The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

Carol is genius - we asked the team 'why'


"Peaking at the right time" - Mark

"Todd Haynes. his power his influence his acclaim and yes genius!" - Jows


Keep TFE Strong



Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?

Entries in foreign films (283)


Victoria's single take is incredible, but it's not "better" than Birdman's

Sebastian here, not at TIFF, but now taking your donations to get me there next year...

Frederick Lau and Laia Costa in VICTORIA

Ever since its premiere at the Berlinale earlier this year, Sebastian Schipper's Victoria has been compared to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman. The US poster even leads with a quote from Variety's Guy Lodge: "Fly away, Birdman — there’s a new one-shot wonder in town."

Victoria was shot in one take, which lead many to compare it (usually favorable) to the Best Picture winner. It's an odd comparison to make, though, since Iñárritu's film wasn't shot in one take, and never pretended to be, either. (The fact that Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione weren't even nominated for Best Editing is one of the stranger oversights in The Academy's recent history.)

Both films share in their production an elaborate, fairly - though not entirely - unique effort with a high degree of difficulty to pull off. But so does Boyhood. Or Mad Max: Fury Road, for that matter. That doesn't mean they're doing the same thing, and it certainly doesn't mean that one of them is "better" at it than the others.

As tempting as it may be for some to use Victoria's impressive technical achievement to get in one more jab at the much (and in this writer's view unfairly) maligned Oscar winner, it really doesn't do either of them justice.

VICTORIA had its North American premiere at TIFF this week and is being rolled out to US theaters next month, starting with New York and Los Angeles on October 10. Full release schedule here.


TIFF: Embrace of the Serpent (and Oscar Foreign Film Updates)

TIFF tends to be the best opportunity all year to see several Foreign Film Oscar submissions in quick succession. The trick is you don't often know which ones they well be and sometimes,  due to release dates in their home countries, they end up as submissions the following year. Last September, at this same festival for example I saw Labyrinth of Lies and Sand Dollars which are now the Oscar submissions for this year's race from Germany and The Dominican Republic.

Two days before Embrace of the Serpent was proclaimed Colombia's official submission, I attended the screening. Good luck for me and good choice for them: it's mesmerizing.

Ciro Guerra's third film wraps itself all around you with otherworldly danger. And this is not just a word choice via subliminal suggestion from the slimy encircling imagery of an enormous snake giving birth that occurs before the title. This journey film's stunning black and white photography by David Gallego (a relative newcomer!) only adds to the dreamlike visuals of the Colombian Amazon, totally transporting you into a rickety boat on the water, on two different journeys 40 years apart. The film was inspired by real life journals of explorers and both trips involve a white scientist searching for a mystical plant called Yakruna, which is said to have great healing power. Each of them take as their guide the same Amazonian shaman Karamakate who is played by as a younger man by Niblio Torres and and older man by Antonio Bolivar, neither have acted for cameras before but Karamakate in both forms has real screen presence.

The dangerous stops along the river's way angrily condemn the decimation of indigenous cultures by colonized rubber plantations and missionaries. We also get a taste of religious insanity on par with The Devils, and the jungle madness of Apocalypse Now and Aguirre the Wrath of God. And the films it recalls don't stop there. The snake birth is just one of three spectacularly trippy off-narrative sequences, the final one daring to invoke 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its psychedelic mysteries. If Embrace of the Serpent never feels wholly original as a result and only Karamakate registers as a three dimensional character, it's still an intense journey and very rewarding visual feast. This Colombian wonder won the top award at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes earlier this summer, and could well impress Oscar voters who love a visual epic. Oscilloscope will distribute it in the States. Cross your fingers that it'll play on the biggest possible arthouse screen near you. B+/A- 

Related: There have been several foreign film submissions announced while I've been festivaling it up in Toronto. So make sure to check out the updated foreign film charts.

Current Predictions plus all time stats/trivia
• Afghanistan through Estonia  11 official
• Ethiopia through The Netherlands 20 official
New Zealand through Vietnam 16 official 

We now have 47 official titles, with probably 20-25 more yet to be named with the biggest missing links (i.e. countries that Oscar is fond of) being Denmark, France, Israel, Poland and Spain.


