Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sister Cities Announces Festival Film Series

FWSCI Film Series Boasts Fun & Thrilling
US & Regional Film Premieres and Live Entertainment

Fort Worth, TX (Sept. 27, 2007) – Fort Worth Sister Cities (FWSCI) today announced its line up for the Sister Cities Film Series, a sidebar event during the Lone Star International Film Festival in downtown Fort Worth, including three regional premiers.
“Sister Cities International has drawn on our global connections to bring fun and edgy films to Fort Worth for this series,” said Steve Roth, FWSCI film chairman. “Our goal is to show people that today’s foreign films aren’t stodgy. They’re exciting and eye opening. They’re where Hollywood often turns for tomorrow’s blockbuster.”
The films represent six of Fort Worth’s seven international Sister Cities: Trier, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Bandung, Indonesia; Reggio Emilia, Italy; Nagaoka, Japan; and Toluca, Mexico. Mbabane, Swaziland, the city’s seventh Sister City, will be honored during the festival with a reception hosted by The Africa Channel.
The Films
• HÄNDE WEG VON MISSISSIPPI (Hands Off Mississippi), directed by Detlev Buck, US debut,
• EL VIOLIN (The Violin), directed by Francisco Vargas, regional debut, Mexico
• MIO FRATELLO E FIGLIO UNICO (My Brother is an Only Child), directed by Daniele Luchetti, regional
debut, Italy
• HORUMAIKA, documentary, directed by Shinichi Hashimoto, Japan
• HANA YORI MO NAHO (Hana), presented by FUNimation Entertainment, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan
• FEHER TENYER (White Palms), directed by Szabolcs Hajdu, Hungary
• BERBAGI SUAMI (Love for Share), directed by Nia Di Nata, regional premier, Indonesia
• “Contemporary Classic Film” LOLA RENNT (Run Lola Run), directed by Tom Tykwer, Germany
Swaziland has no film industry, and therefore is not represented with a feature film. A special pass for all eight Sister Cities Film Series movies is $45 (a $19 savings) and individual tickets are $8.
Tickets for the FWSCI Film Series are on sale now at until Oct. 31, 2007. Beginning Nov. 1, tickets will be available via Lone Star International Film Festival and at theaters during the festival. The FWSCI Film Series will be presented at the AMC Palace Theater, 220 E. Third St., in downtown, Friday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007.
Additionally, Sister Cities will host cultural performances representing each of the seven Sister Cities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 on the patio stage at 8.0 Bar and Cafe in downtown Fort Worth.
“We’re providing a day of international excitement during the festival with our free performances,” said Peter Fekety, FWSCI Film Series entertainment chairman. “We wanted to bring the flair of the festival out of the theaters and into the streets. We’ll have everything from drummers to dancers.”
The annual Fort Worth Mayor’s International Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007 will be the official kick-off event for Sister Cities during the Lone Star International Film Festival. Second City comedy group will be the featured entertainment. Second City alums include Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert. Come see tomorrow’s film and TV stars while they’re unknown. Tickets are $125 for individual tickets and can be purchased through Sister Cities at 817.392.2650.
The Lone Star International Film Festival runs Nov. 7 through Nov. 11 and promotes the work of emerging international filmmakers by providing resources to distribution and cutting edge technology. Through both competition and showcases, the Lone Star International Film Festival aims to cultivate global cultural awareness through the art of the moving image by selecting quality independent films, and showcase Fort Worth, Texas, as an international destination, highlighting both cultural and professional resources.
About the Lone Star Film Society: The Lone Star Film Society exists to preserve and present the art of the moving image and to examine its influence on world culture. LSFS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, dedicated to cultivating an appreciation of the Visual Arts; engendering visual literacy, supporting community efforts regarding the film; and to building recognition for Fort Worth as an international film destination. The LSFS supports its mission through a variety
of activities including Classics at The Modern: Celebrity Choice, Lone Star Open Screen Night, Teen VideoFest, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and debuting November 2007, the Lone Star International Film Festival. For more information call (817) 735-1117 or visit
About Fort Worth Sister Cities International Inc.: Fort Worth Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network dedicated to creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development.
Fort Worth Sister Cities include Reggio Emilia, Italy; Nagaoka, Japan; Trier, Germany; Bandung, Indonesia; Budapest, Hungary; Toluca, Mexico; Mbabane, Swaziland. For more information, call (187) 392.2650 or visit


