Showing posts from 2022

"Maria Schneider ,1983" - short film featured in Cannes Directors Fortnight.

by Moira Jean Sullivan The Festival de Cannes Directors fortnight premiere of Maria Schneider, 1983  (16mm) by Elisabeth Subrin will be held May 26 featuring Manal Issa, Aïssa Maïga, and Isabel Sandoval. Together with other filmmakers, Subrin said she was asked to work on an unpublished screenplay for Antonioni's film Technically Sweet in the 1980's to be shot on video.  It was never made when Jack Nicholson refused to shoot on location in the Amazon. Antonioni instead made The Passenger (1983) with Maria Schneider and Nicholson.  It wasn't until 2014 that Subrin started a blog dedicated to Maria Schneider called Who Cares About Actresses .  This was prompted by a media interest in Schneider's negative experience on the set of Last Tango in Paris  directed by  Bernardo Bertolucci. The #METOO movement got behind Schneider's story that she was sexually abused by Bertolutcci and the story was brought to international attention along with similar experiences of o

Cannes celebrates 75 years of festivals 18-28 May

By Moira Sullivan The 75th Cannes Film Festival may not rival last year's event with films selected after the worst of the pandemic but its virtues like all Cannes festivals are evident. The lineup of 22 films features five films by women, a slight step up after the heavy activism of filmmakers and actors in 2018 festival on the side: Claire Denis, Kelly Reichardt, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and later additions Leonor Serraille with Un Petit Frère and Charlotte Vandermeersch, co-director of The Eight Mountains ". Since 2015 there has been a visible #METOO presence and supporters of gender equality such as Agnès Varda, Ava DuVernay, and Cate Blanchett - president of Cannes Jury in 2018. When asked about this Blanchett answered: “A few years ago there were only two, and I know the selection committee has more women on board than in previous years, which will obviously change the lens through which the films are chosen. But these things are not going to happen overnight . .

The Northman and the Seeress

By Moira Jean Sullivan The Northman is a highly crafted new film by US director Robert Eggers written by Icelandic author Sjón. The film is steeped in Old Norse mythology and set in 10th century Iceland. Old Norse later developed into the dialects of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The set design and historical setting of the film was meticulously researched with a team of experts. The film uses FMX sequences such as an ongoing erupting volcano with naked Viking duels on molten lava. The Viking prince, Young Amleth (Stellan Skarsgard) witnesses his father King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke) killed and his mother Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman) carried off by his uncle Fjölnir -The Brotherless (Claes Bang). Amlet spends several years planning to revenge these deeds. He consults with a Seeress (Björk dressed in a woven coarse barley headdress, with cowrie shells and chicken feet) and is aided by mystical fairies and creatures such as ravens put on his path. Viking seeresses worked w

ANAÏS IN LOVE Opens in San Francisco

By Moira Jean Sullivan ANAÏS IN LOVE by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet is a French romantic comedy about Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier), a 35 year old woman who on the practical side of life is able to talk her way through not paying her rent, or lodging, or showing up at college or finishing her thesis on passion. Such folly is on the surface of a clever and vibrant young woman who has unfulfilling relationships with a young man she shares an apartment with and Daniel, a stingy older married man (Denis Podalydès) she is having an affair with. But she falls in love with his wife (Valeria Bruni Tedesci) that she has never met who is a writer. She rents out her apartment to a Korean couple and takes off for a writing seminar to meet Emilie. During this time Daniel drives to the seminar for an unarranged meeting with his wife. At a film screening for the seminar, Elie has chosen John Cassavetes Opening Night (1971) with Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara –a film about a writer who ironically

The Automat - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan “The Automat”, now in release in America, talks about a time when the country was dominated by the company that served simple, tasty, delicious food..  At its height it was a very important part of American culture.  The food was good, and filling, and people loved it.  They liked to eat food and meeting their friends at the automat.   When I first saw Doris Day's movie called “That Touch of Mink” with Cary Grant, Gig Young, Audrey Meadows, and John Astin, I didn’t know how close the automats were to being over.  It was a funny movie and is always a lot of fun to watch on the tube.  One of the main characters worked in an automat.  Tha would be Aurey Meadows.  The automat served a larger function than just food for a long, long, long, time.  The fact that the automats are long   gone now does not mean that people have forgotten them.  Far from it.   The automat was known for serving good, solid, food. Not glamorous food.  Good stuff, and it was very popular wit

