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Entries in foreign films (394)

Thursday
Mar302017

Review: "The Death of Louis XIV"

by Bill Curran

Laying in regal and rotting repose, the glorious tendrils of a white M-shaped wig framing his ashen face, King Louis XIV of France, in the year 1717, spends his final days dying atop luxurious satins and attended to by hand-wringing bureaucrats and a largely silent wife in Albert Serra’s (you guessed it) The Death of Louis XIV.


As far as “death trip” movies go, Louis XIV is a quintessential ordeal. Like moths around the flame, the films in this still-thriving trend announce the demise (or prolonged distress) of their subjects up front, with imminence and duration the focus, often with a titular clue to the narrative framework: The Passion of the Christ, Last Days, 12 Years a Slave, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, 127 Hours, Day Night Day Night, Hunger, Two Days, One Night, and Son of Saul, to name but a few...

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Wednesday
Mar292017

ND/NF: "Menashe" and "The Future Perfect"

MOMa and Film Society of Lincoln Center's annual New Directors / New Films festival wrapped up this past weekend. Their goal each year is to celebrate "a group of filmmakers who represent the present and anticipate the future of cinema: daring artists whose work pushes the envelope and is never what you’d expect"  The big tickets this year were two buzzy Sundance titles: the gay drama Beach Rats (a subway misshap prevented me from making the screening - argh!) and the rap comedy Patti Cake$ which will be out in July. The latter prompted a bidding war with Fox Searchlight offering $10+ million. Beach Rats was picked up by a new distribution company called Neon so who knows when it will arrive. Colossal, that Anne Hathaway as a kaiju oddity, will be Neon's first proper release on April 7th. 

At ND/NF we previously reviewed Sexy Durga, Happiness Academyand Strong Island. Here are the two final films yours truly caught, one being maybe my favorite of 2017 thus far...

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Friday
Mar172017

Have you heard of the Platino Awards?

Though The Film Experience likes to track key foreign awards (examples include the Césars, Goyas, and the Golden Horse, in addition to the massive Oscars circus, those groups proliferate just like American precursors do. I've lost track of how many awards that Asian cinema, for example, has. But how about South America? The Platino awards are relatively new. They're now in their fourth year honoring films from the Ibero-America region, which is to say primarily Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, i.e. former territories of Spain and Portugal, plus those countries for good measure.

Here's why we should start paying attention to them: in their short existence they've given Best Film to a truly outstanding picture every single time:  Chile's Gloria (2014) an amazing study of a divorcee rebuilding her romantic life with an Oscar worthy performance by Paulina García (we nominated her here); Argentina's rowdy, funny, Oscar nominated and deeply pleasurable anthology Wild Tales (2015); and Colombia's mystical wonder Embrace of the Serpent (2015) which you already know we're wild about.

Penelope Cruz is one of 37 women vying for a Best Actress nomination (for her new film Queen of Spain)

We don't have the nominee list yet as the ceremony isn't until July. Like the Oscars, they only allow a certain number of contenders from each country (2 or 3 in their case as opposed to Oscar's 1 film per country rule) but their long list includes a lot of Oscar submissions from the past season. Some highlights include Chile's playful fictionalized biopic Neruda, Brazil's critical sensation Aquarius, Almodovar's Julieta, the fantasy A Monster Calls, Paraguay’s father daughter road trip movie called Guaraní, and at least three LGBT titles: Chile's Rara which is an LGBT family drama, the Venezuelan Oscar submission From Afar, and the Cuban political drama Santa & Andres. You can see the complete longlist for Best Film here which will be narrowed down to 5 nominees soon. There are 37 women vying for the Best Actress nomination but we'd be shocked if both Emma Suarez from Julieta and Sonia Braga from Aquarius didn't make it.

 

Saturday
Mar112017

New Directors / New Films: Sexy Durga

New Directors / New Films which runs March 15th through the 26th is a festival of emerging international filmmakers here in NYC each year. We'll cover a few titles staring with a nightmare journey in India... 

Sexy Durga
Do you ever feel like you're missing something no matter how closely you pay attention? Not being well versed in Hinduism, it's difficult to make many inferences from the use of the goddess Durga in this film's title though calling her "Sexy" was quite a controversial move. I'm not sure why given that a quick bit of research reveals that she's a supreme goddess which sounds damn sexy to me...

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Tuesday
Feb282017

New Facts & Trivia from the 89th Oscars

Before we begin, a quick note that we shouldn't have to share but we do because the rest of the universe has conspired against the proper way of doing things. When we refer to an Oscar ceremony year we are talking about the year of the films honored, not the random month of the following year in which the ceremony is held. What we just witnessed was the 2016 Oscars. We don't know who will even be nominated for the 2017 Oscars yet though we'll make some early bird predictions on April 1st as we do.

Anyway... FACTS. TRIVIA. FUN.

La La Land's loss was shocking but its performance at the Oscars was not completely without precedent. Two other films in Oscar's 89 years have won the rare combo of Best Actress and Best Director without winning Best Picture. That would be Cabaret (1972, also the single film to win the most Oscars without winning Best Picture) and 7th Heaven (1927) in the very first year of the Oscars. That silent film is an unusual case though as Janet Gaynor won Best Actress for three roles including Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Street Angel (Oscar quickly changed the rules so nominations could only be for one picture.) 

Arrival (8 nominations) is the first non-war film Best Picture nominee to win Sound Editing only...

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Saturday
Feb252017

Joint Statement from Best Foreign Language Film Directors

The nominated directors from this year's Best Foreign Language Film nominees (Land of Mine, A Man Called Ove, The Salesman, Toni Erdmann, and Tanna) have released a joint statement about the Oscars, human rights, and the growing climate of nationalism around the world. It's a must read.

They write...

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