Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 César Awards Winners

The 38th César Awards (the French Oscars) were held Friday, February 22 at the Theatre du Châtelet in Paris, in a three-hour ceremony presided by Jamel Debbouze and presented by Antoine de Caunes.

As expected by all, the big winner was Michael Haneke's Amour with 5 wins (Original Scenario, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Film).

Other multiple winners were Jacques Audiard's De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone) with 4 wins: (Best Adaptation, Most Promising Actor, Best Music, Best Editing); Benoît Jacquot's Les adieux à la reine (Farewell My Queen) with 3 wins: (Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design); and Alexandre de La Patellière & Matthieu Delaporte's Le Prénom (What's in a Name?) with 2 wins: (Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress).

Noémie Lvovsky's Camille redouble (Camille Rewinds), which came into the night with 13 nominations (the most of any film), and Leos Carax's Holy Motors (9 nods) both went home empty handed.

Read on for the full list of 2013 César Awards winners:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the House (2012)

In the House • Dans la maison (2012)
In the House • Dans la maison (2012)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Director: François Ozon
Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Ernst Umhauer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner, Denis Ménochet
Language: French
Duration: 105 min.
Rating: 7.9
A high-schooler insinuates himself into the house of a fellow classmate and writes about his family in essays that blur the lines between reality and fiction for his jaded literature teacher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's in a Name? (2012)

What's in a Name? • Le prénom (2012)
What's in a Name? • Le prénom (2012)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Alexandre de La Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte
Starring: Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Guillamue de Tonquedec, Judith El Zein
Language: French
Duration: 109 min.
Rating: 7.5
An innocuous dinner party of childhood friends goes south when a father-to-be announces the controversial name he plans on giving his child.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Camille Rewinds (2012)

Camille Rewinds • Camille redouble (2012)
Camille Rewinds • Camille redouble (2012)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Noémie Lvovsky
Starring: Noémie Lvovsky, Samir Guesmi, Yolande Moreau, Michel Vuillermoz
Language: French
Duration: 115 min.
Rating: 6.6
40-year-old struggling actress Camille awakens in a hospital bed as her 16-year-old self, and vows to save herself from the heartache that awaits her in the future.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Farewell My Queen (2012)

Farewell My Queen • Les adieux à la reine (2012)
Farewell My Queen • Les adieux à la reine (2012)
Genre: Drama
Director: Benoît Jacquot
Starring: Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, Virginie Ledoyen, Xavier Beauvois, Noémie Lvovsky
Language: French, English, German, Italian
Duration: 100 min.
Rating: 6.9
The last days of Marie Antoinette's reign as seen through the eyes of her young reader.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2013 Berlin International Film Festival: Award Winners

The closing ceremony of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, hosted by Anke Engelke, was held Saturday evening in the storied Berlinale-Palast at Potsdamer Platz.

The winner of the 2013 Golden Bear for Best Feature Film is Child's Pose from Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer.

The best director Silver Bear was awarded to American director David Gordon Green for Prince Avalanche.

The Silver Bear for best actor went to Nazif Mujic for An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker. The film also won the Jury Grand Prix, which went to director Danis Tanovic

The best actress award went to Paulina García for her role in the Chilean film Gloria.

The best first feature film award went to Australian feature The Rocket, directed by Kim Mordaunt. The story of a Laotian boy who has lost his home, and embarks on a tense journey with his family through a spectacular landscape.

Read on for the full list of award winners from the 63rd Berlinale:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 9 Report

Berlinale Palast

Recap of day 9 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Friday was the final day of premieres, with the last two competition films and one non-competition film screening at the Berlinale Palast.

Nobody's Daughter Haewon - The latest from South Korean festival darling Hong Sang-soo, is another of his signature offbeat comedic tales, this one about an affair between a young dreamer and her married professor.

The Croods - Screening out of competition, is the latest DreamWorks animated 3D extravaganza; a Flintstones-like story that follows the adventures of a stoneage family, with voice acting from Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener.

On My Way - From French director Emmanuelle Bercot, comes a road movie starring legendary actress Catherine Deneuve, about a woman in her sixties who goes out for cigarettes and decides to keep on driving, leaving her old life behind.

Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 8 Report

Recap of day 8 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Harmony Lessons - A rare debut feature in the main competition programme, from Kazakh writer director Emir Baigazin, tells the poetic story of a small town teenage boy who is bullied, and from the early buzz this has been getting, sounds like it could be a strong contender for the Golden Bear.

Dark Blood - Screening out of competition, from Dutch director George Sluizer, a never before released film that began production in 1993, and features the final role of River Phoenix. Salvaged by the director and reassembled with still images and his own voice to connect missing footage together.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 7 Report

Berlin Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Recap of day 7 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker - From Academy Award winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic No Man's Land (2001). A micro-budget hybrid documentary/dramatic recreation, that chronicles a true incident in the lives of a Roma family, played by the actual family involved.

Prince Avalanche - The European premiere of the latest from American indie director David Gordon Green, a remake of the Icelandic film Either Way (2011) by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, is a melancholic and philosophical comedy that follows two highway road workers who work in isolation in a stark landscape devastated by forest fire. Starring Emile Hirsh and Paul Rudd.

Night Train to Lisbon - Screening out of competition, from acclaimed Danish director Bille August, twice winner of the Palme d'Or, an adaptation of Pascal Mercier’s best-selling novel about a Swiss professor who abandons his buttoned-down life to embark on a journey of self discovery, starring Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, and Jack Huston.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 6 Report

Recap of day 6 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Closed Curtain - The fifth collaboration between Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi. More importantly, it was film made in secret, as Panahi is currently serving a 20 year ban from filmmaking and was not allowed to leave Iran to attend the festival. The story is about two people who commited illicit acts and are now hiding out in a villa.

Side Effects - Reported to be Steven Soderbergh's last film as a director, a provocative thriller about a New York couple whose world unravels after the psychotropic drugs the woman is prescribed leads to blackouts.

Camille Claudel 1915 - The seventh feature from French director Bruno Dumont, one of the most interesting filmmakers working today, who for the first time has cast a well known star in the lead role, Silver Bear winning actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient). The film chronicles a brief period in the tragic life of the famous French sculptor who was locked up in a psychiatric ward by her own family.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 5 Report

Recap of day 5 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Child's Pose - The third feature film from Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer, co-written with acclaimed Romanian New Wave screenwriter Razvan Radulescu. A minimalistic psychological drama centered on the relationship between an upper middle class mother and her son, in the days following a terrible accident.

Before Midnight - Screening out of competition, the European premeiere of Richard Linklater's anticipated sequel to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, a continuation of the two decade long romance between Jessie and Céline, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Linklater was presented with the Berlinale Camera Award at the film's premiere.

Layla Fourie - The third feature film from South African born Berlin based director Pia Marais. A classic noirish thriller set in Johannesburg where lingering effects of apartheid can still be felt today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Days 3-4 Report

Recap of days 3 and 4 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Six competition films were screened over the weekend.

A Long and Happy Life - The fifth feature film from Russian director Boris Khlebnikov, and shot by Pavel Kostomarov who won the cinematography award at Berlin in 2010 for How I Ended This Summer, is an existential drama set in Northern Russia, about a courageous man trying to stand by his convictions amidst a harsh environment.

Gold - The seventh feature film from German-Turkish director Thomas Arslan, and the only German film in the competition programme this year; is a fascinating sounding story set during the late nineteenth century Klondike Gold Rush. It follows a group of seven German immigrants who set off on a 2,500 km journey through the cold and uninviting Canadian wilderness, in the hopes of finding their fortunes. The film stars 2007 Silver Bear winning actress Nina Hoss as a woman determined to do anything to escape her squalid life.

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman - The debut feature film from acclaimed music video and commercial ad director Fredrik Bond, which was critically skewered following its premiere at Sundance last month. It's an action/comedy/romance story set in Romania, and stars Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood.

Gloria - The fourth feature film from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio who makes his first appearance at the Berlinale, is a tragicomedy about a 58 year old divorcée who is determined to defy old age and lonliness and have another go at life.

