a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘France’

Elizabeth Williamson, new Associate Artistic Director, Hartford Stage

It is my great pleasure, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theatre to introduce you to the very exciting and dynamic Elizabeth Williamson, the newly appointed associate artistic director of the Hartford Stage. Elizabeth has studied in London under Mark Wing-Davey, who is now the Head of NYU’s great Grad Acting program, and also at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq theatre in Paris, as well as being the Dramaturg at the Hartford Stage under the direction of Darko Tresnjak.

Elizabeth was the dramaturg and very involved with the development of Matthew Lopez’ new play “Reverberation” which I liked so much when I saw it in Hartford earlier this year. Her parents were both poets and she has a very bright future in the American Theater in front of her.

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TIFF Announces 2014 Slate! Foxcatcher, Maps to the Stars, more

Foxcatcher 1Julianne Moore 1TIFF logo 1Imitation Game 1It’s a starry line-up as always as TIFF today announced its’ upcoming slate of Galas, which always take place at the Roy Thomson Hall, and formal dress is required, and Special Presentations, which almost always happen at the classic Elgin(pronounced “El Gin” with a hard “g”) theatre.

Three of the films I’m most looking forward to seeing are David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” which netted Julianne Moore the Best Actress award at Cannes,

Bennett Miller’s follow-up to “Moneyball” “Foxcatcher” which is about wrestling, not baseball, and the British WWII spy film “Imitation Game” with Benedict Cumberbatch( PBS’ Sherlock Holmes to many) as the lead character who is a closeted homosexual.

There are many, many films more that were announced today. Go to Sasha Stone’s invaluable Oscar site http://www.awardsdaily.com for more info. Toronto always has soooo many films, you can’t see them all.

One movie I’ve already seen, today as a matter of fact, was the Dame Maggie Smith, Kristen Scott Thomas & Kevin Kline starrer “Me and My Old Lady” with Dame Maggic pulling out all the stops in yet ANOTHER tour-de-force performance that is soooo good I’m glad they are including it at TIFF. She deserves it.

And so now, the Oscar Race officially begins! Could Dame Maggie surprise and make it into the Best Actress race? She certainly deserves it. She’s plays a 92-year-old English woman living in France.  And I’m SOOOO glad I saw it today!

 

 

 

Mesmerzing”Maigret” French TV series now out on MHz DVDs!

Rarely, have I ever stumbled upon a new fictional detective that has totally mesmerized me. Full disclosure, I’m sort of obsessed by Agatha Christie and her great detectives Hercule Poirot and esp. Miss Marple. At last I’ve found some one new, who is quite  obsession-worthy  It is the late great French writer(Belgian born) Georges Simenon and his legendary police commissaire detective Jules Maigret. New to me, but well-known to millions of readers and viewers, esp. in Europe.’

Out now in a marvelously entertaining DVD set released by MHz videos, it features “Maigret” as played by the late great French actor Bruno Cremer, who is well into his 70s when he shot this wonderful series that ran for more than a decade on French TV. And how lucky the French are to have such a high quality TV series running regularly! Most American Network TV is a vulgar joke by comparison.(I’m not counting the excellent work now done on Cable. Like for instance, “Breaking Bad.” But it’s Cable and I don’t get AMC!! )

The Maigret novels have been filmed many, many times  in Europe on TV and in film, but I can’t imagine any of these incarnations beating Cremer’s Commissaire and this flawlessly executed, beautifully filmed TV series.

Subtitled, mais oui, it is always a brain teaser, and very atmospheric, as it takes you back in time to 1950s Paris, where Maigret, a very dogged police inspector, who does everything by the book ( if he can ) plies his trade, pursuing criminals of all social strata and bringing them to justice. As boring as this methodology seems, “Maigret” is never dull pour une instante!

Oui, he’s a for-real policeman, le vrai chose, and Simenon celebrates the French gendarmes at every turn. His Maigret is not a private detective like Poirot or Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe or Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade or an amateur sleuth like Miss Marple. Maigret is actually a commissaire or commissioner of the Paris “Brigade Criminelle.” There are no flatfoots or bumbling gum shoes here, as there always are in Agatha Christie. Policemen are shown to be intelligent, hard-working, admirable and relentless in the pursuit of crime. Simenon shows them as objects of great respect and not derision.

