicked off and you can follow along with all our coverage by clicking right here. The jury, led by Joel and Ethan Coen, whose members include Jake Gyllenhaal, Sophie Marceau, Guillermo del Toro, Xavier Dolan, Sienna Miller and more, are in place and most of the key films have yet to be unveiled. But Cannes has given us a little taste of what’s to come. In the opening ceremony video (which you can see below), hosted by Master of Ceremony, French actor Lambert Wilson, clips from almost all the competing films have been revealed.
They give us a glimpse at coveted titles like Denis Villeneuve's crime drama "Sicario" with Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt in the lead roles, Gus Van Sant's "Sea of Trees," which stars Matthew McConaughey (you can see a full clip here), Todd Haynes' lesbian love story "Carol" starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (you can see that full clip here) and the first footage of "Macbeth” with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard (watch it here).
Other notable first looks include brief clips from Yorgos Lanthimos’ weirdo sci-fi romance/comedy “The Lobster” starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan,” Gaspar Noe’s 3D love/sex tale “Love,” and Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey in the first clip from Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man.” We're sure that extended versions of each will eventually be seen, but if you can’t wait, take a quick peek at the first footage of most of these movies."
Clips begin at the 22:00 mark.
SIBERIA - Abel Ferrara To Launch Willem Dafoe-Starrer ‘Siberia’ On Croisette>
Deadline | May 14, 2015 | by Mike Fleming Jr
"Abel Ferrara, who launched his controversial Gerard Depardieu-starrer Welcome To New York at Cannes last year, will return to announce his plans for his next film. He’ll unveil at a 4 PM Monday press conference Siberia, a film he wrote with Chris Zois that will star Willem Dafoe. Ferrara will announce he’s taking to Kickstarter to raise money for the film. The press conference will be held at Club Silencio.
The film is inspired by Carl Jung’s Red Book, the revolutionary text on dreams. The movie will explore the language of dreams, and the unlocking of primal emotions like fear, regret and desire. Diana Phillips will produce for Unlimited Films Ltd, and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos will exec produce for Faliro House.
The firebrand filmmaker sparked to the idea of grassroots support through Kickstarter in association with The Sundance Institute. “Kickstarter is about being part of a community — the filmmaker and audience coming together to share the process of bringing an idea to filmic life,” Ferrara said in a statement. “It’s simple, direct, empowering, revolutionary. The perfect vehicle for Siberia.”
The Kickstarter page looks great. http://bit.ly/SIBERIAMOVIE
Ferrara and Dafoe are close collaborators and this will be their fifth film. The others were New Rose Hotel, Go Go Tales, 4:44 Last Day On Earth, and Pasolini. The actor has worked closely with Ferrara in forming the film.
“Abel understands, obviously, that if you give performance a connection to what is going on then when it’s time to actually do the thing there’s an understanding,” Dafoe said. A production start is planned for October in Italy and the U.S. We’ll run the Kickstarter link when it’s live next week."
7 CHINESE BROTHERS - Jason Schwartzman’s Dog Comedy ‘7 Chinese Brothers’ Sells to Screen Media Films>
The Wrap | May 5, 2015 | by Jeff Sneider
Jason Schwartzman’s Dog Comedy ‘7 Chinese Brothers’ Sells to Screen Media Films
"Screen Media Films has acquired U.S. rights to Bob Byington’s comedy “7 Chinese Brothers” starring Jason Schwartzman, his dog Arrow, Olympia Dukakis, Stephen Root, Tunde Adebimpe and Eleanore Pienta.
“7 Chinese Brothers,” which premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, will be released in August as a day-and-date theatrical release.
Schwartzman stars as Larry, an inebriated sad sack who rides a tide of booze onto the shores of an undiscriminating Quick-Lube. The only bright spot is probably his boss, Lupe (Pienta). Will Larry keep it together long enough to win the girl, provide for his French bulldog (Schwartzman’s real-life dog Arrow), laze about with his friend Major (TV on the Radio’s Adebimpe), and do his cantankerous grandmother (Dukakis) proud?
Byington wrote and directed “7 Chinese Brothers,” which was produced by Molly Christie Benson, Seana Flanagan and Nancy Schafer. The film was executive produced by Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and features music from Chris Baio of the band Vampire Weekend.
