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Entries in The Netherlands (7)

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...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul262019

Oscar Hopefuls from The Netherlands

by Nathaniel R

Romy's Salon is one of nine finalists to be the Dutch Oscar submission

Dutch films have been on our brains since Rutger Hauer passed away, so here's a timely bit of news. The NOSC (Nederlandse Oscar Selectie Commissie) will choose the Dutch Oscar submission in early September. Nine finalists are reportedly up for the honor...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug052017

Meet your new "Jafar"

The saga of Disney's live-action Aladdin casting is still underway. The new Jafar will be Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari. This is noteworthy because he's the first live-action version of a cartoon character who is hotter than the cartoon character. It's also worth noting that if he's great in the role this could be quite an international breakthrough. He speaks four languages (Arabic, French, Dutch, and English) which you can hear some of in his most acclaimed role in Wolf (2013) so imagine how many country's cinemas could use him!

He's mostly made Dutch films to date but he was recently onscreen in three epic English language flops Ben-Hur, The Promise, and The Mummy. Next up he's playing the French train conductor in the Murder on the Orient Express remake then the lead in a true story thriller about Ashraf Marwan. After those two films, he'll be tormenting Aladdin and Jasmine!

In short: big career ahead. After the jump more pictures (some NSFW) of the new Jafar...

Click to read more ...

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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Wednesday
May132015

New To (Some of) You: Still Alice, Futuro Beach, Beloved Sisters

Thanks to everyone who answered last week's open question about DVD coverage. We won't fuss too much about switching things up but we will do a little more than we are doing for the second and third wave audiences.

NEW DVD / BLURAY
This is your weekly reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner! The film that finally did the job (in conjunction, of course, with goodwill from a dozen undeniable acting triumphs in her past) was Still Alice, a minimalist drama about a linguistics professor suffering from early on set Alzheimers which is now out on DVD and BluRay for you stragglers. Who still hasn't seen it? You owe it to Julie so, rectify.  For those that did see it two questions:

  1. Which scene do you think cemented Julianne's Oscar traction or even her win?
  2. If it's different, what scene or moment do you still think about?

Also recommended: Germany's most recent Oscar submission Beloved Sisters didn't win much press or Oscar traction despite an actual theatrical release in the December glut but it will satisfy those of you that love a good costume drama and don't mind a long running time. It's about two sisters whose mother hopes for them to marry rich but they both fall in love with the same penniless poet. Perhaps they'll share him? Here's the complete review if you missed it.

Also new though good luck finding someone who recommends them: Mortdecai (Johnny Depp + Gwyneth Paltrow + moustaches?), Blackhat (Michael's review), The Cobbler (the scathing reviews were something of a surprise since writer/director Thomas McCarthy is usually beloved), and Taylor Lautner in Tracers (though I'm never going near one of those again post-Abduction

Two recommended Instant Watches after the jump...

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Thursday
Oct242013

CIFF Report: The Foreign Film candidates

Tim here, with a report from the other major U.S. film festival of October. The Chicago International Film Festival is, with reason, regarded as minor compared to the likes of Toronto and New York – no major premieres, few celebrities, only a couple of the big upcoming awards players. The flipside is that’s it’s absolutely lousy with interesting little films that won’t ever get a significant North American release, so even if it’s rough for Oscar watching, it’s hard to complain as a Midwestern cinephile.

Having said that, let’s turn to Oscar watching. I had an opportunity to see several of the films on the 76-title deep list of submissions for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, and I’d like to share my thoughts on their respective chances at making it onto the ultimate list of nominees. Let’s go alphabetically by country.

 

ARGENTINAThe German Doctor
In which a German-Argentine woman and her family inadvertently give aid and comfort to one of the most notorious of all escaped Nazis.
My feelings (and review): The film keeps acting like it wants to break out and be more garish and horrifying than it ever quite manages to be, and it’s probably for the best that it doesn’t. The script probably isn’t as smart as it means to be, but the fact-based story is interesting and surprisingly tense.
Oscar prognosis: “Nazi” is a magic word for this category, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see this make the nine-film longlist. It’s a little domestic and tonally off-kilter for where the category tends to live, but the subject matter is spot-on, and the Academy tends to favor Argentina more than other South American countries.

Click to read more ...