Julia Loktev

THR Directors Roundtable 2012

One of the highlights of the Oscar season is the series of round table discussions produced by The Hollywood Reporter, and for good reason. We spend much of the fall and winter comparing drastically different films only on the most basic of levels, who is deserving of awards and who isn’t. Any real conversation between the creators of the best movies of the year is therefore worth watching. Unfortunately, the list of the participants is not often as diverse as the films themselves. This year’s directors’ round table was made up entirely of men, as was the one last year. The same is true of this year’s writers’ panel. Meanwhile, the one real opportunity for us to hear a genuine dialog between women in cinema, the actresses’ panel, was bungled by the typical soft and silly questions that plague American actresses. As Monika Bartyzel so astutely points out in her piece over at Movies.com, it might not be intentional on the part of THR but that doesn’t make it any less problematic.


The Loneliest Planet

Is it a bad idea to test your love? It could be argued that a life spent together is one long test, and obviously arranged tests like hiring someone to try and seduce your partner is a recipe for disaster, but what about the unplanned tests? The kind that just happen unexpectedly. The kind that make you rethink the entirety of your relationship. The kind that threaten love’s very survival. Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Nica (Hani Furstenberg) are a few months away from their wedding date and many miles away from home. Hiking through Eastern Europe’s Caucasus region the couple stop to spend time in small villages and interact with locals over food, dance and the occasional game of catch. Their adventure takes them in to hills and mountains where they spend several days and nights hiking and camping while accompanied by a guide named Dato (Bidzina Gujabidze). The trio eventually cross paths with three men, one of whom is armed, and their interaction escalates into an incident that passes quickly but with a lasting and devastating effect. The incident in question won’t be revealed here except to say that it’s near genius in its simple detail and complex fallout. It’s believable, thought provoking and an entry point for some fascinating commentary and discussion… all of which gets sidestepped by writer/director Julia Loktev in favor of a dedication to meandering minimalism. Instead of allowing the incident to become a focal point for story it simply gets added to a […]



The advertising for The Loneliest Planet seems to be selling it on the fact that, while you’re watching it, you’ll have no idea what’s going to happen next. If this is the strategy, then so far they’ve succeeded, because even after watching the trailer, it’s still not all that clear what this movie is about. Two young lovers (Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) are on a backpacking journey together. At first everything seems to be going great – there are images of people kissing in the soft glow of natural light, parading around in their panties, and frolicking together in the glorious majesty of nature; nice stuff – but then things take a turn for the worse. Suddenly there’s creepy whispering in the dark, people frolicking around in their panties, and a horrible, repetitious hacking noise playing in the background. What’s the source of the change in tone? That’s where the trailer plays coy. The promise it provides is that even a small incident, something that takes just a second or two to happen, could completely change our lives and alienate us from the people we love. Which, the suggestion seems to be, would inevitably lead to our lives being full of dread, horror movie imagery, and creepy things happening in the dark (but still plenty of girls in panties).

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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