NERUDA is an extraordinary film about the extraordinary poet Pablo Neruda. It makes the beautiful connection that film owes a lot to poetry. It’s one of the best films of the year, and I would encourage you not to miss it. I’m attaching the New York Times review below. See… its last showing…(Wednesday) at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre.
‘Neruda’ Pursues the Poet as Fugitive
By A. O. Scott – New York Times
“Neruda,” Pablo Larraín’s semifantastical biopic, is a warmhearted film about a hot-blooded man that is nonetheless troubled by a subtle, perceptible chill. Blending fact with invention, it tells the story of a confrontation between an artist (the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda) and an emerging dictatorship, and more generally illuminates the endless struggle between political authority and the creative imagination. For anyone who believes that poetry and democracy spring from the same source and provoke the same enemies, this movie provides both encouragement and warning.
It starts, cameras whirling and swooping, in 1948, with Neruda (Luis Gnecco), a prominent leftist politician as well as a literary celebrity, in a rhetorical war with Chile’s president, Gabriel González Videla, an erstwhile ally in the process of moving from left to right. When Videla bans the Communist Party, Neruda — who represents that party in the Chilean Senate — goes from opposition figure to outlaw. Much of “Neruda” is a shaggy-dog cat-and-mouse game, as Neruda and his wife, Delia (Mercedes Morán), are pursued by Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), a preening police inspector who stakes his professional honor on his ability to track down the country’s most famous fugitive.
Peluchonneau is an invented character, a creature conjured from crime fiction and touched with philosophical melancholy as well as ruthlessness. Whippet-thin and strait-laced, he stands in dour contrast to Neruda, a plump sensualist with a robust sense of mischief and an inexhaustible appetite for pleasure. With and without Delia, the poet manages to stay one step ahead of his nemesis, executing a series of escapes that seem equally inspired by Hitchcock and those old Peter Sellers “Pink Panther” movies.
Neruda also composes “Canto General,” his great, Whitmanesque work on the glories and miseries of Latin America. Pages are distributed clandestinely, and committed to memory by workers and peasants. Their popularity, and Neruda’s easygoing populism, are a rebuke to the arrogance of the ruling class and the Chilean state. And Mr. Larraín’s eye for the rugged beauty of Chile’s protean landscapes implies a similar argument. The poet is open to nature and humanity. The policeman is consumed by rules, tactics and procedures.
Peluchonneau is a tragically constricted soul, but not an entirely unsympathetic character. Neruda is a heroic figure — comic and Dionysian, brilliant and naughty — but his personal Javert is in some ways the film’s protagonist. Neruda is annoyed and sometimes amused by the detective’s doggedness, but Peluchonneau is haunted by the poet’s mystique, and by a growing sense of his own incompleteness. A curious symbiosis develops between them, a dynamic more complex and strange than the simple conflict of good and evil.
Mr. Larraín is a master of moral ambiguity. His previous films about Chile — “Tony Manero,” “No” (which also starred Mr. Bernal) and “The Club” — are interested in collaboration as well as resistance, in the inner lives of the corrupt as well as the actions of the virtuous. Those movies, in particular “Tony Manero,” set during the military dictatorship in the 1970s, and “The Club,” about a group of disgraced priests, are studies in claustrophobia, with cloudy cinematography and grubby behavior.
“Neruda” has a looser story, richer colors and a more buoyant spirit. It is less abrasive than Mr. Larraín’s Chilean trilogy, and less intensely focused than “Jackie,” his new English-language film about Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination. But like that unorthodox foray into history, this one approaches political issues from an oblique angle, looking for the idiosyncrasies and ironies that humanize the pursuit of ideals and the exercise of power.
The period details cast a romantic glow over Neruda’s flight, which feels more swashbuckling than desperate. But the film casts a shadow forward in time, into the darkness of Chile’s later, bloodier period of military rule, and beyond that into the political uncertainties of the present, in Latin America and elsewhere. Mr. Larraín invites us to believe that history is on the side of the poets and the humanists, and that art will make fools of politicians and policemen. But he is also aware, as Pablo Neruda was, that history sometimes has other plans.
Exclusively screening in Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Barbara
The eventful and unorthodox life of the Nobel Prize–winning poet, politician, committed communist, unapologetic hedonist, and Chilean cultural icon Pablo Neruda provides plentiful territory for cinematic exploration. The poet’s early-1950s exile in Procida previously inspired Michael Radford’s Il Postino, a fictionalized story about Neruda’s relationship with a local postman that left few cinemagoers dry-eyed. Now, Pablo Larraín, Chile’s most inventive and provocative contemporary filmmaker, takes a wholly unique approach to his famous countryman’s life and work with Neruda, which is set during the poet’s sojourn underground in the late 1940s.