TIFF: French Sexy Time Movies

Nathaniel, reporting from TIFF, where the French still love la petite mort. Due to the graphic nature of these films the reviews of Gaspar Noé's 3D explicit sex movie Love and the French teens-gone-wild Bang Gang: a modern love story (which is about exactly what it sounds like it's about) are both hidden after the jump where naughty things must go... Think of the children!

Click to read more ...


TIFF Actress-To-Watch: Ine Marie Wilmann in "Homesick"

Great moments in production design: In the first shot of Homesick, our heroine -- and I use the term ironically since she’s no role model -- is seen with her head cupped in her hands and thrown back to stretch / express annoyance. Beside her, out of focus in the psychiatrists office is a statue in roughly the same pose. There are other little touches like this that suggest that Charlotte ( Ine Marie Wilmann) is something of a mimic... and that director Anne Sewitsky (of Happy Happy fame) are really feeling this project. 

When Charlotte returns to proper posture we see an actress that looks suspiciously like Kate Hudson... or is it Malin Akermann? No, wait early Drew Barrymore? In a very happy stroke of casting luck, these unsought comparisons add extra resonance to the very thing the movie is going for. Charlotte, you see, really wants to be someone else... or at leave have their lives. Her parents paid her little attention and she's never even met her half brother. She's terribly lonely and latches on to everyone around her. This is most obvious in a beautifully dramatized friendship with a co-worker, that verges on symbiotic in a playful and tactile dance between them in the dance studio where they work.

But the crux of the drama of the picture is that Charlotte and her half brother do meet and go almost straight to the taboo rutting. Emotional calamities multiply all around them, as one would expect. 

Homesick feels a bit slight and sketchy despite its provocations, but Wilmann is terrific in the leading role. Her face is fluid with emotion, but more importantly it's as if she's continually scrolling and searching for the right one to express. She lets other people decide for her all too often. Hence her terrible decision making. B

Delicious Related News:

Wilmann won the Norwegian Best Actress Oscar (The Amanda) for her role in Homesick. And though the film itself was passed over as Norway's official Oscar submission this year, Wilmann has an even better reward coming: she'll reunite with her current director to play the legendary Norwegian gold medalist figure skater turned Hollywood novelty actress Sonja Henje who became one of the richest women in the world by the 1940s. Wilmann has already logged a lot of time at the ice rink in preparation. Naturally the movie will include other Old Hollywood characters and an international cast. It sounds like a superb idea for a motion picture so best of luck to all. 


Interview: The Filmmakers Behind 'Goodnight Mommy' on Working with Children, the Horror Genre as a Mirror, and Hopes of Oscar

Jose here. In the terrifying Goodnight Mommy, two angelic twin brothers named Elias and Luke (played by Elias and Luke Schwarz respectively) become convinced that their mother has been replaced by someone else after returning home from a stay at the hospital. And who can blame them? Their mother (Susanne Wuest) returns wrapped in Franju-esque bandages that only show her eyes, and she seems to have lost her good temper, patience and tenderness. Terrified of this unknown person, the twins proceed to torture her in order to get to the bottom of things. Directed and written by the team of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, Goodnight Mommy is the kind of horror film that creeps under your skin because of how committed it is to its aesthetics and points of view.

There is not a single body-horror line Franz and Fiala are unafraid to cross, and the film features torture involving everything from superglued eyes to bondage by bandage; however, there is not a single moment in the film that feels gratuitous, and just like a song would serve a musical, the torture we see onscreen serves the story because it makes sense that these children would be terrified of someone they believe to be a total stranger, and if anything Goodnight Mommy has more in common with Home Alone than with Saw, if not in tone, at least in its intentions. The film has been selected to represent Austria at the Academy Awards and opens in the States on September 11. I had the chance to sit down with the filmmakers to discuss their techniques and tips for working with children, their favorite horror movies and what AMPAS members they wish to scare the most! Read the interview after the jump. 

Click to read more ...


EFA's Long List and Cannes/Oscar Crossover History

We already shared the EFA's People Choice nominees but it's important to remember that that's a special award, quite apart from their actual nominations. In their slightly tortured roll-out we get part two, the long list. These are the titles that form the "selection list"... they have to do it this way before nominations from a sheer numbers perspective. Add up the annual releases from dozens and dozens of countries and you have hundreds of films, you know? Here are the 52 films their nominators will be considering. We've divvied it up by country for you and if they're already a part of the Oscar race or on TIFF's schedule, we'll say so. The titles will be a mix of familiar to you and "what is that?" to anyone reading because who can keep up with every country's cinema?

