Tag Archives: Cinema

Berlinale FILM CAPSULE: Colo (Villaverde, 2017): Portugal

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Colo, a new film by Alce Films from Writer/Director Teresa Villaverde was screened at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in Competition. The film utilized an unorthodox approach. After the opening scene of over-the-sholuder close-ups and Hollywood style medium close-ups on reverse angles, deep focus long-shots were utilized. Often times the frame pulled out rather than pushing in – a more typical filmmaking technique.

The narrative focuses on a family in the midst of economic crisis. The father, played by João Pedro Vaz, has lost. not only his job, but his strength and fortitude to continue looking for work. Instead, he escapes to the apartment dwelling rooftop to look wistfully upon the horizon. The mother, played by Beatriz Batarda, works two jobs with little time for her daughter or husband. It’s not a lack of caring. Rather, it’s a lack of life force energy. Alice Albergaria Borges portrays the daughter. She’s of high school age and is experiencing all the typical changes and social issues inherent within. Only, her issues seem magnified. Until the camera pulls out revealing stunning, picturesque mise-en-scene.

Consequently, the emotionality of the film revealed little intimacy while the overall feeling was one of benevolence. Low-key lighting and shadows added to the film’s mystique. I can’t say this was one of my favorite films. I imagine it was considered for the Silver Bear for New Perspectives in filmmaking.

Nevertheless, the film showcased the natural beauty of the Romanian countryside and allowed for character development without delving deeply into the emotional states via camera framing.

Unfortunately, by the film’s end the benevolent feeling I had felt throughout the film was gone and the film seemingly was wanting a redo. Not recommended at this time. However, with minor tweaks, I predict the film will be visible on this year’s festival circuit and will eventually have a successful theatrical run. It may be arthouse. It may be grindhouse. Or it may be avant-garde. Stay tuned for more. Until then, I’ll see you at the cineam!

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Berlinale FILM REVIEW: Andres Veiel’s ‘Beuys’ is One for the Ages

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Andres Veiel brought the documentary Beuys, an in-depth look into the profound psyche of German performance artist and 1960’s era philosophe, Joseph Beuys, and a co-production from Terz Filmproduktion, Köln, SWR, Baden-Baden, WDR, Köln in cooperation with Arte, to the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Veiel studied directing and dramaturgy at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin under Krzysztof Kieślowski. Some of his other documentary works include Balagan (Berlinale 1994) and Black Box BRD (Black Box Germany, Berlinale 2002). His feature film debut Wer wenn nicht wir (If Not Us, Who) premiered in the Berlinale Competition in 2011 and won the Alfred Bauer Prize.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-34-23-amUtilizing previously unpublished archival video and audio footage, In Beuys Veiel brings light to a man of profound intellectual capacity in the vein of Goethe, Voltaire and Machiavelli. Often derided in his home country of Germany, Joseph Beuys, holds the distinction of being the first German artist to be granted a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. While most contemporaries compare Beuys to another 1960’s era personality, Andy Warhol, Veiel’s Beuys, emerges from a much deeper metaphysical, philosophical framework.

The film is a linear piece. Veiel uses a cookie cutter approach in introducing the viewer to the central character. A Beuys voice-over-narration philosophises on the properties of art while still photos are shown in 3-5 second intervals set to non-diagetic music and sounds.A first real, humanistic impression is of Beuys performing on the street in clown-like fashion drawing attention to himself. Eccentric. Yet quite popular.

From here Veiel moves right into one of the most critical tenants of Beuys’ social outlook with an archival video clip of Beuys on money. Beuys acquiesces he wants to get by and thus money is important. Then, Beuys goes nuclear with “but it’s not part of the revolution.”

Quickly an interesting distinction is made by Veiel as Beuys is commonly referred to as the “Andy Warhol of Germany.”  Warhol, an American pop cultural icon, loved and adored for his flamboyant use of everyday, commonplace items like a Campbell’s soup can to create art, is shown via archival footage stating “every moral situation has the potential to become art.” Beuys, on the other hand is often shown being mocked and derided by the formal press in this documentary, takes Warhol’s statement further into the humanist/social philosophical lineage that “every social situation has the potential to be art.”

