Category Archives: television

Music Box Films Presents THE MIDWIFE from Martin Provost! Opens July 21st!

Fabulous film! A must see!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cesar-award winning director, Martin Provost’s latest film, The Midwife,was an official selection of the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival starring Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Prost.

 

 Presents

The MidWife

Written and Directed by Martin Provost (Violette, Séraphine)

Starring Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot (Marguerite, Haute Cuisine) and Olivier Gourmet (The Minister, The Son)

Opens in Los Angeles and New York on July 21st 

Official Selection: 2017 Berlin Film Festival

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films
Catherine Deneuve, left, as Beatrice Sobolevski, and Catherine Frot as Claire Breton, in The Midwife. @Michaal Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films.

THE MIDWIFE, starring Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot in their first on screen appearance together in a moving drama about unlikely friendships, forgiveness, and the need for change, written specifically for them by director Martin Provost (Séraphine, Violette). THE MIDWIFE is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on Friday, July 21st.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films
Catherine Frot as Claire Breton in The Midwife. @Michaal Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

Claire (Catherine Frot-Marguerite) is a talented but tightly wound midwife and single mother on the cusp of losing her job as her small maternity clinic can’t compete with the nearby big hospital.  Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve), is the estranged, free-spirited but broken-down mistress of Claire’s deceased father looking for redemption.  Though polar opposites in almost every way, the two women come to rely on each other to cope with the unusual circumstances that brings them together.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films
The Midwife Director, Martin Provost. @Michaal Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

 

THE MIDWIFE is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on Friday, July 21st.

Running Time: 117 Minutes
Language:French with English subtitles.
Rating: Unrated

 

Sources: FILM REVIEW: The Midwife (Provost, 2017): France (Press materials provided                                                                                                                          by Marina Bailey PR)

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FILM REVIEW: Atomic Homefront (Cammisa, 2017): USA

Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson

Rebecca Cammisa knows a story when she sees one. Cammisa received a tip from a St. Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.57.23 PMLouis reporter about a situation unfolding in North County (St. Louis) communities. The “situation” has been festering for over 70 years. St. Louis has a little known secret  – one among many I’m sure. During World War II (WWII), St. Louis was one of the nation’s atomic weapons manufacturing locations. The well-known Mallinckrodt Corporation, in addition to a few other entities, was contracted to carry out war time operations related to to our country’s Manhattan Project atomic program including uranium processing. Using traditional documentary film techniques such as the direct interview, voice-over narration, emotional testimonials and non-diagectic musical scoring, Cammisa gets right into the controversy that pits local residents against the federal government with Atomic Homefront, an HBO Documentary Film.

Here’s why Cammisa made her film. After the atomic bomb uranium processing was mv5bywyyzgizmjktowqxyi00mzq0lweyzwmtmdq3ogqwmzkwnzcyxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymty5otuwma-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_completed, the radioactive waste was deposited in several areas in and around St. Louis and its surrounding communities. A few areas, like the one Cammisa focuses on in her timely film, is the Coldwater Creek area. Here the waste lay in piles exposed to the elements, including rainfall, along Latty Avenue until 1973. The radioactive material ran off into the nearby creek where neighborhood children played. Moreover, when the creek flooded water made its way into nearby homes. Increased cancer rates associated with the radioactive isotope have been, and, are being reported. Cammisa chose to include a heart-wrenching, on-camera interview with a sixteen-year- old male on death’s doorstep. His mother believed she had been contaminated by the radioactive materials and had passed it on to her son. The son heroically states he wanted to “help others” by going on camera.

But there’s more to the situation than the radioactive runoff in the Coldwater Creek area. After receiving numerous complaints of the god-awful stench emanating from the Latty Avenue piles of radioactive waste, the piles were illegally dump into the periphery, West Lake neighborhood landfill, which became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1990. Now the EPA is responsible for the oversight and cleanup. But what about the odorific stench? Somehow, it’s still emanating and making it into the air making nearby residents cringe and worry about what’s being ingested with each and every breath. And, the “situation” doesn’t end there.

