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Entries in Iceland (11)

Thursday
Oct132016

Thoughts I Had... Amber Heard from Aquaman

You know the drill. Thoughts uncensored in no particular order as they came whilst gazing at the first picture of Amber Heard as Mera in Aquaman (2018) or is this from Justice League (2017). Don't know. Doesn't matter...

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Thursday
Feb182016

Jóhann Jóhannsson Picks Ten Scary Scores

Glenn here. Was it just me or was Jóhann Jóhannsson’s nomination this year for his original score to Sicarioone of the highlights of the lot? That film didn’t quite take off the way many, myself included, thought it ought to have, but its three nominations are nothing to sneeze at in all honestly for such a prickly, devisive film. Jóhannsson’s nomination, however, sticks out. Not necessarily because of the quality of the work – although, clearly, it’s quite an accomplishment – but because Jóhannsson’s work in the Denis Villeneuve thriller marks such a diversion from his work on The Theory of Everything for which he was also Oscar-nominated. He probably even came close to a win for that on his first try (he did take out the Golden Globe).

It can sometimes get a bit tiresome when the same composers appear year-in-year-out for work that is remarkably similar to their own work. For instance, it was what made the difference between Alexandre Desplat’s The Grand Budapest Hotel being a wonderful nomination and Alexandre Desplat’s The Imitation Game being a bit of a shrug. Let’s be honest, there’s not much to compare within the lush orchestral arrangements of The Theory of Everything and the bone-crushingly intense soundscapes of Sicario and that makes both of his Oscar nominations exciting and makes me anticipate his next work. One hopes that if this Icelander keeps getting high profile gigs that he continues to be as eclectic as these two suggest he can be.

If you have seen the film and heard his work to Sicario then you will guess Jóhannsson knows a thing or two about scary scores. You don’t compose “The Beast” (or the rest of that movie's score for that matter) and not get to boast about that. So when I came across a list of “the best 10 scariest soundtracks” compiled by Jóhannsson, I knew I should share it. There’s horror disco, sinister synths, and legends of the craft. I have included a few of his choices after the jump, but check out Dummy Magazine for the rest as well as his own thoughts on the music.

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Wednesday
Feb032016

Interview: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Working with Sheep and Icelandic Idiosyncrasy

In Grímur Hákonarson’s darkly funny Rams, two brothers who haven’t spoken in decades must unite forces to save their legacy when the government demands all their livestock must be slaughtered to contain a disease. Hidden behind long beards and stubbornness, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) take on the impossible task of trying to outsmart the government, making for a fascinating allegory about the things we lose in the name of progress. After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category, Rams went on to being chosen as Iceland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. As the film opens in the US, I got a chance to sit down with Hákonarson who spoke about how his childhood shaped the film, how Cannes changed his life, and shared interesting trivia about sheep.

JOSE: Your parents used to send you to the country to work during the summers. Did you ever think of this as a punishment in any way?

interview after the jump

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Saturday
May232015

Potential Foreign Oscar Submissions from Cannes

While most of the world obsesses on Eurovision today, we'll stayed obsessed with France. The Cannes festival ends tomorrow with the awards ceremony and the biggies like the Palme D'Or (the overall winner) Best Actress (or 'The Anti-Marion' as it will surely soon be retitled since she's in the mix every single year but never wins) and the Camera D'Or (first film). But until tomorrow afternoon when we hear those honors, we've still got plenty to discuss including potential Oscar submissions (I must soon create those massive foreign submission charts) and the first wave of jury prizes.

UN CERTAIN REGARD
Isabella Rossellini's jury has handed out their prizes with this statement from Rossellini

We, the jury, would like to thank the Festival de Cannes for inviting us to be part of the Jury for Un Certain Regard. The experience of watching nineteen films from twenty-one countries was memorable. It was like taking a flight over our Planet and its inhabitants… Any anthropologist would be envious of us. We would like in particular to thank Thierry Frémaux and his team for their incredible kindness. I cannot refrain from expressing also my personal gratitude to the Festival for having chosen my mother Ingrid Bergman for the poster of the 68th edition of this festival. Mamma seems to hovered over all of us, filmmakers and film lovers, as a guardian angel. Thank you.

Here's a roundup of prizes including many potential Oscar submissions for Best Foreign Language Film...

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Sunday
Sep072014

TIFF Scandinavian Quickies: Force Majeure, Life in a Fishbowl, Out of Nature

Nathaniel's adventures in Toronto. Day 2...

Part of Day 3's adventure was losing the internet and not being able to recover an entire review I'd written. With time so short that feels more disastrous than it actually is. But since Day 2 was just great from start to finish we won't let Day 3's mistakes -- I also fell asleep unintentionially for 2 hours -- distract us from the goal: sharing it with you.

Life in a Fishbowl (Iceland)
I am told on Twitter that "Life in a Fishbowl" is a terrible English market title and that the title of the film in Icelandic is actually Hope Street. Unless that's a the adress of a nearly empty home which preoccupies two of the three leads, that title is even more perplexing since these characters are quite unhappy. "Life in a Fishbowl" is the name of a novel within the film (as I recall... though perhaps that was just a subtitle flourish?). It's a multi-strand narrative wherein the characters are all connected in some way. If this fills you with as much terror as it does me, rest assured that the movie doesn't strain for "twists" or "ooh, that's how they connect!" moments of faux profundity but just tells it's three stories which eventually intertwine. We meet a handsome athlete turned banker who is being showered with gifts from his new company. (We know that these gifts will come with a hefty price even if he doesn't since he is a movie character and we have seen lots of movies.) We also follow a local celebrity poet stumbling drunk around the city who has just finished his first novel in many years but who is perpetually drowning, figuratively speaking, and not just in drink. Finally there's a struggling single mother who earns her extra cash as a prostitute.

There's nothing particularly new or grandly ambitious here which makes the film's rather rapturous blurbs from home "best icelandic film ever" puzzling. Still, it's quite engrossing with a novelistic feel and amounts to a big leap forward for the director Baldwin Z (Jitters). [This film is Iceland's Oscar submission and though it's good, it's not half as distinctive as their great submission last year, Of Horses and Men.] B/B+

A great Oscar threat and a fine manly ass after the jump...

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