“We've been fans of Jason and Bob’s work for a while and couldn't be happier to be working on ‘7 Chinese Brothers’ with them,” said Seth Needle, director of acquisitions and marketing for Screen Media Films. “They both deliver the usual funny/quirky/insightful efforts we've come to expect and know audiences will take to.”
“I'm excited to be working with Screen Media,” said Byington. “Ideally this one will have a good reach.”
The deal was negotiated by Screen Media’s Needle with Zac Bright of Preferred Content and WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers."
THE LOBSTER - First Posters For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell And Rachel Weisz>
indiewire | May 5, 2015 | by Kevin Jagernauth
Cannes: First Posters For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell And Rachel Weisz
"After breaking out with "Dogtooth," and continuing his distinctly weird voice with "Alps," Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos is stepping up his game. The director is working with established international stars for his next film, "The Lobster," and with a Cannes Film Festival premiere on the horizon, the first posters are here.
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia star in the movie, which takes place in a dystopian future where single people are arrested and forced to find a mate in 45 days. If they don't find one, they can either be transformed into an animal of their choosing or get released into the woods. We can't wait.
No U.S. distribution just yet, but if all is well on the Croisette, it shouldn't be too long for news."
THE LOBSTER - Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster will have its world premiere at this year’s 68th Cannes Film Festival>
Variety | April 16, 2015 | Justin Chang
"Star-studded English-language dramas from Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Denis Villeneuve, Justin Kurzel, Paolo Sorrentino and Matteo Garrone will vie for the Palme d’Or alongside new films by Valerie Donzelli, Jacques Audiard, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Jia Zhangke at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its official selection lineup on Thursday.
While there are only two U.S. directors in competition — Haynes with “Carol,” a 1950s lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett, and Van Sant with his suicide drama “The Sea of Trees,” pairing Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe — this year’s Palme race looks to feature more high-profile Hollywood talent than any in recent memory. Canada’s Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Enemy”) will bring his Mexican drug-cartel drama “Sicario,” with Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, while Australia’s Kurzel (“The Snowtown Murders”) secured a Palme berth for “Macbeth,” his Shakespeare adaptation toplining Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.
In a further sign of the ever-increasing globalization of film culture, two highly regarded European directors will make their Cannes competition debuts with English-lingo efforts: Greek helmer Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”) with “The Lobster,” an out-there sci-fier starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, and Norwegian director Joachim Trier with “Louder Than Bombs,” a family drama with Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg. Two Italian heavyweights are also bringing English-language fare: Paolo Sorrentino with “Youth” (pictured below), toplining Michael Caine and featuring Weisz, Jane Fonda, Paul Dano and Harvey Keitel, and Garrone with “The Tale of Tales,” a lavish, effects-driven fantasy starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly.
As expected, American studio/specialty fare will be similarly well represented out of competition, with world-premiere screenings of Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone; George Miller’s previously announced actioner “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron; and Pixar’s latest toon extravaganza “Inside Out.” The latter will be joined out of competition by another animated feature, Mark Osborne’s French-produced, English-language adaptation of “The Little Prince,” featuring voice work by Riley Osborne, Jeff Bridges, Del Toro and Cotillard.
Meanwhile, of the eight first features announced in the official selection, few will likely stir more interest than director Natalie Portman’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” an Israel-shot adaptation of Amos Oz’s bestselling autobiography that will receive a Special Screenings berth.
Asia will enjoy its strongest competition presence in some time with “Our Little Sister,” a Japanese comicstrip adaptation from Hirokazu Kore-eda; “Mountains May Depart,” a three-part drama from mainland Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke; and “The Assassin,” a long-gestating martial-arts epic from Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien. Cannes 2015 also looks to be a robust edition for Italian filmmakers, with Palme bridesmaids Garrone and Sorrentino duking it out with Palme laureate Nanni Moretti, back with his semi-autobiographical drama “My Mother.” And perhaps the most unexpected competition entry is “Son of Saul,” a Holocaust drama from first-time Hungarian helmer Laszlo Nemes, and the sole debut feature in contention for the Palme.
All these tantalizing prospects aside, Thursday morning’s press conference in Paris left a number of question marks, starting with the fact that only 17 films were announced for competition and 14 in Un Certain Regard, a program that runs parallel to the competition. Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux (appearing alongside newly installed president Pierre Lescure) assured those in attendance that more pictures would be added to the lineup in the coming days. It remains to be seen whether that means making room for any British and/or Latin American filmmakers, who are currently unrepresented in competition.
