Unlikely perhaps, but one that's sure to thrill Chlotrudis members. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda first caught our attention with the masterful AFTER LIFE in the late 90s. Since then he challenged us with the powerfully unreadable DISTANCE, and the emotionally crushing NOBODY KNOWS. HANA has yet to receive distribution in the U.S., and Chlotrudis is co-presenting his latest completed effort, STILL WALKING, at the Independent Film Festival of Boston next weekend. South Korean actress and Chlotrudis nominees Du-Na Bae first caught our eye in the lovely TAKE CARE OF MY CAT, before wowing us with her comedic chops in the effervescent LINDA! LINDA! LINDA! and thrilling us with her archery-wielding heroine in THE HOST. But when these two come together later this year, the result promises to be something truly very special.
In Kore-eda's Kûki Ningyô (AIR DOLL), Du-Na Bae plays an inflatable sex-doll who gains a soul and comes to life, eventually falling in love with a video store clerk played by Arata, one of the counsellors from AFTER LIFE. Kore-eda intends to convey the deeper emotional impact of the story, exploring both the pain and joy of being alive, and with Du-Na Bae in the title role, it's bound to be very special.
Now you can see a 5 minute clip on the making of AIR DOLL featuring a magical sequence where we see that the doll has the ability to float. Check it out over at Nippon Cinema.
It's amazing what you'll find, Googling mindlessley on a Saturday morning. (Don't ask what I Googled, by the way.) I was unexpectedly redirected to Logo Online where I watched "Hirsute", a 14-minute short film by A.J. Bond. Bond, a Canadian (go figure) actor and film editor, apparently has launched his directing career with this fascinating low-tech sci-fi short and the results are fantastic. I've always been a fan of really smart time travel stories and this film reminds me of one of my favorite books in the genre, The Man Who Folded Himself by the legendary David Gerrold. (Yeah, the guy who wrote the Star Trek "Trouble With Tribbles" episode.) Only "Hirsute" is more cynical. And that's not a bad thing.
Bond seems like a pretty intelligent guy and I'm pleased to see that he was in Chlotrudis friend Gary Burns' Kitchen Party, not to mention providing the voice of "Bad Hat" Pepito in the Madeleine cartoon. I wonder if we should have him down for the awards to speak about editing. Did I mention that he's Canadian?
I don't usually watch much Logo, as films set out to be "gay films" are usually pretty disappointing. But maybe I'll have to start flipping past that channel more often.
Cinematical reports that Chlotrudis Hall-of-Famer Philip Seymour Hoffman will be stepping behind the camera for the first time with JACK GOES BOATING, an adaptation of an Off-Broadway play by Bob Glaudini. Phil will also star in this quirky, romantic comedy opposite GONE BABY GONE'S Amy Ryan. With "cooking classes, swimming lessons, and illegal drugs" involved in the plot, it's sure to be quirky and fun. Given Phil's thoughtful film choices as an actor, and his experience directing for the stage, it's a safe bet that he will make a fine film director.
Next up for Phil as an actor is the intriguing-sounding Richard Curtis film, THE BOAT THAT ROCKED. Phil will co-star opposite Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy and Kenneth Brannagh among others, and Curtis is responsible for the Mr. Bean films and the Bridget Jones films among others. Sounds like fun to me!
I haven't been paying a whole lot of attention to this year's award's season yet, and while I've been watching with some interest the critics' prizes for 2008, I haven't been moved to post anything about them. This week the Director's Guild of America and Cinema Eye Honors have announced the first rounds in their respective awards, and I felt they worth pointing out. The former because it's always interesting to see which directors are being honored by their peers, and the latter because Cinema Eye Honors is a project created by IndiePix and Chlotrudis Awards Advisory Council member A.J. Schnack.
The Director's Guild's nominations are pretty unsurprising if you've been paying attention to the critics' lists these past few weeks. The winner will be announced on January 31.
The Cinema Eye Honors released their short list of documentary contenders from which a list of nominees will be culled. It's a pretty varied list with representation from all styles in the non-fiction filmmaking spectrum.
THE BETRAYAL (NERAHKOON)
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
THE ENGLISH SURGEON
IN A DREAM
MAN ON WIRE
THE ORDER OF MYTHS
ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
STRANDED, I COME FROM A PLANE THAT CRASHED ON THE MOUNTAINS
TROUBLE THE WATER
UP THE YANGTZE
WALTZ WITH BASHIR
Looks like Chlotrudis members have been slacking off with their reviews! Nominations will be announced on January 19 in Park City, Utah, and the awards will be announced in New York City on March 29. A.J. has an in-depth look at the nominees at his blog. Expect several of these docs to show up on the Chlotrudis Best Documentary list, to be announced during the first week of February.