The Nun - From French director Guillaume Nicloux, is an adaptation of the controversial Denis Diderot novel most famously brought to the screen by Jacques Rivette in 1966. It stars young Belgian actress Pauline Etienne as Suzanne Simonin, a young woman sent to a convent against her will; and perenial festival favorite Isabelle Huppert as her sexually charged mother superior.

Vic+Flo Saw a Bear - The latest from Canadian critic and director Denis Côté, twice awarded for best director at the Locarno International Film Festival. Is a bizarre and unpredictable story of a woman recently released from prison, who moves to a remote house in the woods to try and find some peace and quiet.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 2 Report

Friedrichstadt-Palast © Berlinale
  • Day 2 - Friday, February 8

  • Recap of the second day of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

    Three competition films were screened today.

    From Poland, Malgorzata Szumowska's, In the Name of. One of three women directors in this year's competition. Her film tells the story of a homosexual Catholic priest in rural Poland who struggles with his secret love for a troubled youth.

    From the USA, Gus Van Sant's, Promised Land, written by and starring both Matt Damon and John Krasinski. A tale about a small town farm boy who has become a sucessful corporate salesman, and now faces some difficult moral choices. The film was by and large critically panned following its limited release in America late last year.

    From Austria, Ulrich Seidl's, Paradise: Hope, his first film presented in competition in Berlin, is the third and final part of his 'Paradise' trilogy following Love and Faith, making him the first director since Krzysztof Kieslowski to have films premiere in succession at Venice Cannes and Berlin. This one follows the overweight teenage daughter of the protagonist from Love, who is sent to a diet camp in the Austrian mountains at the same time her mother is vacationing in Kenya, where she falls in love with a much older doctor.

    Also screening in the Panorama section, was the European premiere of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, Don Jon's Addiction, which premiered at Sundance last month. A comedy written by and starring Gordon-Levitt as a porn-addicted pickup artist who begins to change his ways after he falls for a character played by Scarlett Johansson.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Berlin International Film Festival: Opening Day

Today was the opening day of the year's first major film festival, the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Press conferences were held to introduce the official competition jury and the opening film, one of the decade's most anticipated titles, The Grandmaster, directed by Jury President Wong Kar Wai, ahead of the evening's gala events.

Also in the International Jury are Danish Academy Award winning director Suzanne Bier (In a Better World); German director Andreas Dresen; American director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras; Iranian director Shirin Neshat; American actor Tim Robbins; and Greek producer and director Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg)

The Berlinale International Jury: Tim Robbins, Andreas Dresen, Shirin Neshat, Wong Kar Wai, Suzanne Bier, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Ellen Kuras

Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 Rotterdam International Film Festival Award Winners

After twelve exciting days, the 42nd edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam concluded this weekend. Awards were handed out for the festival's centerpiece Hivos Tiger Awards Competition in a ceremony held Friday, February 1 at the famed de Doelen concert hall in downtown Rotterdam.

The five member jury included: Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who participated via Skype because he was not allowed to leave his country; Spaniard José Luis Cienfuegos, the artistic director of the Sevilla European Film Festival; Dutch film director Kees Hin; Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa; and banned Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamedarya.

Directors: Mohammad Shirvani, Mira Fornayová, Daniel Hoesl
2013 Hivos Tiger Award €15,000 Prize
  • Fat Shaker
    directed by Mohammad Shirvani (Second Feature Film)
    The fascinating story of a fat father who tries to con money from women
  • My Dog Killer
    Slovakia Czech Republic
    directed by Mira Fornayová (Second Feature Film)
    An unflinching study of a trouble teen in small-town Slovakia
  • Soldier Jane
    directed by Daniel Hoesl (Debut Feature Film)
    A provocative portrait of two women from vastly different backgrounds
UPC Audience Award
  • Matterhorn
    directed by Diederik Ebbinge (Debut Feature Film)
    The tragicomical story of a widower who leads a lonely life.
Dioraphte Award
  • Wadjda
    Saudi Arabia Germany
    directed by Haifaa Al Mansour (Debut Feature Film)
    The tale of a young Saudi Arabian girl who dreams of having a green bicycle.
Congratulations to all the winners! Another batch of interesting films to look out for in the coming months.