And Maigret, who simply smokes a pipe throughout almost every episode, is the most intelligent and sterling of them all. Like the also pipe-smoking Sherlock Holmes, like all classical detectives, he’s observant and diligent to a fault. Nothing and no one escapes his seemingly casual glances. So you have to be truly as on your toes when you watch it, as he is, watching and listening carefully to everything. And what a Gallic joy that is!

Seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret were published between 1931 and 1972. Georges Simenon wrote over a hundred novels and is considered one of France’s greatest and certainly most prolific writers of the last century, but Inspector Maigret was by far his most famous and widely beloved creation. There is a statue to George Simenon, mais oui, bien sur, in France, and also a statue to Maigret in Belgium! Are there any statues to Hercule Poirot lurking about the English countryside? Not that I know of.

Like Christie, each mystery is its’ own perfect stand-alone box of tantalizing puzzles. And one of the delights of this TV incarnation is its’ setting in ’50’s Paris. In  Parisian environs we don’t usually see in French films, so it all feels wonderfully classic and also refreshingly new at the same time.

Each episode of “Maigret” is like its’ own little movie, and the mysteries are almost always impenetrable to all but Commissaire Maigret.

Bruno Cremer’s height and girth and his low, rumbling, grumbling voice are perfectly suited to Maigret. He lumbers when he walks, has a police office that is notoriously untidy and has a distinct dislike of stairs. All traits I found impossibly endearing. His Maigret like all iconic roles in a great, perfectly cast performer’s hands is mesmerizing and you keep wanting to go back to him and see MORE. And MORE!

And with this new series of DVDs from MHz Networks you can! There is also now an MHz TV station in many cities. Check your local listings.

I’ve watched many of the MHz” Maigret”episodes twice. Indeed, the stories are so complex and the characters so deftly drawn,marvelously performed  and thoroughly French that you can’t wait to go back to them as see them re-watch again.  And warning, they’re addictive. They’ll grow on you.

All the actors were new to me (and I watch a lot of French movies!) very talented, and perfectly cast. One in particular whose intriguing name was Remi Martin, was notably good in “Seven Little Crosses”, as a distraught father of a missing child.

As Maigret and the entire Parisian police force, track the little boy as he runs about Paris breaking the glass on police call boxes, another peculiarly French anachronism, the sound of a person running and breathing heavily, is then slowly followed upon by shots only of the school boy’s feet running, running…Classy, eerie, as is the marvelous sound track by  Laurent Petitgirard.

It is a sweltering August Bank Holiday in pre-air-conditioned Paris. And is Maigret on vacation? Non! And he makes sure his entire staff is out sweating and tracking the murderer of old ladies who live alone. Who seems to be a prototypical serial killer.

Another episode that I enjoyed was “Maigret at L’Etoile du Nord” a hotel near the Gare du Nord train station. This time it’s Christmas and it’s snowing. And Maigret isn’t taking off for une Joyeux Noel. As he says, “Murderers don’t take off for the holidays.”

Another favorite quote, Maigret grumbles “I hate solving murders in hotels. You never know where to start!”

And he’s invariably calling the always unseen Madame Maigret, his wife, and apologizing for missing his train.

But don’t miss this delightful series of classic French thrillers!

And newsflash! “Maigret” and many other international crime-soliving TV series can be found on http://www.mhznetworks.org! Stay tuned, dear readers, dear cineastes, for the latest updates on these marvelous European TV series that I like and you might, too!

“Before Midnight” Put Me to Sleep…zzzz

Never having seen the previous two movies in this Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy written and co-starring trilogy vehicle directed by the great Richard Linklater, I was not prepared really, I guess to see “Before Midnight.”

IOW I had no back story with these two characters. I think you really have to have that to appreciate this one.

Not having that reference point, although I read all the reviews, goodness knows, and they all were positive, I wasn’t ready to be put into the deep, deep sleep that “Before Midnight” put me into. It was scary how bored I eventually got with these two talky, upper middle class, privileged white characters.

Oh, and of course, it’s mainly about heterosexuals and how great they are.

I was soooo bored.

“Before Midnight” is endlessly self-referential and if you haven’t seen the two previous movies which they cite endlessly, you are shit out of luck, following all the *ahem* subtle twists and turns*cough*cough* that these bland WASPs go through.

The film starts with an ENDLESSSSSS two-shot of Delpy and Hawke in the front seat of a car driving to some vacation spot in Europe. I think it was Greece.

