Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 The List

Everyone does a top 10 list. I’m following suit, but I’m also doing my list of movies I missed out on for 2007. Some weren’t available in my area, and some I just never got around to.

I’m not ranking the films in any particular order (mostly because I keep changing my mind).

Here’s looking forward to 2008 and maybe catching up!

My Top Movies for 2007

Pan’s Labyrinth – Mexico


Lives of Others – Germany

Four Minutes – Germany

El Violin – Mexico

Hands Off MississippiGermany

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Germany

Paprika – Japan

My Brother is an Only Child (Mio fratello è figlio unico) – Italy

Children of Men – Mexico

Love For Share – Indonesia

Films I missed out on in 2007

Memories of Matsuka – Japan

Yella – Germany

Red Like the Sky – Italy

Grave Decisions (Wer Früher Stirbt Ist Länger Tot) – Germany

The Counterfeiter –Germany

Winter Journey –Germany

Taxidermia –Hungary

The Unknown Woman (La Sconosciuta) – Italy

The Golden Door (Nuovomondo) – Italy

Along the Ridge (Anche libero va bene) – Italy

Letters From Iwo Jima – Japan

Hula Girls – Japan

Kala – Indonesia

Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite) – Germany

Thursday, December 20, 2007

European Film Promotion Names Nine Shooting Stars

An Italian, Hungarian and German were among nine Shooting Stars names by European Film Promotion – including two who starred in films during the FWSCI Film Series last month.

The nine will be honored at Feb. 11 at the Studio Hamburg Shooting Stars Award Ceremony during Berlinale, the Berlin Film Festival held in early February. Twenty-two were nominated for the recognition.

Germany’s Hannah Herzsprung the troubled pianist from Four Minutes, Italy’s Elio Germano (center) the young red-headed brother from My Brother Is an Only Child and Hungary’s Zsolt Nagy (bottom) who starred in Nosedive will be honored at the festival. Herzprung is slated to star with Nicole Kidman in Stephen Daldry’s The Reader – cementing her global status.

They’re joined by Romania’s Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days; the U.K.’s Andrew Garfield, Lions for Lambs and Boy A; Denmark’s Stine Fischer Christensen, After the Wedding; France’s Nicolas Cazale, The Grocer’s Son; the Netherlands’ Maryam Hassouni, Kicks; and Switzerland’s Joel Basman, Life for Sale.

The stars will meet international casting directors during the fest and their films will be showcased at the European Film Market. The award is part of the European Union’s media program.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mexican film industry reaches agreement to promo local films

Variety reports that Mexican film producers, distributors and theaters have reached an agreement to promote and show locally produced films.

The agreements would in part lead exhibitors “to run more trailers, guaranteed minimum two-week runs, as well as an increased percentage of ticket sales for films from first- and second-time directors,” the paper reported

After the past couple years when Mexican cinema felt the boost of such films as Pan’s Labrynth, El Violin and Babel, it will take the agreements from local theaters to carry Mexican films. Without a commitment from venues, the Mexican film industry will continue to languish.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Berlinale to Honor Italian Director Francesco Rosi

The Homage of the 58th Berlin International Film Festival will be dedicated to the renowned Italian director Francesco Rosi. In his work, Rosi has critically reflected on political, economic and intellectual developments in Italy. Within the scope of the Homage, Francesco Rosi will receive the Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement on February 14, 2008.

"With their explosive power, Rosi’s films are still persuasive today. His works are classics of politically engaged cinema," comments Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick on the Homage.

Francesco Rosi, who is now 85, has helped shape 50 years of Italian film history. The Berlinale Homage will present a selection of 13 films documenting Rosi’s oeuvre over the decades. With the film Salvatore Giuliano (1961/62), he first found his own personal style and established himself internationally: the film won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale in 1962 and will be screened at the Honorary Golden Bear award ceremony on February 14, 2008.

When Francesco Rosi made his directorial debut with La sfida (The Challenge) in 1958, he had already had years of experience as assistant director and screenwriter for several filmmakers, including Visconti. Neorealism defined his use of original locations and non-professional actors. In I magliari (1959, The Magliari) he drafted a realistic picture of rivalling Italian cloth salesmen in Hamburg, who were trying to make a place for themselves in the affluent West German society. In Salvatore Giuliano, Il caso Mattei (1971/72, The Mattei Affair, which won the Palme d'Or in Cannes) and Lucky Luciano (1972/73), he explored how economic and political power structures were intertwined with the Mafia. Set in his hometown of Naples, he exposed hushed-up building scandals in Le mani sulla città (1963, Hands Over the City), for which he received the Golden Lion in Venice. In the late 1970s, Francesco Rosi broke new ground, both aesthetically and thematically. In Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (1978/79, Christ Stopped at Eboli) and Tre fratelli (1980/81 Three Brothers), Rosi turned his attention to the inner lives of his characters. These films also mirrored the conflicts between Italy’s rich north and its poorer agricultural south - the latter presented in the archaically poetic landscape of Lucania in Cristo si è fermato a Eboli.

Francesco Rosi made his films with both Italian and international stars, including Gian Maria Volonté, Alain Cuny, Philippe Noiret, Rod Steiger and John Turturro. Rosi was also at all times responsible for the screenplays of his films – which he usually co-authored with a team of several writers; in addition, he did the research for his investigative films. On a number of films he collaborated with screenwriter Suso Cecchi d'Amico as well as with Raffaele la Capria and Tonino Guerra.

"Francesco Rosi’s films never fail to display great commitment and passion and still have an enormous impact today - a fact that underscores their greatness as works of art,” remarks Dr. Rainer Rother, Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, which is responsible for the Homage.

Many of Rosi’s films on highly topical issues in recent Italian and European history have sparked fierce public debates. In his cinematic (re-) construction of authentic cases, he lays out the evidence and in so doing adds a historical dimension to events.
- Berlinale Press Office

Friday, December 14, 2007

'El Violin' Takes New York Bow

After its regional debut in Fort Worth as part of the Fort Worth Sister Cities Film Series during the Lone Star International Film Festival, El Violin premiered last week in New York City.

The first full-length film by director Francisco Vargas is a Mexican film set during the 1970s during a period of revolutionary uprisings.

The beautifully shot, black-and-white film was popular among Fort Worth filmies during the FWSCI Film Series.

Check out the review from the New York Times.

The film is set for a wider distribution in Texas and the United States after the first of the year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let Award Season Begin

Scene from "My Brother is an Only Child".

Golden Globe Nominations Announced
So The Golden Globe nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association came down today and no films from our Sister City countries were nominated. Boo.
So those of us who saw three spectacular and eligible films during the FWSCI Film Series and Lone Star International Film Festival last november have reason to to be annoyed.
Ignored were Vier Minuten (Four Minutes) from Germany, Mio Fratello (My Brother is an Only Child) from Italy and Taxidermia from Hungary.
I was hoping View Minuten would make the cut and am a little surprised that Taxidermia didn't either. Taxidermia is Hungary's nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Vier Minuten received the best picture award at the German Lola Awards this summer.