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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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9 Foreign Film Finalists

"Cheering for BODY AND SOUL or LOVELESS for the win. - Travis

"My two favorites, BPM and Summer '93, were left out so now I'm rooting for Chile's A FANTASTIC WOMAN all the way." - Peggy Sue

"THE WOULD... I'm ecstatic its profile has been given this boost." -Goran

What'cha Looking For?
Interviews

new Claes Bang Actor
(Sweden's Oscar Submission)
Nikolaj Lie Kaas Actor
(Denmark's Oscar Submission)
Hana Jusic Director
(Croatia's Oscar Submission)

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Friday
Dec182015

Link Roundup and a "Trumbo" Shout-out on the Hill

David Poland on why certain films overperform or underperform come Oscar time. Much of this is both true and frustrating. Why couldn't Warner Bros see what they had in Creed for example?  
Comics Alliance on the fan campaign to make Iron Fist an Asian hero in the new tv eries. So far Marvel/Netflix has rejected the idea which is just maddening since the origin story is pretty racist in modern context.
The Envelope interviews Julianne Nicholson who was so so good in Black Mass
Word and Film An interview with actress Ileanna Douglas (we've missed her) about her new memoir "I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories From a Life Lived In and Out of the Movies"

The Guardian Peter Bradshaw picks his favorite films in multiple categories
Variety Guy Lodge's top ten list. It won't surprise you to hear that it's a good read. And Joy and Magic Mike XXL are on it keeping things provocative.
Pajiba John Krasinski is on his way to a Chris Pratt like reinvention. Trying to keep up with wife Emily Blunt perhaps?
Variety Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette reprised their famous roles at Jason Reitman's live reading of True Romance. How fun.
The Playlist says Jennifer Lawrence is going to play Robert De Niro's dad in the next David O. Russell film. Now they're just purposefully antagonizing us now, right? 
Awards Daily Spotlight takes the Las Vegas Film Critics prize for Best Picture
Daily Herald Mad Max Fury Road takes Best Picture from the Chicago Film Critics Association 
AV Club Sean Penn to play Andrew Jackson in an HBO miniseries. Sadly it is not a remake of the Broadway musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" but we'd rather see that! ...albeit with its original Jackson, Benjamin Walker in the lead role

Off Cinema
Rolling Stone Readers Poll of the 10 best songs of the year: Adele, Madonna, Drake and more 
Boing Boing Matt Haughey is a genius -- he started photoshopping dildos where guns were in photos of GOP candidates and it's both funny and satirically pointed 
The Daily Beast best TV shows of 2015: UnReal, The Knick, Empire and more...

Star Wars ♫  give me more Star Wars...Nothing but Star Wars ♬  don't let them end...
Thrillist unearths a time capsule of photos from the premiere of The Phantom Menace (1999). Dakota Johnson is just a baby!
Pajiba "a serious discussion of which original trilogy Star Wars character is best in bed" Hilarious. The gif game is strong with this one. (I agree with the rankings pretty much but I'd still do Luke.)
Screen Crush on the diversity of casting in The Force Awakens 

Today's Watch
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) honored Kirk Douglas on the floor for his 99th birthday! It's always shocking when someone in Congress does something cool but apparently this Cohen fellow is a good guy with a strong civil rights record so there you go. But mentioning a screening of Trumbo in DC? That movie's reach has been such a surprise this month.

ICYMI we sang the praises of New Zealand actor Dean O'Gorman who plays Kirk Douglas in the movie here

 

 

Friday
Dec182015

Interview: Wim Wenders on Every Thing Will Be Fine, 3D and Guilt

Director Wim WendersThis interview was conducted by guest contributor Amir Ganjavie, during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Every Thing Will Be Fine was released in theatres last week.

