Random Musings of the Month
January was another record breaking month here at Bonjour Tristesse, with nearly 50,000 views served and crossing over 200,000 pageviews in total. It took almost 14 months to get the first 100,000 and amazingly only 3 months to double that.
In addition to those crazy stats, I've also reached a significant milestone for the blog. Tomorrow's entry will be my 500th post! It's a bit hard to believe since it feels like I started not too long ago, but the post count just slowly creeps up and all of a sudden it's 500. I want to thank all the cool bloggers who visit and comment daily and provide ample encouragement and support. Thanks everyone, and I hope you stick around for the next 500!
On another note, I came across a cool feature the other day on YouTube, I don't know how long they've been doing it but I found a page feed that automatically lists all of the trailers I embed onto my blog, check it out HERE. I'm not sure how or why it's there and I have no control over it, but it seems like an interesting feature nonetheless.
For February, I'm looking forward to the Berlinale, the first major festival of the year, as well as both the Césars and Oscars being presented on the same weekend. I'm also hoping to do a short Dario Argento marathon for this month's LAMBs in the Director's Chair event.
Random Blogging Tip of the Month
This month's tip is an easy way to give a boost to your movie blog's traffic. Some of you may already be aware of this one, but for those who aren't, here is a method to lure some juicy traffic your way from the largest and most popular movie site on the internet, IMDb.
If you write film reviews and have a free IMDb account, you can manually submit your links to be listed in the External Reviews section for each movie. I just started doing this a couple months ago and it already accounts for approximately 15% of my visits, so it is a pretty significant amount. Anyone can do this, and it's not too complicated of a process, I will show you how below:
Monday, January 30, 2012
Last night the Sundance Institute announced the award winners for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival at the Awards Ceremony, hosted by Parker Posey in Park City, Utah.
“Every year the Sundance Film Festival brings to light exciting new directions and fresh voices in independent film, and this year is no different,” said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. “While these awards further distinguish those that have had the most impact on audiences and our jury, the level of talent showcased across the board at the Festival was really impressive, and all are to be congratulated and thanked for sharing their work with us.”
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “As we close what was a remarkable 10 days of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, we look to the year ahead with incredible optimism for the independent film community. As filmmakers continue to push each other to achieve new heights in storytelling we are excited to see what’s next.”
Read on for the list of awards presented at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival:
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Director: Vera Chytilová, Jaromil Jires, Jirí Menzel, Jan Nemec, Evald Schorm
Starring: Pavla Marsálková, Ferdinand Kruta, Alois Vachek, Milos Cirnácty, Frantisek Havel, Josefa Pechlátová, Václav Zák, Vera Mrázková, Vladimír Boudník, Dana Valtová, Ivan Vyskocil
Duration: 107 min.
Five seminal figures from the 1960s Czech New Wave contribute engaging short films, each adapted from a different tale by renowned author Bohumil Hrabal to this pivotal anthology.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Genre: Action, Drama
Director: Gerardo Naranjo
Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Noe Hernandez, Irene Azuela, Jose Yenque
Language: Spanish, English
Duration: 113 min.
The story of a young woman clinging on to her dream to become a beauty contest queen in a Mexico dominated by organized crime.
Friday, January 27, 2012
The official nominees for the 37th edition of the César Awards (France's Oscars), rewarding films released in 2011, have been unveiled today by the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques (L'Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma).
Cannes Jury Prize winner Polisse leads the way with 13 nominations, followed by L'exercice de l'État with 11, The Artist with 10, and Intouchables with 9.
Update (February 24, 2012) Winners will be added as they are announced:
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Director: Céline Sciamma
Starring: Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Jeanne Disson, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy
Duration: 82 min.
Ten year old Laure isn't like most girls. She prefers football to dolls and sweaters to dresses. When her family moves to a new neighborhood, life remains much the same. That is, until local girl Lisa mistakes Laure to be a boy. Indulging in this exciting new identity, Laure becomes Michael, and so begins a summer of long sunny afternoons, playground games and first kisses. Yet with the school term fast approaching, and with suspicions arising amongst friends and family, Laure must face up to an uncertain future
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Director: Miranda July
Starring: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky
Duration: 91 min.
When Sophie and Jason decide to adopt a stray cat, their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Director: Jan Nemec
Starring: Ivan Vyskocil, Jan Klusák, Jiri Nemec, Karel Mares, Evald Schorm
Duration: 71 min.
Distinguished by being 'banned forever' in its native Czechoslovakia, Nemec's film is a masterpiece of barbed, darkly sinister wit, considered the most politically dangerous film made during the short flowering of Czech cinema in the 1960's
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: Lucky McKee
Starring: Carlee Baker, Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis, Sean Bridgers
Duration: 101 min.
