December 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - National Post - Nathalie Atkinson’s Top 10 films of 2013: Much ado about Joss Whedon, Before Midnight and The Great Gatsby>

National Post | 27 December 2013 | by Nathalie Atkinson

Full incredulous disclosure: I missed Before Sunrise all those years ago. Which means that its 2004 sequel Before Sunset also passed me by. When Before Midnight rolled around to complete the triptych like a Gen X Seven Up, I had to decide whether to meet-cute with Richard Linklater’s talkative pair from the beginning of their relationship, or experience the latest first and double-back to catch up on the backstory. It’s a legitimate quandary: as trilogies go this isn’t exactly The Hangover’s “same shit, different city” shtick. Since I was in a relatively rare position of being able to judge the conclusion on its own merits, free of the personal nostalgia my generation in particular has for the characters and who/where they themselves were when they first saw Sunrise, I opted for the latter. Understated, natural, smart, powerful, dark, witty, hard to watch. Before Midnight is remarkable. Perfectly true. Possibly, perfect. Best conversation. Best romance. Best actress. Best screenplay. Best movie. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Five of the Year's Best Films -- That You Can Stream on Netflix Right Now>

Phoenix New Times | 26 December 2013 | by Calum Marsh

For professional film critics, you'll notice, the year in film tends to conclude prematurely. Those "Best Of" lists you see popping up everywhere around now have often been tallied, decided, and finalized by mid-November — and in the web's ever-harried race for clicks and pageviews, that date seems to be receding further all the time. (The a href="">Voice's own film poll closed on December 11.) Among the more regrettable consequences of this is an illusion of gatekeeping. The impulse to declare and broadcast an opinion of a film as far in advance of its release as possible has, I suspect, created a sense that the only films of the year worth talking about those are available exclusively to critics. (I admit and apologize for my own indulgence in this practice.)

It's doubtless frustrating to open countless Best Film lists to find an assortment of foreign curiosities and indies with only meager distribution — films bestowed only a nominal one-week theatrical run on the coasts before disappearing into obscurity. But one of the pleasant things about moviegoing in 2013 is that many of these titles, however minuscule their budgets, make their way to video-on-demand services, often in time for year-end catch-up.

With that in mind, here are five of the year's most accomplished and highly regarded movies, each of which is available to stream, for no extra charge, on Netflix Instant.

1. Room 237 (Rodney Ascher): Not so much a documentary about The Shining as a portrait of the quiet madness its legacy has inspired and enshrined, Rodney Ascher's Room 237 quickly proves no less intriguing than the film its subjects regard with such reverence. It may be that the many conspiracy theories declaimed by Ascher's eccentric interviewees begin to seem almost infectious — it's as if the delusions of the film's obsessives could be caught like a disease. Be advised: Kubrick can never be seen the same way again.

2. Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas): One of Mexico's premier auteurs, the great Carlos Reygadas, returned this year with perhaps his most challenging feature film to date, the gorgeous, terrifying, and frequently inscrutable Post Tenebras Lux. But despite its occasional its forays into apparent abstraction — a sanguine Satan with a briefcase and a glowing yard-long member, two arbitrary cuts to a schoolyard rugby match, and so on — the film never seeks to punish. Whatever effort may be required by Reygadas is duly returned.

3. Somebody Up There Likes Me (Bob Byington): Somebody Up There Likes Me is a comedy of the sort popularized by The Office and its legion of carbon-copy primetime successors — founded on the pain of embarrassment and discomfort, its jokes largely revolve around its hero's various poses of social awkwardness. But Bob Byington's interests run deeper: His film is as invested in the pathos of the story as it is the natural humor, which may be why its gags so often seem to touch a nerve.

4. This Is Martin Bonner (Chad Hartigan): Be wary of any Sundance darling billed as "gentle" or "unassuming" — these are well known critical euphemisms for "cloying" and "interminable," common qualities among Park City alumni. But Chad Hartigan's This Is Martin Bonner, an understated drama about an aging Christian and the ex-convict he gradually befriends, is gentle and unassuming in the best possible sense: sophisticated rather than tepid, moving rather than bland.

5. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth): It's been nearly a decade since Shane Carruth emerged, seemingly from nowhere, to ensnare less elastic minds with his left-brain time-travel opus, Primer, in 2004, and the question of how the film world's only math-whiz auteur might one-up himself with his sophomore feature has finally been answered — though not quite as anybody expected. While no less complex than its predecessor, Upstream Color proved considerably warmer, revealing a side of its already exhaustively multitalented writer-director-editor-composer-star that few had anticipated: He's as interested in feeling as thought. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - BBC - The 10 best films of 2013>

BBC | 24 December 2013 | by Lisa Schwarzbaum

10. Enough Said
In writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s wonderfully urbane chamber piece, an imperfect middle-aged woman – divorced, dubious about ever finding love again and dreading the empty nest once her daughter goes off to university – meets an imperfect middle-aged man. Sparks don’t fly; sparks are for kids. But with plenty of missteps along the way, the woman – played by Seinfeld-to-Veep TV star Julia Louis-Dreyfus with a revelatory lack of vanity – re-learns how to trust and to be trustworthy. And the man – played with heartbreaking sweetness and dignity by the late James Gandolfini in one of his final roles – asserts himself with disarming candour.

Always a connoisseur of the humour in coddled neurosis, Holofcener has made a specialty over the years of stories about the company of articulate women, such as Walking and Talking, Friends With Money, and Please Give. But Enough Said represents a grand creative and emotional leap forward: the movie is as wise as it is wry. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

9. All Is Lost
The year’s most austere yet rousing, harrowing yet thrilling and philosophical yet utterly practical-minded adventure-drama features Robert Redford alone in a boat – an old man and the sea, with barely a word spoken. The title of JC Chandor’s resonant follow-up to his terrific 2011 bad-business drama Margin Call sets the tone for a riveting demonstration of what it means to live in the present, drawing every drop of human ingenuity a man can muster to be saved, not lost. Redford, as a solo unidentified sailor on the Indian Ocean in an acutely damaged boat, concentrates on the present, moment by moment, task by task, to stem a cascade of life-and-death crises.

It is that balance of vastness, aloneness, and one man’s resourcefulness that makes All Is Lost such a moving experience filled with majesty right up to its mysterious final moments. That Redford – the Sundance Kid himself, now a sun-weathered 77 years old – allows himself to be water-weathered, too, is an elemental part of the pleasure. (Lionsgate)

8. Fruitvale Station
It so happens that this riveting, punch-in-the-gut dramatic recreation of the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old black man shot to death by a white transit cop in Oakland, California on New Year’s Eve four years ago, is the first feature from director Ryan Coogler. But even if it were Coogler’s fifth project, the movie would be a stand-out for the artistry with which the filmmaker builds a nuanced portrait of a young man who was neither saint nor devil. The movie captures the short life of one flawed citizen, with a family, a girlfriend, a little daughter, and a life assembled – as most are – of good intentions and mistakes, small pleasures and big challenges.

Named for the train stop where the killing took place amid escalating, poorly-handled chaos, Fruitvale Station has a sure sense of pacing and detail. It also showcases a breakout performance by Michael B Jordan as Grant, and a vivid, primarily African-American supporting cast working with the hot blaze of shared sadness and anger at their backs. (The Weinstein Company)

7. The Act of Killing
In a year of fine documentaries – The Square, A River Changes Course, At Berkeley and Blackfish high among them – this one is a jaw-dropper. It is a hallucinatory tour of the minds of gangsters who led death squads in North Sumatra in the mid 1960s, now aging men who re-enact their murdering ways with a kind of chilling glee. Because they are on camera and they love movies! Because they are mad about musicals, westerns and gangster flicks!

And when the revulsion we feel catches up with one of the most notorious of the death-squad killers, the urgency with which the gangster – a grandfather now, an old gent who likes Elvis Presley – expresses his own self-horror results in a surreal episode of howling and retching, a soul turned inside out. Director Joshua Oppenheimer and his filmmaking team never let us forget that the monster is also a man. (Drafthouse Films)

6. A Touch of Sin
There is a fury galvanising the newest movie by the great Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke: a rage at corruption, greed, and cultural destruction in the name of Chinese modernisation and globalisation. We are used to seeing a more contemplative, documentary-style of storytelling from Jia, whose previous films, including Platform and The World, are marvels of observation and accumulated small moments in the lives of ordinary people, building to dramas of great emotional resonance. Here he attacks what he sees as decay within his own colossal country with the violent energy of a pulpy popcorn thriller, creating a propulsive saga in four parts. His profoundly disgruntled protagonists include a miner driven mad by local corruption, a migrant worker on a shooting spree, a humiliated woman and a young man who cannot get a foothold in the working world. At the age of 43, Jia is one of the reigning global masters of his medium. A Touch of Sin finds him incorporating a powerful new vocabulary into his ardent declarations of art. (Koch Lorber Films)

5. Her
Man meets Operating System. Man loves OS. Man loses OS. Set in a brave new world just near enough to be recognisable and just beyond reach enough to be eerie, Spike Jonze’s singular, and singularly beautiful, futuristic romantic drama probes deep philosophical issues about connection, loneliness, sexual expression and the boundaries between human and artificial intelligence. Joaquin Phoenix is so alive as Theodore, an Everyman simultaneously sad about his impending divorce from a real woman (Rooney Mara) and excited about his deepening connection with Samantha, the non-human OS ‘woman’ in his ear – voiced with melting warmth by Scarlett Johansson – that it is easy to forget the actor is on the screen alone for most of the time.

With typically exquisite Jonze-ian attention to nuances of color, sound, architecture, costume and language, the filmmaker who conjured Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich offers the first great heartbreaking movie love story set on the frontier of technology. (Warner Bros)

4. The Great Beauty
In this gorgeous swoon of a movie about his homeland Italy, filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino salutes his countryman Federico Fellini’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita. But the director, who captured Italian rottenness of a particularly political kind in Il Divo, swans and meanders on a tender, rueful and bemused tour of beauty and damnation very much of his own distinctive making. As a charming, sybaritic journalist who has traded efforts at literary greatness for a life of wealth, ease and frivolity, the indispensable Italian actor Toni Servillo becomes our guide through circles of damnation that his countryman Dante Alighieri might recognise. Both visually and aurally ravishing – the soundtrack is enchanting – The Great Beauty lives up to its title. (Janus Films)

3. Before Midnight
Amazing. It has been 18 years since audiences first encountered Ethan Hawke as Jesse, a young American traveler abroad, and Julie Delpy as Céline, a young French woman who would change his fate on an all-night prowl through Vienna, in Before Sunrise. It has been nine years since we reunited with them in Before Sunset. (They are the fictional equivalent of the living souls we have watched grow up in Michael Apted’s seminal Up series of films.)

Now, in middle age, Jesse and Céline have never felt more real, as they talk and talk and talk their way through the challenges of keeping a relationship alive – a relationship between a man and a woman who think they know one another. Plus, they do so in a glorious Greek setting. The collaboration among Delpy, Hawke and director Richard Linklater in developing, writing and enacting the couple’s story – is itself one of the great relationship sagas in contemporary moviemaking. (Sony Pictures Classics)

2. American Hustle
Rude, wily, sexy and bursting with brio, David O Russell’s portrait of a late 1970s American scam can pass, if you squint, as an inside-out version of Inside Llewyn Davis: While Joel and Ethan Coen find inspiration in the lives of men for whom being pretty good at what they do is no guarantee of success, Russell is jazzed by the lives of men – and one adventuress of a woman – who barrel ahead on gusts of confidence in their own lies. Using the FBI’s sting operation known as Abscam as the basis for his story, Russell presides, with giddy confidence himself, over a dead-serious farce in which the con is king – personally, professionally, politically – and it is difficult to tell the bluffers from the believers. You won’t find a better ensemble of terrific actors having the time of their lives. You won’t find a more amazing hairdo, either, than the thing Christian Bale arranges on his head. (Sony)

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
Choosing the best movie of the year defies standards of analysis, or even logic. So, on a solid list of outstanding titles of equal merit, number one ought to be reserved for an expression of unquantifiable love. Hence, for this list-maker, it’s Inside Llewyn Davis. The setting is the early folk music scene in 1960s New York City, and the protagonist is an exasperating piece of work who makes messes in the lives of those around him but who also happens to sing sad ballads with clear, unvarnished eloquence. Nothing much good comes for Llewyn Davis, nothing too tragic either. Enhanced by a golden soundtrack of folk song ballads, many sung with quiet feeling by Oscar Isaac, so magnetic in the title role, the Coen brothers display a maturity of perception – about aspiration and the randomness of the universe, about scene-setting and narrative pace – that silences old charges about the siblings’ coldness of heart. Surprise! Inside Llewyn Davis is a tender place. (CBS Films) Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Den of Geek - Top 10 films of 2013: Before Midnight >

Den of Geek | 24 December 2013 | by Simon Brew

Richard Linklater wraps up a remarkable trilogy with Before Midnight, which came in at number 4 in our countdown of the year

Over the past few weeks, Den of Geek writers have been voting for their favourite films of the year. The votes were weighted, calculated, and compiled into our top ten. And here, at number 4, is Before Midnight...

4. Before Midnight

This article contains spoilers.

There aren't, in truth, that many people I meet in real life who have seen Before Midnight. The last time I found someone, the conversation went like this:

Them: "I couldn't stand Before Midnight. All they did was talk for the entire film".
Me: "I loved Before Midnight. All they did was talk for the entire film".

We elected to chat about something else at that point.

Richard Linklater's possible conclusion to his Before... trilogy certainly has no intention of recruiting those put off by the style of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Granted, there are a few extra characters who pop up in Before Midnight, and the opening sequence in the airport is a little different to what we've seen before. But it's not long before the two key characters - Julie Delpy's Celine and Ethan Hawke's Jesse - are back chuntering away.

And it's differing conversations they're having this time. Set against the backdrop of Greece, and picking up nine years after the last film, the romance between the pair has given way to liberal doses of real life. Two sleeping children in the back of the car for a start, but also the kind of issues that face a couple as they hit their 40s.

There's an argument that Judd Apatow's This Is 40 was covering not dissimilar themes as well, although as movies, they couldn't, tonally at least, be much further apart. I liked This Is 40 more than most, but Before Midnight is clearly the better film. From the opening to the end, Linklater, Hawke and Delpy leave you in no doubt that they know exactly what they're doing, and their conversations prove as gripping as any expensive action sequence that made it to the screen all year. Jesse's speech about how he was there on "game day" is still one of the highlights for me, although there are plenty of others.

Before Midnight does shuffle the tone of the films slightly. If there was an upbeat nature to the first two, this one feels a little more melancholy. Reality has bitten, and whilst there's still no shortage of humour, the cracks in the previously all-but-idyllic relationship are very much starting to show. Jesse's life in particular is torn, which has ramifications for them both. And when the credits roll on this latest hour and a half in the company of Jesse and Celine, there's once more a sense that you really don't quite know where they'll be in nine years time. Could the next Before... film see the couple separate, and trying to come back together, or will Linklater quietly draw the curtain now?

Whatever happens next, the sad fact is that Before Midnight is likely to be overlooked again for some serious, high profile awards attention. It's scandalous, but then moaning about awards inherently contributions to the ecosystem of said awards in the first place. The Before... trilogy requires no gongs on its mantelpiece to be regarded as one of the best trilogies in the history of cinema after all. And I mean those words: you can count on very few fingers the number of trilogies where each film hits such a high, consistent quality. Most lose it at chapter three. The Before... trilogy however gets even richer with its third film.

Choosing which is the best of the Before... films is, too, a pretty pointless job, because they blend so effortlessly well together. And in Jesse and Celine, there's a real, down to earth couple at the heart of the story that anyone who pens a love story in the future should be forced to study for many, many hours. Not that that would be a hardship. Before Sunrise was great, Before Sunset was great, and Before Midnight very much continues that tradition.

It might get you heading to the travel agents to pick up a brochure on Greece, too... Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - hitifx - Sony Classics looks to keep 'Before Midnight's' awards hopes alive with New York and Santa Barbara trilogy showcases>

hitfix | 23 December 2013 | by Kristopher Tapley

Sony Pictures Classics is putting together a nice push in the lead-up to Oscar nominations on behalf of "Before Midnight" by spotlighting the film's place in a trilogy of films that mark a true landmark progression for the medium. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke seem like good bets for Best Adapted Screenplay recognition, but with the placement the film is receiving on year-end top 10 lists and superlatives announcements, it has a strong foothold to register in other categories, too, perhaps even Best Picture.

A few weeks back, the studio sent out DVD combos of the first two films in the series, "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." Soon after it was announced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York that all three films would screen in a program called "Celine and Jesse Forever" in January.

"Each of the 'Before' movies is a window onto a stage of life, revealing the possibilities and disappointments of one’s 20s, 30s and 40s," said Film Society's Director of Cinematheque Programming, Dennis Lim, at the time. "Taken together, they have become something much larger and altogether more amazing: an ongoing collective experiment in embodying the passage of time."

The program will also feature screenings of Linklater's 2001 rotoscoped animated feature "Waking Life," which features a sequence with Celine and Jesse that kick-started the idea between the three collaborators to pursue a sequel to the 1994 original film.

Now comes news that the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will screen the trilogy at an all-afternoon event at the Lobero Theatre on the last day of the fest, Feb. 9, 2014. Linklater, Delpy and Hawke will be on hand for an in-depth conversation about the series.

"This trilogy creates one of the most authentic portrayals of love on the screen," SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said, "and it's an undeniable gift to be able to experience all three movies in one day as well as to host its three talented creators."

Thus far on the critics circuit "Before Midnight" — my #4 film of the year — has managed a lot of screenplay wins and nominations, though perhaps not enough for other elements, particularly the performances. Delpy was nominated for Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards and the film received a screenplay notice, but nothing else. The film landed a Best Film nomination with the Gotham Awards (where Linklater was feted with a tribute), but Delpy was passed over. She was, however, nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes (dubious category placement but, let's face it, probably the only way to get the film any notice with that group). Hawke, meanwhile, remains in a thankless position with these films; I don't think he's been recognized anywhere so far.

So it's been quite the up and down season for what countless critics view as one of the year's best films. I'd like to think the Academy will see fit to honor it in more than just the adapted screenplay category, though. It deserves nominations for that, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress, maybe even Best Actor. Perhaps these bicoastal events, along with continued top 10 presence, will help revive the May release. One can only hope.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an interview with Linklater, Delpy and Hawke about the films in this truly unique series.

"Celine and Jesse Forever" will run at New York's Lincoln Center Jan. 3-9, 2014. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 30 - Feb. 9, 2014.

"Before Midnight," meanwhile, is currently available on DVD/Blu-ray. Facebook Link

LISTEN UP PHILIP - Sundance 2014 screening times>

2014, 108 minutes, color, U.S.A., NEXT

Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his sure-to-succeed second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip’s idol, Ike Zimmerman, offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject—himself.

Following up his critically acclaimed The Color Wheel, Alex Ross Perry scripts a complex, intimate, and highly idiosyncratic comedy filled with New Yorkers living their lives somewhere between individuality and isolation. Jason Schwartzman leads an impressive cast, including Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter, and Jonathan Pryce, balancing Perry’s quick-witted dialogue and their characters’ painful, personal truths. With narration by Eric Bogosian, we switch perspectives as seasons and attitudes change, offering a literary look into the lives of these individuals and the triumph of reality over the human spirit. - C.R.

About the Director
Alex Ross Perry was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1984. He attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and worked at Kim’s Video in Manhattan. He made his first film Impolex, in 2009. His second film, The Color Wheel, was distributed theatrically in America and France in 2012 and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He lives in Brooklyn.

Cast and Credits
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry
Executive Producer: Christos V. Konstantakopoulos
Producer: Joshua Blum, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, David Lowery, Katie Stern
Coproducer: Michaela McKee

Principal Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Joséphine de La Baume

Contact: Nathaniel Baruch / Brigade Marketing / / (917) 306-9585

Sundance 2014 Screenings for LISTEN UP PHILIP

1/20/2014 5:30 pm
Library Center Theatre, Park City

1/21/2014 9:00 pm
Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort

1/22/2014 5:30 pm
The MARC, Park City

1/23/2014 8:30 am
Prospector Square Theatre, Park City

1/24/2014 6:00 pm
Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Sundance 2014 screening times>

2013, 123 minutes, color, U.S.A., Spotlight

Jim Jarmusch first attended the Sundance Film Festival in 1985 and won a Special Jury Prize for Stranger Than Paradise. His newest feature, Only Lovers Left Alive, premiered in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Set against the desolation of the once-vibrant cities of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction the world is going, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured at least several centuries, but their debauched, romantic idyll is soon disrupted by the woman’s wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise, but fragile, outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch approaches this vampire romance with an ease that beautifully tracks these contemporary creatures, who are lost in their indifference toward humanity except for the intoxication of enjoying arts like literature and music. Jarmusch fills the screen with gorgeous, gothic imagery as his characters—who wholly embrace their unique environment—share their burnt-out observations on the state of society. Only Lovers Left Alive is a sublime, cinematic poem of passion and despair seen through the cool shades of a sly, postmodern master director. - C.R.

About the Director
Jim Jarmusch has long been considered a seminal figure in American independent cinema. His films are often noted for their transcendent minimalism and overturning of traditional genres, such as the road movie, western, crime film, and detective story. Born in Akron, Ohio, Jarmusch lives and works in New York. He made his debut at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival with Stranger Than Paradise, which earned him a Special Jury Prize.

Cast and Credits
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch
Producers: Jeremy Thomas, Reinhard Brundig
Cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux
Production Designer: Marco Bittner Rosser
Costume Designer: Bina Daigeler
Composer: Jozef Van Wissem
Editor: Editor Alfonso Gonçalves

Principal Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright

Contact: Gary Springer / Springer Associates PR / / (914) 659-4802

Sundance 2014 Screenings for ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

1/20/2014 11:30 am
Library Center Theatre, Park City

1/21/2014 11:59 pm
Egyptian Theatre, Park City

1/24/2014 9:00 pm
Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City

1/25/2014 8:45 pm
Egyptian Theatre, Park City Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The Toughest Scene I Wrote: Richard Linklater on Before Midnight’s Big Fight>

vulture | 18 December 2013 | by Kyle Buchanan

"I think by sheer volume, Jesse and Celine's hotel room fight was the toughest scene to write. The whole film leads to it: From the very first scene in the movie, we've revealed a fault line in their relationship, and what we experience in the hotel room is the full maturation of the idea. This fight started years ago, and we're just dropping in on this month's version." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight at no. 8 in Empire's 50 Best Films Of 2013>

"This ongoing collaboration by writer-director Richard Linklater and his co-writers and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke is one of cinema's most successful experiments. Over 20 years now, we've had the chance to peek into three key moments in the lives of Jesse and Celine as they debate life, love, sex and their own shared future. Their discussions feel so natural (albeit hyper-articulate and well-expressed) that viewers are left secretly hoping that "Julie Delpy" and "Ethan Hawke" are the characters, and Celine and Jesse are still out there somewhere, walk-and-talking in a way that puts even Aaron Sorkin to shame." Facebook Link

STRATOS - Yannis Economides’ Stratos will make its world premiere in competition at Berlinale 2014>

Screendaily | 17 December 2013 | by Andreas Wiseman

Berlin reveals competition titles

‘71, Life of Riley and Aloft selected. A Long Way Down, The Turning among Berlinale Special titles.

The first seven films selected for the Berlinale Competition programme include Yann Demange’s ‘71, Alan Resnais’ Life of Riley (Aimer, Boire et Chanter) and Claudia Llosa’s Aloft.

Also joining Wes Anderson’s opening film The Grand Budapest Hotel, and George Clooney’s Monuments Men, both announced in November, are Dominik Graf’s Die Geliebten Schwestern and Yannis Economides’ Stratos.

In the Berlinale Special strand are Pascal Chaumeil’s A Long Way Down, Australian anthology film The Turning, Hubert Sauper’s documentary We Come As Friends (Entente Cordiale) and Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller’s doc The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden.

Six of the seven announced main competition titles are world premieres – Monuments Men, which screens out of competition, gets its international premiere.

Chaumeil’s A Long Way Down, starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, makes its world premiere while The Turning, starring Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving, is an international premiere. Both documentaries in the Special strand are European premieres.

‘71 (UK) by Yann Demange
With Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris, Richard Dormer
World premiere

Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter) (France) by Alain Resnais
With Sabine Azéma, Sandrine Kiberlain, Caroline Silhol, André Dussolier, Hippolyte Giradot, Michel Vuillermoz
World premiere

Aloft (Spain/Canada/France) by Claudia Llosa
With Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, Mélanie Laurent
World premiere

Die geliebten Schwestern (Germany) by Dominik Graf
With Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter, Henriette Confurius
World premiere

Stratos (Greece / Germany / Cyprus) by Yannis Economides
With Vangelis Mourikis, Vicky Papadopoulou, Petros Zervos
World premiere

The Grand Budapest Hotel (UK-Germany) by Wes Anderson
With Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody
World premiere – Opening film

The Monuments Men (Germany-US) by George Clooney
With George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett
International premiere – Out of competition
Berlinale Special

A Long Way Down (UK) by Pascal Chaumeil
With Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots
World premiere

Entente Cordiale (We Come As Friends) - documentary (France/Austria) by Hubert Sauper

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden - documentary (US) by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller
Voice cast Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger, Thomas Kretschmann, Sebastian Koch, Josh Radnor, Gustaf Skarsgård, Connie Nielsen

The Turning – anthology film (Australia)
By Marieka Walsh, Warwick Thornton, Jub Clerc, Robert Connolly, Anthony Lucas, Rhys Graham, Ashlee Page, Tony Ayres, Claire McCarthy, Stephen Page, Shaun Gladwell, Mia Wasikowska, Simon Stone, David Wenham, Jonathan auf der Heide, Justin Kurzel, Yaron Lifschitz, Ian Meadows
With Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, Richard Roxburgh, Hugo Weaving Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - AV Club names Before Midnight Best Film of 2013>

A.V. Club | 17 December 2013 | by Sam Adams, Mike D'Angelo, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.A. Dowd, Ben Kenigsberg, Nick Schager & Scott MacDonald

AV Club names BEFORE MIDNIGHT Best Film of 2013!!!

The best films of 2013

"Before Midnight, the smartest and prickliest of the trilogy, reveals the full scope of its creators’ ambitions: It’s clear now, if it weren’t before, that Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy have been painting a grand mosaic—not simply an episodic love story, but the decade-by-decade life of a relationship. Pitting Jesse and Céline against not just each other but also the hurdles of middle age, parenthood, and long-term companionship, Midnight loses much of the sweet, simple charm of its walk-and-talk predecessors. But it also deepens those films in retrospect, making them a part of something bigger and more meaningful. For all the vitriol exchanged between them—see: the year’s best scene—Jesse and Céline are still very much in love, their passion complicated but not extinguished with age. What could be more profoundly romantic than that?" Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight in the TOH! Top Tens of 2013>

indiwire | TOH! Top Tens of 2013 | December 13, 2013

Film critics Matt Brennan, Tom Brueggemann, Beth Hanna, and Anne Thompson agree ... Before Midnight is one of the top 10 films of 2013 Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Inside Llewyn Davis, 12 Years A Slave & Before Midnight make the Top Film Comment's 2013 Best of Year List>

Broadway World | 16 December 2013

"Film Comment's annual end-of-the-year survey of film critics, journalists, film section editors, and past and present contributors was released today with Joel & Ethan Coen's INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Steve McQueen's 12 YEARS A SLAVE and Richard Linklater's BEFORE MIDNIGHT taking the top spots among films released in 2013." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight picks up a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination from the 19th annual Critics Choice Awards>

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) has announced the nominees for The 19th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. The winners will be announced live at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremony on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. The show will be broadcast live on The CW Network at 8:00 PM ET/PT. Two hour pre-show coverage will also air in various local markets before the awards ceremony.


American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford – All Is Lost

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Brie Larson – Short Term 12
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl – Rush
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Scarlett Johansson – Her
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Asa Butterfield – Ender’s Game
Adele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest Color
Liam James – The Way Way Back
Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan – Mud

American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze – Her
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Spike Jonze – Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson – Nebraska

Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Roger Deakins – Prisoners
Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave

Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decorators) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave

Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American Hustle
Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips
Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush
Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave
Thelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street

Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave

American Hustle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek into Darkness

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Lone Survivor
Star Trek into Darkness

Henry Cavill – Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt – World War Z
Mark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor

Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3

American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World’s End

Christian Bale – American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Simon Pegg – The World’s End
Sam Rockwell – The Way Way Back

Amy Adams – American Hustle
Sandra Bullock – The Heat
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy – The Heat

The Conjuring
Star Trek into Darkness
World War Z

Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past

The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
20 Feet from Stardom

Atlas – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Happy – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2
Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen
Ordinary Love – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby

Steven Price – Gravity
Arcade Fire – Her
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave


12 Years a Slave – 13 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor / Chiwetel Ejiofor
Best Supporting Actor / Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress / Lupita Nyong’o
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Director / Steve McQueen
Best Adapted Screenplay / John Ridley
Best Cinematography / Sean Bobbitt
Best Art Direction / Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator)
Best Editing / Joe Walker
Best Costume Design / Patricia Norris
Best Makeup
Best Score / Hans Zimmer

20 Feet from Stardom – 1 Nomination
Best Documentary

The Act of Killing – 1 Nomination
Best Documentary

All is Lost – 1 Nomination
Best Actor / Robert Redford

American Hustle – 13 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor / Christian Bale
Best Supporting Actor / Bradley Cooper
Best Supporting Actress / Jennifer Lawrence
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Director / David O. Russell
Best Original Screenplay / Eric Singer and David O. Russell
Best Editing / Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Best Costume Design / Michael Wilkinson
Best Makeup
Best Comedy
Best Actor in a Comedy / Christian Bale
Best Actress in a Comedy / Amy Adams

August: Osage County – 4 Nominations
Best Actress / Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actress / Julia Roberts
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Adapted Screenplay / Tracy Letts

Before Midnight – 1 Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay / Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke

Blackfish – 1 Nomination
Best Documentary

Blue is the Warmest Color – 2 Nominations
Best Young Actor/Actress / Adele Exarchopoulos
Best Foreign Language Film

Blue Jasmine – 2 Nominations
Best Actress / Cate Blanchett
Best Original Screenplay / Woody Allen

The Book Thief – 1 Nomination
Best Young Actor/Actress / Sophie Nelisse

Captain Phillips – 6 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor / Tom Hanks
Best Supporting Actor / Barkhad Abdi
Best Director / Paul Greengrass
Best Adapted Screenplay / Billy Ray
Best Editing / Christopher Rouse

The Conjuring – 1 Nomination
Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie

The Croods – 1 Nomination
Best Animated Film

Dallas Buyers Club – 3 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor / Matthew McConaughey
Best Supporting Actor / Jared Leto

Despicable Me 2 – 2 Nominations
Best Animated Film
Best Song / Happy – Pharrell Williams

Ender’s Game – 1 Nomination
Best Young Actor/Actress / Asa Butterfield

Enough Said – 4 Nominations
Best Supporting Actor / James Gandolfini
Best Comedy
Best Actor in a Comedy / James Gandolfini
Best Actress in a Comedy / Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Frances Ha – 1 Nomination
Best Actress in a Comedy / Greta Gerwig

Frozen – 2 Nominations
Best Animated Film
Best Song / Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Gravity – 10 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actress / Sandra Bullock
Best Director / Alfonso Cuarón
Best Cinematography / Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Art Direction / Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator)
Best Editing / Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
Best Visual Effects
Best Actress in An Action Movie / Sandra Bullock
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
Best Score / Steven Price

The Great Beauty – 1 Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Gatsby – 3 Nominations
Best Art Direction / Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator)
Best Costume Design / Catherine Martin
Best Song / Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey

The Heat – 3 Nominations
Best Comedy
Best Actress in a Comedy / Sandra Bullock
Best Actress in a Comedy / Melissa McCarthy

Her – 6 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Supporting Actress / Scarlett Johansson
Best Director / Spike Jonze
Best Original Screenplay / Spike Jonze
Best Art Direction / K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator)
Best Score / Arcade Fire

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 5 Nominations
Best Art Direction / Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator)
Best Costume Design / Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
Best Makeup
Best Visual Effects
Best Actress in an Action Movie / Evangeline Lilly

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 3 Nominations
Best Action Movie
Best Actress in an Action Movie / Jennifer Lawrence
Best Song / Atlas – Coldplay

The Hunt – 1 Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

Inside Llewyn Davis – 4 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Original Screenplay / Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Best Cinematography / Bruno Delbonnel
Best Song / Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver

Iron Man 3 – 4 Nominations
Best Visual Effects
Best Action Movie
Best Actor in an Action Movie / Robert Downey Jr.
Best Actress in an Action Movie / Gwyneth Paltrow

Lee Daniels’ The Butler – 3 Nominations
Best Supporting Actress / Oprah Winfrey
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Makeup

Lone Survivor – 2 Nominations
Best Action Movie
Best Actor in an Action Movie / Mark Wahlberg

Man of Steel – 1 Nomination
Best Actor in an Action Movie / Henry Cavill

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – 1 Nomination
Best Song / Ordinary Love – U2

Monsters University – 1 Nomination
Best Animated Film

Mud – 1 Nomination
Best Young Actor/Actress / Tye Sheridan

Nebraska – 6 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actor / Bruce Dern
Best Supporting Actress / June Squibb
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Original Screenplay / Bob Nelson
Best Cinematography / Phedon Papamichael

Pacific Rim – 1 Nomination
Best Visual Effects

The Past – 1 Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

Philomena – 2 Nominations
Best Actress / Judi Dench
Best Adapted Screenplay / Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Prisoners – 1 Nomination
Best Cinematography / Roger Deakins

Rush – 4 Nominations
Best Supporting Actor / Daniel Bruhl
Best Editing / Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
Best Makeup
Best Action Movie

Saving Mr. Banks – 4 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actress / Emma Thompson
Best Costume Design / Daniel Orlandi
Best Score / Thomas Newman

Short Term 12 – 1 Nomination
Best Actress / Brie Larson

Star Trek into Darkness – 3 Nominations
Best Visual Effects
Best Action Movie
Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie

Stories We Tell – 1 Nomination
Best Documentary

This Is The End – 1 Nomination
Best Comedy

Tim’s Vermeer – 1 Nomination
Best Documentary

Wadjda – 1 Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

The Way Way Back – 3 Nominations
Best Young Actor/Actress / Liam James
Best Comedy
Best Actor in a Comedy / Sam Rockwell

The Wind Rises – 1 Nomination
Best Animated Film

The Wolf of Wall Street – 6 Nominations
Best Picture
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Director / Martin Scorsese
Best Adapted Screenplay / Terence Winter
Best Editing / Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Actor in a Comedy / Leonardo DiCaprio

World War Z – 2 Nominations
Best Actor in an Action Movie / Brad Pitt
Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie

The World’s End – 2 Nominations
Best Comedy
Best Actor in a Comedy / Simon Pegg Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The Guardian Film Blog - The 10 best films of 2013 – Before Midnight at No 6>

The Guardian | 16 December 2013 | by Catherine Shoard

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The 10 best films of 2013 – Before Midnight at No 6

"Another year, another sequel, another shameless attempt to cash in on prior brand recognition and to exploit fans desperate for another hit of their favourite franchise. So why was Richard Linklater's second sequel to Before Sunrise greeted with a loving embrace, rather than the spitting backlash that awaits most reboots?

It's because the Before trilogy (actually, I'm holding out for an octet) has most in common with something like the Up documentary series, which traces the progress of a group of people at seven year intervals. The three Before films, spaced with nine years between them, are so brilliantly constructed, so seamlessly blended with the actual aging of their actor/screenwriters that they had started to assume the role of real-life touchstones, rather than works of art.

There was no pressure, then, for this third instalment. No worry that in tripping up the film-makers would not just be trampling the legacy of two minor masterpieces but pulling the plug on something so special and tangible it goes beyond movies. In fact, of course, this turned out pretty much perfect.

Celine and Jesse drive along in their rental car, have lunch with friends, stroll through the fields and look at goats, kiss and row in a hotel room, then have what might be a reconciliation by the sea. That's about it. But for my money, the technical achivement is just as towering as Gravity's. Those precisely-paced long, long scenes, just dialogue, so casual and natural it couldn't be improvised, knock you over, again and again.

Midnight isn't quite flawless. The ending doesn't have the same satisfying crackle of Sunset; the lunch scene is stagey, your sympathies are too skewed away from Delpy. But these imperfections enhance the picture, make you appreciate it all the more, mean you care for its characters in a way that isn't fleeting or situation specific. Before Midnight transcends cinema. It feels like a commitment. It feels like it's for life." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - New York Times - Escapism at the Movies? Not Exactly [ Stephen Holden’s Top Films of 2013 ]>

New York Times | 12 December 2013 | by Stephen Holden

“Generalized anxiety.” That is by far the most common complaint voiced by the clients of a prominent New York psychiatrist whom I recently asked to identify the malaise of the moment. As much as that term evokes a sense of foreboding behind the glittering facade of Manhattan, it also describes the wary, embattled tone of world cinema in 2013.

Whether from the United States, Asia or Europe, serious films are reacting to runaway capitalism and its fallout with suspicion, disgust and nihilistic exuberance. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, they ask, whom can you trust? That cynicism extends to the American heartland, pictured in Alexander Payne’s bleak comedy ‘Nebraska’ as a deserted wasteland of old folks and embittered deadbeats. Its addled protagonist (Bruce Dern) waves around a sweepstakes advertisement in the mistaken belief that he is suddenly a millionaire.

Everywhere there is widespread future shock. As technological innovation accelerates faster than our ability to assimilate it, movies express a creeping sense of powerlessness, the future determined not by humans but by algorithms. As institutions and social structures dissolve, we are on our own, fearful of being left behind in a stampede that must be heading somewhere. Or not.

That disorientation is personalized in Alfonso Cuarón’s sensational space odyssey, ‘Gravity,’ in which Sandra Bullock’s character triumphs over panic as she spins alone in a void. The movie’s evocation of weightlessness is so persuasive that you leave the theater unsure what’s up and what’s down.

Ms. Bullock’s character is a reassuring model of spunk and ingenuity under extreme stress, as are Robert Redford’s sailor in J. C. Chandor’s seafaring survival drama, ‘All Is Lost,’ and Tom Hanks’s heroic title character in Paul Greengrass’s ‘Captain Phillips.’ Leave it to Hollywood stars to personify courage. But these well-made movies are flickers of light in a darker cultural climate whose default attitude, reinforced by countless violent thrillers, is paranoia.

A reflexive defense against uncertainty is the accumulation of wealth. As depicted in two hugely entertaining movies, Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and David O. Russell’s ‘American Hustle,’ loosely based on the Abscam scandal, cash by the bundle is the ultimate panacea and con-artistry way of the world. But how effective a defense against chaos is wealth in a corrupt climate in which the rug could once again be pulled out at any moment?

For the sleazy wheeler-dealers in Mr. Scorsese’s raucous three-hour comic satire, there is no such thing as too much money, sex or drugs. This story of the real life penny-stock trader Jordan Belfort and his crew of white-collar thieves is the ne plus ultra of Wall Street takedowns. Mr. Belfort, played to the hilt by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a gluttonous sociopath compared to whom Michael Douglas’s Gordon (“greed is good”) Gecko is a goody-two-shoes.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is an unintended sequel to Baz Luhrmann’s travesty, “The Great Gatsby,” in which Mr. DiCaprio played F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ringmaster of Roaring Twenties bread and circuses. At least Gatsby had a romantic dream. In the “Wolf” screenplay by Terence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”), Mr. Belfort is pure id, all appetite.

Gyrating bodies are recurrent images not only in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (in which many of the female ones are naked) but also in “Spring Breakers,” Harmony Korine’s chortling portrait of aimless college-age young people running wild in Florida. Here, bored teenage girls watched by a grinning James Franco wearing grillz gleefully act out their fantasy of being gun-toting gangsters.

An entrancing sequence of writhing dancers at the 65th birthday of a society reporter (Toni Servillo) looking back on his frivolous life opens ‘The Great Beauty,’ Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent, melancholy portrait of contemporary Rome. The movie, which swept the European Film Awards, is a kind of updated “La Dolce Vita” More than half a century after that Federico Fellini landmark, the Eternal City has lost its glamour and feels enervated, despite all the frantic activity.

The culture shock and ennui seeping through American and European movies are mild compared with the jarring dislocations experienced by the characters in the Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s ‘Touch of Sin.’ The movie’s four vignettes starkly juxtapose startlingly discordant images of contemporary China in which poor farmers labor in the shadows of ominous, smoggy high-rise cityscapes; the young workers in the emerging corporate economy are as regimented as Mao Zedong’s revolutionary army.

In ‘Paradise: Love,’ the first part of a trilogy by the Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, a corpulent middle-aged woman embarks on a sex tour of Kenya, where she and her friends purchase the favors of impoverished African beach boys. The movie is a grotesque but indelible depiction of cold sexual exploitation fueled by delusions that money buys happiness.

Where is the humanity in all this angst? It is found in the fraught dialogues of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy playing a long-term couple in ‘Before Midnight,’ the third part of a trilogy that began in 1995 and portrays the ever-shifting balance of power between an American writer and his French partner. Theirs is as real and complex an observation of a relationship as the movies ever have produced.

Oscar Isaac, who plays the moody self-destructive title character of Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ set in Greenwich Village folk scene in 1961, creates a compelling portrait of a talented but tortured artist headed for failure. For my money, Mr. Isaac turns in far and away the year’s best male performance, and the movie stands as the Coens’ most heartfelt.

‘The Past,’ the Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his masterpiece, “A Separation,” would be as great as its predecessor if its plot didn’t take one too many turns. As its characters rake over the past, the movie explores an elusive search for the truth that creates more conflict and bitterness than understanding.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’ which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, follows the life span of a lesbian passion graphically depicted by Lea Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. The notorious sex scenes are the weakest element of a drama whose emotions explode.

The year’s most punishing film, Steve McQueen’s ‘12 Years a Slave,’ tells the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War times. This austere horror movie has real fiends in the persons of a sadistic slave owner (Michael Fassbender) and his monstrous wife (Sarah Paulson). “12 Years a Slave” humanizes pure evil just enough to remind you that it is everywhere if you look. Its unblinking vision puts the angst of the year’s other fine movies in perspective.

In his poem “Burnt Norton,” T. S. Eliot wrote “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.” For those who can bear it, here are the best of the best:

1. “Before Midnight”

2. “Inside Llewyn Davis”

3. “12 Years a Slave”

4. “The Past”

5. “The Wolf of Wall Street”

6. “American Hustle”

7. “The Great Beauty”

8. “Blue Is the Warmest Color”

9. “Nebraska”

10. “A Touch of Sin”

11. “Paradise: Love”

12. “Gravity”

13. “Spring Breakers” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Oscar Talk: Thompson and Tapley Reveal Their Top Ten Films of 2013>

Listen to Anne Thompson [indiewire] and Kristopher Tapley [hitfix] discuss their top 10 films of 2013

Before Midnight gets mentions @ 57:05 and 1:00:57 Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Nick Offerman named Top Ten Supporting Actor by IndieWire, for Somebody Up There Likes Me>

indiewire | 13 December 2013 | BY ERIC KOHN

"Bob Byington's alternately touching and surreal comedy covers 35 years in the life of a man named Max (Byington regular Keith Poulson) as he falls in love with waitress Lyla (Jess Weixler) and starts a family with her. Poulson and Weixler both deliver amusingly deadpan performances, but it's Offerman who elevates the material to absurdist heights. As Max's righthand man Sal, Offerman presents himself as the humorless guru guiding Max through his various ups and downs -- when in fact the older man is the real loose cannon. Therein lies the essence of Offerman's humor: There's a wicked, chaotic sensibility lurking beneath his poker-faced exterior. "Somebody Up There Likes Me" capitalizes on that talent." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Variety - Justin Chang’s Top 10 Films of 2013>

Variety | 13 December 2013 | by Justin Chang

If James Franco’s “Look at my shee-yit!” scene in “Spring Breakers” was one of 2013′s funniest movie moments, it was also perhaps the most emblematic of a year that, as many others have pointed out, was all but overrun by spectacles of consumerist excess — from “American Hustle” to “The Wolf of Wall Street,” from Baz Luhrmann’s not-so-great “Great Gatsby” to Paolo Sorrentino’s genuinely great “Great Beauty.” This may not be exactly what Susan Sontag meant when she described the cinema as “a decadent art” some 18 years ago, but if the Jimmy Choo fits, wear it: Rarely has the camera’s natural affinity for beautiful, shiny objects been so lovingly indulged, whether the objects in question were the gleaming treasures in Smaug’s vault or the designer fashions in Paris Hilton’s closet.

Still, for every movie that turned the bigscreen into the functional equivalent of a mall display window (albeit one with a few satirical cracks and fissures), there was another in which the have-nots spoke as powerfully, though not always as loudly, as the haves. The year’s other key theme, central to films as different as “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave,” was survival, and survival always carries with it the threat of scarcity. Think of Llewyn Davis, navigating a series of couches and fending off a New York winter without a proper coat, with only his guitar and his talent to keep him warm. Think of Captain Phillips — or better yet, think of Abduwali Muse and his friends and family back in Somalia, leading lives of desperation and poverty that give Paul Greengrass’ nautical nail-biter a truly moral undertow.

Think of Robert Redford’s “Our Man,” adrift and bereft in “All Is Lost,” a despairing declaration of a title that could have been spoken by any number of movie characters this year. Like Kris, drugged and divested of her material possessions — and more crucially, her identity — in the year’s most inimitably original movie, “Upstream Color.” Or Jasmine French, whose journey from Park Avenue socialite to San Francisco bag lady made “Blue Jasmine” Woody Allen’s most incisive and sympathetic picture in years. Or even P.L. Travers, forced by her own slowing book sales to surrender Mary Poppins to Walt Disney — and, as “Saving Mr. Banks” makes clear, well acquainted with material and emotional deprivations even in her Australian childhood.

Travers and Disney were two of the many real-life personalities given a second life onscreen, among them the kung fu master Ip Man; the Wall Street tycoon Jordan Belfort; the supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren; and the lovable gallery of Abscam-era chumps and con artists cheerfully falsified for the purposes of “American Hustle.” And in a watershed year for depictions of real-life African-American experience onscreen, who could forget Oscar Grant III and Cecil Gaines (aka Eugene Allen), striving to improve their respective fortunes in “Fruitvale Station” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”; or D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad, whose own private pain pushes him to exact the most senseless kind of revenge in “Blue Caprice”; or Solomon Northup, kidnapped and dragged through the 19th-century horror show of “12 Years a Slave.” Whatever their flaws and merits, these films added up to an indelible reminder of how inextricably class and race are linked across the history of persecution in America, a history that bleeds well into the present.

In this season of counting one’s blessings, and with deep gratitude for a bountiful year of cinematic excellence, here are my 10 favorite films of 2013. (Look at my shee-yit!)

1. “Before Midnight.” Sometimes a movie you don’t think you want turns out to be the one you need the most. It was true of “Toy Story 3,” another late franchise addition that took a beloved set of characters to startling new depths of humor and emotion, and it’s true of Richard Linklater’s autumnal masterpiece — a mellow, sun-dappled comedy that shifts almost imperceptibly into searingly truthful Ingmar Bergman territory. Along with his marvelous co-conspirators Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Linklater, working at the deceptively laid-back peak of his powers, has lovingly extended and deepened one of the great romances in modern cinema. I’d urge these three not to mess with perfection by attempting another one 10 years from now (“Before Retirement”?), but clearly they know exactly what they’re doing.

2. “Gravity.” In my deepest cinephile dreams there is another version — a slow, three-hour exercise in sensory and narrative deprivation, truer to the spirits of Kubrick and Tarkovsky toward which this 91-minute white-knuckle space odyssey occasionally beckons. That’s not a knock, just an acknowledgment that Alfonso Cuaron’s game-changing visual wonder seems to have opened a portal into a new dimension of cinematic possibility, one where its own thrilling present incarnation feels like just the beginning. As it is, let us be grateful for what Cuaron has given us, a state-of-the-art showpiece with a humanist soul: Hurtling through the cosmos alongside Sandra Bullock (giving a career-best performance), you never feel entirely beyond the grace of God or this filmmaker’s embrace.

3. “Stories We Tell.” Few cinematic journeys this year proved more rewarding or continually surprising than Sarah Polley’s third and finest feature, a playful and beguiling inquiry into her own knotty family history. With startling intimacy and a complete absence of self-regard, the preternaturally gifted filmmaker unravels a personal detective story of such ingenious formal complexity that its emotional wallop catches you off-guard.

4. “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” No less than “Before Midnight,” this captivating coming-of-age story is the product of a seamless artistic collaboration between a director and his two stars, as evidenced by the Cannes jury’s decision to award the Palme d’Or jointly to Abdellatif Kechiche, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. The subsequent reports of animosity between Kechiche and his actresses were a mere tabloid-fodder distraction from the glory of what’s onscreen: two of the year’s most deeply felt performances, guided by a sensibility that — in its insistence on food, art, talk and sex as crucial components of human intimacy — overflows with tenderness and generosity from first frame to last.

5. “The World’s End.” Of all the year’s numerous post-apocalyptic visions, from “This Is the End” to “After Earth,” none achieved a more thoughtful, more side-splitting synthesis of boozy humanity and B-movie kicks than the latest genre-savvy outing from those genius British satirists, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. This epic pub crawl crossed with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” feels like nothing less than a rebel yell on behalf of our proud, foolish and inglorious species; rarely has the universal human right to mediocrity been defended with such brilliance.

6. “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Joel and Ethan Coen’s acridly affectionate tour of the 1960s New York folk scene begins with a smoky nightclub rendition of “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me,” and there’s something about the way the camera holds on that number, wringing every last strain of melancholy from Oscar Isaac’s soulful performance, that brings a glimmer of redemption — even true belief — to what might otherwise have devolved into one of the Coens’ cruel picaresques. Instead the tale oscillates, beautifully, between the uncompromising poles of Llewyn Davis’ character: He’s a loser, yes, but he’s also a real artist, and if that makes little difference to him in the end, it makes all the difference to us.

7. “The Grandmaster.” Even in its compromised state, Wong Kar Wai’s rapturously beautiful action movie ranks among the year’s singular visual experiences — if nothing else, a pretext for the sublimated desires and delirious slo-mo ballets that have become this Hong Kong master’s trademark. But Wong, plunging headlong into the intricate and mysterious shadow-world of China’s martial-arts masters, emerged with something deeper, not a straightforward biography of Ip Man so much as an abstract anatomy of the very spirit of kung fu. As a fighter ahead of her time, Zhang Ziyi gives one of the year’s most devastating and demanding performances.

8. “American Hustle.” May David O. Russell never stop flirting with disaster, so long as he keeps making movies as big-hearted and brashly entertaining as this one. Treating the 1970s Abscam scandal as a sequin-bedecked game of charades, Russell, now the most gifted farceur at work in American movies, taps into themes of duplicity and paranoia that are no less relevant to our era of nonstop self-promotion and image maintenance. As the glittering crown jewel of a top-flight cast, Jennifer Lawrence makes a comic spitfire for the ages.

9. “Her.” For this longtime Angeleno, Spike Jonze’s achingly lovely depiction of a fully urbanized Los Angeles, complete with subway to the sea, was perhaps the year’s most singularly inviting vision. It was also the other great 2013 studio release (besides “Gravity”) that glancingly evoked “2001,” orchestrating a fleeting meeting of the minds — one human, one artificial — in anticipation of the glorious next phase of evolution. That story remains untold, offscreen: In acknowledging that we cannot begin to imagine Samantha’s journey, much less go along for the ride, Jonze reminds us, as consolingly as a rooftop sunrise, that we’re only human, and it’s enough.

10. “The Conjuring.” Minute by terrifying minute, James Wan’s horror opus was, for me (and I daresay the colleague trembling in the next seat), the year’s most purely enjoyable exercise in shivers. Distinguished by its moldering ’70s production design and terrific scream-queen performances from Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor, this sly compendium of haunted-house thriller tropes offered a virtuoso demonstration of film craft, at once winkingly mischievous and completely sincere as it played the audience like Hitchcock’s proverbial piano.

The next 10 (in alphabetical order): “12 Years a Slave,” “All Is Lost,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Captain Phillips,” “Fill the Void,” “The Great Beauty,” “Room 237,” “Saving Mr. Banks” (minus the flashbacks), “To the Wonder,” “Upstream Color” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Julie Delpy Nominated for Golden Globe Award >

LA Times | December 12, 2013 | Jeffrey Fleishman

Golden Globes nominations: Emma Thompson, Julie Delpy in on the act

An untethered astronaut, a sexy hustler, a rich woman stripped of possessions and the persnickety creator of Mary Poppins are among the roles in which their creators earned nominations in the Golden Globes lead actress categories in drama and musical or comedy.

The drama nominees are Cate Blanchett as a neurotic socialite falling from grace in “Blue Jasmine”; Sandra Bullock as an astronaut floating helplessly in space in “Gravity”; Judi Dench as an Irish mother searching for the child she was forced to give up for adoption in “Philomena”; Emma Thompson as the creator of Mary Poppins who negotiates a movie deal with Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks”; and Kate Winslet as an emotionally delicate single mother who falls in love with an escaped convict in “Labor Day.”
Nominees in a comedy or musical are Meryl Streep, playing a belligerent, pill-popping mother with cancer in ”August: Osage County”; Amy Adams as a sexy grifter in “American Hustle”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a single mother navigating mid-life tumult in “Enough Said”; Julie Delpy as a wife talking through the trials and tribulations of marriage in “Before Midnight”; and Greta Gerwig, playing a feckless woman sabotaging her life at every turn in “Frances Ha.”

Delpy’s nomination recognizes her evolving Celine in "Before Midnight," the latest of three films -- after "Before Sunrise" (1995) and "Before Sunset" (2004) -- that chart nearly two decades of love, bruises, aspirations, disappointments and simmering bitterness of a young couple who meet on a train and ultimately join their lives. Directed by Richard Linklater and also starring Ethan Hawke as Jesse, the films are driven by idiosyncratic and nuanced dialogue.

“We go into places that are the hardest to write,” Delpy said by phone from her home in Los Angeles. "It’s not falling in love. It’s marriage. It’s that in-between place in a relationship where no one wants to be. People’s relationships are complex, even people who love one another but don’t act as they should. We wanted to be true. We didn’t want to make a fantasy of a relationship -- we wanted to show the bright and the dark stuff.”
Emma Thompson’s portrayal of P.L. Travers, the British creator of Mary Poppins who traveled to Disney Studios in the 1960s to skeptically negotiate a movie deal, is a study in ill-tempered fastidiousness.

“She was a scary character to play because of her complexities,” said Thompson via telephone from New York. “She was terribly unpredictable. I love the fact that she was honest and direct. I value that as I get older. She had no respect for the medium of film. She thought of herself as a poet.”
Thompson added that re-creating the early 1960s era of Disney “was heaven. They’ve kept the lot restored and it’s gorgeous to be on. Disney surrounded himself with great artists.”

Receiving her first Golden Globes nomination, Gerwig, who played the hapless Frances, an endearing young woman struggling with adulthood, was surprised by her nomination.
”My publicist called me at 5-something, and I didn’t know it was today so I thought it was the pharmacy calling to tell me that my MedCo insurance didn’t go through,” she said. “Anyway, then I was, like, maybe it’s something worse and I should just check – and I saw all these text messages and started laughing and crying. I called my mom and she was very excited. She was like, “Gordon [her dad] isn’t here! He’s at the gym! There’s no way to even reach him, Greta!'”,0,6846212.story#axzz2nIEpPACj

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Backstage Interview : Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Richard Linklater Reflect on ‘Before Midnight,’ Their 20-year Collaboration>

backstage | December 6, 2013 | Suzy Evans

"Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Richard Linklater Reflect on ‘Before Midnight,’ Their 20-year Collaboration

Twenty years ago, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were auditioning for filmmaker Richard Linklater to be in “Before Sunset.” Little did they know then, the film would turn into a real time trilogy in which the French Céline (Delpy) and American Jesse (Hawke) meet on a train and begin an extended romance.

“You think you’re going to meet lots of writers who want to say help me make this,” says Hawke. “We wouldn’t be back here doing this if it wasn’t in fact extremely rare.”

The third film “Before Midnight” was released in June and received two Spirit Awards nominations for Best Screenplay (Delpy, Hawke, and Linklater) and Best Female Lead (Delpy). We sat down with the team to talk about their collaboration.

What was the audition process like with “Before Sunrise?”
Julie Delpy: Do you think you would have made the second and third movie with the other actors?

Richard Linklater: No, of course not. I think you were the second actress I met. Early on I didn’t know if it would be an international male and an American female. I was just looking for the two most interesting people, and it was easily flip-flop-able, believe it or not. I saw Ethan in a play, so we got to talking that night and then Ethan came in like a day or two later. You came in to Judy Henderson’s, and we just talked. I was like “This guy’s perfect.” I was looking for a verbal dexterity that not everybody has.

Delpy: I’ve gotten slower.

Linklater: I was looking for the two smartest, most creative young people I could find. Voila!!

Did you know you wanted actors who would collaborate as writers as well?
Linklater: Absolutely. I mean, there was a script. It was something I had done with “Slacker” and “Dazed and Confused,” my two previous films. Actors put out some material, we rewrite it, and it gets more funny and real. I want to do that but with just two people. I knew just structurally how much work—how intense that was going to be. I was just looking for the two artists who wanted to come onboard and really give themselves.

Ethan Hawke: And for us—what an unbelievable opportunity to have somebody ask you to do that. That was a dream come true.

Linklater: I remember Ethan was getting offered every project in the industry for a young man, and he was like, “Yeah, this is going to be hard to pull off. I might not do it.” Willingly coming to Vienna to make a film that he knew had a small bulls-eye that would be hard to pull off. I do have endless respect for that. To take that kind of risk at that point in your career for no money when you’re being offered big bucks for every movie. I took it for granted at the time in a way.

Hawke: But you have to when you’re a filmmaker, you think everybody should work with you.

Linklater: Seeing Julie and Ethan at that final callback. They just looked perfect. I had the first front row seat. It was like Oh! You kind of fucked with each other a little bit.

Delpy: Really?

Linklater: Little bit. There was a fun little repartee there. You were talking about some guy, and Ethan was like, “Oh, did you sleep with him?” And then you threw something back at him. I’m dealing with two heavyweights. We see the full maturation of that in the hotel room scene [in “Before Midnight.”]

Yeah, I wanted to talk about that. Both “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” are very romantic films and the audience is just waiting for these characters to get together. They’re finally together in “Before Midnight,” and they’re fighting. It’s not a story we see often onscreen. Why was it important to you to tell this part of the story?
Delpy: Well, it’s the hardest one to get to. At the end of the second film, you’re rooting for them to end up together, but that has consequences obviously, and the consequences have consequences—him having to be away from his son and splitting up from his wife. That has consequences on this new relationship, which is a lot of build up of stuff. Going there is hard because it’s emotionally draining. To me, it couldn’t be less autobiographical than Céline. I’ve never dealt with what it’s like to be with a man who’s separated. But I can create this character and create this dynamic and situation, but it’s still very hard to go there emotionally as an actress and as a writer. It’s hard to watch the film at times, but we did it with humor also.

Richard, you mentioned a little about how they improvised in the final callback. When you’re writing together is there any level of improv that happens?
Linklater: Never in character.

Delpy: It’s not improvised at all, and it seems very natural.

Linklater: Primarily it’s writing, and then it’s rehearsing.

Delpy: Each time we rehearse, we listen to the dialogue. We’re like, “That’s sounds written. Let’s work on it again.” The first work is to work on the dialogue to make it sound completely spoken and not written at all, and then the second layer is when we shoot to make it seem natural. It’s funny because someone just called me and asked me to write something for them to sound as natural as this, and I’m like, you have to be careful because a lot of the natural sense is in the acting, not necessarily in the writing.

Linklater: Yeah, bad acting equals bad script.

Delpy: If you act too acted, this dialogue might not necessarily work. So you have to be careful because I can deliver something that is written in that genre, but it’s half the work. And some people assume it’s improvised. It’s very written.

Linklater: We’re trying to create an impression in the viewer’s mind that you’ve been dropped in to their reality.

What sort of research or character backstory writing do you do for what happens between the films?
Linklater: You want to sprinkle in the last nine years throughout the movie.

Delpy: Without feeling expository.

Linklater: Even the way they touch each other, the way they’re comfortable with each other.

It’s not something where you have a shared document where you keep track what happens between the films?
Linklater: No. We don’t think about these films for five years. We’re in radio silence land right now on the next one.

How do bring your own personal experiences to the film?
Delpy: Well, we’re not that different in our functioning.

Linklater: Jesse and Céline are pretty ordinary. They’re not out of the statistical norms of most people their age.

Delpy: I have so many girlfriends who have a very different life from me, and they see the film and they’re like, “Oh my god, it’s like my life.”

Hawke: People say, “Did you put a tape recorder in my house?”

Linklater: You just witness the world.

Delpy: Things you’ve thought of saying in a relationship that you didn’t say in a fight. Things you wish you had said, like that line about the little fairies. I’ve always wanted to say that.

What’s the line?
Hawke: Men believe in little fairies that sunscreen the kids, do the dishes…

Linklater: Make the fucking Greek salad that you eat like a pig.

Delpy: I’ve always dreamt of saying that line, and in a way, I put it in a film so I said it to Jesse.

Linklater: It comes from everywhere. It’s personal. It’s stuff you hear. It’s stuff you make up.

Delpy: But in my real life, I never said that because I never felt the right time to say it, but in a movie, you can look for things, make up things you would like to say, and also be inspired by other people. I’ve been a witness of a couple that have been together for 35 years, as a child, my parents. I have lots of examples of what people go through. It’s interesting because you can draw from everything.

Linklater: We’re lucky on these films because the construction of it is going for a certain kind of honesty. So many romantic films—they’re kind of built on an artifice that we have tried never to really abide by too much. We have some mythic audience in our mind that would appreciate the unvarnished honesty of the darker moments of a relationship. I’d say we can do things that another kind of film couldn’t support. We’ve constructed our support all kinds of ugly and dissonant things that would fracture like any other kind of romantic film because our foundation’s just different. That’s great for us. We don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about, “Oh our audience won’t like Céline if she says this or our audience won’t like Jesse.” We’ll lose ‘em! We’ll lose our audience if we do this or that.

Delpy: On a regular film, I would have said, “Why does she keep on going to fight? Why does she do this?” When people do things not necessarily because of a logical background functioning. People do shit all the time that’s not explainable. If you’re obsessed with your child getting hurt, is it because you lost a child when you were younger? No! It’s just because some people are obsessed with their child getting hurt. And people have to put these explanations. It’s heavy. It’s like a big cake with too much fucking cream. It makes me sick. So many movies, I’m like why did you have to add the fucking background story of the cop being fucked up because he was ass-raped or shit like that? Why do you have to have all that background story?

Hawke: You see the screenwriter working.