Four years after his success with 3D in the dance film Pina, Wim Wenders is using the technology in the realm of fiction filmmaking in Every Thing Will Be Fine. One of the German auteur’s most accessible films, this psychological thriller is about the traumatic experiences of Tomas (James Franco), a writer who is dealing with the consequences of a brutal car accident. The effects of this tragedy on him and on Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who has lost someone close, shape the story of the film. 3D cinematography has rarely been used for such a character-driven story with so few action scenes. Wenders is testing the limits of storytelling possibility with the technology.

AMIR: How was the experience of using 3D for such a character-driven, psychological film?

WIM WENDERS: Trauma is internalized. Something happens externally in your life and from then on it creates this thing in your mind and you have to live with it. It’s impossible to make it un-happen. It’s a pain in your life, there is guilt involved, and other people are involved with whom you have suddenly connected without wanting to, but the trauma is inside. The cinema has hitherto had to invent situations that externalize the trauma to make it visible. With 3D I felt that for the first time we had cameras that could look inside of a person and see into the soul because these cameras are almost like x-rays; they see more accurately and you cannot hide anything from them. You look at a person and you know who that person is. This might surprise a lot of people because the 3D films we have seen so far don’t prove that; actually, they have done the opposite. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec172015

The 9 Foreign Language Oscar Finalists Are...

Congratulations to the nine films that proceed to the final stage towards an Oscar nomination. Six of these nine films were the top vote-winners from Academy's foreign film committee in Los Angeles (who screened these 80 films) after which the executive committee added three titles to the list (though which titles are which are never revealed to the public). A final committee will now screen these nine films and determine the five nominees to be announced on January 14th. It's an elaborate process that we love to follow each year. Catch up on all our coverage and see the charts

THE FINALISTS
Links go to past articles on the films if we've written any 

Viva has been keeping a low profile but those who've seen it have raved.

  • Belgium (7 nominations) The Brand New Testament, Jaco Van Dormael
  • Colombia (never nominated) Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra (opens 2/17)
  • Denmark (13 noms | 3 wins) A War, Tobias Lindholm (opens in 2016)
  • Finland (1 nomination) The Fencer, Klaus Härö, director
  • France (36 noms | 9 wins | 3 honorarys)  Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven (now playing)
  • Germany (18 noms | 3 wins) Labyrinth of Lies, Giulio Ricciarelli (now playing)
  • Hungary (8 noms | 1 win) Son of Saul, László Nemes (opens tomorrow!)
  • Ireland (never nominated) Viva, Paddy Breathnach (opens 2/5)
  • Jordan (never nominated) Theeb, Naji Abu Nowar (now playing)

Happy Day!
Embrace of the Serpent and Mustang are both sensational pictures that more people need to discover. Go see Mustang quick! Theeb and Labyrinth of Lies are surely leaving theaters soon to so this might be your last week. If Mustang is nominated it will end France's longest drought without a nomination ever. That will be ironic since it's mostly a Turkish film. Though France is the most nominated country of all time, they haven't been honored for the past five years and their last win was 23 years back with the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve epic Indochine (1992).which was popular enough to secure a Best Actress nomination, too. 

Unbeatable?
Hungary's Son of Saul has been the expected frontrunner for months 

Newbies
Four of the nine finalists are from first time feature directors! That'd be Son of Saul, Mustang, Theeb, and Labyrinth of Lies 

Diversity
Only one of the finalists is directed by a woman (Mustang) -- 13 of the 80 films in the running had female directors or co-directors. All of the LGBT films (Thailand, Lithuania, Greece, and The Dominican Republic) were cut but for Ireland's Viva (which is set entirely in Cuba) about a boy who wants to become a drag performer. 

Will Finland get their second nomination ever with THE FENCER?

Fourth Time's The Charm?
Finnish director Klaus Härö has been submitted three previous times for Elina: As If I Wasn't There, Mother of Mine, and Letters to Father Jacob, but this is his first time in the finals. Will he finally be nominated? 

