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72:e Festival de Cannes Jury - Elle Fanning; Abdellatif Kechiche - "Mektoub"

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By Moira Sullivan

The jury members for the 72:e Festival de Cannes were unanimously taken in by Palme d’Or winner The Parasite by South Korean director BONG Jo ho. In the first of its kind press conference Jury President Quentin Tarantino explained why Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 won the palme d’or. Since then the jury motivates why it gives out its award.

Atlantics by French filmmaker Matti Diop, according to Italian jury member Alice Rohrwacher, last year's best screenplay award winner for Happy as Lazzaro , won the heart of the jury, a film about men and young boys who die at sea and the women they leave behind at shore.

Although the awards this year were given to films that concern social justice, or injustice according to Jury President Alejandro Iñárritu “cinematic decisions” were involved with the process and he emphasized that “cinema has to speak for itself”.

The jury was diverse including the youngest jury member at Cannes in history, 21-year-old Elle Fanning. Iñ…

Official Competition Palmarès to Women at 72:e Festival de Cannes

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By Moira Sullivan
Official Competition Palmarès to Women - Grand Prix Atlantique Mati Diop France.
Award For Best Screenplay Céline Sciammi France, Award For Best Actress Emily Beecham Little Joe Jessica Hausner, Austria, Monster God-Short Film Special Distinction, Agustina San Martin , ArgentinaCéline Sciamma, one of the founders of the French 50/50 by 2020 for gender equality in French film and her new film Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu ("Portrait Of A Lady On Fire") won the best screenplay award at the Cannes film festival that ended May 25. Sciamma is one of two women who are part of the official selection this year of 22 films. Her film is a period piece from 1770 about young artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant ) who is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse without her knowledge, a woman just out of a convent woman betrothed to someone she's never met (Adèle Haenel). Sciamma's has created a beautiful homage to forgotten women artists.

The film …

72:e Festival de Cannes report

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By Moira Sullivan


Cannes is noteworthy in showcasing the latest work of time-honored auteur - which is not always their best. Directors climb up the rungs of the selection sections from short film awards to Palme d'Or  - like Jane Campion's Camera d’Or for Peel (1982) before her Palme d’or, or in the case of Nadine Labaki from Un certain regard Where do we go from here (2011) to Jury prize winner for Capernaum (2019). This film is the top box contender in the world for a film from the Middle East.

It is exciting to see that Céline Sciamma and her new film Portrait Of A Lady On Fire - Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu is one of the top contenders for the Palme d’Or as she climbs the steps in Cannes. This is the epitome of success at Cannes– to ascend the Red Steps. Sciamma is one of two women who are part of the official selection this year of 20+ films. Hulu has already bought the film for streaming – and in France the film must premiere first before it can be released, n…

72nd Cannes Film Festival features young Agnès Varda as official poster

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By Moira Sullivan

The 72nd Cannes Film Festival opened on May 14 by Edouard Baer, Master of Ceremonies. Excerpts from films made by Agnès Varda who died earlier in March were projected. Varda is featured on the poster for the festival with a young Agnès standing on a stool to shoot her first feature film La Pointe Courte (1955).

The feature film jury this year is composed of US director Kelly Reichardt, US actress Elle Fanning, Maimouna N’Diaye director from Burkina Fazo, Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, French directors Enki Bilal, Robin Campillo, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and Paweł Pawlikowski director from Poland - presided over by this year's jury President: Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

The first screening of the official competition followed the ceremony directed by Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Selena Gomez, Sara Driver and Luka Sabbat. This lukewarm film about the undead who ris…

The Wicker Man (1973)

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By Moira Sullivan

On the idyllic Scottish islet of Summerisle, the best fruits and vegetables, livestock and crops grow. Wickerman is a film about this island directed by Robin Hardy based on the 1967 novel Ritual by David Pinner.