As it stands, while the proceedings will kick off with Emmanuelle Bercot’s previously announced “Standing Tall,” starring Catherine Deneuve, the festival has yet to announce either a closing-night film or an opening film for Un Certain Regard. Acknowledging that there were many films that didn’t make the cut despite having been well liked by the screening committee, Fremaux added, “It’s a good selection. It’s new, it’s fresh … Our selection will lay out some assumptions, some hypotheses, and the mission is to put new names on the world cinema map.”
Fremaux also addressed the large number of English-lingo movies from non-native English speakers, noting that he and his committee had refused many films that used the language in an absurd or non-intuitive fashion.
“We’re trying to make this point understood by certain American producers who really think English is the world’s language,” Fremaux said. “We just can’t have Latin American, Asian or Middle Eastern characters speak in English as if it were their own language.”
Lescure noted that the Sorrentino and Garrone films were worthy exceptions: “The coherence of the choice of language stems from artistic considerations rather than economic ones.”
Of the many films that went unmentioned in Thursday’s announcement (including Terence Davies’ “Sunset Song,” Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Love in Khon Kaen”), two of the most conspicuous and surprising no-shows were Arnaud Desplechin’s “Nos arcadies” and Gaspar Noe’s “Love.” The absence of these two Cannes mainstays can be chalked up in part to an even-stronger-than-usual year for French cinema, which will be represented in competition by Jacques Audiard’s immigrant drama “Erran”; Maiwenn’s “Mon roi,” a love story starring Bercot and Vincent Cassel; Valerie Donzelli’s incest-themed drama “Marguerite and Julien”; and Stephane Brize’s “A Simple Man,” with Vincent Lindon.
Other French-speaking entries that were unannounced on Thursday include Xavier Giannoli’s “Marguerite,” Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love,” Jaco van Dormael’s “The Brand New Testament” and Joachim Lafosse’s “The White Knights,” though it’s expected that most if not all these titles may yet find berths in the official selection or in the Directors’ Fortnight, which will announce its lineup on April 21. (The Critics’ Week sidebar will be announced on April 20.)
Donzelli and Maiwenn are the only two female directors competing for the Palme d’Or, a number in line with last year’s; slotting Bercot’s “Standing Tall” in competition would have brought the total to three. Still, the festival would seem to be making some attempt to address past criticisms of its underrepresentation of women — not only by opening with its first female-directed movie in the nearly 30 years since Diane Kurys’ “A Man in Love” (1987), but also by partnering with French luxury goods company Kering to present Women in Motion, a series of talks and panels highlighting women’s achievements in cinema.
As usual, Un Certain Regard, a sidebar devoted to work by emerging talents as well as established auteurs, will provide a significant platform for national cinemas not represented in competition. These include India (Neeraj Ghaywan’s “Fly Away Solo,” Gurvinder Singh’s “The Fourth Direction”), Romania (Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Treasure,” Radu Muntean’s “One Floor Below”), Iran (Ida Panahandeh’s “Nahid”), Iceland (Grimar Hakonarson’s “Rams”) and South Korea (Shin Su-won’s “Madonna,” Oh Seung-euk’s “The Shameless”).
Another Korean film, Hong Won-chan’s serial-killer thriller “Office,” will receive a Midnight Screenings slot, as will “Amy,” Asif Kapadia’s documentary portrait of the late singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse.
At the press conference, Fremaux made a point of noting that the festival would “wage a campaign to slow down the contemporary practice of (taking) selfies on the red carpet.” While Fremaux said he didn’t want to be coercive or prohibitive, he felt that said practice was “extremely ridiculous and grotesque.”"
THE NAMES - Don DeLillo Novel ‘The Names’ Headed for Big Screen>
Variety | April 7, 2015 | Ramin Setoodeh
"Director Alex Ross Perry has optioned the rights to Don DeLillo’s 1982 novel “The Names,” Variety has learned.
Perry (“Listen Up Philip,” “Queen of Earth”) is planning to adapt the script and direct. “The Names,” DeLillo’s seventh book, is set in the summer of 1979 in Athens and throughout the Middle East with a cast of expats who start to investigate a string of murders committed by a cult. DeLillo fans consider the work underrated. (The New York Times review described it as “a powerful, haunting book, formidably intelligent and agile.”)
