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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Scandinavia (40)

Wednesday
Aug272014

Foreign Film Oscar Watch: Denmark, Germany, Venezuela, Nepal

The trickle of foreign film submission info has become and soon it will be a flood. Over the new few days I'll be filling out a lot more of the foreign language submission charts which are written by me and my multi-lingual friend A.D. who knows so much about foreign cinema in so many atypical places he sometimes makes my head spin. But before all that charty speculation a handful of actual news items. 

Jhola from Nepal

New Official Submissions
Jhola is the official submission from Nepal. Nepal enjoyed one previous nomination in this category for Caravan (1999) but they haven't submitted regularly. Jhola is a period piece about the Nepali society custom of the wife having to set herself on fire when her husband dies and go with him. Horrific! Actress Kanchi Garima Panta is said to be very good in the lead role.

Beloved Sisters was announced today to represent Germany. Germany is always a threat in this category since the country has enjoyed 18 nominations and 3 wins. German films were most popular with Oscar during the Aughts (6 nominations and 2 wins) but despite coming close on those new January 'finalist' lists, they haven't been nominated since Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009) which surely would have won its category had Amour preceded it rather than followed it.

But I'm getting sidetracked with stats. Dominik Graf's Beloved Sister is a romantic love triangle (menage a trois) between the poet Friedrich Schiller and two sisters. The film premiered at Berlinale early this year. Useless trivia: Graf's partner is the director Caroline Link who won the Oscar for Germany for Nowhere in Africa and was also nominated for Beyond Silence.

Narrowing It Down
Denmark, a major powerhouse in this particular category with 10 nominations and 3 wins, is choosing between three films: Niels Arden Oplev's 70's feature Speed Walking set just after pornography was legalized and focused, as I understand it on a confused teenager who loses his mother; Pernille Fischer Christensen's Someone You Love about a singer/songwriter (Mikael Persbrandt who starred in the Danish Oscar winner In a Better World and is in The Hobbit films as well) returning to his homeland to record a new album; and Nils Malmros' semiautobiographical Sorrow and Joy, based on that time his wife, um, killed their child. Yikes.

Denmark won't choose between them until September 18th but both Oplev and Malmros have been selected before, Oplev for Worlds Apart (2008) and Malmros, an important figure in Danish cinema though he's not prolific, for both Boys (1977) and Barbara (1997) respectively. (Oplev, it's probably worth noting, directed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) starring Noomi Rapace.) None of those submissions were nominated.

Venezuela has also narrowed it down to a few films but the battle is said to be between Libertador and Bad Hair. You may recall that I saw Bad Hair (Pelo Malo) at the Tribeca Film Festival and I really loved it so obviously that's the one I'm rooting for. I'm not sure if Oscar would respond well but it's brilliantly judged, very subtle, racially though-provoking and gay themed. A.D. thinks that given Venezuela's political climate it'll probably be Libertador which would be a more traditional choice as its a historical war drama about Simon Bolivar who fought over 100 battles in South America. It stars Venezuela's most high profile international star Édgar Ramírez who had such a huge breakthrough a few years back with the miniseries/super long movie Carlos (2010)

Previously Announced Submissions
We've already discussed Poland's amazing film Ida a few times (it seems like a shoo-in but you never know with this category). Other announced submissions include two profile Cannes breakout in Hungary's White God and Turkey's Winter Sleep. And Romania chose The Japanese Dog.

Wednesday
Jul302014

Bergman's Ghosts

This is TFE's late entry into the Hit Me With Your Best Shot gallery of Cries and Whisper's finest moments

Ingmar Bergman will never die. We need not be literal about this. Yes, the great Swedish auteur passed on in 2007 but his rich inimitable* filmography is not of the corporeal so much as its of the spirit (however despairing) or at least the deep recesses of the psyche, if you'd care to differentiate. In collaboration with fellow geniuses cinematographer Sven Nykvist and actress Liv Ullman he captured many of the greatest close-ups in the whole of cinematic history. In a Bergman/Nykvist/Ullman close-up it's not the eyes that are the window to the soul so much as the face as the soul, fully visible even when its bathed in shadow. 