It went on for sooooo long, I wanted to scream “Cut”. The camera never moved once. What was Richard Linklater thinking? Well, I guess he wanted to convey the claustrophobia and confining suffocation that marriage can bring. Stultifying, it sure was. Was that shot twenty minutes long? Forty? It seemed like an hour. This prolonnnnnged car shot was preceded by the only dramatic moments this film possessed. Ethan Hawke’s wrangling his divorced son, who excliams, “MOM, HATES YOU!” Well, that outburst I believed.It was all down hill from there.

But if you want an audience who hasn’t seen these two oh-so-in-love-with-themselves rich people before, to identify with them, it was a very dicey way to introduce these two.

The filmmakers just ASSUME you’ll like them, if not love them already. 

And well, I didn’t.

I think I lost them and consciousness completely towards the latter part of the film, when they eventually ended up bickering in a hotel room in France somewhere, or it could have been Greece. 

“Before Midnight” is currently a critics’ darling, but I just don’t get the love. I guess I have to go back and watch their first two movies. But I’m afraid they’ll send me off to Dreamland again, if I do.

My rating: zzzzzzzz…..

The Impatient Traveler ~Trips Begin Before They Start 2012 version

And  once again, as I madly prepare to depart New York for the Great White North’s two great film festivals, I felt today, like I was leaving tomorrow.

And I’m not!

I’ve still got twenty-five MORE days til I’m officially outta here, and I can’t wait! J’attends avec impatience!

I’m going to the Montreal and Toronto Film Festivals for the 14th year in a row, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! But this year has been more difficult, it seems than any other.

Trips aren’t easy. You can quote me.

And getting an entire television show On The Road, well, it’s never just like one’s going off by oneself somewhere remote. Something I never do.

Lately I prefer to just stay put, although I love to travel, but hey, if I can be being FILMED while I travel, well, that’s what I can now say I like. THAT makes it fun for me now.

And with all these wonderful film festivals with their wonderful films alllll interested in l’il ole me, well, I just love it!

Yes, you’re working/traveling, but I like that. And I LOVE film festivals! And I love film. And I love movie stars. And I love talking to them. As I will be doing A LOT, I hope, coming up at TIFF and Montreal.

I changed all my money into Canadian already and what a shock the exchange rate is now for Americans! Yikes! Canada is doing very, very well financially, and let’s face it, as I had to at the bank this morning, the U.S. is just NOT.

But it’s sooo funny, and rewarding, and thrilling, to see all your money suddenly in pinks and purples, instead of GREEN! I wonder if I look at the world through rose-colored glasses. I think I do. Well, certainly through gay-colored glasses whatever color that may be. Rainbow?

And I do wear glasses.

So of course, my spirit is flying north, and my body just irresolutely stays put. Here. Where it was feeling like 100 degrees on the white-hot pavements.

I got my train tickets. Yes, I’m traveling by train again this year to Canada. Amtrak all the way. And it was very exciting to actually have them in my hands. More so this year than most. A concrete affirmation that yes, I am going at such and such a time and that I’ll be on this train and arriving at this approximation. (Trains always surprise one one way or the other.) And I’ll be taking the Adirondack which is considered one of the most beautiful, scenic train routes there is, going from New York’s Penn Station, which was like an oven today. And arriving ten hours later in the endlessly dazzling city of Montreal.

Montreal ~~~

I could go on and on for hours and hours about how much I love that city. And well, I have been doing that on my TV show, FOR FOURTEEN YEARS. I never miss it. It’s so thoroughly French. You travel for ten hours and then SUDDENLY you’re in France!

I can’t wait! J’attends avec impatience!

But I’ve still got three and a half weeks to go….:(

Interview with “Intouchables” co-director/writer Olivier Nakache

The Intouchables” the first Weinstein Co. Oscar seeker is out in theaters this week and “The Intouchables” French film director/writer Olivier Nakache was in town to talk about its chances, his heavily buzzed Senagelese star Omar Sy and its’ incredible box-office triumphs all across Europe. It’s the highest grossing film in French cinema history. Will the same lightening strike in America? I sat down with him and a translator to talk about it in the Weinstein Co.’s offices in Tribecca in French and in English, bien sur.

