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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Middleburg Day 2: The Salesman, Manchester by the Sea, Women in Hollywood

by Nathaniel R

On the first full day at the Middleburg Film Festival after that cathartic teary opening with Lion, I attempted to schedule a horseback ride for the full Middleburg experience. The town is known for its rich horses & hunting history and you can see horses and foxes in sculpture form and in signs and logos in the charming little town. Rain got in the way of a ride but all was not lost since a beautiful black and white cat named Callisto greeted me inside the stable at practically a full gallop and began rubbing up all over me. Dear reader, I can assure you that her love was requited! She was 21 years old but super friendly, spry and playful so the country life has obviously been kind to her. One can assume the horses also love her as she hasn't been stepped on. 

So back to the movies I went, a perfect activity for rainy days even when you aren't at a film festival.

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Instagram Battles: Where and With Whom?

Would you rather

...hang out with Connor Jessup & Apichatpong "Joe" Weerathaskeul in San Fran?
... attend a costume party with Daniel Franzese and his fiancé?
... spot Ewan McGregor just hanging out in NYC where his movie is playing?


When worlds collide! @connorwjessup #sanfrancisco #strandreleasing #connorjessup #apichatpong

A photo posted by @strandreleasing on Oct 17, 2016 at 1:12pm PDT

Here we go!! #americanpastoral

A photo posted by Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) on Oct 21, 2016 at 6:14pm PDT






Interview: 'Fire at Sea' Director Gianfranco Rosi on Blurring the Line Between Documentaries and Fiction

Jose here. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea, takes a look at the migrant crisis with completely new eyes. He creates a parallel narrative in which the dangerous journeys of migrants trying to arrive in Europe seem to go almost unnoticed by the people of the island of Lampedusa, where many of them meet their fates. The island vignettes, which pay tribute to the Sicilian lifestyle, mainly focus on the misadventures of Samuele, a little boy who spends his days playing with his slingshot, worrying about diseases he’s much too young to have, and admiring the sea, perhaps unaware of the nightmare it represents to the migrants’ struggle. Rosi doesn’t create a story of ironic contrast, instead he offers a snapshot of the world we live in, and invites us to reexamine our role in the world. The documentary won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival where Jury President Meryl Streep called it “urgent, necessary filmmaking”, it also went on to be selected as Italy’s entry for the Foreign Film Oscar.

As the film opens in New York, I sat down with Rosi to talk about his views on documentaries, storytelling and how the worlds of his films are interconnected.

JOSE: You spend years working on your films and shooting. How do you know when you have a story?

GIANFRANCO ROSI: When I start the film I never know which story I’ll end up doing. I start from something a very simple structure, there’s an island, migrants, this is what happens when migrants arrive, this is where they come from. I have a geometrical idea of what’s going on - when I have this idea of the place I look for elements and people who will become my protagonists...

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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery 

Boo! It's time for "Oscar Horrors". Each night at 7 we'll look back on a horror-connected Oscar nomination until Halloween.

by Jason Adams

There are a lot of images that probably flash across one's mind when one thinks of Kathy Bates' Oscar-winning performance in Rob Reiner's film Misery. Images as great and big and terrifying as those mountain peaks that line Annie Wilkes' farmland like prison-bars. Maybe you hear words like "cockadoodie car" call out, or maybe you see Annie swinging that sledgehammer with tears of love tipping her eyelashes and a swell in her heart - I certainly wouldn't blame you; that's a shock that leaves a mark, on Paul Sheldon and the audience both.

But when I think of Misery I immediately think of one scene, every time, and it's the quietest (and for that maybe the most terrifying) moment in the film...

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Go See a Movie!

Go see something this weekend and report back!

New York and LA
Two incredible new films have arrived: Moonlight and The Handmaiden. I'd argue the latter is Park Chan Wook's best film yet. You absolutely must not miss either of them though I wish distributors would stop releasing films that can appeal to the same audience at the same time (I mean the last few weeks haven't had ravishingly artistic auteur films with queer storylines, so why two at once?). I wrote up a little snippet on The Handmaiden at Towleroad and we've previously reviewed Moonlight tag team style right here. I believe that both plan to expand into more cities next weekend. Both coasts also get an Icelandic mystery called Autumn Lights and NYC gets the indie porn drama King Cobra (with Christian Slater, James Franco and more)

Multiple Cities
Expanding into several more cities this weekend: the Holocaust related courtroom drama Denial (reviewed), Mexico's violent Oscar submission Desierto (reviewed - you've been warned), and cinephile favorite Kelly Reichardt's latest Certain Women with Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams (reviewed). Ewan McGregor's debut directorial effort American Pastoral hits Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas.


Middleburg Day 1: "Lion" is a winner

By Nathaniel R

Sheila Johnson welcomes you!Salamander

Middleburg Film Festival, now in its fourth year and just an hour outside of Washington DC, is a rising festival to watch. Most of the festival's big events take place at the Salamander Resort and Spa which sits on 340 beautiful acres. The rooms are gorgeous -- I even have a nice little terrace to sit on while typing up these diaries for you. In short, this is a destination festival rather than a 'drop in for a film or two or two after work' type big city festival. Emma Stone and Damien Chazelle are coming into town for La La Land and other luminaries appear for their films, too.

The festival, which has an Oscar hopeful heavy lineup, was founded by the African-American billionaire Sheila Johnson (co-founder of BET network) who welcomed us to the opening night screening. The event was in the resort's huge ballroom and I was surprised to be very happy and pleased with the screen size and sound since non-traditional venues at regional festivals can sometimes present challenges.

 The opening night film was the lost child / adoption drama Lion. True to early buzz we've heard the movie is quite wonderful...

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Review: "Rocky Horror" Loses Its Edge

by Eric Blume

Last night, Fox TV gave us a remake/update of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, a staple of midnight movie screenings for decades.  This update, with the tag "Let’s Do The Time Warp Again," aired at the family hour of 8pm, which pretty much sums up everything that’s wrong with it.   

The original 1975 film is the definition of “lightning in a bottle.” There had been nothing quite like it at the time. It was genuinely transgressive, and featured one of the all-time out-there performances by Tim Curry as Frank-n-Furter, everyone’s favorite "sweet transvestite".  While it’s easy to romanticize the original and ignore its weaknesses, the film does deliver as a warm-heated parody of sci-fi and horror movies as intended. What's more it's actually kinky, sexy, unsettling, and fun...

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