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-32-56-am

A well-liked teacher, philosopher and Green Party candidate for Prime Minister, Beuys was questioned deeply, just short of being interrogated, over his art and his ideas. One particularly obtuse questioner, posed the query, “Do you consider yourself an artist?” Followed by “Will you use baby buggies in your next art project?” Loud guffaws from the present journalists set the tone for Beuys’ response. With a quiet, reflective voice, Beuys answered that he felt “everyone is an artist.” Facing further derision, Beuys quickly moved his response into a less provocative line of thought with “I mean social art when I say everyone is an artist.” Herein lies the essence of Beuys truth. Beuys profoundly believed in everyone’s unique capacity to move society and culture forward to a more perfect state of being through “the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world that is accessible by direct experience through inner development,” known as anthroposophy. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthroposophy)

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-29-22-amThroughout the film, Beuys defied and acted against much of what he saw as injustice through his art work seeking a better way and ultimately a better society. With this mindset, Beuys endlessly worked toward a more perfect state. His art and his world views reflected this aim. In one particularly bold art project Beuys promised a planting of 7000 new trees. Using 7000 rock boulders placed in a free space the project began. As a tree was planted a boulder was removed. Veiel uses time lapse via still photos to mark the passage of time as the boulders slowly disappear and new trees are seen being planted. As the project neared completion, however, Beuys’ light began to fade as he called for an end to currency’s dominant role in democracy. Despite his art work being called “the most expensive piece of trash,” Beuys, disciplined and tempered from war wounds, held his ground responding, “Yes, I want to expand people’s consciousness.”

In Beuys, Director Veiel lets the artist speak for himself without outsiders commenting creating an expansive space for the exploration of Beuys’ ideas. Joseph Beuys passed away in 1986. Interestingly, Beuys sweeping concepts of art are still alive and relevant today in Germany’s ongoing social, moral and political debates. The film was presented in black and white with traditional documentary filmmaking techniques including narrative voice-overs, still photography, archival film clips, and present day interviews from primary and secondary sources.

As the film closes, Joseph Beuys emerges as a man of the ages, a thinker beyond his time. Often seen as a revolutionary, Joseph Beuys was seemingly always a mind in touch with the absolute principle behind Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan.” Highly recommended and hands down, my favorite film of the festival.

*All photos courtesy of berlinale.de

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BERLINALE 2017 COMES TO A SPLENDID CLOSE

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival culminated with the presentation of the awards on Saturday, February 18. (See list of prize winner)

Over eleven days, the Berlinale drew movie fans and the international film industry to cinemas and a large variety of events. Its reputation as the world’s biggest public festival was reconfirmed: a total of 334,471 tickets were sold. And with more than 7,000 visitors, the program of the Berlinale Open House in the Audi Berlinale Lounge – with its Berlinale Lounge Nights and a variety of other events – was a crowd-puller.

Not only the Berlinale but also the European Film Market (EFM) can look back at a successful edition. With 9,550 trade professionals from 108 countries at 192 stands, the EFM once again recorded a significant increase in participants this year. It was gratifying to observe the huge crowds at many different new EFM initiatives. The “Berlinale Africa Hub”, which debuted this year, achieved its goal of providing African film-making with an exceptionally attractive platform. Events within the framework of the “EFM Horizon presented by Audi” initiative, which focussed on the film industry of the future, were very popular as well.

In its third round, the expanded “Drama Series Days” again registered a rise in attendance. And with Mexico, the very first “Country in Focus” at the EFM also proved a resounding success.

Once more Berlinale’s activities for refugees were received with great enthusiasm: the Berlin International Film Festival had urged visitors to make donations for the traumatised children and adolescents at Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN. With the 17,574 euro (on Feb 20, 2017) collected, the centre will be able to provide its young patients with additional social and psychological support, as well as recreational activities.

About 1,400 people participated in a “movie mentoring” project in which volunteers from Berlin’s non-profit refugee aid organisations accompanied refugees to Berlinale screenings.

The 68th Berlin International Film Festival will be held from February 15 to 25, 2018.