This Just In: New DVD Releases

Bitter Sweet (Nôkô furin: torareta onna), 2004, directed by Mitsuru Meike, Japan
When young Shoko (Konatsu) begins to have doubts about her impending marriage, she sets out to explore the boundaries of love by seducing and having an illicit affair with an older man (Hitoshi Ishikawa). This provocative and erotic study of love, betrayal and sexual awakening makes for a notable entry in the catalog of Japanese "pink" films. Yuya Matsuura, Rinako Hirasawa, Mutsuo Yoshioka and Kazuhiro Sano co-star.

A Woman Without Love (Una Mujer Sin Amor), 1951, directed by Luis Buñuel, Mexico
Married to an old and ailing antiques dealer (Julio Villarreal), lonely society wife Rosario (Rosario Granados) has an affair and becomes pregnant. She successfully hides the true identity of the child's father for 20 years -- until a large inheritance arrives for her son. Filmed in Mexico by master surrealist director Luis Buñuel, this melodrama is based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant.

Grandes Muralistas, 2004, Mexico
Art and politics converge in this dramatic exploration of two famous Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to paint a mural, the fiery Rivera ultimately saw it destroyed when he refused to remove a portrait of Communist Party leader Lenin. The film further canvases the work of Siqueiros, a socialist whose paintings were strongly influenced by the Mexican Revolution.

Leyendas Del Cine Mexicano: Vol. 2, 2004, directed by Luis Kelly, Mexico
Originally produced for television, these programs pay tribute to two of Mexican cinema's beloved stars: María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz. Known to her fans as La Doña, Félix enjoyed a long, celebrated career as an actress, a profession she came upon by accident. Similarly, Armendáriz made his start as a railroad worker and tour guide when a chance encounter with a film director led to movie stardom.

Robinson's Garden (Robinson No Niwa), 1987, directed by Masashi Yamamoto, Japan
A contemporary take on the Robinson Crusoe story, this lyrical Japanese drama takes place in Tokyo, where a young woman, Kumi, loses herself in an abandoned factory and the surrounding lush gardens she discovers on the edge of town. Entranced by the beauty she finds there, Kumi starts spending more and more time in this haunting paradise, until she withdraws completely from the world outside. Cutting-edge filmmaker Masashi Yamamoto directs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Edge of Heaven" edges out "Vier Minuten"

We haven't even gotten to the Academy Awards and already I'm shocked.

I haven't even seen either movie, but somehow The Edge of Heaven snuck up on Golden LOLA winner Vier Minuten (Four Minutes) to be named Germany's entry for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award.

The German government made the announcement yesterday.

I've heard nothing but good things about The Edge of Heaven, the Best Screenplay winner and winner of the Award of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes Film Festival this summer.

I guess what surprises me is the storyline and feel of Vier Minuten seems like a better fit for American audiences. Edge of Heaven is the story of a German father who marries a Turkish prostitute and the relationship between his son and the woman after the father dies. Vier Minuten is the story of a prison music teacher who finds a star pupil, who also happens to be serving a life sentence for murder.

Vier Minuten won the top prize (the Golden LOLA) at the Germany Academy Awards, as well as a Best Actress nod for Monica Bleibtreu

Meanwhile, Vier Minuten will console itself with a run for the Golden Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Let the battles begin.

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN Representing Germany in the Race for the OSCAR

The independent expert jury, appointed by German Films to select the German entry to compete for the 80th Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film, has – under the chairmanship of Dagmar Hirtz – chosen THE EDGE OF HEAVEN by Fatih Akin.

The jury on its decision: “Before a background of political and cultural differences in a globalized world, an exceptional love story and family story is told between Germans and Turks. The film convinces with its dramaturgical composition, visual arrangement and its emotional portrayal.”

The production by corazón international/Hamburg (producers: Fatih Akin, Andreas Thiel, Klaus Maeck), in co-production with NDR/Hamburg, Anka Film/Istanbul and Dorje Film/Rome had its world premiere in the international competition of the 2007 Cannes International Film Festival, where it won the prize for Best Screenplay and the Award of the Ecumenical Jury.