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives by seaplane and in the distance, the local men reluctantly send over a dinghy so he can come ashore. The men are rustic, provincial and salty and that goes for pretty much for all the inhabitants of this islet. Sergeant Howie is looking for a missing child - Rowan Morrison. He first stop is at the shop run by Mrs. Morrison who lives with her young daughter. He helps her fill in the color for a drawing of a rabbit. "Everyone knows Rowan, silly", she says,  "and is mostly likely playing in the field". - "A rabbit, silly!". This is the first of many tricks that Sergeant Howie experiences. At the local inn he is served a meal from cans - not fresh produce that the island is known for. He fi…

Girls of the Sun

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By Moira Sullivan


Girls of the Sun directed and written by French filmmaker Eva Husson is in San Francisco and one of three films made by women selected for the official competition at Cannes last May. It is an ambitious effort that tells the story of female soldiers called the "Girls of the Sun" battalion, based on a true story from August 2014 set in the Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq. This was Yazidi territory with 300,000 inhabitants. It becomes the prime target of ISIS attacks in genocidal warfare affecting  Yazidi’s who do not escape in time. The female battalion is committed to rescuing their young boys forced to attend Jihadist schools. The impetus to their bravery is born out of misery - 2000 women and children are driven to destinations in Raqqa in Iraq where they are sexually assaulted, tortured, sold as slaves or forced to marry.

Since a woman’s army is unusual for a film (Born in Flames (1984) by Lizzie Borden is a classic example of "speculative fiction…

Animation Show of Shows - 20th Anniversary - review

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By Purple

If you are like me and wish to escape the madness unfolding  in our current daily news, then I prescribe a healthy dose of animation and urge you to leave your bunker and get yourself into a cinema this weekend to check out the Animation Show of Shows.  Now in its 20th year, the Animation Show of Shows continues its ongoing mission to seek out and share a carefully chosen  crop of new animation from around the globe.

This year, the Animation Show of Shows features 15 short films that cover a broad spectrum of styles and narratives.  The program starts off strong with an award winning crowd pleaser  "The Green Bird" which delightfully depicts one bird-creatures persistent efforts to keep its egg safe.  This is soon followed by director Andrew Chesworth's sweet short film "One Small Step" which warms the heart while reminding us to keep shooting for the stars. Handkerchiefs might be a good idea.

 My  personal favorite films include "Grands Canons&…

Venice keeps women off the Red Carpet to protest marginalization of women

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By Moira Sullivan
This year’s Venice Film Festival has one of the best lineups in years primarily because the competition is full of former award-winning directors that are well known. To get into the lineup without such a background is rare. It is worth mentioning that only one woman, Jennifer Kent, is among the competition this year with The Nightingale which debuts September 5. Venice did not grant women the red carpet to make a protest of the marginalization of women in the competition and festival president Alberta Barbera defers to the overall society where he believes the real problem of gender inequality lies.

Several of these films will be available soon to view on Amazon and Netflix in the next months. Venice has avoided the problem these streaming platforms had at Cannes in May which requires that a film be released in French theatres first before streaming or will not have a debut.

The remake of Suspiria directed by Luca Guadagnino will soon be released on Amazon, but m…

Ramin Bahrani's "Fahrenheit 451" in midnight screening at Cannes

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Fahrenheit 451 premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May with Michael B Jordan, Michael Shannon Sofia Boutella and director Ramin Bahrani in attendance. It was a midnight screening at the festival and presented out of competition because the new rules at Cannes are that the films in competition must premiere in France first and not on a streaming platform, in this case HBO where the film is now out. There is also a new rule at Cannes that no selfies are allowed on the red carpet, but being an out of competition film, several of the minor female characters of the cast were seen taking selfies. The selfie phase actually came about when A list stars like Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie started taking pictures at the festival of themselves. In a real twist the stars who are emulated by fans wanted souvenirs of their ascent up the red carpet and steps leading into the Palais. For most actors it is still a big thing. At the midnight screenings everything can happen, and it is a venu…

Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum wins jury prize at Cannes

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Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum in competition at the 71st Cannes was clearly a strong contender for the Palme d'or  with powerful innovative shots by Christopher Aoun, skilled editing by Konstantin Bock and layering with a dynamic soundtrack by Khaled Mouzanar also the film’s producer.

Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is a young 12 year old boy who watches his sister Sahar married off as a young girl by his parents and runs away as protest. He is taken in by Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw), an Ethiopian woman with a young son she treats with love and affection but when she doesn’t return home Zain finds himself becoming a nursemaid in the slums of a middle eastern city trying to find food and shelter. In inverted narrative order, we learn why he later decides to sue his parents for bringing him into the world. But Zain has an elaborate plan and his solitary actions help to create reforms in his society. 
Capernaum is an investigation of lost children who are sold into homes where th…