Showing posts from 2015

72nd Venice Film Festival, Report 2

Agnès Varda, moderator, Alice and Alba Rohrwacher ©Moira Sullivan By Moira Sullivan 72nd Venice Film Festival, Report 2 The Venice Film Festival is one of the oldest in the world yet every festival needs to update to remain vital. This year festival president Alberto Barbera was aware that young people don’t seem to come to the festival enough because there aren’t enough activities for them: parties, mingling opportunities, hangouts. One Italian festival that has successfully enlarged on this concept is the nearby Udine Far East Film Festival in the Veneto region, this year taking out a full-page ad in the pricey daily trades. The average filmgoer in Udine is under 30 and there are quite a few opportunities to attend parties and gatherings.    What does this have to do with a film festival? The party angle of a festival makes it festive. Venice now competes with the  Rome Film Festival  and the former director of the Venice Fest, Marco Müller , was the first president. He b

72nd Venice Film Festival, Report 1

Childhood of a Leader By Moira Sullivan 72nd Venice Film Festival The Venice Film Festival runs from 2 – 11 September and this is a first report from Lido where the festival is held every year. For me the highlight of the festival has come and gone and that was meeting Agnès Varda. As part of the "Miu Miu Women's Tale"s seminars, Agnès along with Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher and sister Alba sat on a panel discussing their work. Agnès likes to say that she has an entire zoo of film awards, such as a Berlin Bear, a Golden Lion and now an honorary Palme that she was given at May at the Cannes film Festival. Agnes and Alice both made short films that differ as far as art direction but involve groups of girls. Agnès' 3 bottons is a fairy tale about a young girl who loses three buttons and is given three wishes. The same concept is present in Alice Rohrwacher ‘s De Djess about a woman who tries on dresses that were found in the sea. Both directors do

Adele Hasn't Had Her supper Yet/Dinner For Adele

Monica Sullivan  This charming film from Czechoslovakia, a surprise hit at international film festivals, is inspired by the Nick Carter detective stories which enjoyed a vogue at the turn of the twentieth century. "Adele Hasn't Had Her supper Yet/Dinner For Adele" is about a man-eating plant, some early flying machines, a mad scientist, a sane scientist, a delightful strudel of a girl who makes terrific strawberry dumplings, a fat detective and, last but not least, the famous slender detective Nick Carter whose motto is "Always prepared!" How do they all fit together?  Hopefully, a shrewd American distributor will acquire the video rights, so more viewers will have the fun of discovering Adele all over again. Adele is the animated plant.  The wonderfully capable Czech actor Michal Docolomansky plays Nick Carter. © 1997 - Monica Sullivan Movie Magazine International

Quiz Show - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan The world has restored its lost innocence so many times throughout recorded history that I always worry what the hell is meant by that meaningless phrase "a more innocent time".  A more unconscious time, maybe?  A more oblivious time?  In the case of the quiz show scandals of the late fifties, I'm inclined to think so.  Advertisers who had already drummed real or imagined commies out of the television industry, were quick to realize that enormous ratings meant increased sales of their products.  It was a short hop from that realization to their decision to dictate programming content.  What was cheaper to produce or more profitable than a game show?  But you couldn't have just anyone guessing who was the world's fastest land animal, it had to be someone that consumers would tune in to watch week after week.   Big surprise. The quiz shows were rigged so they would seem like real contests, not scripted entertainment.  Robert Redford's 1994 f

Raoul Peck drama, 'A German Youth' and Tsui Hark thriller - San Francisco In'tl Film Festival final week

The Taking of Tiger Mountain, Tsui Hark's latest epic By Moira Sullivan The San Francisco International Film Festival continues through May 7 and there are many exceptional films that will be screened in the final week. Tsui Hark’s “The Taking of Tiger Mountain” on April 30, a political thriller set at the end of World War II.   In this narrative, the mission of People’s Liberation Army Captain Shao Jianbo (Lin Gengxin) is to take Tiger Mountain, once occupied by the Japanese and now the territory of a bandit king named Hawk (played by Tony Leung Ka-fai). The big budget film features 3D and CGI special effects-   A brilliant documentary “A German Youth” directed by Jean-Gabriel Periot, a French –German-Swiss co-production screens on May 2 and 5th at Sundance Kabuki. It chronicles the conditions in West Germany in the 60’s and 70’s and protests by German youth against the state. Such a time created the Red Army Faction and the Baader Meinhof Gang.   Ulrike Meinhof w

San Francisco Int'l Film Festival - classic and new work abounds in 58th edition

Barbara Loden's 'Wanda' (1970) By Moira Sullivan The 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival will be held April 23 through May 7. This is the 58th edition of the event and 181 films will be screened—features, documentaries, shorts and special events. Here are some the highlights of this festival organized by the San Francisco Film Society and some of the exceptional films. This year the "Golden Gate Persistence of Vision" Award honoring the achievements of a filmmaker working in non-narrative film goes to British veteran and documentarian Kim Longinotto. She has an ambitious line of work behind her that chronicles the lives of women. Her latest film "Dreamcatcher" focusses on Chicago’s sex workers and the work of Brenda Myers Powell who counsels and encourages the women to respect themselves. She is shown speaking with teenagers, women on the street and incest survivors. The film will be screened May 2, 2015 in the presence of the fi

Isabella Rossellini is coming to the San Francisco Int'l Film Festival

Isabella Rossellini's new love affair  By Moira Sullivan Isabella Rossellini has had a long-term love affair with insects and animals.  She is the daughter of the Swedish screen actress Ingrid Bergman and Italian film director Roberto Rossellini. Isabella went back to school after a successful career as a model for Lancôme and a motion pictures actress. One of her major roles was in David Lynch’s "Blue Velvet" made in 1986.  Isabella studied animal behavior ecology and conservation after these careers in order to be well acquainted with her subjects.  First she made 40 short films , which she called "Green Porno", then she did theater presentations written with Jean-Claude Carrière. After that she wrote a book about the sex life of animals and finally a film made by Judy Shapiro chronicles this work. This documentary will be presented at the San Francisco Int'l Film Festival  ("Green Porno" Live!) that runs