Showing posts from May, 2023

France’s National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and Ciné-Tamaris create platform for Agnès Varda's footage for film students.

At the 76th Cannes Film Festival it was announced that more than 60 hours of rushes of Agnes Varda’s 2000 documentary feature The Gleaners and I will now be available for the next generation of international filmmakers thanks to a new educational initiative from France’s National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and Ciné-Tamaris (Agnès Varda's company run by her daughter Rosalie Varda).  The five-year project offers students a bilingual platform available 24/7 where they can view and download the complete collection of rushes in addition to the edited film in addition to educational materials like photos and press kits from the period of the film’s release.  The innovative indexing technique uses artificial intelligence and documentary engineering techniques, applied for the first time to film footage. Students will be able to search for words and pull footage with specific images or merge unused interviews with footage that did make it into the film to create their own spin.   

Aki Kaurismaki's 'Fallen Leaves' wins the heart of Cannes and Jury Prize

Aki Kaurismaki's new film  Fallen Leaves  is a comedy in a world he feels has very little left of humanity. He wastes no time to not give his opinion about other filmmakers or even his own films that he never sees -- all except Chaplin who he says is the best due to his simplicity. That sums up the Finnish director whose simple responses to questions about the world, other filmmakers and his own work is deadpan humor of the highest order. And in subtle ways he explains aspects of his provocative fimmaking, such as that he is was not able to choose the music he likes -  Screamin' Jay Hawkins - because 'the Yankees want too many pennies". A simple revelation like this says a lot about the huge stretch between his work and commercial films that are funded without a thought to expense.  In  Fallen Leaves,  Alma Poysti plays Ansa, a middle aged supermarket clerk who "risks falling in love no matter how old she gets". She meets a construction worker named Holappa

Jane Fonda gives Master Class on female centric filmmaking and climate change at Cannes May 27

By Moira Jean Sullivan Jane Fonda was a guest at the 76th Cannes Film Festival for a Master Class on May 26 in Salle Buñuel. The following evening she was called on to present the Palme d' Or from the official jury. For young people today she is an important major star. Many of this new generation knows her through Grace and Frankie with seven seasons from 2015 – 2022. She spoke about the trajectory of her career and her evolution from "a blonde with a lot of hair" to a young woman that wanted to be a tomboy and ride horses". Cat Ballou (1965) was one of her first films that she liked making because of it. Four films were made with her first husband, French director Roger Vadim such as Barbarella (1969)   but Fonda dismissed them as unimportant because she was basically unaware of herself as a woman. In the 1970's her focus turned to civil rights, women's rights and activism. During the Vietnam war she made a political feature Tout Va Bien by Jean-Lu

Pastel colors and cartoon characters in Wes Anderson's 'Asteroid City'

Wes Andersson's  Asteroid City  premiered at Cannes to a standing ovation on May 23 at the the Grand Théatre Lumière. Featuring an ensemble cast shot during August and October 2021, the film is set in 1955 where 3070 years ago  an asteroid fell to earth in the US southwest desert populated by saguara and mesas. To commemorate this landing, Asteroid City is home to the national Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention attended by parents and students on annual Asteroid Day. It is also the site of a US government astronomical observatory. As a huge dark grey mushroom cloud appears in the horizon, the visitors to  Asteroid City  become subject to a lockdown.  The threat of an event eclipsing the atomic testing of the 1950's sends the guests into panic.   The look and feel of the film is almost cartoon like bleeding the faces and clothing of the actors into soft pastels. The aesthetically pleasing aspect of the film also features visual effects by CG artist Tharun Joseph Abraham. 

Marco Bellocchio's 'Kidnapped' debuts at Cannes on the abduction of Edgardo Morara by Pope Pius IX

By Moira Jean Sullivan            Marco Bellocchio's dramatic narrative  Rapito  (Kidnapped) premiered at Cannes where the award winning and esteemed Italian director spoke about why he chose the project about a Jewish boy kidnapped by the Papal states in 1858.  Baptised Catholic by a servant, after failed attempts to convince the boy's parents to raise him as a Christian, Edgardo is kidnapped by the Inquisitor of the Holy Office Pier Gaetano Feletti (Fabrizio Gifuni) for Pope Pius IX (Paolo Pierobon). Edgardo's parents (Barbara Ronchi and Fausto Russo Alesi) are unable to see their son for months. Bellocchio, who is a non-practicing Catholic, read the story and was deeply touched and wrote the script with Susanna Nicchiarelli, Edoardo Albinati and Daniela Cesellin based on Daniele Scalise's novel  Il Caso Mortara.  Since it is well known that Steven Spielberg had begun a film project on the kidnapping, Bellocchio was quick to point out that it was based on another bo

'New voice' prize goes to Omen, directorial debut of Belgian musician Baloji

By Moira Jean Sullivan Un certain regard 'new voice' prize goes to Omen, directorial debut of Belgian rapper Baloji   Omen  (Augure), the first feature film by Belgian-Congolese musician and actor Baloji, won the “New Voice” prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. The film screened May 22 with a rich visual language previously experienced in Baloji's music videos and heard in his electrifying four part masterpiece, the soundtrack for  Augure . This innovative directorial debut is the story of Koffi (Marc Zinga) who decides to return to his home in Lubumbashi in the Congo with his partner Alice (Lucie Debay).  Pregnant and expecting twins, Koffi's family do not welcome them. Koffi was rejected by his mother early in life because he showed signs of being a Zabola (Swahili: Magician) or demon. The film's poster features a Zabola in a haze of pink smoke. Other actors in  Omen  are Eliane Umuhire as Tshala and Yves-Marina Gnahoua as Mama M