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Entries in Hungary (15)

Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Kristóf Deák from "Munich" to "Sing" 

Kristóf DeákIf you've had a chance to catch the touring films in the Oscar nominated shorts program in select movie theaters now, we're willing to be that one of your favorites was the Hungarian short Sing written and directed by Kristóf Deák. This sweet well acted story is about a new girl in a children's choir whose teacher makes her feel less than welcome. 

Sing, not to be confused with the current blockbuster cartoon about pop star wannabe talking animals, could well be a threat to win its category though competition is ever tough and unpredictable in the shorts categories. Kristóf has seen and enjoyed the "strong batch" competition, saying "I won't shed any tears if we don't take the statue home"

I had the opportunity to talk to the young director, currently in Los Angeles for the final push before Oscar, and though he doesn't know what's in store for his career, he's taiken the smart stance of "be ready with projects and pitches" should key opportunities arise. The London based Hungarian director got his first post film school movie gig in the large editing department of Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and now he's an Oscar nominee for his fourth short which has been picking up several prizes at festivals.  

Our chat follows..

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar012016

Pt 2: New Oscar Trivia, Stats, and Curiosities

Picking up where we left off after the headliner categories. But click not away. The below the line crafts and specialty categories are just as important and trivia-interesting. I promise.

FOR THE EYES

Production Design: Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road
Makeup and Hairstyling
: Mad Max: Fury Road
Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road

Jenny Beavan previously won the costume category for another perfect film A Room With a View. Not since arguably Dianne Wiest has a two time winner won for such polar opposite achievements. Yes both of Wiest's Oscars are from Woody Allen pictures but those star turns couldn't be more different stylistically / emotionally / pscyhologically. Mad Max Fury Road is also the first sci-fi winner EVER in this category... unless you count Star Wars (1977) though some people prefer lumping Star Wars into the fantasy genre rather than sci-fi... and there have been multiple fantasy winners.

I can't think of any interesting stats to go with the Makeup and Production Design Oscars but they were richly earned, don't you think?

More after the jump including further Star Wars coincidences...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec192015

Interview: Director and Star of 'Son of Saul' on Making Art in a Politically Correct World

Jose here. The evils of the Nazi regime have been documented in myriad ways, and in practically every medium possible. Film in particular, has created a subgenre that consists of harrowing stories about concentration camps, the diabolical genocide of the Jews, and other events that put all the human race under a shameful light. However, perhaps because of Hollywood’s tendency to overpraise the human spirit, and its relentless need to “inspire”, Holocaust films have become a “niche” meant to help actors and directors win awards. Holocaust films in a nutshell always go for the emotional and rarely, if ever, attempt to touch the intellectual.

Enter first time director László Nemes, who caught Cannes by surprise with his unique Son of Saul, which has just opened in US theaters, a film that dispenses of each and every cliché you’ve seen played in every other Holocaust movie. There are no string-filled overwrought scores, no movie stars losing weight, gaining accents or donning beards, and most surprisingly, there are no attempts at oversimplifying the Holocaust as anything other than a series of personal infernos lived in a collective reality. The inner hell in this case, is that of Auschwitz prisoner Saul (Géza Röhrig), a Sonderkommando member, who one day makes a gruesome discovery that drives him to make a decision that might have deadly results.

The interview after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct092015

NYFF: The Oscar Contender "Son of Saul"

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival on Hungary's Oscar submission, a powerful debut film...

The Holocaust film is, as historical subgenres go, perhaps the most well-worn. From John Ford and George Stevens’ documentary footage of the camps liberation all the way through Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, cinema has been irrevocably tied to our cultural remembrance of that most barbaric killing machine. Cinema’s ability to record, to bear witness, has no doubt played a central role in this artistic canon. Of course, at the heart of the cinematic project of the Holocaust lie conflicting and controversial ethical questions. From Theodor Adorno’s “There is no poetry after Auschwitz” dictum to storied arguments about the validity and usefulness of recreating the images of Western civilization’s most gruesome chapter, directors, victims, and historians have asked plenty of hard to answer questions.

Does the depiction not merely replicate the dehumanization on which that enterprise depended? Is there a way to narrativize this barbaric act without simplifying history? Can cinema’s images ever do anything more than ring hollow when compared with the immensity of human life lost?

If all of this sounds heady as an intro to a review of László Nemes’s debut film Son of Saul, you should’ve heard leading man (and poet) Géza Röhrig and his director talk at length about these very issues while quoting Primo Levi at the press conference a few days ago...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep032015

Official Foreign Film Submission Oscar Charts. Plus Trailers

Twenty-one Official Submissions for the 2015 Foreign Language Film Oscar race have been announced! That's just under a third of the list given the usual amount of submissions but things are already weird and wild with a colorful LGBT drama (Xenia from Greece), a disaster movie (The Wave from Norway), more documentaries than usual already including animated and 3D offerings (Palestine, Switzerland, and Panama), alongside your more usual type of competitor like World War II focused entries (Germany and Hungary, which I'm currently predicting for nominations) and historical epics (South Korea)

The foreign film charts are a major project each year behind the scenes and we're so proud to have raised the profile of this awards category over the past 15 years. The Film Experience was literally the first website to cover it in detail (all the way back to our humble beginnings) and slowly but surely the fever spread. As did all things Oscar. Now, everyone does it! It's no longer "ours" so to speak -- not that one can own an Oscar topic -- but we're still justified in feeling the pride of original adoption. And if we don't pat ourselves on the back who will since we get no damn respect from the larger online film culture. Ahem.