Joe Morgenstern – The Wall Street Journal
“Grade A – brilliant. Riffs on Neruda’s life in a near-frenzy of visual and narrative inventiveness. Gael Garcia Bernal is outstanding.”
Jessica Kiang – The Playlist
“Thoughtful and provocative. A very beautiful made film.”
Kenneth Turan – LA Times
“An Inventive, incredibly entertaining drama.”
Benjamin Lee – the guardian
Friday, December 30 @ 11:00am Saturday, December 31 @ 11:00am Sunday, January 1 @ 2:00pm Monday, January 2 @ 7:30pm Tuesday, January 3 @ 5:00pm Wednesday, January 4 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra
Directed by Pablo Larraín
Written by Guillermo Calderón
Starring Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco,Alfredo Castro, Michael Silva, Mercedes Morán, Pablo Derqui
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Rated R (for sexuality/nudity and some language)
This one is at the top of the list for my must-see, year-ending films for 2016!
Posted by Larry Gleeson
NERUDA is a fireworks display of a movie about poetry and politics – directed by brilliant Chilean director Pablo Larrain who also directed this year’s JACKIE. Just like the latter film, NERUDA – about the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Pablo Neruda, this film is not your typical biography. Do not miss one of the best foreign films you’re likely to see this year.
Pablo Larraín’s ‘Neruda’ is a richly imagined biographical fantasia
By Justin Chang – Los Angeles Times
“Neruda,” an intoxicating puzzle of a movie directed by Pablo Larraín, chronicles a strange, harrowing episode from the late 1940s, when the Chilean government’s crackdown on communism drove the great poet and politician Pablo Neruda underground. Specifically, the film unravels the tricky game of cat-and-mouse between Neruda and an ambitious police inspector named Oscar Peluchonneau, who sought to track down the dissident artist whose writings had struck a dangerously resonant chord with the working class.
There was, in fact, no Oscar Peluchonneau — or at least, none who fits the description blithely concocted by Larraín and his screenwriter, Guillermo Calderon. The charm of “Neruda” lies in its insistence that there may well have been, and that it scarcely matters if there wasn’t. Drolly and persuasively, the movie demonstrates that when it comes to evoking the artist and the nature of his art, historical fidelity and literal-minded dramatization go only so far. Fiction, lovingly and imaginatively rendered, can bring us much closer to the truth.
“We must dream our way,” Neruda once wrote, and it is nothing short of enchanting to encounter a biographical drama that, rather than merely shoving that quote into its protagonist’s mouth, treats it as a guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle. Like (and yet completely unlike) “I’m Not There,” Todd Haynes’ fragmented 2007 cine-riff on Bob Dylan, “Neruda” is less a straightforward portrait of a great contemporary poet (and eventual Nobel laureate) than a rigorously sustained investigation of his inner world.
Although informed by the busy workings of history, politics and personal affairs, “Neruda” proceeds like a light-footed chase thriller filtered through an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” by the end of which the audience is lost in a crazily spiraling meta-narrative. Who exactly is the star and author of that narrative is one of the film’s more enticing mysteries.
Initially it seems both roles must be filled by Pablo Neruda, played with prickly, preening brilliance by Luis Gnecco (“Narcos”), who donned a wig and gained more than 50 pounds to achieve his remarkable physical resemblance to the real deal. The key to the performance is that, despite the shimmering inspiration of Neruda’s poetry, neither Gnecco nor Larraín seems to feel any obligation to make Neruda himself a particularly inspiring figure.
From the opening scene, a political gathering wittily set in an enormous public lavatory, Neruda, a senator and member of the Chilean Communist Party, is shown to be a proud and vociferous critic of his country’s leadership. But in the very next sequence, a lavish party crammed with half-naked revelers, the film presents the idea of Neruda as a Champagne socialist — a vain, hedonistic hypocrite who, like so many left-wing elites, loves “to soak up other people’s sweat and suffering.”
That damning bit of mockery is delivered by the aforementioned detective, Oscar Peluchonneau (played with mustachioed elan by Gael García Bernal), who slyly complicates the film’s notions of authorship and agency. When Chilean President Gabriel González Videla (Alfredo Castro) outlaws communism in 1948, responding to mounting Cold War anxieties, Peluchonneau eagerly leads the manhunt for Neruda, who has gone into hiding in the port city of Valparaíso with his second wife, the painter Delia del Carril (Mercedes Morán, excellent).