Stephen Holt: In The New York Times, film critic Stephen Holden said that there was going to be an Oscar campaign for Omar Sy? (pronounced “See”) Is that true? Is this happening?
Olivier Nakache: Yeah. Maybe. (SH laughs) It depends.
Translator(translating from his French): It’s in the process of being decided.
ON: Yeah, yeah. But I think, yes. I think maybe the Weinstein Company wants to play the game of the Oscar with Omar. But last year you have already all these French guys. I think the French cinema is in great shape. Great shape.
SH: Pourquoi?
ON: Because now you have a new generation of French directors.
SH: Exactement.
ON: And we are very close. Because…Michel Hazanviscius, we are very close.
SH: I interviewed him, too, and I told him he was going to win the Oscar and he was like “Quoi??” He didn’t know what hit him. And I was right!
(Both laugh)
ON:Yeah, can you imagine? But if I told you one year ago the subject of our movie, if I told you – OK, I’m Michel and “I want to make a movie in black and white about American movies, with no dialogue.” I said, “Are you crazy? It never works!” And if I told you that I wanted to make a comedy about a quadreplegic man(Francois Cluzet and a man from the ghetto(Omar Sy), a comedy. (you would say) “Quit! Buy a bakery and stop! Quit the cinema!”(SH laughs) Je crois que l’audace payee.
Translator: The audacity pays off.
SH: Oui, d’accord.
ON: It’s original. It’s new. It’s not Number Two, Number Three or a sequel or a prequel, you know what I mean? It’s new. It’s Fresh air.
SH:Unique.
ON: Oui. It’s unique. It’s fresh. It’s fresh. And for “The Intouchables,” I think that people are touched by the fact that it’s a tough subject, a deep subject, but we put humor on it so il fait le subject a peu legee.
Translator: It makes those issues lighter.
ON: Lighter, but (pounding his fist) strong!
SH: D’accord, encore une fois. So, the sucess of this film in France and all across Europe, it’s incroyable!
ON: C’est incroyable. C’est vraiment le mot, incroyable. Terrific. Amazing. Unexpectable. Y’know, because we knew that we got something special for the movies. Because we made in France, and I think the same thing in the U.S., we made a big tour before the release to –
Translator: To start fires everywhere.
ON: En francais, aussi, la bouche a oreille. Do you know this expression?
SH: Non, non.
ON: La bouche a oreille.
Translator: Word of mouth. From mouth to ear.
ON: Mouth to ear. And you can imagine, for this movie, c’est tres important.
SH: And also, the challenge is unique, because he can’t move. Francois Cluzet’s character can’t move. He’s a quadreplegic millionaire in a wheelchair. So you have perhaps a very stationary, static situation, for a film. It’s more like for a play. But you never think of that in this movie.
ON: Of course. But we want to show this comedy like a drama, and we thought how can we be –
Translator: How can we pace the film?
ON: The rythmn is really important, (Snapping his fingers) because he won’t move. And around him, there is great, great movement
.
SH: Yes. It never stops.
ON: That’s why when Phillipe hire(s) Driss(pronounced “Dreees”) in the scene in the office at the beginning of the movie, Omar moves. He moves a lot. Move. Move. We don’t want just a scene with two people –
SH: Sitting down, yes.
ON: During all the movie, we knew that we (snapping his fingers) have a fast edit, movements, music, to create movement around somebody who can’t move.
SH: I just missed your directing partner, who just took off for the airport. We have to mention that you just didn’t do this film by yourself. And his name is -?
ON:My partner? Eric. Eric Toledano.
SH: Do you do certain parts of the film, and he does others? How does that work? Is it difficile? Simple?
ON: To make a movie, it’s difficile.
SH: Oui, oui. C’est vrai.
ON: We learn together. We began together. And we move forward together. We write the script together. It’s our fourth movie.
SH: Wow.
ON: So it works. It works. I think maybe one day, one will want to do something alone, but the other (one of us) will not be far.
SH: Formidable.So, you both discovered this very strange topic, and it’s based on a true story?
ON: Yeah, yeah.
SH: And you discovered it together on French television?
ON: Yeah, exactly ten years ago, I saw a documentary. Very tres tard de la soiree.
Translator: Very late at night.
