La La Land, the sophomore feature follow-up by critically acclaimed Whiplash director, Damien Chazelle, is scheduled for a limited release beginning on December 9th. La La Land, an early favorite for Oscar nominations after strong showings at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride film festivals, is a musical drama about a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, California. Ryan Gosling plays the jazz pianist, Sebastian while Emma Stone plays the aspiring actress/playwright Mia. Ms. Stone captured hearts at Venice receiving a Silver Lion for Best Actress for her role as Mia.In addition, La La Land won the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
The official roll-out release remains scheduled for December 16th.
The action takes place in France during World War II. Russian émigré and Resistance member Olga Kamenskaya is detained by the police for trying to save two Jewish children. Jules, a French policeman and a Nazi collaborator, is willing to make concessions for her, but Olga winds up in a concentration camp where she meets S.S. officer Helmut, a Chekhov admirer who joined the S.S. in hopes of creating a paradise on Earth.
The scenes in the film alternate with interviews with the protagonists in which each talks about his or her childhood, family life, profession and the reasons they chose to support one side or the other.
Who stars in the film?
Olga is played by actress Yulia Vysotskaya, who is also director Konchalovsky’s wife. Helmut is portrayed by Christian Claus, and Jules, by Philippe Duquesne. Other actors include: Jakob Diehl, Peter Kurth, Viktor Sukhorukov and Vera Voronkova.
Which awards has the film received?
The film premiered on Sept. 8, 2016 at the Venice Film Festival and won the Silver Lion for Best Director.
In the last 10 years, Russian films and directors had received five prizes in Venice: Nikita Mikhalkov (Special Lion, 2007), Alexei German, Jr. (Silver Lion for the film The Paper Soldier, 2008), Mikhail Krichman (Golden Osella for Best Cinematography for Silent Souls, 2010), Alexander Sokurov (Golden Lion for Faust, 2011) and Konchalovsky himself (Silver Lion for The Postman’s White Nights, 2014).
*Featured image: Paradise director Andrei Konchalovsky . Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia.
Russian film director Andrei Konchalovsky has been awarded the Silver Lion — the Leone d’Argento — award for best direction at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
An international panel led by British director Sam Mendes said on September 10 that Konchalovsky won the award for his film Paradise.
Paradise reveals entangled human life stories during World War II.
Konchalovsky’s wife, actress Yulia Vysotskaya, played the leading role in the film of a Russian emigre named Olga who is sent to a Nazi concentration camp after giving shelter to Jewish children in Paris.
It was the second Silver Lion from the Venice festival for Konchalovsky. He received the award in 2014 for his film The Postman’s White Nights.
The top prize at the Venice festival, the Golden Lion for best film, went to The Woman Who Left by director Lav Diaz.
*Featured Photo: Brigitte Bardot illuminating Venice with her presence in 1958: the photographers chase her and she immediately becomes the center of social life on the Lido. “BB”, at the peak of her career, came to the 19th Venice Film Festival as part of the cast of the film En cas de malheur (Love Is My Profession) by Claude Autant-Lara. (Photo credit courtesy of Asac – la Biennale di Venezia.)
Because of the war, few countries participated in the 1940, 1941 and 1942 Festivals, not taken into consideration later on, with the dominating presence of the members of the Alliance. Following the war pause, the Festival was held again in 1946 with screenings at Cinema San Marco (the Palazzo del Cinema had been requisitioned by the Allies).
In 1946, in view of an agreement with Cannes, which had held its first festival that year in the spring, a simple transitory festival was organized in September. The 1947 Festival was held in the splendid setting of the courtyard of the Ducal Palace, with a record audience of 90,000. It was one of the best festivals and saw the return of the USSR and the new “popular democracies” including Czechoslovakia, which won first prize for Siréna by Karel Stekly. That year the international jury was reinstated to assign the International Grand Prix of Venice. Up until 1948 the director was Elio Zorzi, a Venetian.
Proceedings were transferred permanently back to the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido in 1949, and the Golden Lion of St. Mark introduced for best film.
During the Fifties the Festival experienced a period of international expansion, with the affirmation of new types of film (Japanese, Indian), and the arrival of leading directors and film stars. The Festival director’s chair was occupied by Antonio Petrucci (from 1949 to 1953), Ottavio Croze (1954 and 1955), Floris Ammannati (from 1956 to 1959) and Emilio Lonero in 1960.
Over the years the Festival has had a noteworthy influence on the history of world cinema. Japanese cinema has become well known in the West mostly thanks to the Golden Lion awarded to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashômon in 1951, and successively through the Silver Lions won by Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and Sanshô Dayû (1954) by Kenji Mizoguchi, not to mention the presence of films such as Biruma no Tategoto (1956) by Kon Ichikawa. It was the same case for Indian film, Golden Lion in 1957 to Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito. Eastern European cinema was brought to world attention partly through the Grand Prix awarded to the film Siréna (1947) by Karel Stekly (Czechoslovakia), and later thanks to the presence of emerging filmmakers such as Andrzey Waida (Popiól i diament, 1959).
After the first neo-realist films were shown at the Festival (Paisà by Roberto Rossellini and Il sole sorge ancora by Aldo Vergano in 1946, La terra trema by Luchino Visconti in 1948), a number of foremost Italian figures were recognised as leading talents in the ’50s and ’60s: Fellini, Antonioni, Rosi, Olmi, Bertolucci, Pasolini, Vancini, De Seta, and Zurlini. The fact that Luchino Visconti did not receive the Golden Lion for Senso in 1954 nor for Rocco e i suoi fratelli in 1960 led to heated debate. Visconti was to be awarded the top prize in 1964 for Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa.
French cinema marked decisive steps in the Festival history, with the presence of directors such as Jean Renoir (The Southerner, 1946), Henri-Georges Clouzot (Manon, 1949), Robert Bresson (Journal d’un curé de campagne, 1951), Marcel Carnè (Theresa Raquin, 1953), Louis Malle (Les amants, 1958), Alain Resnais (L’année dernière à Marienbad, 1961) and Jean-Luc Godard (Vivre sa vie, 1962; La chinoise, 1967).
Great figures in world cinema received awards with significant works: Carl Theodor Dreyer (Ordet, 1955), emergent Andrej Tarkovskj (Ivan’s Childhood, Golden Lion in 1962), Luis Buñuel (Belle de jour, 1967), Ingmar Bergman (The Face/The Magician, 1959), who had first come to the Lido in 1948 as an unknown figure with Musik i mörker.