erik lundegaard

Movies - Foreign posts

Sunday January 24, 2010

Cesars 2010

The nominees for the French Cesars were announced last week, and Un Prophete (A Prophet), whose trailer I've seen a dozen times at Landmark theaters in the last month, and which is among the front-runners for the Academy's best foreign-language film, was the big dog, le grand chien, with 13 nominations, including best picture, director, actor, supporting actor and original screenplay. According to boxofficemojo, Sony Classics will finally release it here on February 26, but I'm not sure where "here" is yet. NY and LA? Probably. Fingers crossed for more. Hell, fingers crossed for Arkansas.

Speaking of—foreign films—what a motley crew the Cesars chose! At the same time they obviously don't suffer from the same strictures the Academy operates under—one film per country, selected by said country, etc.—because there are three Hollywood productions among the nominees. Mais..."Gran Torino," France? Vous etes fous?

Last year, by the way, "Seraphine" won the Cesar for meilleur film over, among others, "Entre les murs," "Il y a longtemps que je t'aime" et "Paris." "L'heure d'ete," my favorite film from last year, received only one nomination: meilleure actrice, un second role, for Edith Scob, for playing the mother, or grandmother, Helene.

Les nominees...

MEILLEUR FILM (BEST FILM)

  • A L’ORIGINE  (IN THE BEGINNING)
  • LE CONCERT (THE CONCERT)
  • LES HERBES FOLLES (WILD GRASS)
  • LA JOURNÉE DE LA JUPE (SKIRT DAY)
  • RAPT
  • UN PROPHÈTE (A PROPHET)
  • WELCOME

MEILLEUR RÉALISATEUR (BEST DIRECTOR)

  • JACQUES AUDIARD, A Prophet
  • LUCAS BELVAUX, Rapt
  • XAVIER GIANNOLI, In the Beginning
  • PHILIPPE LIORET, Welcome
  • RADU MIHAILEANU, The Concert

MEILLEUR ACTEUR (BEST ACTOR)

  • YVAN ATTAL, Rapt
  • FRANÇOIS CLUZET, In the Beginning
  • FRANÇOIS CLUZET, Le dernier pour la route
  • VINCENT LINDON, Welcome
  • TAHAR RAHIM, A Prophet

MEILLEURE ACTRICE (BEST ACTRESS)

  • ISABELLE ADJANI, Skirt Day
  • DOMINIQUE BLANC, L’Autre / The Other One
  • SANDRINE KIBERLAIN, Mademoiselle Chambon
  • KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, Partir / Leaving
  • AUDREY TAUTOU, Coco Before Chanel

MEILLEUR ACTEUR, UN SECOND RÔLE (BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR)

  • JEAN-HUGUES ANGLADE, Persécution
  • NIELS ARESTRUP, A Prophet
  • JOEYSTARR, Le bal des actrices
  • BENOIT POELVOORDE, Coco Before Chanel
  • MICHEL VUILLERMOZ, Le dernier pour la route

MEILLEURE ACTRICE, UN SECOND RÔLE (BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS)

  • AURE ATIKA, Mademoiselle Chambon
  • ANNE CONSIGNY, Rapt
  • AUDREY DANA, Welcome
  • EMMANUELLE DEVOS, In the Beginning
  • NOÉMIE LVOVSKY, Les beaux gosses

MEILLEUR SCÉNARIO ORIGINAL (BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

  • JACQUES AUDIARD, THOMAS BIDEGAIN, ABDEL RAOUF DAFRI, NICOLAS PEUFAILLIT, A Prophet
  • XAVIER GIANNOLI, In the Beginning
  • JEAN-PAUL LILIENFELD, Skirt Day
  • PHILIPPE LIORET, EMMANUEL COURCOL, OLIVIER ADAM, Welcome
  • RADU MIHAILEANU, ALAIN-MICHEL BLANC, The Concert

MEILLEURE ADAPTATION (BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

  • STÉPHANE BRIZÉ, FLORENCE VIGNON, Mademoiselle Chambon
  • ANNE FONTAINE, CAMILLE FONTAINE pour Coco Before Chanel
  • PHILIPPE GODEAU, AGNÈS DE SACY, Le dernier pour la route
  • LAURENT TIRARD, GRÉGOIRE VIGNERON, Le petit Nicolas
  • ALEX RÉVAL, LAURENT HERBIET, Wild Grass

MEILLEURE PHOTO (BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY)

  • CHRISTOPHE BEAUCARNE, Coco Before Chanel
  • LAURENT DAILLAND, Welcome
  • STÉPHANE FONTAINE, A Prophet
  • ÉRIC GAUTIER, Wild Grass
  • GLYNN SPEECKAERT, In the Beginning

MEILLEUR MONTAGE (BEST EDITING)

  • CÉLIA LAFITEDUPONT, In the Beginning
  • HERVÉ DE LUZE, Wild Grass
  • ANDRÉA SEDLACKOVA, Welcome
  • LUDO TROCH, The Concert
  • JULIETTE WELFLING, A Prophet

MEILLEUR FILM ÉTRANGER (BEST FOREIGN FILM)

  • AVATAR; directed by James Cameron
  • GRAN TORINO; directed by Clint Eastwood
  • MILK; directed by Gus Van Sant
  • J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE / I KILLED MY MOTHER; directed by Xavier Dolan
  • PANIQUE AU VILLAGE; directed by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar
  • THE WHITE RIBBON; directed by Michael Haneke
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE; directed by Danny Boyle

   

No tagsPosted at 08:15 AM on Jan 24, 2010 in category Movies - Foreign
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Friday July 31, 2009

Le Monde lede of "Adieu, Gary"

Voici déjà quelque temps que le cinéma, à l'instar d'un public touché par la crise, ne prend plus de vacances. Chaque été, entre un mastodonte de l'animation hollywoodienne, quelques titres d'auteurs confirmés, une brochette de reprises savoureuses et un lot avarié de fins de série, se glisse donc une découverte à la fraîcheur bienvenue.