Many of the individual scenes in “Neruda” serve a fairly clear narrative purpose. We see the poet consorting with his allies, arguing with his wife, and disobeying his party-appointed bodyguard (Michael Silva) to slip out for a frolic at a nearby brothel or bohemian enclave. We rarely see him writing, though his poems are shown being secretly distributed and playing a huge role in keeping the communist movement alive underground. But even these relatively simple moments are transformed and complicated by the sheer audacity of Larraín’s stylistic conceits.
In the hands of the editor Hervé Schneid, an extended conversation between two people might span three or four different locations, transporting the viewer without warning from a private room to a perch overlooking the Chilean countryside. Elsewhere, Sergio Armstrong’s sensuous digital photography evokes the mood of the past even as it encourages us to view the film as a formalist construct, from the faded, purplish coloration of the images to the use of phony-looking rear projection in the driving scenes.
In one of Larraín and Calderon’s most telling flourishes, it is Peluchonneau who provides the film’s running voice-over commentary, often in contrapuntal harmony with Neruda’s journey. The two men are almost never seen in the same frame, and yet the ever-mobile camera seems to ping-pong restlessly between them, as though blurring them into one shared, active consciousness.
Peluchonneau’s words may be sardonic and self-flattering, but as the film advances and his own footing in the narrative begins to shift, they also take on their own mysterious, downright Nerudian poetry. (A few verses from his posthumously published “For All to Know” might seem appropriate here: “I am everybody and every time/I always call myself by your name.”)
“Neruda’s” formal spryness and nontraditional appreciation of history will come as little surprise to admirers of “Jackie,” Larraín’s other great bio-experiment of the moment, or his 2012 drama, “No,” a compelling snapshot of the end of the Augusto Pinochet regime that also starred Bernal (with Gnecco and Castro in prominent supporting roles). His filmography, which includes such festival-acclaimed favorites as “Tony Manero,” “Post Mortem” and “The Club,” has sealed his reputation as one of the most distinctive and continually surprising talents in world cinema, though nothing he’s done to date has forced him to take such intuitive leaps, to abandon realism so completely, as “Neruda.”
Unspooling the picture earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, Larraín confessed that, even after making the movie, he wasn’t at all sure he knew who Neruda was. And in a typically counter-intuitive gesture, “Neruda” doesn’t pretend to know, either. It keeps the man at a playful distance, firm in its belief that the art will sustain our interest, long after the passing of the artist and his historical moment. It’s possible that Pablo Neruda himself would have concurred with this sentiment, though Oscar Peluchonneau might have begged to differ.
Palm Springs, CA (November 30, 2016) – The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Natalie Portman with the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for her performance in Jackie at its annual Film Awards Gala. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-16.
“Natalie Portman truly brings to life one of this country’s most treasured public figures in the acclaimed new film Jackie,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Portman delivers a transformative and deeply human portrayal of the former First Lady following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, one of the most challenging moments in our nation’s history. It is our honor to once again present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Natalie Portman.”
Portman received the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress in 2011 for her performance in Black Swan, where she went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Actress. Additional past recipients of the award include Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts.
From Fox Searchlight, Jackieis a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman). Jackie places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well. The film is directed by Pablo Larraín and also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Richard E. Grant, Caspar Phillipson, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant, and Max Casella, with Billy Crudup and John Hurt.
Jackie is the recipient of the Toronto International Film Festival Platform Prize and Venice Film Festival Golden Osella Best Screenplay Award. The film received four Film Independent Spirt Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress. For her role in the film, Portman received the Hollywood Film Award for Best Actress and is nominated for an IFP Gotham Award.
Natalie Portman received her second Academy Award® nomination and first Best Actress win for her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed film, Black Swan. For her role, Portman also received a Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics Choice Award. Her other film credits include The Professional, Beautiful Girls, Anywhere But Here, Cold Mountain, Garden State, Closer, V For Vendetta, Goya’s Ghosts, The Other Boleyn Girl, New York, I Love You, Brothers, No Strings Attached, Hesher, Knight of Cups,Thor, and the three prequels to the Star Wars trilogies. Portman also recently directed and wrote her first feature A Tale of Love and Darkness which debuted at Cannes in 2015. Her upcoming projects include Weightless, Planetarium and Annihilation.
Previously announced honorees attending the 2017 Film Awards Gala are Casey Affleck, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Negga and the cast of La La Land, including Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and director Damien Chazelle.
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, an upscale black-tie event attended by 2,500, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.
Reviewed by Larry Gleeson. Viewed during the 2016 American Film Institute’s (AFI) FILMFEST 2016 presented by Audi.
