Category Archives: World Cinema

History at the Cannes Film Festival – Part VII the 1990’s

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 1990s ushered in a time of significant change globally and that change was reflected at the Cannes Film Festival. “Promotion” became the driving new buzzword. Hardly anyone was more creative than Madonna. After Italian politician, La Cicciolina, answered the age-old question of how to dress at Cannes, the former porn actress wore an outfit that seemed more appropriate for the bedroom than the red carpet, Madonna walked the steps and red carpet with her La Cicciolina-inspired outfit.




True to say cinema had broken loose and perpetual change was underway.

In 1990, Federico Fellini presented The Voice of the Moon at the Cannes Film Festival. Fellini had once declared that “Cannes is like a natural harbor for a film to moor in”. Despite having once said that he didn’t like ceremonies, this was his tenth film presented on La Croisette, after films such as The Nights of Cabiria in 1957, La Dolce Vita in 1960, Amarcord in 1974, and City of Women in 1980. The Festival paid tribute to him by presenting effigies of his characters on the Festival’s Louis Lumière theater stage curtain. The Voice of the Moon would be the last film by the legendary director who died in 1994.


Federico Fellini (Cr.Cannes_Festival)


In 1991, the award winners chosen under the presidency of Roman Polanski stirred up less debate but nevertheless set a precedent. The members of the jury, swept up by their enthusiasm, attributed all the major awards to the film Barton Fink. The Coen brothers won the Palme d’Or and the award for Best Director and the award for Best Actor went to its star John Turturro. From then on the Festival forbade future juries from attributing all the major awards to one film.

In 1993, the Palme d’Or was jointly awarded to Farewell, My Concubine by Chen Kaige, and to a woman, the director Jane Campion for The Piano. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first ‘Cinema & Liberty’ conference was held and attracted a hundred plus directors from all around the world. Tellingly, prizes were awarded to representatives from around the world: Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern European countries. The Festival also surpassed 20000 participants.



In 1995, American Sharon Stone was all the rage as she was on full display making a name for herself with controversial scenes in the neo-noir erotic thriller, Basic Instinct. The following year Quintin Tarantino premiered his Palme d’Or-winning, cult-classic, Pulp Fiction.


Quintin Tarantino (Cr. Cannes_Festival)


But, 1995 seemed to be a pivotal year in capturing the spirit of the time with new film genres utilizing the camera as a witness to history and capturing socio-cultural issues of the day such as the phenomenon of suburban slums with Matthieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine (Hate), which took the Best Director’s prize, or the fight against racism with the film Jungle Fever by the renowned Spike Lee. These new contemporary genres and accompanying film work created a buzz in public opinion as well as a source of controversy.


Cinema Paradiso


Undeniably, the recurrent reproach had been that the Festival rewards cinema d’auteur and not what the public wants to watch. The nineties largely proved this wrong. The decade saw the Palme d’Or going to The Piano, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Secrets and Lies by Mike Leigh, and other prizes going to Hate by Mathieu Kassovitz and The Eighth Day by Jaco van Dormael, all of which were big box office successes. In certain cases, the Cannes Festival has even helped a film to find its public. Cinema Paradiso initially met with very poor reception in Italy. In 1989, its director Giuseppe Tornatore shortened it by half an hour before presenting it at Cannes. It won the Jury Grand Prix and went on to be an international success.



With its worldwide reputation, the Festival continued to grow throughout the 1990s and left an indelible mark with such iconic moments as the Italian actor-director Roberto Benigni’s satisfaction, on his knees under the spotlights, after winning for his film Life is Beautiful at the end of the 90s. These films left their mark on the history of worldwide cinema, contributing to the democratization of various social phenomena such as homosexuality with the film Happy Together by Wong Kar-Wai.



50 years of promoting cinema

Growing over the years, the Cannes Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997. 1,289 films from all around the world had been part of the official selection since the first Festival in 1946, through 50 years of cinema that has captured the evolution of our societies.

Stay tuned for new awareness and the new millennium!