As we all know, I wasn't able to go to the Toronto International Film Festival this year. It was difficult for me, but I will survive. Thanks to Wiebke, Alberta and Tracy for sharing in my pain. I would loved to have seen them on this trip.
Fortunately, as you've seen, Beth is doing a great job providing coverage for Chlotrudis, and there are a lot of online film outfits covering the festival from top to bottom, so I almost feel like I'm there. Today I read the first piece that made me really excited.
Obviously I'm excited about the upcoming releases, BLINDNESS, written by Don McKellar, and ADORATION, the latest film from Atom Egoyan, but I have no doubt I will be seeing both of these films soon after the festival when they are released Stateside. I think I am most excited, however about the new film by French director Claire Denis called 35 RHUMS. I'm hoping someone from Chlotrudis caught it (I'm sure I can count on Ivy) but indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez reports on it in his blog. Here's an excerpt:
...its a wonderful movie that I've had a hard time shaking. 35 RHUMS offers quiet moments with its characters -- each striving for someone, or something, else. Agnes Godard's photography and Tindersticks' music, in particular, are striking and beautiful.
Eugene refers to a review in indieWIRE by Shane Danielsen who also had a great quote:
I was looking forward to a number of films here, but none more than the latest from Claire Denis. Such anticipation usually ends in disappointment, but 35 RHUMS only confirmed her mastery. Her finest piece of work since 1999's superb BEAU TRAVAIL, it seemed like nothing so much as her version of a late Ozu, a latter-day response to EQUINOX FLOWER and LATE SPRING -- and like those films, it's about the bonds of family, and people being kind and desiring the best, for themselves and for each other. Yet it's no mere homage; rather, it's imbued with Denis' own, unmistakeable sensibility, the patient and watchful eye that disinguished earlier Paris-set masterpieces like I CAN'T SLEEP and FRIDAY NIGHT.
Now I just have to hope that I won't be waiting too long before we get to see it in the States.
This year, for the first time, we decided to arrive at the Provincetown International Film Festival for Opening Night, so Scot, Beth Caldwell and I boarded the fabulous, if ungodly early Ptown Ferry at 8 a.m. to get a day of relaxing before the movies kicked in. We checked in to Romeo's Holiday, our B&B, got our terrific massages by Lenny, and were prepared for our opening night film.
I'm not sure what I expected from Madonna's directorial debut, but I know the main reason why I came was because of a fairly positive review I read from the Berlin Film Festival. Had I dug a little deeper, I would have found this Variety review and stayed far away. That said, FILTH & WISDOM is not without some redeeming qualities (its 81 minute running-time being one of them), and it was fun to be a part of the opening night film. As an added bonus, actress Vicky McClure, one of the film's three leads, was present for the Q&A, which I have to say was a more enjoyable experience than the film itself.
The main problem with FILTH & WISDOM wasn't the direction (although a more experience director would have certainly done a better job, Madonna did a perfectly fine job at the helm) but the writing. While the imdb credits the screenplay to Dan Cadan, the film itself listed the screenwriters as Madonna and Cadan. Based on her own experiences, Madonna would have been better served by a better script. The story, about three roommates living in London and going through some tough times is fairly disjointed (certainly as evidenced by the plot explanations needed by the audience during the Q&A!) and certainly less than compelling. There is some philosophical claptrap about, you guessed it, filth and wisdom, the filth being evident, but where she came up with the wisdom is anyone's guess.
The actors acquitted themselves well, and there are moments of a delicate directing touch that surprised me such as a moving moment with an Indian housewife (that really shouldn't have been in the film in the first place as it came out of nowhere). As A.K., the philosophizing, Ukranian punk-rocker/sex worker, Eugene Hutz (EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED) is certainly a compelling figure and is making quite the name for himself in what seems to be a new stock character. Vicky McClure is wonderfully effective despite the script limitations as a down-on-her-luck retail worker at a chemist who longs only to travel to Africa to help orphans. From the sounds of the Q&A Madonna is a director who works well with her actors, possibly from her experience acting in films. Only time will tell if she can hone her craft to create a truly worthwhile film. 2.5 cats.
After a quick dinner, we regrouped with Beth and Beth for PIFF's opening night party at Crown & Anchor. Again, as my first time attending Opening Night, I was surprised by the number of people who attended that party. The ubiquitous John Waters was there, of course, as were many of the filmmakers with films in this year's festival. One pleasant surprise was re-connecting with Lucia Small (pictured left with Beth Curran and me), director of the Chlotrudis Awards nominated MY FATHER, THE GENIUS, whose latest film, THE AXE IN THE ATTIC is playing this year. Lucia used to live in Boston, but has relocated to NYC, so we haven't seen each other for a while. She's such a delightful person, it was so nice to catch up with her.