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(Source: Berlinale Press office)

 

 

Golden Bear and Prizes of the Berlin International Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Quite an eventful 67th Berlinale. Some fantastic films. I had the good fortune to view all but one of the award-winning films, Silver Bear for Best Screenplay, Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza’s  Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman).  Pokot Spoor winner of the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives from Agnieszka Holland did not receive my recommendation. Thank you to the jury for all their hard work and diligent efforts!

*Members of the Jury: Paul Verhoeven (Jury President), Dora Bouchoucha Fourati, Olafur Eliasson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Jentsch, Diego Luna and Wang Quan’an

PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL JURY

 

GOLDEN BEAR FOR BEST FILM (awarded to the film’s producer) Testről és lélekről On Body and Soul by Ildikó Enyedi

SILVER BEAR GRAND JURY PRIZE Félicité by Alain Gomis

SILVER BEAR ALFRED BAUER PRIZE for a feature film that opens new perspectives Pokot Spoor by Agnieszka Holland

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST DIRECTOR Aki Kaurismäki for Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope/Die andere Seite der Hoffnung)

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTRESS Kim Minhee in Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone) by Hong Sangsoo

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTOR Georg Friedrich in Helle Nächte (Bright Nights) by Thomas Arslan

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST SCREENPLAY Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza for Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sebastián Lelio

SILVER BEAR FOR OUTSTANDING ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTION in the categories camera, editing, music score, costume or set design

*Dana Bunescu for the editing in Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer

The complete award list of the 67th Berlinale: 67_berlinale_awards-1

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

11 MORE STARS SET TO PRESENT AT 89TH OSCARS

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AMY ADAMS, RIZ AHMED, JAVIER BARDEM, JOHN CHO, DWAYNE JOHNSON,
FELICITY JONES, LESLIE MANN, JANELLE MONÁE, DAVID OYELOWO,
EMMA STONE AND CHARLIZE THERON

LOS ANGELES, CA – Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd today announced the third slate of presenters for the 89th Oscars® telecast.  Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will air live Sunday, February 26, on the ABC Television Network.

The presenters, including past Oscar® winners and nominees, are Amy Adams, Riz Ahmed, Javier Bardem, John Cho, Dwayne Johnson, Felicity Jones, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monáe, David Oyelowo, Emma Stone and Charlize Theron.

“No matter who you are or where you live, movies bring us together,” said De Luca and Todd.  “Through indelible, fearless performances these extraordinary actors help make it happen.  We are thrilled to welcome them to the 89th Oscars stage.”

Adams received an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Leading Role for “American Hustle” (2013).  Additionally, she has earned four nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “The Master” (2012), “The Fighter” (2010), “Doubt” (2008) and “Junebug” (2005).  Her notable credits also include “Arrival” (2016), “Nocturnal Animals” (2016), “Big Eyes” (2014), “Her” (2013) and “Julie & Julia” (2009).  Adams will next appear in “Justice League.”

Ahmed appeared in the Oscar-nominated films “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) and “Nightcrawler” (2014).  Additionally, his credits include “Jason Bourne” (2016), “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (2013), “Ill Manors” (2012), “Day of the Falcon” (2011), “Centurion” (2010) and “Four Lions” (2010).

Bardem won an Oscar for Actor in a Supporting Role for “No Country for Old Men” (2007).  He has been nominated for Actor in a Leading Role twice, for “Biutiful” (2010) and “Before Night Falls” (2000).  Bardem starred in the Oscar-winning films “Skyfall” (2012) and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008).  Other notable credits include “The Counselor” (2013), “Eat Pray Love” (2010), “The Sea Inside” (2004) and “Mondays in the Sun” (2002).  Bardem will appear next in “Escobar”, “mother!” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Cho’s credits include the Oscar-winning film “Star Trek” (2009), as well as the Oscar-nominated films “Star Trek Beyond” (2016) and “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013).  Additionally, Cho’s film credits include “Identity Thief” (2013), “Total Recall” (2012), “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008), “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” (2004) and “American Pie” (1999).  He will next appear in “Gemini.”

Johnson appears in the Oscar-nominated film “Moana” (2016).  His recent feature credits also include “Central Intelligence” (2016), “Furious Seven” (2015), “San Andreas” (2015), “Hercules” (2014), “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013) and “Pain & Gain” (2013).  Johnson will appear next in “Baywatch,” “The Fate of the Furious” and “Jumanji.”