Perry is currently writing the screenplay for Disney’s live-action “Winnie the Pooh.” He'll produce “The Names” with Christos V. Konstantakopoulos.
DeLillo has allowed only one of his previous novels to be made into a film — David Cronenberg’s 2012 drama “Cosmopolis,” starring Robert Pattinson."
QUEEN OF EARTH - IFC Films has acquired North American rights to Elisabeth Moss Starrer 'Queen of Earth'>
hollywoodreporter | 14 April 2015 | by Gregg Kilday
"Alex Ross Perry directed the film, which also stars Katherine Waterston and bowed at the Berlin Film Festival.
IFC Films has acquired North American rights to Alex Ross Perry's Queen of Earth, starring Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston as two best friends who, during a lakeside retreat, confront the issues that have driven them apart.
The film, which had its world premiere at this year's Berlin Film Festival, also stars Patrick Fugit, Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley and Keith Poulson. Written and directed by Perry, it was produced by Perry, Moss, Adam Piotrowicz and Joe Swanberg and executive produced by Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Forager Film Company.
"Perry has created a fascinating and unnerving psychological portrait, which elicits a career-best performance from Moss and cements Perry's status as a filmmaker to watch," said Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films.
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, senior vp acquisitions and productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films, and Sean Berney, manager of acquisitions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films, directly with the filmmakers."
7 CHINESE BROTHERS - 7 Chinese Brothers to premiere at SXSW on March 15 in the Narrative Feature section. Jason Schwartzman slated to attend the Q & A.
Director/Screenwriter: Bob Byington
A man unaccustomed to telling the truth learns to at least describe it.
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Tunde Adebimpe, Eleanore Pienta, Olympia Dukakis, Stephen Root (World Premiere)
LOVE IS STRANGE - Sight & Sound calls Love is Strange "simply one of the best films about a long-term gay relationship ever made">
Sight & Sound | 13 February 2015 | By Keith Uhlich
"Ira Sachs gives the comedy of remarriage a modern-day refresh with this warm, wise story of a newly vagrant gay couple in New York.
Writer-director Ira Sachs continues his semi-autobiographical streak after the career highlight of Keep the Lights On (2012). Love Is Strange is a perfectly poised 90-minute portrait of an ageing gay couple who find themselves not so much thrown out of their own apartment as thrown out of their own lives. Unlike the drug-addled obsessions of Keep the Lights On, however, this is a film you could take your grandparents to see, in the nicest possible sense of that proposition.
Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are a couple who have been together for decades. At the beginning of the film they get married, and it’s a communal and celebratory Manhattan affair: the reception at their modest apartment is full of love, with friends and family telling them what an inspiration they are.
But because of this public declaration, George finds that he has fallen foul of his conditions of employment at the conservative Catholic college where he is a music teacher, and is summarily sacked. He and Ben can no longer afford to live where they do. They sell up, get almost nothing in cash terms, and have to stay with different households.
There then follows a painful portrait of Ben living with his nephew and family, and George perching in the apartment of some gay cop neighbours, whose late-night socialising means he can’t go to bed on the couch. Forlorn telephone conversations follow. “Sometimes when you live with people you know them better than you care to,” observes Ben.
Lithgow and Molina have known each other for years, and fall easily into a sense of advanced brotherliness that is entirely convincing. But this is really Lithgow’s film and we dwell most in his company; his Ben is a penniless artist (apparently based on someone known to Sachs) with a good heart, albeit one riddled with cardiovascular disease.
His gentle mentoring of Joey, the teenager he is obliged to share a room with, is one of the film’s focus points; the boy is played by Charlie Tahan, who was Zac Efron’s ghostly brother in Charlie St Cloud (2010) and, more amusingly, Victor in Frankenweenie (2012). Joey is a grumpy teen who can spout a touch of unthinking homophobia – he hates Ben occupying his room; and he disapproves when Ben, returning to art as an escape and as an affirmation of who he is, paints a portrait of his friend Vlad on the roof.
The film’s colours are warm and summery, and the music plays a central part, from the Chopin piano at the start to the lessons conducted by George: one very precise scene in which he teaches a little girl seems to unlock his own voice – in voiceover he reads a letter about tolerance to the parents of the school. The editing is crisp and spare without being brutal, and serves best purpose, removing a whole skein of unnecessary detail without harming the emotional core of the story.