Berlinale News: Crystal Bears and Prizes of the Juries Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus Are Awarded

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The members of the Children’s Jury in Generation Kplus– Tilda Aue, Maria Fock, Connar Beck Lowe, Henri Marioth, Leonardo Urrutia Schwarze, Kerstin Teichmann and Ida Lilli Zschaubitz – have awarded the following prizes:

Crystal Bear for the Best Film: Comedy Queen
by Sanna Lenken, Sweden

A great protagonist, powerful and vulnerable at the same time, provided us with her captivatingly told, bittersweet story of loss, grief, anger and healing. This film was a rollercoaster ride full of emotions: sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing. The music was always most appropriate and appealing. The camera was occasionally stable, yet also shaky. In a word, the film was superb.

Special Mention: An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl)
by Colm Bairéad, Ireland

A beautiful film led us into an emotional, natural world full of love. The acting performance of the protagonist truly impressed us. The profoundly explored feelings were accompanied by sensitive music.

Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film: Vlekkeloos(Spotless
by Emma Branderhorst, Netherlands

A taboo subject is finally being addressed. Something which all of mankind knows about, but hardly addresses. Stress, panic and desperation just because you don’t have enough money for tampons. That has to change!

Special Mention: Luce and the Rock
by Britt Raes, Belgium / France / Netherlands

A sweet animated film takes us to a fairy tale-like, colourful and yet literally rocky world. It reminds us that home is not necessarily where you were born, but where you have friends.

Awards of the Generation KplusInternational Jury, sponsored by the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (The Children’s Charity of Germany)

The members of the Generation Kplus International Jury – Daniela Cajías, Nicola Jones, Samuel Kishi Leopo – have awarded the following prizes:

The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Film, endowed with 7,500 Euros:

An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl)
by Colm Bairéad, Ireland

As many films in this year’s Generation Kplus competition, the winning film deals with the hardships of family life. It is a film with a delicate story full of details about childhood, grief, parenthood and rebuilding a family. The very strong narrative is combined with a stunning cinematography. The sound and the images create a unique atmosphere.

Special Mention: Shabu
by Shamira Raphaëla, Netherlands

A film full of life, music and endearing characters. Freshness and energy are the main narrative elements, which transfer directly from the screen to the audience.

The Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Short Film, endowed with 2,500 Euros: 

Gavazn (Deer)
by Hadi Babaeifar, Iran

Through an amazing and poetic cinematography as well as authentic acting, this film tells a story about a boy who uses an ancient tale as a means of empowerment to save his brother. The storytelling was magnetic, mystic and truthful.

Special Mention: To Vancouver (Vancouver)
by Artemis Anastasiadou, Greece

A film full of life, music and endearing characters. Freshness and energy are the main narrative elements, which transfer directly from the screen to the audience.

Awards of the Youth Jury Generation 14plus

The members of the Youth Jury in Generation 14plus – Luise Dahns, Christian Fock, Quintus Gramowski, Viola Weiser and Helene Zschaubitz – have awarded the following prizes:

Crystal Bear for the Best Film: Alis
by Clare Weiskopf, Nicolas van Hemelryck, Colombia / Chile / Romania

A moving film which, utilising the simplest of means, creates an unbelievable closeness and intimacy. The protagonists and the audience are all confronted with pain and memories, albeit in a gentle manner. How do I manage to come to terms with my past without falling apart beneath it? The film answers this question with impressive honesty and directness.

Special Mention: Stay Awake
by Jamie Sisley, USA

Raw and frighteningly concrete, the film thrusts us into an everyday life that is shaped by a recurring traumatic event. Throughout their common journey, the actors and their characters became our confidants while alternating between hope and disappointment. The film left us speechless and agitated.

Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film: Born in Damascus
by Laura Wadha, United Kingdom

Impressive and intimate in its narrative style, this short film convinced us and also prevailed against the strong competition. By virtue of this film, we have gained access to a new reality that we had never encountered before in everyday life. In an impenetrable style, the film examines the influence that repressed memories have on our identity. Long after the end of the film, each one of us had something to think about. We were all touched by this film in a very special way, and now we want to award this with our Crystal Bear for the best short film.

Special Mention: Nada para ver aqui (Nothing to See Here)
by Nicolas Bouchez, Portugal / Belgium / Hungary

This short film is a work of art! Expressive and rich in contrast to the fast pace of daily life; at the same time observing and value-free, it allows itself the freedom to connect its own self to the images. The film conveys its content in a playful way, mostly without many words, and it invites you to think. Through the interaction of shapes, colours, edges, curves, sections, light and shadows, it clearly stands out from the other films.

