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    Russian Film Festivals – Ivanovo, Sochi, Moscow 2008

    Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

    Care to piggyback a quartet of Russian film festivals? It’s much easier than you can imagine. Though a bit like playing the roulette table at Las Vegas. These days, your odyssey on a Russian summer festival circuit begins at the Russian Pavilion in the Marché du Film at Cannes. Newly opened, and serving as an [...]

    Spirituality in Cinema – Ecumenical Jury at Cannes

    Sunday, July 13th, 2008

    Stroll through the lower level of the Palais des Festivals at the Cannes film festival, and you bump into the Ecumenical Jury Stand – prominently positioned on the corner of Row 13. Throughout the festival, the stand is a beehive of activity. Respected by critics and filmmakers alike, the Ecumenical Jury has been part and [...]

    Rumba - Mime Comedy Romp

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    After sitting through some pretty heavy entries in the official program during the first few days of the Cannes festival, the chance to enjoy some side-splitting belly laughs during the opening night presentation of Rumba (Belgium/France, 2008)) in the International Week of the Critics was welcomed, to say the least. Directed by a veteran Belgian [...]

    Pablo Trapero’s Lion’s Den - Woman’s Prison Odyssey

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    As films about women’s prison’s go, Pablo Trapero’s Leonera (Lion’s Den) (Argentine/Brazil/South Korea, 2008) doesn’t offer much new, save that this one in Buenos Aires is only for pregnant women whose children are about to be born. This factor alone lends Lion’s Den extra, and welcomed, authenticity in an otherwise familiar genre.

    Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness - No Exit Game

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    Take a book by a Portuguese Nobel Prize winning author (José Saramago), an Oscar-nominated Brazilian director (Fernando Meirelles), and a four-time Oscar nominated actress (Julianne Moore), plus a dozen rather well known actors in supporting roles (Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alice Braga), and the mix seemed right for the opening night at [...]

    Kornel Mundruczo’s Delta - Tragic Incest Tale

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    Awarded the Golden Reel and International Critics Prize at the Hungarian Film Week in Budapest last February, Kornel Mundruczo’s Delta (Hungary/France/Germany, 2008) arrived at Cannes as a front runner for Palme d’Or laurels. To say nothing of the director’s career as a rising auteur linked directly to the good graces of this festival.

    Gomorra - Matteo Garrone on Naples Camorra

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    The most talked about film at Cannes, Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah (Gomorra) (Italy, 2008) is based on the non-fiction bestseller with the same title written by Roberto Saviano about the inner workings of the Camorra mafia in Naples. Indeed, since the book’s publication, author-researcher Roberto Saviano has been living under police guard.

    Ari Folman’s Waltz with Basir - Antiwar Classic

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008

    An antiwar film of the first rank, Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir (Israel/France/Germany/USA, 2008) tackles a tabu theme seldom treated in Israeli media. Programmed in the competition at Cannes, this feature-length animated documentary chronicles Israeli complicity in the June 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese Phalangists in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and [...]

    Deneuve Toplines Desplechin’s Christmas Tale

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008

    Critically acclaimed in the French press as one of the key directors in the “new” nouvelle vague – along with Luc Besson, Leos Carax, Claire Denis, and Olivier Assayas – Arnaud Desplechin rose to the top of that list when his Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) (France, 2008) was screened at Cannes [...]

    Dardenne Brothers’ Lorna’s Silence - Hat Trick Bid

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008

    For many Cannes critics, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s were an odds-on favorite for top festival laurels with the promising Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna’s Silence) (Belgium/France/Italy/Germany, 2008). And one can surmise from some inside reports that the Belgian brothers team worked hard to find the proper thematic material to become the first to score a hat trick [...]

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