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Entries in foreign films (173)

Saturday
Oct122013

Golden Horse Countdown

Here's Maggie Cheung's commercial (filmed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien) for the Golden Horse awards to be held on November 23rd in Taipei. I have it on good authority that she's saying...

 50 years Golden Horse, happy birthday

I wish I could speak Mandarin and Cantonese.
I also wish I could create sparkler-like effects by waving my arms around. 

Chinese speaking readers should also check out these promos. See, to celebrate their big 5-0 the Golden Horse Awards are interviewing past winners about their classic performances/films. And for those who missed the announcement the Best Picture nominees this year at the Golden Horse Awards are the following features:

Tony Leung, Maggie's #1 screen partner, in The GrandmasterDRUG WAR (Johnny To)
THE GRANDMASTER (Wong Kar Wai) Hong Kong's Oscar Submission, Dan's review which is likely the frontrunner given the huge amount of nominations (11) and the Maggie Cheung-adjacent legends involved
ILO ILO (Anthony Chen) Singapore's Oscar Submission Chen was not nominated for director, replaced by Mong-Hong Chung who directed Taiwan's Oscar submission Soul, but he's up for "New Director" instead
A TOUCH OF SIN (Jia Zhang-Ke) Glenn & Jose's review
STRAY DOGS (Tsai Ming Liang) Venice winner

What's the last Asian film you saw and are you rooting for any of the Asian entries to win a Best Foreign Film nomination in the Oscar race this year (a lot more on that category coming up soon)

Wednesday
Oct022013

7 Notes on Revised Oscar Charts

Hey y'all... I've been hard at work this week updating all the charts. Yep, every. single. one. So herewith ten notes for suggested comment fodder. 

Mystery Meat
American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks are the Oscar Bait Unknowns... unless you assume that Wolf of Wall Street will be finished in time. All have, to my knowledge, not been screened for even long lead critics. Most pundits, armchair or otherwise, believe in Hustle wholeheartedly (one assumes due to David O. Russell's recent track record) and are suspicious of Banks (one assumes because of the dangers of Disney-on-Disney hagiography but maybe also because movies-about-movies aren't always Hugos; sometimes they're Hitchcocks). So far I'm not expecting a lot of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but maybe that's a stealth masterpiece about to blow us all away. Which of the unseens are you hoping deserves space in the Best Picture race?

 All Over The World
The foreign film charts are so much work and every site now covers this category that I once had a stranglehold on. I wonder if they're worth the time anymore (?) but I do love my subtitled pictures. We currently have 69 official submissions and only two have what you might call a truly high profile (Hong Kong's The Grandmaster, and Iran's The Past) though I'm not at all sure that they're the strongest candidates this year. Take a look at the charts from Afghanistan to Italy and Japan to Venezuela! Which films are you most curious about and do you like the influx of variety here? The world is giving us animated films, documentaries, horror films, romances, you name it, in addition to the usual heaping helpings of war dramas, biopics, and childhood journeys. If you follow this race closely you should know that Team Experience is on it: Tim saw Egypt's entry, Jose took in the Czech Republic submission, and I reviewed the Romanian and Iranian entries and Glenn and I both loved the Cambodian entry though we haven't written about it yet. More to come.

The Coronation March
I understand that with Best Actress there's a lot of "It's Sandy vs. Cate" hoopla in online forums at the moments. Bullock is in very good shape for a nomination, true (I'm just being slightly contrarian to leave her out at the moment though I don't think she's anywhere close to 'lock' status yet) but I'd be very shocked if she ever gained enough momentum for a second win. A) it's not that kind of role since there's no "bait" beyond sad tears B) she's not that kind of actor to win a second unless competition is weak or the role is super bait C) Oscar has never in 85 years indicated a deep well of goodwill for actors working auteur pieces or actors in science fiction films. So unless Amy Adams is our stealth champion, I think Cate will be sweeping for months ala The Queen... and lord knows she is one.

Sell Yourself
Oscar campaigns can make a huge difference for movies and performers that aren't slam dunks. Armies of publicists and awards strategists are already working on their maneuvers though we won't see it till it happens. The films I personally think need smart campaigns the most are those in wide open categories (like animation) or those that will get zilch if they don't have one, either because they're perceived as "small" or because they're in the middle ground of praised but not rapturously so or they're well liked but there's no automatic "in". I'm thinking of films like Prisoners, Short Term 12, Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha, Labor Day, Blue is the Warmest Color, maybe even The Great Gatsby and Rush (the latter two I'm currently predicting to win the double edged sword prize aka the "most nominations without a corresponding Best Picture nod"). I realize it's a diverse lot but my point is they could all score anywhere from nuthin' to three or four nods, depending how well they play the game and whether they can condition AMPAS to think of them quite naturally when it comes time to ballot.  

• Sound and Fury
We've seen in the past that there's only so much room for blockbusters in the visual and sound categories if big showy prestige dramas have the wow elements and necessary "size" (think Gravity and Captain Phillips and maybe even Gatsby to a limited degree). When Tony Stark suits up the visual effects voters ALWAYS respond but the sound guys have only thrilled to his particular blast offs once. With Superman and various Kryptonians wreaking such loud havoc this year could the Man of Steel steal tech nods from the Man of Iron... or maybe they're both shut out and World War Z rises? Oscar doesn't really go for zombie films but there's a first time for everything right and maybe a couple of tech elements could be honored?