Yet even revealed it's still unknowable. 

best shot

When I first saw Cries and Whispers in college while pursuing my own self-guided lessons in film history, I was astonished by the film's signature move. Each of the  three "living" characters, if you can call them that, the sisters Maria (Liv Ullman) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and the family's housekeeper Anna (Kari Sylwan) are given bookend close-ups. These closeups house memories or dreams or scenes from their point of view. The closeups fade to red and are accompanied by indecipherable whispering. The impression isn't as simple as a haunting; Agnes (Harriest Anderson), who isn't afforded this expressive close-up luxury is still alive when this first starts happening. This unfathomably perfect artistic motif has already removed the film from the literal by the time Agnes dies at which point the film becomes even more incredible, disturbing and profound. What is haunting these women? Any answer feels correct whether you've imagined regrets, the abyss of death, life itself, or the living nightmare of toxic relationships.

See everyone else's choices for "Best Shot" here...

For completists of if you're curious I've included the two runner up shots I considered as "Best" after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar212014

Posterized: Lars von Trier

Denmark's most important and most self important troublemaker Lars von Trier is back with the two-part Nymphomaniac. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as the title character and recounts her lifelong sexcapades. Is there really 5 hours of story to tell? Or is it just hard to edit yourself when you're doing something vignette style? And how do we count this in his filmography anyway... as one or two films?

Is it really one film delivered at two separate chunks or two separate films? Not that Von Trier's filmography is easy to parse in the usual way, making posterized a bit more challenging. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan262014

Sundance: Blind, a Playful Stunner From Norway

From the Sundance Film Festival here's Nathaniel on "Blind" which won the World Cinema screenwriting prize...

Excuse me while I leap forward 11 months and give Blind the  gold medal for "Best Opening Scene" of 2014. This highly original Norwegian film begins with a visualization exercize. Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), a married blind woman, is detailing her recent loss of sight. She's trying to remember what things looked like and has been warned that with no new visual stimuli from the optic nerves, her memoires of sight will fade. She'd like to keep the images for as long as she possibly can. She visualizes a tree, her apartment, a park, a dog. It's a German Shepherd to be precise - a morbidly funny choice given their status as the original seeing eye dogs.

Once the dog is visualized in a park, the background vanishes leaving only the panting dog on a blank canvas, as if it's posing in a photographer's studio. Ingrid visualizations a shopping center she likes and just before this intriguing prologue ends we see the dog again, barking forcefully in a window. But we don't hear it. Ingrid and director Eskil Vogt have unexpectedly robbed us of one of our other senses to close out this playful series of images. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec162013

Linkomaniac

Pajiba Frozen/Star Wars poster mashup
Total Film
now that the Weinsteins have access to their Miramax back-catalogue expect sequels. Shakespeare in Love 2 is coming at you (no, this is not a satirical Onion style post)
Variety Disney is planning a Jesse Owens biopic centered around the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Rich subject though it will obviously be easy to slide into pandering "inspirational"
/Film
at press conference James Cameron compares his Avatar sequels to The Godfather trilogy. Oh Jimmy. I love you more than just about anyone but less talking (you're no good at it!) and more filmmaking (you're great at it!)
Cinema Blend
first teaser for Gregg Araki's White Bird in a Blizzard with Eva Green and Shailene Woodley
In Contention Kris Tapley's top ten list featuring Mud, All is Lost, The Place Beyond the Pines and more

small screen and miscellania
Towleroad first images from Ryan Murphy's adaptation of The Normal Heart
Slate
on the big problem with Masters of Sex. I absolutely agree with this but for me the show is great enough to overcome it... which is saying a lot since Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) is the lead
BuzzFeed 24 reasons why Cher is the Queen of Twitter 

Today's Best Movie Anything!
God bless Screen Daily for uncovering this gem...

In a week when American film critics organization have been tripping over each other to bestow awardage which, even when thoughtful can feel totally boring, a Danish Film Critics group have shown the world how it's done. They've mocked themselves up in character posters a la Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac to promote their awards (on February 1st) - note their outlet instead of character name on the posters. Nymphomaniac will be eligible for their prizes since it opens for Christmas in Denmark. This makes me want to read every single damn one of these critics weekly so a job well done!