Jackie is Chilean Director Pablo Larrain’s love letter about First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following the assassination of her husband, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK). Drawing extensively from a series of private letters between the First Lady, played by Oscar Award-winning actress, Natalie Portman and her Catholic priest, played by John Hurt, Larrain attempts to address what it was like for Jackie as she tries to cope with an overwhelming grief, tend to the psychological needs of her children and to create a legacy for her husband’s short-lived administration.
Portman skillfully channels the spirit of Jackie Kennedy. Larrain chose to recreate archival film clips with Portman. Having seen the original clips of the First Lady showcasing her masterful interior decorating of the White House, I believed Larrain had inserted the originals into the film. Only when the camera pushed in to a medium full frame was I able to discern the subject. It was Natalie Portman!
Several other scenes provided an astonishingly likeness as well. Most notably are the veiled widow walking in the funeral procession and the interview that would result in a Life magazine feature. Veteran stage and and film actor Billy Crudup, portrays the journalist (a dramatization of the four-hour interview Jackie had with journalist Theodore H. White on November 29th, 1963 that evoked the Camelot myth). Noah Oppenheim wrote the script. Greta Gerwig, currently one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses, warmly portrays Nancy Tuckerman, the Kennedy’s Social Secretary. Peter Sarsgaard embodies Bobby Kennedy, the late President’s brother, protector and consoler of the First Lady. Last, but certainly not least, is Danish actor Caspar Phillipson as a spot-on JFK lookalike.
Most people know the story of the Kennedy assassination and some are familiar with the Kennedy Administration and the Camelot myth. What most people are not aware of is what a thirty-four year-old Jackie Kennedy experienced in the moments and days after the fateful day in Dallas and her need to secure her husband’s historical legacy. After watching Jackie, and seeing Mrs. Kennedy retrieve the portion of the President’s brain matter from the trunk of the convertible and place it back inside the gaping hole on the left side of his skull, I realized magnitude and scope of her love.
I believe this is what Larrain had in mind as he created Jackie. Intensely private, the world knew very little of Jackie Kennedy’s private life despite her immense popularity as a public figure. Photographed as much as almost any woman in the 20th century, Jackie emanated style and sophistication and evoked desire becoming known simply by her first name.
Larrain poses questions of how she must have felt in those days following the assassination. She became a queen without a crown. Her throne and her husband had been taken from her. Showing undaunted courage and concern for her husband’s legacy, she fought despite the challenges and obstacles placed in her way. Admittedly, most will probably never know exactly what was going through her mind and what feelings she was experiencing in their entirety during these days. Nevertheless, Larrain weaves together an extraordinary narrative that attempts to piece together a brief moment in time that became the genesis of Camelot and the Kennedy Administration. Highly recommended.
AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi has unveiled its expansive, annual World Cinema lineup. World Cinema showcases the most acclaimed international films of the year and features 33 films from 28 countries, including seven official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entries: DEATH IN SARAJEVO (DIR Danis Tanović), THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI (DIR Juho Kuosmanen), IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (DIR Xavier Dolan), JULIETA (DIR Pedro Almodóvar), LAND OF MINE (DIR Martin Pieter Zandvliet), NERUDA (DIR Pablo Larraín) and THE SALESMAN (DIR Asghar Farhadi).
Pictured above: THE SALESMAN
AFTER LOVE (L’ÉCONOMIE DU COUPLE) – Joachim Lafosse returns to AFI FEST with his latest feature, which follows a married couple going through the turmoil of divorce in full view of their twin daughters. DIR Joachim Lafosse. SCRS Mazarine Pingeot, Fanny Burdino, Joachim Lafosse. CAST Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn, Marthe Keller, Jade Soentjens, Margaux Soentjens. Belgium | France
ALBÜM – In this surreal comedy, things go awry when a Turkish couple tries to cover up the fact that they are adopting their new child as opposed to having a natural birth. DIR Mehmet Can Mertoğlu. SCR Mehmet Can Mertoğlu. CAST Şebnem Bozoklu, Murat Kılıç, Rıza Akın, Mihriban Er, Ali Meriç, Müfit Kayacan, Sencar Sağdıç, Şafak Karali. Turkey | France | Romania
BORIS WITHOUT BEATRICE (BORIS SANS BÉATRICE) – Upon receiving a mysterious letter, a proud, wealthy man must reassess who he is in this existential thriller. DIR Denis Côté. SCR Denis Côté. CAST James Hyndman, Simone Élise-Girard, Denis Lavant, Isolda Dychauk, Dounia Sichov, Laetitia Isambert-Denis, Louise Laprade, Bruce LaBruce. Canada
THE COMMUNE (KOLLEKTIVET) – Thomas Vinterberg returns to AFI FEST with this 1970s-set ensemble piece looking at a young couple who start a collective in the big vintage house where the husband grew up. DIR Thomas Vinterberg. SCRS Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm. CAST Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen, Lars Ranthe, Fares Fares, Magnus Millang, Julie Agnete Vang, Anne Gry Henningsen. Denmark | Sweden | Netherlands
CROSSCURRENT (CHANG JIANG TU) – A cargo ship captain falls under the spell of a mysterious book of poetry, and it sends him on an unexpected journey up the Yangtze River. DIR Yang Chao. SCR Yang Chao. CAST Qin Hao, Xin Zhilei, Wu Lipeng, Wang Hongwei, Jiang Hualin, Tan Kai. China. This screening is co-presented by the China Onscreen Biennial (COB) 2016 and is the closing night screening of their Los Angeles series.
