The Loneliest Planet

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.

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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 […]

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With AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi rapidly approaching, the festival has just announced their first slate of film selections, including the full line-up for three of the festival’s most unique and important sections – Young Americans (which features film from up-and-coming American filmmakers), New Auteurs (which gives a platform for first and second features from around the world), and Spotlight (which picks one filmmaker for special recognition and screenings of their work). This year’s AFI FEST is already shaping up to be a fine festival for the fall season (alliteration is so choice), and the announcement of these selections only highlights that. Today’s announced films include a bevy of already buzzed-about titles from the festival circuit, including Sophia Takal’s Green, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg, Michaël R. Roskam’s Bullhead, Markus Schleinzer’s Michael, Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, Clay Liford’s Wuss, Alison Bagnall’s The Dish & The Spoon, and many more. This year’s Spotlight will also shine on filmmaker Joe Swanberg, who will show all three films of his Full Moon Trilogy, including the World Premiere of the final chapter, The Zone. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list and descriptions of the films to be featured in AFI FEST’s New Auteurs, Young Americans, and Spotlight sections.

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