Palme d’Or

If you find the holidays to not be wrenching and desperate enough, Sony Pictures Classics has just announced that they will release their recently acquired Palme d’Or-winning film, Amour, in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 19th. Filmmaker Michael Haneke just won the prestigious Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival this past weekend, making him only the seventh director to win the Golden Fronds of Awesome or Whatever twice (no director has ever won it more than twice). He previously won in 2009 for The White Ribbon. The film centers on aging couple Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), who must deal with the after-effects of an attack that Anne suffers. It’s been billed as a stirring rumination on life, death, aging, love, and marriage, and was almost universally hailed at the festival (of course, there have been a handful of critics who have voiced their displeasure with it, so it will be quite interesting to see how it plays to larger audiences). This is the third film of Haneke’s that SPC has distributed, as they have also previously released both Cache and The White Ribbon. [Press Release, via ComingSoon]

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Why Watch? Because art is an act of violence. It’s difficult to tell what’s going on in this animated short at first, but it soon makes sense and hand-draws a metaphor for the creation process. The things we make end up making us. The style is a rough splatter of conflicting lines that blend together to create a stunning example of anatomic drawing (beware animated male nudity), and the percussive nature of the spike against marble punctuates everything with a sense of urgency. It’s no wonder this short won the Palme d’Or back in 1977. What does it cost? Just 2 minutes of your time. Check out Fight for yourself:

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This year at Cannes was a year of firsts. It was a first for FSR to cover it (a situation that the larger press seemed to ignore entirely), but it was also the first time in nearly two decades that an American actress took home the Best Actress Award (known as the Prix d’interprétation féminine if you’re nasty). Kirsten Dunst took home the top acting prize for her performance in Melancholia despite its director Lars Von Trier being permanently (for the foreseeable future) kicked out of the festival. From 1985 to 1993, there was a solid run of American actresses earning the award. In that 9-year span, Americans chalked up 5 wins: Cher, Barbara Hershey twice, Meryl Streep and Holly Hunter. Then, nothing. Until now. On top of that, Tree of Life became the first American film since Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 to win the Palme d’Or. Unfortunate rhymes aside, that’s a pretty stirring achievement (although it’s not nearly as significant as Dunst’s streak-ending win considering that 3 other American films (Pulp Fiction, Elephant, and Michael Moore’s documentary) won the Golden Palm in the same time-frame between American actress wins). However, it is timely. This information shouldn’t be merely to support a sort of nationalistic pride, but also to support cinematic pride in general. The tone of the conversation in this country is often negative because there’s an industry out there that is obsessed with bottom lines and not nearly as concerned about quality or storytelling. However, these wins (at […]

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Culture Warrior

Yesterday the Twittersphere (a place where topics are only discussed in rational proportions) was abuzz with the news that Terrence Malick’s long-awaited magnum opus Tree of Life was booed at its Cannes premiere. While the reaction to Malick’s latest will no doubt continue to be at least as divisive and polarized as his previous work has been, for many Malick fans the news of the boos only perpetuated more interest in the film, and for many Malick non-fans the boos signaled an affirmation of what they’ve long-seen as lacking in his work. (Just to clarify, there was also reported applause, counter-applause, and counter-booing at the screening.) Booing at Cannes has a long history, and can even be considered a tradition. It seems that every year some title is booed, and such a event often only creates more buzz around the film. There’s no formula for what happens to a booed film at Cannes: sometimes history proves that the booed film was ahead of its time, sometimes booing either precedes negative critical reactions that follow or reflect the film’s divisiveness during its commercial release. Booed films often win awards. If there is one aspect connecting almost all booed films at Cannes, it’s that the films are challenging. I mean challenging as a descriptor that gives no indication of quality (much like I consider the term “slow”), but films that receive boos at the festival challenge their audiences or the parameters of the medium in one way or another, for better or […]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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