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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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the design of THE LOVE WITCH

 

"The look of the film is really fantastic, but the script begins to run out of steam after the first quarter." -Rob

"Great write-up. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in 35mm." -Roger

 

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Friday
Oct092015

NYFF: The Oscar Contender "Son of Saul"

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival on Hungary's Oscar submission, a powerful debut film...

The Holocaust film is, as historical subgenres go, perhaps the most well-worn. From John Ford and George Stevens’ documentary footage of the camps liberation all the way through Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, cinema has been irrevocably tied to our cultural remembrance of that most barbaric killing machine. Cinema’s ability to record, to bear witness, has no doubt played a central role in this artistic canon. Of course, at the heart of the cinematic project of the Holocaust lie conflicting and controversial ethical questions. From Theodor Adorno’s “There is no poetry after Auschwitz” dictum to storied arguments about the validity and usefulness of recreating the images of Western civilization’s most gruesome chapter, directors, victims, and historians have asked plenty of hard to answer questions.

Does the depiction not merely replicate the dehumanization on which that enterprise depended? Is there a way to narrativize this barbaric act without simplifying history? Can cinema’s images ever do anything more than ring hollow when compared with the immensity of human life lost?

If all of this sounds heady as an intro to a review of László Nemes’s debut film Son of Saul, you should’ve heard leading man (and poet) Géza Röhrig and his director talk at length about these very issues while quoting Primo Levi at the press conference a few days ago...

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Friday
Oct092015

TweetWeek: Sienna Who? Alt Matt! Jackman Oops

Mmmmm quartets 

 

Herewith a collection of tweets that amused this week and things that make you go hmmmmm as it were.

Please to enjoy them all after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct092015

This one is for movie buffs who love animals and also know how to read subtitles

Pt 3 Everything you wanted to know about the foreign language film Oscar race.... * but were afraid to ask

Do you love animals? Who doesn't love animals? If you don't love them, we can't be friends!

A True Story From Nathaniel's Sick Bed/Office... 
I've been sick all week. Yesterday, feeling vaguely human again, I risked a movie at NYFF which happened to be Taiwan's Oscar submission The Assassin. It is sure pretty but after falling for a red herring involving a blue bird I gave up trying to follow the plot. When I returned home I collapsed. I dreamt of being forced to pack up all my earthly possessions and load them on a barge that was heading to outerspace. In order to survive the interstellar journey by water we needed to wear very tight scuba space suits. I realized I couldn't bring my beloved Monty unless I could squeeze him into his own catsuit (literal catsuit, not sexy-diva figurative). He wouldn't comply and I was holding him tight and we were just sweating in those damn suits. I woke up abruptly buried in blankets and sweat with my cat sound asleep on top of me. He LOVES when I am sick. The feeling is not mutual in reverse and he has been.I can't even talk about it. I can't.

I got back to work when Oscar news dropped. I spent the day/evening frantically updating the foreign Oscar Charts and compiling that director trivia and collating all those subtitled trailers for you. I took one wee break to take an online quiz for The Lobster -- which is about people who become animals if they can't find mates -  and somehow I came out as a bear? I am relatively hairless but I do love honey and fish. Type-type-type. Blog-blog-blog. Through my sniffles and remaining sickly delirium I thought 'No one appreciates all this work I do. Gah. I should just sail to outerspace!' and then I remembered the dream and that I was crazy and should go to bed again and I love my cat. The End.

My point is this: Animals and Oscars and Movies are all on my brain simultaneously. And though that's not uncommon, here is an incomplete list of this year's Foreign Film Oscar Contenders which definitely feature our furry / feathered / scaly friends.

Xenia (Greece)
Bunny Rabbits, apparently. This one is on the poster albeit in normal bunny rabbit size.

Arabian Nights: Volume 2 - The Desolate Ones (Portugal) 
Mangy Poodles. Silent Parrots. Talking Litigous Cows! This is a must see for fans of animal-related cinema. [my confused review]

Sivas (Turkey)
The plot centers on a young boy who saves a sheep dog 

The Wanted 18 (Palestine)
This documentary is actually about cows! 