Family man and lawyer Christoper Cleek must do what he can to protect his family when he comes into contact with a feral woman living in the woods near his isolated country home. Through a series of harrowing encounters Cleek and his family quickly discover there is more to this woman than anyone would suspect and that sometimes the devil wears a handsome face.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Starring: Filippo Pucillo, Donatella Finocchiaro, Mimmo Cuticchio, Guiseppe Fiorello, Timnit T.
Language: Italian, Sicilian
Duration: 88 min.
Ernesto is an elderly fisherman who lives on the Sicilian island of Linosa. While out fishing with his grandson Filippo, he spots a young man and his pregnant mother drowning after fleeing a small boat, his conscience forces him to rescue them, and after the woman gives birth not long after they reach shore, the old man and his family become unwitting criminals as they give the immigrant family a place to stay.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Director: Janez Burger
Starring: Leon Lucev, Ravil Sultanov, Pauliina Räsänen, Luna Mijovic
Duration: 75 min.
A man stays alone with his children in a half demolished house in the middle of a desolate field. His wife has just been killed by a grenade in a military battle. He is expecting a new attack. Instead, a wandering caravan called Circus Fantasticus stops by the house. They bring along the dying director of the circus. Is it possible for anything beautiful to happen in a landscape of war and death? Can life go on? Is it possible to realize that death does not exist?
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival opens today, and here is a quick look at the 14 films by emerging filmmakers from all corners of the globe screening in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category.
Again a list of interesting titles with one I've actually already seen, Chile's entry to the 2012 Oscars race Violeta Went to Heaven. There are also a few interesting titles including a second Chilean film called Young & Wild, about a teenager who uses blogging as a sexual outlet; L, which looks like a surreal gem of a film from Greece, home it seems, to a budding new wave of weirdness started by 2009's Dogtooth; and one of my most anticipated films of 2012, Wrong, Quentin Dupieux aka Mr. Oizo's follow-up to his 2010 film Rubber.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Director: Stefan Uher
Starring: Frantisek Bubik, Alexandr Brezina, Kamil Marek, Irma Bárdyová
Language: Slovak, Polish
Duration: 99 min.
Set in the times of the wartime Slovak State, a young Polish deserter and gifted organist finds shelter from the fascists in a Franciscan monastery.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Exactly one week from today at 5:38 PST at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce all of the official nominations for the 84th Academy Awards.
A few years ago, at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, the rules were changed so that the Best Foreign Language Film nomination procedure became a two-step process. With an initial committee setup to select the nine film shortlist from the pool of entries, which would then be further whittled down to the official five nominees by two committees, one based in LA and the other in New York. The entire Academy then votes on the winner from the five final nominees.
Since then, films from 25 different countries have made it to the shortlist. Canada leads with four shortlists; France, Germany, Israel, and Mexico each have been selected three times; and Algeria, Austria, Denmark, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden all twice. Twelve other countries have a been represented a single time.
So far this year I have been able to see 25 out of the 63 films submitted to the Foreign Language Film competition, just a few shy of the 28 films I caught by this time last year.
Read on for the Official 2012 Oscars Best Foreign Language Film Shortlist:
Monday, January 16, 2012
Director: Milčo Mančevski
Starring: Katrin Cartlidge, Rade Serbedzija, Grégoire Colin, Labina Mitevska
Language: Macedonian, English, Albanian
Duration: 113 min.
A story of the violence and political chaos tearing apart the newly independent nation of Macedonia.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Genre: Fantasy • Drama
Director: Manoel de Oliveira
Starring: Pilar López de Ayala, Ricardo Trêpa, Ana Maria Magalhães, Adelaide Teixeira
Duration: 97 min.
A magical tale about a young photographer who falls madly in love with a woman he can never have, except in his dreams.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly
Duration: 85 min.
Five 20-something friends are holed up in a remote cabin where they discover a Book Of The Dead. An archaeologist's tape recording reveals that the ancient text was discovered among the Khandarian ruins of a Sumerian civilization. Playing the taped incantations, the youths unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Director: Evan Glodell
Starring: Evan Glodell, Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson, Rebekah Brandes
Duration: 106 min.
As two friends venture out into the world to begin their adult lives, literally all their free time is spent building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa". While waiting for the world to end, their call to excitement comes unexpectedly when one of them meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan
Duration: 150 min.
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the Anatolian steppes: the sense that 'something new and different' could spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Director: Karel Kachyna
Starring: Zdenek Lstiburek, Vlado Müller, Nadezda Gajerová, Gustáv Valach
Language: Czech, German, Russian
Duration: 134 min.