• Dress You Up
I can't believe we've come this far into the film year and I haven't waxed rhapsodic about Best Costume Design. I will rectify that soon including an interview with one of the true legends of the category. One of the things I've always liked about the costume designers is that they don't always stay in lock-step with Best Picture so it's anyone's guess. There are a lot of candidates worth considering including Lee Daniels' The Butler (crocheted disco suits!), Dallas Buyer's Club (80s trans glamour and redneck Texas), period finery versus humble wool in 12 Years a Slave, the sexpot disco glam of American Hustle... I could go on. One thing I'm curious about is Trish Summerville for Hunger Games: Catching Fire. People loved her work on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and though the original Capitol costumes (by a different designer) didn't win a nomination they did get a lot of media attention. How will these fare in comparison? 

• Sing-Along?
Will no one speak out or care about the Original Song category? It still seems entirely bereft of nominatable tunes... hey, if that's what it takes to get Short Term 12 nominated for something than that's what it takes. If we were nominating Best Song Performance we'd be singing a different tune entirely because, hello, Black Nativity divas and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac because good god his voice in Inside Llewyn Davis! I didn't love the movie beyond the cat but his voice is just golden. 

CHECK OUT THE CHARTS AND COME BACK AND DISCUSS!
PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SOUND | ANIMATION | FOREIGN FILMS
Suggestions on how to improve the charts are welcome

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

NYFF: World on Fire in The Czech Republic's Oscar Submission

TFE's 51st New York Film Festival continues with Jose on Burning Bush

The morning of January 16, 1969 seemed like it would be a regular Thursday in Prague, that is if there was anything "regular" about living in a country that had been occupied by the Soviet Union. On that day, 21 year old student Jan Palach decided it was time to remind his countrymen that they were being demoralized by the occupying forces, his mean of protesting was to set himself on fire in the middle of busy Wenceslas Square. Palach's self immolation was part of a collective protest, which warned the government that more young men would repeat his actions until the Soviets left Poland. 

Renowned filmmaker Agnieszka Holland was a college student around the time and the event left such an impression on her that she chose to make it the starting point to build the epic Burning Bush. The four hour long film (it was broadcast as a miniseries in Europe) is one of the most impressive chronicles of modern history captured on film and it was rightfully chosen as the Czech submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Holland talked about the making of the film during a press conference at the New York Film Festival. 

 

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Monday
Sep302013

Interview: Actress Dánae Reynaud on "Club Sandwich"

Dánae ReynaudThe 51st New York Film Festival continues with Jose's interview with Dánae Reynaud, co-star of Club Sandwich

In a relatively short time, the young director Fernando Eimbcke has become one of the most original voices in Latin American cinema. With a mere three movies to his name, he's one of the few auteurs working outside the standard subjects of drug trafficking, crime and magical realism. His movies tend to focus on young people living ordinary lives and coming to terms with impending adulthood. To call them coming-of-age films wouldn't do justice to the larger truths they carry. His latest, Club Sandwich, is no exception; it deals with a single mother (María Renée Prudencio) who takes her son Hector (Lucio Giménez Cacho) to a resort during the low season.

The first part of the movie finds them bonding over sunscreen application, discussing Prince's sexiness and ordering the title meal. Things change when more guests arrive to the hotel, one of them being Jazmín (Dánae Reynaud), a sixteen year old who catches Hector's eye. Suddenly he doesn't want to be with his mom for long, he starts noticing he's growing a tiny mustache and secretly washes his underwear so that his mother won't notice the accidents he's been having at night. The film is a delight made even more special by the naturalistic performances of the three lead actors. Reynaud in particular brings a sense of mischief to a character that could've been villainized by a lesser actress. I asked the charming Dánae about working with Eimbcke and when she realized she wanted to act. You'll relate to her profound love of movies (after the jump). 

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Friday
Sep272013

NYFF: A Queer Revelation

TFE's coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival (Sep 27-Oct 14) continues with Jose discussing What Now? Remind Me and Stranger by the Lake.

At one point during Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me his confessional style got so raw and introspective that all I wanted to do was look the other way. His story is one that I felt I should’ve been more receptive to since he is a gay filmmaker with a deep passion for the arts and culture. Listening to him talk about an ancient book he saw in Spain, how badly he wanted to inspect it, reminded me of the way I feel about certain artworks. Watching him farm with his husband Nuno (who I felt was so my type) and their dogs, inspired in me a sense of domestic bliss I sometimes crave. What made me want to look away then? The way in which Pinto tells us about his harrowing battle with HIV.

Even if we live in a world of information, where everything we might want to know is a click away, the movies - and media in general - have done so little to discuss HIV that I’m ashamed to admit sometimes I react to it the same way conservative audiences react with onscreen sex: it makes me uncomfortable. I had this very thought during the screening and was instantly reminded of the movie I’d seen the day before, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake.

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