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Oscar History
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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Review: Beauty & The Beast (2017)

"I found much of this version charming, diverting and moving. But it's not a patch on the 1991 masterpiece" -Ian O

"I begrudge the decision of executives when it comes to casting a movie like this. They didn't need a 'star' to fill the seats. They needed someone who could elevate the material..." -Jones

Interviews

Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)
Céline Sciamma (My Life as a Zucchini)
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)

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Entries in interview (190)

Friday
Dec302016

Billy Crudup won't tell you this but he's terrific in "20th Century Women"

20th Century Women, now playing in limited release, is named after its complicated women. There are three of them to be exact played by Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning. To the movie's great credit, the two male characters are no less fascinating. Take note, men: while the men have their own distinct characters, half of the reason they're so interesting is their empathy and curiousity about the women they share their lives with. One of the guys is a teenager just getting started in life (Lucas Jade Zumann) and eager to soak it all in. The film's quietest character is William (Billy Crudup). He's moving into middle age but headed nowhere in particular; the women have always come to him but he still doesn't know where he's going.

On a very busy day just before the holidays I was able to catch Billy Crudup for a few minutes at the tail end of his press duties for 20th Century Women. While far more articulate than his character, he was similarly self-effacing, deflecting praise more often than not to pass the achievement on to co-stars, directors, and writers. Suddenly his theorized resistance to being A Movie Star (a long-since forgotten topic of discussion from the early days of his career when he turned down high profile gigs) made a great deal of sense. And since he won't say it himself, let it be known that this modest actor is very good in a tricky part in this wonderful film.

lost William in 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2016)

Here's our conversation...

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Saturday
Dec172016

Interview: Jessica Chastain on playing "Miss Sloane"

If you haven't yet seen Miss Sloane about a formidable political mastermind and the sure-to-lose case against the gun lobby that she takes on to the surprise of DC, you'll want to catch it soon. It's rather a classic star vehicle in that the glamorous leading lady is front and center and steering all the juicy twisty drama. That leading lady is, of course, the tireless Jessica Chastain. Chastain shot to stardom with seven films in 2011 (including The Tree of Life and her Oscar nominated role in The Help) and she seemingly hasn't left movie theaters. She's starred in everything from moody business thrillers (A Most Violent Year), gothic horror (Crimson Peak), fiery military dramas (Zero Dark Thirty), and more.

I sat down to talk with her in NYC a month or so ago about how far she's come since that explosive debut year, how she recharges between movies, and how she approached her Golden Globe nominated role as the amoral steely Miss Sloane.

NATHANIEL: One of the things that stuck with me from the first time we talked years ago was how many questions you write into each script about your character. With this character in particular, she is really a complicated woman

JESSICA: So complicated.

NATHANIEL: So was your script just buried in notes? 

JESSICA: Oh my gosh, it was insane...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec132016

Interview: Belgian Oscar Submission 'The Ardennes,' Testosterone, and Building Characters

By Jose Solis.

Belgium’s Oscar submission The Ardennes feels like Drive by way of Fargo and Bullhead, i.e. it’s a gritty neo-noir that thrills and disturbs in equal measures. The quasi-Biblical (or Greek) plot follows two brothers who are like night and day, Dave (Jeroen Perceval who wrote the play the film is based on) is a kind soul who works in a carwash and is trying to set up a home with his girlfriend Sylvie (Veerle Baetens), the problem is she was his brother Kenneth’s (Kevin Janssens) girl before he went away to prison. His release brings the family happiness and pain, as they try to help him adapt to the new situation. First time director Robin Pront crafts a smart thriller with colorful characters and testosterone to spare. I sat down with the director and leading man Janssens to discuss the film’s themes, the Oscar race and Belgian cinema.

Read the interview after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec132016

Interview: Babak Anvari on British Oscar Submission 'Under the Shadow'

By Jose Solís.

At first glance, Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow seems to announce itself as a fine Iran-set social drama, as we meet Shideh (Narges Rashidi) a young mother who discovers her political past - she protested the war against Iraq - has deemed her ineligible to return to medical school. When her husband (Bobby Baderi) gets sent to a battle zone for work, she is left behind with her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) trying to make sense of her life, while their city is under the constant threat of Iraqi missiles. If that wasn’t enough, strange things begin to occur in their home as Dorsa is convinced there is a presence that wants to take her away.

Even though this is Anvari’s first feature film, he displays a mastery of horror techniques that would put others to shame...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec092016

Interview: Oscar-Winner Asghar Farhadi Returns with "The Salesman"

by Nathaniel R

Two award winners: Asghar Farhadi with his star Shahab Hosseni

Asghar Farhadi's fame is finally catching up to his talent. After his international breakthrough with A Separation (2011) which won the Oscar and the Globe Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and became a significant arthouse hit internationally, the Iranian auteur has had three other movies travel to cinemas abroad. The acclaimed About Elly (2009) found renewed life and finally a US release, and his two follow up pictures The Past (2013) and The Salesman (2016) both took home coveted acting prizes from Cannes.

The Salesman, which will begin its US release in January after an Oscar-qualifying week recently in Los Angeles, is Farhadi's fourth consecutive film to be chosen by Iran to represent the country at the Academy Awards. Like A Separation, it's a stunner which begins simply before a fraught incident sends out large ripples complicating the story and the characterizations. We talked to Farhadi about the pressure of representing Iran, his Oscar night journey, and his creative process. The interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec082016

Interview: Lorenzo Vigas on his Prize Winning Drama "From Afar"

This year's Oscar race for foreign film has the usual number of World War II dramas, biopics, and historical epics but as far as we can tell it's only got one Latin American LGBT drama about a damaged old man's thorny relationship with a poor street hustler he picks up who keeps coming back thereafter for more cash and the more mysterious pull of companionship. That film, Desde Alla / From Afar, now available to screen on Netflix, began its breakthrough journey winning the Golden Lion at Venice in 2015 for first time narrative director Lorenzo Vigas. I talked to him about working with an Oscar winning screenwriter, that Venice honor, and his terrific young find, Luis Silva, who holds his own opposite one of the Latin America's finest actors, Alredo Castro. 

The interview is after the jump...

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Tuesday
Dec062016

Interview: Director Paula van der Oest on Dutch Oscar Submission 'Tonio'

By Jose Solís.

In Tonio director Paula van der Oest chronicles the grieving process of two parents (Pierre Bokma and Rifka Lodeizen) who have just lost their 21-year-old son (Chris Peters) in a tragic accident. As they cope with the pain and chaos, they must also come to terms with the fact that Tonio was much more than they thought, and we see them discover their son’s passions and dreams. Based on an autobiographical novel by A.F.Th. van der Heijden, the film is an unsentimental portrait of pain, told with inventive storytelling techniques and featuring superb acting by the leads. I spoke to director van der Oest about finding the film’s tone, working with the actors and doing the Oscar circuit once again (she was nominated for Zus & Zo and her film Accused made the finals two years ago)

Read the interview after the jump...

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