Interestingly, Sachs has talked about this film as a kind of comedy, and there are gently funny scenes, such as when the couple pretend to be Stonewall veterans and get free drinks in a bar; there’s a deft cinephile mix of the personal and a tribute to 1940s ‘married then separated’ movies such as The Philadelphia Story.
Sachs has also talked of it as a film about education “with a small ‘e’”. That seems most evident in the ultimately benign and helpful effect Ben has on George. Sachs, who has recently married his long-term partner and lives in Manhattan, has based some of the film on real-life characters – the gay cops, for example – and real places he has recently got to know, such as the city’s small public parks.
There are so many good things about this film. It’s a Manhattan romance. It’s a love letter to the rapidly vanishing bohemian and artistic milieu of New York, now priced out of town. It’s a wise description of the ‘make your own family’ culture of some modern lives. It’s a gentle anatomy of the horrors of outstaying your welcome, of being poor, sick and old. And it’s simply one of the best films about a long-term gay relationship ever made.
Most of all it’s a film about love – love that’s a little frayed around the edges sometimes but straightforward, funny and true.
ra Sachs borrows heavily from his own life experiences for Love Is Strange, merging the influences of Ozu and Woody Allen to paint a gentle character study of a gay couple whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they decide to get married after almost 40 years together.
LOVE IS STRANGE - Financial Times Review - 4 STARS - Alfred Molina and John Lithgow are superb as a gay couple forced out of their apartment >
Financial Times | 12 Feb 2015 | by Nigel Andrews
"In a week when Valentine’s Day goes viral at the cinema (see also Love Is All ), here is a bittersweet charmer from American indie filmmaker Ira Sachs. You could call it Fifty Shades of Gay. Love comes to — indeed long ago came to — two ageing New Yorkers newly forced out of their apartment. Their blissful but belated wedding has been followed by a mortgage-imperilling job loss. With choirmaster George (Alfred Molina) fired from his Catholic school, painter companion Ben (John Lithgow) patiently packs his things. Off the two go into the cold.
It’s a King Lear for the post-Stonewall era: touching, funny, wise, and wryly suggesting that though gays may never have had it so good, they could still have it better. For one dispossessed monarch pinballed round early Britain, read two human butterflies forlornly flitting across Manhattan in forced separation. Ben takes the lower bunk in a nephew’s son’s bedroom. By day he exasperates with his loose-ends chatter the nephew’s writer wife (Marisa Tomei). George grabs a berth with two gay cop friends. Parties every night for a man long past his party-loving days.
When two is company, even two and a half is a crowd. The stress fractures stretch from guests to hosts: personal crises and household quarrels are both suddenly in the eavesdroppers’ domain. What happened to privacy? Writer-director Sachs (Keep the Lights On) is a gifted, Chekhovian miniaturist. He perfects every tic and tock of his two heroes’ lives, as they gaze at the clock of their existence, robbed of the togetherness that made minutes, hours, days worthwhile. Molina and Lithgow are both superb: two crusty romantics searching for crumbs in a world, however well-meaning, that is too busy for love unless it comes tidy, manageable and vexation-free.
LOVE IS STRANGE - Love Is Strange Guardian Review - 4 STARS - A same-sex marriage sucker-punched by catastrophe >
The Guardian | Thursday 12 February 2015 | by Peter Bradshaw
"There is such unassuming artistry and maturity in this sweet, sad, wise movie by Ira Sachs, who has shown a flair for relationship nuance in films such as Keep the Lights On (2012) and his noir drama Married Life (2007). This is his best work yet: a wonderfully acted study in intimacy and the mystery of how much of our identity is invested in coupledom, especially in the long haul of marriage. Love is strange, says the title. Perhaps it gets stranger the longer you stay in love.
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina play Ben and George, a gay couple in late middle age who live in New York City. Ben is an artist who is the financially dependent one; George is a music teacher at a Catholic school who pays the bills on the apartment they have recently bought. After living together for 40 years, Ben and George take advantage of recent changes in state law and get married. The exuberant reception at their place for a wide, loving circle of friends and relatives is a happy affair, more an anniversary party than a wedding. It reminded me, perhaps oddly, of the family parties in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), in which the characters played by Lloyd Nolan and Maureen O’Sullivan start singing boozily – but those traces of melancholy and regret are absent here. Later, Ben amiably says he spent the afternoon at the cinema, seeing a revival of Busby Berkeley’s The Gang’s All Here. Another very Woody Allen moment.