Awards of the Generation 14plusInternational Jury, sponsored by the Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung (the Federal Agency for Civic Education):

The members of the Generation 14plus International Jury – Paolo Bertolin, Rubika Shah, Dash Shaw – have awarded the following prizes:

The Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Film, endowed with 7,500 Euros:

Kind Hearts
by Olivia Rochette, Gerard-Jan Claes, Belgium

The first of two equal Grand Prix goes to a film that effortlessly plunges us into the lives of two ordinary young people, sharing a delicate insight in their emotional growth, while reminding us of the unpredictable and elusive nature of that thing called love.

ex aequo

by Farkhat Sharipov, Kazakhstan

The film is an intimate lens into some of the darker challenges facing young people today. But its strength is in its universality and strong and authentic performances. It explores the vulnerability of teenage girls at that pivotal moment in their lives when they are neither child nor adult. With moments of lightness and darkness — and a fantastic ending.

Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Short Film, endowed with 2,500 Euros:

Au revoir Jérôme ! (Goodybye Jérôme !)
by Adam Sillard, Gabrielle Selnet, Chloé Farr, France

When this short film appeared on screen, all of us gasped with delight. The dark theatre was illuminated by brilliant colours, strange kaleidoscopic creatures in trees, hot dog dogs, and a fragile man who ultimately plummets and shatters to pieces. To the filmmakers, we say: Thank you for this trip.

Special Mentions:

Blaues Rauschen (Blue Noise)
by Simon Maria Kubiena, Germany / Austria

We awarded a special mention to a film that, with just a few neat and precise strokes, portrays the struggle of a young conflicted man trying to finding his footing and his place in the world.

by Tig Terera, Australia

Part of the joy of watching short films is to transport one into new worlds. There is an interesting truth in this film, where it reveals something about young people that feels fresh. It is complex and deep — and taps into a side of life in Australia we don’t usually see on screen.

(Source: Berlinale Press Office


Posted by Larry Gleeson

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AFI FEST 2018 presented by Audi has just revealed a huge wave of programming — including all the films in the World Cinema, Special Screenings, Cinema’s Legacy and Midnight sections.

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Totaling 28 titles from 27 countries, this year’s World Cinema lineup boasts seven foreign Oscar® contenders, as well as the North American premiere of the Elena Ferrante series MY BRILLIANT FRIEND.

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This year’s special screenings include some of the year’s most anticipated narrative features, documentaries and episodic series.

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Cinema’s Legacy features six independent films directed by women, while Midnight thrills and chills with macabre genre offerings.
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AFI FEST presented by Audi takes place each fall in Hollywood, CA, and features nightly red-carpet galas, special screenings, conversations and tributes. AFI FEST remains the first and only festival of its stature that is free to the public, offering the best of current cinema in Hollywood. This year’s dates are November 8th through November 15th, with the world premiere of On the Basis Of Sex opening the festival and the world premiere of Mary Queen of Scots closing it.

See you there!


(Source: AFI Press release)

AFI FEST 2018 Reveals ‘Oscar Heavy’ World Cinema Lineup

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 10.38.38 PM

AFI FEST 2018 presented by Audi has revealed the films that will play in the World Cinema section November 8th through November 15th. Seven of the entries are nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

The World Cinema section showcases the most celebrated international films of the year and features 28 titles from 27 countries. The seven official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submissions are: CAPERNAUM (DIR Nadine Labaki), DOGMAN (DIR Matteo Garrone), “I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS” (DIR Radu Jude), NEVER LOOK AWAY (DIR Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck), SHOPLIFTERS (DIR Hirokazu Kore-eda), SUNSET (DIR László Nemes) and THE WILD PEAR TREE (DIR Nuri Bilge Ceylan).

AFI FEST will also present the North American premiere of the first two episodes of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND as part of the section. Premiering on HBO November 18, the series is an adaptation of author Elena Ferrante’s celebrated international bestseller centered on the complicated friendship between two women across decades.