What's missing?
I mourn for The Second Mother, a film I really enjoyed that had a reasonably high profile, decent arthouse box office and strong reviews. Sweden's brilliant A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence would have probably needed a save from the Executive Committee but they didn't come through. I'm more surprised to see Iceland's Rams missing since it had been generating such positive word of mouth and was reportedly accessible, too. The biggest hit in US theaters from the competing films, Austria's Goodnight Mommy was also not selected. The film critics will surely be angriest to see Taiwan's The Assassin denied.

Which films are you rooting for? 

Thursday
Dec172015

On the Problematic AFI List

I realize I'm quite late in sharing the AFI's annual top ten list but it was only because it felt redundant. The American Film Institute starting making top ten lists of the year's most "significant" American films in 2000. For the first ten years or so their lists did have some interesting pockets, detours from Oscar buzz if you will. They were willing to include fan favorites and comedies (High Fidelity, Best in Show, The 40 Year Old Virgin) that weren't "prestige" enough for Oscar, surprise hits that weren't in any "best picture" game (Friday Night Lights, Devil Wears Prada) superhero blockbusters (Iron Man, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight) and low budget indies (Wendy & Lucy, Half Nelson). This year, it's like the jury just looked at Best Picture prediction charts and copied down the titles.

Those plus Star Wars: The Force Awakens which they pushed back their announcement to consider and/or to include depending on how cynical you're feeling. More...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec172015

Foreign Film Long List Overachieving Recap!

If the Academy is on the same time table they were last year with the Foreign Language Film volunteer committee we should know the 9 finalists from the 80-wide foreign submission list before the weekend. But before we get there, let's look back on where we've been. It's the most coverage we've ever done for one of our favorite categories so we hope you've been reading along and trying to see what you could (these films are often elusive, we know). 

Much thanks to Jose who has been invaluable in seeking out interviews. Catch up on the coverage like so...

"everything u ever wanted to know about the foreign film category *...but were afraid to ask" Pt 1 81 Trailers | Pt 2 Female Directors & Debuts | Pt 3 Zoology | Pt 4 I know that face! | Pt 5 More Trivia!

THE NOMINEES

embrace of the serpent

Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent  REVIEW  & INTERVIEW
Denmark, A War PILOU ASBAEK & INTERVIEW 
France, Mustang REVIEW & INTERVIEW 
Hungary, Son of Saul  REVIEW & INTERVIEW  
Jordan, Theeb INTERVIEW  

 

goodnight mommy

THE OTHER SUBMISSIONS

Afghanistan, Utopia DISQUALIFIED | Albania, Bota | Algeria, Twilight of Shadows 
Argentina, The Clan  REVIEWED | Australia, Arrows of the Thunder Dragon 
Austria, Goodnight Mommy INTERVIEW | Bangladesh, Jalal’s Story 
Belgium, The Brand New Testament | Bosnia and Herzegovina, Our Everyday Story
Brazil, The Second Mother INTERVIEW | Bulgaria, The Judgment
Cambodia, The Last Reel |  Canada, Félix and Meira INTERVIEW

Chile, The Club REVIEW | China, Go Away Mr. Tumor
Costa Rica, Imprisoned | Croatia High Sun | Czech Republic Home Care  
Dominican Republic, Sand Dollars  REVIEW & INTERVIEW | Estonia, 1944
Ethiopia, Lamb | Finland, The Fencer | Georgia, Moira
 
Germany, Labyrinth of Lies REVIEW & INTERVIEW 

Greece, Xenia | Guatemala, Ixcanul REVIEW | Hong Kong, To the Fore
 Iceland, Rams INTERVIEWIndia, Court | Iran, Muhammad: The Messenger of God
 
Iraq, Memories on Stone | Ireland, Viva
Israel, Baba Joon REVIEW | Italy, Don't Be Bad INTERVIEW 
Ivory Coast, Run | Japan, 100 Yen Love |  Kazakhstan, Stranger
Kosovo, Babai | Kyrgyzstan, Heavenly Nomadic | Latvia, Modris | Lebanon, Void