Jones received an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Leading Role for “The Theory of Everything” (2014).  She also appeared in the Oscar-nominated films “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) and “The Invisible Woman” (2013).  Jones’s feature credits also include “A Monster Calls” (2016), “Inferno” (2016), “Breathe In” (2014) and “Like Crazy” (2011).

Mann’s feature credits include the Oscar-nominated films “ParaNorman” (2012) and “Rio” (2011).  Additionally, she has appeared in “The Comedian” (2016), “How to Be Single” (2016), “The Other Woman” (2014), “Rio 2” (2014), “This Is 40” (2012), “Funny People” (2009), “Knocked Up” (2007) and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” (2005).  Mann will next appear in “The Pact.”

Actress and recording artist Monáe appears in the Oscar-nominated films “Hidden Figures” (2016) and “Moonlight” (2016). In addition, her credits also include a speaking role in the animated feature “Rio 2” (2014), for which she also contributed an original song. Monáe’s music was also used on the soundtracks for “Bad Moms” (2016), “The Equalizer” (2014), “Think Like a Man Too” (2014) and “Happy Feet 2” (2011).

Oyelowo’s credits include the Oscar-winning films “Selma” (2014), “Interstellar” (2014), “Lincoln” (2012) and “The Help” (2011) as well as the Oscar-nominated film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011).  Additionally, he has appeared in “Queen of Katwe” (2016), “Five Nights in Maine” (2016), “Captive” (2015), “A Most Violent Year” (2014), “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (2013) and “Jack Reacher” (2012).  Oyelowo can currently be seen in “A United Kingdom” and will next appear in “God Particle.”

Stone received an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Leading Role for “La La Land” (2016).  Additionally, she garnered an Actress in a Supporting Role nomination for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” (2014).  Stone’s credits also include the Oscar-winning film “The Help” (2011) and the Oscar-nominated animated feature “The Croods” (2013).  She has also appeared in “Irrational Man” (2015), “Magic in the Moonlight” (2014), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014), “Gangster Squad” (2013), “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012), “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011), “Easy A” (2010) and “Zombieland” (2009). Stone will next appear in “Battle of the Sexes.”

Theron won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for “Monster” (2003).  Additionally, she garnered an Actress in a Supporting Role nomination for “North Country” (2005).  Theron’s feature credits also include the Oscar-winning films “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) and “The Cider House Rules” (1999) as well as the Oscar-nominated films “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016), “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), “Prometheus” (2012) and “In the Valley of Elah” (2007).  She will next appear in “The Fate of the Furious,” “The Coldest City” and “Tully.”

The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center®in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.  The Oscars, produced by De Luca and Todd and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, also will be televised in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.  Additionally, “The Oscars: All Access” live stream from the red carpet and backstage will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Oscar.com.

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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 7,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

BERLIN AWARDS ANNOUNCED IN GENERATION KPLUS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

CRYSTAL BEARS AND DEUTSCHES KINDERHILFSWERK (THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY OF GERMANY) AWARDS IN GENERATION KPLUS

Piata loď, Amelie rennt, Promise, Hedgehog’s Home

The members of the Children’s Jury in Generation Kplus give the following awards:

Crystal Bear for the Best Film: Piata loď (Little Harbour)
By Iveta Grófová, Slovak Republic / Czech Republic 2017
We selected a film that is creative and authentic. It’s about two children who create a little world of their own, rules. We found the story very moving and the actors are very believable too.

Special Mention: Amelie rennt (Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship)
By Tobias Wiemann, Germany / Italy 2017
With great wit and fast-paced dialogue, this film describes the development of an unlikely friendship between two fascinating characters.

Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film: Promise
By Xie Tian, USA 2016
Set in a breath-taking landscape, this film tells the moving story of a Chinese boy. The convincing performances and masterful cinematography lend the film great authenticity.

Special Mention Short Film: Hedgehog’s Home
By Eva Cvijanovic, Canada / Croatia 2016
The message of this tale, that a home of one’s own is very important, is beautifully conveyed by the creative use of felt animation. We were also impressed by the unusual verse form of the narrative in this stop-motion film.