Pictured above: HAPPY AS LAZZARO


3 FACES (SE ROKH) – Jafar Panahi and Iranian actress Behnaz Jafari travel to a small village in northwest Iran to investigate the possible suicide of an aspiring young actress. Content to sit in the car while three generations of women examine their dual oppression, Panahi traverses moral and ideological pathways through rural Iran with trademark heart, charm and wit. DIR Jafar Panahi. SCR Jafar Panahi. CAST Behnaz Jafari, Marziyeh Rezaei, Narges Del Aram, Jafar Panahi, Maedeh Erteghaei. Iran

AMATEURS (AMATÖRER) – When German investors show interest in building a superstore in the small town of Lafors, community leaders decide to create a promotional video. Turning to students for help, teenagers Aida and Dana begin filming — and the battle for the true image of Lafors is on. Director Gabriela Pichler returns to AFI FEST with a sharp, funny, youthful and complex drama about giving a voice to those most often unheard. DIR Gabriela Pichler. SCR Gabriela Pichler, Jonas Hassen Khemeri. CAST Zahraa Aldoujaili, Yara Aliadotter, Fredrik Dahl. Sweden

ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT – Filmed over three years, the latest documentary from James Longley follows students and teachers at a school in an old neighborhood of Kabul that is slowly rebuilding from past conflicts. Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with present-day portraits, the film offers an intimate and nuanced vision of a society living in the shadow of war. DIR James Longley. USA, Denmark, Norway

ASH IS PUREST WHITE (JIANGHU ER NV) – Jia Zhang-ke returns to AFI FEST with his latest sprawling masterwork. Centering on the struggles of Qiao (played by Zhao Tao), a gangster’s girlfriend who spends five years in prison after getting caught up in a violent attack, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is a haunting, enigmatic portrait of individuals navigating China’s new “capitalism” at the dawn of the millennium. DIR Jia Zhang-ke. SCR Jia Zhang-ke. CAST Zhao Tao, Liao Fan, Xu Zheng. China, France

BULBUL CAN SING – In Rima Das’ lyrical and quietly moving third feature, an independent girl, Bulbul, lives a typical teenage life in the Assam region of India. But when a cruel shaming by a group of local men balloons into a tragedy, Bulbul must learn how to deal with her awakening desires in a restrictive culture. DIR Rima Das. SCR Rima Das. CAST Arnali Das, Manoranjan Das, Bonita Thakuria, Pakija Begum. India

CAPERNAUM (CAPHARNAÜM) – CAPERNAUM tells the story of Zain, a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. Zain journeys from gutsy, streetwise child to hardened 12-year-old “adult”: fleeing his abusive, negligent parents, surviving through his wits on the streets, and finally, seeking justice in a courtroom. DIR Nadine Labaki. SCR Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Kesrwany. CAST Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawthar Al Haddad, Fadi Kamel Youssef, Cedra Izam, Alaa Chouchnieh, Nadine Labaki, Nour el Husseini, Elias Khoury. Lebanon

DAUGHTER OF MINE (FIGLIA MIA) – 10-year-old Vittoria is a quiet girl whose uneventful Sardinian summer becomes upended when she discovers her birth mother is the town drunk, Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher). As Vittoria begins to split her time between Angelica and the more stable woman who raised her (Valeria Golino), she finds herself struggling with something deep and innate. DIR Laura Bispuri. SCR Francesca Manieri, Laura Bispuri. CAST Valeria Golino, Alba Rohrwacher, Sara Casu, Michele Carboni, Udo Kier. Italy, Germany, Switzerland

DIAMANTINO – When Portuguese soccer god Diamantino blows a chance at World Cup glory, the disgraced footballer finds himself unwittingly tied up in conspiracies involving evil twin sisters, gender bending genetic experimentation, lesbian spies and far-right ultra-nationalists in delightfully sharp, future cult classic. DIR Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt. SCR Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt. CAST Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira, Carla Maciel, Filipe Vargas, Manuela Moura Guedes, Joana Barrios, Maria Leite. Portugal, France, Brazil

DOGMAN – Matteo Garrone’s latest film is a gripping drama about Marcello, a gentle yet cowardly dog groomer who finds himself caught up in Italy’s criminal underworld. Marcello forms a dangerous, one-sided relationship with former boxer and cokehead Simone, who terrorizes the community. Before long, Marcello is part of his reckless antics. DOGMAN will screen at AFI FEST in partnership with Cinema Italian Style, an annual showcase of contemporary Italian cinema in Los Angeles. DOGMAN will be the opening night film of Cinema Italian Style. DIR Matteo Garrone. SCR Ugo Chiti, Maurizio Braucci, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso. CAST Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Nunzia Schiano, Adamo Dionisi, Francesco Acquaroli. Italy, France

