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Entries in Francophile (101)

Monday
Jan302017

Review: "Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

You've seen the moment many times. Two future lovers see each other in a crowd, and something clicks. In West Side Story that moment prompts a blur on the edges of the frame, with only the lovers in focus. In La La Land, it takes the form of a camera push-in with all the lights, but for a spotlight, going out. The moment is so familiar in fantasies (and desired in reality) that there's even an old showtune about it.

Some enchanted evening, you will meet a stranger
You will meet a stranger across a crowded room.
And somehow you know, you know even then...

The last place you might expect to see it deployed is in a new French film which begins with 18 minutes of explicit activity in a sex club...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan252017

César Nominations: Elle, Frantz, and More

France's César Awards announced their nominations this morning. As expected Elle and Divines (currently streaming on Netflix) have much reason to celebrate. Other hits with César including François Ozon's gorgeous black and white feature about Post-War relations and guilt called Frantz (which opens in the US in March), The Innocents (an arthouse hit in the US this year) and My Life as a Zucchini which was just nominated for the Animated Feature Oscar and receives 3 nominations here. 

Their foreign film category also has two Oscar players Manchester by the Sea and Toni Erdmann.

Best Film
DIVINES (on Netflix)
ELLE (now playing)
FRANTZ (opening in US in March)
LES INNOCENTES (available on blu-ray)
MA LOUTE
FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON
VICTORIA 

Ma Loute is from Bruno Dumont and is called Slack Bay in some markets. From the Land of the Moon stars Marion Cotillard among others.

Best Actress
JUDITH CHEMLA dans A WOMAN'S LIFE
MARION COTILLARD dans FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON
VIRGINIE EFIRA dans VICTORIA 
MARINA FOÏS dans IRRÉPROCHABLE
ISABELLE HUPPERTdans ELLE 
SIDSE BABETT KNUDSEN dans LA FILLE DE 
BREST SOKO dans LA DANSEUSE 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov292016

The Top Tens Begin... Neon Demon?

Everyone will have to have their say about which films are the "best" of the year and that starts, bizarrely, right now even though it's still November. First up is the famed Cahiers du Cinema, which is the oldest film publication still running stretching back to the early 1950s. 

Since they're in France, they have a different timetable on releases so TFE's primary 2015 obsession factors in -- Why Carol, it's so good to see you again! But because they are Cahiers du Cinema and generally choose at least one polarizing but largely hated picture, Neon Demon is up near the top. 

Their Top Ten List
1 Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
2 Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
3 The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
4 Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
5 Slack Bay (Bruno Dumont)
6 Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar)
7 Staying Vertical (Alain Guiraudie)
8 La Loi de la jungle (Antonin Peretjatko)
9 Carol (Todd Haynes)
10 Le bois dont les rêves sont faits (Claire Simon)

What do you make of the list? The two I wasn't familiar with are both French and haven't played much elsewhere. Les bois... is a 2 hour plus documentary about people in the woods, cruising for sex, living there if homeless people, etcetera. Jungle is a comedy set in French Guiana which is in South America.

Thursday
Nov172016

AFI Winners: Divines, Land of Mine and More

We weren't able to attend the AFI this year due to lack of funds but we shan't skip sharing the winners. The literal winners we mean. Obviously the AFI is a great last second Oscar launching pad for the big titles (like American Sniper and Selma and such in year's past) ...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov112016

27 Films Eligible for Best Animated Feature

[UPDATE: Variety shared a list of 22 a week ago jumping the gun a week ago and we followed suit. Now we've updated on 11/11 with 5 additional titles since the actual list has been revealed]

Twenty-seven films are officially in the mix for Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. Since the threshold to trigger a five wide shortlist in the category is only sixteen, we'll get five nominees this year. As per usual in this category the US will dominate but one or two of the nominations will surely be nabbed by formidable and lower profile threats from France and/or Japan. The list and a few notes follow...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct012016

NYFF: Getting High With Staying Vertical

Here's Jason reporting from the NYFF on the new film from the director of Stranger by the Lake.

With a movie like Staying Vertical it's tempting to go look up the definition of "queer" in the dictionary and start off with that - that would do a lot of my work for me. Because make no mistake about it - Staying Vertical is queer. It is queer as in it is strange, and it is queer as in it is not precisely heterosexual. It is that kind of off-putting gay guy in the corner of the party who's laughing at something even though nobody is talking to him. It's a good thing that I am that gay guy at every party, so me and Staying Vertical, we kinda hit it off.

Everybody won't. (The bane of my existence, y'all.)...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep262016

Foreign Oscar Watch: Can "Elle" Slay the Competition?

Verhoeven & Huppert at Cannes this summer

France, as ever, was spoiled with options when it came to selecting their film for Oscar competition this year. Frantz (reviewed) from François Ozon would likely have appealed to Oscar voters but the selection committee went with the controversial Elle (reviewed at TIFF). It's a brave choice but we think a smart one; even if its divisive within initial voting, it will likely be a candidate to benefit under the Executive Committee 'saves' rule. Plus those who love it will love it passionately meaning it could even have a dark horse shot at a win. Not only does it have a high profile auteur and star (Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert) but it's got sensational reviews, a US release on the table in the thick of Oscar traction season (November 11th), and an outside shot at a Best Actress nomination. France has not won the category since Indochine (1992) despite numerous nominations.

Trivia: Paul Verhoeven has had one previous film nominated in this category for his home country The Netherlands with Turkish Delight (1973). If Elle is nominated it would not be the first time a director has competed for multiple countries: Akira Kurosawa, who competed many times for Japan, won the prize for the Soviet Union with Dersu Uzala (1975); Luis Buñuel who won the Oscar for France with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) was also nominated twice for Spain, his home country; and Michael Haneke won for Austria with Amour (2012) and also competed for Germany with The White Ribbon (2009) 

More News:
Oscar's other favorite country Italy has selected the Golden Bear winner, Fire at Sea (reviewed at Berlinale), a documentary about the European migrant crisis. To my knowledge only two documentaries have ever been nominated in this category (Waltz With Bashir from Israel and The Missing Picture from Cambodia) but both of those were in the past eight years so perhaps Oscar votings are loosening up about these distinctions. Among countries who have not yet announced their submissions (with a week left) Poland and Argentina are the most formidable, statistically speaking, with Oscar.

Foreign Film Oscar Charts
Predictions - 15 films that could have the best chance at the finals?
Afghanistan to Finland - 22 submissions thus far
George to Morocco - 23 submissions thus far
Nepal to Venezuela - 28 submissions thus far