DEATH IN SARAJEVO (SMRT U SARAJEVU) – Director Danis Tanović turns the luxurious Hotel Europa in the heart of Sarajevo into an ideological battleground in this Silver Bear winner out of the Berlinale. DIR Danis Tanović. SCR Danis Tanović. CAST Jaques Weber, Snežana Vidović, Izudin Bajrovic, Vedrana Seksan, Muhamed Hadžović, Faketa Salihbegović-Avdagić, Edin Avdagić, Aleksandar Seksan. France | Bosnia and Herzegovina
THE DEMONS (LES DÉMONS) – A 10-year-old boy begins to act out in frightening ways in this coming-of-age horror film. DIR Philippe Lesage. SCR Philippe Lesage. CAST Edouard Tremblay-Grenier, Pier-Luc Funk, Yannick Gobeil-Dugas, Vassili Schneider, Sarah Mottet, Mathis Thomas, Victoria Diamond, Laurent Lucas. Canada
A DRAGON ARRIVES! (EJHDEHA VARED MISHAVAD!) – This unique postmodern pastiche reenacts the confounding circumstances surrounding the 1965 suicide of an exiled political prisoner. DIR Mani Haghighi. SCR Mani Haghighi. CAST Amir Jadidi, Homayoun Ghanizadeh, Ehsan Goudarzi, Kiana Tajammol, Nader Fallah, Ali Bagheri, Kamran Safamanesh, Javad Ansari. Iran
FRANCA: CHAOS AND CREATION – In this incisive documentary, director Francesco Carrozzini creates an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue. DIR Francesco Carrozzini. FEAT Franca Sozzani, Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love. Italy | USA
GRADUATION (BACALAUREAT) – When a doctor’s bright young daughter is assaulted the day before her final exams, he will do anything to make sure her scholarship to Cambridge isn’t jeopardized. DIR Cristian Mungiu. SCR Cristian Mungiu. CAST Adrian Titieni, Maria Drăguș, Lia Bugnar, Mălina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov, Gelu Colceag, Rareș Andrici, Petre Ciubotaru. Romania
THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI – Based on a true story, Finland’s official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entry follows boxer Olli Mäki as he prepares for the 1962 world featherweight championship match. DIR Juho Kuosmanen. SCRS Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen. CAST Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola, Eero Milonoff, Joanna Haartti, Esko Barquero, Elma Milonoff, Leimu Leisti, Hilma Milonoff. Finland
HARMONIUM (FUCHI NI TATSU) – A Japanese couple’s quiet life is disrupted by the arrival of an old acquaintance recently released from prison. DIR Koji Fukada. SCR Koji Fukada. CAST Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Momone Shinokawa, Kana Mahiro. Japan | France
HOME – When a teen recently released from a juvenile detention center befriends another troubled young man, their shared alienation threatens to erupt in violence. DIR Fien Troch. SCR Fien Troch, Nico Leunen. CAST Sebastian Van Dun, Mistral Guidotti, Loïc Batog, Lena Suijkerbuijk, Karlijn Sileghem, Els Deceukelier, Robbie Cleiren, Yavuz Saçikara. Belgium
I, DANIEL BLAKE – In Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner, an ailing carpenter and struggling single mother join forces against the bureaucratic system keeping them down. DIR Ken Loach. SCR Paul Laverty. CAST Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, Briana Shann, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe. UK | France | Belgium
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (JUSTE LA FIN DU MONDE) – Xavier Dolan’s latest stars Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux as a volatile family reeling from the bad news brought home by an estranged son. DIR Xavier Dolan. SCR Xavier Dolan. CAST Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard. Canada | France
JULIETA – In Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, a woman is left to navigate tragedy and survival with her daughter after the death of her husband. DIR Pedro Almodóvar. SCR Pedro Almodóvar. CAST Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta, Dario Grandinetti, Rossy de Palma. Spain
LAND OF MINE – Tense and thrilling like THE HURT LOCKER, this film follows the adolescent German soldiers assigned to clear a Danish beach of its buried mines after World War II. DIR Martin Zandvliet. SCR Martin Zandvliet. CAST Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Belton, Oskar Belton. Denmark
