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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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the design of THE LOVE WITCH

 

"The look of the film is really fantastic, but the script begins to run out of steam after the first quarter." -Rob

"Great write-up. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in 35mm." -Roger

 

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Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Entries in foreign films (371)

Friday
Mar172017

Have you heard of the Platino Awards?

Though The Film Experience likes to track key foreign awards (examples include the Césars, Goyas, and the Golden Horse, in addition to the massive Oscars circus, those groups proliferate just like American precursors do. I've lost track of how many awards that Asian cinema, for example, has. But how about South America? The Platino awards are relatively new. They're now in their fourth year honoring films from the Ibero-America region, which is to say primarily Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, i.e. former territories of Spain and Portugal, plus those countries for good measure.

Here's why we should start paying attention to them: in their short existence they've given Best Film to a truly outstanding picture every single time:  Chile's Gloria (2014) an amazing study of a divorcee rebuilding her romantic life with an Oscar worthy performance by Paulina García (we nominated her here); Argentina's rowdy, funny, Oscar nominated and deeply pleasurable anthology Wild Tales (2015); and Colombia's mystical wonder Embrace of the Serpent (2015) which you already know we're wild about.

Penelope Cruz is one of 37 women vying for a Best Actress nomination (for her new film Queen of Spain)

We don't have the nominee list yet as the ceremony isn't until July. Like the Oscars, they only allow a certain number of contenders from each country (2 or 3 in their case as opposed to Oscar's 1 film per country rule) but their long list includes a lot of Oscar submissions from the past season. Some highlights include Chile's playful fictionalized biopic Neruda, Brazil's critical sensation Aquarius, Almodovar's Julieta, the fantasy A Monster Calls, Paraguay’s father daughter road trip movie called Guaraní, and at least three LGBT titles: Chile's Rara which is an LGBT family drama, the Venezuelan Oscar submission From Afar, and the Cuban political drama Santa & Andres. You can see the complete longlist for Best Film here which will be narrowed down to 5 nominees soon. There are 37 women vying for the Best Actress nomination but we'd be shocked if both Emma Suarez from Julieta and Sonia Braga from Aquarius didn't make it.

 

Saturday
Mar112017

New Directors / New Films: Sexy Durga

New Directors / New Films which runs March 15th through the 26th is a festival of emerging international filmmakers here in NYC each year. We'll cover a few titles staring with a nightmare journey in India... 

Sexy Durga
Do you ever feel like you're missing something no matter how closely you pay attention? Not being well versed in Hinduism, it's difficult to make many inferences from the use of the goddess Durga in this film's title though calling her "Sexy" was quite a controversial move. I'm not sure why given that a quick bit of research reveals that she's a supreme goddess which sounds damn sexy to me...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb282017

New Facts & Trivia from the 89th Oscars

Before we begin, a quick note that we shouldn't have to share but we do because the rest of the universe has conspired against the proper way of doing things. When we refer to an Oscar ceremony year we are talking about the year of the films honored, not the random month of the following year in which the ceremony is held. What we just witnessed was the 2016 Oscars. We don't know who will even be nominated for the 2017 Oscars yet though we'll make some early bird predictions on April 1st as we do.

Anyway... FACTS. TRIVIA. FUN.

La La Land's loss was shocking but its performance at the Oscars was not completely without precedent. Two other films in Oscar's 89 years have won the rare combo of Best Actress and Best Director without winning Best Picture. That would be Cabaret (1972, also the single film to win the most Oscars without winning Best Picture) and 7th Heaven (1927) in the very first year of the Oscars. That silent film is an unusual case though as Janet Gaynor won Best Actress for three roles including Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Street Angel (Oscar quickly changed the rules so nominations could only be for one picture.) 

Arrival (8 nominations) is the first non-war film Best Picture nominee to win Sound Editing only...

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Saturday
Feb252017

Joint Statement from Best Foreign Language Film Directors

The nominated directors from this year's Best Foreign Language Film nominees (Land of Mine, A Man Called Ove, The Salesman, Toni Erdmann, and Tanna) have released a joint statement about the Oscars, human rights, and the growing climate of nationalism around the world. It's a must read.

They write...

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Friday
Feb102017

Interview: 'Tanna' Directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean on Australian Cinema, Oscar Season and Movies They Love

By Jose Solís.

At first glance Tanna might seem like another take on the Romeo and Juliet story, as we see two star-crossed lovers, living in the title South Pacific island, fight their way in a society that doesn’t understand their love. But upon giving it a closer look, the film reveals itself to be a fascinating anthropological study about the way in which ancient civilizations have been able to maintain their traditions for centuries, as the colonizers around them always seem to be on the verge of self-destruction. Watching the idyllic living of the Ni-Vanuatu people in the film makes one wish our governments also found ways to listen to everyone in the community. But even when it’s clear that not everything in the island is good, after all they’re living in a conservative patriarchal society, directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler are able to remove all romanticism, and deliver a document that works as a love story and an insightful look at a culture we know very little about.

The gorgeously shot Tanna features wonderful acting by the locals, non-professional actors who were chosen based on qualities that best approximated the characters they would play. For example leading man Mungau Dain was chosen because everyone believed he was the most handsome man on the island, and his leading lady Marie Wawa was chosen for her strength. The film was warmly received at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where it picked up two awards, and was selected as Australia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, making the final five when nominations were announced. I spoke to the directors about the challenges of shooting the film, their love for movies, and Oscar season.

Read the interview after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb092017

Interview: Director Martin Zandvliet on the Timeliness of His Oscar Nominated 'Land of Mine'

By Jose Solís.

In Land of Mine we see the aftermath of WWII through a previously unexplored lens, that of young German POWs in Denmark, who are sent out to the Danish coast to remove the over two million landmines Germans had left in place believing D-Day would begin on that coast. The German boys work under the supervision of Danish Sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Møller) who begins seeing them as utterly contemptible beings, but then find himself sympathizing with their pleas. In the film, director Martin Zandvliet asks if we can find the humanity within each other, when we’ve been taught only to see how different we are. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and it opens in theaters on February 10. I sat down with Zandvliet to talk about the themes in the film, actresses and how his first Oscar season is treating him.

Read the interview after the jump. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb062017

Goya Awards and Gowns

The 31st annual Goya Awards (Spain's Oscars) were held over the weekend in Madrid and we'd be remiss if we didn't share the winners -- particularly considering we recently posted statistics about their all time favorite actresses. This year's big winners were Raúl Arévalo's revenge drama The Fury of a Patient Man (which took Best Film and 3 other prizes) and A Monster Calls (which took Best Director and swept the technical categories with 9 wins). 

Ana Alvarez, Penélope Cruz, and Belen Lopez

Spain's Oscar submission, Almodóvar's Julieta, won only Best Actress for Emma Suarez who plays the older version of the titular character. Incredibly Suarez also won Best Supporting Actress for another film (The Next Skin) so Spain really worships her this year.  (After the jump a complete list of winners as well as other gowns and tuxes...)

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