FUGUE (FUGA) – Alicja suffers from memory loss and has rebuilt her own free-spirited way of life. Two years later, she returns to her family and unwillingly resumes her role as wife, mother and daughter. FUGUE evokes the social taboos around motherhood and the pressure on women to accept maternity without hesitation or reflection. DIR Agnieszka Smoczyńska. SCR Gabriela Muskała. CAST Gabriela Muskała, Łukasz Simlat, Iwo RajskiMałgorzata Buczkowska, Zbigniew Waleryś, Halina Rasiakówna, Piotr Skiba. Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden

GENESIS (GENÈSE) – While Guillaume, an outwardly confident teenager in a posh boarding school, struggles with surprising new feelings of love and alienation, his older sister Charlotte navigates a thorny path of relationships with disappointing men in Québécois director Philippe Lesage’s detailed, incisive portrait of adolescent yearning. DIR Philippe Lesage. SCR Philippe Lesage. CAST Noée Abita, Théodore Pellerin, Jules Roy-Sicotte, Maxime Dumontier, Edouard Tremblay-Grenier, Emilie Bierre, Pier-Luc Funk, Vassili Schneider, Mylène Mackay. Canada

HAPPY AS LAZZARO (LAZZARO FELICE) – In auteur Alice Rohrwacher’s stunning third feature, a simple young man named Lazzaro works with other unpaid laborers on an isolated estate in the Italian countryside. But when Lazzaro suffers an accident, HAPPY AS LAZZARO kicks into high gear as a work of fantastic time-jumping poetry and grounded social critique. DIR Alice Rohrwacher. SCR Alice Rohrwacher. CAST Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Chikovani, Tommaso Ragno, Sergi López, Natalino Balasso, Gala Othero Winter, David Bennent, Nicoletta Braschi. Italy

HOTEL BY THE RIVER (GANGBYUN HOTEL) – A getaway destination along the frozen Han River is the setting for Hong Sang-soo’s latest, a simmering and melancholic family drama, lensed in stark black and white, about an aging poet facing mortality and his two competing sons who cross paths with a woman nursing the wounds of a scarring breakup. DIR Hong Sang-soo. SCR Hong Sang-soo. CAST Ki Joo-bong, Kim Min-hee, Song Seon-mi, Kwon Hae-hyo, Yu Jun-sang, Park Ran, Shin Seok-ho. South Korea

“I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS” (ÎMI ESTE INDIFERENT DACA ÎN ISTORIE VOM INTRA CA BARBARI) – Mariana is a young, defiant artist mounting a theatrical production of the Odessa massacre, in which Romanian soldiers killed thousands of Ukrainian Jews. As she attempts to stage a realistic reenactment, to force her fellow Romanians to confront their sins of the past, she meets with stiff resistance from local powers. Radu Jude’s latest masterpiece is at once funny, uncomfortable and profound. DIR Radu Jude. SCR Radu Jude. CAST Ioana Iacob, Alexandru Dabija, Alex Bogdan. Romania, Czech Republic, France, Bulgaria, Germany

MAYA – Mia Hansen-Løve reunites with Roman Kolinka for her sixth feature. As the French protagonist Gabriel, he travels to India after a traumatic stint of forced captivity and encounters the charming Maya. What takes shape is a subtle increase of silent attraction as the two explore his childhood home in this gentle film filled with yearning, wandering and rumination. DIR Mia Hansen-Løve. SCR Mia Hansen-Løve. CAST Roman Kolinka, Aarshi Banerjee, Alex Descas. France

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND (L’AMICA GENIALE) – MY BRILLIANT FRIEND adapts the first book in Elena Ferrante’s renowned coming-of-age epic, beginning in 1950s Naples and spanning six decades. An unexpected phone call prompts Elena to reflect on her relationship with her brilliant friend Lila and the complexities of female friendship in a community replete with male violence. DIR Saverio Costanzo. SCR Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio Costanzo. CAST Valentina Acca, Antonio Buonanno, Gennaro Canonico, Pina Di Gennaro, Sarah Falanga, Luca Gallone. Italy

