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Entries in film festivals (370)

Thursday
Apr142016

Cannes Film Festival Official Lineup

Kieran, here. The Cannes film festival is a peculiar animal. Its relation to the Oscar race (it's April, so I'm allowed to mention it again) is nebulous. While the festival raerly fails to deliver at least a few titles that will net multiple nominations, it's hardly the launching pad into awards season in a way similar to Toronto or (in more recent years) Telluride. And truthfully, that's one of the things that makes it so compelling to follow. Regardless of whatever criticisms one can levy against Cannes, it's hard to deny that it clearly has its own rich history and identity with different motives on its mind compared to many high profile festivals.

The lineup for the festival is replete with interesting cinematic offerings. There are certain directors who can always garner a slot on the roster (*uses quiet voice* regardles of the quality of the actual film). Even still, it's such a thrill every year when they announce the list, quibble as we may at the inclusion of the usual suspects. Below is the official lineup for the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival in full.

Opening Night Film

 Cafe Society – directed by Woody Allen

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in Woody Allen's latest

Doesn't it seem strange that it took this long for Woody Allen to put Kristen Stewart in one of his films? Woody Allen is definitely on the list of aforementioned directors who can always land a spot on the Cannes roster. Whether it's a rapturously received Midnight in Paris or a more tepid You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger level offering. Which will this be?

Competition 

Toni Erdmann – directed by Maren Ade
Julieta – directed by Pedro Almodóvar
American Honey– directed by Andrea Arnold
The Unknown Girl– directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Personal Shopper – directed by Olivier Assayas
It’s Only The End Of The World – directed by Xavier Dolan
Ma Loute – directed by Bruno Dumont
Paterson – directed by Jim Jarmusch
Rester Vertical– directed by Alain Guiraudie
Aquarius– directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho
Mal de Pierres – directed by Nicole Garcia
I, Daniel Blake– directed by Ken Loach
Ma’Rosa – directed by Brillante Mendoza
Loving – directed by Jeff Nichols
Bacalaureat – directed by Cristian Mungiu
Agassi– directed by Park Chan-Wook
The Last Face – directed by Sean Penn
Sieranevada – directed by Cristi Puiu
Elle – directed by Paul Verhoeven
The Neon Demon – directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Elle Fanning in Nicolas Winding Refn's THE NEON DEMON

The announcement of the lineup has dovetailed nicely with the release of the trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon, which has the internet buzzing. Have you watched yet? Seeing the haunting, enigmatic stills of Elle Fanning I opted not to and hopefully go into the film cold when it reaches stateside. Seriously, though...how absolutely amazing does this lineup of in-competition features look? Bacalaureat directed by Cristian Mungiu (Beyond the Hills and the fantastic 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) is the title that most has me wishing I could attend the festival. There's no guarantee it'll reach the United States in a timely manner. 

Un Certain Regard

Varoonegi – directed by Behnam Behzadi
Apprentice– directed by Boo Junfeng
Voir Du Pays – directed by Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin
La Danseuse– directed by Stephanie Di Giusto
Clash– directed by Mohamed Diab
La Tortue Rouge - directed by Michael Dudok de Wit
Fuchi Bi Tatsu – directed by Fukada Koji
Omar Shakhsiya – directed by Maha Haj
Me’Ever Laharim Vehagvaot – directed by Eran Kolirin
After The Storm– directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Hymyileva Mies– directed by Juho Kuosmanen
La Large Noche de Francisco Sanctis– directed by Francisco Marquez and Andrea Testa
Caini – directed by Bogdan Mirica
Pericle Il Nero – directed by Stefano Mordini
The Transfiguration– directed by Michael O’Shea
Captain Fantastic – directed by Matt Ross
Uchenik – directed by Kirill Serebrennikov

Viggo Mortensen in Matt Ross' CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Captain Fantastic, the second feature by actor turned director Matt Ross (American Psycho, TV's "Big Love" where he was excellent as a gay serpentine polygamist cult zealot) already played Sundance to good notices. Will it also impress the Cannes audience?

Midnight Screenings

Gimme Danger – directed by Jim Jarmusch
The Train to Busan – directed by Yeon Sang-Ho
A Chad Tragedy – directed by Mahamat-Saleh Aroun
The Death of Louis XIV – directed by Albert Serra
L’Ultima Spiaggia – directed by Thanos Anastopolous and Davide Del Degan

Outside Competition

The BFG – directed by Steven Spielberg
Money Monster – directed by Jodie Foster
The Nice Guys – directed by Shane Black
Gok Sung – directed by Na Hong-Jin

Jodie Foster directs George Clooney in MONEY MONSTERThe premiere and subsequent reception of Jodie Foster's Money Monster (which will be released in the US the following day) will be interesting to watch for several reasons. Foster, while obviously accomplished as an actor, has never really broken through with unanimous critical acclaim for any of her outings as a director (though Home For the Holidays is excellent). This is also the first film produced by George Clooney with a female director. He has previously only produced white-male-directed films--an odd bit of trivia given his reputation as a bastion of forward-thinking politics in Hollywood. He was one of the louder critics of the Academy's lack of diversity this past season, so perhaps we're seeing Clooney going beyond rhetoric (which does have value when you're a star of his reach and influence) and putting his money where his mouth is. 

What are you most excited to see?