Because there are so many films, though, it's all after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Biggest Foreign and Documentary Hits of the Year (Thus Far)

Since Labor Day Weekend is historically a lame box office weekend, it affords us a fine opportunity to look back at the year thus far rather than wait for box office results. Especially in terms of films that aren't usually spoken of in terms of box office. So let's look at two sets of baker's dozens: 2015'S FOREIGN LANGUAGE and DOCUMENTARY HITS.

*second* biggest-hits in Foreign & Documentary: "Baahubali: The Beginning" and "Amy"

How many have you seen?

Top Dozen of 2015 thus far
01 Bajrangi Bhaijaan (India) $8+
02 Baahubali: The Beginning (India) $6+ 
03 A La Mala (Mexico) $3+
04 Wild Tales (Argentina) $3+ Review
05 Dil Dhadakne Do (India)  $3+ 
06 Tanu Weds Manu Returns (India) $3+
07 Clouds of Sils Maria* (France)  $1+ Various Sils Maria Articles
08 Piku (India)  $1+
09 Assassination (South Korea) $1+
10 Phoenix (Germany) $1+ Nina Hoss Interview
11 i (India)  $1+
12 Timbuktu (Mauritania) $1+ Review, César Winners
13 Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel) $.9+ Review, Second Opinion

As we always see in the foreign charts in the past decade or so, Bollywood films continue to be solid imported hits without the benefit of any media attention whatsoever. That's what comes when you have distribution companies that cater to niche audiences and understand/market directly to them. This is surely what China Lion is attempting of late though they have yet to find as much regular support for Chinese language films. Aside from the Hindi language films, the top of the charts also painfully remind us that subtitled films have far teensier grosses even when they get breakout media attention than they once had. Wild Tales for example surely would have been at least a $13 million rather than a $3 million hit a decade ago. The chart also shows us that Oscar nominations help (see #4 and #12) but aren't necessary (see #10 and #13). 2015 hasn't yet had a breakout Oscar-headed hit like Ida from Poland last year (Phoenix was passed over for Oscar submission last year by Germany so it's been on its own without awards-buzz to find its audience. Happily, it's done just that). Sadly Sweden's sublime Oscar entry for this year A Pigeon Sat on a Branch... earned only $200,000 at the US box office. Maybe Labyrinth of Lies, Germany's submission, which opens September 25th can fill that semi-annual slot of foreign hit that doesn't wait for its Oscar fate to make a stir. 

* I'm fudging to include Clouds of Sils Maria I know. It's surely ineligible for France's Oscar submission as its more than 50% English. If you remove it from the list, the film that enters at the lowest rung is The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared from Swedish director Felix Herngren. It earned nearly a million at the US box office but was a huge hit internationally with an additional $50 million!

Top Ten of 2015 Thus Far
01 Monkey Kingdom $16+ 
02 Amy $8+ Review
03 The Salt of the Earth $1+ Documentary Nominees Conversation
04 Iris $1+
05 The Wolfpack $1+ Review
06 Dior & I $1+
07 Meru $.8+ 
08 Red Army $.6+
09 Best of Enemies $.6+ Review
10 Cartel Land $.6+
11 Seymour: An Introduction $.6+ Review
12 Deli Man $.5+
13 The Hunting Ground $.4+


The list includes only one of last year's Oscar nominees The Salt of the Earth since most of them played in their correct calendar year. The big story beyond Disney's nature epic and the Amy Winehouse hit, is the success of Sundance Award Winners since The Wolfpack, Cartel Land and Meru were all hits in release. The late Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens) final full documentary feature Iris about eccentric fashion icon Iris Apfel was also well-received.

From this list we really expected Red Army to break out a little further as the Russian Olympic hockey documentary was quite entertaining and benefitted from a highly accessible international-interest storyline. If they hadn't waited for their Oscar nomination -- which they didn't get -- they might have fared better. 

Here's a crazy colorful musical number from the year's #1 foreign language hit Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan called "Selfie Le Le Re"

When was the last time you saw a Bollywood film in theaters? Do you seek out the buzz titles from these categories?

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 41 Next 7 Entries »