ON: Very late at night. And I text to Eric, “Put your TV on, please.” And we saw this documentary “A La Vie, A La Mort “and I phoned to him “Do you think what I’m thinking?” And he said ” Yes, I am thinking what you’re thinking. It’s a great story for a movie.” But we were too young. We were not mature. We, at this time, we never make a feature film. We just make short movies.So we wait to learn the tools of the cinema. We wait –
SH: To grow up.
ON: To grow up And also, we met Omar
.
SH: He’s incredible.
ON: We wrote the script for him.
SH: Oh! Ah, vraiment.
Translator: And if he told them, “I am not interested, they would not have made the movie.”
SH: RIght. Wow! Wow. Is he an established actor? Is he known in France?
ON: Not as a actor. He’s known. He’s really, really famous as a comedian.
SH: Like Jean Dujardin is.
ON: Not really Not really not like Jean Dujardin, because Omar has got his own TV show.
SH: Oh!
ON: But a tiny TV show. Really tiny ten minutes each day. It’s a daily show. With a partner. It’s a duet.
SH: Doesn’t Jean Dujardin do that with his wife? Also? A ten minute comedy show each day?
ON: Ah! Kind of. But not really. Not really.
SH:Let me tell you an interesting story about the Rendez-vous (with French Cinema. In March) I was interviewing everybody and I was very involved with Jean Dujardin and I loved “The Artist” and this was right after it and Jean won the Oscars, and all the other actors there, the big French stars, they were so jealous. The men. They were tres jaloux. And they were like “But he is just a comedian! He is not an actor!” And again, this is the success of another French comedian in America. Omar, I mean. It’s looking like it.
ON: A lot of actors come from Saturday Night Live here.
SH: That’s true. OK.
ON: It’s exactly the same for Omar. Omar is a kind of Saturday Night Live. Because it’s not like Jean Dujardin, because his show, it’s like a fiction. With a woman.
SH: It’s a sketch comedy show, Jean Dujardin’s show. With his wife.
ON: Yes, a sketch. Omar talks directly to the camera, to the people, about politics, about the scene.
SH: What’s the name of Omar’s show by the way?
ON: It’s difficult to say in English.
Translator: Customer Service. Post-Sale Service.
SH: (laughs) That’s so funny.
ON: He critiques the other TV (shows), the politics, and what is happening in the world. So he can talk about Obama, and he creates characters. It’s very different.
SH: What is the racial situation like in France? Since America is so hung up on race. The racial situation I think historically in France for black actors, like for instance Josephine Baker in the ’20s. There was no prejudice, nothing. It’s different.
ON: But you have to know that in France, I hope I am clear. In France, you have the immigrants, les emigres et les francais. In America, you have black people and Americans. Mexicans and Americans. In France, that is the same group. You know what I mean? They don’t live in a special community. They don’t live in a special part of Paris. They live in the housing projects.
SH: There’s no ghettos, in other words.
ON: It’s ghettos, but not for one community.
SH: It’s for all foreigners?
Translator: All foreigners. It’s like a melting pot. Where they’re all together.
SH: In these ghettos.
Translator: Projects.
SH: Projects, yeah. There are black and Hispanic and Asians all mixed in here in the projects, too. Americans will sort of go to, relate to the black and white theme here, too.
ON: The black and white thing. We have not the same history that you have. In France, we have emigre people.
Translator: Immigrants.
ON: And the French. The second generation,like me, because my parents were born in Algeria and Eric’s parents were born in Morocco, but we are French.
SH: So you have a very,very deep connection with this topic.
ON:We have a special history in France. We have the colonization. My parents were French, because Algerians were French. But for us, we call us les jeunes de banlieue.
Translator: Young people from the projects. It’s a social group.
ON: A social group. Banlieue. The suburbs. The housing projects.
Translator: Banlieue translates as suburbs.
ON: You know in the real story (that this film is based on), it’s an Arabic person, Abdel, the real character.
SH: Yes, I noticed that at the end of the picture. You showed the real people this film was based on, Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo and his caretaker, Abdel.
ON:But for a French audience, it’s exactly the same. Driss is from Senegal, but it’s exactly the same. It’s les jeunes de banlieue. Omar’s got the same past as Abdel. Omar came from the same type of housing projects.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone’s Heavenly Cannes’ Diaries Delight

