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Entries in Middle Eastern Films (44)

Thursday
Sep142017

TIFF: "The Breadwinner" is a visual stunner

Our ongoing adventures at TIFF

 One of the most exciting animation houses in the world is Ireland's Cartoon Saloon. In its early years its largely been a showcase for co-founder Tomm Moore who made Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea (both deservedly Oscar nominated). Now Nora Twomey, also a co-founder, steps into the director's chair for their third feature, another visual stunner. (If you haven't seen their films yet get to it. They're doing the consistently best non-Pixar derivative animation on earth now that Studio Ghibli has slowed way down.)

This time we depart Ireland for an adaptation of The Breadwinner, Deborah Ellis's bestseller about an Afghani girl who disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family when her father is imprisoned by the Taliban. Without a male relative to escort them around the city they're trapped in their home with no way to earn money or go shopping...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep112017

Two more Oscar submissions announced

The foreign Oscar submissions keep on coming. Egypt will be submitting Sheikh Jackson, a potential crowd pleaser about an Islamic cleric undergoing an identity crisis when he flashes back to his Michael Jackson obsessed youth when Michael dies. Egypt has yet to be Oscar-nominated but who knows.

A more likely nominee on paper, given the history, is Poland's Spoor (originally called Pokot) a murder mystery directed by Agnieska Holland. The film about an animal rights activist that becomes involved in a string of mysterious crimes has been getting interestingly mixed reviews. Holland first came to international fame (and Oscar love) with her big arthouse hit and WW II drama Europa Europa (1990) and was recently in the hunt again with the foreign film nominee In Darkness (2011). You could argue that she's Oscar's second favorite Polish director (of those who kept making movies in Poland, that is) after the late legendary Andrzej Wajda who was up for the foreign film Oscar four times and eventually received an Honorary.

The charts are here

Monday
May082017

The Furniture: The Salesman Crafts His Own Stage

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winning The Salesman begins with a set. The opening credits appear over the quiet stage of a small Tehran theater, nearly ready to debut a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We see the bed before the actors who will lie in it, neon lights illuminated for an empty house. It is a quite literal setting of the stage before the drama begins.

It’s not a play adaptation, but it often feels like one. There are few locations and the cast is small. And, as in many play adaptations, the production design does a lot of heavy lifting...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb282017

Links: Oscar Goodies Elsewhere

Tom & Lorenzo Janelle Monáe owns everything and wore it all out last night
Vulture theories on why Moonlight won
AV Club "Why does Nicole Kidman clap like that and will she stop it please?" LOL

Deadline Iran and France praise Asghar Farhadi's Oscar win 
The Hill the State department does too but then quickly deletes the tweet 
Out Michael Musto on queer moments from the broadcast and Brokeback payback
Vanity Fair fashion transformations from the Oscars to the after parties 

Oscar Snafus
HuffPo This is interesting. Turns out HuffPo posted an article BEFORE the Oscars about what would happen if the wrong winner was read out on Oscar night and the procedure that would follow. Not everything lines up with what happened Sunday
Slate reviews the tape to illustrated what happened when during the Best Picture mix-up which is what I said I wanted done but knew I didn't have the strength to do (in this piece on the Oscar's own dream ballet)
Variety the other snafu at the Oscars during "In Memorium". Whod'a thunk that The Piano (1993) woud resurface in a huge gaffe kind of way with Oscar mixing up its producer Jan Chapman and its Costume Designer Janet Patterson? 

Exit Trivia
Thanks to THR's Scott Feinberg for uncovering this. The La La Land / Moonlight envelope fiasco was the second time in history that this happened. The first was for the 1963 Oscars when eventual Best Picture winner Tom Jones was named as the Best Original Score winner. But the winner was actually Andre Previn for Irma La Douce. Sammy Davis Jr handled it well, you must admit.

In related news that proposed upcoming Sammy Davis Jr biopic could be so great. The career, cast of characters, and context in which it happened is so rich for storytelling. Let's hope they cast, write, and direct it well.

Saturday
Feb042017

I'm so glad we had this link together

Decider Joe Reid on the repetitive lie that Oscar shuns popular movies
Interview shared a Winona Ryder interview from 1990. I can't tell you how formative this was for me. I had the photoshoot plastered all over my bedroom. I was obsessed with her quotables.
Playbill Broadway aimed Moulin Rouge! will be trying to cast its Satine (!!!), or at least a temporary Satine for readings and such, on February 17th at an Equity-only audition
MNPP Great Moments in Movie Shelves visits The Royal Tenenbaums game closet 
AV Club IMDb is shutting down its message boards 

 

Deadline file this under "it's about time" - Sarah Paulson is finally getting lead roles in features! She'll headline Lost Girls, a serial killer drama in which she plays a mother searching for her daughter
i09 revisits Suspiria before the remake by Luca Guadagnino
The Guardian we need to be listening to Middle Eastern cinema right now 
Variety Leslie Mann and John Cho to host this year's Sci-Tech awards for the Academy 
Tracking Board Whoa. Carol Burnett, who is 83, might be coming back with a new sitcom. Come on Octogenarians! (See also: Rita Moreno, who is 85 and great on One Day at a Time)
Variety Oh, this is so sad. Sunday in the Park with George won't be eligible for the Tonys so no Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Actor despite the raves 
Boy Culture Patrick Wilson didnt get paid for this advertisement
Variety The Weinstein Co will distribute a new Diane Keaton / Brendan Gleeson drama Hampstead from the director of Last Chance Harvey
The Guardian "why I love Emma Stone" 

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 ...