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Entries in Pablo Larraín (12)

Monday
Sep162019

TIFF Quickie: Crazy White Women!

by Nathaniel R

For this last batch of short TIFF reviews, let's look at three films about mysterious and/or psychologically complex female characters. The post title was glib but the films aren't. 

DISCO (Jorunn Mykelbust Syversen, Norway)
This puzzling drama centers on a champion dancer whose mom and step-dad run some kind of evangelical church. Apparently in Scandivania -- as with America -- conservative faith movements are on the rise. Syversen shows empathy for her characters but chills it with a clinically detached rhythym to the cutting. The lost protagonist Mirjam (Josefine Frida Pettersen) has mysterious physical troubles and vacant psychology that can bring flickers of Todd Haynes' Safe (1995) to mind.

Syversen's strongest skill seems to be in observational mode. In one escalating series of scene at a Jesus camp the choices in camera distance are particularly compelling. In medium shot we observe a group of boys being told to breathe quickly in and out of paper bags to drive out the demons inside them. Cut to a long shot as we watch them comically pass out as they hyperventilate. This is a followed by a not at all comical baptism that is shot more like a drowning. Despite Syverson's obvious skill and a tight running time (94 minutes), Disco is far too repetitive and its point of view remains as opaque as Mirjam's psychology. It's not enough, always, to merely observe. C

EMA (Pablo Larraín, Chile)
The first image is a startling one: a still working traffic light engulfed in flames...

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Friday
Jan132017

Interview: Pablo Larraín on his recent triple - Jackie, Neruda, and The Club

Portman and Pablo at the premiere of JACKIE (2016)by Nathaniel R

Pablo Larraín, currently Chile's most celebrated director, first broke into the festival circuit via his second film, the violent and disturbing Tony Manero (2008). I found it so upsetting that I thought I'd never risk another one of his features. That resolve didn't last long. His international breakthrough No (2012), was a hit with audiences, critics, and the Oscars and surprisingly enjoyable too. But due to the always unpredictable release dates of movies, we didn't see his work again until 2016 and then there were three movies at once, the sex predator priest drama El Club, the playful writer on the lam whatsit Neruda, and of course the outstanding Oscar hopeful Jackie.

You might call this Pablo's Year but for the fact that he doesn't coddle the audience and his films are as likely to unsettle and challenge as they are to reward you with their significant pleasures like fascinating performances, strong themes, unexpected humor, and emotional acuity.

When we found an opportunity to talk I figured I'd jump into the deep end about the unsettling nature of so many of his features. Our interview follows...

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Tuesday
Jan102017

Interview: Gael García Bernal on Neruda, Zorro, and Other Characters

This weekend at the Golden Globes, an unexpected but not all that surprising reunion of the best friends / stars of the Oscar nominated road trip classic Y Tu Mama Tambíen (2001) occured. Both Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna came to international fame together in the early Aughts and they're both still riding high in movies from Hollywood and outside of it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Bernal a month ago about his sturdy career, its auteurist origins, and his current busy playfulness. He's now juggling streaming television stardom (Mozart in the Jungle), occasional directing gigs, frequent producing duties, upcoming starring roles (Zorro?) and still doing what he was doing in his very first years of fame: headlining artistically ambitious Spanish language Oscar submissions. Though neither of his current films (Mexico's Desierto and Chile's Neruda) made Oscar's finalist list, Neruda did receive a well deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Gael full plate is just rewards for his sturdy talent and impressive range but it's also a very happy reminder that some mesmerizing debuts like his own in the Oscar nominated Amores Perros (2000) don't result in flash in the pan quick fades but long and beautiful careers.

NATHANIEL R: Your first movie Amores Perros was an international success and you've been busy ever since. How much of this career did you imagine for yourself back then?

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Sunday
Jan082017

Podcast: Jackie, Hidden Figures, and More

KateyNick, Joe and Nathaniel gab about recent screenings on Golden Globe morning and we find out which actress Charlie (Katey's six month-old) is already a fan of...

Index (42 minutes)
00:01 Bright Lights w/ Carrie Fisher
01:15 Toni Erdmann & Globe Foreign Noms
02:45 Hacksaw Ridge Schizophrenia
05:50 Hidden Figures and Best Actress Movies Losing Oscar Heat
17:30 Joe's Movie Spelling Bee & Podcasting
19:50 Jackie - Nick's not convinced
27:40 Which Oscar movies need second looks?
36:00 Annoyed with Deadpool's Awards
39:00 Random Wrap-Up Chatter

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments. Next week we'll look at the Golden Globe aftermath.

Hidden Figures and Jackie

Friday
Oct142016

NYFF: Jackie, Natalie, Peter and Pablo

Murtada reporting from NYFF.

Thursday night marked the first New York public screening of Jackie. Pablo Larraín’s film about the former first lady in the few days after JFK’s assassination, took Venice and TIFF by storm and now it's NYFF’s turn...

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Friday
Oct072016

Review: Pablo Larraín's "Neruda" and "Jackie"

Nathaniel R reporting from the NYFF/TIFF as these films played at both fests... 

Fortieth birthdays don't get much better than this. In August Chile's most celebrated filmmaker Pablo Larraín turned the big 4-0 just after his excellent new film Neruda opened in his home country. One month later Jackie, his first English language picture, joined Neruda on the international festival circuit to even more excitement. Both are likely and deserving Oscar nominees come January. Pretty good year.

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