Fatih Akin on the jury decision: “I am extremely happy. What luck, that Tom Tykwer filmed PERFUME in English.”

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN was also screened in the official competition in Bangkok and at Cinemanila (winning the award for Best Film) and celebrated its successful North American premiere just recently at the Toronto International Film Festival.

World sales agent The Match Factory has already sold the film to over 50 territories, including France, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Korea, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN will be released in German cinemas on 27 September 2007 by Pandora Filmverleih.

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN was supported by the German Federal Film Board (FFA), BKM, FilmFoerderung Hamburg, Filmstiftung NRW, Nordmedia, and the Kulturelle Filmfoerderung Schleswig-Holstein.

On 22 January 2008, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will nominate five films from the international entries to participate in the final selection to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The official awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 24 February 2008.

Edge of Heaven

Vier Minuten

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Eduardo Lucatero

Corazon Marchito (Wilted Heart) 2007, directed by Eduardo Lucatero, Mexico
El (Mauricio Ochmann) is just like his friends, engaging in the time-honored traditions of falling in love, dating, breaking up, making up and breaking up again. Of course, now that he's found the perfect woman, Ella (Ana Serradilla), he expects that this time it'll be for real. Luis Fernando Peña, Ivan Esquivel and Fernanda Castillo co-star in writer-director Eduardo Lucatero's knowing romantic comedy.

Coleccion Pedro Infante: A Toda Maquina (A.T.M.: ¡¡A Toda Máquina), 1951, directed by Ismael Rodríguez, Mexico
Pedro Chávez (Pedro Infante) arrives in Mexico City, where he befriends Luis (Luis Aguilar), a cop with the city's elite motorcycle unit. Luis takes Pedro in and finds him a position with the police department and soon discovers he has competition for his job and his girlfriend (Aurora Segura). Infante did all his own motorcycle driving for this musical comedy, which features his signature tune, "Bésame Mucho."

Coleccion Pedro Infante: Los Tres Garcia, 1947, directed by Ismael Rodríguez, Mexico
Three cousins, Luis Antonio (Pedro Infante), José Luis (Abel Salazar) and Luis Manuel (Victor Manuel Mendoza), raised by a strict, cigar-chomping grandmother (Sara García), fall for their American-born cousin Lupita (Marga López). Their infatuation threatens to tear them apart, until Grandma steps in to solve the matter. Meanwhile, a specter from the young men's past returns to endanger the entire family.

Coleccion Pedro Infante: Los Tres Huastecos, 1948, directed by Ismael Rodríguez, Mexico
Separated after the death of their mother, the three Andrade brothers -- Juan, a priest, Victor, a soldier, and Lorenzo, a dangerous outlaw -- are unexpectedly reunited as adults, creating moral conflicts and cases of mistaken identity. Pedro Infante plays all three roles in this musical comedy directed by frequent Infante collaborator Ismael Rodríguez. Blanca Estela Pavón, María Eugenia Llamas and Fernando Soto co-star.

Coleccion Pedro Infante: Vuelven los Garcia, 1947, directed by Ismael Rodríguez, Mexico
In this sequel to Los Tres Garcia, the three Garcia cousins -- impulsive Luis Antonio (Pedro Infante), reserved José Luis (Abel Salazar) and worldly Luis Manuel (Victor Manuel Mendoza) -- are threatened by their family's rivals, the Lopez clan. Guided by their strict, cane-wielding grandmother (Sara García), the trio find themselves reluctantly drawn into a duel. Marga López and Rogelio A. González co-star.

El Mago (The Magician), 2004, directed by Jaime Aparicio, Mexico
Street magician Tadeo (Erando González) discovers he has a terminal illness and only a few months to live. Embarking on a personal journey of closure, he reconnects with those who have affected his life the most. He reaches out to his ex-wife, a dead friend's son, his blind assistant, a neighbor -- all in hopes of giving his final days a sense of meaning. Julissa, Gustavo Muñoz and Maya Zapata co-star in director Jaime Aparicio's moving drama.