 

Becoming Who I Was, Estiu 1993, Aaba, Sabaku

The members of the International Jury Generation Kplus – Fabian Gasmia, Aneta Ozorek, Yoon Ga-eun – give the following awards:

The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Film, endowed with € 7,500 each by the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (The Children’s Charity of Germany):

ex aequo

Becoming Who I Was
By Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon, Republic Korea 2017
In this beautifully shot tale we learn in a wonderful bittersweet way how much a parent and a child can learn from each other. The filmmaker achieved the most difficult: making the audience laugh and cry many times. The film gave the jury confidence in humanity and if the values of the young hero of this story would be only reflected a little bit by its audience the world will become a better place.

Estiu 1993 (Summer 1993)
By Carla Simón, Spain 2017
In this remarkable film we learn through the eyes of a little girl how to cope with loss. The lesson that this incredible heroine learns and that moved us to tears is that no matter how much it hurts, it is the unconditional love of the people around you that will ease your pain. Besides the outstanding performance of the young main actress the jury was also very impressed by the beautiful cinematography and sensual mise-en-scène!

The Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Short Film, endowed with € 2,500 by the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (The Children’s Charity of Germany): Aaba (Grandfather)
By Amar Kaushik, India 2016
It tells a story of the circle of life in an elegiac and slow pace with a beautiful cinematography.

Special Mention: Sabaku
By Marlies van der Wel, The Netherlands 2016
This very short film tells with simple but very efficient use of extremely skilled artistic animation technique the story of a bird that goes around the world to find a new friend. The jury was blown away by its pace and incredible joy of the filmmaker to entertain her audience.

Award ceremony and screening of the winning film of the Crystal Bear take place today at 3.30 pm at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

THE PANORAMA AUDIENCE AWARDS GO TO INSYRIATED AND I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The public has cast its votes: the 19th Panorama Audience Awards – presented by the Berlinale Panorama section in collaboration with radioeins and for the first time in co-operation with rbb television (Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting) – go to Insyriated by Philipp Van Leeuw for best fiction film and I Am Not Your Negro by Raoul Peck for best documentary.

Insyriated is a tautly-constructed chamber drama about trying to live a normal life in a war zone. It is the second film starring Hiam Abbass that has won the Panorama Audience Award (she also played the lead in Eran Riklis’s Lemon Tree in 2008).

Raoul Peck’s filmic essay I Am Not Your Negro about James Baldwin and his three assassinated friends – civil rights activists Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X – has also been nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary Feature.

The official award ceremony will be held at 5 pm on Sunday, February 19 in CinemaxX 7 at Potsdamer Platz. The prizes will be awarded by rbb director Patricia Schlesinger. Knut Elstermann, radioeins film expert, and Panorama curator Wieland Speck will host the event. Directly after the ceremony, the winning fiction film will be shown. The Panorama Dokumente winner will be screened at 8 pm, also in CinemaxX 7.

The Panorama Audience Award has been given since 1999. Since 2011, not only the best fiction film but also the best documentary film have received awards. During the festival, moviegoers are asked to rate the films shown in Panorama on voting cards after the screenings. In 2017 a total of 29,000 votes were cast and counted.

This year Panorama presented 50 feature-length films from 43 countries, of which 21 screened in the Panorama Dokumente series.

Panorama Audience Award Winner Fiction Film 2017
Insyriated
Belgium / France / Lebanon 2017
By Philippe Van Leeuw

2nd place Panorama Audience Award Fiction Film 2017
Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit)
Japan 2017
By Naoko Ogigami

3rd place Panorama Audience Award Fiction Film 2017
1945
Hungary 2017
By Ferenc Török

Panorama Audience Award Winner Panorama Dokumente 2017
I Am Not Your Negro
France / USA / Belgium / Switzerland 2016
By Raoul Peck

2nd place Panorama Audience Award Panorama Dokumente 2017
Chavela
USA 2017
By Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi

3rd place Panorama Audience Award Panorama Dokumente 2017
Istiyad Ashbah (Ghost Hunting)
France / Palestine / Switzerland / Qatar 2017
By Raed Andoni

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office)