The cinema, following the example of a public affected by the economic crisis, can’t take vacations anymore. Every summer, between the mastadon of Hollywood animation, several titles from confirmed aueturs, a kabob of savory revivals and a rotting batch of oddities, slips a discovery of welcome freshness.

No tagsPosted at 09:45 AM on Jul 31, 2009 in category Movies - Foreign
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Monday July 13, 2009

Where Goebbels and Hollywood Agree

Hey all. Just got back from a family vacation in Minnesota, where I re-encountered two of my favorite junk foods: Old Dutch Rip-L Potato Chips and Sebastian Joe's ice cream. It's a good thing I don't live there anymore or I'd be 200 pounds.

While on vacation I read Cinemas of the World by James Chapman, from which I'll be quoting in the next couple of days. A bit academic but mostly interesting and always informative. British press. Here's the first of them:

Triumph des Willens represented the high point of Nazi propaganda: it enshrined the 'Hitler myth' so completely that no further films of the sort ever needed to be commissioned. Goebbels, for his part, was firmly of the opinion that feature films should provide escapist entertainment for the masses and that direct propaganda should be confined to the newsreels.

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Posted at 07:18 PM on Jul 13, 2009 in category Movies - Foreign
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Monday May 18, 2009

Where Have You Gone, Vladimir Visotsky?

Last week I watched a film called "Ivan Vasilevich: menyaet professiyu" (translated, in attention-getting fashion, to "Ivan Vasilevich: Back to the Future"), which I rented from Netflix as much for the description as anything:

When his time machine malfunctions, scatterbrained inventor Shurik (Aleksandr Demyanenko) accidentally transports Ivan the Terrible to 1973 Moscow and simultaneously sends small-time crook and apartment manager Ivan Bunsha -- a ringer for the despot -- to the 16th century. Wackiness ensues as Shurik attempts to set things right in this Soviet sci-fi comedy of errors featuring Yuri Yakovlev in dual roles as Bunsha and the czar.

A wacky Soviet-era comedy? Who would've thought? And it is that, although, in the end, more curiosity than laugh-out-loud comedy. It's one part "Les Visiteurs," one part Bollywood, one part "Benny Hill" without the girls. One imagines if the film had gotten out in 1973 it would've gone a long way toward dispensing the notion of the stoic Soviet empire. Yes, even in the middle of detente. But of course "getting out" was always the problem. 

Halfway through the film, in modern-day (1973-era) Moscow, Ivan the Terrible, who isn't so terrible, turns on a tape recorder, hears music, and smiles. The singer was familiar. I'm pretty sure it was Vladimir Visotsky, whose angry song Baryshnikov danced to in his tennis shoes in "White Nights"— and about which I wrote for an MSN "Top 10 Dance Scenes" piece way back when.

The difference between the time I wrote that piece (2004) and now? It's easy as hell, now, to find footage of the singer. Here he is, for example, on a Soviet-era TV show, singing in his gravelly, impassioned voice. Check it out.

No tagsPosted at 06:54 AM on May 18, 2009 in category Movies - Foreign
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Monday April 27, 2009

Worst Netflix Summary Ever

WARNING: SPOILERS

The following is Netflix's description (both onsite and on their DVD sleeve) of Akira Kurosawa's “The Bad Sleep Well” (1060):

Koichi Nishi (Toshiro Mifune) is distraught after his father's demise, which he blames on the cutthroat corporate environment in which he worked. Desperate to avenge his father's senseless death, Koichi begins to tamper with the sanity of each person who ever wronged the man. He starts with the cake at his very own wedding; per Koichi's instructions, the confection has been specially crafted to remind the attendees of their darkest secrets. …

In case you haven't seen the film (and are still shamefully reading this): The movie opens with the wedding of the daughter of a high-ranking public official, at which reporters gather in anticipation of the arrest of this official and several of his right-hand men. We follow the initial police investigation into the scandal — apparently the government accepted a high bid on a construction project for kickbacks — but government and corporate officials remain tightlipped and no one's prosecuted. Then two of the right-hand men kill themselves. No, just one. Koichi Nishi (Mifune), the groom at the wedding, prevents the other from doing so. Why? We find out an hour and twenty minutes in: He's the son of an official who killed himself five years earlier — in another scandal, protecting these same guys — and he's been plotting revenge ever snce.

In other words, in their first sentence, Netflix gives away the goods. As for their last sentence? The description reminded me of that early “Star Trek” episode in which people act out their darkest secrets (Sulu turns into a barechested swashbuckler, etc.), but, in the Kurosawa film, there's nothing in the cake in question. It was simply baked in a way to remind the men of a shared dark secret. Singular.

Oh well. IMDb.com gives away the plot, too. No tight lips here anyway.

A shame because the first half of the movie is the best. It loses itself in the second.

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Posted at 08:14 AM on Apr 27, 2009 in category Movies - Foreign
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