In the Sight, 2006, directed by Koji Kawano, Japan
A woman stuck in an alternate reality must get to the bottom of a murder before she can return to her dimension in this eerie Japanese horror flick. During a stint in the hospital, a young lady crosses paths with a spectral boy who roams the halls endlessly and, after being released, she receives a mysterious e-mail that propels her into a parallel universe. Can she solve the mystery behind the youngster's demise and get back home?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ang Lee Helms Venice Festival Upset

Raunchy Ang Lee film wins Venice festival's top award
Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

A sexually explicit film by the former Oscar winner Ang Lee won the coveted Golden Lion top prize at the Venice film festival last night. Lust, Caution is a Mandarin language espionage thriller which has already caused a stir with very graphic sex scenes.

Lee, who won the Golden Lion with Brokeback Mountain at Venice in 2005 before it went on to take Oscars, has argued that his film is “not pornography” although he did admit that it is not suitable for children.

The high hopes of many for the British film Atonement, starring Keira Knightley, were dashed, however — it won no awards.

There was some British success, including a prize for Paul Laverty, screenwriter for the Ken Loach film It’s a Free World.

Lee’s film, based on a novella by Eileen Chang, follows a Chinese woman in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during the second world war. She finds herself at the centre of a plot to seduce and kill a married enemy collaborator.

In America, where the film opens later this month, Lust, Caution has been given the NC17 rating. This can sometimes lead to only a limited release because many American cinema chains refuse to show such adult-only films for fear of putting off families.

The film also contains some violent scenes, especially one in which students stab and bludgeon a man to death graphically. It has already been announced that some of the sex scenes will be removed for the film’s release in China.

Lee is now acknowledged as one of the best and most versatile directors in the world. His output varies from Sense and Sensibility, based on the Emma Thompson screenplay of the Jane Austen novel, to The Ice Storm, a Hollywood story of suburban sexual politics. Other Venice winners include Cate Blanchett for her role as the young Bob Dylan in I’m Not There.

Ang Lee Film Wins Golden Lion at Venice Festival
By Iain Millar

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, an erotic thriller set in 1940s Shanghai, won the Golden Lion top prize at the Venice Film Festival, closing the 64th competition.

I'm Not There, a U.S. movie directed by Todd Haynes and inspired by Bob Dylan, and La Graine et le Mulet, a French film by Abdellatif Kechiche, shared the Special Jury Prize.

Accepting the award, Lee paid homage to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, who died on July 30. ``When I was in preproduction, I visited Ingmar Bergman on his island,'' Lee said. ``He touched my face liked a mother touches a child. He hugged me. Tonight, I pass that hug to you.''

Brian De Palma was voted best director for Redacted, which is about the conflict in Iraq. "Prizes are always great because it helps your film to be seen,'' De Palma said. "But critics and prizes just tell you what the fashion of the day is. We don't make movies to win prizes.''

The award for best actor went to Brad Pitt for his performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, directed by Andrew Dominik. Cate Blanchett won the best actress prize for her role in I'm Not There.

"Cate turned what could have been a stunt into a compelling performance,'' director Haynes said.

Paul Laverty won the award for best script for It's a Free World' by Ken Loach, and Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci was presented with a special Golden Lion for his career. The seven- member jury was headed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou.

In this year's festival, 23 films vied for the Golden Lion, which last year went to Still Life' by the Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke. Veteran French filmmaker Alain Resnais won the Silver Lion for best director in 2006 for Private Fears in Private Places.

The first Venice Film Festival was held in 1932. Among the earliest prize winners were directors Rene Clair and Rouben Mamoulian and actors Frederic March and Helen Hayes.

(Iain Millar is a critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hungary Selects 'Taxidermia' Academy Award Entry

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Taxidermia, a controversial Hungarian film that both shocked and delighted critics and audiences when it premiered in Budapest last year, has been chosen as the Central European country's nomination for best foreign-language Oscar.
Gyorgy Palfi's second feature is a strange and disturbing parableAbout post-World War II Hungarian history featuring graphic representations of masturbation, overeating in the name of competitive Olympic "speed eating" and a shocking conclusion in which a man performs machine-assisted taxidermy on himself.
Taxidermia was the main prize winner at last year's Hungarian Film Week, and its world premiere came as part of Cannes' Un Certain Regard sidebar that same year.
Produced by Budapest-based Eurofilm Studio, headed by Peter Miskolczi and Gabor Varadi, the film also has picked up awards at the Chicago and Antalya Eurasia film festivals.The film, which is handled for world sales by Netherland's Fortissimo Films, has seen theatrical releases in parts of Europe and the U.K., with releases in the United States, the Far East and Middle East planned soon, Hungarian film body Filmunio said Thursday.

