Nathaniel reporting from the last weekend at TIFF where brides-to-be are in the air. It's easy to see little mini-festivals blossom within the overall festival you're watching. Sometimes it happens quite by accident as with three films I caught recently (two of which might be fighting for Oscar foreign film nods). All feature female protagonists who pine for a man they thought they would marry before things went horribly wrong. We've already discussed François Ozon's Frantz. In that film the fiancee is already dead when the movie begins but in these next two films The Wedding Ring from Niger and Sand Storm from Israel, both of the young women begin the movie with a combination of dread and hope: will they be able to marry the man they loved who they met in a liberal university setting or does their conservative rural village community have other futures in mind? Both films are narrative debuts by female directors. In addition to their romantic dramas these two films speak to the clash of modernity and tradition, West and East, and especially to gender roles with young women chafing at the expectations placed on them to be subservient to whims of the patriarchy...
Entries in gender politics (172)
• THR got the first look at Fences. Photos of Denzel, Viola and Stephen McKinley Henderson
• Awards Daily surveys the rave reviews for Nocturnal Animals
• Playbill there's another musical about the life of Tennessee Williams on the way. The developmental concert is when I'm away at TIFF argh.
• /Film Riz Ahmed sees his Rogue One action figure for the first time (he's so skinny & British -- it's freaking me out a little post The Night Of...!)
• Coming Soon Tom Holland visits a children's hospital dressed as Spider-Man
• AV Club interviews Rob Reiner about his well loved filmography
• MNPP if you live in NYC please note that there's a Paul Verhoeven retrospective coming in November to celebrate the release of Elle. Naturally Showgirls and the other Hollywood films will be accounted for but so will his Dutch offerings. Can't wait to see Turkish Delight finally with Rutger Hauer!
• EW Tyler Hoechlin talks about becoming Superman for the CW's Supergirl
• Fusion crunched the numbers on the ballots for the BBC 100 greatest of the 21st century list to come up with an all female directors ranking. I'm a little stunned, given that ultra specific scenario that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is so low on the list (only #59) and Bright Star can't even manage the top 20 (tied for #21)
•... the original list icymi
• Los Angeles Times powerful op ed from Gabrielle Union about sexual consent, rape culture, Nate Parker, and Birth of a Nation. She plays a rape victim in his film
• Variety Mark Ruffalo responds to the criticism of the casting of Matt Bomer as a trans woman in his new project. "Please have a little compassion. We are all learning" oh Jesus. Is Hollywood in so much of a bubble that they're still years behind everyone else? I find this hard to believe especially for the politically actives types like Ruffalo so it's hard to have compassion for people purposefully benefitting from the status quo.
Just For Fun
• Vice analyzes the exact amount of banter in the photo of those Eton schoolboys about to meet Putin. I LOL'ed and LOL'ed. Bloody well done
Video o' the Day
Check out this neat montage celebrating Stop-Motion in film - it's very short and due to that it gets to our lifetimes way too quickly but it still brought back so many fun movie memories.
It's the final blind read Oscar charts update... after Venice/Telluride/Toronto each year things clear up a lot which is both fun because "the Oscar race has begun" and horrible since it's nice to hold on to multiple impossible dreams. After festival season is over you have to winnow the impossible dreams down since so many of the films have shown their faces and people get to decide how attractive they are and if they want to keep talking and thinking and looking at them for the next five months.
At the very current moment La La Land is enjoying a deluge of ecstatic responses at Venice which makes us feel good about having predicted it from moment one. At the very current moment, The Birth of a Nation is reminding everyone that being a "frontrunner" a year before the actual ceremony is usually an untenable situation for a variety of similar reasons each time (boredom, hype backlash, "that ol' thing?" annoyance, etcetera) and also for specific unique reasons each time.
In the case of The Birth of a Nation we're dealing with the very unsavory business of a past rape incident. It feels grotesque to view such things through the lens of "what does it mean for Oscar?" which is largely why we've stayed relatively mum on the topic at The Film Experience. Nevertheless we should note that this is not necessarily the end for the movie. History is filled with bad press situations overcome and Hollywood is forgiving when they want to be. There are still four months left until Oscar nominations - plenty of time for more hot takes and backlashes against backlashes and so on. Nate Parker's willingness to talk at length about this is probably a good sign for both his future and the picture's, like this candid must-read interview with Ebony magazine. We can debate about how sincere and/or ignorant he is /was about consent (yes, yes, cultural understanding around sensitive topics does evolve over time but it was never okay to invite your friends to have sex with a passed out woman; you didn't need modern understandings of "consent" to know this in the 90s) but I think we can all agree that rape culture is a very forgiving place for accomplished men, however awful that sounds.
On the other hand once voters realize how much diversity there is in front of and behind the camera in 2016's movie offerings (Fences, Loving, A United Kingdom, Queen of Katwe, and Moonlight are all still to come) they might be eager to run far afield of the icky Birth of a Nation situation without worrying about any #OscarsSoWhite fallout because they can run right into the arms of less troubled filmmakers and warmer films.
It's all so gross. So on to something more fun. Did you know that Alicia Keys, Tori Amos, and Sia all wrote Original Songs for movies this year? They did. See it on the music chart.