Linklater: There is a kind of movie that that works for. We’re not interested in that.

Delpy: It’s never very original.

The type of relationship that Céline and Jesse have is very rare today, with so much social media and texting. And there’s that young couple in the dinner scene who mirror Jesse and Céline, except they have Facebook.
Linklater: You can have long distance relationships now. I remember when I went off to college, all the guys who had girlfriends back home, they didn’t make it through college. There’s just so much distraction. But I think it’s different now. You can text. Phone calls were so expensive.

Hawke: You’re so real to each other because you’re texting, you’re sending videos. You’re constantly in touch.

Linklater: It’s the end of an era.

So will we see Jesse and Céline again in nine years?
Delpy: We don’t know yet? They might not be alive.

Linklater: We’re enjoying the not rushing in part. It’s kind of an intense thing when we do these.

Hawke: Maybe we do another one in 20 years or something.

Linklater: Or 40.

Hawke: How old will I be in 40 years? 83.

Linklater: That’s still a vibrant age.

Hawke: Well, with Viagra. " Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive has been selected to screen in the Spotlight section of Sundance 2014>

indiewire | 5 December 2013 | by Kevin Jagernauth

"Sundance Spotlight & Midnight 2014 Lineup Includes 'Only Lovers Left Alive,' Tom Hardy's 'Locke,' 'The Double' & More

Only Lovers Left Alive / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch) — Set against the desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, depressed by the direction the world is taking, reunites with his lover. Their love story has endured for centuries, but the woman's uncontrollable sister disrupts their idyll. Can these wise outsiders continue to survive as the world collapses around them? Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - GQ Magazine - The Before Midnight Team: Reunion of the Year 2013>

GQ | December 2013 | BY Lauren Bans

"The Before Midnight Team: Reunion of the Year 2013

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and director Richard Linklater crafted a masterful continuation of their indie romance saga this yearand it turns out that in real life, the trio's chatter is just as nonstop as their on-screen avatars'

I was sitting behind a married couple when I saw Before Midnight—the Richard Linklater movie that masterfully continues an unlikely, possibly unprecedented, walking-and-talking-in-European-cities trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy—and when it ended, the woman stood up, yelled something at her husband, and stormed out, a lot of mascara smeared to the corners of her face. This isn't to say Don't watch this movie with your wife/girlfriend. You should watch this movie with your wife/girlfriend! It's just that Before Midnight has a particularly large psychic blast radius, because it's about what happens after the couple wind up together. And stay together for eight more years. Romantic love! It gets worse.

Fortunately, there are few pleasures greater than watching Delpy and Hawke flirt, bicker, and philosophize on-screen in Linklater's movies. Get the three of them together in the real world and it's as if the talking has never stopped. So let's join this conversation already in progress.

Ethan Hawke: There's something very earnest about the first two movies. They're very sincere.

Julie Delpy: Yeah, [Hawke's character, Jesse] is showing me his nice feathers in the beginning, you know?

Richard Linklater: When you're trying to get laid, everything's great, but once you've been with someone eight years and the future is not finite, you have time to sit and really examine every little thing that irritates you.

JD: I think it's good that Before Midnight acknowledges that maybe he cheated, and maybe she cheated, too. I think our society is so much about fidelity being this thing that's sacred, and people are miserable. They're suicidal. It brings more depression than anything else on earth, probably. Sorry to say that, guys.

RL: Monogamy, monotony. There's only a couple of letters...

GQ: You began working on the first movie in this series twenty years ago. How do each of you think the others have changed?
EH: The biggest difference I would say about you, Julie, number one, is just being a mother.

RL: Yeah. And the wine.

EH: Yes, there's your relationship to alcohol.

RL: She was more fun then, but a little more—

JD: A little more dangerous!

RL: A little more volatile.

EH: What's weird is I almost don't feel I've changed.

JD: No, I remember the first film, he was very cocky.

EH: You were just easily threatened.

JD: No, you were an ass.

RL: Cocky? No, enthusiastic!

JD: Really? I wanted to slap him around the whole film.

EH: You were so attracted to me!

JD: I don't think Rick has changed that much, has he?

EH: Rick is the same.

GQ: The long fight in the hotel room: Are we supposed to pick a side in that?
EH: It's funny, it's so obvious that relationships aren't a competition, and yet we—

JD: —pick right or wrong. People can't help it.

EH: Somehow we make everything a competition.

RL: But Jesse and Celine are both kind of master manipulators, so that fight scene: They're kind of—it's Ali-Frazier, you know?

GQ: Did you transfer your real-life experiences into that scene?
JD: I think anyone who has had a fight and who's a very good observer of the situation and people's behavior is capable of writing a fight. But you do start thinking about writing during the fights that you have with your partner.

RL: "I can use that. That works."

EH: "What did you say again? No, you phrased it differently."

RL: If I ever get questioned [by my wife] about something in the movie, I just say, "That was Ethan."

JD: We're all cowards, really. We're all cowards.

EH: It's the great thing about having co-writers.

RL: Plausible deniability abounds.

GQ: Celine is topless during part of the big blowup. Do married people really have fights with their privates dangling?
EH: Well, I sure have.

JD: Oh, and it was a common decision. I mean, I showed them my breasts first.

RL: We've seen Julie's breasts so much over the last nineteen years. Julie's been trying to get her breasts in these movies for years.

JD: And I said, "This is the last chance I got!" It's downhill from then on.

RL: If Julie felt uncomfortable, we wouldn't have done it.

JD: Some people say, "Oh, don't you feel exploited?" I'm, like, "You can't exploit me!" I'm, like, the least exploitable person. Also, it's kind of a "Fuck you," you know, to [Jesse]. It's very strong when you're fighting with someone who's comfortable with herself.

EH: We didn't want to do one of those phony romantic-comedy love scenes where she has—

JD: —a bra. And I guess it could be exploitative if I was like 26. But you know, I'm, like, a normal person; I don't exercise.

EH: I don't think you're a normal person.

JD: I'm not anorexic, you know what I mean? It was so hot in that room. Usually they look much better" Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - MoMA to present Annemarie Jacir's When I Saw You, January 14th and 22nd of 2014>

"MoMA Presents: Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You
January 15, 2014–January 22, 2014
Posted on December 3, 2013

The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters

Annemarie Jacir is part of a wave of Arab filmmakers who set their films in the region and push stylistic and narrative boundaries—winning regional and international awards and accolades in the process. The Jordan-based filmmaker’s second feature, When I Saw You, is set in 1967, when tens of thousands of refugees from Palestine poured into camps in Jordan. Amid the chaos of war, 11-year-old Tarek is separated from his father. Stranded with his mother (an impressive Ruba Blal) in the confined space of the Harir camp, the free-spirited Tarek soon bolts into the surrounding forest in search of his father. His mother follows, and their journey toward home becomes a deeply affecting search for freedom. Remarkable in terms of both craft and dramatic tension, this poignant film is filled with a sense of defiance and hope.

Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film." Facebook Link

LISTEN UP PHILIP - Listen Up Philip to premiere at Sundance 2014>

indiewire | 4 December 2013 | by Kevin Jagernauth

"The Color Wheel" director Alex Ross Perry teams with Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter and Josephine de La Baume for his latest. Here's the official synopsis:

A writer faces various mistakes and miseries affecting those around him, including his girlfriend, many ex-girlfriends and enemies." Facebook Link

November 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight gets nominated for Best Female Lead & Best Screenplay at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards>

hitfix | Nov 26, 2013 | by Kristopher Tapley

"So, this year's list of nominees for the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced. How did things shake out? Well, Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" led the way with seven nominations, but Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" wasn't far behind with six.

The nominees for Best Feature were "All is Lost," "Frances Ha," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska" and "12 Years a Slave." My first instinct was to cry foul that Richard Linklater's glorious "Before Midnight" didn't slip in and only managed nods for screenplay and female lead, but as someone put it to me on Twitter, perhaps that just goes to show the quality of work across the independent spectrum this year. There is only so much room.

As has been repeated constantly in this space this season, 2013 has been a spectacular year for movies. And when you look through the various nominees today, it's nice to see that quality represented here as well. I look at that Best Actor list, for instance, and wonder if we could see five from that list at the Oscars. It wouldn't be illegitimate in any way, that's for sure.

I was worried for a moment that, as Film Independent live-tweeted the nominees, Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" would get the shaft much like it did with the Gotham Awards committee (whoever they may have been this year -- though they DID give "Before Midnight" a Best Feature nod). But it popped up, thankfully, in the Best Feature category. That would have been its only mention if not for the added Best Editing category this year. So it goes without saying... poor Greta Gerwig. One of the great performances, lost on an awards season.

Paramount has to be feeling fantastic today. Their little movie that could, "Nebraska," struck me as a sure-fire contender across the board as soon as I saw it late last summer, though many pundits were curiously low on its awards prospects coming out of Cannes. Here it sits, not only an obvious Best Picture contender with the Academy, but potentially a Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Will Forte) nominee there, too. It picked up all of those nominations today, as well as Best Actor for Bruce Dern, Best Supporting Actress for June Squibb and Best First Screenplay for Bob Nelson's work on the page.

The Coen brothers' latest was spotlighted in a couple of areas, though fewer than I would have expected. Best Feature, Best Actor (Oscar Isaac) and Best Cinematography are nothing to sneeze at, but nothing for the filmmakers themselves, in either Best Director or Best Screenplay. But, again, it's a great year. And if titans like the Coens are squeezed out to make room for a few notices for brilliant films like "Short Term 12" (three nominations) and "Mud" (two nominations), then I guess you have to make due.

Speaking of "Mud," I wish it could have received more love but I'm truly happy for Jeff Nichols, who picked up a Best Director nomination. I had wondered going into the announcement whether Matthew McConaughey could be a double nominee, but he was only recognized for "Dallas Buyers Club." Still, the film did win the Robert Altman Award, which goes to the director, casting director and ensemble. That's a great call.

And what can you say about "12 Years a Slave?" Of course it was going to dominate this morning. And so it did. Maybe this will go a long way toward convincing hold-out Academy members (and there are plenty still) to finally watch the film. It was actually a huge day for Fox Searchlight overall, given the nominations for "Enough Said."

Anyway, I imagine I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at that. A couple of our wish list hopefuls turned out, so of that, going into the holiday Thursday, we can certainly be thankful. Have a look at the full list of nominees here. We'll have more coverage on the announcement later today, including a massive interview with "Inside Llewyn Davis" star Oscar Isaac.

Let's see... Am I forgetting anything? Oh! WAIT! WAIT! What am I thinking? I can't leave it at that. Let me close by offering another hearty congratulations to former In Contention contributor Chad Hartigan, whose "This is Martin Bonner" was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award (reserved for films made under the $500,000 price tag). This after the film won the audience prize in the NEXT competition at Sundance. He's going places, folks.

The 29th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday, March 1, 2014." Facebook Link

THE LOBSTER - Stellar cast for Lanthimos' debut English film> | 14 November 2013

"The cast of Academy Award-nominated Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos' debut English feature film The Lobster has finally been revealed.
Actors Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty); Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color), Angeliki Papoulia (who starred in Lanthimos' Dogtooth and Alps), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and Ariane Labed (Attenberg) will star in a love story with a twist.
Set in the future, The Lobster centres around single people adhering to strict regulations when finding a partner. Lanthimos has joined forces with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou again. Together, the two wrote the films Alps and Dogtooth.
Filming of The Lobster is set to begin in March 2014." Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence to screen at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival> Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - BlackBook Review - Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Gets a Delicious Batch of stills>

BlackBook | 18 November 2013 | By Hillary Weston

Already one of my favorite films of 2014, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive has been tingling in my bloodstream since its New York premiere back at the New York Film Festival. We’ve noted that his undead love story starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddelson is an, “absolutely delicious and cool baby cool tale of bloodsucking, undead love. A playful and nocturnal examination of modernity’s foibles through the RayBan covered eyes of those who’ve lived through its beauty and its horror. Scored to perfection and directed with the touch of a man who knows how to make a story feel like a jazz riff, the film is as if the Nick Cave scene in Wings of Desire made friend's with Mick Jagger in Performance to create your new favorite onscreen romance from Swinton and Hiddleston." Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence wins the best script award at the 24th Stockholm International Film Festival.>

”MISS VIOLENCE” wins the best script award at the 24th Stockholm International Film Festival.

Motivation of the jury: "Sparse, precise, engaging. A relentless story about a family’s disintegration is depicted with complete lack of sentimentality. This script is very exact – following the story is like opening a watch and marveling at the delicate mechanics within. All aspects of the story work together to drive this moving and unusual story forward." Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw you wins two awards at the Amiens International Film Festival. The Audience Choice Award as well as the SIGNIS Award for Best Film>

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The Guardian Video Review: Why Before Midnight is the one film you should watch this week >

The Guardian | Thursday 14 November 2013 | Presented by Xan Brooks

"Richard Linklater's third stroll around the block with long-term lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) sees the now-married couple on holiday in Greece with their kids. Xan Brooks explains how the couple's story mirrors our own, and why - like its predecessors Before Sunrise and Before Sunset - Before Midnight is not to be missed. Before Midnight is available on DVD now" Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - ScifiNow Film Review>

ScifiNow | 14 November 2013 | by Jonathan Hatfull

There’s a scene in Jim Jarmusch’s wonderfully offbeat vampire fable Only Lovers Left Alive in which Tilda Swinton’s langurous Eve interrupts her chess game with her brooding lover Adam (Tom Hiddleston) to give him a blood ice lolly.

“Very refreshing in hot weather,” she tells him.

If you’re looking for po-faced bloodsuckers or throat-ripping action, look elsewhere.

Adam and Eve have been married for centuries, splitting up from time to time and reuniting. Adam now lives in seclusion in Detroit following a brief spell as a rock star and has become depressed. Eve senses his misery and travels from Tangiers to join him, but their happiness is threatened by the arrival of Eve’s unstable sister Eva (Mia Wasikowska).

Arthouse fans will know Jarmusch as the filmmaker behind bone-dry, slightly twisted indies like Down By Law and Broken Flowers. For the unitiated, the tone of Only Lovers Left Alive might be a bit of a surprise. It’s hilarious but straight-faced, and romantic but surprisingly silly. It’s a vampire movie that is nearly plot-less.

There are all the usual Jarmusch preoccupations: music, philosophy and a level of deadpan cool that other directors can only dream of.

It’s also his best film since Ghost Dog in 1999, balancing his own idiosyncracies with a real warmth and sense of humour. Wasikowska continues to impress as the wicked Eva, Anton Yelchin is hilarious as Adam’s spaced-out roadie Ian, while John Hurt is predictably glorious as the vampire Christopher Marlowe (the true author of Shakespeare’s plays – at least he is here.)

The great big heart of the film, however, belongs to Swinton and Hiddleston. They are wonderful together as the couple who have had centuries to learn about each other and discover the mysteries of the world.

As they drive around the city chatting about everything from Detroit’s future to biology (“We don’t know shit about fungi”) to Jack White, their relationship is beautifully written and played, and every second spent in their company a joy. It’s an acquired taste, to be sure, but Only Lovers Left Alive is funny and heartfelt, and Hiddleston and Swinton are simply perfect. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Check out the first trailer for Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton on our website> Facebook Link

October 2013

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive set to open the 54th edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Nov 1-10) >

Wednesday October 30, 2013

Acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch will headline the 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, running November 1-10, with his vampire drama “Only Lovers Left Alive” raising the curtain on the event at the Olympion Theater's opening ceremony, for which Jarmusch will be present.

The American director, who is one of the leading proponents of contemporary independent cinema, is scheduled to hold a press conference that will also be open to the public at the port complex on Saturday, November 2, starting at 2 p.m.

Heading this year's international jury for the competition leg of the festival is Greek-American filmmaker Alexander Payne, whose “Nebraska” will be screened at the festival's closing ceremony on Saturday, November 9.

He is joined on the panel by US film critic Scott Foundas, Romanian producer Ada Solomon, Greek musicians and composer Konstantinos Vita and Edouard Waintrop, artistic director of Quinzaine des realisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival.

From the indie front, Open Horizon, the festival's section showcasing new talent from around the world, comprises 50 entries this year from countries as diverse as Japan, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Latvia, Argentina and Egypt.

Contemporary Argentinean cinema is also the subject of this year's country tribute, which presents the Latin American nation from the prism of its artistic output following a crippling recession. Seven films comprise this section.

Staying on the tribute front, this year's special guests are French filmmakers Alain Guiraudie and Claire Simon, both of whom will speak to the press and their fans.

Another highlight at the 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival is the 20th anniversary of the Balkan Survey section. Curator Dimitris Kerkinos has put together a program of 17 key films screened in the northern port city over the past two decades.

The Greek section of the program will feature just eight films produced in 2013.

These are “Standing Aside, Watching” by Yiorgos Servetas, “The Winter” by Constantinos Koutsoliotas, “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas” by Elina Psykou, “Wild Duck” by Yannis Sakaridis, Vassilis Raisis’s “One Last Joke,” “The Prophet” by Dimitris Poulos, Thanos Tsavlis’s martial arts-loving “Goldfish” and “Miss Violence” by Alexandros Avranas – winner of the Silver Lion for Best Director and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor (Themis Panou) in the 2013 Venice IFF.

Tickets for screenings, which should be purchased well in advance due to high demand, are sold at special booths located on Aristotelous Square in front of the Olympion Cinema, and at the entrance to the port complex on Nikis Street. The booths are open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight. Reservations can also be made online at or by phone at 2312.202.250. Individual tickets cost 6 euros or you can purchase a package of 10 tickets for 40 euros. The opening and closing ceremonies are by invitation only.

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy talk about the making of Before Midnight in this new, exclusive clip>

den of geek | 28 Oct, 2013 | Ryan Lambie

"Director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy talk about the making of Before Midnight in this new, exclusive clip...

Richard Linklater's made some extraordinarily varied movies so far, from coming-of-age comedies (Dazed And Confused) to animated dramas (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly). Then there's his unique trilogy of romantic dramas, which began with Before Sunrise in 1995, continued with Before Sunset in 2004, and concludes with this year's magnificent Before Midnight.

An unflinchingly honest portrait of love and how it changes over the years, the Before movies are enriched by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's intelligent writing and natural performances. With the first film detailing Jesse and Celine's chance meeting and initial romance, and the subsequent films catching up with the couple as they meet again years later, Linklater's movies are minimalistic, gentle and uniformly brilliant.

Before Midnight is out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 28th October, and if you missed it at the cinema, it's a great chance to catch up with one of this year's finest movies. To whet your appetite, here's an exclusive clip, in which director and stars chat about the Greek location, reminisce about making the first film 20 years ago, and even provide hints that the series might not remain as a trilogy." Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Olympia Mytilinaiou is awarded the The Golden Light Meter award at the 18th edition of the Prix Di Venanzo for her work in the movie Miss Violence>

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight DVD Review: Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke are Better with Age>

moviefanatic | October 23, 2013 | Joel D Amos

"Before Midnight reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy two decades after they first met on that fateful train in Before Sunrise. It also brought them back together with writer-director Richard Linklater, whom the two co-wrote this film with while holed up in an apartment, and the result of this brilliant teaming is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Before Sunset arrived in 2004, and much has happened since then.

As shown in the Before Midnight trailer, Delpy and Hawke’s Jesse and Celine now have two kids and they are living blissfully in Europe. As is the case with the previous “Before” installments, these two fire dialogue off with a force and power that is welcomed in a world where cinematic experiences are usually dominated by explosions and action.

To see the action and drama solely exist within the words from the script and executed by two actors firmly engrossed in these characters they know so well… is pure bliss.

Our theatrical Before Midnight review found the film a powerful study in relationships in the modern era. And Hawke, Delpy and Linklater are at the top of their collective games. It was an easy choice to be on our Top 10 of 2013 so far list and we’re pretty sure it’ll make the cut when the calendar changes from 2013 to 2014.

These “Before” films have a reputation for being so “talky,” and if that isn’t your thing, then you might find the movie a little long. But, it is so rich! And witnessing the lush landscapes of Greece with the deeply moving and emotionally tugging prose of Linklater, Hawke and Delpy, you would be hard-pressed to find a better example of actors truly “living” their lines than in Before Midnight.

When it comes to extras, there is not much, but what is offered gets right to what is so fabulous about the Before Midnight experience. The commentary track is from all three principals involved in the film: Hawke, Delpy and Linklater. To hear these three talk freely while watching their work unfold in front of our very eyes is an utter treat of the highest order. They finish each other’s sentences. Clearly, these are three artists who have found a kinship that has only increased with time.

The Revisiting Jesse & Celine bonus featurette is also compelling as it goes behind the magic that is where we find this couple, twenty years after they first met. And lastly, the Q&A with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater is just even more icing on an already impeccably delicious cinematic cake." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight has been nominated for Best Feature at the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards> Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence wins the DANIEL LANGLOIS INNOVATION AWARD at the 42nd Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema>

The award is given to work in the International Competition that stands out for its daring aesthetics, creative use of new technologies and/or groundbreaking treatment of a sensitive subject matter. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - NYFF Review: Tom Hiddleston And Tilda Swinton Are Totally Swoon-Worthy In Only Lovers Left Alive>

cinemablend | October 22, 2013 | Kristy Puchko

"The surge of vampire film and television series has given us everything from sparkly undead dreamboats of Twilight, to sulky vamp-bro love triangles of The Vampire Diaries, and oversexed shenanigans of True Blood. But in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, a new breed of the beguiling undead rises. The indie auteur behind such lauded films as Dead Man and Broken Flowers wades into the rich mythos of vampires to pick and choose what appeals to him. His vamps are a sophisticated yet feral breed with an intimidatingly chic yet hodgepodge appearance who—of course—love vintage rock ‘n’ roll. They are glorious. They are infinite. They are monsters, yet deeply and delightfully human.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as Adam and Eve, a husband and wife vampire duo whose marriage has lasted centuries. Their journeys have introduced them to countless artists and icons, and lead them all around the world. But this isn’t the story of their past; it is one of their world-weary present. At the film's start we find them apart. Adam broods in Detroit, where he has created an off-the-grid nest, surrounding himself with obsolete technology and luxurious instruments that he uses to make exquisite music.

Eve is far away, carefree and contentedly lounging in Tangiers with her longtime friend, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Yes, that Christopher Marlowe. The first of the film’s many flirtations with revisionist history is that Marlowe did not die tragically, but instead became a vampire. Forced into hiding, he ghostwrote for an "illiterate zombie philistine" called William Shakespeare. This nonchalant dose of backstory reflects the irreverent sense of wry humor as well as the post-modern attitude Jarmusch has woven throughout his film, along with a lovely melancholy.

Shakespeare was no literal zombie. This is the derogatory term Adam, Eve and their vampire peers use to refer to the living, scorning mankind for their insufferable ignorance. Having watched our lack of progress over eras, Adam is depressed, considering suicide. Sensing his despair, Eve rushes to reunite with him. At first, all is love, comfort, and deep friendship with the two sharing secrets, a bed, and bittersweet tours of a deteriorated Detroit. But their happy home life is disturbed when Eve's wild child little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) arrives with no boundaries and an insatiable thirst.

For a film that deals in death, depression, and desperation, Only Lovers Left Alive is shockingly effervescent and funny. For instance, when Adam lectures the childish Ava, she retorts with a wise-ass remark, “I might have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night!” While some moments are silly, Jarmusch is careful never to fall into campiness. Instead, Only Lovers Left Alive plays out like a family dramedy wherein the family just happens to be vampires. And the extraordinary cast grounds this whole intoxicating story with relationships that feel relaxed, layered, and well worn in.

Hiddleston and Swinton share an otherworldly beauty that makes them ideal to play vampires. With wild hair and ivory-colored skin, their bodies find tangles of angles in the frame that are breathtakingly beautiful. Shirtless in low-slung jeans and scraggly dark hair, Hiddleston broods with a raw sensuality and vulnerability that makes it easy to see why he was eyed for The Crow reboot. Swinton’s languid physicality and contagious lust for life feel natural and effortless. Together, their every move is mesmerizing, and the bond that Swinton and Hiddleston have created onscreen is delectably rich, full of history, texture, and sex.

Wasikowska explodes into this dynamic as the pesky sister, pushing Adam out of his comfort zone. It’s a joy to see Wasikowska portray a playful girl for once. She is perhaps at her most fun as she flirts with Adam’s human friend Ian (Anton Yelchin). In this role, Yelchin is loose-limbed and energetic, naked in his desire to be liked by Adam, Eve, and Ava. Jeffrey Wright appears briefly as Adam’s reluctant blood supplier, offering a sharp comedic turn. And Hurt is characteristically fantastic as the cheeky Marlowe, who has a wicked sense of humor and a soft spot for the “suicidal romantic scoundrel” that is Adam.

To be frank, these characters were so sumptuously created I could have watched them lounge glamorously and talk about rock, Youtube, and Byron for hours. Fittingly, the film’s other elements are just as velvety and seductive. From the set design—which clutters Adam and Eve’s homes with countless mementos just as their psyches are cluttered with centuries of experience and memories—to the costume design that paints each vampire as a person out of time and of all times, the art design is awe-inspiring. Something old and something new are nested in each frame and on each form, visually telling us the background of these ancient lovers with each layer and accent.

The cinematography, shot digitally with simple lamps for lighting, is moody and romantic, framing Eve and Adam again and again as if they are subjects of paintings or sculptures. The film’s editing gives more cause to swoon, dissolving one composition over another, creating new colors and textures while implying how times and influences blur together for these undead heroes. Lastly, there’s the music, which had several people at the post-screening Q&A demanding to know when a soundtrack would be released. There are scratchy old rock songs, punk tracks, classical tunes, Moroccan melodies, and instrumentals so strange and elegant they seem the stuff of dreams.

Every nook and cranny of Only Lovers Left Alive is stuffed with detail, hinting at stories that exist beyond the story’s simple plot and concise-frame. It’s world-building is so plush I couldn’t help but crave more and more. Its performances are vibrant and poignant, offering out tender and wonderfully funny moments in turn. The art design is beguiling and blends with the cinematography and editing to create a living, breathing visual feast. Then tied together with an eclectic and haunting soundtrack, Only Lovers Left Alive is a cinematic wonder, full of emotion, humor, joy and an intoxicating lust for life.

Only Lovers Left Alive is screening at the NYFF. A theatrical release is currently slated for April of 2014." Facebook Link

THE LOBSTER - Jason Clarke leads Lanthimos' The Lobster>

screendaily | 23 October, 2013 | By Andreas Wiseman

"Jason Clarke, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux join Greek auteur’s English-language debut.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ English-language debut The Lobster is attracting an impressive cast, including lead Jason Clarke and supporting cast Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia.

Protagonist Pictures will be shopping the anticipated drama at the American Film Market (AFM) next month.

Several key roles are still yet to be cast before the scheduled start of shoot in March 2014."

 Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight receives the Hollywood Screenwriters Award at the 17th Hollywood Film Awards>

hollywoodreporter | 21 Oct, 2013 | by Scott Feinberg

"The cowriters of the critically-acclaimed third installment in the 'Before' series receive the Hollywood Screenwriters Award at the 17th Hollywood Film Awards

"Jack Black presented the Hollywood Screenwriter Award to his School of Rock and Bernie collaborator Richard Linklater and Linklater's Before Midnight cowriters and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. After noting that Midnight -- the third installment in the Before series, after Before Sunrise and Before Sunset -- is the best reviewed film of the year, so far, Black cracked, "I'm not a fucking award-winning writer, I'm just a dude who wants to be in the next installment, Before the Eclipse." As the honorees stumbled over each other's words at the podium, Linklater joked that this is why "People think that the movies are very improvised. They're actually entirely scripted." Hawke then got big laughs by joking that the film's success was owed less to the script than the actors, who he wished to thank." Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - BFI London Film Festival Diary Day 8: '12 Years A Slave,' 'The Past,' 'Only Lovers Left Alive' & More>

indiewire | Oct 21, 2013 | By Oliver Lyttelton

"I'm a defender of the Oscar season in general—it's a rare chance to shift the conversation away from superheroes and talking cartoon animals, and onto films made for actual grown-up human beings. But it does also have the unfortunate side-effect of often framing the movies as nothing but competitors in a six-month long sporting season. As such, while it's certainly deserving, I wouldn't mind if no one ever mentioned the words Oscar and "12 Years A Slave" [A] in the same breath again, because a film this good is only cheapened by the awards-chasing.

Steve McQueen was always going to be a bold choice for a film like this; the former Turner Prize-winning artist's previous work has been austere, testing and tough, with a very particular style that wasn't especially tailored for the mainstream. He's certainly dampened it down here a little: there's a more classical feel to the work, even if the long shots remain intact. Nevertheless, perhaps even more so than "Shame" and "Hunger," it's an incredibly tough watch, McQueen refusing to hide the truth of slavery from the viewer for their own sake.

But as difficult as it can be to look at, the film's also enormously rewarding; there's a slow-burn to it that erupts with immense, sob-inducing catharsis at the end. The work across the board (perhaps bar Hans Zimmer's score, which is a little familiar, and a little over-reliant on "Inception"-style fart trombone) is phenomenal, from Sean Bobbitt's photography to the entire cast, with Chiwetel Ejiofor giving a performance for the ages. It's unquestionably one of the year's best films, and if there was any doubt, ensures McQueen's place in the history books.

Ejiofor was at the festival for another prestige-y film, the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's acclaimed best-seller "Half Of A Yellow Sun" [D+]. Written and directed by playwright Biyi Bandele, it tells the story of two well-to-do Nigerian sisters (Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose), and the men they love (respectively, Ejiofor's radically-inclined professor and Joseph Mawle's British ex-pat), as they're swept into the struggle for independence, and the ensuing Nigerian-Biafran War in the late 1960s.

Typically, Ejiofor's excellent, and initially, the film seems to have promise; Bandele clearly has some chops, and there's a flair and scope to his direction that's rare for a first-time filmmaker. But unfortunately, the scripting is much less successful, bouncing from incident to incident without much momentum or purpose, and never really digging into its characters or its setting (it feels like the novel's been faithfully put on screen beat-for-beat, but at the expense of any depth). And Ejiofor aside, the actors are either miscast (Newton doesn't really have the chops for her part here, and Mawle's ill-suited to his role) or wasted (Rose comes and goes from the narrative, and "Attack the Block" star John Boyega gets almost nothing to do as a houseboy). It's great to see a mainstream film about Africa actually focused on Africans, but it's a shame that this one is a bit of a misfire.

Also Nigeria-related, although set in London, is "Gone Too Far!" [C+], an adaptation of Bola Agbaje's hit 2007 stage play by director Destiny Ekaragha, who's made a number of winning shorts in the last few years. A mostly sweet-natured comedy with a little more on its mind, the film sees South London teenager Yemi (Malachi Kirby) come face-to-face with his Nigeria-raised brother (Nollywood superstar O.C. Ukeje) for the first time. Over a single evening, nominally on a mission to buy their mum okra, they clash, bond, and chase the object of Yemi's affections, the shallow Armani (Shanika Warren-Markland).

As a "Friday"-style comedy, the film's not wildly successful—it's broad to the extent that it sometimes feels like a 1970s sitcom, with a stereotype-happy approach to comedy, and while Ekragha has a good feel for local flavour, the lo-fi production values really show. But it's likable and has some smart things to say about multicultural London, particular in the clashes between the African and Jamaican communities. And if nothing else, it's great to see a film set in this world that doesn't even mention gangs or guns.

Looking, to some degree, at the immigrant experience on the other side of the pond is "The Past" [B+], the eagerly-awaited follow up to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation." But really, that Ali Mossafa's Ahmad is Iranian informs the film, but isn't its focus; like the previous film, this is about the people, not where its from. Again, Farhadi's tracking in a kind of old-fashioned melodrama that hasn't been especially fashionable of late, with big emotions and a twisty plot.

It's the latter that makes this a little lesser than its near-perfect predecessor: in moments, particularly those related to the comatose wife of Tahar Rahim's Samir, it feels far-fetched and even contrived. But if the things driving them occasionally feel forced, the characters are still enormously compelling. Farhadi is one of our most compassionate and humanistic filmmakers, and gets marvelous performances from his cast, especially Cannes Best Actress winner Berenice Bejo, who gives one of the most convincingly hormonal depictions of pregnancy I've ever seen. It might not quite match up to its predecessor, but then, what does?

Another film I turned out to adore in the festival's closing days was "Only Lovers Left Alive" [A], the latest from Jim Jarmusch, which stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as vampiric rock stars Adam and Eve, dividing their time between Detroit and Tangier, whose comfortable, if ennui-filled, lives are upended by the arrival of Eve's sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska).

The circumstances in which we'd be interested in another vampire movie are minimal, but this is one of them: it's a funny, deeply melancholy picture with a wonderful atmosphere, and a brace of fine performances (Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright and John Hurt also turn in excellent work). We'll be talking more about this one soon, but rest assured that it's probably Jarmusch's best in almost two decades.

"Exhibition" [C+], the latest film from British auteur Joanna Hogg, also deals with an artistic couple, in this case D (Slits member Viv Albertine, in her acting debut), and H (real-life conceptual artist Liam Gillick). The pair share a modern-build house in London, and have for eighteen years, but are in the process of trying to sell up. As with her previous films "Unrelated" and "Archipelago" (which both also featured Tom Hiddleston, who cameos as an estate agent here), Hogg's trafficking in a kind of bourgeois social realism, here leavened with a more expressionistic feel involving dream-like sequences and a nightmarish, borderline-dystopic sound design.

Hogg's never quite had her U.S. breakthrough, but remains an enormously talented filmmaker—that sound design alone is extraordinary, and the way she shoots the house and its exterior is intermittently fascinating. But her subjects are less compelling than in her previous work; Albertine and Gillick aren't bad, given that they're non-professional actors, but feel a little blank, and it doesn't help much that D's apparent dissatisfaction in life is resolved simply and early. There's much to admire here, but it still feels like the least of Hogg's three features to date.

In the festival's closing days, I also enjoyed "Let The Fire Burn" [B], a documentary about the tragic attempt by the city of Philadelphia to remove members of the MOVE group from a building in the 1980s, which ended in the death of eleven people (including children). It's a mind-boggling story, neatly told through archive footage, but the form constricts the film from adding much context or reflection. It's a great piece of journalism, but not quite a great documentary. Despite my distaste for most of his recent work, which has become increasingly self-absorbed, I quite liked Joe Swanberg's "Drinking Buddies" [B-]. Despite strong work from Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick, the female characters remain fantasy figures rather than three-dimensional human beings, but the film does still feature some acute observation of the silences and nuances that drive relationships both sexual and platonic.

I had a less of a happy experience with "Gare Du Nord" [C] from French helmer Claire Simon, which melds drama and documentary in a look at contemporary France against the backdrop of its biggest Parisian station. There are some good scenes, and the two central performances, from Nicole Garcia and "A Prophet" thesp Reda Kateb are decent, but it's all a bit pat, and never wildly revelatory. It's still a masterpiece compared to "Blackwood" [F], a British supernatural thriller that wasn't just the worst film we saw at this year's festival, it might be the worst we've seen in ten years of attending the LFF. One of those films that's patently been designed around its late-in-the-game plot twist to the exclusion of anything else, it begins with a man who's recently had a mental breakdown moving with his family to a spooky house in the middle of nowhere, and only gets stupider from then out. The rest of the film competes to prove which is worse, the dialogue, or the actors reading it.

Finally, the festival closed up with "Saving Mr Banks" [B] Disney's delve into their history books to relay the story of how the deal to make "Mary Poppins" was closed. It's snake-eating-its-own-tail stuff, certainly, and only 24 hours on, hasn't lingered much in the memory, but it's charming, moving, and when it's focused on the creative back-and-forth between Poppins creator P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson (in her best performance in years), and the Disney creative team, it's legitimately insightful. " Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - IBTimes Review : Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch's Rock Star Take on Modern Vampires>

ibtimes | October 19, 2013 | By Alfred Joyner

"American indie stalwart Jim Jarmusch provides his own take on the vampire film with Only Lovers Left Alive, a darkly humorous, melancholic movie that focuses on the centuries-old romance between two vampires, Adam and Eve (excellently played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton), as they struggle to survive in the 21st century.

Here the vampires are not demonic monsters but introverted outsiders, who with their straight long hair, mascara'd faces and British accents have the appearance of faded rock stars. Acting like addicts, blood for them is a drug that provides a wave of euphoria as well as sustenance. They still can only come out at night, but rather than gorge on humans they steal from hospitals, ferreting about under cover of darkness for supplies of plasma.

Adam is a misanthrope who spends his nights playing the various instruments sprawled around his cluttered ramshackle house. An antiquarian, he has a fondness for the various historical objets d'art he collects and actively shuns modernity. The only solace he finds from miserable modernity is Eve. Lovers throughout the centuries, the two would be soul mates - if only they had souls.

In typical Jarmusch fashion, this is a film that shuffles along at its own sedate, hypnotic pace, as we follow the two vampires wandering through derelict Detroit and ancient yet alive Tangier. Detroit in particular is stunningly captured at night-time by cinematographer Yorick Le Saux. The Motor City's car manufacturing plants once fuelled America's booming mid-20th century economy, but its recent bankruptcy was the latest incident in what appears a terminal decline. From driving down the empty streets to visiting a former concert hall turned car park, the melancholy that permeates Motown in the film could be seen as Jarmusch's take on the loss of America's greatness in the 21st century.

But this is still a movie full of dark humour, with great supporting turns from John Hurt as Christopher Marlowe (who we find is the true author of Shakespeare's works) and Mia Wasikowska as Eve's reckless younger sister Ava. The music is also incredible; a minimalist rock requiem crafted by Jarmusch and Dutch composer Joseph van Wissem where the guitar feedback buzzes to the vampire's bloodlust.

The film's greatest triumph is how it manages to avoid and subvert the clichés surroundings vampire folklore. The v-word is never mentioned, and in a playful twist, it is the humans who are derisively referred to by Adam and Eve as "the zombies". The two of them are cultural snobs, looking down upon humans as mindless beings who go about their days without a thought to the finer things in life.

It's a personal take on how Jarmusch himself must feel. A film-maker who has built his hipster reputation as an independent New York artist working outisde the mainstream, those like him who devote their time to the counter-culture will always feel isolated from the rest of the world. In Adam and Eve's tender relationship he has made his warmest film yet, a movie with the message that the price of genius doesn't have to be loneliness if you find a loving kindred spirit.

Only Lovers Left Alive is screening as part of the 2013 London Film Festival. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 21 February 2014." Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Mitsigan – Hardships & Beauties by Kimon Tsakiris wins the ODYSSEUS AWARD for BEST DOCUMENTARY at the 2013 London Greek Film Festival> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight is now available for download on iTunes> Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Twichfilm Busan 2013 Review: Miss Violence Is The Hardest Watch Of The Year>

Twitch Film | 12 October 2013 | by Kwenton Bellette

"There is something terrifying about the uncanny nature of Miss Violence, a film that exists in mundane reality but for its attributes is very much alien to our world.

A Greek household reacts so strangely to the sudden suicide of their daughter on her birthday. The remaining family consists of grandmother, grandfather, a woman, three daughters and a son, all of varying age. The grandfather is also the carer of the woman, taking care of her two children so he also occupies a quasi-patriarch role. It is an odd composition of family that continually unnerves and upsets. Eventually the cause of the suicide is revealed and the intentions of each dysfunctional member of this horrible household becomes known.

The film, like many others of its recent ilk is a post-bankruptcy statement, and part of this traumatised new wave of Greek cinema. However for all the metaphors of daughters, responsibility, selling out and compromising Miss Violence has more in common with the initial weird wave film Dogtooth. It is in fact far harder to watch than Dogtooth as this family has no values, twisted or otherwise.

The cinematography and sound design is maddening, the camera focuses on a dimly lit hallway or a pastel wall while something is happening off-screen. The camera is sometimes static, focusing on a particular room of the house as family members pass through it. Other-times it revolves around the most uncomfortable dinner table scenes in recent film memory. It all feels completely off-centre.

Their behaviours are calculated and rote. The children walk in unison, almost marching, the woman always smiles but it barely registers on her bitter soulless stare. The television and buzz of generic appliance overwhelms the forbidden zones of the house, places the father has controlled and forced his power on everyone else.

Flashes of violence and horrific moments gel in the memory, amidst the cream coloured days of this rigorous family unit, something is terribly amiss. Miss Violence is not an easy watch but it is an extremely compelling one." Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright, and Jim Jarmusch talk with CBS News about Only Lovers Left Alive at NYFF 2013>

Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton and "Boardwalk Empire" cast member Jeffrey Wright are starring with Tom Hiddleston in "Only Lovers Left Alive," from acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Swinton, Wright and Jarmsuch spoke to's Ken Lombardi about their new vampire romance drama at the New York Film Festival red carpet premiere. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - New Images From Jim Jarmusch's Must-See 'Only Lovers Left Alive'>

indiewire | Oct 10, 2013 | Kevin Jagernauth

"Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" is a film that has been slowly knocking out The Playlist one-by-one. Jessica Kiang caught it at Cannes and took a shine to the playful movie, I saw it in Toronto and thought it was simply one of the best movies of the entire fest, and Editor-In-Chief Rodrigo Perez just got out of the New York Film Festival screening, and he too was blown away. "Only Jarmusch pulls off a moody, romantic, existential & melancholy look at love/time/culture with hilarious dry wit," he tweeted, adding: "Absolutely essential. Exquisite. Must-See Spring 2014." Frankly, I couldn't agree more.

But we understand not everyone will be able to catch the movie on the festival circuit, so for now, here's some new images from the movie. The melancholy vampire story tells the story of Adam and Eve—Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton—a couple of centuries-old lovers and vampires, who are reunited in a crumbling Detroit, Michigan. And that's really all the story there is for the most part, as Jarmusch uses the characters as a conduit to talk about art, culture, history, literature and more, all with his trademark cool and wit, in a movie that is frequently funny and self-aware too. It's a extremely tough tone to balance, but Jarmusch nails it, delivering what may be his smartest movie to date, and certainly his most wholly satisfying in years.

Co-starring Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright and John Hurt, "Only Lovers Left Alive" will hit theaters next spring. Be sure to see it." Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive set to screen in the Official Selection section of NYFF51>

Venue: Alice Tully Hall


Thu, Oct 10 6:00pm

Sat, Oct 12 6:00pm

MISS VIOLENCE - Special mention of the Jury for Miss Violence at RIFF 2013>

"A special mention of the jury goes to Miss Violence for the maturity and talent of the director, conveying a very sensitive subject, as well as for outstanding acting based on a very strong script." Facebook Link

September 2013

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence set to screen at the Vancouver International Film Festival in the Cinema of Our Time section. >

Cinema of Our Time comprises the year’s most innovative and exciting cinematic developments from around the globe. With a selection of works from more than 30 countries—including of all the major film producing nations—Cinema of Our Time is the place to see the very best films from the leading auteurs of our time, award winners from the most prestigious film festivals such as Cannes and Berlin, and exclusive premieres of some of the most highly anticipated features that will hit cinemas next year.


Sep 27 09:00pm International Village #8
Oct 04 10:30am International Village #9

WHEN I SAW YOU - Toronto Star Review : When I Saw You presents unconventional view of refugee experience>

Toronto Star | Sep 26 2013 | Jason Anderson

Toronto Palestine Film Festival: Now heading into its sixth edition, the Toronto Palestine Film Festival provides a strong start to the panoply of local fests set to start now that moviegoers have had a chance to recover from TIFF.

A seven-day showcase of Palestinian cinema, music, food and art, the TPFF’s program begins at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Sept. 28 with one of the most distinctive films from the Arab world in recent years. A compelling second effort by Annemarie Jacir — whose 2008 debut Salt of the Sea was the first feature by a Palestinian woman director — When I Saw You presents an unconventional view of the experiences of refugees fleeing the Arab-Israeli hostilities that gripped the region in 1967 by adopting the perspective of an 11-year-old boy. None too happy to be stuck in a camp in Jordan with his distressed mother, Tarek (Mahmoud Asfa) channels his frustration into acts of rebellion. Determined to make his own way home and find his missing father, he joins up with a group of fighters preparing to go back across the border.

As much as Jacir’s film confronts the hard realities of political turmoil and exile, When I Saw You is continually enlivened by its young hero’s vitality and even some glimmers of hope among the adults in his life. Having made its world premiere at TIFF in 2012 before going on to win an array of awards, When I Saw You makes a welcome return on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. A Skype Q and A with Jacir follows the screening. Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence set to screen at the 10th Reykjavík International Film Festival in the New visions Category>


26.9.2013 - 19:00 Háskólabíó 2
28.9.2013 - 00:00 Háskólabíó 3
29.9.2013 - 23:30 Háskólabíó 1
4.10.2013 - 19:00 Háskólabíó 1

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jim Jarmusch intro and Q&A for ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE at TIFF 2013> Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - indiewire : New Photos From 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Plus Watch TIFF Intro And Q&A With Jim Jarmusch>

After hitting Cannes and Toronto, with New York and London in its sights, Jim Jarmusch's vampire film "Only Lovers Left Alive" continues to hit the festival circuit hard, and another stop planned on its worldwide journey, is at the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival. And coming along with it are a batch of new photos from the movie.

Starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin, the film follows Adam and Eve, lovers and vampires who have been kicking around the planet for hundreds of years. Adam is disillusioned in humanity's cruelty and cultural ignorance, all while he works away at his own music, while Eve has a bit more hope left, and tries to raise him out of his existential funk. Hilarious, witty and gorgeously photographed, this has all of Jarmusch's trademark interests -- film, literature and of course, music -- packaged into something uniquely new and satisfying. (Check out our review Cannes). Facebook Link

LUTON - Luton set to screen at the 61st San Sebastian Film Festival (20-28 September 2013)>

Screening Times

Sep 25 16:30 Principal
O.V. with Spanish subtitles and English electronic subtitles.
Only press and accreditation-holders. Priority Press.
Sep 25 21:30 Kursaal, 2
O.V. with Spanish subtitles and English electronic subtitles.
Sep 26 09:30 Kursaal, 2
O.V. with Spanish subtitles and English electronic subtitles.
Sep 26 22:45 Principe, 9
O.V. subtitles in Spanish.
Sep 27 22:45 Antiguo Berri, 6
O.V. subtitles in Spanish.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive set to screen at the Rio de Janeiro 2013 International Film Festival >

Saturday, 05/10 23:59 River Station 1 RI151
Monday, 07/10 17:50 Est Vivo Gávea 5 GV555
Tuesday, 08/10 14:00 Leblon 2 LB045
Tuesday, 08/10 19:00 Leblon 2 LB047
Thursday, 10/10 15:20 St. Louis 3 SL354
Thursday, 10/10 21:40 St. Louis 3 SL357 Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - BlackBook : See a Bloodthirsty Tilda Swinton in a New Set of Stills From Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive'>

blackbookmag | September 23, 2013 | Hillary Weston

When a director says that their next feature will be, yet another pained undead love story, one might roll their eyes and say, “Pass!” But when Jim Jarmusch announces that his next film will be a hopeless vampire romance starring Tilda Swinton, you say, “Yes, please!” And after having its premiere at Cannes and May and showing in Toronto earlier this month, Only Lovers Left Alive will have its New York debut at NYFF in the coming weeks—and I couldn’t be more excited. Sadly, the film won’t be rolling into theaters until 2014 but will all hope, this is one worth waiting for.

Jarmusch’s undead drama tells the story of Adam (played by Tom Hiddelston), a deeply depressed underground musician who reunites with his eternal and enigmatic love, Eve (Swinton). Having already endured several centuries together, their love story is thwarted by the presence of Eve's crazy younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska.) John Hurt and Anton Yelchin filling out the supporting cast in the film, which The Film Stage calls, “Minimal in style, yet bleeding with coolness, this is perhaps the most unusual and restrained vampire movie in recent memory, primarily because Jarmusch is less concerned with the violent thirst for blood and other typical cliches associated with this sub-genre of mythology.” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Slant Magazine: Oscar Prospects: Before Midnight, the Critics' Darling with a Sure-Thing Screenplay>

slantmagazine | Sep 21, 2013 | R. Kurt Osenlund

Before Midnight is destined to be a year-end favorite among critics, perhaps even being the film that lands on the most top-ten lists. Its near-unanimous praise may seem to be currently overshadowed by the comparable embraces of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, but those films have their detractors (yes, including on this site). Good luck finding someone who's willing to hate on Before Midnight. The film's unpretentious honesty, modest presentation, unabashed show of flaws (from Julie Delpy's regular-mom curves to the lead couple's stubborn battle of wills), and long, flowing takes have left few with causes for complaint (even the movie's potentially contrived theatrical nature works beautifully the more it's examined). So, this third outing with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Delpy) is bound to make a decent showing in the precursors, particularly when it comes to individual critics' groups, and, most likely, the Indie Spirits. But what about Oscar?

To many fans dismay, the arenas in which the film is most likely to fall short are the acting categories. It's practically fantasy at this point to assume that Hawke has any shot whatsoever in the Best Actor race. Considering that Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConnaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Robert Redford (All Is Lost), and Cannes Best Actor winner Bruce Dern (Nebraska) are near-locks here, and that Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), and Christian Bale (American Hustle) are probably hot on their heels, there's not much room left for Hawke's subtle turn. Besides, if the Academy wants to fill one of its Best Actor slots with a standout from an indie sensation, it's likely going to be Michael B. Jordan from Fruitvale Station, who has the benefits of being part of a film tied to a poignant national discussion, being another black artist linked to this year's choice narrative of advancing African-American cinema, and not being involved with one of 2013's worst movies (Hawke's Getaway). Poised to come much closer to the gold, but still likely fall short of a nod, is Delpy, who gives the much more emotive and (arguably) better performance of the Before Midnight pair. It's plausible for Delpy to pick up some early-in-the-game recognition, but with Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and Amy Adams (American Hustle) in her way, no one should bet that she's making it to the Best Actress finish line.

The possibility of Before Midnight making it into the Best Picture lineup doesn't exactly feel like a stretch, assuming that Sony Pictures Classics is capable of keeping the film's initial rush of rapturous love alive and visible throughout campaign season. The film has the ingredients of a solid and cozy slot-filler (no disrespect intended), and there are plenty of supposed frontrunners that still have the potential to fall on their faces (prepare to check yourself, Saving Mr. Banks). It doesn't help that this simple tale of enduring—and resonantly frustrating—love hasn't a prayer in the technical categories, but it does help that its Adapted Screenplay nomination is basically set in stone. If the word "adapted" is tripping you up, the CliffsNotes explanation is that the Academy's nutso rules decree that established franchises, whose subsequent installments have such credits as "based on characters created by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan," become ineligible for Original Screenplay honors. Thus, Before Midnight will lose to something with more pull, like August: Osage County or 12 Years a Slave, as opposed to beat out something lesser like Blue Jasmine or Dallas Buyers Club. Injustice will also befall Linklater, who may have to wait until next time for a Best Director nod, when he and his lovely actors are all popping Centrum Silver.

Surest bets: Best Adapted Screenplay.
Possibilities: Best Picture; Best Actress, Julie Delpy; Best Actor, Ethan Hawke.
Shouldn't be Overlooked: Best Director, Richard Linklater. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Hollywood Reporter: Gotham Awards to Honor Richard Linklater With a Director Tribute>

The Hollywood Reporter | 17 September 2013 | by Gregg Kilday

The Independent Filmmaker Project will celebrate the prolific filmmaker, whose most recent work is "Before Midnight," at its Dec. 2 ceremony in New York.

The Independent Filmmaker Project will honor Richard Linklater with its Director Tribute at the 23rd annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, set for Dec. 2 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Linklater, whose most recent film is this year’s Before Midnight, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, has been making films since 1988's It’s Impossible to Plow by Reading Books. He made his name with 1991’s Slacker and 1993’s Dazed and Confused. His credits also include Suburbia, The Newton Boys, The Waking Life, Bad News Bears, A Scanner Darkly and Bernie.
Before Midnight is the final film in a trilogy, following a couple played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, that includes 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset.
“Richard Linklater’s unique vision and voice -- in addition to the special characters he has created -- place him among the most prolific and poignant directors working today, and we are honored to celebrate his work,” IFP executive director Joana Vicente said.

Nominees for this year’s Gotham Awards will be announced Oct. 24. The submission deadline is Sept. 20.

The awards ceremony will hand out trophies in seven competitive categories -- feature, actress, actor, documentary, Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director, breakthrough actor and the audience award -- and also will include three tributes, including the Industry Tribute, Director Tribute and an actor or actress to be announced. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Tom Hiddleston discusses ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE with the folks from BFI> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME: Journal Star Review: 'Somebody Up There' is quirky slacker comedy from Lincoln native> | 12 September 2013 | by L. KENT WOLGAMOTT

“Somebody Up There Likes Me” covers 35 years in the life of Max. But he doesn’t physically age a day. That’s because he’s accompanied by a magical blue suitcase that somehow keeps him young.

Nor does Max necessarily grow up in three decades. From start to finish, he drifts through life, passively accepting what comes to him, good or bad, while drolly delivering his views of his world and the people in it.

That adds up to a quirky, wandering comedy that generates a few big laughs, lots of wry smiles and might even make a serious point or two.

It comes from writer/director Bob Byington, a Lincoln native who now lives in Austin, Texas, where the indie film was made.

Keith Poulson is Max, and he’s perfect in appealing, slacker fashion. But the film's most recognizable player is Nick Offerman of TV’s “Parks and Recreation” who is Sal, Max’s only lifelong friend.

Completing the triangle at the movie's center is Jess Weixler, who is Lila, a bread-stick consuming waitress who works with waiters Max and Sal at a chop house. Over the years, she and Max marry, have a son and split up.

Along the way, Max runs across a provocative girl on the streets who becomes the family babysitter (Stephanie Hunt); gains, loses and regains fortunes; and never seems to have a strong reaction to anything that happens.

That acceptance lets people flow in and out of his life, never fully incorporated or rejected -- even if that would be the normal reaction to events. (I’m doing my best not to give too much away here).

Byington tells this loose-limbed story by stitching together scenes set at five intervals with animation from Bob Sabiston (“A Scanner Darkly”) providing the transitions.

Sabiston, whose work is easily identified, is one of the “name” contributors to the film along with Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, who did the score, and Austin singer/songwriter Bob Schneider, who turns up as a disco-ish wedding singer.

All of this goes by in a laid-back breeze that reminds, in some ways, of Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater’s “Slacker.” It’s good quirky fun. And Max is one of those unforgettable, if unknowable characters that exist only in the movies and contributing much of the offbeat charm that makes for a very enjoyable 75 minutes. Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE: NEUROPE.EU : A Greek movie shakes up the Venice Film>

New Europe Online | 16 September 2013

Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, who chaired the jury in the main competition of the 70th Venice Film Festival, told reporters on opening day that he wants to be ‘surprised and amazed’ by a movie.
Miss Violence is probably his kind of movie. Directed by Greek American Alexandros Avranas, this film made a big impression on the jury, critics and the public. So it should come as no surprise the film won two main prizes: one for best director (Silver Lion) and the other for the best male interpretation (Themis Panou).
Some thought Avranas should have even won the coveted Golden Lion award.
Avranas studied sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and graduated from the Universitat der Kunste in Berlin in 2008. Fresh out of university, it wasn’t long before he directed his first movie titled Without.
When the Greek director and his team descended triumphantly on the red carpet for the festival’s closing ceremony, the Greek soundtrack of the movie played in the background.
This is no doubt good news for Greece and for a new generation of filmmakers. The Venice Festival this year even paid tribute to two great masters, Angelopoulos and Fellini.

As regards Miss Violence, in a competition full of violence, murders, rapes and blood, the psychological violence, which is presented here with intelligence in a dramatic crescendo, was the unexpected element that made the difference. Because what you can find behind the door of a normal and maybe banal middle-class claustrophobic apartment, will shock on the screen probably more of any violent crime. This is a story of a normal grandfather, who with scientific cynicism rules as a perverse dictator on the entire family. If anyone breaks his rules, the punishment will be fast and may be performed in sadistic way by another member of the family. The breaking point will be the suicide of the granddaughter who through this sacrifice will start a slow but unstoppable rebellion lead by courageous women. Avranas’ inspiration for this movie came from a true story in Germany. He said: ‘Real facts are even worse than what I put in the movie, but I also wanted to put the accent on the fact that these things could have happen everywhere. Then I don’t think that the financial crisis has a role on this.’

For sure, the money coming from the prostitution of the girls plays an important role by giving to the entire family a decent life standard. On the other hand, the focus of the movie is a family which is closed like a bunker. After that, as highlighted by Avranas, the external world, represented by the inefficient social services, can’t stop or impede this tragedy. The dramatic solution of this cruel puzzle is inside the family and in this case the murder is fully justified also by the big and convinced ‘zero tolerance’ applause from both press and public of Venice. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE: Rolling Stone: New Jim Jarmusch Film Explores the Emotional Lives of Vampires>

Rolling Stone | 15 September 2013

What would life be like for vampires if they lived among us, controlling their bloodlust and mostly feeding peacefully instead of sinking their teeth into human necks? In Only Lovers Left Alive, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this past week, the acclaimed indie director Jim Jarmusch offers a sophisticated meditation on the inner lives of two otherworldly creatures trying to exist in modern times.

At the center of the film is the reclusive rock star Adam (Tom Hiddleston), who's mired in depression, composing funereal songs. His free-spirited wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton), a lover of books and language and dance, is more optimistic and modern. Though they are both centuries old, she uses an iPhone while her Luddite husband clings to his old corded phone. She listens to digital tracks, he prefers vinyl. She lives in the colorful and vibrant city of Tangier; he in economically ruined Detroit. Sensing her husband’s melancholy, she says she will come to see him — and buys a plane ticket, traveling like a mortal.

Shortly after her arrival, Eve's wild-child sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), pops in after 87 years. Will she disrupt the couple’s quiet assimilation into the 21st-century?

Jarmusch told the TIFF audience that it took about seven years to get the financing to make the movie and Swinton — who wasn’t in Toronto for the premiere — stuck with the project the whole time. "We made this film last summer in seven weeks over three continents and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," he said.

Only Lovers Left Alive — which will get a theatrical release in April — isn’t merely a vampire story, or a love story, or even a story of survival. Adam misses a richer, more cerebral time in literature and music, and references to the greats of these arts are woven throughout the dialogue. He is suicidal because he has to live out the 21st century.

Hiddleston doesn’t see Adam as a negative figure, he said after the film. "We all contain multitudes. This is just a moment in his life where actually his melancholy, his darkness, comes from an extraordinary optimism, or capacity for the appreciation of real beauty. So if there’s a sadness in him, it’s actually just the polar opposite of the other extreme, which is his emotional capacity for joy.

"And you know," he added, "after 400 years, you can feel a smile on the inside." The audience laughed.

Despite its dour protagonist, the film offers enough humor to keep it from being too depressing.

"There are some kind of heavy themes in the film about what humans are, what they’re doing, but when you see the film, there’s a lightness that I’m happy is in there," Jarmusch said after the screening. "It wasn’t so clear to me while making the film. Of course, I always try to make funny things in front of me, but I’m happy. I’m hoping there’s a balance of those themes, but they’re delivered with a kind of lightness as well. I can never analyze what it is."

Asked by one audience member what he thinks happened to Adam and Eve, the director said, "I love that question — because I hate when films end, the curtain draws, and that’s it. I like to think of them still existing. I’m not sure." Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - The Globe and Mail guide to 100-plus TIFF 2013 movies - 4 Stars for Miss Violence >

The Globe and Mail | Sep. 10 2013

"Silence, stunned silence, should be, will be, the only appropriate response at the conclusion of this brilliant, bleak drama, a modern-day domestic tragedy – actually, make that horror story. The film begins with the suicide of an 11-year-old girl at her family birthday party in their Athens apartment and proceeds painfully and relentlessly from there as director/co-writer Avranas skilfully parcels out the dirty secrets of this superficially normal household. Though made on the cheap, Miss Violence shows how a smart director – this is Avranas’ sophomore feature – with a good script, superb cinematographer (Olympia Mytilnaiou), brilliant sound design (by Niko Bougioukos) and a thoroughly credible cast can transcend fiscal limitations to deliver something powerful. The film arrives at TIFF bolstered by Avranas’ clearly deserved win at the Venice Film Festival as best director and Themis Panou’s best-actor nod as the sinister paterfamilias. " Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Somethingwittyandsmart Film Review: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE >

Somethingwittyandsmart | September 8, 2013 |

"Well, it’s been way too long.

This year I decided to do the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time, and let me just say, it is off to a fantastic start, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

Today I saw ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE by Jim Jarmusch, and starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, Mia Wosikowska and John Hurt.

This was really exciting for me because I’ve been waiting for this film since it was announced.

The film was fantastic. A perfect, beautiful and very different homage to the tirelessly beaten vampire lore in today’s pop culture.

It was definitely my kind of film, and very different from a lot of films I have seen in the past. It was my first Jim Jarmusch film, so I was unfamiliar with it. It took a couple of minutes to get used to the pacing, but by the end, it was just perfect, and I found myself just admiring how beautiful the film was on every level.

Adam and Eve, played by Hiddleston and Swinton respectively, were the perfect partnership. Not just because aesthetically, they are very beautiful people, but their nuances just fit, and I found myself falling in love with them as a whole, together. I can only hope that I will have the kind of love they had for each other in my own life one day.

Hiddleston’s character was so…layered. Beautiful, I think is the word I would use. As a whole, he was the representation of helplessness, of the frustration that comes from being human, even though he himself is an immortal vampire. He had bad days, he had good days. He loved, cherished and felt weak. He was strong, and he was vulnerable, and he was so very human on that regard. Adam was real, and tangible, and just absolutely fantastic.OnlyLoversLeftAlive

Eve was lovely, strong and compassionate. She loved, and loves deeply. She valued her husband, and adored and loved him in the way she does best: by being there for him. By giving him the space he needed, while always reminding him that she is always there upon his reach, and being there when he needed her the most. She was such a strong presence in his life, and together, they made perfection.

Aesthetically, Jarmusch showed this through their costumes. Ying and Yang, with Adam constantly in black, and Eve in white. They created harmony and balanced each other, while Eva (Wosikowska), Eve’s little sister and the bane of Adam’s existence, was the firey presence that set them aflame for a moment, before burning out and away from their lives, again. She was the spark that reminds them, from time to time, that no matter how hard, no matter how contemptuous they can be for everyone and everything, especially those fucking zombies (read: humans), they will always have each other.

The film, I believe, was about the love these two characters have for each other, and how they exist in their world today. Eve in Tangier, Adam in Detroit, then together and away. They dealt with loneliness and death, and they conquered it. They overcame, and continue to overcome their vulnerabilities. They maybe vampires, but all of this, everything made them very much human amongst the sea of zombies. Not only does this film critique the world we live in, but it also invites the viewer to examine their own vulnerabilities, and their wants, needs and desires to feel, love and cherish.

A definite recommendation.