Thursday
Mar032016

Tribeca Drops First Half of Festival Program, Chocked Full of Potential Discoveries

Daniel Crooke here, salivating over today’s first wave of films from the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival’s line-up. While the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special Sections programs won’t drop until March 8, the US Narrative, International Narrative, and World Documentary Competitions, and Viewpoints showcase hit the internet today and there’s plenty to buzz about. Scanning the films, you’ll find an embarrassment of riches hiding in the programming, plot details, and cast lists. Here are some personal points of interest:

US Narrative Competition

Ingrid Jungermann’s webseries F to 7th was an astutely, hysterically observed slice of queer life in New York, giving voice to a uniquely cutting female perspective in the process, so her feature debut Women Who Kill shoots straight to the top of the list. The Fixer sounds intriguing in a small-town-with-secrets kind way, James Franco as an “eccentric local” a little less so. Queens of charting the path from comfortable malaise to all-out soul-search, Amy Landecker and Melanie Lynskey – who, in particular, is quietly giving the best lead performance on television – pop up in Dreamland and Folk Hero & Funny Guy. Current faves Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Straight Outta Compton) and Dan Stevens (The Guest) will star in Live Cargo and The Ticket.

International Narrative Competition

It’s hard to ignore the promise of a collection of short films from the likes of Chilean shaggydog provocateur Sebastian Silva and actors Mia Wasikowska and Gael Garcia Bernal in Madly, sounding like an I Love You, anthology movie but if the city were Relentless. Argentine Cinema had the international stage last year with the raucous Wild Tales – although Lucretia Martel eternally has her own platform in my heart – so fingers crossed for another cross-hemispheric success with The Tenth Man (El Rey Del Once) and its culturally and generationally intersectional premise.

World Documentary Competition & Viewpoints

Documentary-wise, Betting On Zero positions Herbalife as a pyramid scheme, Do Not Resist exposes the military-industrial nature of America’s police culture, and LoveTrue boasts the wacko cred of (my Northeast Los Angeles neighbor) Flying Lotus on score and Shia LaBeouf as executive producer. Equals with Kristen Stewart and Nic Hoult premieres in the Viewpoints program, along with raunchy R-rated animation Nerdland (trend-chillin’ with Anomalisa and Annapurna’s Sausage Party) and the divisive British class flick High-Rise.

You can view the list of released Tribeca titles here – what catches your eye?

Sunday
Feb212016

Berlin: Fire at Sea Wins the Golden Bear

 Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival.

The Berlinale officially closes today. Although we’re not yet finished with our coverage – a couple of interviews still to come – it’s the perfect time to look back and discuss the festival’s awards. In my review of Gianfranco Rosi’s exquisite new film, Fire at Sea, I noted that it would be a shock for the film to leave the Berlinale empty-handed. Lo and behold, the festival’s jury, headed by Meryl Streep, agreed with the sentiment, and rightly awarded the competition’s best film with the Golden Bear.

The festival’s unofficial theme – repeated across press releases and around the festival hub – was refugees and immigrants. Much as Rosi’s impressive constructed, morally compelling and profoundly moving film might have benefited from that, however, it was hard to ignore the fact that its reception by critics and audiences simply towered above any other film playing in any program in Berlin. The theory among critics was that if another film were to win, it would be Mia Hansen-Løve’s L’Avenir would be it. With critics near-unanimously calling it the director’s best work yet, and with four women on a jury of seven, the Isabel Huppert vehicle was likely to find favour, and indeed it nabbed the best director prize. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

Berlin: 'Genius' starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth

 Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival, TFE's first time at Berlinale! Here is his take on Michael Grandage's Genius.

Berlinale is known for inviting one or two Hollywood pictures to the festival every year to add glamour to the sprawling selection of mostly arthouse curios. One of those films in this year’s edition was Michael Grandage’s first feature as a director, Genius. A period piece based on a true story, the film came to the festival with high expectations, given the distribution deal with Lionsgate already in place, and the pedigree of everyone involved, including thrice Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan, and Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in the cast. But this was all before the film was screened and faced walkouts and unintentional laughs.

Maxwell Perkins (Firth) was the editor and invisible hand behind some of the biggest American masterpieces of literature in the 1920s, including novels by Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pierece). Perkins is a family man, living in an expansive estate with his wife Louise (Laura Linney) and five daughters. As one would expect of the editor responsible for taming wild characters such as Hemingway and, eventually, Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), Perkins is a gentleman of the highest order, calm and gentle, but serious all the same. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

Berlin: The Latest from Mia Hansen-Løve and André Téchiné

 Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival, TFE's first time at Berlinale! Here are the two French films from the festival’s Competition section (the group of film's Meryl Streep & jury are seeing).

L’AVENIR (Mia Hansen-Løve)
Mia Hansen-Løve has established herself as one of world cinema’s most exciting young filmmakers in the past few years. Her latest, L’Avenir (Things to Come) came to Berlinale as one of the festival’s most anticipated films. Starring Isabelle Huppert as Nathalie, a middle-aged philosophy teacher on the verge of significant changes in her personal and professional life, L’Avenir is an intimate, life-affirming character study with a superb star turn from Huppert...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb152016

Berlin: Fire at Sea

Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival for The Film Experience this year, our first time at Berlinale!. Tonight, previous Venice winner, Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare.

Gianfranco Rosi shocked the film world with his Golden Lion win at Venice for Sacro GRA a few years ago. At Berlinale, the true shock would be for his latest film, Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), to leave the festival empty-handed. The Italian maestro’s seamless hybrid of documentary and fiction is a self-reflexive and compassionate meditation on Italy’s crisis of cultural identity in the face of an unprecedented wave of refugee migration.

Click to read more ...