LAYLA M. – When a young Muslim woman radicalizes and moves from Amsterdam to Jordan, she discovers a very different situation than she anticipated. DIR Mijke de Jong. SCRS Jan Eilander, Mijke de Jong. CAST Nora El Koussour, Ilias Addab. Netherlands l Belgium l Germany l Jordan
MALGRÉ LA NUIT – A man must descend into the world of pornographic snuff films in search of his lost love. DIR Philippe Grandrieux. SCRS Philippe Grandrieux, Bertrand Schefer, Rebecca Zlotowski, John-Henry Butterworth. CAST Kristian Marr, Ariane Labed, Roxane Mesquida, Paul Hamy, Johan Leysen, Sam Louwych, Aurélien Recoing. France | Canada
MISTER UNIVERSO – In this charming documentary and fiction hybrid, a young man of the circus embarks on a quest to find a legendary strongman. DIRS Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel. SCR Tizza Covi. CAST Tairo Caroli, Arthur Robin, Wendy Weber. Austria | Italy
NERUDA – Chile’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® centers on poet and senator Pablo Neruda, who went into hiding to escape arrest. DIR Pablo Larraín SCR Guillermo Calderón CAST Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal, Mercedes Morán, Diego Muñoz, Pablo Derqui, Michael Silva, Jamie Vadell, Alfredo Castro, Marcelo Alonso, Francisco Reyes, Alejandro Goic, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba. Chile
THE NET (GEUMUL) – Kim Ki-duk’s most controversial film to date centers on a North Korean fisherman who inadvertently drifts into South Korean waters, altering the course of his life forever. DIR Kim Ki-duk. SCR Kim Ki-duk. CAST Ryoo Seung-bum, Lee Won-gun, Kim Young-min, Choi Guy-hwa. South Korea
NOCTURAMA – Bertrand Bonello’s latest follows a pack of Parisian teenagers over the course of one day as they carry out a series of planned attacks throughout the city. DIR Bertrand Bonello. SCR Bertrand Bonello. CAST Finnegan Oldfield, Vincent Rottiers, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, Martin Guyot, Jamil McCraven, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laure Valentinelli, Ilias Le Doré, Robin Goldbronn, Luis Rego, Hermine Karagheuz, Adèle Haenel. France l Germany l Belgium
OLD STONE (LAO SHI) – When a timid cab driver helps an accident victim to the hospital, his decency is rewarded with a nightmarish decent into an unforgiving bureaucratic machine. DIR Johnny Ma. SCR Johnny Ma. CAST Chen Gang, Nai An, Wang Hongwei, Zhang Zebin, Luo Xue’er. China | Canada
THE ORNITHOLOGIST (O ORNITÓLOGO) – In the latest fever dream from João Pedro Rodrigues, an ornithologist is tossed from his kayak and finds himself on a wild, mesmerizing, blood-soaked journey downriver. DIR João Pedro Rodrigues. SCRS João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata CAST Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, João Pedro Rodrigues, Han Wen, Chan Suan, Juliane Elting. Portugal | France | Brazil
PANAMERICAN MACHINERY (MAQUINARIA PANAMERICA) – In this witty and comedic debut, a group of Mexican workers stage a dysfunctional showdown when their factory goes bankrupt. DIR Joaquín Del Paso. SCRS Joaquín Del Paso, Lucy Pawlak. CAST Javier Zaragoza, Ramiro Orozco, Irene Ramirez, Edmundo Mosqueira, Delfino López, Cecilia Garcia, Cesar Panini, Javier Camacho, Israel Ruiz. Mexico | Poland
THE RED TURTLE – In Studio Ghibli’s beautiful first co-production, a shipwrecked man struggles to escape a deserted island but he’s kept from doing so by a giant sea turtle. DIR Michael Dudok de Wit. SCR Michael Dudok de Wit. France | Japan
THE SALESMAN – In Asghar Farhadi’s latest, a husband seeks revenge against the perpetrator who attacked his wife in their apartment. DIR Asghar Farhadi. SCR Asghar Farhadi. CAST Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Mina Sadati, Maral Bani Adam, Mehdi Kooshki, Emad Emami. Iran l France
THINGS TO COME (L’ AVENIR) – Isabelle Huppert plays a passionate philosophy professor dealing with two quietly monumental life events. DIR Mia Hansen-Løve. SCR Mia Hansen-Løve. CAST Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Sarah Le Picard, Solal Forte, Elise Lhomeau, Lionel Dray, Grégoire Montana-Haroche, Lina Benzerti. France | Germany