PS: Since this was at TIFF, it had a short Q&A session with Jim Jarmusch, Tom Hiddleston and Anton Yelchin. Such wonderful gentlemen, and Yelchin spoke about Detroit as if he left a part of his soul in it, my heart wrenched for him." Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - 'Miss Violence' Scoops Awards at Venice Film Festival>

Greek Reporter | September 7, 2013 | Christina Flora

"The Greek Film, Miss Violence, directed by Alexandros Avranas was twice awarded in this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Miss Violence received the FEDEORA critics’ award and the Arca award, while Themis Panou won the Coppa Volpi Award for best actor for his performance in the same film.

Miss Violence is a vivid film, an allegory based on the current situation in Greece, describing the story of a troubled Greek family.

The story of the film is the following: On the day of her birthday, eleven-year-old Angeliki jumps off the balcony and falls to her death with a smile on her face. While the police and Social Services try to discover the reason for this apparent suicide, Angeliki’s family keeps insisting that it was an accident. What is the secret that young Angeliki took with her? Why does her family persist in trying to “forget” her and to move on with its life?

The FEDEORA award for the best film in Europe and the Mediterranean countries was awarded to the film by a group of the Federation of film critics in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

The second prize, Arca Cinema Giovanni was awarded by 70 young people from Italy, France and Tunisia aged from 18 to 26 years old.

At the Venice Days Film festival, an independent event on the fringes of the Venice Film Festival, another Greek filmmaker won an award. Kill Your Darlings by John Krokidas won the Venice Days prize for best European film.

Here is the list with all the winners of the 70th Venice Film Festival:

GOLDEN LION for Best Film to:
SACRO GRA by Gianfranco Rosi (Italy, France)

SILVER LION for Best Director to:
Alexandros Avranas for the film MISS VIOLENCE (Greece)

JIAOYOU by Tsai Ming-liang (Chinese Taipei, France)

for Best Actor:
Themis Panou
in the film MISS VIOLENCE by Alexandros Avranas (Greece)

for Best Actress:
Elena Cotta
in the film VIA CASTELLANA BANDIERA by Emma Dante (Italy, Switzerland, France)

for Best Young Actor or Actress to:
Tye Sheridan
in the filmJOEby David Gordon Green (US)

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
for the film PHILOMENA by Stephen Frears (United Kingdom)

DIE FRAU DES POLIZISTEN by Philip Gröning (Germany)

Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film Jury at the 70th Venice Film Festival, chaired by Haifaa al Mansour and comprised of Amat Escalante, Alexej German Jr., Geoffrey Gilmore, Ariane Labed, Maria Sole Tognazzi, has decided to award:


WHITE SHADOW by Noaz Deshe(Italy, Germany, Tanzania)

as well as a prize of 100,000 USD, donated by Filmauro di Aurelio e Luigi De Laurentiis to be divided equally between director and producer

The Orizzonti Jury of the 70th Venice Film Festival, chaired by Paul Schraderand composed of Catherine Corsini, Leonardo Di Costanzo, Golshifteh Farahani, Frédéric Fonteyne, Kseniya Rappoport, Amr Waked, after screening the 31 films in competition has decided to award:

EASTERN BOYS by Robin Campillo (France)

Uberto Pasolini for the film STILL LIFE (United Kingdom, Italy)

RUIN by Michael Cody and Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Australia)

MAHI VA GORBEH by Shahram Mokri (Iran)

KUSH by Shubhashish Bhutiani (India)

The Venezia Classici Jury, composed of 28 students of Cinema History, chosen in particular from the teachers of 13 Italian Dams university programmes and from the Venetian Ca’ Foscari, has decided to award:


LA PROPRIETÀ NON È PIÙ UN FURTO by Elio Petri (Italy, France)

HOUSES WITH SMALL WINDOWS by Bülent Öztürk (Belgium)

William Friedkin

Ettore Scola

Andrzej Wajda

Eugenia Costantini" Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - 70th Venice Film Festival - Awards Ceremony>

Watch a short clip of all the awards given at the 70th Venice Film Festival on the official Biennale Channel. Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - 70th Venice Film Festival - Official Awards >

Official Awards of the 70th Venice Film Festival

The 70th annual Venice International Film Festival came to a close today and Miss Violence walked away with 2 awards.

The Silver Lion for best director went to Alexandros Avranas and Themis Panou won the COPPA VOLPI best actor prize for his leading role in the movie.

For more information visit the official website of La Biennale di Venezia Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - Alexandros Avranas’ Miss Violence was selected as the Fedeora prize for the best film from the Mediterranean region>

Hollywood Reporter | 06 Sep 2013 | Eric J. Lyman

"ROME – The first awards at the Venice Film Festival were announced Friday, with Stephen Frears’ Philomena winning the Queer Lion award for the best portrayal of a gay character while Bethlehem from Israel’s Yuval Adler won the Venice Days section of the festival, and Class Enemy from Slovenian director Rok Bicek was selected as the best film in the Critics’ Week sidebar.

Additionally, Alexandros Avranas’ Miss Violence, about a family dealing with the suicide of a young girl, was selected as the Fedeora prize for the best film from the Mediterranean region. Ana Arabia, which tells the story of a small community that includes both Jews and Arabs, was given the Green Drop Award for its attention to environmental issues. The film was directed by Amos Gitai.

The 70-year-old festival will present its official awards Saturday in a gala ceremony followed by Thierry Ragobert’s 3D Amazonia, the festival’s closing film. But the day before the official awards ceremony is the traditional day for the announcement of a host of increasingly prestigious secondary prizes.

Among those are the honors for the autonomous Venice Days and Critics’ Week sections, which this year celebrated their 10th and 28th editions, respectively.
The Venice Days lineup attracted paticular attention this year, but it was Adler’s espionage drama set in Israel that won the main prize. The section also awarded Alienation director Miko Lazarov with the prize for best director and gave a special mention to La Belle Vie from Jean Denizot.

In Critics' Week, Matteo Oleotto’s comedy Zoran, il mionipote scemo (Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot) joined Class Enemy as the main winners. Zoran took home the section's audience award as well as a special mention for actor Giuseppe Battiston.
Anna Odell from The Reunion (which Odell also directed) was also honored for her acting performance in Critics' Week, while Las Niñas Quispe from Sebastian Sepulveda was given the prize for Best Photography.

Frears’ Philomena, which is based on true events, stars Oscar winner Judi Dench as a woman searching for her long lost son who she discovers is gay. Dench’s character is accompanied on her journey by a snobbish journalist played by Steve Coogan.
Of Friday’s prize winners, Philomena, Miss Violence and Ana Arabia were all part of the official selection and so are eligible to be honored in Saturday’s ceremony as well.
The Venice Film Festival, the world's oldest, got underway Aug. 28." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - "Before Midnight" Screenwriters to be Honoured at Hollywood Film Awards>

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards announced today that it will be honoring Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, with the "Hollywood Screenwriters Award," for their screenplay for Sony Pictures Classics' Before Midnight.

The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: "It is a privilege to honor such multi-talented screenwriters."

The award will be bestowed at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

This is the third film in the series, preceded by Before Sunset in 2004, also written by the trio, and Before Sunrise in 1995, written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. In the latest film, we meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.

"We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards," said de Abreu.

Last year's awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, in addition to more than 300 million online and print readers' impressions.

ABOUT JULIE DELPY After graduating from NYU's Tisch Film School, Delpy's film Blah Blah Blah debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. That year she also starred in Richard Linklater's film Before Sunrise, with Ethan Hawke. The film received glowing reviews, and lead to a follow-up with the characters nine years later with Before Sunset in 2004. Delpy co-wrote the script with Hawke and Linklater, and it earned them an Academy Award nomination for Adapted Screenplay. Delpy has also been recognized for her work by the Cesar Awards, having been nominated three times, and is well-known for an additional film series she has written, directed, edited and co-produced; 2 Days in Paris and 2 Days in New York.

ABOUT ETHAN HAWKE Ethan Hawke is an Academy Award nominated actor and screenwriter who has starred in over 40 films that have spanned three decades. In 2013, he reunited with Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy to co-write Before Midnight, the third film in the "Before" series, in which he also stars. Hawke, Linklater and Delpy were nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for "Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay" for their collaboration on Before Sunset. He is a film and stage director, and has published two novels, "The Hottest State" and "Ash Wednesday." A Tony nominated actor, Hawke returns to the stage in November in the Lincoln Center Theatre's production of "Macbeth" directed by Jack O'Brien who also directed him in "The Coast of Utopia."

ABOUT RICHARD LINKLATER As a director, screenwriter, producer and actor, Richard Linklater has brought us films like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and School of Rock. Linklater founded the Austin Film Society in 1985 and is credited with shining a spotlight on Austin's independent filmmakers. In 1993 Linklater wrote and directed Dazed and Confused, based on his high school experiences. Two years later, Linklater won a Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival for Before Sunrise. After garnering success with comedies like School of Rock and Bad News Bears, Linklater was also nominated in 2005 with Hawke and Delpy for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Linklater is known for his narrative in his films, all happening over one day.

ABOUT DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS Founded in 1957, dick clark productions, Inc (DCP) is a leading independent producer of television programming. DCP produces perennial hits such as the "American Music Awards," "Golden Globe Awards," "Academy of Country Music Awards," and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest." DCP also produces popular weekly television programming, including "So You Think You Can Dance," and owns and maintains one of the world's most unique and extensive entertainment libraries, which includes more than 30 years of "American Bandstand" footage. For additional information, visit .

ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD FILM AWARDS® The Hollywood Film Awards® founded in 1997 were created to celebrate Hollywood and launch the awards season. The recipients of the awards are selected for their body of work and/or a film(s) that is to be released during the calendar year. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards. For additional information, visit:

 Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - FILM.COM: TIFF Review - ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’>

FILM.COM | 5 September 2013 | by Jordan Hoffman

Some jokers out there will tell you that Jim Jarmusch’s new film “Only Lovers Left Alive” is about vampires. Those are the types of people the vampires in this movie roll their eyes at.

Tilda Swinton (Eve) and Thomas Hiddleston (Adam) are two “spookily entangled” (to use Einstein’s phrase) individuals. Eternal outsiders. Spiritually connected. Slow moving, withdrawn and the smartest people in the room by a hundred fold. They ought to be, as they’ve been around since the dawn of time, seem to have knowledge of upcoming events (“Have the water wars started?” “No, they’re still all about oil,”) and have had a hand in creating many of mankind’s major works of art. Or, part of them at least. Adam only gave Schubert a section of a symphony (an adagio) because he wanted a “reflection in the world.”

A reflection? Wait, so this movie is about vampires? Well, I suppose, as the characters (and this also includes a Tangier-based “Christopher Marlowe” played by John Hurt) do need the occasional sip of blood to survive. And the pure stuff, not the tainted garbage most humans carry inside them. But this film really is about artists – committed artists who live and suffer at the fringes of society. They have intense knowledge about certain things, like the Latin names of all plants and animals, or knowing the exact date a guitar is made just by touching it, but they live in a shadow world. They can only exist at night, and even then it is just a shuffle between occasional creation and getting their next fix.

Acquiring blood is a real chore – killing is so 15th century, only done as a last resort, so wheeling and dealing with doctors being far more civilized. The nourishing sips from elegant liqueur glasses are shot in full euphoric junkie style, causing the incisors of our heroes to temporary sharpen up into excited fangs.

Hiddleston’s Adam is a reclusive musician – a rock genius who layers tracks in a dilapidated but gorgeous old house in Detroit. Its interior is a tsunami of antique shop splendor, with personal effects from throughout the centuries cluttering every frame. A wall adorned in pictures (old friends?) is like the white board scene from “Cabin in the Woods” for snotty intellectuals. There’s Kafka, there’s Buster Keaton, there’s Neil Young and so on.

Eve, who may be more of a muse than anything else, starts off in Tangier but decides to come to Detroit after an iChat with Adam. Traveling is a hassle (all those night flights) but we get the impression they don’t stay apart from one another too long. Adam takes Eve on some night trips through the bombed-out industrial wasteland of Detroit. A suggested trip to the Motown museum is shot down. “I’m more of a Stax girl,” Swinton says, one of a dozen note-perfect dead-pan deliveries.

Swinton (who, let’s face it, actually is a vampire) is perfect here. A lesser actress would be chomping into the scenery, but she and Jarmusch have the confidence to throw half of her great lines away. You don’t laugh until a beat later, when what she’s said actually registers.

A bit of some actual plot starts to sneak in when Swinton’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) appears on the scene. Adam’s go-between with the world (Anton Yelchin, hidden behind rock hair) is still hideously uncool by their standards, but for a “zombie” he’s all right to hang out with for a night, a decision that leads to some unfortunate business.

The real star of this movie is the tone. It’s the original music (by Jozef van Wissem and Squirrel, if that’s a real thing) and the unending barrage of signifiers, sometimes literally unpacked before our eyes. Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Ornette Coleman, James Joyce, David Foster Wallace, William Lawes and even Jack White all get referenced at some point along the way.

But “Only Lovers Left Alive” is an exhibit A example of how to use style to enhance substance, not overwhelm it. I was lucky enough to see this at the Cannes Film Festival, and could not help but compare it with another “Only” film debuting here, Nicolas Winding Refn’s lazy and trite (though beautiful) “Only God Forgives.” The distinction between an artist like Jarmusch and an all-sizzle-no-steak slave to style film like Refn is clear. Whereas “God” is posturing, “Lovers” is, by the time you get to its conclusion, a deeply affecting tale about the addiction to bad love and its consequences.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” is, in my opinion, the next great midnight classic. Much like its characters, it has no business being out in the daylight. It is hazy and dreamy and if you fall asleep for a few minutes here and there that’s totally fine – perhaps even preferable. Jarmusch’s last film “The Limits Of Control” failed to connect with many people (though I loved it) and this one ought to be much more of a crowd pleaser. For the right crowd, that is. Not the zombies.

SCORE: 9.2 / 10 Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE to screen at the 2013 London Film Festival>

Director-Screenwriter Jim Jarmusch
Producers Jeremy Thomas, Reinhard Brundig
With Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin
USA 2013
123 mins
UK distribution Soda Pictures

Shifting between the vibrant exoticism of Tangier and the grey streets of Detroit, Only Lovers Left Alive follows the romantic path of reclusive musician Adam and his beloved Eve, a pair of centuries-old vampires reuniting after a spell apart. Taking up residence in Adam’s disordered suburban house, the undead duo gorge themselves on each other’s company, until the arrival of Eve’s feisty sister, Ava, looks set to disrupt their nocturnal utopia. The sweeping, ageless romanticism of Bram Stoker’s Dracula mixing with the elegant mystery of Claire Denis’ Trouble Every Day, Jim Jarmusch’s meditative vampire film is a shrewd and sensual subversion on familiar gothic mythology. With their poised and controlled performances, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska (not to mention John Hurt as Christopher Marlowe) each bring an effortless cool to proceedings, while underneath the layers of style is a foundation of rampant emotion and desperate longing. Filled with musical and literary references, all presented with Jarmusch’s typically deadpan style of humour, Only Lovers Left Alive joins the likes of George Romero’s Martin, Michael Almereyda’s Nadja and Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction as a defining example of the existential vampire film. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - TIFF 2013 Review: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE Brings A Cosmopolitan Maturity to the Ailing Vampire Genre>

Detroit is the new Transylvania in Jim Jarmusch's delightfully detached vampire reverie, Only Lovers Left Alive. The film manages to significantly build upon and outdo Neil Jordan's recent Byzantium in terms of clawing back the genre from its more recent sparkly teen-focus.

The mature tone is pregnant with the kind of disaffected slow gaze that would probably result from a century or three on this imperfect earth with its revolving social cycles. It achieves a modern-Gothic romanticism better than pop culture's own aging vampire-queen Anne Rice ever managed in novel form or when adapted to celluloid. It evokes the people exodus and urban decay of Motor City in such a transcendent fashion that it nearly renders Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Detropia redundant. Undoubtedly, this is the white-haired director firing on all cylinders even as he is not in much of a hurry drive any sort of plot. The patience in pacing echo the lifestyles of the quasi-immortals caught up in music, art and ennui.

At first glance, some might label the movie slight due to its complete lack of concern for plotting, but any film which allows the viewer to breathe in so deeply, to revel in its dark spaces and eclectic moods is anything but. Only Lovers Left Alive is akin to listening to an exceptionally good album from end to end. The film even visually suggest this in the opening shot of the camera spinning and fading into vinyl spinning on its turntable. Jarmusch's own band, Sqürl provides a droning, but warm and fuzzy, score that is wonderful thing in which to get lost in itself.

Tom Hiddleston plays an old (but as ancient as the cameo-ing John Hurt) vampire named Adam, whose current existence in early 21st century Detroit is as a reclusive musician with an ever growing collection of vintage musical instruments and a penchant for writing dense rock 'n roll songs. The type of songs those of taste and sophistication might use as ambiance for suicide. Adam might be on the verge of suicide himself as his connections to the outside world are few. Outside of peaking outside his crumbling mansion of lurkers, he dresses up as a doctor to contraband premium blood out of a local hospital (with the help of a droll Jeffrey Wright.) His other supplier, an unrecognizably shaggy Anton Yelchin is a purveyor of exotic guitars who occasionally drops in to inquire, "Anything else weird or interesting you might require?" Retro recording equipment hasn't looked this claustrophobically sexy since Berberian Sound Studio.

When Adam's requests turn towards wooden bullets, he Skypes an intervention-plea to his ex-lover in Tangier. For Jarmusch's last couple pictures, Broken Flowers and in particular The Limits of Control, his camera has been in love with the way Tilda Swinton walks, sways or sashays. Her travel from North Africa to America (night flights and taxis, natch) are a sensual visual experience in and of itself. When I say I could watch a film of Swinton merely packing her luggage, I actually get that here, in miniature, and it is indeed wonderful to see her throw her copies of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and David Foster Wallace into her carry-on valise. Existing both as a kind of mother and lover to Adam, Swinton's Eve is more engaged in living in the world ("I'm a survivor") and as such she is obliged to risk international travel to revitalize her former lover even if there is the risk of any one her flights delayed on the tarmac sunrise. Blood doesn't go through customs, thus, vampire travel is serious business. | 5 September 2013 | by Kurt Halfyard

Despite being 20 years Swinton's junior, Hiddleston matches her otherworldliness and the actors feel very right as a couple. Sure, age differences matter little in this genre, but actor chemistry certainly does. And these two have a smouldering comfort with one another. They eat blood popsicles together, night-tour the former Michigan Theatre, with its imposing architecture now a parking lot inhabited by wolves. They talk art, science, and music and speculate on a revitalized Detroit some point in the distant future. Partaking of schnapps glasses of Adam's procured type O negative together is shot like the heroin injections of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. You can almost hear the Lou Reed.

Storming in from California, Mia Wasikowska's younger impulsive vampire provides as much prosaic conflict as the film is willing to allow calling herself Eve's sister and imposing herself on the couples reverie. Eve wryly offers, "we're not related by blood." Her presence injects a bit of dysfunctional family drama of sorts, but Jarmusch spins this as 'youthful energy' into a necessary frustration; the drama that reconnects us - if us were world-weary vampires - back to the world, back to excitement. Apparently even vampires need to be goosed by their 'children' once in a while.

Adam soothes Eve by verbalizing Albert Einstein's theory of 'Spooky Entanglement.' That particles can influence each other's state, even as they are a universe apart. I get a similar sort of reaction, transmission from screen to soul, every time I watch Jarmush at play with his off-kilter genre-remixes. Proof enough that cinema, or good old Detroit, ain't dead, folks. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive Directed by Jim Jarmusch> | by Scott A. Gray

Known for a preoccupation with projecting an image of the coolly detached, deep-thinking artiste, Jim Jarmusch has managed to effectively yoke his pretentious hipster B.S. to the service of a beautiful, hilariously banal and highly cynical tale of immortality.

Bluntly put, Only Lovers Left Alive is the NYC-based auteur's masterpiece. Yes, it's David Byrne's hair twin's best film, but more importantly, the hypnotic story of how two vampires cope with endless existence gives the filmmaker an opportunity to explore and integrate the major obsessions prevalent in Jarmusch's body of work. Namely: music, art, death, mystery, fashion, love, sex, power and boredom.

In a stroke of inspired casting, Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea, Thor) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) play undead lovers reunited after some time apart. Nothing dramatic separated them; it's just that, after centuries together, a few years spent on opposite ends of the globe is as natural as enjoying a weekend to yourself when you're in a long-term relationship.

It's certainly not symptomatic of any loss of affection. As soon as Adam (Hiddleston), a moody, melodramatic musician, displays signs of depression during a video chat, Eve (yes, they're those kind of sappy, hopeless romantics) books a series of connecting redeye flights from Tangier to Detroit to be with her beloved. They've been through this before. They've been through a great deal, including the decline of great civilizations, much like the current source of Adam's oft-indulged sadness: the deterioration of America.

Speaking to one of the film's primary themes, the cyclical nature of all things is symbolized directly by an opening shot of a revolving night sky that slowly bleeds into the spinning of a turntable. Stopping short of an overt Ouroboros reference, the topic is regularly broached in the conversations about music, literature, history and need that make up the bulk of the film.

Anyone looking for a traditional narrative or the kind of sex and violence typically associated with even classy bloodsucker cinema such as Let the Right One In, Byzantium or Thirst will be looking in the wrong place. Only Lovers Left Alive is a visually poetic love story with a wry, jaded sense of humour about finding reasons to wake up every night.

As Eve adroitly points out, Adam uses his dismay at the way "the zombies" — their term for modern humans — worship disposable entertainment and greedily poison the planet as a scapegoat for what is simply routine depression. In archetypal artist fashion, the reclusive musician transforms his pain into a form of beauty, but can't resist toying with self-destruction.

Conversely, the extrovert in the relationship, Eve thrives on voracious curiosity, completely enamoured with the endless nuances of creation and all its multifarious manifestations. Generated between the dedicated talents of the two leads is an affectionate familiarity that provides a great platform for digging at truths about the excuses we make not to enjoy life because of how pointless it all feels sometimes.

Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright all turn in memorable supporting performances, creating distinct personalities with their limited screen time. As a member of the vampire clan with a reliable contact for clean blood — even vampires need to worry about where their food is coming from — John Hurt just does his thing, but that thing is appropriate for the part.

References to vampire contributions to famous literature and music tiptoe dangerously close to Forrest Gump territory, but are usually doled out with enough droll sarcasm to shrug off any lingering stink of gimmickry.

Beautifully shot and designed, with a languid tone and stunning colour palette, the attentive, highly specific style is customary of Jarmusch's work, but Only Lovers Left Alive is the first of his efforts to demonstrate commensurate, winking, self-critical wit. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive set to screen at TIFF 2013>

Screening Times

Thursday September 5 Ryerson Theatre 9:00 PM
Saturday September 7 The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 12:15 PM

MISS VIOLENCE - Greek Reporter: Avranas’ Miss Violence at Venice Festival>

Greek Reporter | by Margarita Papantoniou

The Greek film Miss Violence by Alexandros Avranas is participating in the 70th International Film Festival of Venice, which started on August 28 and will be completed on September 7.
This is the second feature-length film for the Greek director, who has also created the awarded film, Without, at the Thessaloniki film festival in 2008.

The film is a reference-allegory on Greece’s current situation with the memorandum and the Troika.

In the film, an 11-year-old girl commits suicide on her birthday. The grandfather of this odd family controls and guides all of its members, including the grandmother, his two daughters and his grandchildren, to the extent of engaging in pedophilia and incest and even leading his two daughters to prostitution.

Elements and events are gradually revealed to the audience through studied, rigged, austere scenes, while the camera and the audience remain just an observer of the things happening in a seemingly pious family, but in reality a horrible family, which, just as Greece along with the rest of Europe, is led to breakup.

The actors’ and actresses’ performances are excellent, with those of Themis Panou and Reni Pittaki leading.

Miss Violence is based on a true incident that was recounted to Avranas while he was in Berlin prepping his next cinematic venture; the story of a young girl’s suicide became an immediate priority for the director, who morphed it into his sophomore film. “I was preparing Europa, a film I had already finished the script for,” he recounts, “but then I dropped everything to work on this amazing story I’d just heard.”

“I’m very much interested in what can be called the familial landscape,” the director explained. “It’s a starting point from where you can expand to social and political realities,” he went on, noting that Miss Violence is a very cruel film: “There’s no raw violence,” he said, “but it’s as cruel as the society we live in. It’s about the things you can’t see coming, things you cannot fathom. It’s about the things that blindside you,” as reported in

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Competition)
Production companies: Faliro House Productions, Plays2Place Productions
Cast: Themis Panou, Reni Pitakki, Eleni Roussinou, Sissy Toumasi, Kalliopi Zontanou, Konstantinos Athanasiades, Chloe Bolota, Maria Skoula
Director: Alexandros Avranas
Screenwriters: Alexandros Avranas, Kostas Peroulis
Producers: Vasilis Chrysanthopoulos, Alexandros Avranas
Executive producers: Christos V. Konstantakopoulos
Director of photography: Olympia Mytilinaiou
Production designers: Eva Manidaki, Thanassis Demiris
Costume designer: Despina Chimona
Editor: Nikos Helidonides
Sales: Elle Driver
99 minutes. Facebook Link


SCREENDAILY | by Lee Marshall

A story of horrific domestic abuse set in an impressively controlled narrative frame, Miss Violence is one of those films you wish you could erase from your mental hard disk after the screening, so disturbing is its tale of an abusive father’s devious sexual, physical and psychological control over the rest of his family. But at the same time, it’s impossible not to acknowledge second-time Greek director Avranas’ directorial bravura in making his own firm, cold grasp of his material and story mirror the iron grip of his pater familias antagonist.

Miss Violence is at its best when it hints rather than shows.

Interest in the new ‘weird’ wave of Greek cinema is growing after the festival and arthouse success of films such as Dogtooth, Attenberg and Alps. Second-time director Avranas shares the interest of his compatriots Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari in dysfunctional families or surrogate families that live by their own rules, as well as a slightly mannered approach to framing, costumes, production design, and even the way his characters move. But Miss Violence is a much less wantonly quirky film than those of Lanthimos and Tsangari: it derives its shock value from the fact that it stays (just) within the bounds of the believable.

Outside of the protected festival circuit, Miss Violence’s theatrical career will depend largely on whether distributors feel that they can target audiences who will appreciate the film’s impressive parable of power and control without being repelled by its subject matter.

Miss Violence opens with a birthday party, and a suicide. The birthday is that of solemn-faced 11 year-old Angeliki; so is the suicide. We realise something is not quite right even before she throws herself from the balcony of the family apartment; everything seems stilted in this airless series of rooms, from the mother’s terrifyingly fixed smile to the way everyone wears their party hats as if they’ve been told to put them on at gunpoint.

Gradually, our sense of unease increases as we see the family’s numbed reactions to the death. We assume at first that the never-named adult male in the household – the kind of mild-mannered balding guy you’d never notice on a bus – is the older husband of Angeliki’s mother Eleni. He’s not. We will spend most of the film working out the relationships within this family whose remaining members comprise a primary-school-aged boy and girl, the latters’ apparent grandmother, and teenage girl Myrto, who seems to resent the man who calls herself his father. It’s not long before we find out why.

Themis Panou is chillingly perfect as a man who can act the mild, concerned family patriarch when talking to headmistress or social services but who rules his family with a carefully dosed regime of treats and threats, privileges and punishments. Society at large is seen as largely complicit in this: Avranas paints a picture of a washed-up Greek city (actually Athens) where men and morals are both bankrupt, where young girls are pimped out for a few euros, and those charged with protecting the vulnerable are themselves blinkered by the rulebooks they follow.

Filmed largely in washed-out pastels, with neutral or retro clothes and bland petit-bourgeois interiors (as well as the absence of mobile phones) pushing the action into a past-present netherworld, Miss Violence is at its best when it hints rather than shows, though a shockingly graphic scene of sexual abuse near the end is justified, perhaps, by the fact that we’re only watching what we had already figured out. The fact that its victims are themselves, at times, abusers, adds another depressing twist to the film’s implacable portrayal of tyranny in action. Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - INDIEWIRE: Venice Review - Alexandros Avranas' Extraordinary, Shocking 'Miss Violence'>


It's always exciting to see a nation not traditionally known for their cinematic output step up with a movement or wave of films and filmmakers that gain attention on the international scene. In recent years, some of the most exciting releases have come from directors based in Chile and South Korea, but just as notable have been the run of excellent cinema coming out of Greece. The wave began at Cannes in 2009 with Yorgos Lanthimos, "Dogtooth," and has continued with his follow-up "Alps" and Athina Rachel Tsangari's "Attenberg," among others. The latest to follow in their footsteps is Alexandros Avranas' "Miss Violence," and if our reaction when the film screened on the Lido yesterday is anything to go by, it's going to he just as acclaimed and successful as those pictures.

The film opens with a stunning scene, as a family celebrate the 11th birthday of Angeliki (Chloe Bolota). As they eat cake and dance, the birthday girl walks onto the balcony, stares down the lens, smiles to herself, and jumps over the railings, the camera then panning down to reveal her dead on the ground below. The rest of the family—the patriarch (Themis Panou), his wife (Reni Pittaki), Angeliki's mother Eleni (Eleni Rossinou), eldest child Myrto (Sissy Toumasi), son Filippos (Konstantinos Athanasiades) and youngest Alkmini (Kalliopi Zontanou)—are devastated. But it soon becomes clear that something is very wrong in the family. Eleni walks through life as though heavily sedated, a desperate smile on her face. Father (the only name he's ever given) rules the house with an arcane series of rituals and punishments. And Eleni is pregnant, but according to the others, won't say who the father is.

Avranos very carefully and methodically parcels out his storytelling here. To begin with, it's not even entirely clear what relation each character is to one another—it takes a little time for the viewer to realize that Father is married to Pittaki's character rather than Eleni, and it's later still that you pick up that Myrto is the aunt of the younger children, despite being only three years older than the late Angeliki. But this isn't sloppy storytelling—in fact, it's quite the opposite, the very deliberate obfuscation blurring the lines between the generations in a way that pays off later on (though not quite in the way that you might be guessing).

Almost every scene reveals some strange new piece of the puzzle, and as you inch forwards towards the horrifying secrets that reveal the reason that Angeliki took her own life, you're entirely absorbed in the narrative. As it reached the conclusion, we almost had to physically restrain ourselves from shouting at the screen, which is not a position we're in very often.

Not that it's some empty mystery, though—like most of the Greek New Wave pictures, Greece's economic collapse hangs heavy over the film, and the film wholeheartedly indicts a country that's swinging alarmingly towards the fascist Golden Path movement. It's not a pure state-of-the-nation picture though, with Avranas also discussing the rotten, corrupt heart of the family unit, and the way that society and individuals remain complacent in the face of terrible abuse.

Some of these themes have appeared in some of his countryman's films, and "Dogtooth" in particular. Visually, too, Avranas seems to owe a debt to Lanthimos in particular, with the same kind of crisp digital photography and pristine, almost artificial framing at play, and it's probably destined to be remembered in their shadow. But "Miss Violence" is a slightly different beast, less oblique than "Dogtooth" and "Alps," and crucially, even more extreme.

It might be hard to be believe, but the film pushes boundaries even further than its progenitors. Two scenes in particular late on left audiences gasping, and risk being seen as exploitative. We think that they were just about justified—asking questions about what is the breaking point, underlined by the very ending—but they may well be moments at which many audiences are left behind.

Those for whom the film isn't spoiled, however, will be left with one of the most powerful experiences we've had in a theater for a long time. On the back of a brace of impeccable performances—Panou's complex, brutish, but not unloving father figure looks to be a frontrunner for Best Actor here in Venice, while Rossinou's Stepfordish mask hiding an innocence she was never allowed to hang on to for long is particularly memorable—Avranas makes a claim to be considered among the top ranks of international filmmakers. If enough people can stomach the film, anyway... [A-] Facebook Link

MISS VIOLENCE - The Hollywood Reporter: Venice Review>

The Hollywood Reporter | by Boyd van Hoeij

Greek director Alexandros Avranas's second film stars Themis Panou as the paterfamilias of an oddly unemotional clan that has to deal with the suicide of one of the children.

An apparently average Greek family comes under scrutiny after one of the children commits suicide on her apparently not-so-happy birthday in Miss Violence, the second feature of director Alexandros Avranas (Without).

Oddly, after the fatality, the entire clan seems to pretty much continue on living as if nothing happened and the reasons for that are only gradually revealed in this precision-tooled film that’s less part of the current Hellenic Weird Wave (Dogtooth, Attenberg…) than a more classical -- in all senses of the word -- Greek family tragedy. Though the supposedly shocking revelations in the latter reels aren’t unexpected or even startling, it’s the poker-faced lead-up to these revelations that’s chilling in hindsight. Avranas’ portrait of a hermetically closed family unit that deals with all domestic affairs behind closed doors should be able to transform its Venice competition berth and subsequent Toronto screenings into a solid festival run.
Leonard Cohen’s holocaust-inspired song Dance Me to the End of Love is playing and family members are dancing when angel-faced 11-year-old Angeliki (Chloe Bolota), whose birthday they’re celebrating, jumps off the family apartment’s balcony to her death.

Child Protection services call in Angeliki’s mother, Eleni (Eleni Roussinou), who comes accompanied by her father (Themis Panou), in whose Athens apartment the entire clan lives. They’re unable to cite a single potential reason for the child’s inexplicable act but once they’re home it becomes a priority to act like as normal a family as possible for the upcoming visit of the Welfare employee (Maria Skoula).

Avranas, who co-authored the screenplay with Kostas Peroulis, takes his time to set up the relationships in the family and audiences will need a while to figure out that little Alkmini (Kalliopi Zontanou) and Filippos (Konstantinos Athanasiades) are Angeliki’s siblings but Myrto (Sissy Toumasi), who’s not only about the same age as Angeliki but even dresses alike, is actually the dead child's aunt.

The wrinkly matriarch of the clan (Reni Pittaki) watches the goings-on with a severe expression but otherwise keeps herself at a disinterested distance, with Eleni and especially her Dad running the family ship on a supposedly very tight budget, as only Granddad occasionally seems to work.

Hitting the children is a normal way of disciplining them, with Alkmini in one sequence, shot with a rare moving camera that circles the actors, forced to hit her little brother for having been aggressive at school. The punishment of peer-on-peer violence with more peer-on-peer violence suggests that different rules apply inside the family and outside in the real world, one of several points that slowly but effectively bubble to the surface as Avranas observes the protagonists’ day-to-day behavior.

A visit to a gynecologist (Martha Bouziouri) confirms that Eleni is pregnant again and that, like her other kids, the father is again unknown, which should set off major alarm bells for anyone still unsure whether something’s not quite right in this family that’s too eager to appear normal.
The disclosure of what’s exactly been happening comes late into the proceedings -- and is well-placed, right after the dreaded visit from Welfare -- but doesn’t quite pack the punch the film thinks it does (as evidenced by the brutal and in-your-face way Avranas tries to stage the “revelation”).

But attentive audiences will have long figured out what’s up and what’s most disturbing about the film is indeed its placid, almost non-descript surface -- also echoed in the production design and camerawork -- and the knowledge that unspeakable things are happening offscreen and behind closed doors. As the initial enigma slowly gives way to certainty, tension deflates but Avranas still has his painfully logical ending up his sleeve that keeps everything appropriately in the family.

Performances are all pretty much expressionless, which the film has in common with its Weird Wave colleagues, though the distinct strangeness and odd metaphorical devices of those films are entirely lacking and here there’s an understandable and valid reason why everyone seems to either act like a robot or jump off a balcony.

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Competition)
Production companies: Faliro House Productions, Plays2Place Productions
Cast: Themis Panou, Reni Pitakki, Eleni Roussinou, Sissy Toumasi, Kalliopi Zontanou, Konstantinos Athanasiades, Chloe Bolota, Maria Skoula
Director: Alexandros Avranas
Screenwriters: Alexandros Avranas, Kostas Peroulis
Producers: Vasilis Chrysanthopoulos, Alexandros Avranas
Executive producers: Christos V. Konstantakopoulos
Director of photography: Olympia Mytilinaiou
Production designers: Eva Manidaki, Thanassis Demiris
Costume designer: Despina Chimona
Editor: Nikos Helidonides
Sales: Elle Driver
No rating, 99 minutes. Facebook Link

August 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sony to Release Richard Linklater's Before Midnight> | 27 August 2013

Sony Pictures will bring to Blu-ray director Richard Linklater's highly romantic comedy Before Midnight (2013), starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the United States on October 22.

Richard Linklater directs this romantic drama starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, a sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). 18 years have passed since American Jesse (Hawke) and Frenchwoman Céline (Delpy) met on a trans-European train and fell in love while wandering the streets of Vienna. Jesse wrote a novel based on the experience which became a US bestseller and led him to meet Céline again after an interval of almost a decade, where the spark of their initial encounter was still present. The latest film finds the pair living as a couple in Paris, proud parents to two young girls. However, their lives are far from perfect. Frustrated at her inability to match Jesse's professional success, Céline is considering a change in career. Jesse, meanwhile, is struggling to connect with his teenage son Hank (Davey-Fitzpatrick), who is visiting from Chicago for the summer. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE: Soda acquires Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive for UK>

SCREEN DAILY | 19 August, 2013 | By Andreas Wiseman

Soda Pictures has nabbed UK and Irish rights to Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama Only Lovers Left Alive from HanWay Films.

Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright star in the Cannes competition entry.

“It’s a very exciting acquisition for us, to work with such great talent and such a fun, beautiful and timeless, yet timely and almost omniscient, film,” said Soda managing director Eve Gabereau.

The deal was negotiated between Gabereau and HanWay Films’ Chiara Gelardin alongside producer and Recorded Picture Company head Jeremy Thomas.

Set in Detroit and Tangiers, the film follows the love affair between an underground musician (Hiddleston) and his enigmatic lover (Swinton), which becomes interrupted by her wild younger sister (Wasikowska).

Jeremy Thomas produced for Recorded Picture Company and Reinhard Brundig produced for Pandora Film. Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - From LE MONDE dated 11-12 August in : Le Monde TV guide supplement [translated]>

 Facebook Link


Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt

Closing out this year’s film festival was the latest offering from director Jim Jarmusch, the romantic vampire flick, Only Lovers Left Alive. Direct from Cannes, the film is a thing of beauty, its two stars forming one of the most mesmerizing couples in film history.

I’m not a fan of the spate of recent vampire films, so I was slightly wary when faced with the prospect of a Jarmusch-directed film based around two vampires trying to make it in the modern world. But I needn’t have worried. Only Lovers Left Alive has turned out to be one of the highlights of this year.

With his jet black hair, and brooding presence, Tom Hiddleston’s Adam looks like a gothic rock-god. We find him holed up in a dilapidated part of Detroit, surrounded by old records, photos and vintage musical instruments. It looks like a great place to hang out. The reclusive Adam’s only connection with the outside world seems to be Ian (Anton Yelchin) a likeable human (or zombie, as the vampires in this film dismissively refer to them) who procures vintage guitars and whatever else Adam requires. Ian sees Adam as a rock star, blissfully unaware of his bloodthirsty tendencies.

Meanwhile Adam’s wife Eve (yea, I know) is residing in Tangiers. The reason for their separation is unclear, but perhaps it’s the secret to their long marriage (they celebrated their 3rd wedding in 1868). Eve is played by Tilda Swinton and she is positively luminescent…with platinum blonde hair and regal manner about her.

This being the 21st century, Adam and Eve no longer bite humans in the neck for sustenance, they both have connections at the local blood bank for “the good stuff”…it seems humans’ blood has been contaminated after years of unhealthy living.

Eve’s connection is Marlow (John Hunt) who seems to be the 16th century writer Christopher Marlow, who, some claim (including Marlow in this film) wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

Adam’s connection is “Dr. Watson” (Jeffery Wright) and their scenes together are some of the film’s most humorous. Indeed Jarmusch’s script is filled with humour, both subtle and outright funny.

There’s not a lot of action in the film…Eve comes to Detroit to take care of Adam who is feeling a bit suicidal…Eve’s rambunctious sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up unannounced to stir things up…but like most of Jarmusch’s films, the beauty is in the mood and the detail.

Jarmusch’s camera lovingly pans over Adam’s vintage guitars, and zooms in on records spinning on his turntable. His wall is covered with photos of the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Buster Keaton, Bo Diddley and Neil Young.

When Adam and Eve dance to Denise LaSalle’s 1972 hit Trapped By A Thing Called Love, it becomes one of the most romantic moments in recent film history.

Indeed, the mood of the film is filled with an appreciation of great art, great music, nature and romance. It’s not your typical vampire film.

Marty Duda Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sony Pictures Classics Expands "Before Midnight" To 226 Screens>

NEW YORK - Sony Pictures Classics announced today that after continued box office success they will once again increase BEFORE MIDNIGHT’s theater count to 226 screens this weekend. Richard Linklater’s film, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, has grossed $7,743,294 in theaters to date. This surpasses BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET’s box office grosses, marking BEFORE MIDNIGHT as the trilogy’s most successful film.

Sony Pictures Classics’ most recently released Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE and their upcoming releases include Atiq Rahimi’s THE PATIENCE STONE, Jerusha Hess’ AUSTENLAND, Haifaa Al Mansour’s WADJDA and John Krokidas’ KILL YOUR DARLINGS.

About Sony Pictures Classics
Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992, which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.

Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 31 Academy Awards® (27 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 135 Academy Award® nominations (109 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Facebook Link

July 2013

MISS VIOLENCE - Toronto Unveils TIFF Docs, City to City, Vanguard, Cinematheque Slates. Miss Violence set to screen in the City to City programme.>

The 38th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 to 15, 2013

MISS VIOLENCE - Miss Violence, the second feature-length film of Alexandros Avranas has been selected to compete in the official selection of the 70th International Film Festival of Venice. >

June 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' Named the Best Film of 2013 So Far By the Criticwire Network>

June 25, 2013 | By Matt Singer

Over 100 critics submitted their picks for the best movies of 2013 so far to Criticwire's mid-year critics' poll, and our own Steve Greene has the rundown of the full results over at Indiewire proper. Topping the list of the Best Films of the Year to date was Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," the third film in his "Before" trilogy featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as star-crossed lovers. Linklater's well-reviewed film, which holds an impressive A average on the Criticwire Network, received 128 more points than its closest competitor.
That closest competitor was "Upstream Color," Shane Carruth's long-awaited follow-up to his cult sci-fi film "Primer." After a somewhat muted reception at the Sundance Film Festival, "Upstream Color" has picked up significant critical acclaim as it's headed, uh, downstream, I guess, through a theatrical release, VOD, and now Netflix Instant streaming -- its Criticwire average is currently an A- and it received 44 votes in our poll to "Before Midnight"'s 58. The rest of the top 5 was rounded out by Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers," Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha," and Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell."

The entire top ten was dominated by independents (hey, the site's called Indiewire for a reason). The best mainstream Hollywood movie of 2013 to date according our critics is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's apocalyptic comedy "This Is the End," which came in 15th place -- two spots ahead of Michael Bay's "Pain & Gain" in 17th place.

Here's the full top ten list:

The Criticwire Network's Top 10 Movies of 2013 (So Far)

1. "Before Midnight"
2. "Upstream Color"
3. "Spring Breakers"
4. "Frances Ha"
5. "Stories We Tell"
6. "Mud"
7. "Leviathan"
8. "The Place Beyond the Pines"
9. "Side Effects"
10. "Like Someone in Love"

I wasn't able to contribute to the poll, so you'll be able to find my own picks for the best of 2013 so far later this week here on Criticwire. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - See the video review of The Guardian for 'Before Midnight'>

For venues and screening times check Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' Movie Review: The third film in Richard Linklater's Before Sunset series, finds Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke at their blistering, bickering best.>

The Telegraph
20 Jun 2013 | by Tim Robey

Before Midnight, the third film in Richard Linklater's Before Sunset series, finds Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke at their blistering, bickering best.

The last time we saw Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) together on screen, they were shooting the breeze in Paris, in Richard Linklater's Before Sunset (2004), a sequel to his gorgeous Viennese brief encounter, Before Sunrise (1995). A plane was missed, but a vital connection was re-established, and Linklater had faith in this pair's future, handing them one of the best, most romantic endings in the history of the movies.

Nine years later, the couple are living out the consequences of that decision, for good and bad, in Before Midnight. They've settled down in Paris, as the unmarried parents of twin girls, whose bobbing blonde locks could hardly fail to gladden the heart. We catch up with the family on holiday in the Peloponnese, where Jesse, fully established as a novelist, pitches ideas to friends, and Celine, an environmental activist whose latest wind-farm project has just been vetoed, ponders a potentially stressful career change.
The first half of the movie is mainly sweetness and Mediterranean light – there's Greek salad at the dinner table, and bumper ensemble chats about what lasts in life and what doesn't. Linklater has always been a garrulous sort of filmmaker, never one to cut short his characters' windier musings, but in this early phase of the film he makes us ever so slightly nervous we're in for a mid-level Woody Allen-style travelogue, with a yoghurty side dish of seasoned philosophising.

We needn't worry; these hints of complacency are all grist to the eventual mill. Right from the start, there are rumblings of the things that have worked out less well for the lovers. Leaving his first wife for Celine meant Jesse more or less abandoned Hank, his son from that marriage, who’s now in his early teens and based in Chicago. Though Hank has joined Celine and Jesse for part of their trip, their adieu at Kalamata airport, where the film starts, is a typically poignant one for Jesse, since it involves sending his son, as Celine puts it, "back behind enemy lines". Jesse sacrificed a lot to move to Europe, and quick-tempered Celine picks up, with nuclear sensitivity, on his yearning to be a better dad, along with all the resentments and retaliatory demands this might entail.

Hawke and Delpy, who are both credited on the script too, have never found co-stars to bounce off more nimbly or bring out richer nuances in their acting. As in the earlier films, all the best sequences here are long, snaking duologues – the difference being that Celine and Jesse now know each other inside out, and exactly which buttons to push. As a gift from friends, they get a night to themselves, and the movie's tone shifts at the key moment when they've walked to a local village and the sun sets, as if inviting the real sequel to begin. There's a long and brilliant scene in a hotel room, plotted like great theatre, in which foreplay gets interrupted by mild irritation, sarcasm becomes a full-on domestic row, and soon we're at Defcon 1.

Where we might have expected a gentle or rueful coda, we get a battle of the sexes as blistering as the best of Tracy/Hepburn, and infinitely more frank. The pair take turns to be witheringly funny about each's others foibles, delusions, and vast deficiencies, which only billow when this sort of combat draws them out. In a breath, Hawke can be magnificently caustic – just wait for his quip about Celine's "agony in the trenches of the Sorbonne" – and a clumsy stirrer of the hornet's nest. Delpy is a mistress of the half-joke with a whole artillery of grievances at her fingertips, and the emotional capacity to fire them all at once. The way men and women can trample on each other's dreams, even without intent, is a brave subject for this movie to unpick, given the wispy, tender optimism of those dreams when Celine and Jesse last met, and indeed first met. Each film asks whether this generation's most durable movie couple will make it – only now, they're asking the same question of themselves. Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Director Kimon Tsakiris Explains "Mitsigan - Hardships and Beauties" at LAGFF 2013>

Trailer and more info about "Mitsigan - Hardships and Beauties" Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' opens in the UK today>

For venues and screening times check

 Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' Movie review: Emotionally rewarding drama continues the love story of Jesse and Celine>

14 June, 2013 | by Mike Scott

"Before Midnight" -- just like "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" before it -- is a deceptively complex film. Oh, it sounds simple enough on the face of it: A young (or once young) couple strolls the streets of an old European city, philosophizing about love. Amid it all, there is much sipping of wine, exchanging of glances, and -- by the time it's all done -- baring of souls.

But it's never really as simple as that. That's because, outside of Hollywood, relationships are never really as simple as that. In real relationships, people fight. In real relationships, people get on each other's nerves. In real relationships, things don't always end with a wedding in a castle and a "happily ever after."

Therein lies the brilliance of director Richard Linklater's low-key but high-impact romantic trilogy -- which really belongs as much to his two stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, as it does to him. Yes, it is a movie. Yes, it is fiction. But from the very first frame of 1995's "Before Sunrise," and continuing through to 2004's "Before Sunset" and now "Before Midnight," Hawke and Delpy's Jesse and Celine haven't really behaved like characters in a movie romance. As a result, these films haven't felt at all like your standard movie romances.

Despite their ever-present flirtations with pretension and a tendency for their momentum to wane as much as wax, these films and these characters feel real. With "Before Midnight" wonderfully carrying the torch passed to it by its predecessors -- but somehow managing to avoid repeating itself -- Linklater's series has quietly and gently become one of the most emotionally rewarding trilogies ever to grace the big screen.

A quick refresher: In "Before Sunrise," Jesse and Celine meet on a train in Vienna. They walk, they discuss ideas of love and romance, they fall for each other, and they promise to meet again in Vienna six months hence.

In "Before Sunset," nominated for a screenwriting Oscar, they meet again -- nine years later, and this time in Paris. We learn that the six-month promise wasn't kept, but they pick up where they left off: They walk, they talk and -- although both have significant others -- they rekindle their relationship.

Now, in "Before Midnight" -- opening today (June 14) in New Orleans and Baton Rouge -- we catch up with Jesse and Celine another nine years later. They are in Greece this time, and they once more do a considerable amount of walking and talking as they and their relationship continue to evolve.

There's a definite feeling here of dropping in on old friends. After all, by now we really do feel as if we know the arty Jesse and the independent-minded Celine. At the same time, though, we get a subtle transformation in tone from the previous films.

"Before Midnight" is still about two people struggling to reconcile reality with the romantic ideals that have been hammered into their brains by fairy tales and Disney films over their 40-plus years on Earth. It's also still built around long, meandering shots -- but pretty ones -- that take place in cars, at tables or along ancient streets.

At the same time, though, "Before Midnight" is more of a portrait of the evolution of a relationship rather than of the budding of one. No longer are Jesse and Celine two starry-eyed dreamers. They are harried, they are tired, they are worn down by the pressures and tedium of everyday life.

Leisurely walks in Vienna? If only.

"There's no room for spontaneity," Celine grouses. "It's all gone from our lives."

"I just wish it was easier ... to maintain a certain level of passion," Jesse complains.

In other words, they're getting old.

Linklater's film runs a danger of having audiences roll their eyes at Celine and Jesse's imaginary troubles. We've got enough worries of our own, after all. Why would we want to burden ourselves with theirs as well? But that's where the sense of realism takes over.

With Hawke and Delpy -- in particular Delpy -- inhabiting these characters with such ease and credibility, they don't feel like characters. They feel like real people, real friends of ours, so it's easy to become invested in their story.

What's more, there's a certain universality to this Everycouple. To see them work through their troubles and so eloquently express the kind of feelings that most of us can't even put into words has a way of renewing one's faith in the power of love.

One of the tricks of the whole series, of course, is in Linklater's use of what can best be described as an emotional shotgun. In fact, "universal" is probably the wrong word to describe "Before Midnight," because not every moment will resonate with every moviegoer. Just like "Sunset" and "Sunrise," there's a definite ebb and flow to the proceedings. During the course of the film, however, Linklater and company hit on so many emotions and touch on so many situations that something is bound to resonate with everyone, and thus impart a feeling of profundity.

Not only is the result edifying, but it's also rewarding. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a therapy session.


4 stars, out of 5

Snapshot: A romantic drama -- and a sequel to "Before Sunrise" and the Oscar-nominated "Before Sunset" -- about two once-young lovers spending a day together in Greece and exploring what it means to be in love.

What works: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy inhabit these characters with such ease and credibility that it takes no effort on the part of moviegoers to become emotionally invested in their story.

What doesn't: There's a definite ebb and flow to the film, which flirts with pretension at times. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up There Likes me has released another Viral Video> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Photos from the Athens Premiere of 'Before Midnight'> Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Los Angeles Greek Film Fest pays tribute to the late Elia Kazan>

L.A Times
June 4, 2013 | By Susan King

The seventh Los Angeles Greek Film Festival pays homage to the late Oscar-winning Greek American director Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront”) with a 50th anniversary screening Friday evening at the Writers Guild Theatre of his epic “America, America,” which is loosely based on his uncle’s journey from Anatolia to America in 1893.

The film won the Oscar for its black-and-white art direction and was nominated for best film, directing and writing.

“We are very excited to be able to screen this epic masterpiece on the 50th anniversary since its first release for a generation that has not had the pleasure of experiencing it in the cinema,” said Ersi Danou, LAGFF’s creative director and co-founder.

PHOTOS: Behind-the-scenes Classic Hollywood

The rest of the festival, which opens Thursday and continues through Sunday, shines a spotlight on new films from Greek directors. The opening-night presentation is the U.S. premiere of Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ 2012 romantic drama “Meteora.”

Besides features, the festival includes documentaries, shorts, an industry panel on “The Arts of Hollywood Production” and an awards ceremony. The closing night feature is the U.S. premiere of Kimon Tsakiris’ 2013 documentary, “Mitsigan -- Hardships & Beauties,” which revolves around Mitsos Tsiganos, a modern-day Greek cowboy and owner of a vegetable farm.,0,4851586.story Facebook Link

May 2013

THE LOBSTER - Yorgos Lanthimos Set to Begin First English Language Film>

Greek Reporter
May 28, 2013 | Joanna Varikos

Academy Award nominee Yorgos Lanthimos, who garnered much attention for his film “Dogtooth,” is set to make his English-language film debut with “The Lobster.”
The director will begin shooting the film in Ireland this fall. The love story takes place in the future, where single people must adhere to strict regulations when finding a partner. Lanthimos wrote the script alongside his “Alps” and “Dogtooth” screenwriter Efthymis Filippou.
“The Lobster” is being supported by a few production companies, including Element Pictures (Ireland), Limp (Lanthimos’ UK production company), Scarlet Films (UK), Faliro House (Greece) and Haut et Court (France).
Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” was awarded the ARTE International Prize earlier this year at the 42nd International Film Festival of Rotterdam for the Best CineMart 2013 Project. Along with the prize, the filmmaker also received 7,000 euros. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive, Cannes Film Festival - film review>

London Evening Standard
27 May, 2013 | Nick Roddick

Only Lovers Left Alive proved to be an elegant, broodingly romantic vampire movie for grown-ups starring Tilda Swinton, John Hurt and Tom Hiddleston

Cannes wound down at the weekend with a final flourish but ended on a bit of a bum note. The best of the final three films, Only Lovers Left Alive, proved to be an elegant, broodingly romantic vampire movie for grown-ups.

Tilda Swinton plays Eve, an ageless member of the undead living in Tangier where Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) keeps her supplied with “the good stuff”. Eve’s centuries-long soul mate, rock star Adam, played with brooding intensity by Tom Hiddleston, lives in a mansion on the outskirts of America’s now empty Motown, Detroit.

They make a glamorous couple, Swinton pale and dressed in white, Hiddleston dark, long-haired and clad in black, dismissing the rest of the world as “zombies”. Their nocturnal idyll is finally shattered by the arrival of Ava (Mia Wasikowska), Eva’s badly behaved sister from LA (“zombie central,” sneers Adam) who uses blood like a party drug, with disastrous results.

Director Jim Jarmusch builds a shadowy world of gorgeous decadence backed by a drone-heavy score from his own band, SQÜRL. At its frequent best, especially towards the end, the film carries an irresistible charge of doomed romanticism, with Swinton and Hiddleston perfect in the central roles. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive: Cannes Review>

Holywood Reporter
Todd McCarthy | 25 May, 2013

Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska topline Jim Jarmusch's film about a vampire couple who has been together throughout the ages.

The Thin Man with blood cocktails, an ode to hipsterism through the ages, a mainline shot of cool and a playful tribute to artistic fetishism, Jim Jarmusch’s vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive is an addictive mood and tone piece, a nocturnal reverie that incidentally celebrates a marriage that has lasted untold centuries. Almost nothing happens in this minor-key drift through a desolate, imperiled modern world, and yet it is the perennial downtown filmmaker’s best work in many years, probably since 1995’s Dead Man, with which it shares a sense of quiet, heady, perilous passage. A modest-sized but ardent audience will support this Sony Pictures Classics pickup in domestic release later this year.

Vampire stories come in all shapes and sizes and the blessed and afflicted couple here is well-dressed, madly sophisticated, has impeccable taste in music and literature (the couple’s closest friend is Christopher Marlowe) and is still in love like newlyweds. The woman’s younger sister considers them condescending snobs, but perhaps that’s just a negative way of acknowledging that, given hundreds of years of years of exposure to art and culture, one would be a fool not to have developed a high level of discrimination in such matters.

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) has become quite the recluse. Holed up in an old house in an abandoned part of Detroit, he plays vinyl classics and collects rare vintage guitars brought to him by roadie type Ian (Anton Yelchin). In the not quite as depopulated streets of Tangier, Eve (Tilda Swinton) seeks out Marlowe (John Hurt), whose Shakespeare connection is bandied about. More to the point, however, is his value as a source of “the good stuff” -- purified blood their kind can reliably consume now that human -- aka “zombie”-- blood has become dangerously contaminated.
This represents an unambiguous drug addiction reference, to be sure, but it also casts these vampires as an endangered species and, increasingly, as potential tragic figures, avatars of cultivation, sophistication and monogamous devotion that put average humans to shame but may be doomed now that their food supply has been ruined. For his part, Adam sometimes receives “good stuff” from a medical facility supplier, Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright).
When, at the 40-minute point, Eve returns to Adam in Detroit, there is instant rapture, a perpetuation of the presumed longest love affair in the world (a photo documents their third wedding, in 1868). With the spirited Eve the driving force in the relationship more than the laid-back Adam, the two British-accented connoisseurs loll around the house, listen to great music, drink great blood, speak about old acquaintances (Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft), are looked down upon by a photo gallery of artistic heroes (Buster Keaton, Mark Twain) and take a nighttime tour in Adam’s old Jaguar coupe of decimated Detroit, which implicitly represents what the “zombies” have made of society.

To Adam’s irritation, they are soon joined by Eve’s wild girl imp of a sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), whose reckless vampiric ways so disrupt their domestic tranquility that the couple decides to decamp back to Tangier, where Eve can count on a continued supply of good stuff. When this is compromised, a thimble of doubt and suspense enters the equation, as the ancient pair contemplate their fate on a wander through the city so beloved by Paul Bowles and the Beats. Will this be the end, or might they actually have to deign to descend from their tower of refinement and rejoin the hunt?
To outsiders and the film industry, Only Lovers Left Alive might seem like an arty, left-handed attempt to make a genre movie and attract unsuspecting horror and even Twilight fans. To those who have followed Jarmusch’s career from the beginning, the film may rather be read as a coded text and perhaps the closest attempt by the enigmatic, adamantly independent director at veiled and self-consciously twisted autobiography. Certainly Jarmusch’s own known artistic tastes are completely represented by those of the retiring Adam, and the ambiance of zoned-out, highly specific connoisseurship fits perfectly with the preferences he has exhibited in his prior work.
The vibe consistently maintained here is mellow, resilient, knowing, unhurried, self-conscious and fixated. Dramatic urgency and surprise are way down on the list of concerns, which is, of course, what has always consigned Jarmusch to the commercial sidelines. But after some recent slippage on projects in which the cultural and narrative incongruities sometimes felt forced and unharmonious, even some silly jokes and stretches devoted solely to listening to music go down with just minor burps.
THR CANNES COVER: Sofia Coppola: The Trials, Tears and Talent
Swinton is quite wonderful and unusually accessible here in a generous, emotional, tender performance. With a recessive partner mostly devoted to interior experiences, Eve must do most of the work to animate their relationship and Swinton, wearing long, nearly platinum-blond hair, gives herself to this enterprise without going over the top. Hiddleston, with the longhaired look of a rock star, is required to be far more withdrawn but is a credible bohemian for the ages. Wasikowska supplies antic, intentionally grating abandon as the dangerous sister, Yelchin is sweet as Adam’s flunky and Hurt presents his 16th century playwright as a crusty old wise man.
Physically and musically, the film is lovely. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight Movie Review>

Movie Newsguide
Abbey Smith | May 26, 2013

Before Midnight has all the elements that people and critics loved from the previous installments of the franchise. It has the talk, sex and a modern love story. To Before Midnight’s defense, the movie takes it all to the next level.

Before Midnight is an almost perfect movie. It is still about those two beloved, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). The movie takes place in Greece. Director Richard Linklater has written the movie with the two actors. He manages to make it fresh as a first kiss.

People can relate with Jesse and Celine. This is why the two previous movies, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, are well received by viewers. Before Midnight takes place nine years after Before Sunset. It has humor, heartbreak and romance. It is safe to say that it is the best among the three.

In case you missed the first two movies, Jesse is an American slacker who means Celine on a train to Vienna. Jesse falls in love with her but Celine thinks he only wants to make love to her and have a great story to tell during his trip abroad.

Then nine years later, Jesse is married with a son in the United States. He has written a best-selling novel based on their story. While Jesse is on a book tour in Paris, Celine, now an environmental activist meets up with him and they try to find a disclosure to their feelings.

Now in Before Midnight, Jesse is divorced. Now in their forties, Jesse and Celine live in Paris with their twin daughters. They are not married and go on a vacation in Greece. The movie is full of love that builds up from the start and climaxes at their final night in Greece.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play the characters to full perfection. The screenplay captures the fickleness nature of love. It would not be a surprise if the movie earns Oscar nominations. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Linklater's 'Before Midnight' draws crowds in limited release>

L.A Times
May 27, 2013 | By Amy Kaufman

While most moviegoers opted for car chases and raunchy jokes this weekend, a small handful found themselves captivated by a far more intimate on-screen tale.

“Before Midnight,” the third entry in Richard Linklater’s series following a couple played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, opened this weekend in limited release and did strong business. Playing on five screens -- two in New York, two in Los Angeles and one in Linklater’s native Austin, Texas -- the picture collected more than $320,000 over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures Classics.

In its first three days of release, the film averaged about $49,000 at each of its five locations -- the third-highest per-theater average of the year for an independent release, behind “Spring Breakers” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

The first film in the “Before” trilogy, 1995’s “Before Sunrise,” grossed a respectable $5.5 million and never played in more than 500 cinemas. The second picture, 2004’s “Before Sunset,” collected slightly more -- $5.8 million.

Like its predecessors, “Before Midnight” has been beloved by critics and audiences. The film debuted to enthusiastic response at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and has since notched a 97% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, said exit polls indicated that the majority of those who saw “Before Midnight” this weekend were not familiar with “Sunrise” or “Sunset.”

“It’s very obvious that the movie stands on its own,” Barker said. “This weekend, the movie played to both young couples in their 20s to the older audience looking for the alternative to the big studio film.”

Barker said he imagines the film will have a long summer run like the company’s “Midnight in Paris,” the 2011 Woody Allen picture that captivated adult audiences and eventually raked in $56 million.

Next weekend, “Before Midnight” will expand to 100 locations in cities including San Francisco and Chicago. By June 14, Barker expects the picture will be playing in theaters nationwide.,0,6071342.story Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive, Cannes Film Festival - film review>

28 May 2013 | by Nick Roddick


Cannes wound down at the weekend with a final flourish but ended on a bit of a bum note. The best of the final three films, Only Lovers Left Alive, proved to be an elegant, broodingly romantic vampire movie for grown-ups.

