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Entries in foreign films (367)

Friday
Apr222016

Every Dog Has Its Day: Iñárritu, 16 Years and 2 Directing Oscars Later

Eric here to discuss cinema’s currently-most-celebrated director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. As Nathaniel has noted previously, all six of Inarritu’s feature films have gotten Oscar attention in one way or another, and of course much has been written about his being the first filmmaker since 1950 to win the Best Director Oscar two years in a row. He's also just been named to the Time 100 "Icons" List.  So there’s no better time than to look back to Inarritu’s first feature, 2000’s Amores Perros, to see where he started and where he’s landed.  

Watching Amores Perros (2000) for the first time since its initial release, I was struck by how even at the start of his career, Inarritu picked extraordinarily difficult environments to shoot in.  The logistics for Amores Perros can’t have practically been much easier than the ones we are all sick of hearing about with The Revenant.  His debut feature has him shooting all over Mexico City (inarguably one of the world’s most chaotic cities), with a colossally large group of actors, and constructing a large-scale and crucially precise car wreck sequence that pays off to all three of the film’s narratives in different ways.  Plus throw in a lot of very difficult (and legally tricky) scenes with huge groups of dogs fighting, bleeding, and getting shot.  Inarritu’s self-masochism was alive and well from the very start. [More...]

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Thursday
Apr212016

Cannes Announces Its Critics' Week and Classics Selections

Cinephiles across the globe collectively held their breaths last week wondering whether the new Olivier Assayas or Lucretia Martel would make it onto the 2016 Croisette – his did, hers didn’t – as Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux unspooled the Competition, Un Certain Regard, Midnight Screenings, and Outside Competition line-ups. As if the promise of new adventures with Almodóvar, Dolan, and Park Chan-Wook weren’t enough, the recent announcements of the Critics’ Week and Cannes Classics sidebars present a whole host of new gems and old treasures to discover.

Let’s start with Critics’ Week, where a coterie of freshmen and sophomore directors compete for their own Nespresso Grand Prize. That would make this the branded stadium for spring-boarding international talents, such as Iñárritu (Amores Perros), Wong Kar-Wai (As Tears Go By), as well as Andrea Arnold and Jeff Nichols who are contending in the Main Competition this year with American Honey and Loving, respectively. The Critics Week features competition includes a number of films that examine schisms in national identities, and a closing selection of shorts featuring the directorial debut of human mystery box Chloe Sevigny. And speaking of people that could always be lurking over your shoulder; this is where David Robert Mitchell’s sexually transmitted horror film It Follows debuted back in 2014.

Critics’ Week 

  • Albüm – directed by Mehmet Can Mertoğlu (Turkey)
  • Diamond Island – directed by Davy Chou (Cambodia/France)
  • Raw – directed by Julia Ducournau (France)
  • Mimosas – Oliver Laxe (France)
  • One Week And A Day – directed by Asaph Polonsky (Israel)
  • Tramontane – directed by Vatche Boulghourjian (Lebanon)
  • A Yellow Bird – directed by K. Rajagopal (Singapore)

    Opening Night: In Bed with Victoria - directed by Justine Triet (France) 

Cannes Classics
The festival also hosts restored films from the international canon. This year they'll feature honors for documentarian and institutional excavator Frederick Wiseman, as well as a master class with raconteur and all-around mayday man William Friedkin. In addition to that Friedkin talk, Cannes Classics will screen the divisive Sorcerer, his 1977 remake of Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear – a film that sets a long fuse for a series of gut-wrenching flare-ups, a rattling exercise in tension. Ivory’s Howard’s End, Parts 5 and 6 of Kieślowski’s Decalogue, Gordard’s current repertory release Masculin feminine, and a bunch of other exciting classics will remind us why we were drawn to the cinema in the first place.

Any ideas how we could all split the cost of a yacht to the south of France this year?

Wednesday
Apr202016

Interview: Alba Rohrwacher on the Gender Politics of 'Sworn Virgin' and the Actresses She Loves



Jose
here. In the ancient Albanian tradition of “burrnesha”, a woman takes a vow of chastity in exchange for having all the freedom of a man. Once she swears eternal virginity in front of a group of elders - all men of course - she is allowed to live in the community under a new male name that also brings benefits that will allow her to carry guns, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, work, play music and be in the company of other men. By the time we meet Mark (Alba Rohrwacher) in Sworn Virgin, he has pretty much forgotten who Hana, her former identity, was. Feeling incomplete, he decides to leave his isolated village to visit his sister (Flonja Kodheli) in Italy, where he discovers he is living within a prison of his own making.