A depiction of the Moravian countryside towards the end of World War II, as seen through the eyes and wild imagination of a small boy.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Starring: Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai
Language: Persian, English
Duration: 107 min.
Atafeh and her brother, Mehran, have grown up privileged, in a home filled with music, art, and intellectual curiosity. While Atafeh dreams of fame and adventure, and she and her best friend, Shireen, explore Tehran's underground scene with youthful exuberance and determination to be themselves, her brother returns home from drug rehab, renounces his former decadent life, and replaces his once obsessive practice of classical music with more destructive pursuits.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Genre: War Drama
Director: Zhang Yimou
Starring: Christian Bale, Xinyi Zhang, Ni Ni, Atsurô Watabe, Tianyuan Huang
Language: Mandarin, English, Japanese, Shanghainese
Duration: 145 min.
In 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Army overruns the city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller, an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Director: Peter Solan
Starring: Stano Danciak, Jana Gýrová, Jitka Zelenohorská, Marián Labuda, Július Pántik
Language: Slovak, German
Duration: 86 min.
A psychological study that takes place in an upscale Slovak nightclub, following the social interactions of various patrons and employees throughout the course of one winter evening...
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Genre: Crime Drama
Director: Justin Kurzel
Starring: Lucas Pittaway, Bob Adriaens, Louise Harris, Daniel Henshall
Duration: 120 min.
When 16 year-old Jamie is introduced to a charismatic man, a friendship begins. As the relationship grows so does Jamie's suspicions, until he finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of his new found father figure, John Bunting: Australia's most notorious serial killer.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Starring: Khomotso Manyaka, Keaobaka Makanyane, Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Lenabe, Aubrey Poolo
Duration: 100 min.
Just after the death of her newly-born sister, Chanda, 12 years old, learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Director: Ben Wheatley
Starring: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer
Duration: 95 min.
Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer, Jay, is pressured by his partner, Gal, into taking one last assignment.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Director: Ahmed Imamović
Starring: Sadžida Šetić, Nermin Tulić, Minka Muftić, Armin Rizavnović, Adis Omerović
Duration: 90 min.
This is an intimate story of the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide facing a world of contrasts. On one hand there is the relentless search for the truth while on the other there are the trivialities of modern living. In a transitional society obsessed with reality shows used as a device to fabricate individuals characterized by superficiality. When these two worlds collide in a dysfunctional society a bomb starts its countdown.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Genre: Comedy • Sci-fi
Director: Václav Vorlícek
Starring: Dana Medrická, Jirí Sovák, Olga Schoberová, Juraj Visny, Karel Effa
Duration: 80 min.
A scientist invents a machine that projects a sleeping person's dreams on a screen. The trouble begins when she tries the contraption out on her husband and discovers his dreams are filled with cartoon-like characters doing outrageous things. Disaster soon follows when the machine malfunctions and the dream characters become very real.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
First of all, Happy New Year!
If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might have noticed that lists aren't really my thing. Actually that's not entirely true, I do enjoy certain types of lists, the easy indisputable kind such as the annual Oscars Best Foreign Film submissions, or lists of films from various national film movements. Just not the neatly ranked and ordered best-of lists that everyone else loves. I know they are great for attracting traffic, but they just take so much bloody effort and decision making; and I'm so used to being lazy and indecisive, which is part of the reason why I haven't posted any so far. There's also that inevitable feeling that I'm overlooking or forgetting something important, and along with that the irrational fear of being called out for it. Silly I know, but it's the truth.
Of particular difficulty for me are the end-of-year top lists. Unlike music lists which are relatively easy to sort out, film release dates are staggered making it extremely difficult to distinguish for example what should be filed as a 2010 or a 2011 release, never mind it being impossible to actually see all of the previous year's contenders in a timely fashion, unless your name happens to be Roger Ebert or Quentin Tarantino.
So I'm stuck trying to make a list having seen only a small sample of the overall titles, while also mulling over whether or not to include a certain film because its World Premiere fell in the previous calendar year (even if it was only a tiny festival with 100 viewers in the audience), or do I use its local premiere date (half of which don't even get screened locally), or the date I saw it (in which case Wings of Desire (1987) would be my film of the year), and then there's always the IMDb date... My poor head hurts just thinking about all the possibilities. Perhaps one day we will all be lucky enough to have worldwide simultaneous streaming releases of films at home and in digitally enabled theaters, it doesn't hurt to dream right?
Anyhow rambling over. After careful consideration I've decided that one of my New Years resolutions is to stop making excuses and just start doing stuff, lists included. So, using a totally arbitrary start date, and leaving it open to frequent and future revisions, I now humbly reveal to you my very first list: