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Entries in foreign films (330)

Friday
Jun102016

Interview: 'Diary of a Chambermaid' Director Benoît Jacquot on Léa Seydoux and Literature

With the release of Diary of a Chambermaid, which reunites the director and star of the great Farewell My Queen, here's Jose with a new interview...

Octave Mirbeau’s 1900 novel Diary of a Chambermaid has been turned into a film no less than two times before, with filmmakers like Luis Buñuel and Jean Renoir taking on the task of bringing to life the tale of feisty, tragic chambermaid Célestine. Now, director Benoît Jacquot (Farewell My Queen) has re-teamed with Léa Seydoux to bring Célestine to life one more time. Jacquot’s adaptation injects Célestine with an even stronger sense of self awareness, she is often granted the power of breaking the narrative to address the audience, or herself even, and is given a sexual agency that forces audiences to see Mirbeau’s heroine under a different light. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Jacquot to discuss his take on the novel, working with Léa Seydoux, and how literature influences his work.

Read the interview after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun012016

Review: Chevalier

It’s Eric, with thoughts on the new art house release, Chevalier.  

First seen at the Locarno Film Festival last August, and now in limited release in the US, Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari’s comedy focuses on six men onboard a ship in the Aegean Sea.  They challenge each other to an extended contest to see which one of them is “The Best Ever”.  They construct a series of games to compete against one another, but take the challenge even further to rate each other on every aspect of their behavior in an attempt to see who is the best man in the group.

It’s a fantastic premise, and Tsangari mines some rich comedy and pathos from it...

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Tuesday
May242016

Doc Corner: Jia Zhangke Gets a Tribute in 'A Guy from Fenyang'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at Walter Salles' doc about Chinese film giant Jia Zhangke.

In the opening scene of Jia Zhangke’s sublime Mountains May Depart, characters dance to the Pet Shop Boys’ euphoric rendition of “Go West”. The song may have been a demand for a gay utopia, but it is also an apt choice for a movie in which characters slowly shift from rural China to the blue skies and bright lights of Australia. Zhangke’s characters are often caught between two worlds, travelling down a road (literal of metaphorical) to an unknown future and it is these pervading themes that have made him the unofficial cinematic chronicler of modern day China. They are also what makes Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang such a fitting tribute to the man.

Directed by Walter Salles, A Guy from Fenyang follows the director in intimate fashion as he returns to his hometown as well as prominent filming locations featured across his filmography in movies like Xiao Wu, The World, Platform, Still Life (my personal favourite of his works), and most prominently A Touch of Sin for which this doc was made as a sort of companion piece. [More...]

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Sunday
May222016

Cannes Winners 2016

Despite what was generally regarded as one of the strongest Cannes lineup in many years, George Miller's jury wasn't having the critical consensus. At all. They didn't remotely follow the "buzz" whilst handing out their honors...

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Wednesday
May182016

Red Carpet Lineup: Cannes Best Actress Watch

We'll update the Oscar charts when Cannes wraps up but for now let's talk about the buzziest actresses of the festival. We should note, however, that Cannes juries are notoriously hard to predict and there are still a few competition films left to premiere. What's more, every year people say "this is a shoo in for that!" and it does not come to pass -- especially when it comes to the acting prizes.

But here are five gorgeous and talented actresses at their premieres* who have garnered enough buzz to make us go "hmmmmm"

From left to right...

Sandra Hüller stars in the nearly 3 hour comedy Toni Erdmann about a prank loving father and his overly serious daughter. The film comes from German director Maren Ade who had a critical hit several years back with Everyone Else (2009). Hüller's chief claim to fame is the drama Requiem (2006) for which she won Best Actress in Germany.

Ruth Negga, best known to date for her television work in the UK and in the US, definitely has Oscar buzz for the 50s interracial marriage drama Loving (alongside screen husband Joel Edgerton) but Oscar buzz is only rarely equivalent to Cannes buzz so only the jury knows if this is one of those times. Loving comes to US theaters in November.

Isabelle Huppert stars in Paul Verhoeven's revenge thriller Elle (*which has not yet premiered from my understanding). But ahead of its premiere Sony Pictures Classics picked it up for distribution and word on the performance is hot. That said, until tastemakers truly get a look at it we can't know if that's just PR buzz or something deeper, like another milestone in her legendary career. Huppert has never been Oscar nominated -- she probably frightens the Academy -- but it may surprise you to hear that the equally controversial Verhoeven has, for all intents and purposes. One of his earliest films, Turkish Delight (1973) was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Yes, yes, technically that nomination belongs to the Netherlands rather than to Verhoeven himself but we think of it as also belonging to the director since generally speaking the directors are the ones that pick up the statue and say their thank yous. Verhoeven hasn't made a full length feature since his terrific uncomfortably sexy World War II thriller Black Book (2006) so we'll await this with eager eyeballs.

Kristen Stewart starred in the opening night film Café Society (reviewed here) but she's also the lead of the polarizing ghost story of some sort (we're trying not to read reviews) called Personal Shopper. It's been both booed and raved. Will the jury love it or hate it? It's worth noting that her last duet with Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria) nabbed her the best reviews of her career, multiple awards notices, and the French César. 

the ever gorgeous Sonia Braga

Finally, there's the enduring 65 year old star Sonia Braga who headlines the Brazilian picture Aquarius. It's getting the kind of reviews that leave us salivating, both because of a juicy lead role for this fine actress (who Oscar totally stiffed in 1985 for her prismatic fascinating star turn in Kiss of the Spider Woman), and for the possibility that Brazil could make some headway in the Oscar race. Consider this tweet from our friend Tim Robey:

 

 

Brazil hasn't received a foreign language film nomination since Central Station (1998, a category they should have won) and they've yet to win the Oscar. The director of Aquarius, Kleber Medonça Filhou was previously submitted by Brazil for Neighboring Sounds (2013, reviewed).

Do you want to place any bets on the Jury prizes this year?

Wednesday
May112016

On the First Day of Cannes......

It's Murtada reporting about Cannes, but sadly not from Cannes.

The main competition jury at Wednesday's photo call

The first day of Cannes always brings news of intriguing collaborations as projects are announced for the sidebar film market. Like Joaquin Phoenix working with Lynne Ramsay. Or Colin Farrell reteaming with The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos. Errr… Johnny Depp making another movie called The Libertine? With Brett Ratner? About Dominique Strauss-Kahn?? Run away, Marion!

However the two news items that got this reporter most excited are :

Isabelle Huppert in Elle
Sony Classics has acquired main competition entry Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert. You know the same company that got Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore their best actress Oscars and Michael Haneke and Asghar Farhadi multiple nominations and foreign language wins recently. So our excitement knows no bounds. We are 9 days away from reviews and reactions to Elle - it screens on the last day of the festival - but we can rest easy knowing it will be coming our way this fall.

Captain Dad
If you’ve seen Sebastian Silva’s last outing Nasty Baby (2015), you know that he can provoke his audience and upend expectations. Well now he’s teaming with Will Ferrell and this is the logline (from Deadline):

Rich Peelman (Ferrell) gives his wife Linda (Catherine Keener) the gift of a lifetime for her birthday: a trip through the Caribbean on a sailboat with all six of their kids and their partners. Stubborn, competitive and overly confident in his sailing abilities that are clearly out of sync with reality, Rich is determined that the vacation be run on his terms. But things do not go according to plan. His “father knows best” attitude clashes with the rest of the Peelman clan. And by the end, even the most patient of the bunch are ready to throw Captain Dad overboard, bringing new meaning to the idea of the dysfunctional family.

Michael Cera plays one of Ferrell's antagonists, so color us doubly intrigued. 
                                                       
If you are not at Cannes, which part of it do you follow online? The reviews? The fashion? The film deals? All of it?
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