THE UNTAMED (LA REGIÓN SALVAJE)– The lives of a young mother, and her husband and brother are thrown into upheaval with the arrival of a mysterious woman who shows them how to access the most intense pleasure they’ve ever known. DIR Amat Escalante. SCRS Amat Escalante, Gibrán Portela. CAST Ruth Ramos, Simone Bucio, Jesús Meza, Edén Villavicencio, Andrea Peláez, Oscar Escalante, Bernarda Trueba. Mexico | Denmark | France | Germany | Norway | Switzerland
THE WOUNDED ANGEL (RANENYY ANGEL) – Four adolescent boys in rural Kazakhstan deal with the harsh realities of post-Soviet life in this second feature by the director of HARMONY LESSONS. DIR Emir Baigazin. SCR Emir Baigazin. CAST Nurlybek Saktaganov, Madiyar Aripbay, Madiyar Nazarov, Omar Adilov, Anzara Barlykova, Timur Aidarbekov, Kanagat Taskaraev, Rasul Vilyamov. Kazakhstan | France | Germany
WÙLU – An honest but frustrated worker living in Mali resorts to drug-running to make ends meet, and soon finds himself embroiled in a conflict that stretches all the way to Al Qaeda. DIR Daouda Coulibaly. SCR Daouda Coulibaly. CAST Ibrahim Koma, Inna Modja, Ismaël N’Diaye, Jean-Marie Traoré, Habib Dembélé, Mariame N’Diaye, Quim Gutierrez, Olivier Rabourdin. France | Senegal
YOURSELF AND YOURS (DANGSINJASINGWA DANGSINUI GEOT) – In the latest from Hong Sang-soo, one painter searches for the woman he has just broken up with, while she — or her dopplegänger — pursues quasi-romantic encounters with other men. DIR Hong Sang-soo. SCR Hong Sang-soo. CAST Kim Jooh-yuck, Lee You-young. South Korea
Fox Searchlight’s JACKIE, directed by Pablo Larraín, will screen as a Centerpiece Gala at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. Starring Academy Award® winner Natalie Portman, the film will screen on Monday, November 14, at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
JACKIE is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy portrayed by Natalie Portman. JACKIE places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well. JACKIE is directed by Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. In addition to Portman, the film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and Academy Award® nominee John Hurt. JACKIE is produced by Juan De Dios Larraín, Academy Award® nominee Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992), Mickey Liddell, Scott Franklin and Ari Handel.
While it doesn’t have the glitz of Venice, the breadth of Toronto, or the Cannesiness of Cannes, the New York Film Festival is still a heavy-hitting stop in the fall-prestige cycle. In addition to a few major fall releases that have already screened in the United States — including Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight — the slate includes the U.S. premieres of some big-time movies, as well as two major worldwide debuts. Here are the highlights.
Ava DuVernay’s new documentary is named for the 13th Amendment, which contains the clause that seems to presage mass incarceration in the United States: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” If there’s anyone who can take on a topic as weighty and complex as the prison system in modern America, it’s DuVernay, whose clear-eyed and humanizing approach seems like the ideal fit for a subject this inhumane.
20th Century Women
If you responded to Mills’s heartfelt and funny Beginners, which won Christopher Plummer a well-deserved Oscar, you’re likely to spark to this one, where Annette Bening stars as a witty, fretful single mother who enlists lodger Greta Gerwig and neighbor Elle Fanning to help raise her 15-year-old son. And if you respond to throwback attire, you’re definitely going to spark to every single jumpsuit, vintage tee, and denim jacket worn in this 1979-set film.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Besides being an Ang Lee film that’s likely going to be part of the Best Picture race, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is also sure to generate conversation for its technical ambition. Lee shot the movie, which adapts Ben Fountain’s novel about an Iraq War hero who returns home, at 120 frames per second versus the standard 24, with the intent of creating one of the most realistic and hypervisceral depictions of war ever to be shown on a movie screen. Regardless of how Billy Lynn turns out — and hopes are high — the 4K 3-D showing at NYFF should be a notable experience in and of itself.