NEVER LOOK AWAY (WERK OHNE AUTOR) – Inspired by real events and spanning three eras of German history, NEVER LOOK AWAY tells the story of an art student Kurt, who falls in love with classmate Ellie. Ellie’s father, Professor Seeband, is dismayed at his daughter’s choice of boyfriend, and will stop at nothing to destroy the relationship. DIR Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. SCR Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. CAST Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer, Oliver Masucci Saskia Rosendahl. Germany, Italy

NON-FICTION (DOUBLE VIES) – Olivier Assayas’ latest is a delightful, breezy comedy centering on a married couple (Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet) as they navigate the swiftly evolving landscape of the modern publishing industry, and the ever-thorny issue of monogamy (or lack thereof) in long-term relationships. DIR Olivier Assayas. SCR Olivier Assayas. CAST Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne. France

OF FATHERS AND SONS – Award-winning documentarian Talal Derki gained the trust of a radical Islamist family in Syria and filmed their daily lives for two years. The result is OF FATHERS AND SONS, a jaw-dropping, intensely uninhibited look at young boys training as Jihadi fighters, and their Caliphate-obsessed father. DIR Talal Derki. Germany, Syria, Lebanon

OUR TIME (NUESTRO TIEMPO) – Two-time AFI FEST alum Carlos Reygadas returns to the festival with an intensely personal project. OUR TIME tells the story of an upper-middle-class rancher (Reygadas) whose wife (played by Reygadas’ real-life spouse) draws him into a cuckolding fetish. As the emotional stakes rise, life on the idyllic landscape becomes threatened. DIR Carlos Reygadas. SCR Carlos Reygadas. CAST Carlos Reygadas, Natalia López, Eleazar Reygadas, Rut Reygadas, Phil Burgers. Mexico, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden

PIG (KHOOK) – Past-his-prime filmmaker Hasan is having a crisis of ego. A serial killer is offing local filmmakers, and Hasan wants to know why he isn’t being targeted. In veteran filmmaker Mani Haghighi’s wonderfully bizarre dark comedy, the satire is heavy and hilarious, and gender stereotypes get smashed right and left. DIR Mani Haghighi. SCR Mani Haghighi. CAST Hasan Majuni, Leila Hatami, Leili Rashidi, Parinaz Izadyar, Mina Jafarzadeh, Aynaz Azarhoosh. Iran

PUTIN’S WITNESSES (SVIDETELI PUTINA) – With PUTIN’S WITNESSES, Vitaly Mansky returns to footage he filmed when commissioned — and provided with unnervingly intimate access — on a propaganda film promoting Vladmir Putin’s first presidential election. In this captivating portrait, Mansky both chronicles the alarming ease of the dictator’s rise to power and examines his own complicity in his near two-decade rule. DIR Vitaly Mansky. SCR Vitaly Mansky. Latvia, Switzerland, Czech Republic

SHOPLIFTERS (MANBIKI KAZOKU) – The winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, SHOPLIFTERS tells the tender story of a family of misfits and grifters struggling to make ends meet. After taking in a girl off the street, a sudden incident upends their lives and exposes their secrets. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns to the screen with a nuanced class critique, and a beautiful portrait of family life. DIR Hirokazu Koreeda. SCR Hirokazu Kore-eda. CAST Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Jyo Kairi, Miyu Sasaki, Kiki Kirin. Japan

SUNSET (NAPSZALLTA) – As World War I approaches, Irisz arrives in Budapest with the dream to work as a milliner at Leiter, a store once owned by her family. Her hopes dashed by the new proprietor, she discovers news that a previously unknown sibling may exist, and sets out to meet them. DIR László Nemes. SCR László Nemes, Clara Royer, Matthieu Taponier. CAST Juli Jakab, Vlad Ivanov, Evelin Dobos, Marcin Czarnik, Judit Bárdos, Benjamin Dino, Balázs Czukor, Christian Harting, Levente Molnár. Hungary, France

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN) – Sixteen-year-old Sofia navigates the usual pitfalls of her age against the unusual backdrop of a burgeoning utopian society in the Chilean jungle of the 1990s. A moody, atmospheric period piece, this third feature firmly establishes Sotomayor as one of today’s most original filmmakers. DIR Dominga Sotomayor. SCR Dominga Sotomayor. CAST Demian Hernández, Antar Machado, Magdalena Tótoro. Chile