The EPA set up air monitoring sites and the radioactive particles are under levels know to cause harm and advised residents to close their windows. That didn’t sit well with those moms I mentioned earlier. They’ve gotten together and formed Just Moms STL,  a strong group of moms-turned advocates that believe their communities are being poisoned and have vowed to continue fighting until the EPA removes the waste or relocates nearby residents – neither of which or likely to happen anytime soon as the EPA lacks funding. And as reported in the Washington Post on March 28th, 2017, President Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections.

Unbelievably, for the last seven an uncontrolled subterranean fire has been burning in closed areas of the landfill and recently has been migrating towards the buried radioactive waste. And for the last seven years, Republic Services, a waste management company, has been stating the fire is contained and there is no threat from the radiation. Yet, in 2016, the EPA has clearly identified radiologically impacted material had migrated within 700 feet of the fire and was moving closer. What would happen if the radioactive particles attached to the smoldering vapors and became airborne migrating into the communities potentially miles away? Undaunted, Republic Services insists the site is in a “safe and managed state.”

Atomic Homefront highlights St. Louis an example of how radioactive “situations” are sometime just swept under the rug by the federal and private agencies charged with overseeing them. What the federal government knew, knows or doesn’t know is smoldering underneath the center of Camissa latest documentary, Atomic Homefront. A 1988 film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, Radio Bikini, highlights another atomic, highly, radioactive “situation” from WWII with a bit more of an historical treatment. Personally, I would have appreciated that from Cammisa as I trained on ground, as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, adjacent to the Weldon Springs, Missouri site (another radiologically contaminated dumping site). Nevertheless, Cammisa presents a powerful portrait of Just Moms STL with Atomic Homefront and poses questions sure to stimulate dialogue. Highly recommended.

*The local EPA office would not allow Atomic Homefront to record any meetings with concerned residents who were demanding answers to this sordid state of affairs.

 

Nigeria supports aspiring Nollywood practitioners with N420 million grant

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Federal Government has released the sum of N420.2 million to the Nigeria film industry, Nollywood, to improve and support aspiring practitioners.

The Deputy Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Patricia Deworitshe, in a statement in Abuja said, the money which is the second tranche payment will benefit 105 film distributors.

The Buhari-led administration had earlier introduced the “Project Act Nollywood”, with three primary components designed to develop the movie making value chain.

The components comprise of the Film Production Fund (FPF), Capacity Building Fund (CBF) and Innovative Distribution Fund (IDF).

The FPF and CBF have been fully implemented, while the IDF is on-going.

The IDF covers online, National, Regional and community categories of Nollywood Film distribution and exhibition.

Its objectives are to improve the distribution network of Nigerian Audio-Visual contents, cut down on piracy, create jobs, and protect intellectual property rights within the Nigerian entertainment industry.

N1.8 billion was approved for disbursement to 106 beneficiaries in this component, and N1.335 billion was disbursed earlier in the year as the first tranche to 105 beneficiaries.

Deworitshe said : “Fifteen community cinemas and viewing centres have been established through the grant and this has improved the distribution network of movies in Nigeria.The programme has supported 18 firms in strengthening online distribution platforms, this has helped curb illegal downloads and piracy.

“Two hundred and fifty six permanent jobs and 544 temporary jobs have been created through the financial support provided to 105 beneficiaries by the programme,’’ she said.

She explained that the programme has allowed distributors to expand their capacity to lip-synching their content in French for onward distribution to the ECOWAS sub-region.

Film Capsule: LOST IN PARIS (Abel & Gordon, 2016) France

Posted by Larry Gleeson

With Oscilloscope Laboratories, Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon have pumped out their seventh film together, Lost in Paris, a burlesque comedy, about a small-town Canadian librarian, Fiona, portrayed by Gordon, whose life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her Aunt Martha, who is living in Paris. Fiona hops on the first plane she can only to discover Aunt Martha has disappeared. In a myriad of episodic disasters, Fiona encounters a strangely seductive and oddly egotistical vagabond, Dom, portrayed by Abel, who won’t leave her alone. Replete with amazing antics, a measure of poetic license and a slapstick-like choreography, Lost in Paris reveals a peculiar story of clownish characters finding love while lost in the City of Lights.