How can you not love David Lynch?
Lots of little tidbits to catch up on here, but I just had to start with this one. Many Chlotrudis members have been intrigued by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's film career. He started out as a photographer, and since 1995 has also written and directed five films. The last two, CLIMATES and DISTANT, garnered quite a bit of attention stateside after winning some awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Both films told intimate, personal stories and were lauded for their stunning visuals.
Now Twitch reports that a trailer for THREE MONKEYS, Ceylan's forthcoming film which just premiered at Cannes, has been released. Ceylan is an acknowledged master at the art of filming in HD, and while I'm not usually one to gush over visuals (although you should have heard me raving about the picture quality of the Blu-Ray disc for JUNO) you've just got to take a look at this trailer. Not only is it intriguing and make me want to see the film, it's really just visually spectacular. Go take a look.
Twitch has the first official line-up announcement for the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and there are some interesting films from the Chlotrudis point-of-view. ADORATION is Atom Egoyan's first film since 2005's WHERE THE TRUTH LIES. In his latest work, Atom shifts his attention to high schoolers and in a logical progression from his fascination with video, he looks at how kids' relationships are affected by the Internet. ADORATION stars Scott Speedman, Rachel Blancard, and Arsinée Khanjian. Charlie Kaufman, writer of such mind-bending films as ADAPTATION and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, will be screening his directorial debut, SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. Other Chlotrudis-worthy directors include Nuri Blige Ceylan (CLIMATES), Arnaud Desplechin (KINGS & QUEEN), Lucretia Martel (THE HOLY GIRL), Wim Wenders (WINGS OF DESIRE), Ji-Woon Kim (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS), Jia Zhangke (THE WORLD) and Stephen Soderbergh (BUBBLE).
Here's the full list:
Nuri Bilge Ceylan - Three Monkeys (Turkey-France-Italy)
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne - Le Silence De Lorna (France-Belgium)
Arnaud Desplechin - A Christmas Story (France)
Clint Eastwood - Changeling (US)
Atom Egoyan - Adoration (Canada)
Ari Folman - Waltz With Bashir (Israel)
Philippe Garrel - La Frontiere De L’Aube (France)
Matteo Garrone - Gomorra (Italy)
Charlie Kaufman - Synecdoche, New York (US)
Eric Khoo - My Magic (Singapore)
Lucretia Martel - La Mujer Sin Cabeza (Argentina-Spain)
Brillante Mendoza - Serbis (The Philippines)
Kornel Mondruczo - Delta (Hungary-Germany)
Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas - Linha De Passe (Brazil)
Paolo Sorrentino - Il Divo (Italy)
Pablo Trapero - Leonera (Argentina-South Korea)
Wim Wenders - The Palermo Shooting (Germany)
Jia Zhangke - 24 City (China)
Steven Soderbergh - Che (US-Spain-France)—one four-hour competion title comprised of Guerrilla and The Argentine
Out of competition
Steven Spielberg - Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (US)
Mark Osborne and John Stevenson - Kung Fu Panda (US)
Ji-Woon Kim - The Good, The Bad, The Weird (South Korean)
Woody Allen - Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spain-US)
Marina Zenovich - Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (US)
Wong Kar-wai - Ashes Of Time Redux (Hong Kong-China-Taiwan)
Daniel Leconte - C’est Dur D’etre Aime Par Des Cons (France)
Marco Tullio Giordana - Sangue Pazzo (Italy-France)
Terence Davies - Of Time And The City (UK)
Emir Kusturica - Maradona (Spain)
Jennifer Lynch - Surveillance (US)
Hong-Jin Na - The Chaser (South Korea)
Cinematical has announced that British thesp, and Chlotrudis nominee Paddy Considine will try his hand at directing a feature narrative. Considine was nominated in the Best Supporting Acting Category in 2005 for MY SUMMER OF LOVE. He first caught our eye in Pawel Pawlikowski's outstanding LAST RESORT, appeared in 2002's 24-HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, and was recently seen in the British comedy, HOT FUZZ. Mainstream audiences might remember him in last year's THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM.
Considine wrote and directed a short film entitled DOG ALTOGETHER starring Peter Mullan last year. His new project is titled TYRANNOSAUR which will star British TV actress Olivia Colman. There won't be any dinosaurs in TYRANNOSAUR however; the film focuses on a woman leaving an abusive relationship. Filming will begin at the end of the year.