VISION – Juliette Binoche stars in Naomi Kawase’s latest, a meditative journey into the heart of Japan, and a mysterious portrait of one woman’s search for meaning. When Jeanne (Binoche) seeks a rare medicinal plant in the forested Nara region, her quest is aided by a ranger who helps to reveal painful fragments of her past. DIR Naomi Kawase. SCR Naomi Kawase. CAST Juliette Binoche, Masatoshi Nagase. Japan, France

THE WILD PEAR TREE (AHLAT AGACI) – THE WILD PEAR TREE is a portrait of an ambitious young writer returning home after college. At once languid and rhapsodic, Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film is a profound and poetic look at a misspent youth grasping at a maturity that, once attained, is revealed to be the ultimate disappointment. DIR Nuri Bilge Ceylan. SCR Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan. CAST Aydin Doğu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Hazar Ergüçlü, Serkan Keskin, Tamer Levent, Akin Aksu, Öner Erkan, Ahmet Rifat Şungar, Kubilay Tunçer, Kadir Çermik, Özay Fecht, Ercüment Balakoğlu, Asena Keskinci. Turkey

YARA – Yara lives alone with her grandmother on a remote Lebanese mountain-side. A farmer brings supplies, a tour guide assists with odd tasks and, lost on a hike, a charismatic young hiker happens upon Yara hanging her underwear. A gently paced romance, Abbas Fahdel’s YARA captures the elation of first love and the crushing pain of its loss. DIR Abbas Fahdel. SCR Abbas Fahdel. CAST Michelle Wehbe, Elias Freifer, Mary Alkady. Lebanon, Iraq, France.


(Source: AFI Press Release)

Guillermo del Toro President of the 75th Venice International Film Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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The Jury will assign the Golden Lion for Best Film as well as other official awards.


Director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) will be the president of the International Jury of the Competition at the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29 – September 8, 2018). The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, who embraced the recommendation of the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera.

Upon accepting the proposal, Guillermo stated: “To serve as president in Venice is an immense honor and responsibility that I accept with respect and gratitude. Venice is a window to world cinema and the opportunity to celebrate its power and cultural relevance.”

Del Toro participated in the Competition of the recent 74th Venice International Film Festival 2017 with The Shape of Water, which won the Golden Lion for Best Film, awarded by the Jury chaired by Annette Bening.

On the final night (September 8, 2018) of the upcoming 75th Venice Film Festival, the International Jury will assign the following official prizes to the feature-length films in the Competition:

  • Golden Lion for Best Film
  • Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize
  • Silver Lion – Award for Best Director
  • Coppa Volpi for Best Actor
  • Coppa Volpi for Best Actress
  • Award for Best Screenplay
  • Special Jury Prize
  • Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress.

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*Featured photo – Director Guillermo del Toro  (Photo credit: La Biennale di Venezia)


Venice International Film Festival Celebrates 75th Edition This Year

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the most prestigious. The Festival was organized for the first time in 1932, under the auspices of the President of the Biennale, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the sculptor Antonio Maraini, and Luciano De Feo and obtained a great popularity, so as to become an annual event from 1935 onwards.

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The Venice Film Festival is today a prestigious event that presents every year a selection of world-class films, bringing some of the most successful directors and actors of our time on the red carpet at Lido di Venezia, continuing the tradition that adds the glamour and charm that always marked the Festival as a high artistic value program.

About 75th Venice International Film Festival

The 75th Venice International Film Festival is organized by La Biennale di Venezia, and will take place at Venice Lido from August 29th to September 8th, 2018. This year’s President of the International Jury of the Competition is Guillermo del Toro. The Festival is officially recognized by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association).

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

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Director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) will be the president of the International Jury of the Competition at the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29 – September 8, 2018), which will assign the Golden Lion for Best Film as well as other official awards. (Photo credit:La Biennale di Venezia)


Hyun Bin film ‘Confidential Assignment’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Riddhiman Mukhopadhyay

South Korean star Hyun Bin’s latest action movie called ‘Confidential Assignment’ is expected to be distributed to an impressive 42 countries. This is indeed great news for fans of the ‘Secret Garden’ actor.