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Utilizing a simple narrative within a framework of what appears to be an amateuresque investigation, Abel and Gordon allow their burlesque, larger-than-life characters’ physical performances to take hold and engage the viewers. Almost all the events take place over a period of two days and two nights with the characters bumping into each other almost constantly while in a heightened state of emergency.

Aunt Martha, portrayed unequivocally by 88-year-old, renowned French actress and Academy Award-nominee, Emmanuelle Riva, is a headstrong, independent, audacious and seemingly happy senior citizen on the verge of being placed into a nursing home.  Her freedom is non-negotiable and she represents liberty, lightheartedness and “joie de vivre” (exuberant enjoyment of life).

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 8.29.11 AMFiona embodies a spinster librarian living in rural Canada. She becomes a wonderstruck tourist who is lacking in life experience as she stumbles through every step of her rather awkward journey. In contrast to Martha, Fiona has rarely done anything adventurous until diving headfirst into Martha’s world. It becomes apparent Fiona is a Martha in the making as she understands Martha.

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Dom is a selfish, conceited hobo who carries himself with an elegance despite his tattered and worn clothes. At first, his impulsiveness infuriates both Martha and Fiona. As the story unfolds, Dom becomes a liberating presence.

Interestingly, all the film’s characters are non-conformist – full of hope, resistance and innocense – while evoking laughter, vulnerability and beauty. Actor Pierre Richard portrays Norman, an elderly, independent, charismatic artist who resurfaces three times throughout the film’s storyline, with grace, humor and charm.

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Lost in Paris, firmly anchored in contemporary society, opens in Los Angeles, July 7th, is a funny, poetic, heroic and sometimes pathetic piece about human beings who are knocked about by life and flail in order to exist….and who keep getting up one more time to live their lives on their own life’s terms.

Highly recommended.

 

Cinema Ritrovato 2017: Agnès Varda, the gaze poetry and a pastel palette

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 1.00.36 PM

The Agnès Varda eyes are clear and bright: this is how she appears in the press meetings, on stage for the exceptional preview of her latest effort and elaborate shot JR, the blow that the street artist in Paris pasted on cars a train, in selfies on Instagram and early plans Visages Villages . But if the physical myopia is a motif that recurs throughout the documentary out of competition at Cannes that has heated up the evening in Piazza Maggiore, certainly is not that the worldview that the director octogenarian sent in her latest work, straddling cinema and contemporary visual culture (fashion, street art, installation art, social media).

The imaginative power of the look, however, is one of the pillars of filmmaking: the artist’s eye not only knows how to observe with keenness the reality, but it can, representing it, to color it in his own way, and to bring the viewers outside the borders and inside dimensions that gradually become poetry in the making, in the practice of gestures, find themselves in these places.

But if we look, in fact, in Visages Villages (2017), and also to its immediate antecedent, Les trois boutons (2015) – the short film inside the Miu Miu Women’s series Tale – it is clear that Agnès Varda has been able to create a veritable palette of colors through which she expresses a world system that, far from being programmatic, however, tends to an end: the recovery of humanity, the sense of belonging, the pleasure of meeting, and the reshaping of femininity within new spaces, both physical and cultural.

The two films, when viewed in close sequence, seem to come from the same palette: there are common characters (the mailman and the picture of him, in which a small female figure, Jasmine, the young protagonist of the short film, receiving parcels and letters now turns into a poster monumental poster of grandeur), recurrent landscapes (a gentle, quiet countryside), same attendance (the inevitable white goats). But in hindsight, the closest connection that unites them is precisely that set up of color, highly nuanced and opaque, made small despite its brilliance.

There is blue, declined both in turquoise, is in its most cold colors and light. The first is the color of a more benevolent sky, whether it be the small countries of the North of France – it is to enlighten the South streets to the cemetery where is buried Henri Cartier-Bresson. This is not mere aestheticism, but the search for an inner being that favors the meeting with him (in the case of Jasmine) or the other (in Visages Villages ). The second trend can be sweet or melancholy: Jasmine is always dressed in a light blue, as well as the postman wearing his sugar paper uniform in both films. It is a color that also returns in the shutters of the houses, but soon instilled in the gray posters by JR. They are the colors of the light, but also the color of the atmosphere, quell’impalpabilità that Leonardo da Vinci had designed to give the impression of spatial distance, and that we find in many of the shots Visages Villages where Varda and JR are shown over-the-shoulder, peering towards the sea or at a lake horizon. Along with the tenderness of the two are the closeness to people and to the world – there is always the cold shadow that photography brings, the harbinger of a film of the uncanny, as perceived by one of the girls that is observed in amazement at the posting of her country.

