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Entries in foreign films (243)

Wednesday
Feb182015

So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Isabelle Adjani

abstew here. With her second nomination for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that received both their Best Actress nominations for foreign language performances. We previously discussed Sophia Loren and Liv Ullmann so let's close out the series with French cinematic royalty... 

Isabelle Adjani
after the jump 

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Tuesday
Feb172015

So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Liv Ullmann

abstew here. With her second nomination for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that received both their Best Actress nominations for foreign language performances. The first actress to achieve it was Sophia Loren who we discussed over the weekend. Today we look back at the Norwegian muse of the master Ingmar Bergman...

Liv Ullmann
after the jump 

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Monday
Feb162015

Interview: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on 'Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

Jose here. In Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Israeli goddess Ronit Elkabetz returns to play a part she’s lived with for more than a decade. In 2004, Ronit and her brother Shlomi teamed up as writers and co-directors of a film trilogy that would concentrate on the experiences of a woman as seen through the roles society imposed on her. In the first installment, To Take a Wife, Viviane must deal with being trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian), in 7 Days, Viviane must sit Shiva and come to terms with the fact that she is obligated to mourn despite not feeling pain. In Gett, which opened this weekend on the heels of its Golden Globe Foreign Film nomination (Oscar passed it by), Viviane is trying to gain her freedom from Elisha, but finds that practically impossible given that her husband hasn’t committed any “sins” against her; her request is deemed invalid by the strict rabbinical court.

In the years since her breakthrough in Late Marriage (2001), also an Israeli Oscar submission, and the first Viviane installment, Ronit has become the face of Israeli cinema having delivered brilliant performances in films like The Band’s Visit and Or. Gett also reveals her growth behind the camera with a much more sophisticated directorial technique, as she and Shlomi tell the story from a very subjective point of view. With their use of the camera and precise shots, they allow Viviane to have the freedom of thought society continues to deny her. A perfectly cast ensemble makes the film a worthy spiritual companion to A Separation and Zodiac, in a way, as they all explore the frustration that comes along with endless, inefficient bureaucratic processes.

During their recent visit to New York City, I talked to Ronit and Shlomi about their collaborations, their unique use of cinematic language and how Gett has rightfully become a sociopolitical sensation in Israel.

The interview is after the jump...    

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Sunday
Feb152015

A Foreign Language Actress So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Sophia Loren

abstew here. Only 15 women in the 87 year history of the Academy have scored a Best Actress nomination for a foreign language performance. In contrast, British actresses have won Best Actress 14 times. While the Academy has always warmed to Brits, their European neighbors have had to struggle to breakthrough with recognition in the acting races. (There has still never been a Best Actress nominee for a performance in any language outside of a European origin.) The first actress to even score a nomination for a foreign language performance was Melina Mercouri for Never on a Sunday in 1960, over 30 years into the Academy's history. Only two women have actually won Best Actress for a foreign language performance and both those women have the even rarer distinction of being honored twice with nominations for foreign language performances. The first was Sophia Loren who won for 1961's Two Women and was nominated again for Marriage Italian Style (1964). The other is this year's nominee for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard, who won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose (2007).

With her second nomination, Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that in addition to Loren includes Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Adjani. Three actresses in three separate languages (Italian, Swedish, and French) that proved their talent was able to transcend language barriers not once, but twice with the Academy. To receive an Oscar nomination is an honor, to do so a second time shows that you've earned the respect of the Academy, and to do it both times for performances not even in English, well, that's a feat reserved only for iconic women like these.

To celebrate Cotillard's place alongside these international legends, for the next few days we'll look back at the three previous foreign language, double-nominated Best Actress contenders. First up, the beauty from Italy that made Oscar history with her first nomination... 

Sophia Loren
after the jump 

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Friday
Feb062015

Tack för det, Magnolia. A Blurb Whore Triumph!

Thanks to Kyle Turner (who guest-starred on one our Smackdown podcasts last year) who alerted me to this little blurb on the DVD of Force Majeure (I have not seen the DVD. Just this tweeted snapshot)

I was completely unaware of this and was not contacted by Magnolia Pictures. The quote looks a little weird out of context (the humor is very cerebral but it was, to me and the theater I was in at TIFF, indeed "hilarious") and fused together like that. Here was my original capsule review if you're curious. The film eventually came in at #12 in my Best of the Year list

I guess this means I have to buy a physical copy.

It'll be fun to see this in real life. Especially since it's a Scandinavian film and an Oscar submission and I'm always seeking both kinds of movies out at film festivals. It's just too bad it wasn't nominated. Magnolia recently picked up "Tangerine" which I loved loved loved at Sundance. So feel free to quote away on that, Magnolia!

Sunday
Feb012015

Thin Skins and The Art of Being Snubbed

I've been sitting on half formed think pieces about this one for a couple of weeks deciding whether to publish but here goes...

A very recent article at Wired about journalist behavior at Sundance made a lot of journalists angry. I agree that a lot of movie journalists are jaded (I think that about other Oscar bloggers all the time who don't see to love it like I do). The piece isn't really fair because there are a lot of terribly behaved people of all types of badges at festivals. The type of badge you wear does not influence your behavior, your character influences your behavior. Still there's so much online response and twitter uproar about this that it reminded me of all the potshots taken at Birdman's depiction of a critic (in a movie that is not meant to be taken literally at that). In short: a lot of media writers have thin skins. I'd include myself here I must say but I think it's better to take your lumps quietly than protest too much. (Movies.com had a similarly themed piece on bad movie etiquette but it was more generous and didn't point too specific a finger.)

The uproar over these pieces reminded me of my own discomfort about the way people react to Oscar snubs (or omissions if the "s" word offends you). This season in particular, the Selma situation has provoked a lot of criticism,...

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