Lithuania, Summer of Sangaile | Luxembourg, Baby (A)lone | Macedonia, Honey Night
Malaysia, Men Who Save the World | Mexico, 600 Miles INTERVIEW 
Montenegro, You Carry Me | Morocco, Aida | Nepal, Talakjung vs Tulke
Netherlands, The Paradise Suite | Norway, The Wave REVIEW & INTERVIEW
Pakistan, Moor | Palestine, The Wanted 18 | Paraguay, Cloudy Times | Peru, NN
Philippines, Heneral Luna INTERVIEW  | Poland, 11 Minutes
Portugal, Arabian Nights - Vol 2 REVIEW |Romania, Aferim! | Russia, Sunstroke

Serbia, Enclave | Singapore, 7 Letters | Slovakia, Goat INTERVIEW
Slovenia, The Tree | South Africa, The Two of Us | South Korea, The Throne
Spain, Flowers INTERVIEW | Sweden, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch... REVIEW
Switzerland, Iraqi Odyssey | Taiwan, The Assassin REVIEW & GOLDEN HORSE
Thailand, How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) | Turkey, Sivas
United Kingdom, Under Milk Wood | Uruguay, A Moonless Night INTERVIEW
Venezuela, Gone With the River | Vietnam, Jackpot

the assassin

FOREIGN CHARTS (FOR EVEN MORE INFORMATION)

Thursday
Dec172015

Berlinale - Which films will Meryl Streep soon be judging?

Murtada here to talk Berlinale which runs February 11th through the 21st. The Berlin Film Festival just announced titles for its Panorama section. These are possibly movies we will be talking about all through 2016, as we are still talking about 45 Years which made its debut there all the way back in February.

Gerwig and Hawke in Maggie's Plan

Among the titles is TIFF and NYFF entry Maggie’s Plan from director writer Rebecca Miller and starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore. Gerwig has admitted during a Q&A at NYFF that she based her character’s look on Miller’s style. That got us fantasizing that the movie is a roman a clef about how Miller married Daniel Day Lewis soon after he was involved with Isabelle Adjani. After all Moore is playing a sorta crazy European.

Another interesting title is John Michael McDonagh’s War on Everyone with Michael Pena, Alexander Skarsgard and Theo James. All you fans of The Guard should be excited. Other titles include films from Ghana, Morocco and of course France. The full list is here.

 

Firth and Law in Genius

But more importantly who does Meryl get to judge as president of the jury?

First is Michael Grandage’s Genius which stars the man who presented her with that 3rd Oscar and her co-star from The Hours. Genius tells the true story of the relationship between famous American novelist Thomas Wolfe (played by Jude Law) and iconic editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth). Nicole Kidman is playing Aline Bernstein a costume designer who was in a romantic relationship with Wolfe. Other literary greats depicted in the film are Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West ) and F Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce).

Previously thought to be premiering at SXSW, Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special will now premiere first at Berlin. Starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst, it’s the tale of a boy who may have supernatural powers and all the bad guys in his pursuit.

Actor/Director Vincent Perez (Queen Margot) rallied up Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson to play a couple who start working against the Nazis after the death of their only son during WWII in Alone in Berlin. Daniel Bruhl is the SS Officer on their tail in the first of two 2016 movies where he plays a member of that infamous group, the other being the Jessica Chastain vehicle The Zookeeper’s Wife. (Not at Berlinale).

These titles join the previously announced opening film Hail, Caesar! which will be playing out of competition. Yes it's the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen but more importantly has Tilda Swinton giving Dame Helen Mirren (Trumbo) a run for her money by playing a version of Hedda Hopper. Who will be Capote and who becomes Infamous?

Kidman, Thompson, Moore, Swinton. Who’s first on your list based on these descriptions?