All the guests had themselves made a kind of commitment: to redouble their friendship and love for the happy couple. But no one could have imagined how soon they would be expected to redeem this pledge. George is fired from his job by church authorities who disapprove of the gay wedding, though they were happy enough with the deniable hypocrisy of his merely having a roommate. Unable to meet their mortgage payments, these two men suffer an unthinkable catastrophe: in what they imagined to be the comfortable evening of their lives, they become homeless refugees, having to split up temporarily and live separately with two sets of friends who, with strained generosity, take them in.
Their humiliation is complete as we realise that each man is with the wrong host: hard-working George is billeted with a laid-back couple of gay cops who like noisy parties and get-togethers in the evening; after a hard day teaching private pupils, George comes back wanting peace and gets none. He would have been better off with Kate (Marisa Tomei) and Elliot (Darren Burrows), whose ordered but strained family life is put under further stress by genial Ben, who has the bunk bed in their teenage son’s room and does nothing all day but hang around getting under Kate’s feet. Their chaotic situation would be amusingly suited to bohemian foreign-exchange students; for grown, ageing men, it is almost shocking.
What is even more disquieting for each is the revelation that, agonising though the situation is, it can work – after a fashion. They can get by. Their love is real enough, but they can function as individuals, as single people. It is as if they are young again – messy and troublesome kids living with their parents, meeting up for dates and illicit sex, yet what they are concealing is not their sexuality but the fear of disaster, the fear of ending their days in poverty and failure, with the relationship that they thought was the bedrock of their existence shattered, almost casually.
Yet Ben and George are vouchsafed something long-term couples rarely have: a vision of what remains of them as individuals, a demonstration of the fact that individuals are what they inevitably are, and not some platonic fusion. It is a guide, of sorts, to how they might function without each other – and how, indeed, they will one day have to do this.
This is a film of great gentleness and subtlety. Sachs arguably sucker-punches us at the end by omitting one key scene, and yet when the truth about this omission dawns on the audience, it confers retrospective power on what has gone before. Lithgow and Molina give excellent performances in a film composed in a reflective minor key."
LOVE IS STRANGE - Love is Strange releases in the UK today>
Find out where it's playing: http://on.fb.me/1IU5BRg
For tickets and further details visit: http://bit.ly/1BSuMdX
QUEEN OF EARTH - The Match Factory Picks Up Alex Ross Perry’s ‘Queen of Earth’ >
Variety | Feb 5, 2015 | Leo Barraclough, John Hopewell
"The Match Factory has picked up Alex Ross Perry’s “Queen of Earth,” which premieres in Berlinale Forum.
The film stars Katherine Waterston (“Steve Jobs,” “Inherent Vice,” “Michael Clayton”) and Elisabeth Moss, who appeared in the director’s previous film, “Listen Up Philip.”
“Queen of Earth” centers on best friends Catherine and Virginia, who escape to the lakeside cabin of Virginia’s parents while they hash out their issues.
Joe Swanberg of Forager Film Co. and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Faliro House Prods. produced the film.
The Match Factory also handled “Listen Up Philip.” Michael Weber, managing director of the Match Factory, said: “We are very happy to work again with Alex Ross Perry on such a promising film like ‘Queen of Earth.’ Alex’s unique way of storytelling and original style make us proud to represent his new film.”"
LOVE IS STRANGE - Love is Strange in the London tube. Opens today at the Curzon Soho and on Feb. 13 across the UK>
QUEEN OF EARTH - Alex Ross Perry's 'Queen of Earth,' Starring Elisabeth Moss, Will World Premiere at Berlinale 2015>
indiewire | Ryan Lattanzio | 15 Jan 2015
Alex Ross Perry's 'Queen of Earth,' Starring Elisabeth Moss, Will World Premiere at Berlinale 2015.
"Moss was transcendently good in Perry's critics' darling "Philip." So good, in fact, that we picked one of her scenes as one of the 10 best of the year. Chalk this project, which shows Perry entering thriller territory and with a steadier camera for the first time, up with Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" and Malick's "Knight of Cups" as one of the most exciting Berlinale entries."