The variations of the indefinite colors are ocher, ice, sand making of houses, water towers, the beach at the cliff –  a façade, still under construction of memorable places: Varda reminiscent of Guy Bourdin, a fleeting image on bunkers collapsed and washed away by the tide. Yet, Varda and JR reproduce a desert Louvre and gilded the famous Godard race scene in Bande à part.

But, finally, there is room for more iridescent, though rarefied, by an increasingly opaque use of light: there is the pure white goat with horns (symbol, perhaps, of a simplicity to be respected, and perhaps to imitate), there are fuchsia and burgundy of the magic suit of Jasmine and the same in Agnès Varda’s clothes. And, there are greens and a bright red container at the center of springing the wives of stevedores at the port of Les Havres. This is why the femininity proposal by Varda is strong, free, independent, and stands next to the things of the world, never behind them.

—-Beatrice Seligardi

Italian distributor Lucky Red reveals ambitious production plans

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Gabriele Niola

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 8.58.34 AM

 

Distributor plots move into genre and family movies, beginning with Asghar Farhadi’s upcoming thriller.

Italian distribution company Lucky Red is planning to ramp up its production operation, with a focus on genre and family movies.

At an event held in Rome yesterday (June 26) to mark the company’s 30th anniversary, founder and CEO Andrea Occhipinti said: “Distribution will remain our core business, but we want to become one of the most important production companies in Italy.”

“Production may be a good way not to be too dependent on acquisitions, since it’s becoming harder to get the good movies. Instead a good Italian film can make a big difference at the box office”.

One of the most prestigious projects that Lucky Red is co-producing is Asghar Farhadi’s untitled Spanish-language thriller starring Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darin (pictured, top).

As Screen announced during Cannes, the $12-13m project is a French-Spanish-Italian co-production with Lucky Red, French producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Films and Che producer Álvaro Longoria of Spanish stalwarts Morena Films.

It will also be made in co-production with France 3 Cinema and supported by Canal Plus and France Télévision.

Other projects already greenlit by Lucky Red include the untitled new feature from Gabriele Mainetti (They Call Him Jeeg Robot), which started shooting in January; the GoPro-shot sci-fi horror Ride, from Mine directors Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, and Sotto La Mia Pelle (Under My Skin), a legal drama centred on a man who gets beaten by the police, with Jasmine Trinca (Fortunata).

The move into production will help Lucky Red expand beyond the arthouse audience, which is not as lucrative as it used to be, according to Occhipinti.

“Our audience is getting old,” he said. “Once also small arthouse movies were able to make a good result, now it’s impossible”.

As a result, Lucky Red is branching out into genre and family movies, popular comedies, and television: “We are working with Fox Italy on a series but still can’t tell if it will be an international or national project”, said Occhipinti.

Lucky Red previously moved into the exhibition sector after becoming the main shareholder in the 130-screen Circuito Cinema arthouse chain. They also co-founded world sales company True Colours together with Indigo, which scored a series of deals for its Cannes 2017 slate, including for Sergio Castellitto’s Un Certain Regard drama Fortunata and Simone Godano’s body-swapping comedy Wife & Husband.

At the press conference, Occhipinti also discussed why Lucky Red became the first company in the Italian cinema industry to commit to an ethical code of inclusion and tolerance towards gay employees.

“Being gay myself I’m very close to these problems,” says Occhipinti, “We decided to issue and promote this code publicly before the first law allowing gay unions was passed in Italy. We wanted to make a statement not only to guarantee maternity and paternity rights to our gay employees, but also to say that if our institutions are not moving and addressing the issue, we are doing it by ourselves”.

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(Source: screendaily.com)