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Showing posts from May, 2017

Diane Kruger wins best actress award at Cannes for 'In the Fade'

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By Moira Sullivan

In the Fade by German director Faith Akin is a chilling tale on profiling new Nazi terrorism and hate crimes in Germany. Katja, (Diane Kruger), a young German woman loses her husband and young son in a bombing attack in Hamburg. She met her husband Nuri (Numan Acar), a Kurd of Turkish descent, as a student and bought hash from him. He was later imprisoned for selling drugs and made good use of his time learning business in prison. After his son Roco’s birth he gave up drugs.

In the opening scenes, Katja drops off her Rocco (Rafael Santana) with Nuri who has a small translation and tax business in the city. Moments before the blast, she notices a young white woman who parks her bike close to her husband’s office.

When Katja later learns her family is dead, she goes through a major breakdown. The misery which she endures seems relentless. Faith Akin reverently pays attention to every detail of the grieving process in this tragedy and how it is confronted by Katja wit…

Coppola's 'The Beguiled' debuts at Cannes

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By Moira Sullivan 

The promise of a new perspective with the remake of The Beguiled by Sofia Coppola caught the attention of film critics at Cannes in May where it debuted. It was a film that pretty much serviced the macho hired gun, San Francisco cop and spaghetti western cowboy Clint Eastwood in the 1971 version directed by Don Siegel.

Wounded Yankee soldier Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) is discovered outside a girls boarding school in the South by one of the young women. The sheltered atmosphere of the school in the midst of a civil war gives the impression that these women have never seen a man before, one of the fantasies that is imbedded in the narrative and in the novel. Sofia Coppola claimed she was going to tell the story from the point of view of the women in the school. While it is true that Eastwood commands the screen, Colin Farrell was every much the same kind of character in every scene and everything is about him. He is rescued just like Eastwood and brought i…

Ruben Östlund's problematic "The Square" awarded Palme d'Or at Cannes

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By Moira Sullivan

The Square by Ruben Östlund from Sweden won the Palme d'Or at the 2017 Cannes film festival. It is a film that will work best in Sweden since its provincialism will be better understood. Outside of Sweden it may seem like it is a provocative film because when the dialogue is translated it might make it seem better than it actually is. But I speak Swedish and was disappointed with the film for many reasons.

Let's start with the roles for women. Most of the women wear extremely high heeled shoes, even middle age women, and have minor roles as secretaries or assistants. The female executive director of the museum is ridiculed and called crazy. The major female role of the film, Anne, played by Elisabeth Moss is so ridiculous that it is hard to believe that she agreed to it. She plays a foreign journalist who lives with a chimpanzee shown in one scene applying lipstick to its nose, peripherally reinforcing Östlunds preoccupation with apes elsewhere in the film. An…

70th Festival de Cannes - a notable showcase

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By Moira Sullivan

The 70th Festival de Cannes is notable in one respect, it has a reputation to showcase quality. Of 22 films, only three are made by women who have proven themselves at Cannes by being previously selected and will continue to be accepted. Getting into that revered spot is one of the mysteries of the selective process, and when doing so you must retain the reverence that got you there to begin with.

Quality and equality are two themes that were discussed at seminars on women in film sponsored by the "Swedish Film Institute" and "Women and Hollywood". We have entered the age of Video on Demand (VOD), and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon are now in the competitive market for awards. One of the opening films Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes was produced by Amazon based on the novel by Brian Selznick about two young children growing up in different times that wish their lives had turned out differently. Another early film at the festival is O…

Rare Noir at the San Francisco Roxie

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By Moira Sullivan
The second series of A Rare Noir is Good to Find screens at the Roxie May 5 through 8. Programmer Don Malcolm brings us 11 films on international noir from the 1950’s. Countries include Egypt, Eastern Europe, Latin America the Far East and Western Europe. During this postwar period, there are many commonalities in these films that are evident in classic noir.

On May 5, CAMINO DEL INFIERNO (The Road to Hell - 1951, Mexico) features a femme fatale Mexican actress Leticia Palma as Leticia. She wants expensive jewelry and furs and is lovers with Tony who works for gang boss León. There are many twists to the plot including betrayal, and a missing hand.

No film better addresses the excesses of lawlessness than IN THE NAME OF THE LAW (In Nome Della Legge - 1950, Italy) screening on May 6. Directed by Pietro Germi the film stars Massimo Girotti as the newly installed judge in a small Sicilian village - Guido Schiavi. The people are described as descendants of ancient cust…