Showing posts from May, 2018

Palme d'Or closing ceremony of the 71st Cannes Film Festival

By Moira Sullivan

In the Palme d'Or closing ceremony of the 71st Cannes Film festival, music from the "Wonder Woman" soundtrack accompanied almost every award given out as if the choices were made by "empowered women" not established film professionals. The jury of four men and four women led by president Cate Blanchett was called female centric. Between the protests and the awards, underrepresentation in all events poses the question why do women want to have equality in a pageant that is just not interested in them? The Fight for Inclusion is a real struggle but is it worth it?
Only three women out of 18 films made by men were chosen by the selection committee this year overseen by artistic director Thierry Frémaux.Yet - two of these women walked away with top prizes: Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum (Lebanon) won the jury prize and Alice Rohrwacher won best screenplay for Lazzaro Felice (Italy)
Rohrwacher who previously won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festivalin…

Iranian-Danish gender bender "Border" wins Un Certain Regard best film at 71st Cannes

The award to the Un Certain Regard best film at the 71st Cannes Film Festival went to the Iranian Danish filmmaker Ali Abassi for Border, a film based on a short story by Swedish horror fiction novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist. His novel "Let the Right One" in later made into a Swedish film and then into an American remake in 2004 was an authentic social realist vampire film that looks at a meeting between a young man and a young female vampire. "Border" has the same spirit but is not as well-crafted a story as "Let the Right One In".

Benicio del Toro was the jury president of Un Certain Regard and spoke about this film being one that stuck out in the competition. The story is unusual and the way the film is made has a contemplative pace with little action but occurrences that are thought provoking.

Tina (Swedish actress Eva Melander) works as a security guard at the customs border for Sweden and Finland at the point where huge cruise ships disembark betwee…

Protest of 82 women in film on steps of Palais at 71st Cannes

On March 12 there was a protest of 82 women in film led by jury president Cate Blanchett and Agnès Varda-- from the steps of the Palais. The Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux knew what he was doing when asking Blanchett to be the jury president at Cannes this year in this red-carpet manifestation of female centric power.

These are the names of a few directors that protested:

Agnès Varda, Alba and Alice Rohrwacher, Ava DuVernay, Céline Sciamma, Kim Longinotto, Patty Jenkins, Ursula Meier and Valérie Donzelli. Actresses some of which are producers included Jane Fonda, Julie Gayet, Kirsten Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Salma Hayek, Marion Cotillard, and Rosalie Varda costume designer, producer of Agnes Vardas films.

The protest on the steps of the Cannes Film Festival Palais symbolize the women who should be ascending with their films to be shown in competition. At the beginning of the festival Cate Blanchett more or less called the festival gladiator sport for the male gaze. This ye…

Eva Husson's "Girls of the Sun"debuts in Cannes competition

Girls of the Sun directed and written by French filmmaker Eva Husson was one of three films selected for the official competition at Cannes which debuted at the festival. (Movie Magazine International has reviewed the other two films directed and written by women Alice Rohrwacher Happy as Lazzaro (Italy) which won best screenplay shared with exiled Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Three Faces) and Jury Prize winner Capernaum by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon).

These are three films by female auteurs and when they make new films they are assured to be selected again to the competition.

Girls of the Sun tells the story of female soldiers called the "Girls of the Sun battalion". The film setting is August 2014 in the Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq, which was Yazidi territory with 300, 000 inhabitants. ISIS attacks it because its position is strategic in a genocidal ambush that affects the Yazidi’s who do not make it out to safety. Young boys are put into Jihadist schools. 7,000 wom…

Palme d’Or to Kore-eda's "Shoplifters"

The Palme d’Or recipient at the 71st Cannes Film Festival went to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters from Japan, made by Fuji Television Network. The aesthetics of the film clearly contributed to its win in May, an interwoven
narrative on what constitutes a real family to family members and how the state defines it. Many of the scenes are shot in the claustrophobic home of senior widow Hatsue Shibata (Kirin Kiki) a veteran actress who died in September after the prestigious award for this film. Kiki plays an elderly woman who complains about her age spots and who sees over her makeshift family that bear the surname of her late husband. 
Set in Tokyo living conditions for low income dwellers necessitate cramped living places such as this dark two-room dwelling of about 247 sq. feet. There are five people under this roof, who often sit around the table eating noodles, soup, and fried food with smacking sounds as they chew and slurp their meals. Hatsue lives on a pension that is only 50…

71st Cannes Report # 3

By Moira Sullivan

Two of the top favorites in the official selection were directed by women and at the Cannes Film Festival that ended May 19 from three women chosen for the official selection. Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro" (Italy),  the story of an exploited colony of tobacco leaf pickers living on the land of a miserly duchess won best screenplay, a prize she shared with Jafar Panahi from Iran who was not allowed to attend the festival by his country.

Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” (Lebanon) which won the Jury Prize investigates an impoverished boy who sues his parents for giving him life. I knew when I saw this film it was clearly a strong contender for Palme d'Or with powerful innovative shots, editing, music. References to Sweden and its humanitarian efforts for Syria did not go unnoticed. I also liked Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun”(France) which follows a female Kurdish military battalion formed after their village is put under siege by Islamic extremists .


End of gladiator sport for male gaze at Cannes

By Moira Sullivan

The "71:e Festival de Cannes" from May 8-19 has changed its agenda from its praxis of most recent years. It is being held a week earlier this year starting on a Tuesday and ending on a Saturday to be able to add an additional gala event !  before the first weekend, circulate previews of new films to be released in France and for maximum visibility of the Palme d’Or awards on Saturday night.

The other change this year is a ban on streaming production companies from premiering their online films at Cannes in the in-competition section. Streaming film is not considered a "proper" form for an original art work shown outside the realm of theatrical distribution at Cannes. There is also a new publication embargo on film reviews from the official selection until the premieres with the cast and crew. Previously film critics have seen the films a couple of times before the production team and reviews circulating beforehand interfere with the films gettin…

Busan International Short Film Festival Forum - Women and the Avantgarde

By Moira Sullivan

From April 24 -29 the 35th Busan International Short Film Festival was held in South Korea orchestrated by Festival director Cha Minchol. There was an international and Korean competition and a special program called the Busan International Short Film Forum with a focus on women in the avantgarde. Special focus was on the work of US filmmaker Maya Deren who made films from 1940-1960. The program was entitled "Maya Deren’s Cinematic Universe". Her Chapbook - "An Anagram of Ideas on Art , Form and Film" was translated through a Republic of Korea art grant. This was done by Kim Byeongcheol (Dong-Eui Univ. Prof.) I was invited to speak on Maya Deren’s use of choreography for the camera. Also invited was Eleni Tranouli (a Greek Art Advisor/Researcher).l who spoke about interiors in Deren’s films. After presentations, some provocative questions were asked by Roh Chulhwan (lnha Univ. Prof.), Bang Hyejin (Art Critic) and Heo Eunhee (Dong-Eui Univ. Prof.) C…