I swear sometime I think Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com is the reason for all the continuously  building Oscar hoopla that gets bigger and bigger every year. A one-woman Oscar army she has built up her formidable and must-read Oscar website, which started out as a Message Board ,and then called Oscarwatch.com into a veritable mountain of Oscar influencing.

Sasha just landed back in the States from Cannes, where she outdid herself once again, with her extremely beautifully written and astutely observed Cannes diaries which are very, very moving and absolutely essential to the understanding of what makes the Oscar race tick, and how it all begins. And now, it seems it begins in Cannes.

It certainly did last year with “The Artist,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Tree of Life” and “Drive.” All of which played a major role in the Oscar story of this season just past. And now again, Sasha writes so feelingly and persuasively about the things she sees, and the films she feels deeply effected her this year her diaries and reviews are absolutely irrestible reading. And you know what? She’s usually right on the money. Especially as far as spotting Oscar contenders early. REALLY early, in this case.

Cannes used to be really a catch-all for all the weirdo foreign films, the films the studios didn’t know what to do with, and no big Oscar influencer. This year all that has changed and Cannes may again assume its’ monicker as the World’s Number One Film Festival. Me, I ceded that honor to Toronto for the past 13 going on 14 years.

And what did Sasha like? Well, she tells you in her own voice at a rather incredible podcast she did with Jeffrey Wells, the eternal grouch of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com who like Sasha runs his own very successful website, follows no ruler but himself, and takes no prisoners on his daily movie beat, that she liked “Of Rust and Bone” best.

This is the divine Marion Cotillard’s French follow-up to her Oscar-winning “La Vie En Rose.” Marion is one Best Actress winner who has not let the grass grow under her feet, and has not been content to rest on her laurels, bien sur. Making one strong film choice after the other. Here she is playing an Orca trainer, who after a tragic accident in an aquarium where she works, is left legless.

Sasha mentions this film first in her podcast, which you can find on both her site as well as Jeffrey’s. I hate the title. You almost can’t pronouce it in French and in English, it’s just off-putting. And I don’t think Marion is going to win another Oscar so soon after her Piaf win, and acting in her own language once again. But she’s La Belle Marion, and let me tell you, she is one of the greats, so all bets are off. And if Sasha is mentioning her FIRST at Cannes, for an Oscar nom, in her podcast, then it’s DONE! And it a couple of weeks, she’s in “The Dark Knight Rises” too. She’s hot, hot, hot all over again. And Sony Pictures Classics has “Of Rust and Bone” and they really know what they’re doing with an Oscar campaign. Witness last year’s Best Original Screenplay winner Woody Allen’s sublime “Midnight in Paris,” which you all know I’v e now seen NINE times, and Marion was in that, too!

I don’t know how Sahsa  and Jeff did that magic trick of broadcasting so clearly and so distinctly from the middle of a Cannes Film Festival restaurant! It captures the chaos and also the joy that Sasha and Jeff were experiencing being at Cannes. And guess what? They both sounded supremely happy!

It didn’t matter if they missed films because of the scheduling or time flying by or the color of their badges. Sasha had “a lowly blue” and Jeff was the more high-toned Pink. David Poland was also there evidently for the first time.(I thought he’d been going there for years! But I guess I was misinformed.) and landed a pink badge. And you have to line up for films, and then they let the white badges in first. Then the pink with a “Pastille” or dot. Then the pink badges. Then the blue, then the yellow.

I hate to think what color I’d get saddled with.

You could line up in the broiling Cannes sun and not get in at all! That sucks.

But as I said, Sasha and Jeff sounded sublimely delighted by the whole experience. And it was like dropping in on a conversation between Scott and Zelda on the Riviera. You’ve got to check it out. And hear how Sasha reacts to everything, like I do, as an Oscar possiblity, or not.

Her second favorite film she mentioned was Michael Haneke’s “Amour” evidently a total change of pace for him, his films like the recent Palme d’Or  winner “The White Band,”are usually VERY dark and unrelenting. “Amour” is about a couple in their 8os with Emmanuelle Riva of “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” who is evidently going to give Marion a run for her money for the Best Actress prize as Cannes. And Jean-Louis Trintignant of “A Man and a Woman” is the man in the picture, also, now, incredibly, in his 80s. And Sasha says they are both wonderful and Jeff Wells counters, in their podcast, that he isn’t going to see it at Cannes. Vive la difference!

Who will win the Palme d’Or this year? It’s anybody’s guess. The jury at Cannes changes every year. And celebrity-heavy as it always is, it leads to some surprising winners. Unpredictable, that’s what it is. But we have to remember that last year Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award there for “The Artist” mais oui. So I’m guessing that one of the big winners this year  is going to also be on Oscar’s list, too.

The big American films were all coming up and Sasha, who was leaving early, hadn’t seen them yet. But you’ll feel like you’ve seen them all when you read Sasha’s trenchant, heartelt reviews and hear her and Jeff Wells talk about it so delightfully on their Oscar Poker podcast.

I was at Cannes once, myself, as a movie star, back in the day, with Divine, for the “Alternative Miss World” but that’s another story.

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