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Oscar-winner Miyoshi Umeki dead at 78

TOKYO (Hollywood Reporter) -- Miyoshi Umeki, the first Asian to win an Oscar, died Aug. 28 at a nursing home in Licking, Mo. She was 78.
Umeki won the Academy Award for best supporting actress in 1957 after playing opposite Red Buttons in Sayonara, the screen version of the James Michener novel about a U.S. soldier who falls in love amid the chaos at the end of World War II.
Fated to be parted when he is ordered to return to the U.S., the pair commits suicide.
"This is a major loss to the Japanese movie industry," said Yuko Nakano, a spokeswoman for the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan.
Born in the northern city of Otaru in 1929, Umeki began her performing career by singing jazz numbers at military camps during the occupation.
After spells on radio and TV in Japan, she moved to the United States in 1955, when she quickly caught the attention of Sayonara director Joshua Logan.
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Germany selects finalists for entry at Academy Awards

German Films, the German film commission, today announced the seven German films that will compete for the country’s entry for the 80th Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film.
My early favorite for the German entry is Vier Minuten. The film won the Lola for best film in Germany this summer. The media and public have raved and everything I’ve read or seen about the film looks amazing.
A nine-person independent expert jury with representatives from the most important associations of the German film industry will decide after viewing the seven films which of them will be sent into the Oscar race for Germany.
The films are:
AND ALONG COME TOURISTS (AM ENDE KOMMEN TOURISTEN) by Robert Thalheim (23/5 Filmproduktion, Berlin)
THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (AUF DER ANDEREN SEITE) by Fatih Akin (corazón international, Hamburg)
STRIKE (STRAJK – DIE HELDIN VON DANZIG) by Volker Schloendorff (Provobis, Gesellschaft für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin)
FOUR MINUTES (VIER MINUTEN) by Chris Kraus (Kordes & Kordes Film, Berlin)
WINTER JOURNEY (WINTERREISE) by Hans Steinbichler (d.i.e. film, Munich)
The result will be made known by GERMAN FILMS on September 18 and must be submitted to the Academy in Los Angeles by October 1 at the latest.
The names of the selection jury have been published at, German Films & the Academy Awards.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

In the Pit, 2006, directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo, Mexico
Monumental in scope -- and requiring Herculean toil -- Mexico City's Periférico freeway construction project employs hundreds of workers, a group as diverse as the myriad motorists who zip by the building site. Documentarian Juan Carlos Rulfo captures the laborers on the job -- and in moments of well-deserved repose -- as they strive to complete the ambitious structure, a project that ultimately reflects all human endeavor.

Ping Pong, 2002, directed by Fumihiko Sori, Japan
Starring Yosuke Kubozuka (Go, Laundry) & Naoto Takenaka (Shall We Dance). Two high school students, complete opposites, compete in an extreme sport version of ping pong. The eye popping special effects have been compared to The Matrix.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Reggio Emilia Announces Competitors

Reggio Film Festival 2007 has announced the entrants to its short movies competition for the sections Women (Donne) and Open (Spazio Libero) categories. The list is now online at
The short movies Spazio Libero competing for the 2007 Festival will be screened in loop in some spots of Reggio Emilia (libraries, book shops, museums, pubs and bar) from September 17 to 23.
The public can vote for the favorite movie using the cards placed on the stands next to the "Punto Corto" spots. The most voted movies will be shown on September 29, the final day of ReggioFilmFestival.
There are 28 Italian, two German, and two American shorts competing in the Open Category.
The short movies included in the section Donne will be shown at Cinema Al Corso from September 27 to 29.
Therea are 19 Italian, three German and two American shorts in the Donne category.
The programme of events and projections will be available soon.
For any further information and hotel agreements please check on our site