CHART UPDATES Pre Festival Edition
INDEX | BEST PICTURE | BEST DIRECTOR
FOREIGN | FOREIGN A-F | FOREIGN F-N | FOREIGN N-Z
SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SOUND & MUSIC | ANIMATION & DOCS
Acting chart updates tomorrow!
I don't know if I like the sound of this double feature...
Sausage Squad? pic.twitter.com/9fW5XdZvAq— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) August 24, 2016
After the jump funny tweet games, supportive boyfriends, The Night Of casting, a dissolve from The Godfather, a proposed franchise for Hugh Jackman, FYC Ellen Burstyn, and a little webslinging...
As part of our celebration of the year of the month, 1984, Lynn Lee revisits the winner of that year's Palme d'Or, Wim Wenders' Paris Texas.
While it may not quite have the status of an iconic movie, there’s much about Paris, Texas that feels iconic. A hybrid of those two most iconically American genres, the Western and the road trip—directed, natch, by a German and starring two European actresses—it bears the distinctive features of both. The long stretches of silence, only occasionally broken by snatches of spare Sam Shepard-scripted dialogue or, as often as not, monologue. Ry Cooder’s haunting slide-guitar score, which seems to meld with the harsh, lonely, yet strangely sublime landscapes of Texas deserts, highways, and roadside motels. The lighting, especially at dusk. The weathered countenance of Harry Dean Stanton—how does it manage to be at once so stoic and so expressive?—and the exquisitely sculpted planes of Nastassja Kinski’s face, as they quiver and dissolve in the movie’s most emotionally wrenching scene.
That last aspect is at once the film’s ace and its Achilles heel. By the latter I don’t mean Kinski’s acting (I think she’s fantastic, shaky Texan accent aside) or the writing of that particular scene. Rather, I mean the conception of her character, Jane, and Jane’s relationship to Stanton’s wanderer Travis, which culminates in that scene.
If the first two thirds of Paris, Texas are about Travis’ reconnecting with his brother and young son as he slowly comes back to life, the last third is dominated by his efforts to find Jane...
REMINDER: tomorrow night we're doing the first episode of "The Get Down" (now streaming on Netflix) for Hit Me With Your Best Shot
The Best Picture Project advice for taking your toddler to the movie theater
Los Angeles Times report on a South Korean thriller called Train to Busan that's striking a deep chord with moviegoers there
In Contention Kris Tapley has a new podcast called "Playback" - interviews and the Oscar race
Comics Alliance Flash Season 3 News. I cooled a bit on The Flash with the interminable and convoluted plot of Season 2 but season 3 is sounding like great fun: a musical episode (which we were hoping for since so many of the cast members have musical theater backgrounds) and more Gorilla Grodd for starters
MTV Teo Bugbee celebrates the 10th anniversary of Step Up, the sexiest family-friendly dance movie of the decade
Tracking Board we get the movies we deserve (on the success of Suicide Squad despite everyone agreeing that it's not good)
Coming Soon Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water has assembled quite a stellar cast (including Oscar nominees Richard Jenkins & Sally Hawkins) and production has begun. It's "an other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963."
Theater Mania Remember Lesley Headland's Bachelorette? It started as a play before it was a movie and now it's coming back to the stage in September (sadly it's the exact dates I'm in TIFF so I won't get to see this production).
/Film Some of the titular characters from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Variety Birth of a Nation star Nate Parker responds to new reporting about a rape trial 17 years ago.
Variety Cirque du Soleil is making several changes to its Broadway show "Paramour" after opening night and reviews, which is quite rare.
This is Not Porn Harrison Ford working out for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Coming Soon Patty Jenkins respondes to rumors that Wonder Woman, like other DC superhero productions before it is a mess in post. Calls them "entirely false" with a "transparent agenda"
Theater Mania Fyvush Finkel of Picket Fences and Fiddler on the Roof fame has died at 93 years of age
Tracking Board more discussion of "genderless" acting awards. I maintain that this would be a disaster for actresses because sexist society (and Holllywood) values men so much more and that would only exarcebate the problem of women not getting their deserved kudos in film and television. This particular article seems to think the male acting categories have more range in roles which I think is flat-out crazy. The male acting categories are so much duller and generally only have a few types of genres honored. You get a wider spread with the actresses from all the same genres as men (bios, dramas, dramedies, epics) plus romances, comedies, musicals, etcetera.
E!Online best reaction faces from the Olympics
Slate on Kohei Uchimura, "the greatest gymnast of all time"
Slate on why Puerto Rico gets its own Olympic team
Towleroad The IOC has deemed the Daily Beast's awful homophobic article about gay Olympians using apps to hookup "unacceptable" (the article has since been removed from the Daily Beast's website but honestly people should be fired not just 'oh we're sorry') and the straight journalist behind it Nico Hines has been recalled from Rio. Still one has to wonder what damage he's already done given that he basically outed athletes from notoriously anti-gay countries whose lives could not be at stake
Towleroad The Daily Mail has also been on the homophobic attack, labelling hugging between Olympic divers 'unmanly'