Greece's XENIA and South Korea's THE THRONE

MAIN FOREIGN FILM PAGE

Current Predictions and All Time Stats & Trivia on This Category

SUBMISSION CHARTS

Afghanistan through Estonia
Will Brazil send The Second Mother? Will Argentina send festival-premiering crime drama The Clan? Info on Official entries from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, and Croatia.
Ethiopia through The Netherlands
Mexico has a 14 film shortlonglist. Info on official entries from Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Luxembourg
New Zealand through Vietnam
Speculation on The Philippines. Info on official entries from Norway, Palestine, Panama, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Venezuela

AFTER THE JUMP... TRAILERS FOR 16 OF THE 21 SUBMISSIONS (THE ONES I COULD FIND) IF YOU'RE INTERESTED

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May162015

Cannes: Then and (Right) Now

Imperator Furiousa cleans up nice for CannesAs Cannes moves past that opening night international glamour, and into its heavy screenings opening weekend, there's a lot of reminiscing going around as well for those that aren't attending: Keyframe is looking at the 1985 festival -- which was heavily criticized for being too American --  to see what it tells us about the 2015 festival. And, of course, over at Nick's Flick Picks, Nick is looking back at 1995. He has corralled several critics to talk about and rewatch those films too, but that part hasn't been posted yet. Can't wait! But here's a little about what's been happening at the festival if you are, like 99.9% of the world including me, NOT in the South of France right about now, but wish to think about it intermittently. 

Out of Competition
Mad Max Fury Road premiered at Cannes just as it was opening in theaters. That's a good excuse to get celebrities at your premiere and stay in a global conversation but, as good as the movie is -- and whoa it's thrilling (easily the best Mad Max film and the best action film since probably the last time James Cameron made anything) though I think maybe "the sistine chapel of action filmmaking" might be overstating it a little -- why go to a movie that's in theaters when you're at this kind of Best of World Cinema That Will Probably Never Make It to Really Big Screens Near You? Which is not to say that you shouldn't go. You absolutely should if you're not at Cannes. It's INSANE. And that is a high high compliment since most movies with insane premise play things so conservative in their mise en scene, you know? Michael's review will be up shortly and I'm sure I'll talk about it more too.

Woody Allen's PARKER POSEY: THE MOVIE... excuse me, Irrational Man, has also premiered as his movies do, Out of Competition. Our friend Tim Robey offered delicious shade in his review:

The word “murder” arrives in the script the second Kant, and his theories of human reason, pop up at the start. Like the superb Crimes and Misdemeanors, and also like Match Point, this contains a killing...

But honestly, I don't care if it's another mediocre effort from Allen. I'm so excited that Parker Posey got a big part again in a movie that people will actually see. And I love that she totally stole the show at the events with her incognito wacky glamour.

Supposedly Inside Out, another mainstream English-language film premiering there, is also a return to form of sorts for Pixar, but pardon me if I take this Oscar buzz with just a giant lick of salt - I think the days of Pixar (and maybe animation in general) being up for Best Picture are over. Those kinds of runs don't last forever and once people stop thinking of you in that light, it can be hard to return. 

"The Lobster" character posters

Competition Buzz
Gus Van Sant, who has won big at the festival before, won't be repeating. His latest, Sea of Trees, which stars Matthew McConaughey as a suicidal man visiting Japan, was not well received. That's putting it lightly if you just skim the THR or Variety reviews. I'm choosing not to read or even skim reviews on The Lobster, but from what I've heard your guess is as good as mine to what it actually is and if it's great at being whatever that is. Our Little Sister, a Japanese family drama has been warmly received for being touching without being sentimental and Sony Pictures Classics will distribute in the US.  

The buzziest title thus far is the Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul. It's winning very generous reviews and it's also a debut feature which means that even if the competition jury surprises by stiffing it -- every year the press acts like they know what the jury will do and it never works out that way -- it could still win the Camera D'Or (which has a separate jury, just for debut films). Now we have to wonder if those titles will be the Oscar picks for Japan or Hungary.  I'm going to assume yes on the latter so I've updated the Foreign Film wild guesswork on the Prediction Charts.

Finally...
Yes, we will have another fashion lineup soon. But for now please accept our vote for the worst person in Cannes this year: Russian celebrity Elena Lenina. This is a film festival. Imagine sitting behind her at any of these premieres. Her 'do is suddenly your protagonist, whether its a Holocaust tragedy, a Woody Allen dramedy, or an insane action flick. Screw the narrative. 

True confession: Even when I see a person with high hair completely outside of movie scenarios like, say, on the street or in a talking head box on the news or several tables away at a restaurant my first thought is always 'oh god, please don't sit in front of me at the movies!'.

Be considerate of the comfort of your fellow moviegoers, readers -- shave your head!