Tilda Swinton plays Eve, an ageless member of the undead living in Tangier where Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) keeps her supplied with “the good stuff”. Eve’s centuries-long soul mate, rock star Adam, played with brooding intensity by Tom Hiddleston, lives in a mansion on the outskirts of America’s now empty Motown, Detroit.

They make a glamorous couple, Swinton pale and dressed in white, Hiddleston dark, long-haired and clad in black, dismissing the rest of the world as “zombies”. Their nocturnal idyll is finally shattered by the arrival of Ava (Mia Wasikowska), Eva’s badly behaved sister from LA (“zombie central,” sneers Adam) who uses blood like a party drug, with disastrous results.

Director Jim Jarmusch builds a shadowy world of gorgeous decadence backed by a drone-heavy score from his own band, SQÜRL. At its frequent best, especially towards the end, the film carries an irresistible charge of doomed romanticism, with Swinton and Hiddleston perfect in the central roles. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Specialty Box Office: ‘Before Midnight’ Bows With A Bang>

May 26, 2013 | by the Deadline team

Sony Pictures Classics‘ Before Midnight has stuck box office gold Memorial Day weekend. The start of the summer 2013 blockbuster season will be for Fast & Furious 6 to celebrate, but Midnight clearly resonated with audiences searching for an alternative. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, opened in 5 theaters grossing $273,944 and averaging $54,789. In 2004, Warner Independent debuted Before Sunset in 20 theaters, averaging $10,971. That film went on to gross $5.82 million domestically. “We think the reputation of this film stands on its own whether you’ve seen those or not,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “So it has the benefit of being related to those films, but it also has the benefit of being the finest of the three.” SPC will take Before Midnight wide June 14th. In other openers, Sony Classics also opened Fill The Void in three locations. That film took in just over $60K, averaging a solid $20,145.

Last weekend’s specialty box office winner Frances Ha held steady in its second weekend. IFC Films added 56 theaters in its second weekend of release, grossing $612K for a $10,200 average. Noted IFC Films: “Frances Ha expanded to the top 20 markets to fantastic results this Memorial Day weekend. Initial runs remained very strong with minimal drops signifying the comedy’s positive word of mouth. The new markets were also excellent buoyed by phenomenal reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and an extensive advanced screening program. Frances Ha will continue its aggressive platform release as the film will open the top 50 markets this weekend.”

The English Teacher opened slowly and it continued its sluggish numbers in its second weekend. It averaged $1,654 from an $11,578 gross in seven theaters. Last weekend, it opened on two runs, averaging $3K.

Roadside Attractions‘ Mud once again easily maintained its lofty place as the highest grossing film among the specialty titles reporting. The film, starring Matthew McConaughey grossed just under $1.929 million from 712 theaters ($2,708 average). Mud‘s PSA actually increased over last weekend, coming in at $2,708 vs. $2,250, though the title played in 248 fewer theaters Memorial weekend. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jim Jarmusch vampire movie packs some bite>

Toronto Star
May 27, 2013 | Peter Howell

Cannes 2013: Jim Jarmusch vampire movie packs some bite
Indie hero Jim Jarmusch’s vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, is a love story of arty vampires with eternal yearnings.

CANNES, FRANCE—Indie hero Jim Jarmusch has always been a maker of genre films, although you had to tilt your head to get it: Dead Man was his “psychedelic western” and Ghost Dog mashed samurai and gangster oaths and styles.
Still, who’d have guessed that Jarmusch would want in on the enduring vampire movie fad that continues to bite into many a multiplex buck?
“We heard you could make a lot of money with it,” the U.S. writer/director said Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, in advance of the world premiere of Only Lovers Left Alive. His vampire romance is competing for the Palme d’Or and other prizes Sunday at the close of the fest. He was kidding, of course, and don’t let “vampire romance” make you think of Twilight or other teen suckage. Jarmusch’s take on the genre, which pairs Tilda Swinton and The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston as a centuries-old supernatural couple grooving to their own weird heartbeat, is anything but the usual suspects of vampire lore.
Hiddleston’s Adam and Swinton’s Eve are discreet about their fangs, they drink designer blood they buy from a hospital, and they live the louche life of arty snobs in a Detroit home that may once have been owned by a family named Addams. Adam’s a cult musician who collects vintage guitars and Motown 45s; Eve loves to devour books and talk to mushrooms and other natural things.
They share a concern that humans (they call them “zombies”) are not only destroying the world but also tainting the blood supply. And they’re drifting apart as a couple, after some 500 years together, which is why Eve jets off to Tangier to see an old flame (John Hurt) and Adam ominously asks his zombie gofer (Anton Yelchin) to find him a single bullet made of wood. He might need it.
The film’s a deadpan delight that went over big with critics at Friday night’s preview screening, although it’s not reckoned to be one of the big contenders in Sunday’s Palme d’Or contest, which Jarmusch has participated in before. He won the Camera d’Or in 1984 for his first major film, Stranger than Paradise, and the short film Palme in 1993 for Coffee and Cigarettes III.
And as always with a Jarmusch film, Only Lovers Left Alive is about the scene and not the story, so don’t go looking for a narrative that makes literal sense. Jarmusch isn’t inclined to offer any help.
“I don’t want to discourage anyone from analyzing the film. I just don’t want you to ask me to.”
He did allow that all of the little grace notes in Only Lovers Left Alive are there for a reason, and the film has a lot of personal meaning to him. Such as locating most of it in Detroit, a city that was like Oz for Jarmusch when he was growing up in driving-distance Akron and Cleveland, but which in recent years has become an economic casualty. Adam and Eve drive through the city’s many darkened streets, pointing out such cool landmarks as the home of White Stripes guitarist Jack White.
“There’s a great spirit in that place, even now,” Jarmusch said, dressed as always all in black and sporting a mop of prematurely white hair.
He’s more up on vampire lore than anyone might guess.
Jarmusch said he cast mostly British actors for his leads because the vampire myth really began with the romantic poetry of such sensitive Brit souls as Byron and Shelley, whom Adam and Eve have strong opinions on in the film.
“I have a love for the whole history of vampire films, many beautiful films,” he said.
But Jarmusch didn’t feel obliged to play by the old vampire rules. He kept some and added new ones, such as the fastidious manner Adam and Eve have about the wearing and storing of gloves.
“We wanted to have one (rule) that was our own, so we had the gloves thing … they just looked good.”
Swinton said she enjoyed being able to take “a Martian’s-eye view” to the vampire myth and to change things around. And she likes how much of what Adam and Eve do in the film is implied rather than stated. They’ve had their ups and downs as a couple, but there’s also abiding love.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg of a conversation they’ve been having for 500 years.”
Hiddleston called the film “a beautiful story of two people who love each other and who accept each other and who happen to be vampires.”
Jarmusch said he’s been trying to make it for the past seven years, long before the Twilight movies began, but even with a tiny production budget of $7 million, “no one wanted to give us the money.” He finally got European backing, mostly German money.
The money hassle was due to the fact he didn’t want to make a conventional vampire movie where the blood spills from veins rather than from designer glass containers. If Jarmusch were to make something conventional, it wouldn’t really be a Jim Jarmusch film.
“The beauty of cinema,” he concluded, “is discovering new things, of all forms.” Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Cannes 2013: Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive">

Huffington Post
25 May, 2013 | Karin Badt

How can one not enjoy a movie in which one scene has Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, two vampire lovers, sitting in a dilapidated Detroit home, playing chess and drinking blood popsicles, all this to a cool soundtrack put together by Jim Jarmusch and his collaborator Josef van Wissem?

Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive is a masterpiece of fun. The story takes place in two evocative settings: Tangier, where Eve (Swinton) wanders the ancient streets in slow motion, wearing beige silk that swings with her long vampirish hair, and Detroit, where her life-long lover Adam (Hiddleston), a musician, hangs out listening to vinyl records and composing on his many stringed instruments, while awaiting his blood supplies. We also have a third character in Tangier, a cultivated old man named Marlowe (John Hurt), who perhaps is actually Shakespeare.

The actual story is slim, but the movie is rich in allusions to literature, science, and music, as these zombies are afficionados of the arts. When Eve and Adam book a plane ticket (noting to the agent that they only travel at night), they register as Daisy Buchanan and Stephen Dedalus. Unusual for a vampire movie, the two also banter about the surreal druggy monster world of Mary Wollstonecraft and Percy Shelley, giving homage to their literary antecedents.

"It's refreshing," one journalist said after the screening.

And zany. In terms of craft, the camera angles are funky and wild, with ever-so-often an overhead zoom on the vampires as they relax in bohemian contemplation on the couch, or toast each other with blood champagne.

The hypnotic shot that begins the movie: an overhead on a spinning vinyl record, initiating us on the roller coaster of music that will ensue. In fact, what gives the movie its force is the soundtrack, which culminates in a stunning performance in a Tangier bar by the Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan. The vampires, on a hunt for blood, stop to peep at this beautiful singer as she dances and sings, waving her highly-toned arms and wearing a sparkling spangled belt, a surprise image in the misty Moroccan night.

These sublime moments of art celebration is all the film seems to be about, to be honest, despite the press kit that tells us that this film is about marginality in our decadent 2lst century, with the vampires symbolizing the boheme. But sometimes that is all one wants in a film: musical and visual pleasure.

The idiosyncratic cultural references are a pleasure as well.

In person, Jim Jarmusch shows--aside from his handsome stature and his famous white hair--the same impressive breadth of knowledge. Asked during the press conference whether he likes YouTube, he responded, in a flash:

"I love YouTube. I love the idea that you can watch a performance from the 1950s of Merle Haggard, then a lecture on mycology and mushroom identification by John Cage, then a clip of the Steve Allen tv show with young Frank Zappa playing a bicycle as a musical instrument and then watch how a flying squirrel moves through space."
Put that encyclopedic prowess to music--with a couple of vampires--and you get the experience of Only Lovers Left Alive. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Cannes Review of 'Only Lovers Left Alive'>

The Irish Times
25 May, 2013 | Donald Clarke

The latest film by Jim Jarmusch, poet of inactivity, may have a soothing languor to it, but you wouldn’t say it looks like the work of an old man. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
That much devalued word “cool” can still be applied to Jim’s work. Only Lovers Left Alive stars an aristocratically gracious Tilda Swinton and a greasily flinty Tom Hiddleston as two ancient vampires named — with nods to biblical antiquity — Eve and Adam. After a brief prologue in Tangier (you suave beatniks), the couple come together in the most suitable of American cities: the deserted, undead Detroit. Anybody who has ever allowed a copy of l’Etranger to poke from their corduroy jacket will savour the conspicuous references to cultural icons the two have, in their lengthy time, rubbed up against. When travelling, they call themselves Stephen Dedalus and Daisy Buchanan. Photos of Thelonious Monk, Buster Keaton and Neil Young adorn their walls. In the opening few moments, John Hurt turns up as a weathered weary Christopher Marlowe (hang on, didn’t Marlowe die in his thirties? Oh, never mind.) Ambling along at the director’s characteristically relaxed pace, the film feels like the work of professionals who — rather than just jumping on the vampire bus — absolutely adore what they are doing. The sense that these vampires (who refer to us as “zombies”) have been the true guardians of culture is a nice conceit that never outstays its welcome. The choice of Detroit as a location is inspired.
The potential problem is that, well, it will appeal to anybody who has ever allowed a copy of l’Etranger to poke from their corduroy jacket. Isn’t Jim now a little too old to be this young?
Forget all that. After the ponderous misstep that was The Limits of Control, Only Lovers Left Alive finds Jarmusch reconnecting with an uncomplicated (if not unaffected) desire to entertain. The film is spooky, funny, ironic and touchingly in love with pre-digital culture. The hip kids love that stuff too you know. As the vampires explain during a late-night car journey, you can see Jack White’s house from here.
Hugely recommended. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Tilda Swinton brings vampires to Cannes, in Jim Jarmusch’s indie tale “Only Lovers Left Alive”>

CANNES, France — Tilda Swinton injects her own brand of otherworldly-cool into Jim Jarmusch’s latest movie “Only Lovers Left Alive,” an unusual comedy that puts a spin on the age-old vampire genre.

The film, the last English-language entry competing for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, sees Swinton play Eve, a grungy but erudite vampire — who’s married to a forlorn vampire musician, Adam, played by Tom Hiddlestone. Several-hundred-year-old Adam — of Biblical fame — has been living quite happily ever since being expelled from the Garden of Eden.

That is, until the 21st century came along with its excesses and greed and pushed him into a full-flung existential crisis. He cracks, and orders a wooden bullet to kill himself.

With such a wacky plot, it’s no surprise the film nearly didn’t get made. It took seven years to find a backer — which Jarmusch says is because producers won’t take creative risks anymore.

“I wanted to make a vampire love-story...The reason it took so long was that no one wanted to give us the money. It’s getting more and more and more difficult for films that are maybe a little unusual or not predictable or not satisfying the expectations of everybody — which is the beauty of cinema, discovering new films of all forms.”

He added: “But look, now we’re here at Cannes.”

Lovers of independent cinema and vampire fans should certainly be pleased the film saw the light of day, or perhaps, night. It quirkily spruces up vampire lore. Adam and Eve are not about blood-sucking and murder — but refined lovers of literature, science, music and learning in general.

When Eve’s estranged sister “drinks Ian,” a friend, to death, Eve tells her off, saying that in the 21st century people just won’t understand such barbarity. (The verb “drink,” instead of “blood-sucking,” was one of the many moments that provoked raucous laughter from spectators.)

It’s not like they can just dump the bodies in the Thames with the tuberculosis sufferers like in old times, she says. Now, in the 21st century, they get their blood from the blood-transfusion section of a hospital. Alongside this, John Hurt plays a vampire Christopher Marlowe, who’s still bitter that Shakespeare became more famous.

Swinton said the film provided a unique opportunity to reinvent the vampire genre.

“There’s a feeling of beautiful luxury about approaching this kind of portrait, because you can come with a Martian’s-eye view... We were able to create our own lexicon,” she said. For instance, in the film the vampires elegantly cover their mouths and have a strange ritual with gloves that goes unexplained.

At heart, the film is the love story between Adam and Eve, who try to rekindle their love despite living in different places, he in Detroit and she in Tangiers. It is as touching as it is odd.

“We knew we needed to show a long love story ... that was so evolved that what they actually say to each other is the tip of the iceberg of a conversation they’ve been having for 500 years,” Swinton said. “That was very interesting. We wanted to show a couple who are trying to stay together. Trying to live obviously, but also trying to live together.”

In one comic moment, Eve looks at a grainy photo where they’re both dressed in 19th century clothing. “Our third wedding,” she sighs.

The love story between immortal beings also raised philosophical questions for leading man Hiddlestone, who said playing Adam was a “fascinating prospect” — a chance of breaking away from the more conventional superhero roles, such as the villain Loki in 2011’s Marvel Studios film “Thor,” for which he is the most famous.

“The idea of exploring love in the context of immortality — is (it) a blessing because it recurs, and what does that do to your commitments?” he said.

When news originally got out that Jarmusch, the director of 1999’s dark samurai film “Ghostdog,” which was also nominated for the Palme d’Or, was going to do a love film on vampires, many were left unconvinced. But Swinton was not one of them and backed the project from the start.

“I was never surprised,” she said. “I felt like saying (Jim) you’ve been making vampire films for years.” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Friday Box Office: 'Before Midnight' Has Very Strong Opening Night>

MAY 25, 2013 | BY Peter Knegt

While most box office reports today are going on about how "Fast & Furious 6" is headed for a huge Memorial Day weekend (and/or how "The Hangover Part III is not), there's another notable sequel-related story developing this weekend: Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" is off to a very strong start from its limited debut last night.
The film -- which has received overwhelmingly positive reviews across the board (including from Indiewire) -- sees Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke reprise their roles in what they recently joked was "the lowest grossing trilogy ever." Judging from Friday's numbers, that might not end up being the case either way, as distributor Sony Pictures Classics reported "Midnight" grossed $71,445 from 5 theaters New York, Los Angeles and Austin.

Those aren't "Fast & Furious" numbers, but they are impressively on par with the first day of the film's predecessor, "Before Sunset," which grossed $72,941 when it opened on July 2, 2004 (also a summer holiday weekend). That's impressive because "Sunset" was in 20 theaters, 4 times the amount of "Midnight." The daily average for "Sunset" was $3,647, while "Midnight" hit $14,289.

Check back with Indiewire, but it's likely "Midnight" could end up with a 3-day weekend gross in the $220,000-$250,000 range, giving it an average in the $45,000-$50,000 range. That would certainly make it a per-theater-average record for the trilogy, and for director Linklater's entire career. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - "Richard Linklater, 'Before Midnight' Director, On Studio Origins & The Most Intense Scene Of 2013>

Huffington Post
22 May 2013 | Christopher Rosen

Richard Linklater, 'Before Midnight' Director, On Studio Origins & The Most Intense Scene Of 2013

Twenty-two years have past since Richard Linklater burst on the indie film scene with "Slacker," but the director is still happy to work outside of mainstream Hollywood. In fact, he prefers it stay that way.

"If you make a film with someone, maybe they don't like it or they're looking for reasons not to like it. They're like, 'Oh, it didn't turn out the way we thought,'" Linklater told HuffPost Entertainment. "That's kind of my history: You do a film with someone and they kind of glass-half-empty it. 'Here's what it's not. Forget what it is; we're going to focus on that.'"

Linklater had no such concerns on his latest film, "Before Midnight." Set nine years after "Before Sunset" -- which itself was set nine years after "Before Sunrise" -- "Before Midnight" reunites Linklater with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for another talky romance about love and life in the world of Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy). Linklater co-wrote the film with the two stars, and was able to finance the feature independently. The gambit paid off: "Before Midnight" has won raves on the festival circuit this year and has a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ahead of the film's May 24 limited release, Linklater, 52, spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about the indie franchise's studio origins, how he was able to shoot one of the most intense sequences of 2013 and why "Before Midnight" is even larger in scope than its two predecessors.

(WARNING: Some slight spoilers about the plot of "Before Midnight" are discussed below.)

It's hard to believe that when "Before Sunrise" came out in 1995, it was a studio production.
It is a statement of how the industry has changed. Nineteen years ago when we were headed off to Vienna to do that, we were financed from Columbia Pictures through Castlerock with a $2.7 million budget. The fact that a studio would even bother with something like that now is just laughable. Nine years later, we were at Warner Independent, which is the indie division of a studio. Same $2.7 million budget, by the way, nine years later, but it was kind of an industry indie. Now, we were completely equity financed. We didn't have any industry connection in the financing of this movie whatsoever. Ultimately, Sony picked it up to distribute.

Are you shocked how much the industry has changed?
Not really. In its current form, of course, it has changed so much. What happened somewhere along the way -- and I lived through this, because I got films like this made; "Dazed and Confused" was done at Universal -- studios figured out what they weren't doing, what they were doing, what they did best and what made sense for their shareholders and bottom lines. They've figured out these bigger films are the smartest investment of their time and energies. That's freed things up. You used to spend a lot of time trying to get studios to say yes or no. Now, you don't even take certain kinds of films to the industry. I don't waste anyone's time saying, "I have this small film about this." You don't even bother them with it because you know they're not going to be interested. It's not their business. There are a couple of different businesses here within the realm of film.

When you decided to make "Before Midnight," who did you call first: Ethan or Julie?
We're all in conversation. We talk about it. Two years ago, we got together in New York and started talking about what this could be. We've done this twice now, where we don't have any ideas for six or seven years and then it's sort of like, "You know, what about? ..." Then the ideas get more substantial. What's going on is that everyone has lived another six or seven years of life and we can imagine Jesse and Celine at some new station in life. So, we spend a year or so talking about it and go down these paths of what it could be. Maybe we'll go down one path for six months and then change it. We learn a lot every step of the way.

Was there more pressure this time since "Before Sunset" was so well received?
Not so much pressure from the way "Before Midnight" would be received, but from the expectations. The fact that we had done a second one, it was sort of like, "Oh, are you going to do another one?" Especially the way that one ended. "Oh, what happens next?" It was kind of a cliffhanger. The first film didn't have that at all; no one was clamoring for a sequel. The second one, however, we've all had to answer for it over the years since. Like, "Are Jesse and Celine ever going to be together?" I do Q&As about other films I'm doing, and maybe the last question is, "If you don't mind me asking, I was just wondering if Jesse and Celine are ever going to ..." And I'll have to go, "Well, I don't know." As we got closer, however -- when I was doing Q&As for "Bernie" just a little more than a year ago -- I was getting that question and we did have an outline. My answer changed to "I wouldn't be surprised if they showed up again."

Shortly after the film opens, there's this long, uninterrupted take with Jesse and Celine driving in a car with their two children in the back. It ends up being one of the most tension-filled sequences of the year because of those kids. I kept waiting for them to wake up and blow the moment.
They're the unsung heroes. There are four actors in that scene, and two of them are these little girls in the back pretending to be asleep. [Actresses Charlotte and Jennifer Prior play the twins.] They're not really asleep; they're keeping their eyes shut and they're even kind of fake waking up. It's kind of a great performance. Then, boom, 13-plus minutes in, they nail their two lines. It's kind of amazing.

It's incredible. How much rehearsal did that take?
Lots of rehearsal. Not so much with the kids. Ethan and Julie were working on that for months. The kids we incorporated as we got closer to shooting. Maybe a week or two before was when we started working with them. They were very calm, well-mannered little girls. I have girls roughly their age and they could never have done that! They would look at the camera. Three minutes in and they would have been completely bored and unable to keep their eyes shut. It's really a stunning child performance. I've directed a lot of kids and I'm most impressed with what they did there.

When you were writing the script, did you always know that sequence would occur in one take?
That was always my intention. Ethan and Julie know me well enough at this point to go, "OK, he's going to want to do this in one take." Early in the movie, this is the illusion we're creating: The ideal would be to drop a viewer in on Jesse and Celine's reality. If you can have a take play out like that -- long -- viewers have to accept this as real on some unconscious level. These are real people and we're in their real world and this is their reality. That scene provided a lot of backstory. Those nine years disappear in that scene. If you know the movies, it's like you're hanging out with old friends; if you don't -- and this film stands alone -- you learn a lot about these two people in some very realistic way.

In my mind, Ethan is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood ...
He can do anything. He can be a big comedic actor; I would put him in the next Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson movie. He could do that. I think because he does so much theater -- he's in Chekhov, he's in Shakespeare -- people think he's one of those serious New York actors. He could do anything. He's so versatile and so smart. But, you know, a good-looking guy who's popular -- no one is going to say, "You're a really good actor, bud!"

That's what they say about an actor like Brad Pitt; he won't win awards because he's too handsome.
You look how long it took Paul Newman to win an award. He had to be an old man. Even Brad Pitt, as good as he is -- you might get a nomination now and then, but you're not going to get [an award]. People don't want to reward that. "It looks effortless, you're too smooth." They figure you're wealthy, you're getting laid, screw you. It's just the dynamic of our culture.

I feel like both Ethan and Julie have gotten better as actors as they've gotten older. Is that fun for you as the director, to know you can do things with them that maybe you weren't able to on "Before Sunrise"?
Yeah! There's been an evolution. Our high-wire act has gotten bigger because I know what they can do. I can push them a little further than I did the second time, which was a little further than I did the first time. I just know we can get there. It's going to be hard work, but they can do it. I know their abilities. Not every actor can do what's required in this film. In fact, very few probably could. Every actor has strengths and weaknesses, but this just really plays to their strengths and what they can do.

Have you ever given thought of writing something that wasn't related to Jesse and Celine with Ethan and Julie?
That would be an interesting exercise for us. To write together and not be Jesse and Celine and just be something else. I don't know what that would be to pull us together; we're all so busy with other things. That would be kind of fun. We're going to write an action-thriller together! We could do it. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston make a sexy, pallid double act in Jim Jarmusch's languorous new vampire comedy>

The Telegraph
24 May 2013 | By Robbie Collin

Only Lovers Left Alive, the languorous new comedy from Jim Jarmusch, centres on two vampires in reflective mood. They are Adam and Eve – perhaps the Adam and Eve – and they are played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston to draculine perfection. Swinton and Hiddleston, you imagine, would require very few adjustments to convince as two members of the beautiful undead. Perhaps the make-up team sprayed on a little fake tan and left it at that.
Jarmusch's picture was the second-last to screen in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and the weary audience were right in step with its drowsy, meditative tone. When the film begins, the two lovers are on opposite sides of the globe. Adam is in a crumbling mansion on the outskirts of Detroit, a city that itself looks thoroughly bled dry; Eve resides by a souk in Tangiers.
Each has a reliable supply of fresh blood at hand: Adam from a bribable haematologist at the local hospital, and Eve from Kit Marlowe – yes, that Kit Marlowe – who, in the Jarmusch world, is also a vampire, is played by John Hurt, and wrote the complete works of Shakespeare.
Early on, Eve flies to Detroit and the couple are happily reunited. They drive around the city at night visiting points of interest to vampires – “Look, there’s Jack White’s house,” says Adam – and sup top grade Type O Negative plasma from dainty glass goblets. Afterwards they slump backwards in a spaced-out state, utterly bloody-minded.

Later, trouble arrives in the form of Ava, Eve’s impetuous younger sister, who is essayed with wide-smiling mischief by the increasingly indispensable Mia Wasikowska. Ava is less enthusiastic about the accepted vampire code of conduct than her hosts, and is happy to put some of the ancient laws of vampire lore to the test.
“Don’t you know it’s bad luck to cross a threshold uninvited?” scolds Eve, when they find her unexpectedly lounging on the sofa. “Sure, sure,” replies Ava. “I bet you guys are still afraid of garlic.”
In the time-honoured Jarmuschian fashion, the few things that happen in Only Lovers Left Alive happen very slowly, but the dialogue is always gloomily amusing, and Swinton and Hiddleston’s delivery of the gags is as cold and crisp as footsteps in fresh snow.
The performances fall strictly into the deadpan tradition, which itself is a brilliantly literate in-joke: in one of the best scenes, the camera pans across photographs of other famous vampires, who include Buster Keaton, owner of the deadest pan in cinema history. Other famous faces I spotted included Franz Kafka and Oscar Wilde: Jarmusch may have here come up with the middle-class hipster equivalent of the video wall of celebrity aliens in the science fiction blockbuster Men in Black.
Perhaps the film reuses some of its best gags a few times too many: the vampires’ use of the word ‘zombie’ to refer to normal humans is a fun deflation of the trusty ‘the-real-monster-is-man’ horror trope, but it runs out of steam by its 50th appearance. But the real reason to see this is Swinton and Hiddleston’s sexy, pallid double act: two old souls in hot bodies who have long tired of this Earth, but have nowhere else to make their home. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight Movie Review>

26 May 2013 | by Abbey Smith

Before Midnight has all the elements that people and critics loved from the previous installments of the franchise. It has the talk, sex and a modern love story. To Before Midnight’s defense, the movie takes it all to the next level.

Before Midnight is an almost perfect movie. It is still about those two beloved, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). The movie takes place in Greece. Director Richard Linklater has written the movie with the two actors. He manages to make it fresh as a first kiss.

People can relate with Jesse and Celine. This is why the two previous movies, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, are well received by viewers. Before Midnight takes place nine years after Before Sunset. It has humor, heartbreak and romance. It is safe to say that it is the best among the three.

In case you missed the first two movies, Jesse is an American slacker who means Celine on a train to Vienna. Jesse falls in love with her but Celine thinks he only wants to make love to her and have a great story to tell during his trip abroad.

Then nine years later, Jesse is married with a son in the United States. He has written a best-selling novel based on their story. While Jesse is on a book tour in Paris, Celine, now an environmental activist meets up with him and they try to find a disclosure to their feelings.

Now in Before Midnight, Jesse is divorced. Now in their forties, Jesse and Celine live in Paris with their twin daughters. They are not married and go on a vacation in Greece. The movie is full of love that builds up from the start and climaxes at their final night in Greece.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play the characters to full perfection. The screenplay captures the fickleness nature of love. It would not be a surprise if the movie earns Oscar nominations. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - With 'Only Lovers Left Alive,' Jim Jarmusch Caps a Great Year For American Auteurs in Cannes>

If the fashionable bloodsuckers of the "Twilight" movies traded their frantic stares for expressions of ennui, they might have something in common with Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), the retro cool vampires at the heart of Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive." But that could never happen. Jarmusch's characters are always too hip for the mainstream, which he reminds viewers by making a welcome return to the realm of deadpan comedies that put his work on the map in the first place. Not that he ever drifted too far from it.

A centuries-old couple bored with contemporary society, Adam and Eve spend part of the movie living separately in Detroit and Tangiers before uniting at each location, muttering refrains about modern culture and recalling better times. They have sparse company in their understated despair: An enjoyable John Hurt surfaces in a few scenes to play the stately Jonathan Marlowe, still hurt by living eternally in the shadow of William Shakespeare. Eve's horny younger sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) crashes at Adam's Detroit home in search of an excuse to party and briefly causes problems that, if they didn't involve casual violence, wouldn't seem out of place in a chick flick. But "Only Lovers Left Alive," despite its unapologetically silly developments, also contains the wistfulness and wine-drenched romanticism of "Before Sunrise" and its sequels. For Adam and Eve, however, the coming dawn presents a literal barrier to enjoying their lives together to the fullest extent.

So each night is another zigzagging misadventure. The only real presence who instigates plot development, Ava gravitates toward musician Adam's long-haired rocker pal (Anton Yelchin), one of several dazed humans whom the vampires tend to call "zombies" -- a term that in this case sounds more like a pejorative reference to anyone not part of their immediate social circle. In Jarmusch's amusingly offbeat and intentionally meandering narrative, the world is just not as chic as it was so many decades earlier. (You had to be there.) But then again, maybe that's because the Detroit scenery can feel redundant after a while. In over 30 years of making movies, Jarmusch's interest in the intersection of bland environments and vivid personalities fortunately hasn't waned.

The lackadaisical nature of Adam and Eve's world -- their lack of urgency in spite of feeling frustrated with the immortal lives imposed on them -- has turned them into brooding loners more inclined to talk than act. "This self-obsession is a waste of living," one of them sighs after a lengthy period of introspection. Removed from the supernatural context, Jarmusch's latest protagonists in this undeniably light, witty sketch of a movie fall in line with the bored, retro cool outsiders found throughout his oeuvre. It's refreshing to see that, in Jarmusch's world, even the undead have a lust for life and the capacity to complain about it with soul.

At best, Jarmusch's movies find poetic ingredients lurking within the less glamorous regions of American society. From "Stranger Than Paradise" to "Broken Flowers," the unremarkable settings engender darkly funny neuroses and yearning for better lives. (Jarmusch's last feature, "The Limits of Control," was a confounding digression.) That has made him into a prototypical American filmmaker, one of several who premiered movies in Cannes' main competition this year.

It's refreshing to see that, in Jarmusch's world, even the undead have a lust for life. Collectively, the four American movies in competition -- not counting French director Arnaud Desplechin's miscast and poorly scripted "Jimmy P." -- present a rather consistent view of 20th first century attitudes. James Gray's classical Prohibition-era New York period drama "The Immigrant" provides an elegant treatment of the strengths and weaknesses involved in the cultivation of the American dream. Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" captures the heyday of American folk music by exploring its reflection in one man's directionless lifestyle. Steven Soderbergh's wildly amusing HBO biopic "Behind the Candelabra," which stars a seriously committed Michael Douglas as Liberace and an equally believable Matt Damon as the pianist's longtime lover, explores late seventies pop culture through the tensions between bonafide artistry and kitsch that define Liberace's legacy to this day. Collectively, these features cover the gamut of American attitudes during several dynamic periods in their evolution. Foreign audiences learned a lot about us this year.

But these movies are also each distinctive works married to the stylistic whims of their creators, perhaps none more so than "Only Lovers Left Alive." If you can groove with Jarmusch's patient, philosophical indulgences and the wooden exteriors of his characters' lives, the movie rewards with a savvy emotional payoff about moving forward even when the motivation to do so has gone. "It's over for us, isn't it?" Swinton's vampire sighs when thinking about the past. By contrast, this year's vibrant Cannes competition suggests that many of America's established auteurs have plenty left to say.

Criticwire grade: B+ Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight': Very True Romance>

Director Richard Linklater’s first two Before movies represented the types of romantic scenarios you dream of when you’re young—meeting the right person at an unexpected-but-perfect time and falling in love (Before Sunrise, 1995) and then encountering them again nine years later (Before Sunset, 2004), only to find that everything you felt before was not just genuine but was still alive; a fire that somehow burned through nine years of nights, stoked only by memories.

The third movie in Linklater’s series, the less joyous but even more incisive Before Midnight, exposes the underbelly of romance and not just the kind of idealized pairing that involves walks through the moonlight in Vienna and sunsets in Paris, but something more universal. It’s the counterpoint of reality to those earlier cinematic dreams. Picking up nearly a decade after the teasingly ambitious end of Sunset, Midnight takes on the resentments, both deep and unavoidable as well as petty and pointless, of a long relationship and focuses on the work of being together. We always knew Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) were capable of fighting because they were both full of such fierce convictions, but this is the film where flirtatious sparring turns into a verbal battle. Before Midnight is too frank and funny to ever be a drag, but it confronts head on something true believers in the earlier films has had to or will have to face, the possibility that even the most exciting love affair grows tired.

Each of these movies can stand alone and has—no one knew what the Before series could become, back in 1994 when Linklater grabbed a screenplay, a camera, the 23 year-old Delpy, French and not yet much known in America; and Hawke, a rising American star; and started shooting—but as a whole, they represent a powerful and unique portrait of contemporary love and life, this generation’s answer to Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series. In this era of sequels and stories broken into fragments to make more money (and not just trash like Twilight, but prestige projects like The Hobbit), how often do any of us walk out of a movie theater thinking, please, don’t stop? Truffaut began the adventures of Antoine with The 400 Blows and ended it 20 years later with a fifth and final film about his alter-ego, Love on the Run. Can we hope for at least another pair of Linklater-Delpy-Hawke collaborations? If I were only allowed to see one movie this year, I’d want it to be Before Midnight. If I were only allowed two trips to a theater this year, I’d see it twice.

Jesse and Celine are, at least physically, once again in a place most of us would like to be. It is summer and they are on extended holiday on a lovely Greek island. At 41, they have beautiful seven-year old twin daughters, who seem to have stumbled sleepily out of a Julia Margaret Cameron photograph. They are reasonably well off. They live in Paris, Celine working in environmental policy and Jesse still a writer. He wrote a sequel to This Time, his novel based on their Viennese encounter, called That Time, which paid for their apartment. He’s written a third, more ambitious but less successful book, and in a long scene set on a sunny terrace, enthusiastically lays out the plot of his next project to their host Patrick (Walter Lassally), who serves as a regular patron to the arts, and some of the new friends they’ve made in Greece.

There are wounds though, many having to do with the complexity of that decision to miss the plane home to the States back in 2004. Jesse’s son, Henry, or Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) is 14, and though he’s just spent a month with them in Greece (the film opens with Jesse saying an anxious, needy goodbye to him at the airport), it’s apparent that Jesse has never been able to reconcile his guilt over choosing a woman over his child. Henry’s bitter mother has made it hard for him to see the boy; Jesse muses about ways to be a regular part of Henry’s life. “He doesn’t even know how to throw a baseball,” Jesse tells Celine. “He leads with his elbow.” Her response makes it clear this is not the first time this has come up but more likely, the hundredth: “Jesse, I’m not moving to Chicago.”

In these early scenes Linklater, who wrote the screenplay with Delpy and Hawke (they wrote as a trio for Sunset as well and were Oscar-nominated for it) lays the groundwork for the explosive, ugly conversation to come. It’s about guilt and also fidelity and Celine’s resentment of the inequity between them in the arena of childcare, not just of their twins, but also Henry, who is more likely to confide in Celine than his own father. When she quotes a refrigerator poem to him—“Women explore for eternity in the vast garden of sacrifice”—she’s practically spitting in outrage that this feels like her lot. She no longer has time to think, let alone write the kind of songs that made her feel connected to herself (and to him, at the end of Sunset). These are real issues, then, ones that many in the audience will relate to.

Although Before Midnight features more intimate interaction with other characters—including a talky, philosophical lunch with Patrick and some Greek friends—there’s a neat if somewhat artificial construct built into the screenplay to put Jesse and Celine back into the kind of scenario that their fans expect: alone with each other, walking and talking. Their new friends Stefanos (Panos Koronis) and Ariadni (Athina Rachel Tsangari) have bought them a hotel room for the evening. It’s a ramble through rocky paths to get there and as they go, Before Midnight settles almost deceptively into the rhythm of the earlier movies.

We hang on voyeuristically, hoping for the sort of scene the earlier movies have tantalized us with but never given us, where Jesse and Celine undress each other and reveal themselves as lovers. But in this universe of complex characters, it can’t be that simple. The pressure to share pleasure is too fraught. The question as to whether Jesse and Celine will be together remains the same, but it is no longer a matter of the mere logistics that mark beginnings, but rather, the choices that mark diversions from a course.

When they watch a sunset together and Celine says, then whispers, “Still there” until the sun drops below the horizon and she pronounces it “gone,” what is she really speaking of? They thrive on their shared history but are also burdened by it. “That’s what fucks us up,” Ariadni said during that lunch. “Romance, the notion of a soulmate.” The earlier Before films have done much to perpetuate that notion, that belief that a soulmate is there to be found. Bravely and with penetrating intelligence, Before Midnight elevates instead the practical, a partnership: frayed by disappointment, worn by time, but for the very luckiest—which we sincerely and selfishly hope includes Jesse and Celine—durable for the long day’s journey into night. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Ethan Hawke talks to Tavis Smiley about 'Before Midnight' >

The multiple Oscar nominee talks about his new release, the highly anticipated Before Midnight—which he also co-wrote.

Since his breakthrough role in the 1989 drama, Dead Poets Society, Ethan Hawke has charted his own course, and, with a mix of theater and film work, his acting efforts have been recognized with Tony and Academy Award nods (The Coast of Utopia; Training Day). He's also directed both indie films and off-Broadway productions. The Texas native's childhood ambition was writing, and he's pursued that dream by penning several screenplays—and winning a best adapted screenplay Oscar nom (Before Sunset)­—and two novels. Hawke can next be seen in the features, Before Midnight, the third installment of a romance series that he also co-wrote, and the thriller, The Purge. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Cannes Review: Droll, Louche & Languidly Playful 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Is Jarmusch At His Most Enjoyable & Accessible>

indiewire |
24 May 2013 | by JESSICA KIANG

Cannes Review: Droll, Louche & Languidly Playful 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Is Jarmusch At His Most Enjoyable & Accessible

From the very first opening titles, written in a Germanic font that immediately conjures everything from “Triumph of the Will” to images of big-busted ladies screaming in campy close-up in 1970s cheapie horrors (it may be the only time in Cannes that a film got a big laugh for a typeface) it’s perfectly clear that the Jim Jarmusch in whose company we’re about to spend a couple of hours is not the wilfully obscure surrealist of “The Limits of Control,” nor the considered, melancholic philosopher behind “Dead Man,” nor even the oddball ragtag troubadour of “Down By Law." In fact, “Only Lovers Left Alive,” Jarmusch’s take on the vampire myth starring recent muse Tilda Swinton and Tom “fast becoming everyone’s favorite actor” Hiddleston, finds the maverick filmmaker on playful, referential and mischievous form with hugely enjoyable, if not exactly weighty or important, results. It’s an offbeat, fun, and frequently very funny film, lifted out of disposability by some wonderfully rich production design, music cuts and photography, and by the cherishable performances of the leads. It’s also, bearing in mind the director’s recent output, by far the most accessible film he’s made in a while, albeit still a tad on the languid side for many, with its genre roots allowing the director to give full rein to his inherent weirdness within a comprehensible context, thereby not necessarily losing half the audience in befuddlement.

Adam and Eve (the first and perhaps flattest of the many nomenclature gags that happen in the film) are a married vampires who have been deeply and touchingly in love for centuries. Separated at the start of the film for no directly explained reason, Adam is in Detroit indulging a secretive passion for composing and playing music, visited only by a handy local fixer called Ian (Anton Yelchin) who procures old classic guitars, wooden bullets and whatever else Adam needs. Eve is in Tangier, close by her old friend Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), yes, that Kit Marlowe, who is a vampire himself (and did of course write all of Shakespeare’s works). But sensing Adam is sinking into a depression, Eve arranges the tricky business of winging to his side. Tricky, because it all has to be done at night, and, reluctant to kill “zombies” (which is what they call people) more out of fear of contaminated blood than inherent respect for life, they are reliant on blood supplied by local hospitals and bribed doctors. Reunited, they bicker and spar gently but take care of each other through a series of small episodes, until Eve’s “sister” Ava (Mia Wasikowska) comes to stay and, stirs up the same kind of trouble that had caused them not to have seen her for 87 years.
Wasikowska’s role is small but she’s a pleasure as the petulant and mercurial Ava. Yelchin too has a great time as Ian, nailing the film’s gently loopy tone and Jeffrey Wright manages to make his two short scenes count. But the film is really about Adam and Eve, and Hiddlestone and Swinton are so good, and so well-matched, that their love story is surprisingly romantic and sexy. It’s also really good to look at, with Swinton maybe more luminous than she’s been since “Orlando,” often posed with Hiddleston in a kind of beautiful tangle of alabaster limbs, and the richness of the set design and costuming giving every frame a depth and warmth that rewards in itself. Add to that a terrific score that in its twangy electric guitar chords reminded us of Neil Young’s work on “Dead Man” and some choice songs, including a truly mesmerising track at the very end of the film sung seemingly live, and the film certainly comes handsomely dressed.

But it’s the deadpan jokes and references that really lift proceedings, especially as delivered, often drily, by Tilda Swinton, who’s probably as good at being funny as she is at everything else, but is so rarely given the chance. So, despite being an ages-old vampire with oceans of wisdom at her disposal she gets girlishly excited to drive past Jack White’s childhood home (kind of the unlikeliest Jack White fan ever), teases Adam about hanging out with Byron, and semi-cheats at chess, and gets to deliver, with utter drollery the classic line “Well, that was visual” after we’ve watched a body dissolve down to a bleached skeleton in a pit of acid. Mostly, though, Jarmusch has just littered the script with nods to everything from mathematics to literature to filmmaking -- Adam is variously called Doctor Faust, Doctor Strangelove, Doctor Caligari, Stephen Dedalus, while Eve books flights for herself in the name of Fibonacci at one point and, in a gag that played well in a festival opened by “The Great Gatsby,” Daisy Buchanan at another. None of the names really mean anything, or stand for anything, and if there is a higher theme we’re supposed to derive from the cavalcade of classical and modern cultural references, we’re damned if we can find it. Which in itself is sort of refreshing -- Jarmusch’s film is just pretentious enough for there to be lots of opportunities to for us to snort in recognition, as in “Why yes, I know that, that’s the lead character in ‘Ulysses’!” but not so pretentious that it expects us to actually have read it. It’s hipster-shallow, to be sure, but it makes it a delightfully easy watch.
Which is not to say there aren’t some thematic throughlines for those who want to search for them. The value of “putting work out there” is mentioned frequently in the context of both Adam’s music, which he paradoxically desires to have out in the world, but fears the inevitable fame and recognition, and Kit Marlowe, the fruits of whose creativity are omnipresent, but under another man’s name. The cultured, cool vampires’ disdain for the “zombies,” along with dark hints at how they/we have “polluted” or “contaminated’ ourselves somehow hint at some slight social comment on humankind’s self-destructive tendencies, though we’re probably reaching on that one. No, the real pleasure of the film is in its languid droll cool and its romantic portrayal of the central couple, who are now our number one role models in the inevitable event of us turning vampiric. [B+]

Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they had acquired North American rights to "Only Lovers Left" Alive. No release date has been set yet. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Cannes Embraces Jim Jarmusch Vampire Film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ Sony Classics Will Distribute>
Friday, May 24th, 2013 | by Russ Fischer

Cannes Embraces Jim Jarmusch Vampire Film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ Sony Classics Will Distribute

Nothing made me happier today than to hear enthusiastic responses to Jim Jarmusch‘s rock and roll vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive. The film stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as vampires who have spent centuries together. We’ve got some clips, images and more info here, but frankly I want to know as little about further details as possible, at least until there’s a chance to see the film in the US.

That chance might not be far off, as the reception at Cannes was capped off by Sony Pictures Classics’ purchase of the US distribution rights. The company didn’t offer precise release info, but knowing it has a home is a good start. After the break, you can check out the SPC press release, and some reviewer reactions to the movie.

Jarmusch movies are often quite funny, if not in the style of a typical comedy. That humor seems to be key to the success of Lovers, as The Playlist notes “it’s the deadpan jokes and references that really lift proceedings, especially as delivered, often drily, by Tilda Swinton, who’s probably as good at being funny as she is at everything else, but is so rarely given the chance.”

Other reactions, even among the enthusiastic, peg the movie as something for the midnight crowd. Variety calls it “sweet but slight,” “essentially a light comedy of social mores set among a bunch of bohemians whose drug of choice just happens to be human blood, rather than cocaine or heroin.” The most telling bit from the trade may be that “it still feels like an in-joke intended only for select acolytes, who will probably love it with an undying passion.” was far more enthusiastic, proclaiming it “an exhibit A example of how to use style to enhance substance, not overwhelm it,” and “the next great midnight classic…hazy and dreamy.”

Here’s the press release:

NEW YORK (May 24, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American rights to Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, which will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival tomorrow in the In Competition section. The film was produced by Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company and Reinhard Brundig of Pandora Film. Christos Konstantakopoulos of Fairilo House served as executive producer.

Starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE takes place against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier and follows an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, who reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister.

“It would take a stake through the heart to keep Barker, Bernard and Leiner away from a good movie,” stated Producer JeremyThomas.

“Tangier, Detroit, vampires, guitars – and now Sony Classics – what else is there to say!” added Thorsten Schumacher, Managing Director of Hanway Films.

“ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is one of the great Jarmusch pictures and American audiences will love it. We are excited to be back with Jim and our great friends Jeremy Thomas and Tilda Swinton, whose performance along with the rest of the cast is fantastic,” said Sony Pictures Classics. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Cannes 2013: Only Lovers Left Alive – first look review>

At one moment in Jim Jarmusch's new movie, Tilda Swinton's character points to the night sky and says: "There's a diamond up there the size of a planet. It emits the music of a gigantic gong." Jarmusch, on the hand, emits movies as if he has been smoking a gigantic bong. Only Lovers Left Alive is an indulgent, eccentric midnight movie with a great deal of muso musing about vinyl and guitars and cool retro stuff. If there was a prize at Cannes for Most Studenty Film, this would absolutely walk off with it. We flit with bat-like swiftness from Tangier to Detroit and back to Tangier, as the story unfolds: the deadpan-funny tale of beautiful vampire creatures, exquisite aesthetes with fastidious tastes, razor-sharp canines and cheekbones, and long hair not dissimilar from that worn by Michael Sheen in the Twilight movies. They live their own crepuscular, eternal existence in the 21st century, having been born many centuries or millennia before.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play Adam and Eve, and Jarmusch playfully allows us to assume that they are the first humans, before cancelling or modifying that assumption by bringing in Eve's rock-chick sister Ava, played with a swinging Larndarn accent by Mia Wasikowska. Adam lives in Detroit, Michigan, a reclusive rock star, who has built up a huge cult following. Adam is a bit snobbish about humans, whom he calls "zombies", but has one with whom he's friendly-ish: Ian (Anton Yelchin), who gets him all the obscure and expensive stuff he likes. But basically Adam spends his cash on vast amounts of blood from a nervous hospital doctor, played by Jeffrey Wright — the most relaxed and funniest performance. Meanwhile, his love Eve has been spending some time away from him in Tangier; she gets her blood from Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt. She doesn't appear to know any vampires who are not legendary figures. Why doesn't Christopher Marlowe get to look super-cool and young, incidentally? Adam persuades Eve to come to see him in Tangier, and the re-igniting of their eternal affair brings them to a crisis.

Adam lives in Detroit because of the musical connection, of course, but also because of its reputation as a ghost town, a bloodless city famously rendered undead by hard economic times: a lost world of wrecked and deserted buildings, and now the subject of hip "ruin porn" photography — and hip Adam loves to roam through the city streets among this eerie cultural wreckage, taking Eve with him. These are nice performances from Hiddlestone and Swinton, poised, if waxily self-conscious, although this is entirely appropriate for the characters, and Swinton's slight tendency to inert queenliness works well with Eve and her mysterious hauteur. Despite being lovers, they look more like well-born incestuous siblings, an impression which could, admittedly, just be due to the fact Adam was once acquainted with Byron.

Jarmusch's movies are a taste which it is possible to de-acquire and re-acquire. His last film The Limits of Control was dire, reeking with supercilious smugness. Only Lovers Left Alive is definitely a step back up, made with droll suavity — though sometimes quirkiness is still occasionally an alibi for lack of ideas, comic or otherwise. As with all his films, you have to let it grow on you. There's a very funny line about the 17th-century funeral music of William Lawes. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Only Lovers Left Alive: Cannes Review>

25 May 2013 | by Todd McCarthy

The Thin Man with blood cocktails, an ode to hipsterism through the ages, a mainline shot of cool and a playful tribute to artistic fetishism, Jim Jarmusch’s vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive is an addictive mood and tone piece, a nocturnal reverie that incidentally celebrates a marriage that has lasted untold centuries. Almost nothing happens in this minor-key drift through a desolate, imperiled modern world, and yet it is the perennial downtown filmmaker’s best work in many years, probably since 1995’s Dead Man, with which it shares a sense of quiet, heady, perilous passage. A modest-sized but ardent audience will support this Sony Pictures Classics pickup in domestic release later this year.

Vampire stories come in all shapes and sizes and the blessed and afflicted couple here is well-dressed, madly sophisticated, has impeccable taste in music and literature (the couple’s closest friend is Christopher Marlowe) and is still in love like newlyweds. The woman’s younger sister considers them condescending snobs, but perhaps that’s just a negative way of acknowledging that, given hundreds of years of years of exposure to art and culture, one would be a fool not to have developed a high level of discrimination in such matters.

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) has become quite the recluse. Holed up in an old house in an abandoned part of Detroit, he plays vinyl classics and collects rare vintage guitars brought to him by roadie type Ian (Anton Yelchin). In the not quite as depopulated streets of Tangier, Eve (Tilda Swinton) seeks out Marlowe (John Hurt), whose Shakespeare connection is bandied about. More to the point, however, is his value as a source of “the good stuff” -- purified blood their kind can reliably consume now that human -- aka “zombie”-- blood has become dangerously contaminated.

This represents an unambiguous drug addiction reference, to be sure, but it also casts these vampires as an endangered species and, increasingly, as potential tragic figures, avatars of cultivation, sophistication and monogamous devotion that put average humans to shame but may be doomed now that their food supply has been ruined. For his part, Adam sometimes receives “good stuff” from a medical facility supplier, Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright).
When, at the 40-minute point, Eve returns to Adam in Detroit, there is instant rapture, a perpetuation of the presumed longest love affair in the world (a photo documents their third wedding, in 1868). With the spirited Eve the driving force in the relationship more than the laid-back Adam, the two British-accented connoisseurs loll around the house, listen to great music, drink great blood, speak about old acquaintances (Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft), are looked down upon by a photo gallery of artistic heroes (Buster Keaton, Mark Twain) and take a nighttime tour in Adam’s old Jaguar coupe of decimated Detroit, which implicitly represents what the “zombies” have made of society.

To Adam’s irritation, they are soon joined by Eve’s wild girl imp of a sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), whose reckless vampiric ways so disrupt their domestic tranquility that the couple decides to decamp back to Tangier, where Eve can count on a continued supply of good stuff. When this is compromised, a thimble of doubt and suspense enters the equation, as the ancient pair contemplate their fate on a wander through the city so beloved by Paul Bowles and the Beats. Will this be the end, or might they actually have to deign to descend from their tower of refinement and rejoin the hunt?

To outsiders and the film industry, Only Lovers Left Alive might seem like an arty, left-handed attempt to make a genre movie and attract unsuspecting horror and even Twilight fans. To those who have followed Jarmusch’s career from the beginning, the film may rather be read as a coded text and perhaps the closest attempt by the enigmatic, adamantly independent director at veiled and self-consciously twisted autobiography. Certainly Jarmusch’s own known artistic tastes are completely represented by those of the retiring Adam, and the ambiance of zoned-out, highly specific connoisseurship fits perfectly with the preferences he has exhibited in his prior work.

The vibe consistently maintained here is mellow, resilient, knowing, unhurried, self-conscious and fixated. Dramatic urgency and surprise are way down on the list of concerns, which is, of course, what has always consigned Jarmusch to the commercial sidelines. But after some recent slippage on projects in which the cultural and narrative incongruities sometimes felt forced and unharmonious, even some silly jokes and stretches devoted solely to listening to music go down with just minor burps.

Swinton is quite wonderful and unusually accessible here in a generous, emotional, tender performance. With a recessive partner mostly devoted to interior experiences, Eve must do most of the work to animate their relationship and Swinton, wearing long, nearly platinum-blond hair, gives herself to this enterprise without going over the top. Hiddleston, with the longhaired look of a rock star, is required to be far more withdrawn but is a credible bohemian for the ages. Wasikowska supplies antic, intentionally grating abandon as the dangerous sister, Yelchin is sweet as Adam’s flunky and Hurt presents his 16th century playwright as a crusty old wise man.

Physically and musically, the film is lovely. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - WATCH - Creative Soulmates - Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy chat with Huffington Post Live>

Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater began their creative collaboration in the mid-nineties on the beloved romantic classic "Before Sunrise." Now their collaboration continues with "Before Midnight," the third film in the unique series. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Entertainment Weekly's top pick - Today's Best in Pop Culture>

Entertainment Weekly
May 23, 2013 | Owen Gleiberman

Entertainment Weekly's top pick - Today's Best in Pop Culture

"Linklater is a master of mixed moods. Before Midnight is happy, sad, bitter, tragic, and redemptive, but it is never predictable. There are moments when it evokes the wistful bohemian rapture of the first two movies, especially when the couple are sitting around at lunch with the Europeans they've been staying with on vacation, trading quips and philosophies. I can't remember a sequence in another American film that so ebulliently harks back to the glory of '70s art-house cinema. But it's Before Midnight's shattering second half that truly defines it, as the two characters wind up in a hotel room for what's supposed to be a romantic getaway, and all their pent-up resentments start to bubble to the surface. Hawke and Delpy are both brilliant: They make every moment feel like it's really happening. We've seen this sort of thing before, of course, in films like Scenes From a Marriage, but Linklater stages the escalating relationship war with a casual, flowing virtuosity, and he taps into Jesse and Celine's competitive tensions in a way that reflects the divisive spirit of our era. This deeply bittersweet movie suggests that our long-term relationships sustain themselves over time by dying in order to be reborn. Before Midnight is enchanting entertainment that's also the most honest and moving film about love in years. A",,20483133_20687761,00.html Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Ethan Hawke talks about 'Before Midnight' on Jimmy Kimmel Live Part 2> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Ethan Hawke talks about 'Before Midnight' on Jimmy Kimmel Live Part 1> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Review of 'Before Midnight' on A.V.Club>

A.V. Club
23 May 2013 | by A.A. Dowd

When Richard Linklater announced last autumn that he had secretly shot another sequel to Before Sunrise, his 1995 one-night-in-Vienna romance, it was difficult not to feel both excited and a little apprehensive. Before Sunset, the previous film in the series, had ended on such a perfect note—a heart-stopping ellipsis, one of cinema’s great non-endings—that taking the story any further seemed a bit like flirting with disaster. Wouldn’t it just be better to leave Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) hanging in the blissful moment, lost in song and dance and the probability of a missed flight? The answer, it’s a pleasure to report, is a resounding “no.” Just as swoon-worthy, and essential, as its predecessors, Before Midnight reveals the full scope of Linklater’s ambition. This is not just another stellar follow-up, but the latest entry in what’s shaping up to be a grand experiment—the earnest attempt to depict the life of a relationship onscreen, decade by increasingly tumultuous decade. In the process of justifying its own existence, Before Midnight redeems the very notion of sequels.
Ah, to be back in the company of these loquacious lovers, older and wearier now, but still blessed with the gift of gab. It’s been nine years, onscreen and off, since the American writer and his French dream girl reunited in Paris, and 18 since they met on a train in Vienna. Through a single, fluid tracking shot, Linklater reveals not only that the two are finally together—spoiler alert: Jesse missed his plane—but that they’ve been together long enough to have produced a pair of adorable moppets. The film begins at the end of a long, magical summer in Greece, spent at the coastal villa of a famous writer. Hawke’s novelist, who’s made his name writing about the events of Sunrise and Sunset, drops his teenage son (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) off at the airport. The boy is heading back to his mother’s place in Chicago, where he lives most of the year—a custody situation that weighs heavily on Jesse’s heart, and proves a catalyst for much of the tension to come.
As in Sunset, Linklater co-authored the screenplay with his two stars. Hawke and Delpy know their characters, now in their early 40s, like they know themselves. The lovers’ attitudes have shifted over the years: Jesse, whom Linklater introduced as a sharp-tongued boho cynic, has become a hopeless sap. Celine, meanwhile, has lost some of her youthful idealism; she’s now the more pragmatic of the two. Their banter, the main draw of this gloriously talky franchise, now has an undercurrent of antagonism. If Sunrise was about the euphoria of instant attraction, and Sunset was about the bittersweet allure of reigniting the flame, Midnight is about the tough, exasperating business of keeping a relationship alive. Interrogating the romantic notions of its predecessors, the film dares to ask what happens when the thrill of finding a soul mate wears off, and what’s left are the complications—of work, of middle age, of parenthood. In other words, those expecting another enchanted evening should brace for the epic showdown in Midnight’s thorny second half.
The highlight here is still the heady chatter. No one writes dialogue—witty, lightly philosophical, load-bearing but almost imperceptibly so—like this collaborating trio. Though there’s still a signature, scenic stroll, the movie spreads its pages upon pages of talk across a longer timeframe. One digressive chat, captured in a marathon-length master shot, occurs entirely in the front seat of an automobile; it’s a reminder of how much Linklater has in common with the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. (Midnight bears more than a passing resemblance to Certified Copy, especially during a sublime role-playing scene.) There’s also an Eric Rohmer-style wine-and-dine sequence, which for once has Jesse and Celine interacting with other characters—though, to be fair, their dinner-mates are essentially just older and younger versions of themselves. Here, in exchanges that flirt every so slightly with schematism, Linklater and his actors put the past and the present in communion.
Midnight has been called the highpoint of the series, which is both accurate and sort of beside the point. Though possessed of their own, unique merits, the films work best in concert, symbiotically feeding off of each other. Just as this latest entry draws much of its power from its relationship to Sunrise and Sunset, those previous chapters gain new poignancy in retrospective. At its most hopeful, Before Midnight posits nostalgia as a replenishing force, with memories of better times compensating for the rockiness of the here and now. What could be more romantic, the film asks, than loving someone for who they were, who they are, and who they could still become? 2022 can’t arrive soon enough.,98104/ Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight Review: Richard Linklater's Fateful Lovers Are Back>

LA Weekly
23 May 2013 | by Stephanie Zacharek

Before Midnight Review: Richard Linklater's Fateful Lovers Are Back

"Before Midnight — visually stunning, in a late-summer way — is more vital and cutting than another recent marriage picture, Michael Haneke's old-folks-together death march Amour; it has none of Amour's's tasteful restraint, and in the end, it says more about the nature of long-term love.

The unhappiness Céline and Jesse are working through isn't what love becomes; it's part of what it is. For now, in the place where our hopes and dreams for fictional characters nestle uncomfortably next to our own disappointments, they're still together. That's more than good enough." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Love hurts for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy>

20 May 2013 | by Donna Freydkin

""I'm not scared of making my character unlikable, and Ethan is the same," Delpy says.

Her Celine is impetuous and at times irrational. Hawke's Jesse is self-absorbed and pedantic. And yet, together they create on-screen marital magic. Given the ardent, intricate wordplay between the two, it would be easy, but wrong, to simply think they're playing themselves. They're not. And it's a disservice to the intricate script to think that anything that's said is off the cuff. In fact, every single wanton, mean, loving, conflicted word Celine and Jesse utter is scripted.

Cautions Hawke: "This is not a portrait of me. It's their dynamic. Every couple has a dynamic."

The key to their appeal, Linklater says, is that they're almost like the rest of us." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Third time is the charm for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in 'Before Midnight'>

NY Daily News
19 May 2013 | by JOE NEUMAIER

Third time is the charm for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in 'Before Midnight'

"Most movie romances barely capture even the most fleeting feelings of love between people. Which is one reason why director Richard Linklater’s Jesse & Celine trilogy — “Before Sunrise” (1995), “Before Sunset” (2004) and, now, “Before Midnight” — stands apart.

The plot of “Sunrise” represented an experience everyone wanted to have, as Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train to Vienna, then spend the night walking, talking and discovering they’re soul mates. “Sunset” was one everyone could have: meeting an ex and reigniting a spark. And “Midnight” is a story many of the films’ fans are having, involving kids, work and evolving expectations." Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jim Jarmusch Explains His Vampire Film, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive;’ See Photos and Clips> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - RollingStone gives 'Before Midnight' 4 stars>

May 23, 2013, Peter Travers

It's got the talk – lovers having at each other until they get the final word. It's got the sex – the cozy familiarity of sensual nuzzling until things turn fierce and carnal. Whatever a modern love story is, Before Midnight takes it to the next level. It's damn near perfect. But it's also stealthy about playing its hand. What's modern about two lovers, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who aren't teenagers – or even vampires? And sun-baked Greece, where the film is set, is ancient. Yet director Richard Linklater, who wrote the script with the actors, infuses the movie with the ardent, awkward freshness of a first kiss. What happens? Nothing. And everything. The dialogue sings, then singes. Even the laughs leave bruises. You might duck. I'm not him. She's not me. But, come on. Together, in all their tangled intimacy, Jesse and Celine are us.

Of course, this couple have a history. We catch up with them every nine years in an exotic locale (Austria, France, Greece). Before Midnight is the third movie, after 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset, in which Jesse and Celine verbalize volcanically about their relationship. If we're lucky, they'll never stop. The Before trilogy is the defining movie love story of a generation. And Before Midnight, flush with humor, heartbreak and ravishing romance, is the best so far.

Newcomers to the party should know that the American slacker and the Paris beauty first connected in their twenties as strangers on a train to Vienna. Jesse is over the moon. Celine thinks he only wants "to meet a French girl on a train, fuck her, never see her again and have a great story to tell."

Jump ahead nine years, and Jesse, with a wife and son home in the U.S., has turned that great story into a bestseller. Now Jesse is in Paris on a book tour. Celine, an environmental activist, engineers a reunion to see if these thirtysomethings still have unresolved feelings to work out. You bet they do.