Sworn Virgin
is director Laura Bispuri’s debut film, but one wouldn’t guess that from the boldness with which she tells her story and especially because of the performances she gets from her actors. Rohrwacher, who is on a roll, having premiered Virgin at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 after winning the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for Hungry Hearts, a few months before, gives her finest performance to date. I had the opportunity to talk to her about her recent films (both Virgin and Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales open this week in New York), working with Bispuri and some of her favorite actresses.

Read our conversation after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb272016

César Winners: Mustang, Fatima, Michael Douglas and More...

Busy awards weekend, huh? The Spirit Awards commence this evening (Murtada will graciously live blog so yours truly can reserve last fumes of energy for Oscar night) but France's own Oscars, the Césars were already held. (We discussed their nominations earlier right here.)

<-- The glorious Juliette Binoche graced the poster for the big event and also presented best picture. Michael Douglas was the honorary winner (they love their Hollywood stars at the Césars in that particular way).

It turned out to be quite a Ladies Night as three films about women battled it out for supremacy: Fatima, an immigrant drama was the surprise Best Picture winner; Marguerite an operatic musical/comedy (based on the same story as Meryl Streep's forthcoming Florence Foster Jenkins) was the nomination leader and won multiple tech trophies and Best Actress; and, finally, the great Mustang (France's Turkish-language Oscar nominee and on my top ten list) took Screenplay, First Film and Editing prizes

The full list of winners and ceremony photos are after this amazing picture of 3 giants of French cinema: Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, and Emmanuel Béart

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb212016

Interview: Ciro Guerra on the Must-See Oscar Nominee "Embrace of the Serpent"

Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia's great Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee took so long to arrive in theaters it may have well have arrived by rickety wooden boat after its grueling journey on the Amazon. But it's finally in theaters in select cities and just in time for the Oscars. Do NOT miss it.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the director Ciro Guerra about this cinematic triumph ... which I'm guessing was harder to make than The Revenant.

NATHANIEL: This is an extremely ambitious effort for a filmmaker as new as yourself. It's only your third film. How long have you been working on this?

CIRO GUERRA: I worked on it for about four years before we started shooting. I had done just two very personal films that were close to my experience, and my past, and my culture. So I wanted to go the opposite way, and take a journey into the unknown.

NATHANIEL: You did. It's hypnotically strange.

CIRO GUERRA: For us Colombians, the Amazon is the most unknown thing. It’s half of the country, but clearly we don’t know much about it. So, I had always been intrigued and fascinated and it had been a lifelong dream to do a film in the Amazon, and you know, these are the kind of films you can only do while you’re young. [More...]

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Friday
Feb122016

Interview: Tobias Lindholm on the Oscar Nominated 'A War' and Creating Time on Film

Writer/Director Tobias LindholmJose here. In Tobias Lindholm’s A War, the hardest battle for Danish commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) comes not in the warzone of Afghanistan, but in a courtroom back home where he faces prison time for a tactical decision that ended the lives of civilians. A thoughtful essay on the rules of humanity during wartime, the film remains largely apolitical while still engaging audience members who might question the very nature of foreign invasions, the need for war, and our roles as humans in a world that pits us against each other. Directed with confidence by Lindholm, the film remains outside any specific genre while providing a master class in how to create tension, intimacy and thrills.

A War has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and Lindholm isn’t completely unfamiliar with the experience, having also worked as a writer in the 2012 nominee The Hunt. The versatile filmmaker is next working on yet another screenplay with Thomas Vinterberg and is also writing Paul Greengrass' next film. I had the opportunity to talk with him the day after the Oscar luncheon, and he shared his insight into creating time on film, his cinematic pet peeves and the excitement of awards season.

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb032016

Interview: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Working with Sheep and Icelandic Idiosyncrasy

In Grímur Hákonarson’s darkly funny Rams, two brothers who haven’t spoken in decades must unite forces to save their legacy when the government demands all their livestock must be slaughtered to contain a disease. Hidden behind long beards and stubbornness, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) take on the impossible task of trying to outsmart the government, making for a fascinating allegory about the things we lose in the name of progress. After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category, Rams went on to being chosen as Iceland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. As the film opens in the US, I got a chance to sit down with Hákonarson who spoke about how his childhood shaped the film, how Cannes changed his life, and shared interesting trivia about sheep.

JOSE: Your parents used to send you to the country to work during the summers. Did you ever think of this as a punishment in any way?

interview after the jump

Click to read more ...

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