A comedy about — wait for it — a woman brazenly overcoming her own rape, director Paul Verhoeven’s first film in French was one of the most talked-about films at Cannes. It’s also one of two acclaimed movies coming out this fall featuring the French actress Isabelle Huppert, whose Things to Come, directed by up-and-comer Mia Hansen-Løve, is also showing at NYFF. While Huppert’s two-pronged Oscar push could be a major awards-season narrative, Elle is worth seeing in its own right: Verhoeven is many things, but he’s never boring.
Natalie Portman gives a brave, ballsy performance as Jackie Kennedy in this Pablo Larrain–directed biopic, which shrugs off the stodginess so often endemic to this genre in pursuit of something even bigger than real. Portman’s Jackie is no shrinking violet, though the men around her would love it if she played the dutiful, porcelain-faced wife even after the tragic assassination of her husband. How she, in turn, manipulates the image-crafters around her in one last bid for agency gives Jackie its startling kick.
In an industry defined by big, loud, expensive superhero movies, Jim Jarmusch exists as the ultimate outlier. His movies are quiet, cool, and indie to the core, and new one Paterson sounds no different: Adam Driver plays a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, whose name is also Paterson, and who writes poems, and who hangs out with his wife and dog, and … that’s pretty much it. But that’s enough, and after raves out of Cannes, this should be the kind of film that gives a certain kind of moviegoer hope.
Personal Shopper director Olivier Assayas recently stated, in no uncertain terms, that Kristen Stewart is the best actress of her generation. If this comes as an unusual suggestion to you, then you haven’t been paying close-enough attention, because KStew has, truly, become a must-see performer — including in Assayas’s most recent movie, Clouds of Sils Maria, for which she won a César Award, something no American actress has ever done before. With a strange premise — Stewart’s character is a personal shopper and, also, a medium, meaning there are fancy clothes AND a ghost — and a famously divisive reception at Cannes, this gives the best actress of her generation one of the most anticipated films of the fall.
The Lost City of Z
James Gray’s last film The Immigrant was under-seen and under-heralded, as James Gray films tend to be. But his new one, The Lost City of Z, gives him an unusually sexy topic: The British explorer Percy Fawcett’s search for a city in the Amazon rain forest, based on the book of the same name by the virtuoso New Yorker writer David Grann. Hopefully, it can bring Gray the wide audience he deserves; at the very least, audiences in the know can savor a new film from one of the most thoughtful contemporary American directors.
Film stars and celebrities, who are currently in the Venice Lido for the Venice International Film Festival, have been visiting the Biennale Architettura 2016 (open until November 27th at the Giardini and Arsenale) and expressed great admiration for the display.
Deborah and John Landis have said: “While attending the wonderful Venice Film Festival, we had the good fortune to spend a day at the Biennale Architettura – exciting, inspiring and unmissable.”
Amongst today’s visitors of the Biennale Architettura2016, one could find Pablo Larraín, director of Jackie, one of the films in competition at Venezia 73. Actress Natalie Portman, who plays the title role in Larraín’s latest work, also visited the Exhibition yesterday morning before speaking at the film’s press conference. On the same day, the Festival’s host Sonia Bergamasco also toured the Exhibition in the Giardini and at the Arsenale.
The Biennale Architettura 2016 also welcomed several jury members, such as the presidentof Venezia 73, British director Sam Mendes, as well as others: the director and artist Laurie Anderson, actors Gemma Arterton, Nina Hoss, Chiara Mastroianni and Zhao Wei, writer Giancarlo De Cataldo, directors Joshua Oppenheimer, and the winner of the Golden Lion at Venezia 72, Lorenzo Vigas. From the Orizzonti jury, actor Moon So-ri and critic Jim Hoberman also toured the Exhibition.
Fox Searchlight will release the movie Dec. 9, and it’s widely expected to catapult Portman into the best-actress Oscar race. Fox’s specialty division is an awards season regular that has ushered many films into the Academy Awards, including best-picture winners “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman,” as well as Portman’s own “Black Swan,” which won her best actress.
Searchlight’s other fall release, Nate Parker’s Nat Turner slave revolt drama “The Birth of a Nation,” had been seen as the studio’s horse in this year’s Oscar race. But that film’s awards hopes have been badly damaged by a rape accusation from Parker’s past. In Toronto, Parker deflected questions about the case in a press conference.
“Pablo Larrain’s Jackieis a daring, one-of-a-kind cinematic portrayal of a beloved icon,” said Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula.
Movies aren’t often acquired in Toronto and so quickly put into theaters. Usually they open sometime the following year. But Fox Searchlight has managed it before; in 2008, it picked up Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” and led it to Oscar nods for both Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei.
*Featured photo: Actress Natalie Portman arriving for the premiere of the film ‘Planetarium’ during the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (Photo credit: Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)