Before Midnight brings us into the here and now for Celine and the divorced Jesse. In their forties, with young twin daughters, they live in Paris. But they haven't married. In Greece on vacation, Jesse squirms with guilt about having to jet his son, Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), home to his mother. En route from the airport, Jesse and Celine can't deny the squeeze of age and responsibility. Says Celine, "If we were meeting for the first time today . . .

It's a slippery slope, and Before Midnight is full of them, prompting hilarious and cutting verbal fastballs. At a farewell dinner with other couples, they open fire on love in the digital age. This leads to a superbly realized battle in a hotel suite on their final night in Greece.

From first scene to last, Hawke and Delpy shine brilliantly, wearing their roles like second skins. And Linklater skillfully tracks the emotions roiling in the space between their sparring words. Though the award-caliber screenplay captures the fever and fleetingness of love, it is also indelibly generous toward human failings even when the comic darts draw blood. Heads up, Oscar, this one's a keeper. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' stars Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke -- plus director Richard Linklater -- on love, marriage and sticking to the script>

DailyNews LA
24 May, 2013 | By Rob Lowman

It's been nearly two decades since Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and director Richard Linklater first worked together on the 1995 film "Before Sunrise," the romantic story of two young twentysomethings -- Celine and Jesse -- who spend a night walking around Vienna, falling for each other but never knowing if they will ever see each other again.
The tale picks up in 2004 with "Before Sunset" where the two -- now thirtysomethings -- run into each other in Paris. Both are in unhappy relationships, with Jesse only staying married for his son's sake. The spark between them is still evident, though, but the film ends with uncertainty about their future.

With "Before Midnight," which opened Friday to mostly glowing reviews, we find Celine and Jesse, now in their early 40s, having left their respective spouses, married and with twin daughters. Set in Greece, the story is no longer about what will happen before someone has to catch a train or a plane but the challenge of keeping romance alive from moment to moment.

Uncertainty was part of the making of "Before Midnight," too. Fans of the first two films have been asking Delpy, Hawke and Linklater about a sequel for years, and although they expressed openness to the project, they were never sure whether one would come together. Even last July when talking with Delpy about her film "2 Days in New York," the actress would only say she was involved in something but was waiting to see if it was real.
"I technically lied. But I am a woman, I'm supposed to do that stuff," she jokes. "I still wasn't sure what we were doing until the last week of the shoot."

Linklater, who I had talked to earlier in that year, hadn't been sure either. He says the financing only came through about a year ago, and Hawke adds that they didn't know if the film would work in Greece, if the money was real and if they could come up with a worthy script.

As we sat around a small table in a Beverly Hills hotel recently, the three of them exhibit an easy familiarity. Throw out a question, and it gets bounced around like a ping-pong ball. That sort of thing may have happened when the trio were debating ideas about the film, but contrary to what some may think, the "Before" movies, the trio stresses, are not improvised but tightly scripted.

When the subject is raised, the three film buffs then start to debate movies where improvisation may have worked.

"I'm just trying to imagine that because my mind doesn't work like that," Linklater explains.

"The bottom line is our film is not improvised," Delpy adds. "This was written to the bone, and we rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed until we knew exactly what we needed to do on camera."

Hawke then tells the story of Dennis Hopper and Francis Ford Coppola working on "Apocalypse Now" when the actor told the director he was trying to forget his lines to get into the roles. Coppola is supposed to have responded, "Yes, but you have to learn them first and then forget them."

"That's what we try to do," says Hawke, who like his character Jesse, is a novelist. "Hopefully in that discipline, your subconscious can start to work, and then some magic can happen."

In "Before Midnight" there is a long opening scene -- some 14 pages of dialog -- in which Celine and Jesse are driving in a car with their two children in the backseat. The sequence was demanding for a number of reasons. First off, it had to update the audience on the couple's situation without sounding talky or forced while hinting at problems brought on by the new realities of marriage and parenthood.
Then there were technical worries -- from the right light as they filmed on a Greek highway to the children not peeking when they were supposed to be asleep. Everything was precisely scripted, including the overlaps in dialog, says Delpy.

And since there were no cuts in the sequence, which would cause them to start over, Hawke says it was a tense situation. "I was nervously counting down the lines in my head."

The big change in "Before Midnight" from the first two movies is that the trio decided not to make it about an encounter.

"We couldn't do that again," Hawke says.

Instead, they decided to concentrate on a domestic theme.

One idea, says the 42-year-old actor who has four children -- two with his former wife, actress Uma Thurman, and two with his current wife, Ryan Hawke -- was to follow each of the characters around separately until they met before midnight, which is where the title originally came from. That concept was ultimately rejected.

They didn't want to lose the romantic element of the film, but Hawke says pursuing that thread helped them conceive of what Celine's and Jesse's lives were like.

"You can't even write a line of the screenplay unless you have that worked out first," says Delpy, 43, who has become a mother since the last "Before" film.

Linklater, 52 and already a father when the first film was made, says their job was to push each other.

"We really tied to dig and find the truest possible voice within us," Delpy says, "and what resonated with us."

While it might seem that Delpy would write mostly for Celine and Hawke for Jesse with Linklater floating somewhere in the middle, the three say that isn't the case.

"We write for everybody," Delpy says.

"You know, sometimes Julie will say something to me at dinner, and I wake up the next day and think Jesse should say that," Hawke says. "Then we might say that's a good idea but maybe we should make it a joke or find something funny, but then see there is something is deeper there."

The film is roughly three acts, with the second revolving around before and during a dinner scene, where couples of varying ages discuss their relationships and outlooks on love.

"I always write dinner scenes in my films," says Delpy, laughing.

The third act takes place in a hotel room where Celine and Jesse have gone off to spend an evening without the kids. Instead of unwinding, their frustrations and fears come to the fore.

The 30-minute sequence is like a mini-film, and Linklater says editing it was challenging because the actors gave him so many reactions.

"Most movie arguments don't have the luxury of the time we invested in that scene," Linklater notes. "Real-life arguments usually start a long time before and then bubble a bubble up to a final eruption."

While Delpy, Hawke and Linklater address the difficult aspects of love and maintaining it in a long-term relationship in "Before Midnight," the film never loses its love-story component. It may not be a happy romantic comedy, but neither is it a downer.

"'Before Sunrise' is romantic, and this film is about what romanticism means in your early 40s," Hawke says.

Delpy then notes she's read that people who get married after 40 are usually the happiest.

The actress says that becoming a mother has also given her a different perspective since the last film. (She has a 4-year-old son with her partner, composer Marc Streitenfeld.)

"Even though my situation is very, very different than Celine's, the feeling of being a mother really fed the character. You change a lot when you become a mother. I think I've changed -- quite a lot. It's hard being a mother, right?" she asks, looking at Hawke.

"I don't know," he deadpans, "I've never been a mother." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' L.A. Premiere: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy Celebrate 18 Years Together (PHOTOS)>

Moviefone | By Dana Taddeo

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have been together for 18 years -- well, on-screen that is.

The stars of Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy stepped out last night to celebrate the premiere of "Before Midnight," the conclusion to the drama- and romance-filled series, in L.A.

Delpy looked radiant in a red, lace-embroidered dress, accessorized with matching red lips, while Hawke wore a classic navy suit and button-down shirt.

As mentioned, "Before Midnight" is the final installment of writer-directer Linklater's story about Celine (Delpy) and Jesse (Hawke), two strangers who met, and fell in love, on a train to Vienna almost two decades ago in the film "Before Sunrise." The sequel to "Sunrise," "Before Sunset," caught back up with Jesse and Celine nine years later in Paris, after Jesse had written a book about their encounter. In "Before Midnight," we find the couple in their early 40s, in Greece, taking on the hurdles of marriage and parenthood.

Hawke and Delpy not only star in the movie, they also co-wrote it with Linklater. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - One Couple, Nearly 20 Years, All 'Before Midnight'>

19 May 2013 | NPR STAFF

One Couple, Nearly 20 Years, All 'Before Midnight'

"Director Richard Linklater says there's a kind of romance to that, too. He says there's optimism in the connection they still have and hope in how they continue to make each other laugh. But Linklater says it wasn't an easy task.

"It was tougher to go into the domestic beast, you know, nine years in, to them being together constantly, and find something within that that was still very interesting, hopefully, to watch," he tells Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition.

The challenges — and rewards — for the actors are found in the moments of silence and "non-acting."" Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - New Photos & Director's Statement From Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive'>

May 20, 2013 | Oliver Lyttelton

"The last film to be unveiled in competition at Cannes this year is also one of the most anticipated: Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive." A last-minute addition to the competition (presumably the print will still be wet, as it were, hence its late screening), it sees the idiosyncratic indie helmer assemble a superb cast including Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin, for a film that promises to be that rarest of things; a fresh take on the vampire movie.

We're still a few days away from the screening, but a host of enticing new photos from the film have arrived, along with an official synopsis and a director's statement from Jarmusch that lets us know what to expect. And we can't wait. Check them out below, and keep your eyes peeled for our review of "Only Lovers Left Alive" when it screens on the Croisette next Saturday.

Synopsis: Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?

Director's Statement: Only Lover Left Alive is an unconventional love story between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. (My script was partially inspired by the last book published by Mark Twain: The Diaries of Adam and Eve -- though no direct reference to the book is made other than the character’s names.) These two lovers are archetypal outsiders, classic bohemians, extremely intelligent and sophisticated -- yet still in full possession of their animal instincts. They have traveled the world and experienced many remarkable things, always inhabiting the shadowed margins of society. And, like their own love story, their particular perspective on human history spans centuries -- because they happen to be vampires.

But this is not your usual vampire story. Set in the very distinct cities of Detroit and Tangier, and taking place almost entirely at night, Adam and Eve must have human blood to survive. But they now live in the world of the 21st century where biting the neck of a stranger would be reckless and regressive -- for survival, they must be certain the blood that sustains them is pure and free of disease or contamination. And, almost like shadows, they have learned long ago to deftly avoid the attention of any authorities. For our fi lm, the vampire is a resonant metaphor -- a way to frame the deeper intentions of the story. This is a love story, but also the story of two exceptional outsiders who, given their unusual circumstances, have a vast overview of human and natural history, including stunning achievements and tragic and brutal failures. Adam and Eve are themselves metaphors for the present state of human life -- they are fragile and endangered, susceptible to natural forces, and to the shortsighted behavior of those in power." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy talk to Juju Chang on ABC Nightline>
May 17, 2013 | by Juju Chang

Imagine growing older in the company of the ever-so-hip and handsome Ethan Hawke and the luminous Julie Delpy.
Ardent fans watched their characters fall in love in Vienna in their 20s in the 1995 romantic drama, “Before Sunrise,” and reunite with passion tinged with regret in their 30s in “Before Sunset” (2004). Now, as the characters near middle age, fans witness them wrestle with the cold realities of happily ever after in “Before Midnight.”
These movies have become underground classics, attracting legions of fans in part because they feel authentic.
In an interview with “Nightline,” Hawke and Delpy described what it has been like for them to experience the journey of two star-crossed lovers over the course of the trilogy.
“We tried to get to a place with Celine and Jesse in those three films … to bring as much truth as possible,” Delpy said. “It’s really just trying to find the right balance of something that rang true. But, at the same time, it’s totally fictional.”
The two were first cast in “Before Sunrise” when they were in their 20s.
“When Julie and I watch the first film, “Before Sunrise,” yeah, we’re young,” Hawke said. “Neither one of us have a wrinkle in the world. But we watch it and I remember how insecure we felt being that age.”

Both are now in their 40s, as are Celine and Jesse in “Before Midnight,” and their lives on-screen and off have deepened.
“Julie and I both feel pretty passionately about this,” Hawke said. “When you start telling young people that being 22 is the best years of your life, it’s really depressing because you’re completely discounting the idea of wisdom, the idea of growth, the idea of maturity, of knowledge.”
“And being happy in your 40s,” added the French actress, Delpy. “Because the truth is, when people ask me, it’s like, ‘Oh, you look back at the films,’ and you are like, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I was so miserable in my 20s.’” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Photos from the NYC Screening of 'Before Midnight' on May the 15th> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Celine and Jesse Discuss the Future in 'Before Midnight'. New clip shows romantic couple's evolution>

14 May 2013 | by JON BLISTEIN

Director Richard Linklater is set to close his beloved Before Sunrise trilogy with the release of Before Midnight, one of the films our very own Peter Travers is looking forward to most this summer.

Out May 24th, the film catches up with Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) nine years after the events of Before Sunset (released back in 2004), and almost two decades since their first meeting on a train bound for Vienna.

The couple is now in their early 40s, living in Greece. In this brand new clip from the film, you can watch Celine and Jesse stroll through town, chiding each other as they discuss what they would and wouldn't want to change about each other and what the next 20 years may hold.

"Sometimes, I don't know, I feel like you're breathing helium and I'm breathing oxygen," Celine says in the charming exchange.

"What do you mean by that?" Jesse responds, not missing a beat with a high-pitched voice and beaming smile. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Check Out a New Clip From 'Before Midnight'>

13 May 2013

Sony Pictures Classics has revealed, via iTunes Movie Trailers, a new clip from Richard Linklater's highly-anticipated Before Midnight and you can check it out in the player below!

Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Midnight is the third installment in Linklater's series that, so far, has included Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. As with the previous film, the third entry is written by Academy Award nominees Linklater, Hawke and Delpy.

In Before Midnight, we meet Celine and Jesse 9 years on. Almost 2 decades have passed since that first meeting on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early 40's in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

Set to hit theaters on May 24, Before Midnight is produced by Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Sara Woodhatch and executive produced by Jacob Pechenik, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, and John Sloss. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight's Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and More to Kick Off Film Society of Lincoln Center's Free Summer Talks>

11 May 2013

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today its FREE Summer Talks series, kicking off next week with BEFORE MIDNIGHT director Richard Linklater, actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke on Thursday, May 16th at 8PM at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center's Amphitheater. Moderated by Film Comment contributor Phillip Lopate, the evening will be free to the public and will include a selection of clips and questions from the audience.

As an extension of the NYFF LIVE talks during the festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will host live, free talks throughout the Summer. The lineup will also include director Sofia Coppola for THE BLING RING on June 10 at 7:30PM, director Jem Cohen for MUSEUM HOURS on Wednesday June 26th at 6:00PM, who will also screen a short film as a way of describing how he came to make MUSEUM HOURS and director Ryan Coogler for FRUITVALE STATION on Thursday July 11th at 6:00PM. The Jem Cohen and Ryan Coogler talks will be moderated by the Film Society of Lincoln Center's, Director of Digital Strategy, Eugene Hernandez.

The following directors will also participate in the Film Society Summer Talks - the date/time to be announced shortly - director Sebastián Silva for CRYSTAL FAIRY in July and in August director David Lowery for AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS and Joe Swanberg for DRINKING BUDDIES. Additional talks will be announced at a later date so stay tuned and visit for more information.

Free tickets will be available at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam) box office on a first-come, first-served basis one hour prior to the conversations. For those unable to attend in person, video from the event will be available online at

Films, Descriptions & Schedule:

Director: Richard Linklater
Nine years after we last saw Celine and Jesse (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke), the couple are together in Greece. Richard Linklater's latest collaboration with Hawke and Delpy picks up the story that began nearly two decades ago in Before Sunrise (1995) and then continued with Before Sunset (2004). In the new film, Before Midnight, Celine and Jesse are now in their 40s and grappling with the past, present and future of their relationship.
*Thursday, May 16: 8PM
Summer Talk with director Richard Linklater, actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. All share in a writing credit for the film also.
Moderator: Film Comment Contributor, Phillip Lopate. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Linklater's 'Before Midnight' Completes Two Decades of Hawke-Delpyism and the S.F. International Film Festival>

10 May 2013 | by Ginger Murray

Happily ever after, as most of us over the age of 20 well know, doesn't exist. Despite this truth or perhaps because of it, most films dearly love that heady pursuit of romantic bliss -- the beginning. Mostly this is fine, as film is a perfect tool for the catharsis of fantasy. But for many a person like myself, we children of messy and neglectful parents, films have also been our teachers. Through their influence and engagement, I have grown up. Which is why the film Before Midnight, the latest of the Before trilogy by Richard Linklater, is such a gift. Delving deep into the story of a middle-aged couple in the midst of marriage, parenthood, and a certain poignant bitterness, It is a much-needed telling of what happens after the shoe is found to fit.

Time, the art and the ache of it, is the central theme in this film -- as it has been in the first two. As we follow Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) step by step through the hours of an evening with only minimal edits, what is created is a sense of being in the film with the characters, a figure involved but just slightly out of frame. Of course, most films employ the fly-on-the-wall effect, but the peculiar pacing of this film and the fact that conversation, and conversation alone, is used as the vehicle for dramatic tension, makes this experience of voyeurism far more intimate.

That is the artfulness of the narrative style, and though used gracefully by Linklater, it is not new. Louis Malle's 1981 My Dinner with Andre also employed conversation as the central dramatic device and ended with no clear resolution.

But that is one film. Linklater has done something far more innovative by creating three films that exist in real time. As the characters have aged, changed, and challenged, so have we. Or at least, those of us who happen to be born around 1970 and have seen the films when they were released.

In 1995, when Before Sunrise arrived in theaters, I was a 20-something, overly earnest would-be artist exploring the great "why" and believing in the miraculous accidents of love. Jesse and Celine then, two strangers on a train who end up spending a long night in Vienna, asked the questions I was asking of myself and the world. But it was a beginning with no grand denouement. They did not have sex. They did not declare undying love. They, in fact, parted with no promise of another meeting. Fini.

Or so we thought. But nine years later there they were again in Before Sunset. Older, perhaps wiser, but definitely knowing the emergence of regret, Jesse and Celine meet again, proving that life is not a series of endless possibilities, not at all an ocean full of fish. Sometimes, those connections we had way back when were definitive. Or maybe we were just in the throes of that early-30s fear, now that we had walked enough on this earth, that we had missed our chance at happiness. The film ends with just a nod towards a possible future. Jesse chooses to miss his plane. But the question remains as the credits roll: Will they or won't they?

They do.

Before Midnight, released another nine years later and screened as part of the 2013 SF International Film Festival, dispenses with exploring potential romance and instead tells the story of what has happened to them since that fateful night all those years ago: marriage, children, exaltations, betrayals, the peculiar agony of love that can only exist when you know far too well the skin and bones and face of a person.

Had their journey been told in a single film it would have been an entirely different animal. For the films are not just the auteur expression of a director but, instead, a collaboration with Hawke and Delpy who as actors and writers have added their own experience of aging, revelation, and time to the telling of this story. Celine is 41, as is Delpy. Me: close enough to it to see its face and raise my eyebrow. So quite perfect then that this film comes out at a time when I have grown weary of the story of finding love.

Rom-coms, once so compelling, now bore me. I have become far more intrigued by how one loves when the mystery dissipates and the drama of the first and second confession has passed. And, like Celine, I find myself fighting to maintain an essential individual self in the midst of a substantial commitment and yet I wonder if it actually requires a battle. "Will he love me or not love me?" is a question easily answered, but the inquiring into the real or imagined dilemma of the swallowed self (ambitions, sexiness, independence), especially as a woman, is one hell of a soul-bender. One worthy of a film and indeed, a long conversation.

Every once in awhile art IS life -- but life made more profound by the association, condensed just enough so that we can pay attention the those vital moments that can so easily become lost in the zigs and zags of existing. It is not necessary to have seen the films upon their release and to follow them over 18 years, as I have done, to be moved by them. And truthfully, one doesn't even need to see the first two films to appreciate the last. It stands on its own. A beautiful ode to the hunger for redemption and the grace of a second chance.

Before Midnight screens tonight at 7 p.m. at the Castro Theater for the last night of the San Francisco International Film Festival. For information and tickets visit Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight closes out SIFF 2013>

9 May 2013 | by Rain Jokinen

The San Francisco International Film Festival comes to an end tonight, and it feels like it just began! So many films, so little time.

Check the calendar, as there’s still a chance to see some good movies today. Or, you can just look back at days past, and lament all the awesome movies you missed. Alas.

It wouldn’t be closing night without a big movie and a big party, and the festival is providing both. At 7PM at the Castro Theater, you can see Before Midnight, the third film in director Richard Linklater’s “Before” series. The previous entries, Before Sunrise, and Before Sunset, both focus on American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Celine (Julie Delpy), as they meet in their early 20′s, and then reconnect almost ten years later.

It’s not a huge spoiler to say that in Before Midnight, we meet up with them again, and we learn the state of their relationship, almost 20 years after they first met. And let’s just say, their relationship is a lot different now.

I would never in a million years recommend seeing this movie if you haven’t seen the first two, because I cannot imagine it being a pleasant experience. As it is, it’s often a very uncomfortable movie to watch, and if you don’t know the past relationship between these characters, (or if you do, and but you never liked them much), I doubt this movie will win you over.

Which makes it an odd choice to close the festival. Too bad they didn’t schedule a showing of the two previous movies to lead up to it. But hopefully, the theater will be filled with nothing but fans, and if YOU are a fan, then get down to the Castro, as director Richard Linklater and star (and co-writer) Julie Delpy are both scheduled to be in attendance.

The closing night party party, which is being held at Ruby Skye, includes dancing, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres, in a setting inspired by the film. As of right now, tickets are still available! Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - 'When I Saw You' to screen at the Houston Palestine Film Fest>

9 May 2013 | by Maureen Clare Murphy

The seventh annual Houston Palestine Film Fest launches at the Museum of Fine Arts on Friday with Annemarie Jacir’s award-winning feature When I Saw You. (Jacir discussed her must-see film with The Electronic Intifada last month).

There are three additional days of screenings over this weekend and the next, at both the museum and the Rice Media Center, including:

Mahdi Fleifel’s documentary A World Not Ours, described as a “portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein al-Hilweh, in southern Lebanon”
the sci-fi short Nation Estate by Larissa Sansour, which “explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood”

Habibi by Susan Youssef, a modern take on the classic tale Majnun Layla set in Gaza and
Detroit Unleaded, the feature-length debut by Rola Nashef, “a spirited comedy-drama set in a small, family-owned Detroit gas station”

Read short reviews of the film selections by Hadeel Assali, founder of the Houston festival, who notes: “We are seeing a real renaissance in Palestinian and Arab cinema, and especially exciting is the fact that Arab women are leading the way (all but one film are directed by women).”

Nakba anniversary screening in Toronto

The annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival doesn’t run until 28 September but the festival will be holding a special screening of Ahmad Damen’s The Red Stone on 15 May to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and forced dispossession of Palestine.

The festival website describes The Red Stone:

Taking its title from the characteristic red stone with which many of Jerusalem’s historic buildings are built, Ahmad Damen’s investigative documentary focuses on Palestinian areas of west Jerusalem that were depopulated in 1948.
“While tracking the architectural and family histories of these splendid properties, The Red Stone introduces the buildings’ current occupants, the Israeli real estate companies trading in their “exotic” appearances, and the original owners mant of whom are now barred from their homes.

For more information, visit: Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight': Listen to the full soundtrack for the upcoming Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy movie here >

9 May 2013 | by Adam Carlson

Before Midnight, out May 24, will finally show the culmination of the years-long attraction between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) that started with 1995′s Before Sunrise and famously only teased an answer in 2004′s Before Sunset.
The film’s 14-song soundtrack by composer Graham Reynolds, who previously worked with director Richard Linklater on Bernie and A Scanner Darkly, is also the first score for the franchise, and features songs by Haris Alexiou and Nikos Kalogeropoulos.
The result is a mix of piano, upright bass, acoustic guitar, and vibraphone — and the resulting sounds are alternately familiar and adventurous, and often both.
The Before Midnight soundtrack will be available on May 21 through iTunes, but you can stream it in its entirety exclusively below: Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Announces Program, Kazan Tribute>

9 May 2013 | by Michelle Salemi

Director-writer Elia Kazan will be honored at the 7th annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival with the screening of his 1963 Oscar-winning drama “America America.” The film, which is loosely based on Kazan’s Greek uncle’s struggle to emigrate from Anatolia to America in 1893, will be shown June 7. Kazan died in 2003.

“We are very excited to screen this epic masterpiece on the 50th anniversary of its first release for a generation that has not had the pleasure of experiencing it in the cinema,” said Ersi Danou, LAGFF creative director and co-founder. “It has been a dream of ours to celebrate Kazan’s work, and this seems to be the right moment.”

This year’s festival runs from June 6 to June 9 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. Opening night will feature Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ period drama, “Meteora,” which debuted at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. It stars “True Blood’s” Theo Alexander as a Greek Orthodox monk and follows his illicit love affair with a Russian Orthodox nun.

Seasoned director Kimon Tsakiris’ documentary “Mitsigan – Hardships and Beauties” will close the festival on June 9. The story follows a modern-day Greek cowboy, Mitsigan, on a journey throughout that region’s farming area, as he meets with old and new friends and comes to the realization that his country will never be the same again.

This year’s fest examines the hardships faced during Greece’s economic downturn and how cinema has become increasingly important in the world scene.

“These filmmakers have responded powerfully with a redefinition of values and principles,” said Aristotle Katopodis, LAGFF director of programming. “They are raising their voices and shedding light on pressing issues, with anger, pathos and even humor.”

More than 30 features, documentaries and short films representing the Greek diaspora in over 11 countries will be shown at this year’s event. Another award-winning film, Thanos Anastopoulos’ thriller “The Daughter” will make its U.S. premiere at the festival, along with Ektoras Lygizos’ critically acclaimed and award-winning drama “Boy Eating the Bird’s Food.” Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Nine More Years On, and Still Talking Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy Discuss ‘Before Midnight’>

8 May 2013 | by DENNIS LIM

The courtship of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), the bright, neurotic, hyperverbal pair who met in Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” (1995) and reunited in “Before Sunset” (2004), unfolded to the sound of ticking clocks — there was always a train or a plane to catch, another life to get back to. Nine more years have passed, and in “Before Midnight” (opening May 24), there are no more looming deadlines, save for the ones built into life itself. The screen romance that defined Generation X is now officially middle-aged.

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While the first two films hinged on brief encounters, a magical one-night stand in Vienna and a long-deferred catch-up session in Paris, the third — set in Greece in the southern Peloponnese — has the much trickier task of picking up with Celine and Jesse, now a couple with young twin girls, in medias res, as they go about the business of living.

Each of the “Before” movies is a window onto a stage of life, sharply attuned to the possibilities and disappointments of one’s 20s, 30s and 40s. But collectively, as with Michael Apted’s “Up” documentaries and François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel films, they have become something larger: a continuing participatory experiment in embodying the passage of time. The long intervals between the films are gaps for projection — each new installment is bittersweet proof that the characters and actors on screen have changed, and we along with them.

“The most unique property of cinema is how it lets you mold time, whether it’s over a long or a very brief period,” Mr. Linklater said on the phone recently. One of the most versatile American filmmakers of his generation, he has also shown a recurring interest in time as cinema’s most distinctive special effect. Many of his films take place over compact periods (“Dazed and Confused,” “Tape”), some in real time (“Before Sunset”) or entirely beyond the bounds of earthly duration (“Waking Life”).

Mr. Hawke and Ms. Delpy share writing credit with Mr. Linklater on “Before Midnight,” as they did on “Before Sunset” (that script earned them an Oscar nomination). On a recent conference call with Dennis Lim — Mr. Linklater was in Austin, Tex., Ms. Delpy in Los Angeles, Mr. Hawke in New York — the three of them discussed the challenges of picking up with Celine and Jesse a third time and the changing meaning of romance. These are excerpts from their conversation.

Q. At what point during the nine-year gap did you get serious about the idea of a third movie?

Julie Delpy It got serious for me basically the last week of the shoot. Before that I was like, what are we doing? No, I’m joking.

Ethan Hawke For years I would go to dinner parties and people would tell me how they thought the third film should go. I think the idea of it has lived since the day we wrapped the second.

Richard Linklater It was a similar trajectory as after the first one — five years of it being maybe a jokey idea, but nothing of any substance. We were on the fence last spring, and someone did the math and said if we shot it in the summer, it would be the same time differential.

Hawke The game-changing event is when we realize the three of us all want to write the same kind of movie and we see the characters in the same place.

Linklater But there’s no way to get there until a lot of time has passed. If this is a sculpture, time is the thing that wears it, that shapes it. That time has to go by.

The prior films are about the first two times Jesse and Celine meet. This one is very different: They’ve now been through a lot.

Hawke The first two films are so much about romantic projection. The third had to be the opposite of that. We couldn’t play that trick again.

Delpy But it couldn’t be totally taken away from that romantic idea — otherwise it’s depressing.

Hawke We couldn’t do “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Linklater Do you guys remember? We had an idea to just show them on a typical day: Someone goes and picks up the kids and it’s only later at night that they have this together moment.

Hawke That was one of the original ideas behind the title. After you read the kids stories and finally have a minute to yourself, that’s right before midnight.

Linklater We all thought that was kind of depressing. Who wants to see that? But that was a good bridge idea to where we ended up. It was a question of finding a balance between domesticity and something that [harks] back to the first two films. That’s why we had the idea to have them on holiday.

So none of you think this film is as romantic as the other two?

Hawke Depends on your definition of romanticism.

Delpy I think this film would be romantic for people who have been together for a long time, but not necessarily for people who have never had a long-term relationship.

Linklater They’re in their 40s, they’re still talking to each other, they still make each other laugh. That’s pretty good! And they still think they want to have sex with each other —

Delpy Even though they don’t.

Linklater The earlier films were about exploring a connection that hadn’t been fully defined. Which is wonderful, but how long can you explore that? The fact that they are still together is pretty romantic. But it’s a different, more hard-earned romance.

What’s it like to pick up with these characters after a long time away?

Linklater I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like Jesse and Celine are alive in some parallel universe at all times.

Hawke I feel that way, too.

Delpy You guys are so New Age.

In the first two films, because Celine and Jesse are getting acquainted, it’s natural for their conversations to be expository. Now they’re a long-term couple, but there’s still a lot about their lives that you need to get across.

Delpy The long opening scene in the car was probably the most challenging thing to write. It had to explain but not be too on the nose, and at the same time plant the seed of what will happen next.

Hawke That was one of the hardest things to deal with: Once people have been together for years, what do they have left to say to each other? That led to the giant dinner scene, which gave us an excuse to have them talking to other people.

Linklater The subtle frustrations come out in a comical way when it’s in a social setting. Celine’s struggles are the subtext of a lot of what she says there.

Delpy When she says Jesse likes bimbos she’s making a joke, but it’s an issue for her. A side of her feels that he wishes he had a bimbo for a wife.

Hawke What she can’t come to grips with is that he does have a bimbo for a wife.

Delpy Thank you, Ethan.

Linklater We’re trying to capture how conversations and arguments actually flow through a day, through a relationship, through a life. The conflicts don’t come up all at once, and they’re not resolved all at once.

Can you talk about the collaborative writing process?

Linklater A lot of the time it’s two of us pushing the other. Before anything ends up in the movie it has fully circulated through our systems, all three of us. Wherever it started — whether it was an observation or something personal or something that happened to a friend — it gets vetted.

Do you find that people often think the films are largely improvised?

Linklater Oh, absolutely. At the end of the day everybody just thinks you made it up, just turned on a camera.

Delpy It’s a compliment, but it’s also a little frustrating. The more painless it looks, the more work there is.

Linklater My editor did an interview yesterday and was asked, “What’s it like editing Rick’s films with all that improvisation?” He was like, there’s not one line improvised.

How autobiographical are these characters?

Hawke Julie and I are using pieces of ourselves to blur the line between the character and the performer, to render it pointless. Julie has helped create Jesse. And I’m really proud of Celine — she’s an awesome female figure in movies.

Delpy An icon of feminism.

Hawke We’re using ourselves and hoping they feel real, and we’re trying to create a scenario that’s bigger than ourselves. You hope that by being oddly specific it becomes universal.

Delpy I don’t feel Celine is exactly me at all — in many ways she’s very different — but I try to have a little bit of truth.

What were the challenges of the long climactic sequence, which is both a love scene and a fight scene?

Linklater When I think of the scene, which is 30 minutes in a hotel room, I think of the structural challenges, the pacing to make that work as its own mini movie.

Delpy There are waves of moments: They fight, then they’re better, then they fight again. You need the arc of an entire film within one scene basically.

Linklater The vibe of the whole thing is trying not to fight for as long as possible, and then when they do it’s subtly pretty vicious. This obviously isn’t their first fight, though we’ve never seen them do it.

Hawke There’s so much we haven’t seen them do.

Linklater And we see it all in this one scene.

Delpy Sometimes I daydream that I would be able to have arguments that are so well formulated and not just like, “Argh, I can’t take it anymore!”

How did you decide on Greece as the setting?

Linklater Once we hit on the holiday idea we ran through the usual places: Italy, Spain, Greece. I did a short sightseeing tour to feel my way through those countries. But the key element was our Greek producer, Christos Konstantakopoulos, who was really supportive and had incredible access.

Hawke There’s also something about this being a movie about time. You look out the window in Greece and it’s like looking at a clock — you see all the history of mankind — and so it’s a very interesting place to put Jesse and Celine.

Linklater To place Jesse and Celine’s issues of the day in a much bigger context, you realize there’s nothing new here, this is completely eternal. Issues go on between partners, men and women, families. I liked the macro thinking of all that with our specific little moment in time.

Rick, you’re about a decade older than Julie and Ethan. Is the age difference a factor?

Linklater When I was doing that first movie I was already in my early 30s and had a 1-year-old daughter. The idea of meeting someone on a train was a bit in my past, but that was more their present — they were both 23 without a lot of attachments — and I liked that dynamic being there inherently.

Delpy Rick has the distance and we are in it. There is this capacity of seeing it from afar.

Linklater There was a bigger gap then than there is now.

Hawke Yeah, the more time goes by, the closer in age we become. Rick, on that first movie you did seem a lot older and wiser, and now, sadly, you don’t.

Linklater I haven’t progressed at all. I’ve gone backward in fact.

You must already be getting a lot of questions about a potential fourth film.

Linklater When we showed this film at Sundance people were calling it the final one in the trilogy. We all looked at one another and were like, “Wait, is this the final one?”

Delpy They’ve had it with us.

Hawke The logical next title would be “After Midnight.” But that’s already a film. And then we could do “After Sunset” and “After Sunrise” and then we’d be dead.

Linklater What Ozu was to seasons — “Early Spring,” “Late Autumn” — we could be to time and sunsets and sunrises and minutes.

Hawke The truth is, we do use our lives for these films in some way. Whatever the next one is, it hasn’t been revealed to us yet. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Full Program for the 60th Sydney Film Festival Announced>

8 May 2013 | by Hugo Ozman

The much anticipated full program for this year's Sydney Film Festival, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, has just been announced. The 190-film program looks filled with wonderful treasures for all film lovers. At first glance, some highlights, besides the ones that I have mentioned previously, include Richard Linklater's Before trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives and David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche. But it will seriously take me a good couple of days to study, research and digest everything that is on offer. So I will now be locking myself in my room with nothing but the program and some Tim Tams, and in the hopefully not too distant future, I will be back sharing with you my first thoughts about this year's Sydney Film Festival.

In the mean time, do check out what the Festival organizers have said in their official announcement:

The 60th Sydney Film Festival program was officially launched today by NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts, The Hon. George Souris.

"The New South Wales Government, through Screen NSW and Destination NSW, is proud to support Sydney Film Festival, a much-loved part of the city's arts and events calendar. Sydney Film Festival continues to provide filmmakers a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work, as well as boosting the State's economy," Minister Souris said.

SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, "Opening with the World Premiere of a landmark Australian film, Ivan Sen's Mystery Road, is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how far both the festival and the Australian film industry have come since 1954. Confident, mature, word-class and compelling - these are words that describe both this wonderful film and this extraordinary festival.

"Our 2013 program has more screenings of more films from more countries in more venues than even our record-breaking 2012 festival. We cover all tastes in film, with the peak best represented by our Official Competition films, made by some exciting new talents as well as masters of the form. Beyond the competition, feature and documentary programs, the 60th Sydney Film Festival features a focus on Austrian cinema, the best of British Noir, a good splattering of horror and some downright weird works that are bound to become future cult classics."

This year SFF is proud to announce the 2013 festival is expanding its program, audience reach and accessibility to Sydneysiders. 38,000 additional seats will go on sale for festivalgoers to experience the best films from across Australia and around the world. Sydney's North Shore residents can now more easily share the excitement with the addition of 23 screenings at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne.

The program features 190 titles (19 world premieres, 5 international premieres, and 122 Australian premieres) from 55 countries at the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, the new screening location at the Hayden Orpheum Cremorne and Art Gallery of NSW. The Apple Store Sydney hosts a selection of free public talks; Grasshopper continues as the official festival lounge, open late for drinks and dinner; and SFFTV@Martin Place returns with a free giant outdoor screen showing a selection of SFF highlights plus fascinating shorts from Film Australia collection at the National Film and Sound Archive.

A few minutes' walk from the Festival's major venues, the Sydney Film Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall will return for a second year, celebrating the theme of Cinema, Reconstructed. Now open until midnight, the Hub offers an expanded line-up of FREE exhibitions, inspiring talks and panels, parties, performances, DJs and screenings throughout the Festival. It is the only place to buy $10 discount tickets for selected screenings, or take part in the new Film Club, daily from 5pm to 6pm, to share your festival experiences.

For the first time ever SFF screens films from Angola (Death Metal Angola, screening in our Sounds on Screen program); Bangladesh (Television, directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and awarded a Muhr AsiaAfrica special mention at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival); North Korea (Comrade Kim Goes Flying); Malawi (William and the Windmill) winner of the Grand Jury Award for Documentary at SXSW; and Saudi Arabia (Wadjda directed by Saudi Arabia's first-ever female filmmaker).

Among the 19 World Premieres at this year's festival are two major Australian feature productions. Opening Night's Mystery Road is an Outback-set murder mystery written, directed and edited by Ivan Sven (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) and starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Ryan Kwanten, Damian Walshe-Howling, Tasma Walton, Zoe Carides and Samara Weaving. Then we welcome the psychological drama Nerve, a Sydney-based production directed by Sebastien Guy, starring a stellar cast of well-known and upcoming Australian actors including Gary Sweet, Christian Clark, Georgina Haig, Craig Hall, Andrea Demetriades, Denise Roberts and Cameron Daddo.

Eight new documentaries and one important restoration will also make their World Premieres at the festival including:

· The World Premiere of William Yang: My Generation, screening in partnership with ABC TV Arts and Vivid Ideas. Yang's trademark candid narration leads us through the wildly creative and decadent era of Sydney in the '70s and '80s, capturing personalities such as Brett Whiteley, Patrick White, Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee.
· In collaboration with Vivid LIVE, SFF will screen The Sunnyboy, which follows Australian musician Jeremy Oxley's 30-year struggle with schizophrenia as he faces up to returning to the stage with his band The Sunnyboys. The screening concludes with the band playing a live gig in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
· Award-winning Australian photographer Murray Frederick's (Salt) journey to capture some of the most elusive and beautiful sights of Greenland's icecaps will captivate you in Nothing on Earth.
· Renowned filmmaker and artist George Gittoes is at the centre of Love City Jalalabad, which charts his journey against all odds to create an artists' collective in western Afghanistan, and to produce films there for the local community with an international cast and crew.
· Big Name No Blanket examines the legacy of Indigenous Australian music legend George Rrurrambu Burarrawanga - the frontman of the groundbreaking Warumpi Band.
· The Unlikely Pilgrims, directed by Kristen Mallyon and John Cherry, follows a group of recovering addicts and a drug counsellor from a New South Wales rehab centre along their journey on the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrims' trail through northern Spain.
· The Crossing, directed by Julian Harvey, follows two young Australians, Clark Carter and Chris Bray, as they attempt the difficult crossing of a remote island in the Arctic.
· Buckskin is directed by Indigenous filmmaker Dylan McDonald. It follows Jack Buckskin's mission to renew a once-extinct language and inspire a new generation to connect with the land and culture of his ancestors.

The digital restoration of the groundbreaking 1981 film Wrong Side of the Road, directed by Ned Lander, is based on the real lives of seminal Australian bands Us Mob and No Fixed Address, and is presented in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. It returns an important story to our cultural history - looking and sounding even better than it did when it was released 30 years ago. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - See All Three Films in Linklater's 'Before' Trilogy>

7 May 2013 | by Elizabeth Stoddard

Before Before Midnight opens in Austin on May 23, Austin Film Society will host a special screening of all three of Richard Linklater's movies: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and the latest installment.

On Sunday, May 19 at Marchesa Hall & Theatre, you can view the trilogy in order. See Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet cute on a train in Before Sunrise (my Lone Star Cinema review), run into each other in a Paris bookstore and have trickier discussions in Before Sunset (my Lone Star Cinema review), and have far more personal talks about life and relationships while ambling around Greece in Before Midnight.

Tickets for either Before Sunrise or Before Sunset are $10 for AFS members or $20 general public. You can watch all three for $20 (AFS members) or $40 (general public) [more ticket info].

Individual tickets aren't available for the May 19 Before Midnight screening; however, there's a separate special event for the May 23 theatrical premiere of Before Midnight at the Violet Crown Cinema [ticket info]. At the VCC, Linklater, Hawke and Delpy will be in attendance and take part in the pre-screening cocktail party.

During the week between these two festivities, AFS and Ain't It Cool News have teamed up with local restaurants and bars offering special deals and themed specials. If you go to one of the spots (the list hasn't been released yet) and tweet a photo of you and your sweetie to @afs1985 using the tag #AFSBeforeMidnight, you're eligible to win an AFS dual LOVE level membership. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 8 Movies To See In Theaters This May>

3 May 2013 | by Travis Leamons

Today marks the start of the summer movie season. And with that is the worry of what to see when Hollywood looks to collect as much as it can from families and those with disposable income. Far be it from us to just emphasize the big blockbusters and call it day, we at Inside Pulse Movies tend to have varying taste palates when it comes to cinema. In the first of four monthly features we will pick the best features to see for a particular month – for the month of May the lucky number is 8. So let’s get started in a big way with the film that starts the summer blockbuster season, Iron Man 3.

Iron Man 3

Back in 2008, Marvel took it upon themselves to slowly construct a film universe for their comic book characters to flourish and connect with one another in. It began with Iron Man, and finally reached its fruition last year with the release of The Avengers. While The Avengers saw the completion of Marvel’s “Phase One,” a product of various Marvel superhero franchises coming together, when push comes to shove, it was an Iron Man-centric film. This wasn’t all that shocking to find, as the man in the hot rod red and gold suit has been their most successful franchise thus far for Marvel, and Robert Downey Jr. is always someone people want to see more of.

So it isn’t surprising that the first film within this finely crafted Marvel film universe to be released after the end of Phase One is the second sequel that got the ball rolling, Iron Man 3. While Iron Man 3 wouldn’t have had problems making hundreds of millions of dollars even without The Avengers, being the first Marvel film out of the gate after such an epic event will help it bring in an even larger audience this time around.

Fans of Iron Man will be happy to see Stark’s arch-nemesis Mandarin in the latest installment, as well as the introduction of Extremis. Those who aren’t familiar with those elements of Iron Man’s world should still be excited, as they both mean lots of good things for the franchise depending on how they’re handled. Speaking of, Shane Black (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang) is now the one handling directing duties (and it’s only his second directing effort!), and this is something all Iron Man fans should be happy about.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? This is a rather moot point, as I don’t think there’s anyone out there debating as to whether or not they should hold off for home video when it comes to this one. But if you are on the fence, when it all comes down to it, there’s really no better way to kick off the summer in blockbuster fashion this year than with what will easily be one of the highest grossing films of 2013. (Brendan Campbell)

The Iceman

No, the film is not a spin-off from Top Gun. If it was, Val Kilmer would be relevant to theater audiences once again (his last major role was the villain Dieter Von Cunth in MacGruber). The Iceman is a docudrama about contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), a mob hit man who had murdered more than 100 men before his eventual apprehension. And during that stretch he still maintained a loving family man relationship in which neither his wife nor daughters knew of his “killer” job.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? Michael Shannon is slowly becoming one of those actors that makes me plunk down my money every time he’s on a screen. Why? Because he keeps taking great roles in unique films and turning it into some form of awesome. So when he plays a hit man who had a double life as a family man during the best time to be a criminal in the Northeast, with a stellar supporting cast to boot (including Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans), I get intrigued. (Scott Sawitz)

The Great Gatsby

In what seems like another in an endless amount of big-screen adaptations of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic (actually the last one was in the ‘70s starring Robert Redford – the adaptation was deemed by certain critics as “The Great Gasbag”) leave it to Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann to be ambitious in his attempt to bring the roaring 1920s and all the glitz and glamour that went along with it. With a talented ensemble, leading with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, and rounding it out with Isla Fisher, the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man (that’s Tobey Maguire for those who can’t remember his name) and Joel Edgerton, another Aussie that is well on his way to joining the other standout stars from the Outback, and presented in 3-D, The Great Gatsby looks to buck the trend when it comes to period pieces.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? Baz Luhrmann may have had a misfire when he tried to go for the sweeping Australian western epic, Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, I think he’ll be back to his Moulin Rouge! ways with The Great Gatsby. What intrigues me most is how Baz Luhrmann will utilize 3-D. We’ve yet to see a period drama that has been presented in such a way. Also intriguing is the selection of music (the soundtrack was overseen by Jay-Z. Yes, Mr. Beyonce). Having already sampled some of the tracks, Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” is a standout, it will be interesting to see where the songs are placed in the feature. DiCaprio will probably once again deliver a strong performance as will Mulligan. But definitely pay attention to Joel Edgerton. Here’s an actor that is on the precipe of getting to that next level. My only fear is that it will be swallowed up by the likes of Iron Man 3 and the Star Trek sequel. (Travis Leamons)

Star Trek Into Darkness

And what about that sequel? With the title like Star Trek Into Darkness you just know the ante has been upped this time around. With the principal cast and J.J. Abrams on board, the sequel to the 2009 blockbuster hit looks to be a little more moodier with a villain (Benedict Cumberbatch) that the women just swoon over. Sure, purists will scoff that this isn’t the Star Trek they remembered with phasers set to stun (if you want that, just stick with the great parody Galaxy Quest), but the landscape of science-fiction has gotten to a point where it’s difficult to be just science-fiction. It’s usually just a small element to a bigger piece.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? The one thing I’ve loved about J.J Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek has been how he’s re-imagined it. This isn’t an action-oriented film cobbled onto science fiction. It’s a straight up action film set in space, nothing more, and it’s made the entire franchise much more accessible. It’s a chance for the story to breathe organically as opposed to being shunted into just being an adaptation of the original series for fans only. (SS)

Stories We Tell

For all the platitudes that have beget Sofia Coppola following the success she had with films like The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, she’ll always be seen as the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola foremost as well as the scapegoat for The Godfather Part III. She also seems to supersede the work of other directors of a female persuasion. That would include Sarah Polley who has transitioned from starring in the likes of Doug Liman’s Go to write and direct such features as Away We Go and Take This Waltz. Having enjoyed the former and going half-and-half on the latter, I will admit she has a style similar to the likes of Woody Allen and Atom Egoyan. However her latest, Stories We Tell, has her become a documentarian as she chronicles her own family, including the revelation that her father isn’t her biological father. Don’t worry, this isn’t as much a spoiler as it is a catalyst for Polley’s desire to again focus on relationships. Only this time the focus is her family.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? They often say truth is stranger than fiction, and I can only imagine the brilliance Sarah Polley weaves while unraveling her own family tree. As secrets come to fruition, Polley’s Stories We Tell should be one of the preeminent documentaries of the summer, if not the year. (TL)

Before Midnight

Quentin Tarantino may claim Dazed and Confused as one of his favorite films of all-time (top 10 even), but Richard Linklater’s greatest accomplishment in film is what he’s managed to do with two, now three films about the evolution of a relationship between a man and a woman. Beginning in 1995 with Before Sunrise and continuing every nine years with another sequel (Before Sunset in 2004 and Before Midnight this year), Linklater has made the fictional equivalent to what Michael Apted has accomplished with the Up Series, a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of 14 British children since 1964, when they were seven years old.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? Can you make perhaps the best trilogy of all-time and have 90% of people never see/hear of it? That’s what Richard Linklater could do with Before Midnight, the second sequel to Before Sunrise. It’s about the tale of a couple (Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy) as they progress through life and how we tend to view romantic love. Before Sunrise was about the youthful, more romantic version of love … before the world jades us. Before Sunset was about the more pragmatic view of love you take in your 30s, when the world makes you realize that the reason why they don’t show you a couple six months after the big, heart pounding moment is because it probably didn’t end well. Which is why Before Midnight fascinates me and why it’s my most anticipated film of 2013: What do Linklater, Delpy and Hawke have to say about love one more time? (SS)

Fast & Furious 6

It’s hard to believe that the Fast and Furious franchise has been around for 12 years now. That’s more a statement to make us all feel old rather than a knock against the series itself. The first film was sold as a popcorn movie about the underground subculture of fast cars, and it has since grown into an extremely popular franchise filled with faster cars and muscle-bound men. After the first movie, Vin Diesel decided to focus on other films, whereas Paul Walker stayed on board. Walker backed out of the third film (the bastard stepchild of the franchise known as Tokyo Drift) which Diesel made an extremely brief cameo in, until both finally returned to bring the band back together in the fourth installment in 2009.

And it was here that the franchise really caught traction, as it planted seeds for an ongoing story that led into Fast Five – the most successful film in the franchise thus far. Fast Five not only added Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to the mix, which is always a good thing, but it also took a page from other successful movie franchises and left a snippet of a cliffhanger/teaser in the credits for the inevitable sequel.

That sequel is Fast and Furious 6, and it’s definitely shaping up to be some of the most fun you’ll have at the movies in the month of May. With the entire crew returning – including someone thought dead and gone – fans should be ready for more of the same high-octane action scenes, totally over-the-top car chases, and lots of muscle flexing.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? Against the usual Hollywood rules, this is a franchise that has only been getting more entertaining the longer it goes, and with Fast and Furious 7 already in early pre-production stage (with the plan to release it July of next year), there’s no sign of that changing any time soon. (BC)

The Kings of Summer

Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t know this movie existed, but once I saw the original teaser then the theatrical trailer I was hooked; maybe because I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age movie. The Kings of Summer is definitely a mid-level release that will act as counterprogramming against the bigger movies of the summer. Without a major star, instead relying on unknowns for the lead roles and rounding them out with familiar faces from TV like Parks & Recreation’s Nick Offerman and Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally, The Kings of Summer will look to carve out a niche in the summer slate by trying to appeal to the mid-to-late teens that are looking to break free from the confines of bad comedies and PG-13 scarefests.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See It? It’s too early to say that The Kings of Summer will be the second coming of Stand By Me, but I’m confident that it will reach its intended audience. Maybe it’s all wishful thinking on my part, but coming-of-age movies are as relevant now as ever. And as the wise philosopher Ferris Buller once put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around every once and a while, you could miss it.” So do yourself a favor. Drop the videogame controller, and trade in one air-conditioned room for another (maybe with a tub of popcorn and a cold soda) and become a king this summer. (TL) Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Honoring Palestinian history: filmmaker Annemarie Jacir on 'When I Saw You'>

3 May 2013 | by Maureen Clare Murphy

When I Saw You, the second feature film by leading Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir (Salt of this Sea), centers on an 11-year-old boy who has been exiled to Jordan along with his mother in the wake of the 1967 War and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Rejecting the situation, young Tarek sets off from the refugee camp back to Palestine on his own, but is picked up and taken in by a group of fedayeen — the young, idealist fighters who were ready to sacrifice their lives to liberate Palestine in the ’60s and ’70s.

When I Saw You was screened during the sold-out opening night of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival earlier this month, where Jacir was present. I sat down with the director, who told me that she made a hopeful film despite her deep depression, how she put her actors through military training, and described the lengthy search to find the young star of her film. The following transcript was edited for length.

Maureen Clare Murphy: Let’s start with the particular moment in history in which your film is set, in the wake of the second mass expulsion of Palestinians, when the Palestinian armed liberation movement was on the ascendance. What compelled you to tell a story about this very particular moment in Palestinian history?

Annemarie Jacir: I wanted to do something about this period that is so key to our history, but I haven’t seen a lot of fiction work about — all the hopefulness that surrounded that period, when Palestinians felt they had more agency in their own lives, that they could do something. The feda’i [fedayeen], they were people who were volunteering, they were people who thought this was a possibility. Though it was after the Naksa [the 1967 occupation and expulsion] and the trauma of that, there was still this feeling of hope.

Tarek is not politicized — he just wants to get back home. In the refugee camp, they’ve recorded their names, they’re waiting, they believe something eventually will work out and those people will go home. Of course we know today [the refugees are] still in the camps. But Tarek moves beyond that. He won’t wait, it doesn’t make sense to him. So he rejects it, and refuses to be a refugee. And at some point the story is about him moving beyond the feda’i, too. It’s a romantic vision of the group and it’s from Tarek’s point of view, but at the same time we get a sense of the tension, this inner conflict and contradiction developing … we know later some of those groups will go more left, some will go more right, things will change. Tarek doesn’t get caught up in any of that … he stays clear on his goal.

For me, it’s maybe a question I have for that generation: what happened? Why didn’t they stay like Tarek?

MCM: I’m struck by how your film, similar to Elia Suleiman’s The Time that Remains, pays homage to a previous generation of Palestinians. So I wonder if this is a response to the current political stagnation, that you wanted to go back to a more innocent time in Palestinian history, or a more hopeful time?

AJ: I do want to pay homage to them [the feda’i]. The film refers to specific Palestinian films from that time period, photographs and even writings. And I didn’t want to shy away from being romantic about it, too. I have questions for them, but I also really respect what they were doing. They were young, idealistic people that dreamed of a better world. And they were not just Palestinians, they were from other parts of the Arab world, they were from Europe, they were from China, they were from all over the place — it was an international movement. And why not as Palestinian filmmakers be romantic about that? Some people say, how can you be romantic about these fighters? But why do they accept being romantic about Che Guevara? When it’s about him it’s ok, but when it’s about our guys, it’s not OK.

Saleh Bakri (right) co-stars as a freedom fighter in When I Saw You.
MCM: This might be the first film that I’ve seen that had a military trainer in the credits.

AJ: Did you notice Leila Khaled in the credits?

MCM: That did not escape my attention. Was there any tension between wanting to be authentic to that experience but not wanting to constrain your story?

AJ: Research was so key, especially since I didn’t live that period. So there’s all the visual research we did and then [the actors] had to know how to hold Kalashnikovs. So I made them go through military training before we shot. There’s nothing in the film that wasn’t selected and thought about and discussed in terms of art, costume, everything. But at the same time, it’s a fiction film, it’s not a documentary. The film begins in 1967, we don’t see them [the refugees] leaving their village and on the road. It’s not a documentary to explain what’s happening politically or historically.

MCM: Palestine is often represented as the fertile motherland but in your film you have the absent father figure who is the metaphor for Palestine, the lost homeland. And it’s Tarek and his mother who have agency. Were you consciously upending gendered representations of Palestine?

AJ: I can’t say it was conscious but that’s true. Also in terms of gender, I am aware of the fact that women were much more active during that period — the men and women training together, you wouldn’t find that today. Women have been really marginalized and left out of the Palestinian political process and they weren’t at that point, they were part of it.

MCM: Both of your feature films seem to have return at the heart. When you were filming your first feature, Salt of this Sea, you were banned by Israel from entering Palestine. How does this constrain you as a filmmaker, and did the fact that you weren’t able to film in Palestine affect your artistic decision-making?

AJ: Absolutely. When I Saw You came after I was denied entry and I was really depressed. When I made Salt of this Sea, which is about the reality of Palestine today — I wasn’t depressed when I made it, but it’s a depressing reality. And this film was the opposite. I was in deep depression for at least a year and I was trying to figure out a way to do something. I found myself in the position of most Palestinians in the world, who cannot get to Palestine, which is 75 percent of us. I always had the privilege to go back and forth before. So suddenly I was standing there like Tarek, looking at Palestine [from Jordan].

The first time I was denied entry and I was in Europe, I was editing, doing post-production of Salt of this Sea. It was really hard, but it really hit me when I came to Jordan and I was even closer to Palestine. So I wanted to do something positive with it, and this hopeful character Tarek came out of that. He keeps getting kicked down and he just pops up again and again.

When I wrote When I Saw You, it was before all the Arab revolutions, and I think I was looking for a break, the situation had to change. But think about it now, I think everybody in the Arab world was looking to do something — I did it the way I knew how to do it, which is through film. Other people went down to the streets to protest. I think it’s all related. Something had to break and people were looking to do that in their own way.

Mahmoud Asfa and Ruba Blal as Tarek and Ghaydaa.
MCM: The performances of Tarek and Ghaydaa were really brilliant, and it’s the mother and the son who really carry the story. How did you find your Tarek?

AJ: We did a huge casting search and saw about 200 kids. We searched all over Jordan in refugee camps, schools, community centers, drama classes, and by word of mouth. And then I met him. Mahmoud Asfa’s from Irbid refugee camp in northern Jordan. And from the beginning [Mahmoud] was fantastic. He had these beautiful, amazing eyes — his eyes are so sad when he’s not smiling, they’re completely heartbreaking. And when he smiles, he’s like the sun — he’s incredible.

And he’s so different than other boys. I wrote a character that isn’t really like kids today at all. He’s not self-conscious; he’s really open. And boys, I discovered, are already self-conscious at that age. They’re trying to be cool, they’re trying to be grown up. And it was [Mahmoud’s] first time acting. We worked together for about four or five months before shooting, just improvising with him, doing all kinds of acting exercises and techniques with him.

Ruba Blal, who plays the mother, I had seen her act before. In Tawfik Abu Wael’s film Atash, if you remember, she’s the daughter who’s sort of locked up. I never forgot her performance, so she was in my mind as someone who I wanted to work with. But I had to find Tarek first because he really carries the film. So once I cast him, I brought them together to see how they clicked, and they completely clicked, and she was really great.

MCM: In the beginning scenes especially, there’s a huge number of extras and you create a whole refugee camp. So how was that experience? How did you pull that off?

AJ: Yeah, we built that. The budget was half of what we needed and I was really nervous because it’s a period piece, so if the budget is low and it looks cheap, that’s not good. In all my other films I used real locations; this was the first film that I actually built a set.

MCM: There’s one scene where man in the refugee camp just looks at Ghaydaa, the mother, and you know he’s telling her where her runaway son Tarek is. That was just brilliant in itself. So how did you bring together this whole community of people?

AJ: It’s probably the first film where worked with so many extras, too. That guy, because his face was so important, though he doesn’t have any speaking lines, that was somebody we cast. I saw a lot of actors for that. And the other extras were a mix of people from around the villages of the area where we were shooting, or people who heard about the film and wanted to participate in some way.

In the food line [scene in the refugee camp] when [Tarek] gets served the mulukhiya [a stew] and he doesn’t want to eat it because it’s slimy, there’s a woman in front of him, a woman in her seventies. She got so caught up in the shooting, we were doing that shot over and over again — and I really noticed her because she was so unlike the other extras. It turned out that she grew up in one of the camps in Jordan and she really imagined she was in line getting food.

The guys who played the fighters, I cast them because they looked good, they had long hair, they looked the part. And later I found out that a lot of them were children of the fighters.

MCM: Music plays a prominent role in your film, and there is a sublime scene in which the fedayeen are sitting around a fire and a young woman fighter begins singing a poem that is laden with mourning and longing.

AJ: That song — it’s long and compared to the narrative of the film, it’s almost like a pause. I just wanted to take time there and hear her voice and just be with the rhythm of the night, and take time with each one of them, these faces [of the fighters] that we never get to see.

I didn’t let any of the actors read the script. None of them, including [Mahmoud], Ruba — none of them had access to the script. I wanted to do military training instead; I wanted them to build relationships. I had all the feda’i sleeping in the forest for several days and camp out there and really get a feel for the place.

Ruba Shamshoum is the woman who sings [in that scene]. She never read the script and if you notice in the film, it’s about this rebirth of Palestinian nationalism. So there’s a lot of scenes that begin with either red, black or green [the colors of the Palestinian flag]. Like the mother sewing [in the beginning], it’s with a white thread, Tarek brushing his mother’s black hair — it’s a repetition in the film.

And I just said to Ruba, here’s the scene, you guys are just sitting around and I want a song and I gave her the mood of the song, nothing more than that. And she went and wrote that song, which is so beautiful and so intense. And the song is about colors — the red of the poppies, the green of cactus, the black of the night.

MCM: Do you have to keep two audiences in mind when you make films — one that knows about Palestine and one that doesn’t?

AJ: My first audience is a Palestinian audience. We have to make work for each other, to criticize each other. It’s a dialogue to our community, within our community. Like Ossama [Jacir’s husband, producer Ossama Bawardi] said at the screening yesterday, everybody was laughing — most everybody in [the audience] were Palestinian or knew about Palestine and he was like, you really make films for Palestinians. It was so great to hear people laughing when they were supposed to laugh; it’s nice to have your film read the way you intended it to be read. But I don’t want to limit that, either. I have to have a wider audience than that. But I think when you’re specific and you’re honest, you naturally have a wider audience.

When I Saw You opens the Houston Palestine Film Festival on 10 May and will screen in festivals in Seattle, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Belgium and Iraq in May-June, dates TBA, opens in cinemas in Jordan on 12 June and will screen in Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and Nazareth starting in July. For more information, visit and its Facebook page. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - WHEN I SAW YOU to screen at the 2013 LA Film Fest>

3 May 2013 | by Ryland Aldrich

LA's big downtown fest has already announced their June festival opener as Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited and today brought the bulk of their lineup into the light of day. Most notable is the inclusion of Nicholas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives which heads to LA Live hot on the heels of its Cannes premiere. Some of you may remember that Refn's last Gosling starrer Drive followed a similar course.

Also on the docket is the festival closer and Sundance hit The Way, Way Back directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. That film brings the red carpet appeal of stars Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, and Sam Rockwell, along with a great performance by young Liam James. Fellow Sundance stand-out Fruitvale Station will also make its LA premiere at the fest.

Other notable films from deeper into the catalog include acclaimed Joshua Oppenheimer docu The Act of Killing, Johnnie To's Drug War, and my personal Sundance/SXSW fave, James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now. David Lowery's Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck starring oater Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Lucy Walker's touching head-injury doc The Crash Reel, and the SXSW winning Short Term 12 by Destin Daniel Cretton will also play the fest.

Like every year, LAFF will also feature a rich and diverse lineup in its documentary and dramatic competitions. Those names may look unfamiliar now, but be ready to find some becoming well known in the near future. The midnight Beyond section is also back and features Brian Netto's Delivery, the US premiere of Miike's Lessons of the Evil, and another chance to see Adam Wingard ridiculously enjoyable You're Next.

I could go on and on, (like did you see there is a community screening of Dazed and Confused?) but have a look for yourself at the full lineup below. We'll have plenty more before the fest kicks off June 13.