As reported by website Soompi, on January 27, CJ Entertainment, the company that is in charge of distributing the film, announced that ‘Confidential Assignment,’ also known as ‘Cooperation,’ would be released in many countries across the globe. Currently, the distribution company has set its eyes on the United States, Australia, and New Zealand on February 9, Hong Kong and Macau on February 16, Taiwan on February 17, and Vietnam on March 3.

As per a statement released by CJ Entertainment, they have already sold the film to several countries, including India, countries in the Middle East, Mongolia and Philippines. They also mentioned that Hyun Bin is quite popular in countries apart from South Korea, which is what drawing the crowd to the movie.

“Hyun Bin is highly popular overseas due to his drama roles,” CJ Entertainment said.

However, the movie has a topical element as well: tensions between North and South Korea. But to what extent this political and social issue is addressed in the film remains to be seen. The movie seems to be mostly a Die Hard-esque action thriller with Hyun Bin as the titular handsome but tough good guy, playing a North Korean special investigator. His comic sidekick is played by Yoo Hae-jin, who is a South Korean detective.

The trailer for the film looks good, and promises two hours of escapist fun at the least. The movie also features popular actors Kim Joo-hyuk and Girls’ Generation‘s Im Yoona in supporting roles.

Hyun Bin has often been in the limelight for his relationship and marriage plans with girlfriend Kang So-ra. He recently said he is busy with his work and will think about going out on a date with her later. During an interview for ‘Cooperation‘ Hyun Bin also gave his two cents regarding the responsibility of an actor towards society.

“An actor isn’t someone who is voted in by the people, but just someone who is famous. I don’t think we need to be perfect and take responsibility for our actions, but since there are young people who look at us and follow us, I don’t think we can just say that we have no responsibilities, either,” Hyun Bin said, as quoted by Soompi.


First edition of the Kenyan NBO Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

big-image-66368270ffd51418ec58bd793f2d9b1bKenya’s film industry has seen a revival in recent years as the first edition of the NBO Film Festival was opened last Thursday.

The main feature at the first edition of the Film Festival was a drama entitled “Kati Kati ”, about the mystery that surrounds death.

‘Kati Kati’ a Swahili word , means Middle, it narrates the story of a young woman called ‘Kaleche’ who dies and moves on to the next life where others who have gone before her are trapped in a posthumous commune run by ‘Thoma’.

The film was written and directed by Mbithi Masya, a first time filmmaker, who said the story was deeply personal for him and his co-writer Mugambi Nthiga.

Kati Kati made its public Kenyan debut at a cinema in a Nairobi suburb where Hollywood and Bollywood films make up for almost all ticket sales.

The film won the Prize for the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

According to the organizers, the festival is aimed at growing cinema-going audiences for notable content from around the world, but mostly to give local films a platform to help take the industry to the next level.

Creative players in the industry say there is little support from the government to grow local talent and not enough projects to offer regular professionals work despite claims by the Kenya Film Commission saying it was worth 2 billion US dollars in 2016 up from 600 million in 2007.


Film academy troubled by possible visa ban of Oscar nominee

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From The Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. –  The motion picture academy calls “extremely troubling,” the possible visa ban of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose feature film “The Salesman” is nominated for a best foreign language Oscar.

In a statement released Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressed concern that Farhadi and his cast and crew may not be permitted to attend next month’s Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles following President Trump’s plan to temporarily suspend issuing visas for people from Iran and six other Muslim countries.

Farhadi has not commented on his travel plans, but on Friday, the president of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, tweeted: “Confirmed: Iran’s Asghar Farhadi won’t be let into the US to attend Oscar’s.”

On Thursday, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the “The Salesman,” tweeted she would boycott the Oscars — whether allowed to attend or not — in protest of Trump’s immigration policies, which she called “racist.”

In its statement Saturday, the academy said, “As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran ‘A Separation,’ along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film ‘The Salesman,’ could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”


*Featured photo: This May 21, 2016 file photo shows actress Taraneh Alidoosti during a photo call for the film “Forushande” (The Salesman) at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-nominated “The Salesman,” says she won’t attend the Academy Awards in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration plans. Alidoosti called plans for a visa ban of Iranians “racist” in a message posted Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, on Twitter. “The Salesman,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, was nominated for best foreign language film. Joel Ryan, File AP Photo


Pakistani cinemas to resume screening Indian movies