Revenge by Coralie Fargeat (2017) at Créteil International Films de Femmes Festival

By Moira Jean Sullivan In a parallel section of the 44th Creteil International Women Film Festival this year (March 11-20) was a history of directors in different genres of cinema including horror. One of the latest films in the rape-revenge genre is simply called Revenge by Coralie Fargeat (2017). With a rich cinematography the film is set in a modern architectural villa in a desert landscape with long corridors and an outdoor pool. Italian actress Ingrid Lutz plays Jen, a young aspiring actress who has been promised a career start in Los Angeles by her married boyfriend Richard. Her young bronze body clad in bikini seems to be a provocation to the cinema goer and to unannounced visitors – disturbing predators who arrive at the villa. A night of frivolous dancing leads the next day to rape, and Jen will not be placated by Richard’s plan to make it all go away. Her resistance leads to being pushed off a cliff, but she has a locket with dried scorpions and a cigarette lighter and

"Mothering Sunday" featured at Cannes Premiere section 2021

By Moira Jean Sullivan Eva Husson has presented films twice at the Cannes Film Festival -- Girls of the Sun in the official selection in 2018 and Mothering Sunday included in the Cannes Premiere Section of the 74th Festival de Cannes in May. It is an extraordinarily well-crafted film with a provocative narrative structure, based on the novel by Graham Swift, recipient of the British Hawthorndon literary award. The film begins with shots of three young boys; two are children of the Nivens and who died in World War I . The third child is Paul Sheringham, the only survivor and what remains of the Nivens' and Sheringhams' bond. The slow motion of a galloping horse sets the stage for the milestones in Jane Fairchild’s life that she feels set her on the path of becoming a writer, including being given a Paxton typewriter. The pace of the film provides the opportunity to contemplate the sumptuous imagery. In discontinuous continuity the story telling enfold showing time in

Julie Delpy directs 15th century Hungarian serial murderer 'The Countess'

By Moira Jean Sullivan One of the parallel sections of the 44th Créteil International Women Film Festival this year (March 11-20) was a history of directors in different genres of cinema made by women. This included short film programs with directors such as Germaine Dulac, Lois Weber, Maya Deren, and Ida Lupino. Also of interest was the horror genre and several exceptional horror films were presented including The Countess from 2009 made by French actress and director Julie Delpy, an historical film about the life of the Hungarian countess Erszebet Bathory. It is not often that a horror film is made with such rich detail as this film about a woman who was afraid of aging and who used the blood of young female virgins to keep herself forever young. She falls in love with the young son of Count György Thurzó (William Hurt) - Istvan, (Daniel Bruhl). The Count prevents him from meeting the Hungarian Comtesse who is to be married to the daughter of a wealthy Danish merchant. Erz

Dune opens at 78th Venice Film Festival

By Moira Jean Sullivan The opening moments of DUNE are about a planet whose spices have been mined for a greedy mercenary foreign power. The invaders of Arrakis or Dune can't help but evoke the might of the present Russian territorial invasion. The spices allow people to see into the future with their deep blue eyes and communicate with their mind. Humans have extraordinary powers of slow motion and the patriarchal tribe Fremens learn to survive in the desert full of huge sandworms. Dune directed and co-written by French-Canadian helmer Denis Villeneuve premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Villeneuve's films are mythic, bold and cathartic. He made Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016) and brought his production designer Patrice Vermette, to Dune . Dune is set in the future of 10,191 AG with gargantuan halls and mammoth spacecraft and water craft, made of impenetrable materials with legions of soldiers. The architectural landscape looks part Blade Runner Tyrell C

"The Group" (1966) features stellar female cast

Sidney Lumet’s The Group from 1966 features a stellar female cast of eight women attending Vassar back east in the 1930’s. Only three of the actresses are still living today – Candace Bergen as the mysterious Lakey, Mary Robin Redd as Pokey who everyone is surprised when she later gives birth to twins and Kathleen Widdoes as class valedictorian Helena. The film is based on Mary McCarthy’s best-selling novel from the same year. It would be a great film to do a remake of though the main theme is less glaring of interest today regarding the sexual repression of the women and pressure to fit an ideal - the marrying and housewife type. Actually, one film does come to mind that is relatively recent starring Julia Roberts as a teacher at Wellesley women’s college in the 1950s Mona Lisa Smile (2003) with the same pressure on female students. Joanna Pettet as Kay is the exception to the blue-blooded requirement of "The Group" but is the catalyst of the narrative with her pro