Iʼm So Excited! - (DIRECTOR/WRITER Pedro Almodovar PRODUCERS Agustin Almodovar, Esther Garcia CAST Antonio De La Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Layla Marti, Javier Camara, Carlos Areces, Raul Arevalo, Jose Maria Yazpik, Guillermo Toledo, Jose Luis Torrijo, Lola Duenas, Cecilia Roth, Blanca Suarez) - A psychic, a hitman, a dominatrix, a crooked businessman and a soap star are among the passengers aboard a disaster-prone aircraft in Pedro Almodovarʼs bawdy, mischievous, mescaline-laced new comedy of bad manners. North American Premiere


The Way, Way Back - (DIRECTORS/WRITERS Nat Faxon, Jim Rash PRODUCERS Kevin J. Walsh, Tom Rice CAST Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet and Liam James) - The Way, Way Back is the funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncanʼs (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world - all during a summer he will never forget.


Fruitvale Station - USA (DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Ryan Coogler PRODUCERS Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker CAST Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray and Octavia Spencer) - First-time feature filmmaker Ryan Coogler brings cinematic grace and maturity to the tragic true story of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man, on the fateful day he was killed by Oakland's BART transit police.

Only God Forgives - France/Denmark/Thailand (DIRECTOR/WRITER Nicolas Winding Refn PRODUCER Lene Børglum CAST Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm) - Nicolas Winding Refn reunites with his Drive star Ryan Gosling for this audacious piece of cinematic bravura about an American expat in Bangkokʼs brutal underworld forced to deal with his mother's obsession for vengeance after his brother's murder. North American Premiere


Three Kings (1999) - (DIRECTOR/WRITER David O. Russell PRODUCERS Paul Junger Witt, Edward McDonnell, Charles Roven CAST George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Cliff Curtis) David O. Russell, this year's Guest Director and recipient of the Spirit of Independence Award, takes us through his dazzling career -- from Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with Disaster to The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook - in conversation with Elvis Mitchell. Followed by a screening of his astonishing war movie Three Kings.


All Together Now - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Alexander Mirecki WRITER Ryan Kasmiskie PRODUCERS Leah Fong, Michael Younesi CAST Lou Taylor Pucci, James Duval, Stella Maeve, Nora Kirkpatrick, James Burns, Amanda Kimmel, Lindsey Garrett, Ryan Heinke, Jerry Phillips, Hannah Sullivan, Dalton O'Dell, Morgan Krantz, Monika Jolly, Luke Stratte-McClure, Azim Rizk, Hal Dion, Sam Carson, Tucker Bryan, Martin Yribarren, William Horwich, Will Watkins) - Youth, in all its messy, drunken glory, is the connective thread at an all night noise-rock concert in the woods, where a motley assortment of music lovers prove that it isn't always darkest before the dawn. World Premiere

Forev - USA (DIRECTORS/WRITERS Molly Green, James Leffler PRODUCERS Stephanie Dziczek, Meg Charlton CAST Noël Wells, Matt Mider, Amanda Bauer) - On a spur of the moment road trip, new friends Sophie and Pete hatch a misguided plan to get hitched. Refreshingly funny and intelligent, this coming-of-age romantic comedy delightfully contemplates how and with whom we fall in love. World Premiere

Forty Years From Yesterday - USA (DIRECTORS Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda- Beck WRITER Robert Machoian PRODUCERS Nick Case, Ryan Watt, Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck CAST Bruce Graham, Suzette Graham, Robert Eddington, Wyatt Eddington, Matt Valdez, Chelsea Word, Elizabeth Overton, Rebekah Mott) - Grief quietly reverberates through a family after a man discovers his wife of forty years has unexpectedly passed away. Filmmakers Rodrigo Ojeda-Beckand and Robert Machoian make their feature directorial debut with this quietly powerful examination of love and loss. World Premiere

Four Dogs - USA (DIRECTOR Joe Burke PRODUCERS Joe Burke, Oliver Cooper WRITERS Joe Burke, Oliver Cooper CAST Oliver Cooper, Dan Bakkedahl, Kathleen McNearney, ReBecca Goldstein) - His Hollywood dreams in a slump, Oliver bumbles through his days hanging with an acting school buddy and tending to his auntʼs yappy dogs in this surprising, delightful rumination on the absurd and hilarious things we go through to find ourselves. World Premiere

Goodbye World - USA (DIRECTOR Denis Henry Hennelly WRITERS Denis Henry Hennelly, Sarah Adina Smith PRODUCERS Mary Pat Bentel, Matthew Zamias, Guy Moshe, Albertino Matalon CAST Adrian Grenier, Mark Webber, Ben McKenzie, Kerry Bishe, Scott Mescudi, Gaby Hoffmann, Caroline Dhavernas) - When a mysterious cyber-attack cripples civilization, a group of old college friends and lovers retreat to a remote country cabin, where they must cope with an uncertain future while navigating the minefield of their shared past. World Premiere

The House That Jack Built - USA (DIRECTOR Henry Barrial WRITER Joseph Vasquez PRODUCERS Michael Lieber, Sam Kitt, Hitesh Patel CAST E.J. Bonilla, Melissa Fumero, Leo Minaya, Saundra Santiago, John Herrera, Flor De Liz Perez, Rosal Colon) - Complications ensue when street-smart, cash-rich Jack fulfills his fantasy of housing his extended family in a single Bronx apartment complex. E.J. Bonilla heads a dynamic Caribbean-Latino ensemble in this riveting hot house drama. World Premiere

I.D. - India (DIRECTOR/WRITER Kamal K.M PRODUCERS Resul Pookkutty, Rajeev Ravi, Madhu Neelakandan, Sunil Babu, B. Ajithkumar CAST Geetanjali Thapa, Murari Kumar,Ruksana Tabassum, Shinjini Raval, Shashi Sharma, Bachan Pachera, Alok Chaturvedi, Shashibhushan) - An ambitious young woman finds herself unexpectedly propelled on a journey that takes her from the high-rises in the heart of Mumbai to the teeming streets on the cityʼs forbidding outskirts in this taut exploration of gender, class and identity in todayʼs metropolitan India. North American Premiere

Mother, I Love You - Latvia (DIRECTOR/WRITER Janis Nords PRODUCER Alise Gelze CAST Kristofers Konovalovs, Matiss Livcans, Vita Varpina, Indra Brike, Haralds Barzdins) - With his mother always away at work, the introverted 12-year-old Raimonds gets into deeper and deeper trouble in this striking, touching coming of age drama, a Latvian grandchild of The 400 Blows. North American Premiere

My Sisterʼs Quinceañera - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER Aaron Douglas Johnston CAST Silas Garcia, Samantha Rae Garcia, Becky Garcia, Tanner McCulley, Nicole Streat, Elizabeth Agapito, Josefina Garcia) - This lovely naturalistic film focuses on a Latino family in Iowa. The teenage Silas may be the man of the house, but he wears that responsibility lightly, searching for more from his life than the small town mischief he gets into with his best friend. North American Premiere

Pollywogs - USA (DIRECTORS Karl Jacob, Todd Arthur Cottam WRITER Karl Jacob PRODUCERS Karl Jacob, Tracy Utley, Michael Prall CAST Karl Jacob, Kate Lyn Sheil, Jennifer Prediger, Larry Mitchell) - Utterly deflated after a breakup, Dylan splits the city for a well-timed family reunion. Writer/director/star Karl Jacobʼs endearing, witty tale about the search for second chances is gorgeously set against the pristine Minnesota woods of his own hometown. World Premiere

Winter in the Blood - USA (DIRECTORS Andrew Smith, Alex Smith WRITERS Andrew Smith, Alex Smith, Ken White PRODUCERS Andrew Smith, Alex Smith, Susan Kirr CAST Chaske Spencer, David Morse, Julia Jones, Gary Farmer, Dana Wheeler- Nicholson, Lily Gladstone, Casey Camp, Richard Ray Whitman, Michael Spears, David Cale) - True to the tough, lyrical spirit of James Welchʼs classic novel of Native American life, this hauntingly beautiful movie follows a young Blackfoot Indianʼs alcohol fueled search for his wife, his rifle, his identity--and salvation. World Premiere

Workers - Mexico/Germany (DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER José Luis Valle CAST Jesus Padilla, Susana Salazar, Barbara Perrin Rivemar, Sergio Limon, Vera Talaia, Adolfo Madera, Giancarlo Ruiz) - A Tijuana maid who works for a rich old woman who leaves her fortune to her dog and a long suffering janitor awaiting his pension turn to crime in this stylish, mordantly funny fable of Mexicoʼs gaping class divide. US Premiere


All of Me - USA (DIRECTOR Alexandra Lescaze PRODUCERS Alexandra Lescaze, Deborah Eve Lewis) - The women of the BBW (Big Beautiful Women) Club celebrate being overweight, and the men who love them don't want them to change. But what happens when the group decides to undergo weight loss surgery? This startlingly intimate documentary raises fascinating questions about obesity, identity and sexuality. World Premiere

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs - USA (DIRECTOR Grace Lee PRODUCERS Grace Lee, Caroline Libresco, Austin Wilkin) - Tenacious 97 year old Asian-American Grace Lee Boggs was an unlikely star of the African-American movement. She looks back on her remarkable (and ongoing) lifetime of activism, dedicated to the possibility of a more just future for us all. World Premiere

Code Black - USA (DIRECTOR Ryan McGarry PRODUCER Linda Goldstein-Knowlton FEATURING Ryan McGarry, Danny Cheng, Jamie Eng, Dave Pomerantz, Andrew Eads) - Gripping, provocative and moving, this intimate journey into the fast-paced, emotionally complex world of emergency room doctors at Los Angeles County Hospital reveals the highs and lows of saving lives in the modern world. World Premiere

The Island of Saint Matthews - USA (DIRECTOR Kevin Jerome Everson PRODUCER Madeleine Molyneaux FEATURING Raymond Griggs, Rosalee Harris, Charlie Smith, Jimmy J. Johnson, Marie Whitfield, Octavious Hinton, Landon Williams, Jawon Hopson, Colby Williams, Priscilla King) - With a filmmaking style that draws upon both documentary and experimental traditions, filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson continues his exploration of the African American experience by turning to the community of Westport, Miss., where nearly annual floods have touched everyone, including Eversonʼs own family. North American Premiere

Llyn Foulkes One Man Band - USA (DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS Tamar Halpern, Chris Quilty FEATURING Llyn Foulkes, Dennis Hopper, George Hermes, Paul Schimmel, Johnny Carson) - At 78 years of age, the brilliant, iconoclastic artist Llyn Foulkes, is still fighting the art world and his own demons as he feverishly creates-and then destroys and recreates-deep, three-dimensional paintings that mirror back his personal and artistic obsessions. World Premiere

My Stolen Revolution - Sweden (DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER Nahid Persson Sarvestani FEATURING Nahid Persson Sarvestani, Parvaneh Aref, Nazli Partovi, Monireh Baradaran, Azar Aal-Kanaan) - Thirty years after narrowly escaping Iran and impending imprisonment during The 1979 revolution, filmmaker and activist Nahid Persson Sarvestani sets out to find the friends she left behind. Through the harrowing stories of the women who were not as fortunate as she, Persson is led to her own redemption. North American Premiere

The New Black - USA (DIRECTOR Yoruba Richen PRODUCERS Yoruba Richen, Yvonne Welbon)- In this timely documentary, filmmaker Yoruba Richen questions the assumptions about homophobia in the African-American community, setting off an impassioned conversation about gay rights, family history, the role of the Church and the legacy of the civil rights movement. World Premiere

Purgatorio - Mexico/USA (DIRECTOR Rodrigo Reyes WRITER Hugo Perez PRODUCER Inti Cordera) - With striking imagery, director Rodrigo Reyes re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante's purgatory. Leaving politics aside, he takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the border and the people caught in its spell. US Premiere

Rain - Belgium (DIRECTORS Olivia Rochette, Gerard-Jan Claes PRODUCER Bart Van Langendonck) - A poetic portrait of the world-renowned Ballet de lʼOpéra national de Paris as they mount a new work by famed contemporary choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, this documentary fragments the creative process, from auditions to opening night, celebrating small, isolated moments easily overlooked. US Premiere

Tapia - USA (DIRECTOR Eddie Alcazar PRODUCERS Andrea Monier, Eddie Alcazar FEATURING Johnny Tapia) - Johnny Tapia was an awe-inspiring world champion boxer, but his personal demons were as destructive as his left hook. Composed of archival fight footage and candid, beautifully shot interviews, Tapiaʼs story of tragedy, grief and redemption unfurls like an epic novel. World Premiere


The Act of Killing - Denmark/Norway/UK (DIRECTORS Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn PRODUCERS Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joram Ten Brink, Anne Köhncke FEATURING Anwar Congo, Adi Zulkadry, Herman Koto, Jusuf Kalla) - In this acclaimed, bone-chilling documentary, former members of Indonesian paramilitary death squads--unrepentant for horrors inflicted nearly fifty years ago--revisit their past through reenactments that conflate their history of violence with the gangster and action movies they revered in their youth.

Black Out - UK (DIRECTOR Eva Weber PRODUCERS Claire Neate James, Kat Mansoor) - In Guinea, one of the worldʼs poorest countries, students of all ages must go on a nightly quest for electric lights under which to study. Documentarian Eva Weber beautifully portrays these young peopleʼs determination to find a brighter future for their country and themselves. North American Premiere

Boxing Day - UK (DIRECTOR/WRITER Bernard Rose PRODUCERS Luc Roeg, Naomi Despres CAST Danny Huston, Matthew Jacobs) - Bernard Rose's tense, unsettling update of Leo Tolstoy's Master and Man stars Danny Huston as a desperate, arrogant real estate speculator whose edgy relationship with an equally desperate chauffeur leads to a fateful encounter on the snowbanks of Colorado.

Dormant Beauty - Italy (DIRECTOR Marco Bellocchio WRITERS Marco Bellocchio, Veronica Raimo, Stefano Rulli PRODUCERS Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini, Marco Chimenz CAST Isabelle Huppert, Toni Servillo, Alba Rohrwacher, Michele Riondino, Maya Sansa) - Inspired by an inflammatory court case about euthanasia, maestro Marco Bellocchio has fashioned a powerful and stylish meditation on life and death, politics and love. Isabelle Huppert stars as a devout diva whose daughter lies in a coma.

Drug War - China (DIRECTOR Johnnie To WRITERS Ryker Chan, Wai Ka-Fai, Yau Nai-Hoi, Xi Yu PRODUCERS Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai CAST Sun Honglei, Louis Koo, Huang Yi, Gao Yungxiang, Wallace Chung, Hao Ping, Gan Tingting) - In Hong Kong action master Johnnie Toʼs latest, undercover cops and drug dealers play an exhaustive, brutal game of one-upmanship as a police inspector doggedly works his way through a Mainland drug syndicate, aided by a turncoat gangster whoʼs working all the angles.

Ernest & Celestine - France (DIRECTORS Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, Stéphane Aubier WRITER Daniel Pennac PRODUCERS Didier Brunner,Stephan Roelants, Philippe Kauffmann, Vincent Tavier CAST Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner) - A bear and a mouse could never be friends, right? Thatʼs ridiculous. Itʼs impossible! Yet when lumbering, grumbling Ernest and plucky little Celestine are thrown together by accident, the two discover they have more in common than anyone ever imagined in this wondrously animated family film.

The Expedition to the End of the World - Denmark (DIRECTOR Daniel Dencik PRODUCER Michael Haslund-Christensen) - A crew of seafaring artists, scientists and philosophers sail to one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the world--the frozen fjords of northern Greenland--to ponder provocative questions about our place in the world.

The Fifth Season - Belgium/Netherlands/France (DIRECTORS/WRITERS Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth PRODUCERS Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth, Philippe Avril, Sébastien Delloye, Diana Elbaum, J.B. Macrander, Joop van Wijk CAST Aurelia Poirier, Django Schrevens, Sam Louwyck, Gill Vancompernolle) - When timehonored traditions fail in a remote village in the Ardennes Forest, nature falls out of order and the villagers slowly drift from reality, waiting for a spring that may never come, in this strikingly stylized, playfully surreal fable.

House with a Turret - Ukraine (DIRECTOR/WRITER Eva Neymann PRODUCER Alexander Tkachenko CAST Kobetskoy Dmitriy, Golubeva Yekaterina, Veksler Mikhail, Bibliv Vitalina, Linetskiy Vitaliy) - During a long, grey Russian winter at the end of World War Two, an orphaned 8-year-old boy undertakes a perilous train trip from Russia home to the Ukraine, his tragic journey unfolding in bold black and white images both timeless and indelible.

The Moo Man - UK (DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier FEATURING Stephen Hook) - Stephen Hookʼs dream-girl, Ida, is an English lass with gorgeous big brown eyes. She also loves to eat grass and moo loudly--not unusual for a dairy cow. The Moo Man is an inspiring document of a dairy farmerʼs deep love for a vanishing way of life.

Nobodyʼs Daughter Haewon - Korea (DIRECTOR/WRITER Hong Sang-Soo PRODUCER Kim Kyounghee CAST Jung Eunchae, Lee Sunkyun) - An ill-advised affair between a college student and her film professor lies at the beguiling heart of acclaimed Korean auteur Hong Sang-sooʼs latest, which follows a young woman as she drifts between a series of past and possible future romantic entanglements. North American Premiere

The Patience Stone - Afghanistan/France/Germany/UK (DIRECTOR Atiq Rahimi WRITERS Atiq Rahimi, Jean-Claude Carrière PRODUCER Michael Gentile CAST Golshifteh Garahani, Hamidrez Javdan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat) - As her warrior husband lies in a coma, a beautiful Muslim woman unburdens herself of a lifetime of repressed rage and desire in this passionate, taboo-shattering provocation from Afghan novelist/filmmaker Atik Rahimi.

Wadjda - Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates/Germany (DIRECTOR/WRITER Haifaa Al Mansour PRODUCERS Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul CAST Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf) - In this rousing, pioneering gem-the first Saudi Arabian film ever directed by a woman-a remarkable 10-year-old girl named Wadjda challenges centuries of male tradition when she sets her sights on buying a forbidden bicycle.

When I Saw You - Palestine/Jordan/Greece/United Arab Emirates/USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Annemarie Jacir PRODUCER Ossama Bawardi CAST Mahmoud Asfa, Ruba Blal, Saleh Bakri) - Separated by war from his father, and restlessly cooped up in a refugee camp, a young Palestinian boy secretly embarks on a journey of adventure with an unshakable resolve to be free.

The Women and the Passenger - Chile (DIRECTORS Valentina Mac-Pherson, Patricia Correa WRITERS Patricia Correa, Valentina Mac-Pherson PRODUCERS Sergio Allard, Ricardo Carrasco) - With remarkable candor and a delightful nonchalance, the maids at a Chilean sex hotel, completely unfazed by the moans and groans that echo throughout walls, share their takes on love, romance, marriage and, of course, sex. US Premiere


Ainʼt Them Bodies Saints - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER David Lowery PRODUCERS Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Amy Kaufman, Cassian Elwes CAST Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine, Nate Parker, Rami Malek, Kennadie Smith, Jacklynn Smith, Robert Longstreet, Charles Baker, Augustine Frizzell, Kentucker Audley, David Zellner) - This moody, meditative Texas noir tells the tale of Casey Affleckʼs Bob Guthrie, an outlaw on the run trying to reunite with his wife-the fantastic Rooney Mara-and the daughter he's never met.

Brothers Hypnotic - Netherlands/USA (DIRECTOR Reuben Atlas PRODUCERS Sam Pollard, Reuben Atlas FEATURING Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Phil Cohran, Aquilla Sadalla, Maia) - Producing some of the most energetic, riveting and symphonic sounds in jazz today, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is comprised of eight brothers raised on Chicagoʼs South Side and determined to succeed on their own uncompromising terms.

Casting By - USA (DIRECTOR Tom Donahue PRODUCERS Kate Lacey, Tom Donahue, Ilan Arboleda, Joanna Colbert FEATURING Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Jeff Bridges, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Glenn Close, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Lane, Martin Scorsese, Jon Voight, Bette Midler, John Travolta) - Little known outside the movie industry, the legendary Marion Dougherty revolutionized the role of the casting director in movies and TV. This revelatory, star-studded tribute illuminates the secrets of a little understood trade.

Concussion - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Stacie Passon PRODUCER Rose Troche CAST Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnny Tchaikovsky, Julie Fain Lawrence, Daniel London, Ben Shenkman, Janel Moloney) - After suffering a mild head injury, Abby starts to pull away from her wife and their sedate, suburban existence. Soon she is another woman-sensual, self-possessed, secretive. Stacy Passonʼs directorial debut, anchored by an exquisite lead performance from Robin Weigert, is by turns hilarious, erotic and tender.

The Crash Reel - USA (DIRECTOR Lucy Walker WRITERS Pedro Kos, Lucy Walker PRODUCERS Julian Cautherly, Lucy Walker) - Snowboarder Kevin Pearce was on the verge of Olympic glory when a horrific crash left him with a traumatic brain injury. This intimate, moving account of his rise, fall and challenging road back examines the glory and peril of extreme sports.

Crystal Fairy - Chile (DIRECTOR/WRITER Sebastián Silva PRODUCERS Juan de Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain CAST Michael Cera, Gabby Hoffman, Juan Andres Silva, Jose Miguel Silva, Agustin Silva) - Michael Cera plays a callow American in Chile in search of a legendary hallucinogenic cactus, but his mission takes a strange turn when Gabby Hoffmanʼs hilariously uninhibited Crystal Fairy joins the psychedelic caravan.

Europa Report - USA (DIRECTOR Sebastián Cordero WRITER Philip Gelatt PRODUCER Ben Browning CAST Daniel Wu, Sharlto Copley, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davidtz, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Dan Fogler) - Searching for evidence of life among the stars, an international space expedition sets course for a frozen moon of Jupiter. The journey through deep space is perilous, however, and small mistakes have large consequences in this refreshingly realistic, visually inventive look at space exploration. US Premiere

First Cousin Once Removed - USA (DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Alan Berliner) - Awardwinning filmmaker Alan Berliner documents his cousin and mentor--the gifted poet, critic and translator Edwin Honig--who struggles with Alzheimerʼs in this moving and profound examination of memory and identity.

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction - Switzerland (DIRECTOR Sophie Huber PRODUCERS Christian Davi, Christoph Neracher, Thomas Thümena FEATURING Harry Dean Stanton) - The laconic, chain-smoking Harry Dean Stanton, beloved and iconic actor of more than 200 films, reveals, often in song, glimmers of his fascinating life in this captivating, beautifully composed tribute.

In A World... - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Lake Bell PRODUCERS Lake Bell, Mark Roberts, Jett Steiger, Eddie Vaisman STARRING Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Alexandra) - When L.A.'s reigning king of movie voice-overs dies, a not-quite-together vocal coach, played with screwball energy by writer/director Lake Bell, finds herself among the contenders for the coveted but traditionally male crown in this sharp comedy of Hollywood errors.

Our Nixon - USA (DIRECTOR Penny Lane PRODUCERS Penny Lane, Brian L. Frye) - Assembled from over 500 reels of Super 8 film shot during the Nixon White House by top aides (and Watergate participants) H.R Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin, Penny Laneʼs documentary provides a unique insiderʼs view of the most infamous presidency in American history.

Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records) - USA (DIRECTOR Jeff Broadway PRODUCERS Jeff Broadway, Sébastien Bauer FEATURING Peanut Butter Wolf, Kanye West, Madlib, Common, Questlove, Talib Kweli, Flying Lotus, Mike Diamond) - Featuring musical visionaries the likes of J Dilla, Madlib, Mayer Hawthorne and Dam-Funk, this chronicle of groundbreaking Los Angeles indie label Stoneʼs Throw Records and its enigmatic founder, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, reveals an unexpected history of tragedy and triumph. World Premiere

Short Term 12 - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Destin Daniel Cretton PRODUCERS Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor CAST Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Keith Stanfield, Rami Malek) - At the center of this gripping drama is the tough, compassionate Grace, who supervises at-risk teens at a foster-care facility. But like her charges, she has secret wounds that threaten her own happiness.

The Spectacular Now - USA (DIRECTOR James Ponsoldt WRITERS Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber PRODUCERS Tom McNulty, Shawn Levy, Andrew Lauren CAST Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler) - On the surface, popular Sutter Keely seems like the life of the party, and gawky Aimee Finicky a high school loser. But this coming of age drama doesnʼt traffic in surface stereotypes. Charged by the emotional honesty of stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, this one goes deep.

Venus Vs. - USA (DIRECTOR Ava DuVernay PRODUCERS Ava DuVernay, Howard Barish, Tilane Jones, Libby Geist, Deirdre Fenton, Carol Stiff FEATURING Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Maria Sharapova) - On the court, Venus Williams shines as one of the worldʼs greatest tennis players. But she is also a tireless campaigner, leading the movement for fair pay between female and male players. Trailblazing director Ava DuVernay captures the charisma and resolve of a champion. World Premiere


Brasslands - (DIRECTORS Adam Pogoff, Jay Sterrenberg, Bryan Chang PRODUCERS Adam Pogoff, Bryan Chang, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg FEATURING Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, Dejan Petrovic, Demiran Cerimovic) - Half a million people descend upon a tiny Serbian village for the 50th anniversary of the world's largest trumpet festival. Brasslands chronicles the cultural and musical collisions through the personal journeys of 3 musicians - American, Serbian, Roma - whose lives are bound to Balkan brass for very different reasons.

Dazed and Confused (1993) - (DIRECTOR/WRITER Richard Linklater PRODUCERS Sean Daniel, James Jacks, Richard Linklater CAST Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Wiley Wiggins) - Twenty years ago, Richard Linklaterʼs seminal stoner flick rolled into theatres like a badass low-rider. With a then-unknown but pitch-perfect cast, a stellar soundtrack and more memorable lines than we can shake a stick at, Dazed remains as hilarious and quotable as ever.

Hairspray (1988) - (DIRECTOR/WRITER John Waters PRODUCER Rachel Talalay CAST Ricki Lake, Divine, Jerry Stiller, Shawn Thompson, Michael St. Gerard, Leslie Ann Powers, Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Deborah Harry) - Celebrate the 25th anniversary of John Watersʼ beloved, one-of-a-kind musical with an evening of dancing and audience participation under the stars. Weʼll Twist, Bird and Bug our way into the night to Watersʼ hilarious, über-stylized romantic indie and its electrifying '60s soundtrack.

Inequality for All - (DIRECTOR Jacob Kornbluth PRODUCERS Jen Chaiken, Sebastian Dungan FEATURING Robert Reich) - The inspired teacher and economic policy expert Robert Reich illuminates the dangers that income inequality pose to our lives and to democracy itself in this lively and provocative dissection of our economic crisis. A Grand Performances presentation.

Life of a King - (DIRECTOR Jake Goldberger WRITERS Jake Goldberger, Dan Wetzel, David Scott PRODUCERS Tatiana Kelly, Jim Young CAST Cuba Gooding, Jr., Malcolm Mays, Richard T. Jones, Paula Jai Parker, Carlton Byrd With Lisa Gay Hamilton And Dennis Haysbert) - After eighteen years of incarceration, Eugene Brown established a chess club for high school students of color in Washington D.C. as part of his resolve to "always think before you move." Cuba Gooding Jr. leads a remarkable cast in this inspiring true story. World Premiere


Delivery - USA (DIRECTOR Brian Netto WRITERS Brian Netto, Adam Schindler PRODUCER Adam Schindler CAST Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Rob Cobuzio) - In this unnerving chiller, a young couple agrees to document their first pregnancy for a reality show, but when unexplained events start to plague the production, they suspect something might be wrong with their unborn bundle of joy. World Premiere

Lesson of the Evil - Japan (DIRECTOR/WRITER Takashi Mike PRODUCERS Koji Azuma, Toru Mori, Misako Saka CAST Hideaki Ito, Fumi Nikaido, Kento Hayashi, Shota Sometani) - Mr. Hasumi is the perfect teacher: young, intelligent, popular and cute. Heʼs also a psychopath, a fact that doesnʼt bode well for anyone who crosses him. Takashi Miike directs this violent high school thriller, and shows off a sense of humor thatʼs as black as dried blood. US Premiere

Youʼre Next - USA (DIRECTOR Adam Wingard WRITER Simon Barrett PRODUCERS Keith Calder, Jessica Wu, Simon Barrett, Kim Sherman CAST Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton , L.C. Holt, Simon Barrett, Lane Hughes) - Home sweet home becomes a little less so when murderous mask-wearing maniacs invade. One of the sharpest horror movies in recent memory, Youʼre Next is as fun as it is thrilling, boasting an energy that doesnʼt flag until the final kill. RETRO/The Films That Got Away:

Amarcord (1973) - Italy (DIRECTOR Frederico Fellini WRITERS Federico Fellini, Tonino Guerra PRODUCER Franco Cristaldi CAST Magali Noël, Ciccio Ingrassia, Nando Orfei, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio, Gianfilippo Carcano, Armando Brancia) - We celebrate the 40th anniversary of Felliniʼs beloved Amarcord, his fantastical reimagining of his childhood in a provincial seacoast town during the Fascist era, with a screening of the Oscar-winning favorite.

Between Two Worlds (2009) - Sri Lanka/France (DIRECTOR/WRITER Vimukthi Jayasundara PRODUCERS Michel Klein, Philippe Avril, Michel Reilhac, Anura Silva, Chandan Aluthge CAST Thusitha Laknath, Kaushalya Fernando, Huang Lu) - Sri Lankan director Vmukthi Jayasundara revisits the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war with his surreal, visually stunning 2009 feature. An unforgettable re-imagining of upheaval in a carnivorously fecund battle zone. A Los Angeles Film Critics Association selection.

Two Men In Manhattan (1958) - France (DIRECTOR/WRITER Jean-Pierre Melville PRODUCERS Florence Melville, Alain Térouanne CAST Pierre Grasset, Jean-Pierre Melville, Michèle Bailly, Jean Darcante, Christiane Eudes, Ginger Hall, Monique Hennessy, Jean Lara, Jerry Mengo) - Nighttime New York in 1958 comes to moody, jazz-soaked life in this rarely seen noir from the great Jean-Pierre Melville, who cast himself as a journalist on an ethically fraught mission to track down a missing French diplomat.


Shorts Program 1-4
Alaska Is a Drag - USA - DIRECTOR Shaz Bennett
The Apocalypse - USA - DIRECTOR Andrew Zuchero
Atlantic Avenue - France/USA - DIRECTOR Laure de Clermont
The Big House - Yemen/USA - DIRECTOR Musa Syeed
Boneshaker - USA - DIRECTOR Frances Bodomo
The Bungled Child - France - DIRECTOR Simon Filliot
Busted on Brigham Lane - USA - DIRECTOR Talibah Lateefah Newman
Can You Hear Me? - USA - DIRECTOR Isaac Ravishankara
Caterwaul - USA - DIRECTOR Ian Samuels
The Date - Finland - DIRECTOR Jenni Toivoniemi
Deja-vu - Canada - DIRECTOR Jean-Guillaume Bastien
Despair *2010 - USA - DIRECTOR Alex Prager
Drifters - USA - DIRECTOR Ethan Clarke
F to 7th - Interchangeable - USA - DIRECTOR Ingrid Jungermann
The First Hope - USA - DIRECTOR Jeremy David White
The Globe Collector - Australia - DIRECTOR Summer DeRoche
Grandpa & Me and a Helicopter to Heaven - Sweden - DIRECTORS Johan Palmgren, Åsa Blanck
I Was Born in Mexico, But... - USA - DIRECTOR Corey Ohama
Irish Folk Furniture - Ireland - DIRECTOR Tony Donoghue
The Man Beside Norma - Chile - DIRECTORS Camilla Luna, Gabriela Maturana
Marcel, King of Tervuren - USA - DIRECTOR Tom Schroeder
Men of the Earth - Australia - DIRECTOR Andrew Kavanagh
A Modern Man - South Africa - DIRECTOR Ben Rycroft
Mystery - Spain - DIRECTOR Chema García Ibarra
Nile Perch - USA/Uganda - DIRECTOR Josh Gibson
Oh Willy... - Belgium/France/Netherlands - DIRECTOR Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels
Papel Picado - USA - DIRECTOR Javier Barboza
Primate Cinema: Apes as Family - USA/Scotland - DIRECTOR Rachel Mayeri
Recollections - Japan - DIRECTOR Nathanael Carton
Rough Grounds - Germany - DIRECTOR Youdid Kahveci
Saint John, the Longest Night - Chile - DIRECTOR Claudia Huaiquimilla
Sci-Fly - USA - DIRECTOR Joey Shanks
She Said, She Said - USA - DIRECTOR Stuart Blumberg
A Society - Sweden - DIRECTOR Jens Assur
Stone - USA - DIRECTOR Kevin Jerome Everson
The Sunshine Egg - Germany - DIRECTOR Michael Haas
Too Much Water - Uruguay - DIRECTOR Nicolás Botana, Gonzalo Torrens
Tram - France/Czech Republic - DIRECTOR Michaela Pavlátová
Until the Quiet Comes - USA - DIRECTOR Kahlil Joseph
Walker - China/Hong Kong - DIRECTOR Tsai Ming-liang
What Do We Have In Our Pockets? - Israel/USA - DIRECTOR Goran Dukic
When the Song Dies - Scotland - DIRECTOR Jamie Chambers
When We Lived In Miami - USA - DIRECTOR Amy Seimetz
You Donʼt Know Jack - USA - DIRECTOR Morgan Spurlock


High School Shorts 1-2
As Asian Teens, We Hold a Heritage - USA - DIRECTOR Sunny Kim
Awake - USA - DIRECTOR Quinn G. Martin
Bod Mod - USA - DIRECTORS Mimi Erlick, Madeline Hopfield
The Case of Amber Gram - USA - DIRECTORS Adam Cooper, Daniel Cooper
The Charmerʼs Snake - USA - DIRECTORS Maxwell Barnes, Harry Barnes
Defending the Race - USA - DIRECTOR Omod Williams
Diversity - USA - DIRECTOR Xiaoye Jiang
Dreamgiverʼs - USA - DIRECTOR Nicholas Johnson
Erasing the Lines - USA - DIRECTOR Alexander Powell
The Farm - USA - DIRECTOR Malone Lumarda
Finding Erica Jones - USA - DIRECTOR Natalie Markiles
Forest King - USA - DIRECTORS Nikta Mansouri, Nat Motulsky
Itʼs Not Just One - USA - DIRECTORS Michael Kellman, Sarah McAllister, Kelly Morrison, Kyra Perez, Jordan Seibel
Last Day of May - USA - DIRECTORS Caroline Cox, Nan Marsh, Rebecca Meaney
The Last Family Picture - USA - DIRECTOR Jesse Allain-Marcus
Love Earth - Taiwan - DIRECTORS Chien-chun Tseng, Yu-hsuan Tseng
Marked - USA - DIRECTOR Sam Rubin
Naruwan Taiko - USA - DIRECTOR Emily Johnson
One Mom - USA - DIRECTOR Rodrigo Reyes
The Painted Girl - USA - DIRECTOR Ben Kadie
Partner - USA - DIRECTORS James Bradford, Max Montoya
School of The Dead - England - DIRECTOR Liam Hooper
Siren - USA - DIRECTOR Charles Blecker
Teen Pregnancy - Profile of a Teen Mom in Los Angeles - USA - DIRECTORS Wendy Garcia, Amie Williams, Tobie Loomis
Teenage Time - USA - DIRECTOR Ashley Shin
Unforgettable Night - USA - DIRECTOR Clementine Mukarukundo
While Weʼre Asleep - USA - DIRECTORS Kate Nilsen, Summer Matthews, Danny Tayara, Emma Marmor
Who Do That Voodoo? - USA - DIRECTOR Gabriela Capestany
You and Me - USA - DIRECTOR Amanda Reiter


Eclectic Mix 1 & 2
Abducted: Cults - DIRECTOR David Altobelli
Amateur Rocketry: Dan Wholey - DIRECTOR Awesome and Modest
Big Bad Wolf: Duck Sauce - DIRECTOR Keith Schofield
Control: Spoek Mathambo - South Africa - DIRECTORS Pieter Hugo, Michael Cleary
Andrew in Drag: The Magnetic Fields - DIRECTOR Scott Valins
Better Man Than He: Sivu - UK - DIRECTOR Adam Powell
Blueschist: Zygadenus Elegans - DIRECTOR Adam Leroy Lawrence
Book of James: We Are Augustines - DIRECTOR Matt Amato
Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.: Rich Aucoin - Canada - DIRECTOR Noah Pink
Carried Away: Passion Pit - DIRECTOR Carlos Lopez Estrada
Caution: Sigur Ros - DIRECTOR Bjorn Floki
Chum: Earl Sweatshirt - DIRECTOR Hiro Murai
Clair de Lune: Flight Facilities - DIRECTOR Dave Ma
Cry Like A Ghost: Passion Pit - DIRECTORS DANIELS
Do The Devo: Unstoppable Death Machines - DIRECTOR Nick Chatfield- Taylor
First Contact: Galactaron - China - DIRECTOR Owen Dennis
Five Seconds: Twin Shadow - DIRECTOR Keith Musil
Forgetful Assistance: The Elwins - Canada - DIRECTOR Michael Schmidt
Get Free: Majer Lazer f. Amber of the Dirty Projectors - Jamaica - DIRECTOR SoMe
Grown Up: Danny Brown - DIRECTOR Greg Brunkalla
Iʼve Seen Footage: Death Grips - DIRECTOR Death Grips
Itʼs Not Over: Panama - Germany - DIRECTORS A Nice Idea Every Day
Katachi: Shugo Tokumaru - Poland/Japan - DIRECTORS Kijek/Adamski
Labrador: Aimee Mann - DIRECTOR Tom Scharpling
Lee Van Cleef: Primus - DIRECTOR Christopher Smith
Letʼs Go: Matt & Kim - DIRECTOR Dugan OʼNeal
My Country: tUnE-yArDs - DIRECTOR Mimi Cave
New Lands: Justice - DIRECTOR Canada
New York City: Joey Ramone - DIRECTOR Greg Jardin
No Future No Past: Cloud Nothings - DIRECTOR John Ryan Manning
Oblivion: Grimes - DIRECTORS Emily Kay Bock & Claire Boucher
Parix: When Saints Go Machine - Denmark - DIRECTOR Daniel Kragh- Jacobsen
Plumage: Menomena - DIRECTOR Trevor McMahan
Sixteen Saltines: Jack White - DIRECTOR AG Rojas
Song of Los: Apparat - DIRECTOR Saman Keshavarz
Soundbwoy: Stylust Beats - Canada - DIRECTOR Aaron Mallin
Stubborn Love: The Lumineers - DIRECTOR Isaac Ravishankara
Tears: Health - DIRECTORS David Altobelli & Jeff Desom
Teenage Daughter: Dog is Dead - DIRECTOR Jordan Bahat
The House That Heaven Built: Japandroids - DIRECTOR Jim Larson
Tourniquet: Hem - DIRECTOR Jordan Bruner
What Are You Waiting For: Dikta - Iceland - DIRECTOR Helgi Johannsson
Who: David Byrne & St. Vincent - Denmark - DIRECTOR Martin de Thurah
Winter Glow: Dorit Chrysler - DIRECTOR Margarita Jimeno
You Know What I Mean: Cults - DIRECTOR Isaiah Seret Facebook Link


i am ROGUE
1 May 2013 | by Jordan DeSaulnier

The inaugural clip from Richard Linklater's Before Midnight has just ambled its way online, and it makes it emphatically clear that this film will be of a piece with its predecessors.

Those predecessors, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, consist more or less exclusively of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke walking and talking in a gorgeous European locale. That's not a knock. The dialogue is always sublime, their chemistry together is endlessly enjoyable, and the stakes somehow always feel high.

Jesse and first met in 1995, when the traveling American approached the French student on a train to Vienna. Sharing an instant connection, they spent one crushingly romantic night together in the German city, then didn't see each other until the sequel nine years later, when Celine crashed the last stop on Jesse's book tour in Paris, leading to an evening of catching up and undeniable attraction.

Now, we pick up nine years later, with the now-married couple vacationing in Messinia together.

Unsurprisingly, this clip, courtesy of Moviefone, features the stars walking and talking. It's fascinating seeing these characters age, seeing their insecurities change, yet also seeing them remain in so many ways the same.

It's no wonder that Delpy and Hawke inhabit Celine and Jesse so comfortably, since they wrote both Before Sunset and Before Midnight with Linklater, having been nominated for an Oscar on account of their screenplay for the first sequel.

The trio pulled a fast one on the entire world with this installment. None ever denied that a sequel was planned, but Delpy and Hawke both publicly shrugged off rumors of filming, saying that they were in the earliest stages of writing and that shooting wouldn't take place for another year and a half at least. Then, a week after Delpy made the latter claim, it was revealed that they had, in fact, just wrapped production in Greece.

From there, the film went on to receive rapturous reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.

Before Midnight is scheduled to open in limited release on May 24th, the same day as fellow sequels Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III. There's a triple feature to mess your notions of cinema. Facebook Link

April 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Watch: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke On Their Rehearsal Strategy>

In this clip from our The Tribeca Talks® Directors Series with Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke, the "Before Midnight" team talk about taking the monotony out of the rehearsing process.

The Tribeca Talks® Directors Series: Richard Linklater with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, was filmed before a live audience on April 22nd, 2013 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Richard Linklater is back on the clock with 'Before Midnight'>

26 April 2013 | by Steven Zeitchik

It's rare for a talky, character-driven drama to be given one sequel, let alone two. Yet with "Before Midnight" — Richard Linklater's reprisal of characters he first made famous 18 years ago in "Before Sunrise" — the director has done just that.

The film, which opens May 24, returns us to the lovelorn Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). This time, the pair — he darkly comic, she earnest and idealistic — aren't meeting by chance but are vacationing on a Greek island, having gotten together nearly a decade ago. Now in their 40s and a little wiser for it, they're living together in Paris and raising twin daughters — a turn that resolves the question about their collective fate posed at the end of the second film, "Before Sunset," all the way back in 2004.

FULL COVERAGE: Summer sneaks

"It's a rare opportunity in the sequel industry to have a movie with such a long gestation period," Linklater said by phone. "Most sequels are instantaneous, victory-lap kind of films. They don't have the luxury of not being in a hurry."

Still, "Midnight" is conscious of what came before and slyly pushes off it. With that in mind, here's a Linklater-supplemented guide to the common areas and how the new film does — and doesn't — offer callbacks to its predecessors.

Location: "Sunrise" took place on the streets of Vienna; "Sunset" in Paris. The backdrop shifts dramatically here — it's a beautiful natural landscape far removed from the previous urban bustle. "I thought it made sense to set this outside the city," Linklater said. "There's something paradisiacal about where they are, which makes it much more interesting when problems start later."

Transportation: Jesse and Celine first met on a train, with all its people and possibilities. "Midnight," on the other hand, opens with a nearly 15-minute take in a car, and all its intimacy and claustrophobia. "I wanted to show that their world has closed a bit, and they're stuck with each other," Linklater said. "But that's OK. A train signifies adventure. But the confinement of a car can be good for a relationship — it forces you to talk."

The youngsters: In "Sunrise," Jesse and Celine were practically kids themselves. In "Sunset" Jesse had a son, never shown. Here? There are three kids, all seen on-screen. It's a reflection, of sorts, of the lives of Linklater, Hawke and Delpy, who went from one child among them in 1995 (Linklater's) to eight.

The title: The "Before" is kept, but for this go-round it's the numbers on a clock, not a solar state, that follows. "Time is a big element in these movies and in how these characters relate to their lives, so I wanted to include that in the title." Of course, doesn't that leave six more hours to cover? "Maybe there's one more movie to complete a 24-hour cycle," Linklater agreed with a laugh.,0,5760572.story Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Another review of Before Midnight on>

26 April 2013 | by JAMES MCCORMICK

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), together again, this time for the third and possibly the most poignant and charming time in Before Midnight, the new film from writer and director Richard Linklater. Now we fast forward 9 year, where they are at the tail end from their vacation in Greece. Jesse is saying goodbye to his son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) after another summer together. Jesse and his ex-wife do not get along, which has put a strain and obstacle in the way of being there for his son in the prime years of his life. It also seems to be putting a strain in his and Celine’s relationship.

And that’s the crucial point that unravels the lives of our two main characters throughout this film. Jesse wants nothing more than to have his son living with him. Celine would love this as well, but she takes it in the more realistic way possible, considering this as a crack in what their relationship dam, and sooner or later, she thinks Jesse will resent her for not letting him be closer to his son. Jesse tries insisting this won’t happen, because he loves her and that’s all that should matter. All this while he’s coming up with new ideas for his next novel, having completed his third book a bit ago. And that’s another source of conflict that seems to have been growing for years now.

What’s truly amazing about this third film in the Jesse and Celine saga, is that this is possibly the most realistic depiction of a relationship, especially after many years being together and having certain annoyances, fears and anger peeling away layers of comfort and love from a relationship. We see the two being cute with one another and we can tell they love each other, but a small fight becomes a bigger fight. Someone leaves in anger and comes back and the conversation continues. This is something that, while comical, is a reality of two people who have been together and have passion for one another. The love will be strong, as will the fighting. And considering Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy once again helped write the screenplay gives their depiction that much more insight into relationships in general.

Before Sunrise was a sad tale, two people finding one another by chance on a train to Vienna and how the love of your life could be so much, even when spending one night together. Before Sunset shows Jesse having written a book about their brief encounter and going on tour in Europe because of its popularity and runs into Celine again and is a tale of happiness and that, even after 9 years apart, their love was real and stronger than ever. Before Midnight is a realistic tale of love, where we see a love that might be wearing out and we’re left with questions when the credits start to roll. One wishes that we might get something like Before Dusk or Before Dawn down the line. The possibilities are truly endless.

Richard Linklater should be given a bit more credit as an auteur. I’m not sure where he was pushed aside by Steven Soderbergh for being the most versatile and eclectic director in America, because Linklater gives Soderbergh a run for his money. And in the case of Before Midnight, Linklater has created an amazing trilogy, a much better one than Soderbergh was involved with. Yes, the two don’t have anything to do with one another, but the point is that Linklater has taken the characters of Celine and Jesse on a journey spanning 18 years and could keep going on every 9 years if the parties wish to continue. It’s a story we’re all familiar with; love and life, which makes it that much more interesting. Facebook Link

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive' added to Cannes Film Festival Competition Lineup>

26 April 2013 | by KEVIN JAGERNAUTH

Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Added To Cannes Film Festival Competition Lineup

"Oh hell yes. As if the Cannes Film Festival lineup this year wasn't stellar enough with Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives," the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," James Gray's "The Immigrant," Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and more all headed to the south of France, now one more title we had predicted would make it in -- and were bummed not to see in the initial announcement -- is coming.

Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" has been added to the competition slate at Cannes. Damn. Starring Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin and Tom Hiddleston, the film follows Adam, an underground musician who reunites with his centuries long lover Eve (Swinton), but finds their relationship interrupted by her wild sister, Ava (Wasikowska). And oh yeah, they're vampires. So yes, we're super excited for this one." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight review on>

25 April 2013 | BY JESSE CATALDO

Built around a refreshingly simple concept, Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset were also predicated on a potential tonal conflict: Movies concerned with the revelatory power of serious discussion, they also operated within a transparent daydream scenario, with serendipitous encounters, picture-postcard settings, and irrational declarations of love at first sight. It's a testament to the filmmakers that they were able to shape this into a workable dynamic, using a rigorous basis of well-scripted discourse to ground an otherwise far-fetched story, a balance which allowed for serious shading on romantic tropes without fully surrendering to frothy fantasy.

That tension couldn't be sustained perpetually, however, and it's satisfying to find the series crossing a perceptible boundary with Before Midnight. Picking up on the saga of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) after the now-requisite nine years of silence, the story continues to grow, this time by weighing down the fantasy angle with heaps of pragmatic ballast. Unmarried but united by children and a host of mundane responsibilities, the former trans-Atlantic soul mates are now a committed couple, no longer just a theoretical entity ready to be activated for another round of flirty debate. They have history and obligations, in addition to a growing sense of conjugal exhaustion, feelings made to seem even more prominent by the looming ruins of the film's Greek setting.

There are other clear differences between Before Midnight and its predecessors, from the inclusion of new characters to the lack of a dangling time limit, but the greatest change has to be this onset of middle-aged weariness, which adds a measure of levity not present in either of the previous films. At the tail end of a six-week vacation in the southern Peloponnese, the couple relaxes at the expansive home of a Greek novelist, their banter with the other guests introducing familiar topics of sex, gender, love, and politics. Gifted an oceanfront hotel room for their last night in the country, the two begrudgingly take up the offer, strolling through a picturesque village on their way to the shore. It's their first chance to be alone, which means it's also an occasion for nagging concerns to flare up, with the usual flirty interplay steadily building into a tense battle of wills.

The initial bickering stems from Jesse's frustrations about his teenage son, who lives with his mother in Chicago, meaning that his visits are isolated to summer and Christmas vacations. But eight years of history means that no argument is ever about just one thing, and the same delirious magnetism that impelled the couple through two films worth of mutual infatuation now has an opposite effect, dredging up the bitterness of old fights and unresolved fears. All this is enveloped by vague impressions of disaster. Celine references Roberto Rossellini's Voyage to Italy, and some initial similarities between that film and this one seem to foretell bad things to come. The discussions are so realistically convoluted, however, and so divided between positive and negative moments, that it's impossible to tell whether they're heading toward reconciliation or destruction. The conversational beats and patterns are the same as they always were, but something heavier has developed here; the magic has dissipated, and the realities of everyday life have eaten away at the edges of their storybook romance.

The downside is that, despite an impressive script enlivened by fully conceived characters, natural acting, and languorous long takes, Before Midnight never feels especially cinematic. It may not be fair to compare Linklater to Abbas Kiarostami, but considering the sunny southern European setting and one long scene shot through a car windshield, Before Midnight seems to acknowledge a debt to Certified Copy, a movie that explored similar issues of fatigue, with an equally pronounced focus on talk. The difference is that Kiarostami's masterpiece felt firmly like a movie, with a dense layer of visual imagery adding inflection and color to the verbal sparring. Linklater's film devotes the bulk of its attention to words, while the camera tags along ineffectually, mostly concerned with leaving the actors space to perform.

Yet what the film lacks in technical ambition it usually makes up for in linguistic dexterity; this is still a resoundingly solid piece of craft, from a collaborative group that's clearly invested in the development of this story. The lack of a defined visual perspective may leave things feeling slightly stagey, but the meticulous construction of these conversations, so loose and lively despite their airtight scripting, is enough for Before Midnight to feel like a major accomplishment. These films have always been about the power of words, their ability to bridge gulfs of time and space, the thrill of ideas and opinions taking definitive shape. But as the characters age, they're also less about fantasy; the spaces between these two people were once pools of idealized mystery. Now they're clogged by years of trauma and conflict. Whether you live in Paris or Chicago or amid the ancient splendor of Greece, ideal love never stays unspoiled forever; even the strongest feelings sometimes fade, irrespective of the desires of either party, and while words have the capacity to heal, they have just as much power to hurt. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight' poster: Are Jesse and Celine looking forward or looking back? >

24 April 2013 | by Jeff Labrecque

When Before Sunrise opened in 1995, it would have been difficult to predict that Richard Linklater’s sweet — but little seen — romance would deliver not one but two sequels. But after Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) promised to reconnect after their chance encounter on a European train, passionate fans demanded to know what became of their romance. With Before Sunset, the two reconnected in Paris and discovered that their chemistry was as strong as ever. And in Before Midnight, which screens tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens in theaters on May 24, we find the couple on vacation in Greece, with their children.

Click below for an exclusive poster for the film, featuring the couple looking out across the Mediterranean. Are they watching the sun set? Is midnight approaching on their storybook romance? Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - A little more love, a little more Greece in new photos from 'Before Midnight'>

20 April 2013 | by Manolis Kranakis

In the third chapter of the film lives, Jesse and Celine are in Greece. Under a blinding summer light the love story acquires the dimensions of a cosmic love story made to make you believe again irrevocably in real love.

If we had not seen the "Before Midnight" to premiere at Berlinale, just could not wait until June 13, when the Richard Linklater film will be released in theaters Greek annihilating some 20 years that have passed since that Jesse and Celine first met in Vienna in the first chapter of a retrospective trilogy than those built to your (RIS) remind that sometimes a random moment can change your life forever.

Now, with the viewing experience of the movie still fresh in our minds (even though it has been two whole months), we can not hide our emotions every time you move a new image from the "Before Midnight" that inevitably combines two of the most loved ones (in life and cinema) and the landscape of Messinia, where the movie was filmed in a cogeneration Greece - USA of those that make you feel really proud.

After the teaser released a while ago (see here) , a new series of photographs is to give certain information about the new appointment of Jesse and Celine, and recommending some of the heroes who will witness the last (;) capital of cosmic history.

Avoiding any spoiler, see below Ariana Lampedusa ('s «Attenberg» and "Alpine"), Athena Tsaggari, director Panos Koroni, Walter Lassalle (the legendary cinematographer that marked the birth of the Free Cinema and won Academy Awards for Photography the "Zorba" Michael Cacoyannis), Richard Linklater (with crutches) to guide his actors, the Ethan Hawke and Julie Ntelpi enjoy the Greek sun (photographed by Christos Voudouris), discovering beneath the blinding of rigor the importance of love.

And note the only date you need to know about this summer. After June 13, believe us, nothing will ever be the same. Neither for them nor for you. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Get a Closer Look at Before Midnight in Five New Stills>

20 April 2013 | by Kyle Buchanan

You've got another month to go until the release of Before Midnight, Richard Linklater's highly anticipated follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which reunites talky lovers Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). And so, it's time to make a decision: How much do you want to know before going in? Admittedly, Before Midnight isn't the most plotty movie in the world, but for some people, even seeing pictures from this sequel is too revealing. If you're one of those people, read no further, as Vulture's got five exclusive stills from Before Midnight to debut. However, if you're hankering for a closer look at the movie, scroll down and take in our teases. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Julie Delpy Explains Before Midnight, Feminism, and Onscreen Nudity >

19 April 2013 | by LAUREN BANS

Catherine Deneuve aside, you can pretty much thank Julie Delpy for keeping the American obsession with French women alive and kicking. There's a reason we liked the 1995 Linklater-directed indie rom com Before Sunrise so much—Delpy's Celine is hot, sophisticated, and witty, not one of those Katherine Heigl-type heroines who mistake tripping down some stairs for "being cute." This month, Before Midnight, the insanely anticipated—it's been nine freakin' years!—third installment of the series drops in on Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine, now in their early 40s with kids, and working through some Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf-level marital strife while summering in Greece. If that sounds like a turnoff, let us remind you there's still plenty of bantering and philosophizing on postcard-worthy European side streets, and Delpy is charming as ever. That latter part is evidenced quite convincingly here.

GQ: You, Hawke, and the trilogy's director, Richard Linklater, shacked up together in a hotel room to write Before Midnight. Was there anything left in the minibar?

Julie Delpy: We didn't drink alcohol, fortunately! We did eat Greek salad for lunch and dinner every day, and lots of Greek sweets. Mostly, we just worked like crazy for two months. If an idea only works for one person, we forget it. Even if two people like the idea, but say, I don't like something I'm supposed to say [onscreen], they have to make the argument for it, convince me.

GQ: That's so democratic. Very Greek!

Julie Delpy: It's important to check each other. I'm the barking dog in the room. I'm like, "Hey, that's chauvinistic, you fuckers!" and they love it. It makes them laugh, you know? I'm such a feminist. But not in a wearing overalls and hating men kind of way. I love men. I was raised by feminists, so it's digested. Why am I even justifying myself? I'm a feminist.

GQ: Me too. No justification necessary. But now I am going to ask you about going topless in the movie. Sorry. Bad timing.

Julie Delpy: I wanted it to be realistic! Sometimes I see films where people have sex with a bra on. I mean, what country do they come from? I don't think I've ever had sex with a bra on in my life, except maybe once. It's not the most comfortable thing to be acting topless. I've never actually showed my body that much, even though I'm a French actress. It was a big deal for me to do it. This movie isn't fantasy. This is a film for people who can handle a pair of tits.

GQ: That should go on the movie poster.

Julie Delpy: Some people were like, "It's not feminist. You're showing your tits and he's not showing his ass." But I remember my mom in the seventies, and how all the fights for feminism were about being topless and not having to wear a bra at the beach. Isn't it the people who are hiding women behind layers of clothes who are the misogynists? I'm a real person, so it's a statement to say, "Alright, I'm a forty-year-old woman, and this is what you get with no plastic surgery. Not even plucking my eyebrows."

GQ: It's pretty rare to see a movie about a couple in their early 40s. Even a hot one.

Julie Delpy: In Hollywood any woman over forty is basically buried alive already. It's funny, in a year, I could probably play Christian Bale's mother, but I'm already too old to play Clint Eastwood's girlfriend.

GQ: In the first installment, Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celene meet on a train. Does that kind of thing even happen anymore? Do people still talk to strangers?

Julie Delpy: I hope people still meet like that. Though if Celene and Jesse had met now, at twenty-two, they probably would have just friended each other on Facebook. But in 1993, when the first film was made, I didn't have an e-mail address. I didn't even have a computer, because I was very late with computers. Actually, I was reading an article about this—I love science, so I read only science, and history—but it was saying that using social networks is actually very bad. Because, genetically we're supposed to be attracted to partners that have a very different immune system, and that you can't judge on the Internet.

GQ: It's smell, right?

Julie Delpy: Yeah, it's basically smell. We're attracted to people who will give us a baby with the strongest immune system. The Internet could lead to a lot of people who are genetically similar having kids with shitty immune systems, and everyone is going to die. It could be the end of our species, really.

GQ: So how can a man approach a woman on a train without seeming like a creep?

Julie Delpy: I was want to say something dirty, but I can't...

GQ: Please do!

Julie Delpy: Okay: Go down on them! That's my answer. No, really: what can I say? If you're creepy, you're creepy. If you're a creep, don't try to pick up a woman on the train. Don't try to pick up anyone, because it will be creepy. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 'Before Midnight': Third Time's Just as Charming>

20 April 2013 | by RICHARD LAWSON

Forget Iron Man 3, the most important threequel of the year is Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, the third installment in the talky, walky film series he's written with the actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Supposedly this is the end of the series, making the project a trilogy, but there's wonderfully nothing finite about the film, which is currently part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The two lives in this film are more concrete and established than they are in Before Sunrise or Before Sunset, but the same sense of ambiguity that made the previous two films such fluid and tantalizing delights is fully present in Before Midnight. Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke, all wizards of simplicity and naturalness, have made something that's sublimely honest and direct, and yet never heavy, or overstated. Though a little bluer and angrier than the previous two movies, Before Midnight is still just as charming, as appealing and ultimately enriching. It lends some much needed grace to the trilogy form.

Eighteen years ago we were introduced to Celine and Jesse, who spent their first meeting as young dreamers wandering around the streets of Vienna. Then nine years later, saddled with relationships and career issues, they reconnected in Paris and, in one of the most deliciously ambiguous endings in movie history, seemed to succumb to their old chemistry. It's strange to think that at that point they'd only spent two days of their lives together, because now, another nine years later, they are in a committed, long-term relationship. They have twin daughters (Jesse also has a son, whom we meet in the film's wonderful, quietly heartbreaking first scene) and have built all the messy details of a life together. We're of course curious to hear how they've spent the last almost-decade, but the film blessedly doles out exposition and back story in only the most subtle and credible ways. Mostly we are privy only to the shorthand vernacular of the relationship, unexplained references and glancing mentions referring to much bigger stories hidden in the past. Jesse and Celine's philosophical interests have changed — from expounding on the future in Sunrise, to blearily dissecting the present in Sunset, to bickering about the past in Midnight — but their ease with one another, the sparkle of two people who are great at talking to one another, remains just the same.

The setting this time around is the Southern Peloponnese, specifically a small coastal town near Kalamata. Jesse, Celine, and family are the guests of an older English writer, who lives on a rocky old estate that has a half-salon, half-commune feel. An intelligent, earthy, and international crowd, the film's other characters feel like people Woody Allen would create were he to move to the Berkshires and chill out for a few years. Which isn't to say that they're wooden or unlikable, far from it. They synch up perfectly with the Before rhythm, and it's interesting to hear from some other people for the first time in this series, which is largely set up as a binary system.

After a lovely, rambling dinner scene, though, Jesse and Celine are alone again, walking to a nearby hotel where their friends have booked them a room for the night as something of a going away present. And so we're back with Hawke and Delpy walking and talking, talking and walking, an activity they have not lost the talent for in their forties. But because there is history now, context, the conversation is less general than it once was; we are dealing with specific foibles and fears, little arguments bubble up here and there but then dribble away. Hawke and Delpy have created an astoundingly believable relationship here, one that has all the grain and texture of the real thing. Jesse is still his charming self, but he's gotten a little tired, the old hunger for big definitions, the grasping for larger truths, has waned a bit. He's now more concerned with his interior life — worries about his son, who lives with his mother in Chicago, dominate in this brief glimpse. Meanwhile Celine, always the more pragmatic and even aloof half, has gotten just the slightest bit sour, there's a fatalism lurking in a lot of what she says. That may sound like a depressing combination, he subdued and she hardened, and it is a little, but only in the way that all aging can be, well, a little sad, or a little disappointing.

The great thing about the Before films is that they're not really about any one thing in particular, but the loose themes of Midnight include, yes, aging, but also the nature of compromise, how it strengthens a bond while also creating little resentments which can fester and corrode over time. Jesse and Celine are reasonably content with their lives, but is contentment enough? That's the question hovering over the film from the very beginning, filling the summery air with just the tiniest bit of tension. Hawke and Delpy perfectly play all the beats of an underlying conflict making its way to the light, and Linklater simply stands back and lets them. Before Midnight is sun-splashed and gorgeous, but the filmmaking is also refreshingly spare. Through long takes, Linklater gives scenes room to breathe, contracting and expanding as the dialogue requires. It's such a joy to just watch these people talk, because they're in an environment tailor-made for just that.

That's all I'm going to say about the film, which is the real must-see of this summer. (It will be in theaters in late May.) It's wonderful to spend some more time with these people, in the world that their real-life counterparts have so smartly and lovingly crafted for them. Small but practically bursting with feeling and thought, Before Midnight is transfixing in a way very few movies are. Really, I can only think of two others. Facebook Link


BIFF 2013

Winner of the Jury Prize at last year's glitzy but cutting-edge Locarno Film Festival, Austin-based writer-director Bob Byington's ferociously smart independent American comedy - the humour brandishing with a sharp, black edge - follows three decades in the life of happy-go-lucky slacker Max (Keith Poulson). "A bittersweet comedy about love and marriage, random fate and eternal youth," wrote Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Dalton, "...highly original and delightfully unorthodox. The plot takes in terminal illness, premature death, marital collapse, failed fathers and disconnected sons, yet the characters are all charming eccentrics and the overall mood is relentlessly sunny. It is an appealingly odd mix, like a Todd Solondz film directed by Wes Anderson." Watch out for Bob Schneider, Austin's cult singer-songwriter, in a charismatic cameo as a full-tilt wedding singer. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight set to screen at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in the Spotlight section>

In 1995, they won our hearts with the honesty of Before Sunrise. In 2004, that resonant magic was revisited in Before Sunset. Now, in the eagerly anticipated third chapter in the star-crossed tale of Jesse and Celine, Richard Linklater fast-forwards to nine years after the last meeting in what just may be the ending to the perfect trilogy.