Baba Joon (Israel)
It takes place on a turkey farm 

Stranger (Kazakshtan)
A young man with a tight relationship to nearby wolves

Rams (Iceland) and Lamb (Ethiopia)
What the titles say

Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
The animals only really get cool chapter marking cameos but see this movie! [my besotted review]

Brand New Testament (Belgium)
I know this satire is about God living in Brussells but somehow Catherine Deneuve and a Gorilla are involved??? I'm in. When can I see it?

Which of the foreign submissions are you most curious about?

ICYMI
All the trailers | submissions from women and newbies | prediction & charts

Thursday
Oct082015

Oscar's Foreign Film Race Pt 1: All 81 Trailers 

Pt 1 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category... *But Were Afraid to Ask

Here are all the trailers in one place. We're helpful that way. Tis the season of wondering what the Academy's Foreign Language Film committees might take a shine to. We're sprucing up the Official Submission Charts right now to make them cleaner with the full list but until then here are all the trailers for your viewing pleasure.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct082015

NYFF: In Jackson Heights

Manuel here visiting one of my favorite New York City neighborhoods with a great guide by my side, the great Frederick Wiseman in his new doc which screened as part of the New York Film Festival.

Last summer, the day before Colombia played its World Cup match against Brazil, I was set to meet some friends in Jackson Heights to grab some hot dogs (such good hot dogs!) and go out to some of the gay clubs around Roosevelt Avenue. Little did I know Frederick Wiseman was busy filming In Jackson Heights right around the same time: framed by the World Cup and ending with the July 4th fireworks, it seems totally plausible he was shooting that very same day!

I share this anecdote because more than anything else, Wiseman’s film feels like a truly immersive visit to this Queens neighborhood. [More...]

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Thursday
Oct082015

Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 2: Female Directors & Debut Filmmakers

Pt 1 - All 81 Movie Trailers
Pt 2 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category...  *But Were Afraid to Ask

Mustang has a female director and female cast. Will this be a good year for women in Oscar's Foreign Film race?

The next time you see someone tweeting about the lack of female directors that get work in Hollywood, please point them to Oscar's Foreign Language Film category. This category reminds us, year after year, that Hollywood is not the entirety of Cinema. We'd do well to commit that to memory. And progressive thinking moviegoers would do well to seek out the alternate voices that already exist that they say they want... even if that requires reading subtitles.

You see, each year countries around the world are asked to submit one film to represent their entire country at the Oscars (it need no longer be in an indigenous language to that country, just not in English). Each year at least a handful of countries submit films directed by women. This year it's much more than that. Now, that might not be a direct correlative to "it's better for female directors in ____ than in the USA" but it's not nothing!

Consider the act in reverse. Can you imagine Hollywood, if they were forced to submit one film that represented them for a whole calendar year, choosing a female-directed film to speak for them? Given their lack of interest in films about women let alone films directed by them, this seems unthinkable. The sole exception is probably Kathryn Bigelow's military drama The Hurt Locker (2009). 

Where are the Women? Right Here!
This year the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film has 81 contenders. A total of 13 of those films are directed or co-directed by women. [More...]

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Thursday
Oct082015

Women's Pictures - Antonia Bird's Ravenous

What is the difference between a hero and a coward? Where is the moral line between surviving hunger and gratifying gluttony? What was the true nature of manifest destiny? When you think "cannibalism horror flick," you probably don't expect questions like these, but Antonia Bird's 1999 genre-bending Ravenous surprisingly pauses to ask these questions before launching into some spectacularly self-indulgent gore. The result is a veritable smorgasbord of horror tropes and outlandish ideas that make up an unusual horror movie which might not be to everyone's taste.

Guy Pierce, hot off L.A. Confidential, plays John Boyd, a cowardly captain in the American army during the Mexican-American War. He has been decorated for capturing an enemy command after hiding under a pile of dead bodies, though he did so out of fear, not heroism. His superiors send him to a remote outpost in the Sierra Nevadas, Ft. Spencer, which is run by a Colonel (Jeffrey Jones), a drunk (Stephen Spinella), an idiot (David Arquette), a religious nut (Jeremy Davies), a soldier (Neal McDonough), and the two genre-required Native Americans (Sheila Tousey and Joseph Runningfox). When a half-mad priest (Robert Carlyle) appears in the night, telling stories of snowbound starvation and cannibalism, the ragtag group sets out to investigate. What they find is a bloody disaster.

Click to read more ...