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Entries in Francophile (66)

Thursday
May302013

Blue is the Hottest Controversy

Julien K. here, your special correspondent in Paris, reporting on the recent controversy surrounding the latest Palme d’or winner, Blue is the Warmest Color

As those of you who are familiar with the French film industry may know, director Abdellatif Kechiche’s work has been consistently lavished with praise for the last decade. In 2005, his sophomore effort L’esquive –a raw, direct exploration of teenage sexual politics in the banlieues (the French suburban hoods) by way of eighteenth century playwright Marivaux- unexpectedly trumped critical favorite Kings and Queen and populist heavyweights A Very Long Engagement and Oscar nominee The Chorus at the César Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The same thing happened in 2008, when his powerful immigrant family drama The Secret of the Grain defeated a pack of prestige Oscar contenders (La Vie en Rose, Persepolis, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) in the same top categories. 

But now that he’s won the most prestigious award of them all, Kechiche is facing a harsh backlash. [more]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May262013

Cannes Winners

Steven Spielberg and his jury have made their preferences known!

Three Palms! Léa + Abdellatif + Adele

PALME D'OR
Blue is the Warmest Color (also known as La Vie A'Dele - Chapitre 1 & 2) by Abdellatif Kechiche
In an unusual move the actresses Léa Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos are apparently sharing the Palme D'Or with the director so they all three have matching scrolls.

UPDATE: Some people will call this a historic win because it's a gay-themed film but arguably other Palme D'Or winners have had at least some degree of gay subtext or gay elements (like Elephant or Farewell My Concubine).

GRAND PRIX:
Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Bros 

PRIX DU JURY (JURY PRIZE): 
Like Father Like Son by Hirokazu Kore-eda 

DIRECTOR 
Heli by Amat Escalante 

SCREENPLAY (PRIX DU SCENARIO):
A Touch of Sin (Tian Zhu Ding) by Jia Zhangke 

CAMERA D’OR (BEST FIRST FEATURE): 
Ilo Ilo by Anthony Chen 

BEST ACTRESS (PRIX D’INTERPRETATION FEMININE):
Berenice Bejo for The Past

BEST ACTOR (PRIX D’INTERPRETATION MASCULINE): 
Bruce Dern for Nebraska

Though Cannes wins are so prestigious as to render "how will it affect the Oscar?" type questions instantly crass, everyone loves to still ask them. And this is obviously very good news for Bruce Dern's future campaign for Nebraska.

 

In other 'down the line' news, I wonder if this will help Blue is the Warmest Color actually make it into theaters. It was picked up by Sundance Selects but we all know that small distributors sometimes hold their movies for so long as to render any heat they once had ice cold. Let's hope, especially, that they don't get Oscar dreams because a) that's not going to happen -- France always has a lot to choose from for Oscar submissions and they're far more likely to go with The Past if they're picking a Cannes title --  and b) distributors who have those delusional Oscar dreams tend to hold their movies until after nominations at which point they put them on the backburner when they aren't nominated. 

Au revoir until next year!

Saturday
May182013

I Left My Film Festival in San Francisco

Glenn here with a report from the recently concluded 56th San Francisco Film Festival. I travelled to the Golden Gate city and sat on the FIPRESCI jury, judging a roster of eleven films from first and second-time directors. Given the attention given to FIPRESCI – The International Federation of Film Critics, or Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique if you want to be European about it – I wasn’t allowed to discuss the films as the festival progressed (can’t let the pundits in on what we’re going to reward now, can we?), but now we can take short looks at each of the competition titles.

Youth
Directed by Justine Malle (yes, Louis Malles daughter), and starring Esther Garrel (daughter of Philippe; sister of ubiquitous French star Louis Garrel) and with a title as definitive as Youth (there should be an "!" there just for effect), Malle’s debut has the weight of baggage. Appropriate then given it’s about a young woman dealing with first love, sex, parties, exams, an ill womanising filmmaking father, and wine. So much wine. From the very opening scene Malle does a fine job of establishing this young girl torn between the city life with her mother and the country life of her father. Her train trips back and forth are very literal back-and-forths with her personality as she tries to decide what she wants. And that includes one of her classmates, Benjamin (Émile Bertherat that my notes proclaim has “DREAMBOAT HAIR!”) The film has some pertinent things to say about young women and society’s view of them – a stranger sees her crying over her dying father and asks “is it about a boy?” I enjoyed it a lot, even if it did feel somewhat like a film I’ve seen before.

10 more films (some maddening, some great), one strange cat, one possible Oscar submission after the jump...

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Monday
Apr152013

Mad Men @ the Movies: The Age of Aquarius

Hi all, this is Deborah filling in for Nathaniel for our mutual favorite TV show. It figures that while I'm filling in there are no explicit movie references. However, I think I can keep you engaged with some juicy Broadway and implicit movie references.

Linda Cardellini guest stars on Mad Men

Episode 6.03, The Collaborators, is directed by Jon Hamm to dirty perfection. Make no mistake, this is a very dirty episode, concerned with adultery, broken promises, and things not being what they seem. 

We open with a party at the Campbell home; Pete is offering tickets to "Hair" to two neighbors. It’s a flirtatious conversation, Pete tells the ladies that hair is full of drugs, foul language, and “simulated sex acts.” Flirting is not the subtle art of yore in 1968, we say “sex acts” right out in public! (Spoilers ahead.)

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Wednesday
Mar202013

Best Shot: "Forbidden Games"

On the occasion of writer/director René Clément’s centennial I thought we’d take a look back at his award winning 1952 film Forbidden Games. This drama about children and grief during World War II won the NYFCC foreign film prize, BAFTA’s best film honors and a special Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (before the category was permanently introduced). Though Clement made other important pictures (Purple Noon, The Walls of Malapaga, Is Paris Burning?) let's just say this one comes with a fair amount of prestige baggage.

it's hard to remember prayers when you're hungry

I had never seen the picture but given my long history covering Oscar’s foreign film prize, where World War II and stories about children are both privileged frequently whether or not they’re “special”, my expectations weren’t enormously high. But the film more than lives up to its lauded reputation. more

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