Witty heartfelt dialogue seamlessly mixes with signature long takes to bring this couple to yet another crossroads in a twisting but passionate relationship. As Jesse and Celine have matured, so has their bond and candor, as familiarity, life’s ups and downs and time itself add refinement and a fresh lyrical quality to this most recent encounter.

Written by Linklater and leads Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, the film casually and intelligently touches on matters big and small while the challenges of this relationship are spun with brilliant honesty, wit and humor. Richly captured by Christos Voudouris, the picturesque streets of Greece serve as the latest backdrop to this beautifully crafted love story. Linklater and his collaborators have clearly saved their best for last.

—Genna Terranova Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up There Likes Me - Movie Review>

An easy going family comedy featuring odd people who turn out to be just like us.
Emerging director Bob Byington’s drama of family dynamics is almost too easy going for its own good. Slacker Max (Keith Poulson) works at a restaurant with maître d’ Sal (Nick Offerman--Ron Swanson on “Parks & Recreation”) and both seem ready to fall asleep at any time. The only thing that keeps the audience from going the same route is Byington’s clever minimalist dialog about searching for something better. The two never succeed completely but they never fail either. In the end, the legacy of fatherhood is preserved in a positive light. Flawed as it is, it represents a spirit of permanence that sees us through.

From what we can tell, Sal and Max have no friends except each other. The entire film does not them interacting significantly with anybody. They are detached, as if in another plane of being. As bad as they may be in making friends, they are even better at not making enemies. Both men fall in love, if one would call it that, with the same woman with funny and unimaginable consequences. Lyla (Jess Weixler) seems more of muse than a lover. As the screenplay tells us in the beginning of the film, “Marry the next woman you meet, it won’t make any difference, anyhow.”

Although this might seem to be odd advice, it reflects the overall other-worldliness of this film. Ensconced in dry humor, the philosophy seems to favor aiming high in life and avoiding success at all costs. When and if success comes, try not to notice, it is there to kill you.
The ephemeral nature of success is signified by animated vignettes inserted periodically throughout the film. They take the form of floating clouds, signifying the passage of time and the changing of circumstances beyond human control (animation by Bob Sabiston--“A Scanner Darkly”).

Although nearly a decade passes during the film, neither Sal nor Max seems to age at all. Max, especially, is depicted as being as ageless as the children of Never Never land. Writer/director Byington succeeds in making him more of a spirit than a mortal man. Throughout the film the women convey a mysterious suitcase from male heir to male heir. The suitcase contains a spirit of undefined hope and faith. We never get any more explanation than that, but the suitcase spirit runs the show more than do the characters.

This is a film about keeping the faith and being true to one’s self, regardless of the consequences. It is a classic slacker plot progression, although the probability of things working out as well as they do would seem about the same as Forest Gump becoming a multi-millionaire. At all turns the lead characters seem bound and determined to reject conventional maturity at all costs. The adult stage of life, that part that comes after childhood and before death, is firmly labeled as dangerous, deceptive and demeaning. It is a curse to be lived with and minimalized rather than exploited.

The viewer does not want to take this film too seriously. The best advice is to go with the flow and get a laugh now and the as the minimalist humor flows from the screen.

Solid, if consistently understated, supporting work by Kevin Corrigan, Jonathan Togo, Stephanie Hunt, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alex Perry and Marshall Bell. Shot by cinematographer Sean Price Williams. Great original score by Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio in addition to well-chosen upbeat picks from Albert Hammond, Jr., the Cars, Sandy Rogers, Sandie Shaw and Love Inks. Bob Schneider and Quiet Company do a funny and catchy appearance as the wedding band. It is easy to see why they were not featured more prominently in the movie; they might have stolen the show.

Visit the movie database for more information.
Directed and Written by: Bob Byington
Starring: Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson and Jess Weixler
Release Date: April 5, 2013
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violent images
Run Time: 76 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Film Review: When I Saw You>

4 April 2013 | by Amelia Smith

It's hard to recreate the 1960s with only a quarter of the budget you intended to shoot on. But that's exactly what Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir did to film When I Saw You, a story set in 1967 when Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were uprooted by the Six-Day War and many fled to refugee camps in neighbouring Jordan.

When I Saw You was screened as part of the Birds Eye View Film Festival (BEV) in London last night; BEV is an event that this year draws together cinema by headlining, female Arab directors. Jacir's debut feature Salt of this Sea was submitted for an Oscar in 2008, but she was shortly after denied entry to the West Bank.

Four years later, her newest release follows eleven-year-old Palestinian Tarek, who lost his country, his home and his father before arriving at the Harir Refugee Camp in Jordan. Here, he doesn't like his teacher, the food is slimy and he misses his old life. He sets out on a pilgrimage, to leave the camp far behind him, and with one simple mission - to go home.

Part of Tarek's charm is the pure logic of his plan and that he is oblivious to the fighting taking place in the West Bank or the circumstances that led up to his exile. To Tarek, moving to the miserable refugee camp in Jordan is temporary; a choice that can be reversed. He does not wish to contemplate a lifelong existence amongst the makeshift, prefab houses of the camp.

Along the journey to Palestine Tarek meets fadayeen (freedom fighters) and is accepted into their group, joining their daily training and watching them sing beside the campfire at night.

Jacir humanises the fadayeen who take Tarek under their wing; they appear not as ruthless terrorists, but as real people who simply want their land back. Some produce philosophical quotes; one paints and others play cards. One night Zain (Ruba Shamshoum) sings Ya layl la trooh beside the fire, the lyrics describing a garden full of colours; her stunning voice is one of the highlights of the film.

A great opening scene of Tarek skating down a dusty, uneven road near his camp promises a quirky film with impressive cinematography. The film is riddled with humour, which lightens an incredibly dire situation, but it is far too slow in parts, with long stretches where nothing happens.

Tarek himself is played brilliantly by Mahmoud Asfa, a Palestinian refugee who lives in a camp in the north of Jordan; the sons and daughters of real fighters from the time play the fadayeen. Ruba Blal plays his mother, Ghaydaa, and Saleh Bakri is Layth, a leader of the fighters. All of them are searching for a better existence in a film that emanates hope, not victimhood. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Review: Somebody Up There Likes Me>

4 April 2013 | by Jette Kernion

I've seen Somebody Up There Likes Me twice now -- once at SXSW 2012 with a lively local-heavy audience, once via screener with no one else but the cat -- and found the movie terribly funny both times. In fact, after I watched it the second time, I restarted the film so I could to see how the beginning tied into the end (it does, so pay attention) ... then had to stop myself from watching it a third time. The movie opens Friday at Violet Crown Cinema and I'm sorely tempted to go.

I liked it a lot, obviously. But I don't know whether you'd like it. Local filmmaker Bob Byington's universe is not for everyone.

Somebody Up There Likes Me is a comedy, but not in a broad sense -- its humor is very specific. I don't mean that it's full of obscure pop-culture references, either, because the movie could be set in any time or place. (You'd have to know Austin fairly well to recognize it was shot here.) The movie is off-center and your brain has to squint and tilt sideways and around the corner a little to appreciate it. Once you're in the universe of the film, however, it's wonderfully fulfilling.

At the heart of this movie is the relationship between Max (Keith Poulson) and Sal (Nick Offerman), although the focus is ostensibly on Max. Max and Sal work together in a fancy restaurant, along with Lyla (Jess Weixler), who catches Max's eye. Eventually Lyla and Max marry, and ...

You know, recounting this story does no good. It's not important what the characters are doing as much as how they're changing, or not changing, through the years. Because Somebody Up There Likes Me spans decades, although some characters never seem to look any older. Is this a reflection on how much they've matured inside? Possibly. The characters do a number of things externally that might be symbolic of their inner lives.

For example, during Max and Lyla's first date, their conversation is full of misses -- someone mishears, someone misspeaks. It's funny, it's a little awkward, and it's an apt representation of how relationships work (or don't). Lyla loves breadsticks ... and how does her enjoyment of them factor into the film? Lyla's father (Marshall Bell) appears to be an almost tangential character, but what is the extent of his influence on the events in the movie? Kevin Corrigan appears in a single scene, but his advice to Max might be critical. On my second viewing, I wondered fleetingly if Sal and Max were actually different aspects of a single character. And I haven't even mentioned the suitcase.

Austin filmmaker Byington's protagonists seem to be more sympathetic and less annoying with each subsequent movie. I couldn't abide the lead in RSO [Registered Sex Offender], wanted to shake some sense into the title character of Harmony and Me ... but merely rolled my eyes a lot at Max. Poulson epitomizes the man-child character we've seen in so many mainstream comedies ... but this movie twists that stereotype, taking it to its logical conclusion. Offerman is unsurprisingly excellent as Max's work partner Sal, and Weixler lights up every scene she's in, with a disingenuous way of delivering lines that makes her character more than just the protagonist's love interest.

The music, scored by Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend, is bubbly and strange and almost childlike at times. (I heard what sounded like a toy piano at one point.) It includes motifs that stick in your head and guide you subtly without sticking an emotion right in your face like too many blockbuster scores do. Local musician Bob Schneider, a regular in Byington's movies, appears briefly as a wedding singer backed up by Quiet Company. The score fits right in with the breezy animated transitions from Bob Sabiston.

I worry I've made Somebody Up There Likes Me sound obtuse and dense and overly arty ... and it's not. It's a comedy where the humor is not merely for humor's sake -- something else is going on. It requires that you pay attention. It requires that you think. But the payoff is far richer than in a comedy full of pratfalls and poop jokes.

Austin connections: The movie was shot in Austin and Smithville with a primarily local crew. You'd have to look carefully to spot Austin landmarks, and they're hardly iconic -- Austin-Bergstrom Airport, a glimpse of Royal Blue Grocery, the GSD&M building, what might be the Drag. This is the third movie in a year where I've spotted the restaurant Justine's. If you're a fan of Austin indies, you're going to recognize many of the actors in supporting roles: Chris Doubek, Jonny Mars (sporting an impressive mustache), Paul Stekler and Andrew Bujalski, among others. If you're a fan of Byington's previous films, you can have fun spotting many actors from those movies in brief roles. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Rejoice! Female Arab filmmakers finally get their moment>

5 April 2013 | by Katy Brand

The annual Bird’s Eye View (BEV) Film Festival kicked off last night with a screening of When I Saw You, a film by Annemarie Jacir, Palestine’s first female director. The theme of this year’s event is celebrating female Arab filmmakers, and not before time.

Founded by Rachel Millward over a decade ago, the Birds Eye Festival was intended to be a direct response to the paucity of female influence in the upper echelons of the movie business – fewer than 10 per cent of directors are female, and 15 per cent of screenwriters. As I am currently writing a film that I will also direct, and I am firmly in the minority in that respect, I am glad that year after year this festival shines a welcome spotlight on the talents of us ‘birds’ in film around the world.

Indeed, as Dame Helen Mirren pointed out at the Empire Awards recently, in response to Sam Mendes’ acceptance speech, "It was great to hear Sam [Mendes'] list of moments that inspired him... I did however note there was not one woman's name there, behind the camera…Nothing against Sam … I hope, I pray, I know in five or 10 years, when the next Sam gets up and make his or hopefully her speech … there will be 2 or 3 or 4 women's names there ... Go girls!"

And to choose Arab filmmakers as the focus is a master (or mistress?) stroke. Never have the rights of women in Middle Eastern cultures been so widely considered – the great optimism that followed the so-called Arab Spring regarding equal rights for some of the most oppressed in the world has been tempered with increasing reports of sexual violence meted out those women who dare to claim their share of any new found freedoms.

The assault of Egyptian women in particular, along with female Western reporters in the angry crowds, shocked the world, and so it seems highly appropriate that In The Shadow of a Man, an award-winning documentary from Egyptian director Hana Abdalla (Best Documentary Director, Doha Tribeca Film Festival, 2012) has its own screening and Q&A session at the BFI tonight.

In the face of disturbing evidence to the contrary, the film’s tagline is; “Deep down, the women in Egypt know the future is theirs...” and BEV’s website describes it as a “courageous, intimate and politically explosive film (that) weaves together stories of marriage, divorce, love and resistance against Egypt's greater struggle for freedom”.

Elsewhere in the programme, that runs in various locations around London until April 10, you will find such gems as the UK premiere of Yema, a modern family drama from Algeria’s Djamila Sahraoui, A Tale of Two Syria’s from Yasmin Fedda, and The Lebanese Rocket Society by Joana Hadjithomas and KhalilJoreige, depicting how “in 1961, a Lebanese university professor and his students launched their own improbable entry to the international space race. From disastrous rocket fuel experiments to test launches that united pan-Arabist optimism, this internationally acclaimed documentary excavates a forgotten moment in history and recalls the utopian possibilities that ultimately lost out to civil and regional conflict.”

It’s a fascinating, edifying, educational and life-affirming selection of features, documentaries and shorts from an inspiring collection of women making world-class films.

The Bird’s Eye View Festival is still going strong, and in some ways, this gives rise to an internal conflict – you don’t necessarily want it to have to exist, but given the world we live in, you are glad that it does. I hope, like Dame Helen, that the future holds a more gender balanced film industry, but whilst it is the way it is, BEV is necessary and welcome, and who knows, one day the boys might be good enough to join in too… Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody' Gets a Hometown Welcome>

6 April 2013 | by MONICA RIESE

There was nothing unclear (or uncular or avuncular, for that matter) about the audience's adoration for Somebody Up There Likes Me at its opening night at the Violet Crown Cinema last night.

And, of course, it didn't hurt that writer/director Bob Byington and star/producer Nick Offerman were in attendance.

"Can you believe they have ottomans in the goddamn theatre?" Offerman mused before the showing, setting the tone for the riotously wry couple hours ahead.

(The film is at once whimsical and deadpan, comedic and tragic, a coming-of-age and wholly immortal, and you should read more about it in our review. But suffice it to say these two are storytellers with incredibly dry senses of humor, so we were in for a treat in the Q&A that followed.)

Somebody received a few grants from the Austin Film Society during production, and it premiered at the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival, which would already make this week's Austin release a homecoming of sorts. Add in the fact that Byington calls this town home, and that the film was shot here – including recognizable shots at the airport, Justine's Brasserie, the Mueller development, and, indeed, the very theatre where we sat – and it becomes impossible not to root for the home team.

AFS sponsored the evening, proceeds of which benefited the newly rechristened AFS Grant (formerly Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund), and the society's Holly Herrick shepherded the Q&A after the screening.

How many of the answers were completely improvised by Offerman? We may never know. Take this one, for example:

When asked how he came up with the concept for the story, Byington deflected, saying he figured "most people are here to see Nick and hear him tell jokes," so Offerman launched into an origin story in which "Bob woke up one day in a house that was not his own," looked out on a swimming pool, was struck by creative ideas, inspired by nostalgic notions about his own father, and forced to write early in the morning with modem unplugged so he could better tap his creative energies. Byington: "That's 100 percent accurate."

Offerman also may or may not have exaggerated an anecdote in which he left the Sin City premiere in tears, and/or his role of waggling his fingers in front of a lighting instrument to make it look like a film screening (or was it Midnight in Paris after all?). He did finally cop to "being somewhat facetious for humorous effect" when someone asked if he was truly irked by having smaller roles in two previous Byington works, so really, there's no telling.

But these things we're pretty sure are sincere: 1) The two first collaborated on 1999's Treasure Island and they "appreciated each other's love of language." 2) Offerman suggested he's "there to be one of the colors the artist paints with" and casts himself as a lovely shade of chartreuse. 3) The two are investigating a vehicle for that "gorgeous stack of curves that played the therapist" (Offerman says of Megan Mullally, to whom he is married in real life).

And, really, if nothing else, this we know to be true: Somebody is finally home, sweet home. Facebook Link

THINGS PEOPLE DO - Production Begins in New Mexico for Things People Do Starring Wes Bentley>

4 April 2013 | by PAULA SCHWARTZ

Production began this week in New Mexico for “Things People Do,” starring Wes Bentley, Vinessa Shaw, Haley Bennett and Jason Isaacs (so terrific in a little-seen movie called “Good” from 2006).

Wes Bentley (“Hunger Games,” “American Beauty”) plays Bill Scanlin, a man who loses his job and, unable to tell his wife (Shaw) and fearing he’ll lose his family, embarks on a life of crime. He befriends a detective, Frank McTiernan (Isaacs), who has chosen to uphold the law for a living but believes very little in its value.

Ruby (Bennett), the first stranger to show him kindness, inspires Bill to commit a crime in her honor, and he starts to enjoy his newfound power. As Bill stays ahead of the law, he discovers that sometimes the only thing worse than getting caught is getting away with it.

The film is written and directed by Saar Klein; producers are Sarah Green, Hans Graffunder, and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos; and executive producers are Doug Liman, Nicolas Gonda, Ryan Rettig, Michael Macs, Kurt Billick, and David Klein. Joe Conway is co-writer with Marc Streitenfeld as composer and Hank Corwin as editor.

Saar Klein is a two-time Academy Award nominee for his work editing Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” and Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.” Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up There Likes Me Exclusive Clip: Nick Offerman, Pizza, And Ice Cream>

29 March 2013 | by Katey Rich

Nick Offerman has become famous to millions of Parks & Recreation fans as the imperious and eternally cranky Ron Swanson, which is why you might be surprised by the version of him you see in Somebody Up There Likes Me. As you can see in the exclusive clip above, Offerman plays a guy who works at a restaurant, and has been doing so for a long, long time-- way too long, in fact. Fresh off the dissolution of his marriage to a woman (Jess Weixler) who is also his buddy's (Keith Poulson) ex-wife, he's clearly looking for a new start-- and as we all know, the only safe investment in this world is in pizza and ice cream.

An indie comedy currently available on VOD, Somebody Up There Likes Me is also playing at Brooklyn's BAM Cinematek throughout the weekend, with live Q&As from Offerman himself on Friday and Saturday night. You can click here for more information on that. And if you want to catch up on more material from the movie, there's a whole lot of it out there, and a lot of it is slightly insane. There's the exclusive illustrated poster that we debuted, plus the trailer, and then a video featuring Parks & Recreation's Adam Scott and Community's Alison Brie-- neither of whom are actually in the movie-- that's totally nuts. Megan Mullally, Offerman's wife and co-star in the movie, also features in. Actually, that one's so weird and wonderful that we really owe it to ourselves to revisit it: Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Director Bob Byington on Somebody Up There Likes Me>

29 March 2013 | by Nick Dawson

It’s rare to come across a film that genuinely feels “different,” but Bob Byington’s Somebody Up There Likes Me is one of those films. Byington is an Austin-based writer/director and has worked (on both sides of the camera) with a number of mumblecore and post-mumblecore figures, directing Justin Rice and Alex Karpovsky in his 2009 feature Harmony and Me while also cameoing in Andrew Bujalski’s Beeswax and Alex Ross Perry’s The Color Wheel. His recent films, the gleefully edgy RSO [Registered Sex Offender] and the charming, sweet Harmony, were quirky indie comedies but definitely felt like they fit within a recognizable spectrum. With his latest film, though, Byington genuinely breaks new ground.

Somebody Up There Likes Me tells the story of a quartet of characters: waiter Max (the excellent Keith Poulson), his restaurant colleague Sal (Nick Offerman), Max’s wife Lyla (Jess Weixler), and his young mistress Clarissa (Stephanie Hunt). However, this is not a movie about relationships, as these characters never find tangible connection, nor seem to particularly seek it. Max is a highly unusual protagonist – superficial, unfeeling and unaffected by the peaks and troughs of life. The film skates through time, with “Five Years Later” title cards appearing sporadically, but the years don’t seem to touch the characters, who get older but don’t really look it and definitely don’t act it. Max has a suitcase that may or may not keep him eternally young, however it does not explain his anesthesia to life. Somebody Up There Likes Me is very funny, with some moments that are dry and some plain silly, but the film’s comedy is undercut by a sense of deep existential sadness. It is a contradiction, a work that is simultaneously slight and substantial, and one that suggests Byington may be entering a new and very promising period of his career.

Filmmaker spoke with Byington over Skype about his new film, his inability to write in a three-act structure, and the benefits of making films with known actors. Somebody Up There Likes Me opens today at BAM through Tribeca Film and is also now available on VOD.

Filmmaker: You just told me your cat is named Max, just like the main character in Somebody Up There Likes Me. Which Max came first?

Byington: My cat. I had called the Max character Harmony when I wrote the script and then quickly realized that wouldn’t work so I renamed him Max, went back to Max, which I think is an Annie Hall-Rushmore cat combination.

Filmmaker: Are those two big movies for you?

Byington: I used to watch Annie Hall and Rushmore more regularly than I do now, but those are two big movies for me, sure. Romantic comedies.

Filmmaker: When I watched the film, it kind of struck me that it doesn’t seem like a lot of other films. It kind of has its own thing, tonally. This just felt very original and incredibly distinct from so much else that I’ve seen.

Byington: That’s good. There was a first draft and not a lot of tinkering or dickeying was done to that draft. That might be why you got that feeling. I think we’re lucky in that regard.

Filmmaker: How quickly do you write, then? How long was it from that draft to actually getting it made?

Byington: I think that draft got put down over the course of a few weeks. And then the producer read it a few months after I had finished it. He didn’t read it right away. But I remember he read it over Thanksgiving 2010 and he sort of got the ball rolling on it right away. He wanted to get it made. And then we were shooting six months after he read it. We’re developing another project right now. It’s being developed more traditionally. It’s taking longer and it’s taking more work. I realized with the last movie, Somebody Up There Likes Me, we had a kind of whimsical development process where it nicely avoided some of the stuff that we’re not avoiding right now.

Filmmaker: You have a really great cast. How did that come together that you got with Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler and Megan Mullaly?

Byington: Well. Nick and Keith [Poulson] were the guys I wrote the script for. Keith is going to be generally more available than Nick. Nick is a pretty busy actor, but we got lucky. We ended up getting Nick for a month. He ended up producing the movie and working really hard on it.

And then Jess came in to meet with me and I asked her to audition and she said no. I didn’t really like when she said that, but I understood it. She said she didn’t think it would help anything. And then we talked to a couple of other actresses and went back to her. When she came in and was talking about the script, I thought she was trying to say what I wanted to hear so I didn’t really trust the idea of hiring her. But I think she really got it, and that was born out when we shot the movie. She was just on top of everything. She knew the material better than I did during the job. I went off somewhere where I was thinking about things I didn’t necessarily need to think about and she was always on track with the material so that was great.

Filmmaker: What were those kind of other things?

Byington: I remember there was one scene where we were having some trouble with some crew member and we had decided we were going to let him go at the end of the night. And I was hoping that the production team agreed with me that we wanted to replace that person, so I was thinking about that and there were two lines at the end of the scene that we were shooting and Jess was like, “You know, we haven’t shot those two lines. We need to shoot those.”

Filmmaker: Where does Somebody Up There Likes Me come from? It feels very different from Harmony and Me.

Byington: Well, I don’t know where it comes from. I would describe it as coming from a pretty bleak sensibility. I do know I was in a kind of pocket of contentment when I wrote the script, so it came from a very bleak sensibility where I was somehow content or happy and wrote all this down. And I found a kind of humor and charm in some of the things that we don’t normally find humor or charm in, like people dying or people getting sick. I was able, just for that brief space of time, to locate some comedy in those things. Like, how do you do a joke about liver cancer? And I don’t know if you set out to do it, if that’s going to work. But for some reason in the script, there’s a confrontation about it and it just worked out for me as a comedy moment.

Filmmaker: When I was writing down some notes, I think bleak is one of the words I wrote down. I’s a mixture of kind of silly and bleak.

Byington: Yeah, I agree with that. Life is absurd for sure. You’re not gonna be able to talk me out of that one. And I’m interested in jokes. I think we talked about that in the Harmony interview, about how you make jokes work onscreen.

Filmmaker: It’s one of those clichés that the root of all comedy is tragedy, but I haven’t really seen a lot of films where the two sit so close o each other. The bleak elements are usually more submerged.

Byington: It was really just accidental, it wasn’t deliberate. I showed the script to my agents, and they didn’t think that script was funny at all. I’m just lucky that Hans Graffunder, the producer, that his sense of humor lines up with mine and he found the script funny. I had shown him other scripts of mine and he didn’t want to make them, but he read this and was like, “Let’s make this.” He responded to the tone and humor. I think if it had been more deliberate, it wouldn’t have worked.

Filmmaker: Yeah, I was wondering if this would have read so well on the page. Did it take table reads to get people to see what the film really was?

Byington: I gotta tell you, Nick Offerman read it and I don’t think he got it, but his wife [Megan Mullally] read it and she got it. That’s my opinion about what happened. He kind of denies that and then she laughs when we tell the story. I think he read it and it was kind of okay, and then she read it and was like, “Nick, you’re out of your mind, this thing is great and you need to do it.” And then he came back and read it again, and wanted to do it. She’s got a very refined sense and comic ability, Megan. So, I maintained that we caught a break that she made him reread it.

Filmmaker: Did you have, when you talked about the film, comic reference points or films you would bring up?

Byington: Yeah, Bananas is a reference point for me, the Woody Allen.

Filmmaker: Weirdly, the film reminded me of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, which also has a protagonist who is seemingly ageless and sort of floats through time, only partly connected to the people around them. There’s a sensibility to your film that I thought is incredibly sophisticated. You treat time so interestingly. Obviously there’s the device of the suitcase, but that felt very playful, like you’re not supposed to depend too much on that.

Byington: I read something that Zadie Smith or Jhumpa Lahiri wrote about characters and writing; it said when they would get bored with a character, they would kill it. That really struck me and stuck with me. A lot of times, if you’re working with a character and they’re not really doing anything anymore, you’ll stop writing them. But this is a more radical solution; kill them. [Writing this film] I would get stuck sometimes, and I would either kill them or write “Five years later.” That turned out to be the way to deal with getting stuck, or writer’s block, and then we just worked with those times jumps and it worked out. I wanted time to accelerate as he gets older, as the story goes along, and that was one of the biggest challenges in making the movie, putting that across. You’re supposed to feel like the five-year periods are shortening as he gets older.

Filmmaker: At what point did that become a structural element of the film that is driving the narrative, because obviously it’s not a typical three-act structure.

Byington: I don’t know how to write three acts. I think I’ve admitted that to myself. Harmony and Me and Somebody Up There Likes Me are like 75-minutes; they’re like sprints. I think if I might make a 90-minute movie I might try to split it into three acts, but all these movies seem like they are 70 to 75-minutes. I’d love to try to make a longer movie with a three act structure, I just don’t seem to know how exactly.

Filmmaker: It seems that as you progress the casts of your movies are more and more high-profile.

Byington: Well, because of Nick. He’s a TV actor people have heard of and I can’t tell you how much more fun it is to have a movie come out with an actor people have heard of. We’re like, “Hey, we have Ron Swanson [Offerman's character from Parks and Recreation] in the movie,” and people are like, “Okay, cool. He’s really funny.” That’s just been a huge relief after 20 years of banging my head against a wall of actors nobody’s heard of.

Filmmaker: It’s funny because this movie has a starrier cast than Harmony, but is also more distinctive and daring. Is it possible for you to continue going in that direction of making bigger budget and higher profile movies that continue to be on your terms?

Byington: That’s a good question, and we’ll see. This next one’s supposed to be a little bigger budget, but we’re already running into some of the problems that come with a bigger budget. Mainly actors’ schedules and I think the more money you have, the longer you want to shoot. The more pages you want to shoot. The new script is at 130 pages right now, for example. You wade into a lot of problems that you’re not necessarily going to know how to handle or be good at handling. And I think some good directors are the ones that tend to be flexible in the face of some of those obstacles, say losing an actor that you really want. Everybody knows all the Terry Gilliam stories and maybe his tragic flaw as a director has something to do with getting too attached to certain things, which is what you’re supposed to do as a director anyway. You’re supposed to have a vision and really believe in stuff; but then when you lose an actor, you’re supposed to be able to move on.

Filmmaker: Given what we’ve already discussed, how come you wrote a 130-page script?

Byington: That’s a good question. I’m working with another writer. That’s part of it. Who’s the coolest writer I could be working with. Rather than saying who it is, we’ll say that’s who I’m working with.

Filmmaker: I really loved the music in this film, which I think is a great anchor for the action.

Byington: If you’re going to try to make a movie that you want to be entertaining, one of the things I try to do with the music is be very mindful of how I respond to a song the first time I hear it. So, there’s a half a dozen music tracks that are in the movie or more. Of the half a dozen I’m think of right now, they all have this catchy quality. There’s a Cars song called “Double Life” and this is a song that I had heard in that documentary on Keith Hernandez that’s online. Same with the Sandy Rogers song from Reservoir Dogs. There’s a Sandie Shaw song; same thing, very catchy. And these Albert Hammond songs, very catchy. The Pixies are probably my favorite band, but I don’t want to put Pixies songs in a movie because I don’t think that that music is particularly user-friendly the first time you hear it. I mean you’re preaching to the choir. If you’re going to put a Pixies song in a movie, the only people who are going to like it are people who have already heard the Pixies. Whereas with somebody like Albert Hammond, you can hear that music and like it the first time you hear it.

And then with Chris Baio, his band Vampire Weekend are obviously very interested in pop songs and popular music, and Chris definitely brought that sensibility and we talked about that a lot. We talked about the music in Bananas and Brief Encounter and Hudsucker Proxy. We talked about music that would immediately land and he went into it with that attitude. And then he worked way harder and did a way better job than I could’ve fathomed him doing. I thought he was kind of going to give us a couple riffs that we could use; he worked about 700% harder than I thought he was going to.

Flmmaker: I feel like the score is so helpful in sort of nailing that sense of what this film is.

Byington: One of the reasons you wouldn’t like the film is because the music wants to be liked. And there are some viewers, they don’t want to see a movie where the music wants to be liked, you know? They’re gonna…the people who don’t like the movie are going to bridle like, “Don’t give me this, I don’t want this.” And that’s fine, it’s not for everybody.

Filmmaker: Have you seen the Soderbergh movie The Informant? That’s another film where the score is just phenomenal, because again it just perfectly nails the film’s tone.

Byington: Did Marvin do that score?

Filmmaker: Marvin Hamlisch did it, yeah.

Byington: That guy was fucking brilliant.

Filmmaker: Yeah, he was a genius.

Byington: Really sad that he’s not alive. There’s a great interview about Bananas where they ask him about Marvin Hamlisch and he says, “Marvin Hamlisch has retired and operates a horse farm in Kentucky.” Facebook Link

March 2013

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw You review on CNN. Arab women directors find acclaim worldwide>

29 March 2013 | by Tim Hume

London (CNN) -- Film-making was not an obvious career path for the young Annemarie Jacir.
The daughter of Palestinian parents, she spent 16 years growing up in Saudi Arabia -- "a country of no cinema," she says -- where public movie theaters have been banned for more than three decades.

Jacir, who is also a poet, thought she wanted to write fiction, perhaps do screenwriting. But the possibility of film-making was not something that occurred to her until much later.

Just as well it did. The Jordanian-Palestinian director's second feature film, "When I Saw You," has been winning awards at film festivals around the world, part of a wave of Arab women filmmakers recently gaining critical acclaim worldwide.

Having won prizes at film festivals in Abu Dhabi, Oran, Cairo and Berlin, the film will have its UK premiere next month in London at the Bird's Eye View Film Festival, an event devoted to championing women filmmakers and which is this year focusing on Arab cinema.
Oscar nod for Palestinian film

Among the films on the schedule - six features, nine documentaries, plenty of shorts -- is director Haifaa Al Mansour's feature debut "Wadjda" -- the first ever feature by a Saudi woman, and the first feature film to be shot entirely in the conservative kingdom. Clearly things are changing.

"In the last couple of years we've seen the sudden emergence of women from across the Arab region winning big awards at the international festivals," said Will Young, producer of Bird's Eye View, which was founded in response to the fact that only about 10% of movies worldwide are made by women. The week-long festival begins on April 3 in London.

Set in Jordan in 1967, Jacir's film tells the story of an 11-year-old Palestinian refugee, Tarek and his mother, displaced by war to the Harir camp in Jordan.

"I was interested in the time period of the late '60s with the liberation movements -- the moment before everything went bad, everything got corrupt," she said. "Young people dreamed of a better world and had agency in their own lives."

Jacir said that aside from funding possibly being harder to come by for women, she did not believe she encountered any particular obstacles related to her gender because, as a Jordanian-Palestinian director, she was creating films in a place without an established industry.

"When you're coming from a country in which everyone's building up together, I don't feel boxed in as a woman," she said. "It's much easier to work as a woman in a country that doesn't have an established system the way Egypt or Hollywood does, one that women have traditionally been left out of."

Recent interest in the Gulf, as evidenced by the rise of film festivals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, had led to increased funding opportunities, which she had taken advantage of for her second feature.

"The Gulf is interested in film and supporting filmmakers," she said. "With my film, there was no censorship, there was no control of the subject -- that's a concern for a lot of filmmakers when you take funds, especially from conservative countries."

Sabine El Chamaa, a Lebanese director whose latest short "Un Mardi (One Tuesday)" won first prize in the short film category at the Dubai Film Festival and will be screening in the Bird's Eye line-up, agreed.

"There have been Arab filmmakers for a long time... it's just that the film industry, whether for women or men, is one that is difficult because there's no funding and you have to figure out your own manner of making films," she said.

Even once films are made, filmmakers face obstacles, with distribution proving a particular challenge.

While Jacir's films gained theatrical releases in a number of western countries, she also wanted to share them with Jordanian and Palestinian move-goers.

"Your cast and crew are from that country," said Jacir. "You hope there's a broader audience but I think it's really important to prioritize your own audience and share your film with them."
Read also: Man-made desert lake - bird-watcher's paradise or ecological disaster?
But cinema owners in the region are often reluctant to support local films. "They say nobody wants to see local films, they want to see Hollywood films," said Jacir
Despite a positive reception at festivals, her first feature film did not gain theatrical release throughout the Arab world, leading her team to distribute the film themselves throughout the Palestinian Territories.

It was then that she had encountered "the other problem for cinema in the Arab world" - piracy.
"Go into any DVD store and for one dinar, all these films are available," she said.

"I had dinner a recently with a friend of my mother's and she said really innocently, 'I loved Salt of this Sea, I found a copy of it then I made 100 copies and gave it to my friends. They don't see how that hurts the filmmaker."

Despite the obstacles faced in bringing their vision to the screens, Young said the recent a success of Arab women filmmakers "was something incredibly exciting both within the industry and for audiences."

"Both (Jacir and Al Mansour) come from countries that previously didn't have role models of women directors - hopefully that can encourage a new generation to express themselves." Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up the Likes Me - Jess Weixler Is Comedy's Next Big Thing>

28 March 2013 | by LORRAINE CWELICH

We would call Jess Weixler a face to watch, except that we know she is already poised to be the next big thing. With four films set for release this year, 2013 is going to be a breakout year for the actress, beginning with Somebody Up There Likes Me.

Weixler and Keith Poulson's characters Lyla and Max are adorable together as a married couple, until he hooks up with their son’s nanny and, for revenge, she gets busy with Poulson’s best (and only) friend, Sal, played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation). Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) is their off-the-wall therapist. The story is told in five-year increments, punctuated with animated segues by Bob Sabiston (A Scanner Darkly) over 35 years, except Poulson, who never matures or seems to age (“He’s a particularly infantile man,” laughed Weixler.)

Whimsical, eccentric and off-center, Somebody Up There Likes Me won the Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. Austin-based filmmaker Bob Byington is a master of tone similar to Wes Anderson’s. It's a deadpan, laugh-out-loud humor, which is ironic without becoming precious or annoyingly hipster (after all, his flannel-free characters live in a cul-de-sac). The light-hearted score is by Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio.

The incandescent and comically brilliant Weixler, whom we caught up with during fashion week, has won awards at both the Sundance Film Festival and Gotham Independent Film Awards and been dubbed “The New Indie Queen” by New York magazine. Later this year, Weixler appears in Best Man Down with Justin Long, Look of Love with Annette Bening, and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with her former roommate at Juilliard, Jessica Chastain.

ELLE: What was your approach to your character, Lyla?
Jess Weixler: I loved playing this girl because she’s not the sharpest tack in the box, but I feel like she’s all heart. Rarely do you get to play people who are really open and haven’t been jaded by the world yet and [Byington] let me start her in this place of real innocence, detached but very sincere and open.

ELLE: What are your thoughts on being called an indie queen?
JW: I feel like there are so many indie queens, and I get to work with so many great indie girls. Kate [Lyn Sheil] was in the movie. Right now I’m working with a friend, Jennifer Prediger (Red Flag). There’s just a lot of cool girls out there.

ELLE: How do always keep your characters so funny and real?
JW: In movies, you get to explore parts of yourself that in real life, people shy away from, like looking stupid or embarrassing yourself or getting too angry, anything inappropriate. As an actor, you walk into those moments. You have to train yourself to walk into the heat, you know? Walk into the embarrassment, sadness, the stuff that’s raw and very human becomes your friend.

ELLE: Which directors are on your wish list?
JW: The Coen Brothers. Michael Haneke.

ELLE: Do you still live in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn?
JW: Right now I’m between living in the East Village [in NYC] and Santa Monica [California]. I never pictured myself as being bicoastal. But half of my jobs are in New York and half in L.A.

ELLE: What do you like to do for fun?
JW: I really like going to see movies. I know that’s super boring but it’s true! In L.A., I like to surf. I went through a phase—I was surfing four days a week. I’m still not good at it; I still spend most of my time falling.

ELLE: Who are your favorite designers?
JW: I like Honor and Cynthia Vincent, because it’s sort of classic and day-to-day. And I’m starting to wear a friend of mine, Kal Rieman. I don’t know if tomboy is the word, but there’s a unisex feel to it.

ELLE: What TV shows are you currently watching?
JW: Like everybody else I am obsessed with multiple TV shows. I like Breaking Bad and even The Good Wife before I got on that show but recently, I’ve become obsessed with Six Feet Under and right now I’m tearing through [the DVD]. I spend my nights cuddled up with my laptop!

ELLE: What is the last movie you adored?
JW: Amour. I was really moved by it. Also I’m obsessed with the French movie, The Intouchables. It’s the highest grossing French movie ever made.

ELLE: Tell us about your experience at The Juilliard School.
JW: I feel like I owe Juilliard everything...coming from Kentucky at age 17, having a school like that giving me a chance. And if you can’t afford it, you can get a scholarship. They made me feel like I could do this for a living. Also, they forced me to play uncomfortable characters, and that’s when I started realizing how much fun it was to not always act sweet and nice. They force you out of your comfort zone, and force you to play, like, grandmother characters, so you’re not always playing the ingénue or girlfriend.

ELLE: Did you and Jessica wreak havoc in the city as college students?
JW: She was a little more studious, and I was a little more into seeing what was out there in the city. It was good because I dragged her out to go dancing and she helped me learn my lines.

Somebody Up There Likes Me opens Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, nationally in select theaters, and on demand at iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix. Jess Weixler and Nick Offerman are doing Q&As at BAM on Saturday, March 30. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Movie review: 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' and for good reason>

29 March 2013 | by David Lewis

American cinema has been churning out slacker movies for what seems like eons — to the point where some of us are begging for mercy — so it's refreshing to report that "Somebody Up There Likes Me" enlivens the genre with a welcome breath of imagination, wit and charm.

This is a briskly paced, well acted, smartly scripted and surprisingly complex comedy about Max Youngman, an aptly named waiter who can't grow up, both literally and figuratively.

Thanks (perhaps) to a magical, mysterious suitcase, the mop-head Max never physically or emotionally changes over the course of 35 years, a clever conceit that fits his character perfectly.

Max slacks his way through life as everyone else changes around him. Though Max is drolly pathetic (this is a slacker movie, after all), Keith Poulson brings so much appeal and sly humor to the role that we happily go along for the ride as he bumbles his way through a life that is quickly passing him by.

It never hurts that Poulson is teamed up with Nick Offerman ("Parks & Recreation"), who plays his best friend, Sal. Offerman is deadpan, caustic and hilarious — even at a crucial graveyard scene in which promising director Bob Byington captures just the right tone.

In the end, there are some loose ends involving that magical suitcase, but life isn't always so tidy, either. This is a fine film that will appeal to slackers and non-slackers alike. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up There Likes Me: Death! Divorce! Haha!>

27 March 2013 | by Henry Stewart

Rocky Marciano he ain't. Though director Byington's latest feature, far and away his best, shares its name with the 50s boxing biopic, its main character isn't a pugilistic Paul Newman—he's a schlub, a hilarious, hilarious schlub, more likely to roll with the punches than throw them. I haven't laughed more at a movie in years than I did at this epic life story, spanning decades of marriage, divorce, death, infidelity, money lost and money made. Keith Poulson plays the personification of Whatever, an almost robotically disaffected young man whose life chugs along toward death: he gets dumped, resolves to marry, marries, works at a restaurant (with his best friend, a chain-smoking, John Goodmanesque Nick Offerman), has a son, comes into an inheritance, starts a business, cheats on his wife, gets cuckolded, gets divorced, remarries, etc. (The movie hops along in five-year intervals, but most of the actors don't age.)

Byington's last movie, Harmony and Me, was clunkily improvised, and it showed; but this film was made deliberately, exactingly, and it shows: the movie pops with impeccable timing—it was sternly, efficiently edited down to 75 minutes—and pretty, witty visuals. Byington frequently channels Frank Tashlin with Merrie Melodies-esque punch lines: wacky, surreal, silly, stupid jokes he gets away with because of the otherwise well-established drollness. (Somebody is comically morose without being self-involved; it acknowledges real problems outside of heavy hearts, though it doesn't pay them much attention.) I giggled and guffawed like an idiot—much unlike the main character. Nothing fazes him nor pleases him; unmoved, he goes through the motions of the life we're led to believe we should lead. But the movie has no respect for institutions like marriage or family. Rife with strife and extramarital extracurriculars, the movie suggests it doesn't matter who the other people in our lives are—all relationships feel the same, and they all end the same. (Badly.) Somebody ends where it began, in a way that suggests that this story isn't just one man's—that it's not just his life but every life, forever, that's meaningless and unfulfilling. Well, so, you may as well treat yourself to a couple of yuks. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Somebody Up There Likes Me review on TINY MIX TAPES>

27 March 2013 | by RYAN PATRICK MOONEY

We have been running into a lot of detestable young men on screen lately. Men who don’t deserve empathy or sympathy; men who have undiagnosed personality disorders and are openly spiteful and often remorseless. Our fallback is to call this a generational issue and to pin any character demonstrating these traits with a title pulled from the books of Apatow: the inveterate man-child (a term that sounds awkward when pluralized, incidentally). But there is more substance in this archetype than indolence and narcissism. To call their personalities flawed would be an understatement. Some of these perpetual adolescents have real social deficits, and this isn’t a breed that just emerged in the past ten years. These are sad, sad people, and we are free to laugh at them.

Bob Byington has broadened his scope since 2009’s underseen and underappreciated Harmony and Me (TMT Review). With the extremely deadpan Somebody Up There Likes Me, the Austin-based director stretches the currently-popular notion of arrested development as far as it can go, spanning a lifetime and intertwining the lives of two infantile men and the woman who tolerates them. Max Youngman (Keith Poulson) and Sal (Nick Offerman) are waiters at a high-end chop house — though they make it clear they’re not interested in customer service — and they work with Lyla (Jess Wexler), a reticent girl with a breadstick obsession. After a streak of fateful events, Max takes flippant advice from a guy at his father’s funeral (Kevin Corrigan, in a very brief cameo) and decides to marry the next woman willing to accept him. The gist of Corrigan’s suggestion is that it doesn’t matter who you marry, because you’re going to be miserable with anyone. So Max impulsively marries Lyla, and the story follows their relationship for the next 35 years. While still a young couple, they get a windfall of inheritance and Max lets Sal move in and leech off their fortune, thus beginning their sordid and tragic journey together.

Max, Sal, and Lyla are stuck between having an idyllic life and being eternally depressed. They have immense wealth (for a while) and are mired in ennui. Even as time moves forward, skipping in five-year fragments, they stay young, tainted by the fountain of youth rather than blessed by it. Max appears to be fully medicated, flattened by Xanax and Zoloft, unhappy and complacent regardless of where he is in his flash of existence. Abetting this despondency is his only friend, who is so self-loathing and contemptible that we almost feel sorry for him. You may wonder how anyone could put up with a person like Sal for their entire life, but they complement each other very well. Lyla is there in the middle, reasonably sane and the one they both love and don’t respect, yet she also comes across as mildly disabled or cognitively impaired. Is their misfortune amidst great fortune funny at all? Of course it is. In a strange way, it’s like watching a bizarre incarnation of the Kardashian clan, with their darkest emotions revealed to the world, their shallowness becoming all-consuming.

For those expecting to see Ron Swanson in long form, you’re going to get a much bleaker version, the antithesis of a Renaissance man. Offerman commits to the nihilistic side of his character, with only glimpses of Sal’s compassion. He’s still worth the price of admission, but this is Max’s story, and Poulson has to carry the weight, which he does. Somebody isn’t just a character piece though: it’s also an inquiry into the slow march towards death, and Byington intersperses whimsical animation (by Bob Sabiston of Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly) to playfully accentuate the passage of time.

Buoyed by a breezy score from Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio and Megan Mullaly in a minor role as an apathetic therapist, Somebody Up There Likes Me is a deceptively rich film. If you appreciate muted jokes and melancholia, you will be in good company. I, for one, am looking forward to pressing play again. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - BEFORE MIDNIGHT special preview screening>

Event Dates: 4 June, 2013 - 5 June, 2013

Participating Cinemas: Palace Cinema Como

We are pleased to invite you to see a special advance preview of BEFORE MIDNIGHT at Palace Cinema Como on June 4th at 7pm.

We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous, in BEFORE SUNSET. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna in BEFORE SUNRISE, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

Director Richard Linklater continues his enchanting tale of a chance meeting between two strangers, bringing to it a nuanced perspective only gained by years lived. As it does in each film in the series, life carries with it new responsibilities and attitudes, forcing the two dreamers to reassess what they want next. Bolstered by an increasingly refined onscreen chemistry between lead actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, BEFORE MIDNIGHT is a fitting third chapter in one of the great love stories of American independent cinema.

Where: Palace Cinema Como
When: June 4th, 7pm
Ticket Prices: Adults $20.00

Palace Movie Club members/Greek Community of Victoria members $18.00
A glass of wine, delectable finger food and musical entertainment will be provided on the night Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Nick Offerman Break Dances on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon!>

Somebody Up There Likes Me opens in New York TODAY at the BAMcinématek in Brooklyn! Don’t miss Q&As with Nick Offerman and special guests tonight after the 7pm and 9:30pm shows and ALL DAY tomorrow, tickets are on sale now: Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Official Theatrical Trailer is now available on Yahoo! Movies> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - UK releases: Before Midnight set for June 21>

20 March 2013 | by Ian Sandwell

Warner Bros set dates for The Call and Interstellar among others, while Koch Media date four including The Frozen Ground.

Sony will release Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight on June 21, according to the latest UK schedule from Rentrak.

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the previous two entries in Linklater’s trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, made $608,000 (£403,215) and $1.4m (£932,259), respectively, in the UK.

Sony has also set Will Gluck’s remake of Annie for Feb 13, 2015, pushed back from its unset 2014 date.

As it was in the US, Warner Bros has pushed back the release of the climactic The Hobbit instalment, There and Back Again, with the official release set for Dec 19, 2014.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has made $78.9m (£52.3m) to date in the UK.

Warner Bros has also set dates for the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending (July 25, 2014), Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (Nov 7, 2014), Brad Anderson’s The Call (July 5, 2013) and moved the release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby a day forward to May 16, 2013.

StudioCanal has dated two of its high concept thrillers with Kimble Rendall’s Bait 3D set for release on April 19, 2013 to be followed by Mukunda Michael Dewil’s Vehicle 19, starring Paul Walker, on May 10.

Koch Media has dated four of its upcoming 2013 slate, after its first UK release Arbitrage crossed the £1m mark this week.

First up is Josh Boone’s Stuck in Love on June 14, followed by Scott Walker’s The Frozen Ground on June 28, Stuart Blumberg’s Thanks for Sharing on Sept 13 and Courtney Solomon & Yaron Levy’s Getaway on Oct 4.

Metrodome will release Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha on July 26. Baumbach’s strongest UK performer to date is The Squid and the Whale, which made $1.1m (£708,378) in 2006.

Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga will be released on March 29 through Ayngaran, who has also dated Valai for May 1 and Thalaivaa for June 21. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - TOP 7 Most Anticipated Films of Spring 2013>

25 March 2013 | by SHANE T. NIER

Spring gets a raw deal. This year it lasts from March 20 through June 20, yet we’ll be hearing about the summer movie season throughout May thanks to big films such as Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III. (Spoiler alert: a couple of these are on the list!)

I will admit I was darn near heartbroken that Spring Breakers fell just outside the cutoff. If it hadn’t exploded into three theaters on wintry March 15, the trailer ensured I’d have hustled to get this list out last week (something I wasn’t compelled to do for Admission, The Croods, or Olympus Has Fallen). Thanks to the wide expansion, however, I was able to see – nay, experience – it on Friday. Harmony Korine transported me to this neon, Natty Ice-fueled American dream hellscape, and it blew me away. It doesn’t qualify for this list, but it’ll have been a damn good year if it doesn’t rank among my best of 2013. The girls – Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine – are all great portraying the emptiness that courses throughout the entire film, and James Franco has never been better than as Alien, the scumbag with a surprisingly soft, vulnerable center. Plus, there’s a sequence set to Britney Spears’ “Everytime” that may be the pinnacle of cinema. I’m being hyperbolic, but it truly took my breath away. Alien has Scarface on repeat. I want this film on repeat. Constant, y’all. “Spring Break forever”? No. Spring Breakers forever.

But enough about that (he says while listening to the haunting and propulsive Cliff Martinez/Skrillex soundtrack on a loop). This is about the upcoming films I hope wow me just as much. Here are the TOP 7 films I can’t wait to see during spring 2013.

7. Iron Man 3 (May 3)

Recap: Adapting Warren Ellis’ “Extremis” arc with Drew Pearce, Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) joins the Marvel team to direct Tony Stark/Iron Man taking on a terrorist known as the Mandarin. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle are joined by newcomers Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, and James Badge Dale.
Reason: This slot almost went to Fede Alvarez’s updated Evil Dead. I’ve been a big fan of the marketing for that one, but the time spent building the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives Iron Man 3 the slight edge. A couple great trailers – and a knockout Super Bowl spot – cements it in favor of ol’ Shellhead. After not being a huge fan of Iron Man 2 – and, if I’m being honest, not falling in love with Iron Man either – I’m still massively excited and optimistic about this third film. Shane Black directing has a lot to do with that. So does the presence of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. I’m almost certain he’ll top Obadiah Stane and Ivan Vanko, something that should help put this over the top. With Thor: The Dark World looking promising for later in the year, this film should be a great start to Marvel Phase Two, and one of the better movie-going experiences of the spring.

6. Pain & Gain (April 26)

Recap: Things do not go as planned when three bodybuilders decide to kidnap and extort a wealthy gym-goer. Michael Bay directs the film based on Pete Collins’ series of articles published in the Miami New Times. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shaloub, Rebel Wilson, and Ed Harris star.
Reason: No, this isn’t a sign that the Decepticons are coming. I’m just genuinely excited about a new Michael Bay movie for the first time in ages. Pain & Gain looks smaller and more outlandish than Bay’s trifecta of toy movies, and that’s appealing considering the effects onslaught that is the Transformers series has grown so tiresome. Also tiresome are the vapid “characters” running around while robots smash into each other for hours. The characters in this look much better, and Bay cast them with seemingly perfect actors. Mark Wahlberg, who will be joining Bay in Transformers 4, looks great playing the dumb meathead ringleader. Dwayne Johnson steals the trailer, though. The completely serious way he encourages Wahlberg to get a pump is terrific, and his contention that kidnapping a guy and stealing his things is “so illegal” cracks me up. Tony Shaloub fills the smarmy rich guy role well, and Anthony Mackie is always a pleasure. I’ve watched the trailer a number of times now. It always works for me. Can’t wait to see the whole thing.

5. Fast & Furious 6 (May 24)

Recap: Sweat-drenched Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs offers America’s favorite street racing criminal crew full pardons in exchange for their help in bringing down a different batch of lawbreakers. Also, a car flies out of the flaming nose of an airplane! Justin Lin returns to direct his third Fast & Furious film. The gang’s all here with Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Su Kang, Chris Bridges, and Michelle Rodriguez returning. They are joined by newcomers Luke Evans, Gina Carano, and Rita Ora.
Reason: I repeat: A car flies out of the flaming nose of an airplane. I don’t know why I’d need any other reason than that. Seriously, this just looks like a complete blast. Justin Lin is something of a Fast & Furious whisperer. I recall going to the theater to see The Fast and the Furious with a group of friends, but it wasn’t until Lin’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that I actually started thinking these things were good. Fast Five was a completely bonkers bit of fun, and the Super Bowl Spot for this film makes it look like things are not letting up. I don’t always think of myself as someone who is especially into real macho entertainment, but this is the second example on the list. The constant? Dwayne Johnson, the most perfect addition to this franchise imaginable. I probably wouldn’t be quite as excited if he wasn’t involved. And one more time for good measure: A car flies out of the flaming nose of an airplane!

4. Upstream Color (April 5)

Recap: I neither need nor want to know anything about this film to know I can’t wait to see it. Take a peek at the IMDb page if you want to know more than the fact it’s from Shane Carruth (Primer), and stars Carruth, Amy Seimetz, Andrew Sensenig, and Thiago Martins.
Reason: After Primer’s grounded time travel blew my mind – and continues to do so every time I watch it – it doesn’t matter what this film is about. As long as Shane Carruth has a new film, I’ll see it the first chance I get. Upstream Color sort of came out of nowhere for me, so when I first heard of it (when it was announced that it would be playing at Sundance), it immediately became a must-see. I’ve almost completely avoided all reactions – I know there’s something about pigs, but that’s pretty much it – and I can’t wait to experience it fresh, just like I did with Primer. Hopefully Carruth doesn’t take nine years to put out his third feature. But if he does, so be it. If Upstream Color is anywhere close to his first film, he can take as long as he wants. We’re better off with Carruth making movies, no matter how long he takes to do it.

3. Man of Steel (June 14)

Recap: Starting from scratch after Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns didn’t live up to expectations, Zack Snyder directs a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer that pits Superman against his fellow Kryptonian, General Zod. Henry Cavill takes on the role of Superman/Clark Kent, and is joined by Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe.
Reason: Superman beats Iron Man! I’m actually a pretty big fan of Superman Returns, so if this was its sequel it would likely be just as high on any hypothetical list. Still, what could have felt completely unnecessary has become one of my most anticipated films of the first half of 2013. The outstanding cast played a big role in my initial interest, but the great trailers have helped bump it up. The pair of teasers featuring moving voiceovers by Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent and Russell Crowe’s Jor-El got things off to a good start, and the full one was darn near perfect. I’ve said before that I wouldn’t mind moving away from the Nolan-esque super serious, gritty superhero movies, but it’s hard to argue when one looks this good. Whether it’ll get things rolling on DC and Warner Bros.’ Justice League film remains to be seen. Truthfully, I don’t much care about that right now. I’m just looking forward to celebrating Flag Day by seeing Superman on the big screen again.

2. The Place Beyond the Pines (March 29)

Recap: As with Upstream Color, this is a film I want to go in knowing as little as possible. A Derek Cianfrance crime drama starring Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle racer and Bradley Cooper as a cop is more than enough premise for me (here’s the IMDb page for more). How it all relates is something I want to learn while watching. Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Bruce Greenwood co-star.
Reason: Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is one of my three or four favorite films of 2010, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting his follow-up. Blue Valentine was another film I didn’t know much about. Sure, I knew it followed Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple, but I hadn’t actually seen much from it (I remember seeing The King’s Speech in the theater and shielding my eyes when this trailer came on, simply being treated to the sound of Gosling doing “You Always Hurt the One You Love”). The drama in Cianfrance’s Oscar-nominated film is often devastating, and I can’t wait to see how he carries that over to this crime story. Gosling, one of my favorites, has never been better than in Blue Valentine, and Bradley Cooper is coming off his finest performance in Silver Linings Playbook. Cianfrance should bring out the best in both of them. Like I said, I have no idea how it will play out. All I know is that I hope the film doesn’t stay in limited release for long.

1. Before Midnight (May 24)

Recap: Knowing that Jesse and Celine are meeting again, this time in Greece, is truly all I need to know. Director Richard Linklater reunites with stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and the trio share credit on the screenplay.
Reason: This isn’t the first time one of Richard Linklater’s Before films has been number one on a list of mine. Back in 2011, Before Sunset nabbed the top slot on my list of favorite real time movies. Before Midnight might be an even clearer number one. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are nearly flawless, full of beautiful, charming, and true moments. I fully expect our third visit with one of the best romantic pairs (fourth if you count Waking Life) will be just as great. In 1995′s Before Sunrise, Julie Delpy’s Celine says, “As couples get older they lose their ability to hear each other.” There are a few potentially relevant lines like that, and I’m interested to see if this film explores them. Nearly 20 years after they spent the night walking around Vienna, simply getting to spend a little more time with Jesse and Celine will be a pleasure. If it comes close to its predecessors, these three films will make a strong case for being my favorite trilogy. It’s my most anticipated film of the spring, yes. It’s also right up there with the likes of Foxcatcher, Twelve Years a Slave, and Pacific Rim (I trust Guillermo del Toro to add heart to the spectacle) as my most anticipated for the rest of year. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight to close the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival>

Thursday, May 9
Film 7:00 pm
Party 9:00 pm

Castro Theatre
Ruby Skye Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight Review: So Darlin', Save the Last Monologue for Me>

25 March 2013 | by Daniel Carlson

Richard Linklater’s movies have always used language to explore the nature of relationships. (I’m talking here about the films he’s written and directed, not those on which he’s only served as director; while something like Tape has a Linklater feel to its premise, there’s only so much authorial intent one can read into Bad News Bears without lapsing into parody.) The films that are really his have been all about words: how we use them as a weapon or a balm, as a shield or an escape. The three movies he’s made about one couple’s exploration of life and love — 1995’s Before Sunrise, 2004’s Before Sunset, and now Before Midnight — are signposts for his journey as a filmmaker and for his maturing worldview about how we always say the hardest things to those we value the most. Before Sunrise was flush with the promise of life as a blank page, while Before Sunset was more muted and bittersweet, a look at life as a book half-written. Before Midnight might not be the final installment in the series, but it’s the one with the greatest sense of finality, and accordingly, the one most in touch with the loss and fear that can shock you into realizing that your life has not worked out the way you wanted it to.

The film’s shaggy structure mirrors its predecessors’, unfolding at an amiable pace over the course of an afternoon and evening on the Greek coast. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are still the same people they were 18 years ago, which is to say they’re still flawed people trying to balance their better intentions against bad habits. Jesse loves the son he had by another woman and wishes he got to see the boy more, but he’s also still naive and a little manipulative when it comes to relational politics. Celine’s passion and love have now spread to the two young daughters she’s had with Jesse, but she’s still quick to spar or see the worst in a situation. That’s a daring concept on its own — to show what happens after the credits roll on a romantic drama, to dig into the dirt and compromise that comes with years living together — but it only works because Linklater and his cast execute the story with the nuance and frankness they brought to the first two films. Over the course of an afternoon with friends and an evening by themselves, Jesse and Celine are drawn into wandering conversations about the nature of love and the duty of marriage. On paper it sounds abstract at best or dull at worst, but it’s neither. It’s bracing and real precisely because of how much is at stake, and how believably loving and wounded these people alternately become before our eyes.

The film is also where Linklater gets to return to the overt style that he brought to his early films that’s largely absent from his later work: lengthy takes, scenes as vignettes, etc. This is, again, a movie about the power of dialogue, and Linklater is never in any rush to end a scene or a moment before its time. As a result, it’s the rhythms of the language that build and diffuse tension more than music or editing or anything else. Early in the film, there’s a series of fantastic long takes — minutes each — as Celine and Jesse drive through the countryside to their friends’ house, talking about jobs and life and all the minutia of marriage as their daughters sleep in the backseat. The script glides between subjects, absolutely nailing the way you can find yourself talking about work in one breath and arguing about in-laws in the next. Hawke and Delpy feel deeper into these characters than ever, more sunk in and grounded, and there’s not a happy or heated moment they don’t totally sell.

The script’s only weaknesses are its too-cute nods to the earlier films. It’s understandable that Jesse and Celine would want to reflect on their life together, but it’s less natural for such reminisces to manifest as metafictional nods to movies we all know we’ve seen. The gimmick of the second film was that Jesse had written a novel about the events of the first, and here again he’s written a book about what happened in the second film all while workshopping story ideas for a new piece. His books are titled This Time and That Time, with jokey references about how people can keep them straight, a clear goof on the easy interchangeability of “sunrise” and “sunset” in the film titles. Quirks like this break the spell of the story, and worse, they feel like insecurity, almost as if Linklater’s afraid to return to the well without joking about the process.

Such winks are blessedly few, though. And there’s one callback that feels real: when Jesse and Celine are walking through town to a hotel and he asks “How long has it been since we wandered around bullshitting?” It’s a reference to the first film, yes, but it works because it’s really one of those things people say to each other at a certain point in a relationship: Do you remember when we did this? When this defined us? It’s been 18 years since Before Sunrise, and Jesse and Celine show every minute of those two decades in the way they move around each other. Because as important as spoken language is to Linklater, it’s body language that often finds his characters at their most revealing. The film’s final act is a return to the elemental chemistry that started the whole story, as Jesse and Celine work through their issues alone in a hotel room, and Linklater beautifully choreographs their conversation as a series of elliptical orbits. They come together and move apart as they alternately fight and mend, using a million tiny movements to express displeasure, hope, confusion, or acceptance. These are small, fleeting moments, gone before we even realize they exist, but that’s part of the point. Life is built from a billion such choices, and Before Midnight is a chronicle of what happens when you start to pull those choices apart.

If I’ve sounded alternately vague or blase about the plot, passing it off as a series of talks in a random assortment of rooms, it’s only because I’m wary of untangling the web Linklater’s woven. On one level, “nothing” happens here; on another, everything does. These are whole lives on screen, and Linklater creates decades of back story through judicious use of small phrases and characters that feel lived in. It’s rare and a little harrowing to see a film that so bluntly and accurately deals with a marriage. Throughout the series, Linklater’s found ways to talk about all people by focusing closely on just two, and he succeeds again here. There’s actually a third type of language on display here, and it’s one Linklater and his cast are so good at using that you almost miss it: the subtext and the things unsaid. Jesse and Celine are never really talking about what they’re actually saying. They’re simply trying to get at the truth from a million angles, and at best they manage to stumble into it. When Jesse says he misses his son, he’s really asking Celine if she wants to move; when Celine asks Jesse what he thinks of a job offer she just got, she’s really asking herself if she’s still the same person she was before motherhood. Hawke and Delpy are expert in these moments, so comfortable and jagged and curious that they might as well be people you see at a party and talk about on the ride home. It’s that unspoken nature of love’s promise and peril that defines the film, and it’s what makes it so deceptively good. The real moral isn’t so much in the film but in the fact that there have been three of them. Love is never finished, and life is never as clean as the stories we tell ourselves. If that robs us of a certain resolution, perhaps it’s enough that those moments let us sit back and look at one another and say: we almost didn’t make it, but we got here. Now let’s keep going. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw You review on>

22 March 2013 | by Dale Hudson

Annemarie Jacir’s Lamma Shoftak/When I Saw You extends her examination of exile and occupation begun in her début feature Milh Hadha al-Bahr [Salt of This Sea] (2008), as well as her earlier shorts and documentaries. Salt of This Sea takes the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) as a moment of collective trauma through which Soraya (Suheir Hammad), a young Palestinian American woman from Brooklyn (and Jaffa), attempts to recover her dignity sixty years after her grandparents became refugees. When I Saw You takes the 1967 Naksa (setback), when Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights, Sinai, and East Jerusalem, as another collective trauma for which a young mother, Ghaydaa (Ruba Blal), and her son, Tarek (Mahmoud Asfa), must contemplate a lifetime of exile in Jordan.

Although Tarek’s impatience and frustration sometimes resemble Soraya’s experiences in Salt of This Sea, his unwavering hope also produces ways for understanding exile, even during one of the most traumatic moments in Palestinian history. If 1967 marked the disappearance of Palestine from many geopolitical maps, When I Saw You reminds us that 1967 also marked a moment when anticolonial and civil-rights movements around the world brought hope to Palestinians, as well as to non-Palestinians who had supported Palestine’s struggle for statehood since its partition under UN Resolution 181 in 1947.

The film’s story unfolds during a moment of mobilization by the fedayeen, as seen from the point of view of a child who does not understand the abstract logic of borders and the uneven restrictions placed upon movement across them. It is challenging for any filmmaker, especially one whose family was dispossessed in 1967, to represent the fedayeen. Apart from images in foreign films like the Groupe Dziga-Vertov’s essay-film Ici et ailleurs [Here and Elsewhere] (1976, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville) and Yousri Nasrallah’s multipart Bab el Shams [Door to the Sun] (2004), cinematic representations of the fedayeen are infrequently seen today. Jacir’s visual research extended to reviewing footage in Ici et ailleurs and other documentaries, but many representations of the fedayeen, including self-representations in documentary film, have been lost after the disappearance of the Palestinian film archive in Lebanon during the 1982 Israeli invasion.

Jacir deliberately challenges expectations and assumptions about the fedayeen by situating the film’s story before the events of Black September (1970–1971), which ended with Jordan’s expulsion of the PLO, as well as doubts cast internationally upon the organization as a secular revolutionary force. Jordan’s King Hussein famously declared that “we have reached the point where we are all fedayeen” after attacks on Palestinian refugee camps in Karameh and Safi in 1968, but this solidarity began to unravel by the early 1970s. Support diminished with escalating tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians, especially newly arrived refugees. Jordan eventually accused more radical organizations within the PLO, such as George Habash’s PFLP and Naif Hawatmeh’s DFLP, of attempting to destabilize Hussein’s reign. When I Saw You recovers an early moment of support by Jordanians for the fedayeen—and, more broadly, for Palestinians—that has often been forgotten.

The film opens with an image of eleven-year-old Tarek attempting to roller-skate on the uneven pavement near the fictional Harir “emergency camp,” where he and his mother await reunion with his father. The scene represents the situation for Palestinians attempting to reestablish something vaguely akin to normalcy in the wake of disaster. In this scene, Tarek’s pleasure seems undiminished by the circumstances of exile—and even the unpleasant taunting of the other children—because he believes that exile is temporary. He and his mother have fled their home in Bayt Nuba for reasons he does not fully understand. With the arrival of every truck of new refugees, he and his mother hope to see his father.

Images of Tarek skating, as a group of children run and shout at the arrival of another truck, precede the appearance of the titles on screen, setting into motion the film’s thematic preoccupation with seeing—as well as the film’s objective of making visible. Although Tarek’s father is not aboard the truck, his hopeful anticipation is not overtaken by reluctant disappointment. Tarek later comforts his mother by telling her that, if he had a telescope, he would be able to know the truck on which his father will arrive: Tarek believes that he would be able to see his father before the truck that carries his father would be close enough to the camp for his father to see his mother and himself.

Constructed specifically for the film, the set of the Harir camp recalls actual camps of the period. It is a space of exile, somewhere between displacement, resettlement, and return. It is bathed in stark, sometimes oppressive light that bleaches color. The tents and zinc houses seem isolated in comparison to the tents in the fedayeen camp, hidden deep within the greenery of the Dibeen forest, where hopes of return are protected and rejuvenated. Gathered around the campfire, the fedayee Zain (Ruba Shamshoum) sings the film’s theme song, “Ya layl la trooh” [Oh Night Don’t Leave], about a garden full of colors: white of jasmine and gardenias, red of poppies and pomegranates, green of fig and cactus, under the black of night. Palestine is the colors of its flag, whose scars only show in daylight. Displaying the Palestinian flag has often been made illegal under occupation, so the song becomes richly meaningful for Palestinians today, as well as a metaphor for the film’s as a colorful projection of hope for Palestine onto the silver screen of a darkened theater.

While the fedayeen camp is a necessarily mobile space, one capable of being quickly relocated to avoid attack, the refugee camp is a space of permanent impermanence, where Palestinians go to work and school—even attend weddings where everyone comes together to celebrate as an extended family—as they wait to return. At the same time, the refugee camp is a space of amplified vulnerability and indignities, like queuing under the hot sun for the charity of what Tarek calls “slimy” soup, which are a constant reminder of the precarious position of being stateless.

Although Jacir deliberately avoids the tropes of cinematic realism that can reduce the ambiguities and contradictions of a fictional narrative to mere illustrations of performances of “official” histories or unofficial counter-histories, she performs a kind of subaltern or radical historiography. Every detail in When I Saw You, from set and costume design to locations, accent, and music, reveals her methodical archival and field research intended to recover some of what has been erased. Scouting locations in the Dibeen forest, she and her team found ammunition shells from training exercises. They also found vast caves used by the fedayeen that included living quarters and a multi-bed hospital. These aspects of everyday Palestinian exile in the fedayeen camps were less likely to circulate internationally during the 1960s than more heroic images of men posing with rifles, a point made in a scene that references ways that the fedayeen have been historicized in documentary. The camp is a space where fedayeen eat together, play cards, and sing around a campfire at night. Rather than scenes of violence, the film represents that fedayeen in two long musical scenes of dancing dabke and singing resistance songs like “Sijin Akka” [Akka’s Prison], which initially protested British rule; she thereby locates Palestinian anticolonial resistance within a much longer trajectory than the immediate one of 1967.

Jacir’s process is not one of representation in a mimetic sense, but one of critical engagement with the past. She describes the film as “not meant to be realistic” but “told from a child’s point of view,” with a preoccupation for the “emotional story and background,” that is, “feeling rather than the narrative.” The fedayeen are framed by Tarek’s perspective, one that idolizes them without fully understanding their missions. The film’s recovery of the fedayeen is not a call for the rejection of the nonviolent modes of resistance like boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS); instead, it is a mode by which to address some of the systemic erasures that BDS seeks to expose, including the “Brand Israel” campaign to promote a “positive image” of Israel internationally. Palestinian filmmakers willing to accept the conditions of the Israel Film Council receive the political and financial support needed to promote their films internationally, even in historically less receptive spaces such as Hollywood’s Oscars; by contrast, Palestinian filmmakers living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as in Israel (fil-dakhel or “inside”), who choose to honor the protocols of the BDS face many obstacles. Although journalists wondered whether the UN recognition of Palestine in 2012 might coincide with When I Saw You being shortlisted and even winning Hollywood’s award for Best Foreign Language Film, Palestine was represented only in the documentary category at this year’s awards, reproducing the centuries-old prejudice that “the oppressed” can only represent themselves in nonfiction and autobiographical modes.

For Jacir, When I Saw You represents a means to work through her own personal experiences of exile, particularly the most recent experience of being denied entry into the West Bank after the theatrical release and critical acclaim for Salt of this Sea. She speaks eloquently of the intense pain of seeing the West Bank across the Jordan River but knowing that she might never be able to return, a visual image that becomes one of the most poignant ones in When I Saw You. For Jacir, the film becomes a way of recovering hope from the past for a future that would not include moments of permanent exile and daily humiliation for Palestinians like the ones experienced by the characters in Salt of This Sea—or even the ones that Jacir herself has experienced despite her privileges. The film was conceived during Jacir’s yearlong mentorship with Zhang Yimou under the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Institute, adding China as another vector to the transnational reconstruction of occupied Palestine to her own movements between Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Identity is not bound to a (relatively) simple matter of “home” and “elsewhere”; instead, it is fractured over numerous continents in an everyday battle against forgetting and being annihilated under policies of erasure. When I Saw You would not have been possible without the preproduction and post-production funding and creative support of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s SANAD Fund, which hopefully will continue support the transnational future of Arab, and particularly Palestinian, filmmaking.

If the awards that the film has already received, particularly at film festivals in the Arab world—Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Don Quixote Award at the Carthage International Film Festival, Special Mention at the Cairo International Film Festival—as well as elsewhere, such as Netpac’s Award for Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, are any indication, When I Saw You has joined other critically acclaimed narrative features from Palestine that began with Michel Khleifi’s Wedding in Galilee [Urs al-Jalil] in 1987. Male filmmakers like Khleifi, Elia Suleiman, and Hany Abu-Assad have often addressed contemporary moments—or reflected upon the past sixty years, as in Suleiman’s The Time That Remains (2009)—that contextualize the everyday moments of humiliation, self-alienation, paralysis, and terror under occupation against Hollywood’s power to globally distribute stereotypes of Palestinians as “irrational and bad,” as Jack Shaheen has described. Female filmmakers from Mai Masri through Helga Tawil Souri to May Odeh have worked most visibly in documentary. With When I Saw You, Jacir recovers 1967 in the mode of fiction as a hopeful moment in Palestine’s transnational history, one that might help international audiences “see” Palestine in the light of hope as though for the first time, like the unscathed colors of its flag at night. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight set to screen at the 32nd Istanbul Film Festival> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - SXSW Film Wrap-Up & 'Best of the Fest'>

15 March 2013 | by Edward Douglas, Joshua Starnes

The 20th Annual South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin is coming to an end, which makes this as good a time as any to look back at this year's festival and see how it fared compared to other festivals.

For us, the festival really acted like catch-up from the Sundance Film Festival, which we skipped this year, so lots of the movies we saw from Jeff Nicholl's Mud to Shane Carruth's Upstream Color to David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche and Richard Linklater's Before Midnight were movies that had already been seen and raved about out of other film festivals.

Still, there were plenty of high profile world premieres of movies looking for distribution including Bryan Poyser's The Bounceback, Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies, Eric Heisserer's Hours, Daniel Mazer's I Give It a Year and lots more.

Even so, there weren't a ton of deals made at this year's festival, at least not at the time of this writing. Drafthouse Films, based out of Austin's Alamo Theaters, made the first move, picking up E.L. Katz's thriller Cheap Thrills, one of the most popular movies in the Midnighters section, and shortly after, Vincenzo (Cube) Natali's twist on a ghost story, Haunter, starring Abigail Breslin, was scooped up by IFC Midnight. Other than that, very few of the other movies, including a number of surprisingly mainstream comedies, have not been picked up for distribution yet.

For the most part, it was a solid festival with more good than bad and even the most disappointing movies we saw were mediocre at worst.

That brings us to "The Best of the Fest" and as far as I was concerned (and for my fourth film festival in a row), my favorite movie was a documentary--actually, one of the few that I saw--and that was Morgan Neville's Twenty Feet from Stardom (Radius-TWC), which takes a look at the place of the back-up singer and how important they were to the history of music with the film shining a spotlight on the likes of Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, the Walker Family, Judith King and many more. The film shows how they've found a place singing within a group and creating a blend of voices, something that's often harder than being up front and the center of attention. Besides putting the place of the back-up singer into historical and political context and showing the struggles they've faced, Neville's loving look at the "unsung heroes" of popular music finally makes their names known while showcasing their amazing voices with a solo spotlight. Although I didn't get around to writing review, I'll probably be seeing the movie again before its release and it's almost guaranteed a "Chosen One" in my weekly Box Office Preview column whenever it comes out. In fact, I wouldn't be even remotely surprised if Neville's movie is one of the five docs nominated for an Oscar for this year.

Even though I liked that movie more than anything else I saw, I was equally impressed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon (Relativity), a character comedy about sexual addiction, co-starring Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, which I have a good feeling will end up in my Top 25 for the year. The movie is incredibly funny but also quite poignant in its look at a guy who has trouble getting past his porn-watching habits.

In the past, I've been hit or miss on Joe Swanberg's work, but for whatever reason his decision to work with better known actors like Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick for his new comedy Drinking Buddies really helped make it one of his strongest films even if it's improvisational nature might not be quite accessible as other comedies. I also enjoyed the gory fun of Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead, which is a worthy successor to the Saimi Raimi-Bruce Campbell trilogy about demonic possession.

And here are the thoughts from's resident reviewer Joshua Starnes, who also attended South by SouthWest and saw a few movies we didn't get around to.

This year's SXSW Film Festival had a lot going for it; a lot of quality, a lot of eccentricity, and a lot of fun. Basically everything you want from a good festival. The movies on view this year were so different from one another it's hard to pick favorites, or even compare them in any meaningful way. But that's not going to stop me from trying.

At the top of the list is Richard Linklater's Before Midnight. Picking up another nine years on from Before Sunset, Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy once again pull off the trickiest act in film and make it look beyond easy. They have made a film about two people walking around and talking that will draw you in as surely as any potboiler. Linklater and his actors have rapidly upped the stakes here, ignoring the easily pleasing romance of the first two films to focus on a more difficult subject: the true hardship of making a long-term relationship last. It's easy to love someone for one night; it's hard to love them for 10 years. It's not just the best film of the festival but the first great film of the year.

In a way, mature views on romance is the tie that binds the best films of the festival. If Before Midnight is about love gone right and how bad that can be, Jeff Nichols' Mud is about love gone wrong and how much worse that is. Boasting what may be Matthew McConaughey's best performance--and that's not as easy to say as it once was--Nichols' third film is the kind of Gothic grotesque he has been aiming for his entire career and finally managed. A slow boil of a film that manages to match McConaughey's crazed backwoods convict with a truly excellent performance from child actor Tye Sheridan to create a sort of American "Great Expectations."

Close behind is Joss Whedon's adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. A black and white, minimalist film filled with stylized Elizabethan English, it is almost made not to attract a wide audience, which is too bad as Whedon has found hidden depths in Shakespeare's most romantic comedy, depths brought out so much better it turns out without a lot of pageantry to distract viewers. Filled with veterans of Whedon's other work, the leads are not quite magnetic enough to make the Bard's language sing the way it needs to, or to overcome Nathan Fillion's Dogberry who not only steal's every scene but quickly makes off with the entire film. Honorable mention must go out to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon, an insightful comedy and well-conceived first work from the actor-writer-director. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ Produces Laughs, Provokes Reflection>

17 March 2013 | by Robin Paulson

If you're a fan of Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman and the quirky and often dry humor the series offers, you will enjoy Offerman's latest film endeavor, Somebody Up There Likes Me.

Written and directed by Bob Byington (Harmony and Me) with Offerman producing, Somebody Up There Likes Me delivers in plenty of laughs while holding up a mirror to the perpetual disaffected teens of today. The film follows Max (Keith Poulson) - an indifferent waiter at a steakhouse whose only friend is the delightfully sardonic Sal (Offerman) - whose life is a kiddie rollercoaster of troubled relationships coupled with a general lack of interest in life.

Nearly every shot and scene in the film promises a laugh, but overall it will leave many wondering about the magical suitcase Max possesses - which glows (à la Pulp Fiction) and releases animated stars - and whether or not it is the reason his Dorian Gray-esque character never ages. The humor may be a little too dry for some (Offerman pointed out its European-ness at a recent Los Angeles Q&A following a screening of the movie), but the scene in which Sal becomes aggravated with the first customer of his and Max's pizza and ice cream stand is sure to win most viewers over.

Despite its comedic veneer, the film's heart lies in the discussion of life it raises. We all dream of remaining young forever, but at what cost of your actual life does it take?

If you reside in the Los Angeles area, the Silent Movie Theatre - run by the non-profit organization Cinefamily - is hosting a couple screenings for the film tonight (3/17), followed by a Q&A session with Offerman and writer-director Bob Byington with guest moderators Zach Galifianakis and Megan Mullally (who has a small part in the movie). You can purchase tickets through

Otherwise, the film is playing in select theaters now. Facebook Link

HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Mitsigan - Hardships & Beauties set to screen at the 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival>

15 March 2013 | by Dimitra Kouzi

An alternative farmer’s road trip into a country that will never be the same again. An inside look into rural Greece, how the country’s economy imploded and how economic hardship and despair is fraying the country’s social fabric.

It’s 2012 and Greece is facing its greatest economic disaster since World War 2. Mitsos Tsiganos, a.k.a “Mitsigan”, is a modern day Greek cowboy, an empirical philosopher and the owner of one of the biggest farms in southwestern Greece, named “Hardships & Beauties”. Despite the crisis, Mitsos has managed to keep a positive attitude while exporting his goods abroad. Personal disaster strikes, as he loses his mother and his crop in the same year. Forced to rethink his life philosophy, Mitsos decides to leave his farm and take a trip to meet with old friends and new people in search of new motivation and inspiration.

Following his trip we catch a glimpse of rural Greece today, along with some of its typical characters, ranging from exporting producers to immigrants searching for a better life in the Greek Wild West. In the course of this trip Mitsos will realize that focus on human values and ethics is an indispensable key to overcoming the current crisis.

His road trip will become a symbolical trip into a country whose institutions and values had gone bankrupt long before the actual country itself. Mitsos’s H&B journey along this fertile land will strengthen his belief that the crisis can be overcome through hard and productive teamwork.

The film will be screened in Thessaloniki, at the 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 15-24/3. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Specialty B.O.: ‘Spring Breakers’ Powers To $270K In 3 Cinemas, ‘Poppy Hill’, ‘Ginger & Rosa’, ‘Mindless Behavior’ Solid In Debuts>

17 March 2013 | by Brian Brooks

UPDATED: Just in time for the debauchery of Spring Break that has long provided fodder for Hollywood, distribution newcomer A24 Films scored big time with this weekend’s three-theater opening of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.

The Venice/Toronto debut headlining James Franco and Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens grossed a whopping $270K for a $90K average. That’s the best opening per-theater-average in the specialty arena for 2013. A24 also fared well with their other rollout, Ginger & Rosa, which had the third-highest per theater average of the current weekend with $15K. Both titles should prove strong box office contenders in the weeks to come. GKids released Studio Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill, which averaged an impressive weekend second-best $27,514 in a pair of theaters. The animated film was directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who was co-writer on the movie. YouTube channel AwesomenessTV partnered with AMC Entertainment to open the teen R&B concert pic Mindless Behavior: All Around The World in 117 theaters, grossing over a half-million dollars with a solid $4,351 average. Oscilloscope bowed Matteo Garrone’s Reality in one theater, grossing $8K, while Millennium took Upside Down to 11 locations, averaging $2,570.

Spring Breakers’ $90K average compares to last year’s opening heavy-hitters The Master (a whopping $147K average last September) and Moonrise Kingdom (nearly $131K last May). Spring Breakers, a candy-colored crime comedy which boasts plentiful skin and dark humor, expands to nearly 600 theaters next weekend in a test of the film’s cross-over appeal. Noted A24′s Nicolette Aizenberg: “A cultural phenomenon was officially launched this weekend … Harmony Korine’s film smashed all expectations. The film sold out shows throughout the weekend in both NY and LA” and additional showings were added to accommodate demand.

A24′s Ginger & Rosa shows promise for its expansion to an additional six markets next weekend before going wider in April to a theater count in the hundreds. Its $45K weekend gross was bolstered by a 55% increase in business from Friday to Saturday, according to the distributor, suggesting positive word-of-mouth. The duel A24 releases did not appear to hinder either film’s debuts.

AwesomenessTV partnered with AMC for its initial run of Mindless Behavior: All Around The World, targeting fans of R&B/hip-hop boy band Urban. The release was by far the weekend’s widest opener among specialty movies, grossing $509K with a $4,351 average. “We’re really pleased. The movie cost less than a half-million to make and practically nothing on marketing other than talking to our audience over our platform” on YouTube, said AwesomenessTV’s Brian Robbins. ”So if we go onto to do $1 million, it’s a homerun for us. We went to where the band sold tickets. At first we were just going to do less screens, but the fans were annoyed. For us it was a great experience and we’ll look to do more of these.”

Italian filmmaker Matteo Garone’s Reality opened more modestly. The Cannes entry grossed $8K over the weekend, a stronger showing than Garrone’s last feature, Gomorrah, which opened with $5,532 in one location in December 2008. That film went on to cume just under $1.6 million domestically.

Among holdovers, last weekend’s specialty winner Somebody Up There Likes Me, shifted to LA’s Cinefamily venue on Fairfax Avenue opening exclusively in Chicago. The Tribeca Film release grossed $12,240 one LA theater. Noted a Tribeca Film spokesperson: “Bob Byington’s Somebody Up There Likes Me took its show to Los Angeles where it once again played to capacity audiences. The film … played just two evening shows per day — four of which were already sold out earlier in the week as Nick Offerman appeared at screenings with guest moderators including Zach Galifianakis and Jason Schwartzman. The 180-seat theater would go on to sell out the additional two shows.” Tribeca Film will next take the title to San Francisco on March 22 followed by New York on the 29th and Austin on April 5, with additional markets to follow. It’s also available on iTunes and VOD via major providers.

Sony Pictures Classics continued to expand Oscar-nominated Chilean film No, adding 13 runs in its 5th weekend, grossing almost $200K with an average just under $4K. The film should hit the $1 million mark within the next couple of weeks. Oscar-winner Amour, also from Sony Classics, is beginning to see its theatrical run wind down. The film dropped 76 locations in its 13th weekend, grossing just over $100K and for a $789 average. It’s cume will easily pass the $6.5 million mark in the coming days.


From Up On Poppy Hill (GKids) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $55,028, Average $27,514

Ginger & Rosa (A24 Films) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $45K, Average $15K

Mindless Behavior: All Around The World (AwesomenessTV) NEW [117 Theaters] Weekend $509K, Average $4,351

Reality (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $8K

Spring Breakers (A24) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $270K, Average $90K

Upside Down (Millennium Entertainment) NEW [11 Theaters] Weekend $28,270, Average $2,570


Beyond The Hills (Sundance Selects) Week 2 [14 Theaters] Weekend $25,200, Average $1,800, Cume $48,200

Emperor (Roadside Attractions) Week 2 [311 Theaters] Weekend $632,350, Average $2,033, Cume $2,035,413

Girl Rising (Gathr Films) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $14,880, Average $2,976, Cume $378,786

Somebody Up There Likes Me (Tribeca Film) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $12,240, Cume $47,417


Stoker (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [94 Theaters] Weekend $265,700, Average $2,826, Cume $646,500

Bless Me, Ultima (Arenas Entertainment) Week 4 [45 Theaters] Weekend $48,278, Average $1,073, Cume $1,465,640

Like Someone In Love (Sundance Selects) Week 5 [18 Theaters] Weekend $34,300, Average $1,900, Cume $151,400

NO (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [48 Theaters] Weekend $191,442, Average $3,988, Cume $736,047

A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III (A24 Films) Week 6 [ Theaters] Weekend $, Average $

The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [86 Theaters] Weekend $239,103, Average $2,780, Cume $1,344,516

Quartet (The Weinstein Company) Week 10 [688 Theaters] Weekend $913K, Average $1,327, Cume $14,809,892

Amour (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 13 [129 Theaters] Weekend $101,726, Average $789, Cume $6,495,924

The Impossible (Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate) Week 13 [105 Theaters] Weekend $75K, Average $714, Cume $18,605,561

Hyde Park On Hudson (Focus Features) Week 15 [31 Theaters] Weekend $21,900, Average $706, Cume $6,336,217 Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Review: 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' hits the indie sweet spot>

14 March 2013 | by Mark Olsen

Austin-based writer-director Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me" is a difficult film to describe, but easily inspires a deep sense of affection and connection. Words such as offbeat, charming or, Lord help us, quirky are wildly overused and yet this is exactly the kind of film to which they best apply.

Covering some 35 years, with animated transitional sequences, the story follows Max Youngman (Keith Poulson) and his reluctant only friend Sal ("Parks and Recreation" costar Nick Offerman, also a producer) as they bicker through life, for a time over the affections of a woman named Lyla (Jess Weixler) and then a business.

In many ways, just as with Byington's previous "Harmony and Me," this film is what the whole indie-cinema adventure should be about: bold and singular, with a fully-formed sensibility all its own.

Throughout, characters hand off a suitcase with seemingly magical, youth-restoring powers hidden inside. (Practically speaking, this allows the actors not to age even as the story covers decades.)

Weixler easily comes across as a woman worth fighting over, working an intersection between Winona Ryder winsome and silent cinema expressive. For their parts, Offerman and Poulson find a heretofore undiscovered sweet spot of whimsy and cynicism.

This is a story of everyday dramas — sex, marriage, death, friendship, ambition and the lack of it — told in a distinctive, lightly absurdist, slightly surreal style. The film has a sarcastic tone, like that of a friend who you never can tell is kidding or not, which eventually breaks through into a place of unexpected sincerity. Meeting this odd, idiosyncratic "Somebody" is a rare delight.


'Somebody Up There Likes Me'

MPAA rating: No rating

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Playing: At the Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave, L.A.,0,272154.story Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Nick Offerman discusses Somebody Up There Likes Me on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Bob Byington's Somebody Up There Likes Me now available for rent at Amazon On Demand in the USA.> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Watch the new trailer exclusively at Yahoo! Movies> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Bob Byington's Somebody Up There Likes Me now available for rent on iTunes in the USA.> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Specialty B.O.: ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ Strongest Newcomer; ‘Stoker’ Fair In 2nd Weekend>

10 March 2013 | by Brian Brooks

Tribeca Film’s Somebody Up There Likes Me bowed exclusively at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre with the best score among the specialties this weekend with a strong $38,495. The 2012 SXSW Film Festival entry had multiple sold-out showings in the 700-seat theater, with producer and Chicago native Nick Offerman hosting Q&As. The weekend potentially bodes well for distributor Tribeca, although momentum will be better gauged once it hits other cities. It will next head to Cinefamily in L.A. next weekend, according to Tribeca Film. Somebody Up There Likes Me will open San Francisco on March 22 and New York on March 29 with Austin to follow. Paladin/108 Media opened Michel Gondry’s The We And I with an average of $6,140 in a pair of NYC locations. The We And I heads to Los Angeles, San Francisco and 5 other top markets on March 22.

Roadside Attractions debuted its WWII feature Emperor in 260 locations, by far the most among this weekend’s specialty openers. It grossed just over $1.04 million for a $4,010 average. Roadside has had success with its midsize releases, and though Emperor received comparable numbers, its average was lower than recent titles Arbitrage and Friends With Kids. Arbitrage opened last September in 197 theaters averaging $10,163 (the film went on to cume just over $7.9 million). Last March’s opening of Friends With Kids in 369 locations averaged $5,472 (going on to an eventual tally of just over $7.25 million). Noted Roadside chief Howard Cohen: “We had particular success targeting the older demo, and with areas of the country with strong military presence like San Diego and parts of Virginia” plus “a grass roots program with the American Legion which has 14,000 posts across the country. We will be expanding moderately for next weekend” including markets “in Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and Colorado”.

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s critically acclaimed Beyond The Hills opened softly compared with his 2007 Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days. That film went on to cume $1.4 million for IFC Films. Hills averaged $6K across three theaters. The distributor, which is releasing Beyond The Hills via its Sundance Selects label, will likely only see a fraction of the earlier movie’s theatrical run. The Girl from Brainstorm Media and Vitagraph Films opened in two theaters, averaging $5,200, while Music Box Films’ The Silence opened with a softer $4,585 average. It will head to Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia in the coming weeks.

Among holdovers, Fox Searchlight added 10 theaters for Stoker in its second weekend. It averaged $6,700 vs its hefty $22,500 in 7 runs in its debut. Searchlight will add 20 new markets bringing the total theatre count up to 70-80 locations. Sony Pictures Classics expanded its three titles. Oscar-nominated No added 24 locations, averaging $4,782 and grossing a four-week cume just over $500K. The Gatekeepers passed the $1 million mark in its sixth weekend after a 21-theater expansion. And Oscar-winner Amour added 128 theaters in its 12th weekend. Its cume is now slightly less than $6.25 million.

The following distribs/films did not report weekend figures: Magnolia/A Place At The Table, Variance/The End Of Love, Cinema Guild/Leviathan, Tribeca/War Witch, Oscilloscope/Welcome To Pine Hill, and Magnet/The ABCs Of Death.


Like Someone In Love (Sundance Selects) Week 4 [6 Theaters] Weekend $16,800, Average $2,800, Cume $117,900

No (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [35 Theaters] Weekend $167,361, Average $4,782, Cume $510,519

Beyond The Hills (Sundance Selects) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $18K, Average $6K

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (Cinedigm) NEW [23 Theaters] Weekend $25K, Average $1,087

Emperor (Roadside Attractions) NEW [260 Theaters] Weekend $1,042,800, Average $4,010

The Girl (Brainstorm Media/Vitagraph) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,400, Average $5,200

The Silence (Music Box Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $9,170, Average $4,585

Somebody Up There Likes Me (Tribeca Film) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $38,495

The We And The I (Paladin/108 Media) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $12,280, Average $6,140


Hava Nagila (The Movie) Week 2 (International Film Circuit) [12 Theaters] Weekend $39,369, Average $3,280, Cume $90,766

Stoker (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [17 Theaters] Weekend $115K, Average $6,700, Cume $330K


The Power Of Few (Steelyard Pictures) Week 4 [1 Theaters] Weekend $1,815, Cume $25,048

Lore (Music Box Films) Week 5 [12 Theaters] Weekend $67K, Average $2,481, Cume $255,741

The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [67 Theaters] Weekend $250,122, Average $3,733, Cume $1,027,092

Happy People: A Year In The Taiga (Music Box Films) Week 7 [21 Theaters] Weekend $31K, Average $1,476, Cume $213,086

Quartet (The Weinstein Company) Week 9 [715 Theaters] Weekend $1,279 million, Average $1,789, Cume $13,269,831

Amour (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12 [333 Theaters] Weekend $195,511, Average $954, Cume $6,244,649

The Impossible (Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate) Week 12 [114 Theaters] Weekend $90K, Average $789, Cume $18,478,391

Hyde Park On Hudson (Focus Features) Week 14 [39 Theaters] Weekend $35,647, Average $914, Cume $6,286,864 Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - SXSW 2013: Before Midnight, Mud, & The Act of Killing>

12 March 2013 | by ELISE NAKHNIKIAN

My friend John Morthland, who programmed panels for the South by Southwest film festival in its infancy, says he could only get panelists from Texas and nearby states in those days. The schedule is crammed with panelists and films from all over now, but the festival's programmers still leave plenty of space for native sons and daughters.

Before Midnight, the latest film by hometown hero Richard Linklater, was one of the festival's most anticipated features, and it didn't disappoint. The third in a series of films about Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), loquacious lovers who meet and spend a memorable day and night together in Before Sunrise, then reunite for another all-nighter years later in Before Sunset, Before Midnight picks up with the two living together, raising twin daughters and sharing custody of Jesse's son from a previous marriage. Reaching the end of an extended summer vacation in Greece, the couple may also be nearing the end of their time together, as the compulsively truthful Celine keeps upending their cozy life, trying so persistently to figure out what she really wants that she forces even complacent Jesse to do some soul-searching.

Linklater anatomizes Celine and Jesse at nine-year intervals, at ages 23, 32, and 41, and like all of his best movies, this one is a torrent of talk poured out in a scant handful of locations. The characters are often on the move or chatting in some ridiculously gorgeous location, allowing us to enjoy the scenery they're generally oblivious to, as they're distracted by their own thoughts. Like its predecessors, Before Midnight relies on very long takes, boosting the sense of realism by making it feel almost as if the action is unfolding in real time. Linklater and co-writers Delpy and Hawke keep slipping interesting ideas or wry observations into the conversational stream to keep us alert and entertained, often about the decline and mortality that's much on the couple's minds these days. ("The only upside of being over 35 is that you don't get raped as much," says Celine.) It can't be easy to make an engaging and energizing movie in which talk is virtually the only action, but these three have always had a gift for dramatizing the life of the mind and the emotional fluctuations of intimate relationships, and they're getting better at it with age.

Matthew McConaughey, another East Texan with deep roots in Austin—and close ties to Linklater, who gave him his first significant role in Dazed and Confused—showed up to flack his new movie, Mud on Sunday. The actor is intensely physical and dreamily soulful as the title character in Jeff Nichols's latest, a beautifully calibrated coming-of-age story set in a small town in Arkansas. But the real star is Tye Sheridan as Ellis, a 14-year-old who's working hard to understand romantic love and all that comes with it, starting with the chasm that's opened up in his parents' marriage. When Ellis and his best friend, Neckbone (Jacob Lofland, totally convincing as a sweet kid acting tough), take a risky trip to a deserted island, they find Mud hiding out and begin helping him, though they're not sure whether they should trust this magical, murderous man.

Mud shares many of Take Shelter's virtues: authentic-sounding dialogue, strong performances, and a take on the dignity and indignities of working-class American life so strong that nothing can dent it, not even moments of Hollywoodesque melodrama (the tsunami in Take Shelter, and a rush to the hospital to save the victim of a poisonous snakebite followed by a heroic shootout in this one). It also has Michael Shannon in a small but significant part as the secretly attentive uncle who's raising Neckbone, while Sam Shepard lets us inside a near-impenetrable man as Ellis's neighbor, a puffy-faced coot with a mysterious past, and Reese Witherspoon smolders as Mud's girlfriend Juniper, a much-abused, youngish beauty starting to harden into thin-lipped middle age.

Mud's lively sense of humor sometimes milks laughs from movie conventions that might otherwise seem hackneyed. After skimming a letter the boys brought her from Mud, Juniper sums up what it says, ostensibly for their benefit but really, of course, to clue in us viewers. "He says to hang tight," she says gravely, to which Neckbone shoots back, "We know. We read it."
The smartest and most troubling film I've seen so far at the festival is The Act of Killing, a documentary about the slaughter of over a million communists and people suspected—or, at any rate, accused—of being communists in Indonesia after the military coup of 1965. Director (and Austin native) Joshua Oppenheimer learned about the killings while doing humanitarian work in Indonesia. He decided to do a documentary about the gangsters and other opportunists who carried out the killings and have since become entrenched in the country's power structure, but filming the victims proved impossible because of the harassment they encountered from police and other officials. Instead, at the suggestion of one of the victims, he turned his camera on the perpetrators, who were eager to boast about what they'd done.
Oppenheimer invited some of them to tell their stories however they saw fit, making them, in effect, his co-directors as they conceptualized and acted out brutal interrogations and mass rapes or staged surreal musical numbers in showy natural settings, featuring dancing girls and an obese gangster in drag. Hearing these aging thugs discuss their murderous reign is deeply unsettling, in part because they point out that terrible things are always done during wars and other violent upheavals, and all victors justify their actions, convinced that the ends justifies the means. "All this talk about human rights pisses me off," says one aging gangster, before claiming that he didn't do anything worse than the torture and killing President Bush ordered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.

Even more disarming is the humanity Oppenheimer surfaces in the film's de facto star. Handsome and charismatic, Anwar Congo was one of the most feared of the leaders during the killings, but today he's an elderly man struggling to reconcile his guilty conscience, acting out scenes in which the ghost of one of the men he killed haunts his sleep. His youthful ruthlessness and the poverty that drove him to become a gangster safely in the past, he seems gentle and loving, wanting nothing more than peace. Watching him coax one of his grandsons into petting an injured chick is eerily reminiscent of watching Brando's godfather keel over in his garden.

That's probably no coincidence. The Act of Killing is about the horrific past that warped and still rules Indonesia's present, but it's also about the stories we all construct so we can live with ourselves. And movies—especially American movies—are the stories that most shaped Congo, influencing everything from his clothes to the highly efficient method he devised for killing people, when beating them to death proved to be too bloody. Choking someone with wire is the easiest way to kill a human being, he explains. He learned that from mafia movies. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw You set to screen at the 32nd Istanbul Film Festival (30th March 2013 - 14th April 2013)> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Specialty Box Office: 'Somebody Up There' Well Liked Indeed With $38,000 Exclusive Debut>

10 March 2013 | by PETER KNEGT

Exactly year after debuted at SXSW, Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me" scored a huge exclusive debut at Chicago's Music Box Theater. The film -- which stars and was co-produced by Chicago native Nick Offerman -- grossed an estimated $38,495.

The 700 seat theater featured multiple sold out shows with Nick Offerman in attendance, delivering the second highest opening weekend in the last 6 years at the theater, trailing only "Sleepwalk With Me", and the third highest since Rentrak began tracking numbers 10 years ago.

To put that into further perspective, Tribeca Films current all-time top theatrical grosser -- 2011's "Last Night" -- grossed $98,986 in its run. Clearly this weekend's numbers are difficult to use to predict how the film will expand, but It seems all but certain "Somebody Up There Likes Me" will top "Last Night" by next weekend and become the distributor's first $100,000 grosser.

"We all love this film and couldn't be more thrilled with its opening weekend success," Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca, said. "Bob's work truly has a sensibility of its own, and the film has been building strong word-of-mouth at festivals ever since its premiere last year at SXSW. Our team has worked closely with the filmmakers on the marketing campaign -- this week will see the premiere of a companion video to last year's acquisition announcement, which featured Nick, Megan Mullally, and Alison Brie partaking in some off-color fun -- and we have put together a release plan that allows Nick to support the film in select cities while bringing it to everyone across the country through On Demand and iTunes."

The film next opens at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles where Tribeca said half of the shows are already sold out for next weekend. Offerman will also be in attendance, before travelling with the film to San Francisco on 3/22, New York on 3/29 and Austin on April 5. It will be available on iTunes and all major VOD carriers beginning March 12.

"Somebody" wasn't the only film people liked this weekend. Also managing a very impressive debut -- on 259 more screens than "Somebody" no less -- was Roadside Attractions' WWII drama "Emperor," which stars Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox. On 260 screens, the film managed a $1,042,800 gross, averaging $4,010.

"We had particular success targeting the older demo, and with areas of the country with strong military presence like San Diego and parts of Virginia," Roadside's Howard Cohen noted.

The film will be expanding moderately for next weekend.

Michel Gondry's Paladin-released "The We and the I" also had a strong weekend, taking $12,280 at an exclusive run at New York's IFC Center. The film began the weekend on a smaller screen in the complex but was upgraded to the largest given the early demand. Gondry showed up for an in-person event at the theater on Friday night.

The film expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco and 5 other top markets on March 22 before rolling out to additional markets.

Full list of numbers for reporting openers and holdovers below, ranked by per-theater-average.

The Debuts:

1. Somebody Up There Likes Me
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $38,495
Theaters: 1
Average: $38,495
Cumulative Total: $38,495
2. The We and the I
Distributor: Paladin
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $12,280
Theaters: 1
Average: $12,280
Cumulative Total: $12,280

3. Emperor
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $1,043,000
Theaters: 260
Average: $4,012
Cumulative Total: $1,043,000

4. Beyond The Hills
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $18,000
Theaters: 3
Average: $6,000
Cumulative Total: $18,000

5. The Girl
Distributor: Brainstorm Media/Vitagraph
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $10,400
Theaters: 2
Average: $5,200
Cumulative Total: $10,400

6. The Silence
Distributor: Music Box
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross: $9,170
Theaters: 2
Average: $4,585
Cumulative Total: $9,170

The Holdovers

1. Stoker
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross: $115,239
Theaters: 17 (up from 7)
Average: $6,779
Cumulative Total: $329,727

2. No
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross: $167,361
Theaters: 35 (up from 11)
Average: $4,782
Cumulative Total: $510,519

3. The Gatekeepers
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 6
Gross: $250,122
Theaters: 67 (up from 46)
Average: $3,733
Cumulative Total: $1,027,092 (includes Oscar qualifying run)

4. Hava Nagila
Distributor: International Film Circuit
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross: $39,369
Theaters: 12 (up from 1)
Average: $3,281
Cumulative Total: $90,766

5. Like Someone In Love
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross: $16,800
Theaters: 6 (down from 7)
Average: $2,800
Cumulative Total: $117,900

6. Lore
Distributor: Music Box Films
Weeks in Release: 5
Gross: $67,000
Theaters: 12
Average: $2,481
Cumulative Total: $255,741

7. Quartet
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Weeks in Release: 9
Gross: $1,279,000
Theaters: 715 (down from 725)
Average: $1,789
Cumulative Total: $13,269,831

8. Amour
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 12
Gross: $195,511
Theaters: 205 (down from 333)
Average: $954
Cumulative Total: $6,244,649

9. The Impossible
Distributor: Summit
Weeks in Release: 12
Gross: $90,000
Theaters: 114 (down from 151)
Average: $789
Cumulative Total: $18,478,391

10. Chasing Ice
Distributor: Submarine Deluxe
Weeks in Release: 18
Gross: $7,214
Theaters: 11
Average: $656
Cumulative Total: $1,255,791 Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Now Showing - Somebody Up There Likes Me (2013)>

I watched this with a group of acquaintances and we kept looking at each other to see if it was okay to laugh. We sat through the whole movie without cracking a smile. But after the credits, we had a four-hour conversation about why the dry irony was so funny and absolutely lost our fucking minds. My roommate even doubled over when I told him that Max's snarky, above-it-all reaction to Lyla's dad's cancer diagnosis and subsequent suicide was probably the funniest thing he would ever SEE. Facebook Link

ALPS - Film Review - Alps>

What makes Lanthimos's work so refreshing is his quirky, highly original storylines and audacious cinematography. Aggeliki Papoulia's hardworking nurse becomes so obsessed with her role playing that it begins to take over her life. The line between fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred and she starts crossing boundaries with her clients. Gradually, we realise, she is herself struggling with loss and grief. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Annemarie Jacir's 'When I Saw You' to Open London's Birds Eye View Film Fest>

Set in 1967, Jacir's movie tells the story of a young Palestinian boy and his mother living in a refugee camp in Jordan. Desperate to return home and find his absent father, the boy runs away from the camp. Birds Eye View organizers said this year the event will focus on Arab women film-makers with Jacir's film making its U.K. debut April 3 to open the festival. Jacir's movie unspooled at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and also won a best Asian movie award during last month's Berlinale. The festival, held at venues across the British capital, runs April 3 through 10. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - SXSW Film: Richard Linklater talks “Before Midnight” and his Texas hit “Bernie”>

When last we met Jesse and Celine, the star-crossed lovers played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, they were reuniting in Paris after nine long years. Now they’re in Greece for Before Midnight, an exquisitely observed drama about what happens when a couple faces the cold, hard realities of compromise and conflicting interests. The film played SXSW Saturday night. Facebook Link


HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES - Mitsigan - Hardships & Beauties Trailer>

ΟΜΟΡΦΙΕΣ & ΔΥΣΚΟΛΙΕΣ (ΜΗΤΣΙΓΚΑΝ) / HARDSHIPS & BEAUTIES (MITSIGAN)/ μια ιστορία από την Ελληνική Άγρια Δύση/ a story from the Greek Wild West... Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight set to screen at this years South by Southwest Film Festival > Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Slate Includes 'Before Midnight,' 'Mobius,' Films With Naomi Watts, Vince Vaughn & Much More>

The Tribeca Film Festival has unveiled a big batch of their 2013 slate, including the World Documentary, Feature Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight, Midnight and Storyscapes line-ups. In its 12th year, Tribeca boasts an international, star-studded program that will welcome films that span the globe. Festival hits making a stop at Tribeca include: Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche," Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price," Neil Jordan's "Byzantium" and more. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - You employ a few very long takes in this film. Are they difficult to shoot?>

Yes, the car scene -- it’s very difficult for the actors I think. It’s a tribute to Ethan and Julie, what good actors they are. It’s the kind of acting you don’t give awards to because people accept it as real, kind of like the apes at the beginning of '2001' -- they didn’t win best costume because they thought they were real. Julie and Ethan, people think it’s real, they think we just turn on a camera and we capture these dialogues. You know, "acting" is Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln -- that’s acting. And I’m not saying it isn’t, it’s good acting, but that’s seen at a different level, when it really isn’t. This is actually harder, I think. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw You set to screen on March 22nd at 16.00 Teatro Petruzzelli at Bif&st - Bari International Film & TV Festival> Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Theatrical Release Dates for Somebody Up There Likes Me> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Congratulations to Richard Linklater, set to receive the Star of Texas honour at the upcoming 13th annual Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards.> Facebook Link

February 2013

WHEN I SAW YOU - Congratulations to When I Saw You for winning Netpac's BEST ASIAN FILM award at this year Berlinale.>

The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) is an alliance of festival organisers and film critics whose aim is to support Asian film. The jury awards a prize to an Asian film screened in the Forum. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Berlinale 2013: We saw 'Before Midnight' and fell in love from the start!>

Η επιλογή να γυριστεί η ταινία στην Ελλάδα θα μπορούσε να ήταν ασήμαντη. Η ιστορία θα ήταν ίδια, είτε ο Τζέσι και η Σελίν χανόντουσαν στους δρόμους της Ρώμης, είτε καβγάδιζαν σε ξενοδοχείο της Βαρκελώνης, είτε τους έβρισκαν τα μεσάνυχτα στο Μπρίστολ. Η διαφορά όμως της τουριστικής ταινίας από μία ιδέα που έχει ρίζα και αιτία είναι ότι ο Λικλέιτερ ξεπερνά τη γραφικότητα των πλάνων γυναικών που μαγειρεύουν γεμιστά, περιηγήσεων του ζευγαριού σε βυζαντινά ξωκκλήσια, ή μιας παρέας που τρώει φέτα και σταφύλια, μιλώντας για τον έρωτα και τις σχέσεις. Χωρίς να το λέει ποτέ, ούτε καν να το υπαινίσσεται, χωρίς καμία εθνικιστική αναφορά ή αφελές τοπικιστικά κοπλιμέντα, υπάρχει στον αέρα ένας θαυμασμός, ή μια ανάγκη να καταλάβει την κουλτούρα μιας χώρας που υπάρχει μέσα στους αιώνες. Που έχει αντέξει στο χρόνο. Που οι οικογένειές της τρώνε ακόμα στο τραπέζι τα μεσημέρια. Που ακόμα πολλά από τα ζευγάρια της γερνάνε μαζί. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Richard Linklater's surprise prize in Berlin for 'Before Midnight'>

The Berlin Film festival welcomed director Richard Linklater with a surprise award Monday night, presenting him the Berlinale Camera before a screening of his new film, “Before Midnight.” The prize is presented to film personalities or institutions to which the festival feels particularly indebted or wishes to express its thanks. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight' In Berlin: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater On Their Glorious Third Act>

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater reunited in Berlin this week for the international premiere of "Before Midnight." The second sequel to "Before Sunrise" (which won the Golden Bear for best director in Berlin 18 years ago -- and the festival is the only one where all three films screened), the film went over just as well here as it did a month ago in Sundance (where it topped Indiewire's critics poll and was picked up for a May U.S. release by Sony Pictures Classics). It also allowed all the members of the "Before" trio to join together, with Hawke having been in Europe during Sundance. Facebook Link


A tender, sometimes mischievous coming-of-age story set around a Palestinian refugee camp, When I Saw You is a hearfelt, approachable, if soft-centred depiction of deracination from a child’s point of view. A polished, narratively engaging package from writer-director Annemarie Jacir, When I Saw You is hardly the most confrontational screen treatment we’ve seen of this theme, but that should give it a modest shot at commercial exposure beyond festivals, especially those with children’s and human rights angles. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Hawke, Delpy considering follow-up to 'Before Midnight'>

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy said they feel like they've grown up with their slow-burn romantic trilogy after the latest instalment, "Before Midnight", charmed the Berlinale Monday, and that they're mulling a fourth film. In a 63rd edition light on big hits, the out-of-competition screening of the movie drew cheers from a packed cinema at the first major European film festival of the year, and Hawke and Delpy appeared moved by the reception. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - EFM Roundup: IM Global Sells Out On ‘Before Midnight’>

IM Global sold out the world on Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight ahead of its official out of competition screening today. The film that reunites the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset trio of Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, debuted in Sundance where Sony Pictures Classics acquired it for North America and the UK from Cinetic Media." IM Global held a packed buyers’ screening on Friday and sealed key deals in Germany (Prokino), France (Diaphana), Japan (New Select), Scandinavia (NonStop), Latin America (Sun), Australia/New Zealand (eOne) and elsewhere. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Midnight’ Set For Limited May Release>

One of the biggest hits of Sundance last month was Richard Linklater‘s third collaboration with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Midnight. The film was universally praised as a great picture, and a very satisfying continuation of the story begun in Before Sunrise (’95) and Before Sunset (’04). Sony Pictures Classics nabbed the film at Sundance, to no one’s surprise, and now we know that some audiences won’t have long to wait. Expect to see the film in New York and LA on May 24. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sony Wisely Sets Swift Release Date for Sundance Favorite ‘Before Midnight’>

Sony Pictures Classics has set a limited release date for festival favorite Before Midnight on May 24th, when it will open in both New York and Los Angeles. The film was a true darling at last month’s festival (it even earned an A- from this critic) and is widely considered to be a wonderful end to Richard Linklater‘s globe-trotting romantic trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Fans of the trilogy have been anticipating this one for years and, we daresay, they will not be disappointed with this final entry. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sony Classics sets release dates for 'Before Midnight'>

Sony Classics picked up the film out of Sundance and I've been waiting for release plans anxiously. Because if played right, this is a film that could land nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress, easy. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson) stars in SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, coming to theaters on March 8 and available on iTunes and On Demand March 12> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight added to the SXSW 2013 Film Lineup>

This is the 20th anniversary for SXSW, and the lineup is one of the festival's most star-packed yet: Sundance favorites like "Don Jon's Addiction" (written, directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) "Prince Avalanche" (with Paul Rudd) and Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" will all screen during SXSW, though not in competition. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Some people follow the masses. Others follow the sun>

Not only is the Palestinian struggle stunningly depicted on a human scale, but also man’s eternal quest for freedom Facebook Link

January 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Top Films and Performances of Sundance 2013>

This year, 42 critics from Indiewire's Criticwire Network participated in a poll of the best films at performances at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Before Midnight captured top spots in two categories. Director Richard Linklater ranked the highest for Best Director while "Before Midnight" landed Best Narrative Feature. Facebook Link

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME - Exclusive Cartoon Poster For Nick Offerman's Somebody Up There Likes Me>

The film covers 35 years in the lives of three protagonists-- Keith Poulson's Max, Offerman's Sal, and the woman they both adore, played by Jess Weixler. The movie is coming to select theaters on March 8 and will be available on VOD just four days later, on March 12. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance 2013: 'Fruitvale,' 'Before Midnight,' and the same-sex sexytime of 'Concussion'>

I give my second award, for The Best Conversation We Hope Never Ends, to Before Midnight, in which Celine and Jesse, a.k.a. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, talk and talk and talk their lives into shapes suitable for adults who are now 41 years old. It’s a dialogue familiar to those (like me) who first fell in love with Celine and Jesse 18 years ago when Before Sunrise — a rapturous Sundance debut — set the then-23-year-old French girl and American boy down in Vienna and let them loose. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Sundance favorite Before Midnight>

NEW YORK (January 25, 2013) - Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American and UK rights to Richard Linklater’s BEFORE MIDNIGHT, the third installment to BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Like BEFORE SUNSET, the third film is written by Academy Award® nominees Linklater, Hawke and Delpy. Premiering to critical acclaim in the Premieres Section on Sunday evening at the Sundance Film Festival, BEFORE MIDNIGHT has been one of the most talked about films at the festival.

The film is produced by Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Sara Woodhatch and executive produced by Jacob Pechenik, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, and John Sloss. The deal was negotiated by SPC and Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

In BEFORE MIDNIGHT, we meet Celine and Jesse 9 years on. Almost 2 decades have passed since that first meeting on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early 40's in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

"In 1991 we were in Sundance with SLACKER and we witnessed the birth of a major American filmmaker. At Sundance 2013 with BEFORE MIDNIGHT, we have further confirmation that Richard Linklater is a film master at the peak of his form. This one has it all as entertainment and as a work of cinematic art. It is a perfect movie made by not one but three auteurs, Rick, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy. This movie will be incredibly successful around the world. And the acquisition is all the sweeter for our being back with Rickand producers Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer and John Sloss," says Sony Pictures Classics.

Director Richard Linklater adds, "Shooting in Greece was one of my best film experiences ever. This has just been enhanced with the news that we've found such a good home with Michael and Tom." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Watch Before Midnight's Q&A from Sundance 2013 with Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater> Facebook Link


Before Midnight doesn't just live up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. It's the best film of the series, the one that's all grown up. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance 2013 Review: ‘Before Midnight’ Is the Best of Richard Linklater’s Trilogy>

Before Midnight is satisfying for fans of Celine and Jesse’s relationship, but it’s also satisfying for anyone searching for some real talk about the nature of romance, love, and fidelity. This is an adult movie, made by adults for adults, and it’s one of the most fulfilling modern love stories to hit theater screens in quite some time. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance 2013: 'Before Midnight' Q&A w/Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater> Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - When I Saw You is among the official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival >

"Annemarie Jacir's Palestinian-Jordanian “When I Saw You” (Lamma Shoftak) is among the official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival - Berlinale, Forum.

Since its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September, the film has picked up awards across the Arab world's major film festivals including Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Don Quixote Award at the Carthage International Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Cairo Film Festival, and the Jury Prize of Oran Arab Film Festival.

“When I Saw You” has also screened at several international festivals including Sau Paulo, Goa, and Kerala. Other European and US release are scheduled for 2013. The film is also Palestine's Official Oscar Entry for 2013 for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film, written and directed by Annemarie Jacir and produced by Ossama Bawardi of Philistine Films, was shot in Jordan last year with a local cast and crew with support from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the Khalid Shoman Foundation, Sanad Fund, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the Thessaloniki Int. Film Festival, Tribeca Film Institute and others." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The 2013 Sundance Review Report: 'Before Midnight'> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Masterful 'Before Midnight' Reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy For the Best Installment of Richard Linklater's Trilogy>

"Masterful 'Before Midnight' Reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy For the Best Installment of Richard Linklater's Trilogy"

Criticwire grade: A+

"Because their lives have grown more tangled and cumbersome, the style of the series has grown with them. Possibly Linklater's most refined achievement, "Before Midnight" magnifies the experience of self-examination with greater emotional weight than its predecessors. While still leaving open their future prospects, the movie brings the experiment full circle by returning to the existential yearning Linklater captures so well. It's an inviting routine: "Before Midnight" is the rare cinematic achievement that implicates alert viewers in its mission to understand the mysteries of intimate connections. "I really cherish this communication we have," Jesse says to his son, but he's also addressing the audience."

indiewire | 21 Jan 2013 | By Eric Kohn Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - New Images Of Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy In 'Before Midnight'> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Delpy, Hawke and Linklater reunite for a third remarkable installment of the Before... series>

Faces crease, bodies swell, and life accumulates such a mountain of crummy responsibilities it seems there's no space left for living. But the work Richard Linklater and company started in 1995's Before Sunrise retains a clarity of spirit undimmed by 18 years. In Before Midnight, its two lovers not only have longings and worries we identify with; they fight as we do, too. They are as convincing in middle age as they were as passionate youths sharing a one-night encounter. Though this stage is harder to watch, audiences who have aged along with Celine and Jesse will treasure this new episode. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Masterful 'Before Midnight' Reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy For the Best Installment of Richard Linklater's Trilogy>

Because their lives have grown more tangled and cumbersome, the style of the series has grown with them. Possibly Linklater's most refined achievement, "Before Midnight" magnifies the experience of self-examination with greater emotional weight than its predecessors. While still leaving open their future prospects, the movie brings the experiment full circle by returning to the existential yearning Linklater captures so well. It's an inviting routine: "Before Midnight" is the rare cinematic achievement that implicates alert viewers in its mission to understand the mysteries of intimate connections. "I really cherish this communication we have," Jesse says to his son, but he's also addressing the audience. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - One of the great movie romances of the modern era achieves its richest and fullest expression in Richard Linklater's third walking-and-talking collaboration with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy>

One of the great movie romances of the modern era achieves its richest and fullest expression in "Before Midnight." Exquisite, melancholy, hilarious and cathartic, Richard Linklater's third walking-and-talking collaboration with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy turns a summer night's Grecian idyll into a typically digressive and cumulatively overwhelming essay on the joys and frustrations of (spoiler alert!) long-term commitment and parenthood. Answering the question of whether we needed another date with Jesse and Celine with a resounding yes, this wise and wondrously intimate picture should gross somewhere in the modest vicinity of its predecessors while sending faithful fans, and perhaps a few new ones, into the emotional stratosphere. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Mad Max's Weekend Movie Guide>

Those of you with who happen to be skiing in Park City, Utah this weekend may want to spend your downtime between slopes at a little event called the Sundance Film Festival. Robert Redford's yearly gathering to promote promising independent films and worship various Native American demon spirits has several promising debuts, including Richard Linklater's Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy trilogy capper "Before Midnight," the Harry Potter-goes-gay Beat Poet movie "Kill Your Darlings" and doll-faced Amanda Seyfried looking nothing like the "Deep Throat" star in "Lovelace."

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BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance: Filmmakers Say Cable TV & Online A Good Place To Land>

Traditional methods of getting a project made and finding an audience are evolving rapidly toward smaller screens, a panel of directors and producers agreed today at the Sundance Film Festival “Every time I’ve had a movie I couldn’t get financing for recently, the next question is always ‘could this be a TV series?’ It’s a business model. It’s boring but it’s real,” said Richard Linklater. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Fest Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers: Mike Fleming On 2013 Sundance>

BEFORE MIDNIGHT: Writer-director: Richard Linklater (written with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke). Sure it might be the lowest-grossing film franchise in film history, but buyers are sparked for the third installment which picks up Jesse and Celine nine years later in Greece, some two decades after they first met on a train bound for Vienna. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - 5 Films That Could Start Distributor Bidding Wars At Sundance 2013>

We'd actually assumed when we came to write this feature that Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," the third part of the trilogy that began with "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," and one of the most anticipated films of the festival, already had a distributor. The first film was released by Columbia, the second by Warner Bros, each through deals with the films' producers Castle Rock Entertainment, and we'd figured that a similar system would operate for the third. And while IMDB lists the movie with Warner Bros, the Greece-set Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy reteam actually doesn't have a U.S. distributor, which must make it one of the hotter prospects at the festival. Admittedly, the films are hardly blockbusters -- they made $5.5 million and $5.8 million domestically on their releases back in 1995 and 2004 (though 'Sunset' did even better business overseas). But we'd wager that they're probably big home video hits, and over the time, the films have been become cherished by scores of fans. We'd wager this would be an ace multi-platform release for an indie shingle, who could do very well with a limited theatrical/VOD rollout. But in any event, there will be more than few folks kicking the tires on this one. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Before Midnight to make it's International premiere at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival>

"The Berlinale (Feb 7 -17) has added its final competition titles, including David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche in competition and Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, Bille August’s Night Train to Lisbon and George Sluizer’s Dark Blood out of competition." Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Berlinale competition adds Before Midnight, Dark Blood, Prince Avalanche>

The Berlinale (Feb 7 -17) has added its final competition titles, including David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche in competition and Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, Bille August’s Night Train to Lisbon and George Sluizer’s Dark Blood out of competition Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - “When I Saw You” makes its European premiere at Berlinale>

Annemarie Jacir's Palestinian-Jordanian “When I Saw You” (Lamma Shoftak) is among the official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival - Berlinale, Forum. Since its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September, the film has picked up awards across the Arab world's major film festivals including Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Don Quixote Award at the Carthage International Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Cairo Film Festival, and the Jury Prize of Oran Arab Film Festival. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The 10 Films I’m Most Excited To See At The Sundance Film >

Because Before Sunset was just about perfect—a sequel to Before Sunrise but even more poignant and romantic—it's tempting to wish that they'd leave well enough alone. But for anyone who loved the first two movies and those characters, how can you not want to know how they're doing now? Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance 13 for 13> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Staff Name Their Most Anticipated Films of 2013>

I’m a huge fan of the two earlier installments, "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset", so when official word broke that this culmination was not only happening, but that it had wrapped filming, my heart leapt. This is the one film you couldn’t possibly keep me away from this year. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Sundance 2013: Kate’s 10 Most Anticipated Films> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Four Indie Films to Watch in 2013> Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The 26 Films to Look Forward to in 2013>

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two films I love so much that thinking of a third in the series makes me rather anxious, especially given the brilliant ending of the second. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - The Year Ahead in Movies [Top 10]>

Tell fans of “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” that writer-director Richard Linklater and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have made a third installment in the bittersweet series of films, and just watch their faces light up. This cannot get to Madison fast enough, in my book. Facebook Link

ATTENBERG & ALPS - European, American Critics Like Attenberg, Alps>

Greeks films are growing in esteem from film critics. The film Attenberg directed by Athena Rachel Tsangari was one of the Best movies of 2012, according to the New York Times. “More than a paradox of moral and psychological maturity, the film is also a story of socialization, as well as a study on our animal essence,” Times critic Dennis Lim said about Attenberg. A few weeks ago, the British Guardian published a critics top 10 list that included the film Alps directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, which was screened in Britain during 2012 and ranked ninth among the reviewers. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Weekly Top Five: Most Anticipated Films of 2013>

The second sequel to Linklater's seminal Before Sunrise premieres at this year's Sundance, easily the most anticipated movie screening at the annual festival. Facebook Link

WHEN I SAW YOU - Top Ten Films of 2012 Progressives Should See>

The richness of the characters, the catchy soundtrack, the innovative editing has resulted in a film that draws the viewer into a family as real as your own. Facebook Link

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Top 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013>

After immensely enjoying Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and the unlikely sequel Before Sunset, you can bet that I'm absolutely thrilled to be catching the third installment at Sundance in a couple weeks. Facebook Link

Richard Linklater's BEFORE MIDNIGHT - One of IndieWire's Most Anticipated Films of 2013> Facebook Link