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Posts tagged ‘Jean-Louis Trintignant’

NYFF 2012 ~ Strong Films Feature Strong Actresses, “Amour”, “Beyond the Hills”

This year’s New York Film Festival is  just about at the half-way through point, for press. The press screenings started just about immediataely that I got back from Toronto. And begin two weeks or so before the public begins to see the films, which began Friday night with “The Life of Pi.”

The 50th annivarsary edition of the NYFF has cerainly been featuring strong films about strong women, with VERY strong actresses doing award-worthy work.

The strongest by far is “Amour” the Palme d’Or winner at this years’ Cannes film festival, and this almost unbearably-painful-to-watch film by Michael Haneke(pronounced like Hun-a-kuh, like the Festival of Lights) stars French luminaries from the past Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintigant.

Emmanuelle Riva’s performance as Anne, an 80-something former music teacher who lives with her octogenarian husband, the equally magnificent Trintigant, in a beautifully quaint Paris apartment. And the lovely, charming Anne begins to be the victim of a series of strokes that leave her, first paralyzed on the right side, then paralyzed even further.

The demands on M. Riva are gargantuan in terms of enacting all the dibiltating stages of her decline, and she magnificently meets  every one of them with bravery and great force. You really are appauled at the toll old age is taking on her as she is ravaged by one malady after the other after the other. And Trintignant has the less showy role of the caretaker, the devoted husband who is appauled and dismayed by the excruciating decline and pain of his wife’s deteriotating conditiion.

Haneke is one of my favorite filmmakers and his previous work “Cache”, “Funny Games” and “The White Ribbon” are all extremely challenging and perplexing in different ways. “Amour” which should have been named “Le Mort” is tough, but “Amour” is the toughest, as it unflinchingly chronicles the end-of-life traumas that all human beings are going to have to face sooner or later. Some thing as grim as this material has never been shown onscreen. It’s disturbing, horrifying and unforgettable, all at the same time.

Austria has chosen it as their official entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film even though the actors speak French and it is set in France. Haneke, the director, is Austrian. France has chose the light-hearted comedy “The Intouchables” a Weinstein Co. production. So it will be comedy v. tragedy in this category at the Oscars in February. I’m sure both films may be nominated and Ms. Riva, too, may get a Best Actress nomination, her performance an the dying Anne is so awe-inspiring.

There’s also, like Haneke’s “Cache” and “The White Ribbon” especially, a kind of mystery that needs to be solved at the end. And I can only alert you to the fact that everything you need to know is in the OPENING scene of the movie. Just pay close attention.

Equally devastating, but somehow, lighter, if that’s even possible, is Roumanian director Christian Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills.” This film was also awarded at Cannes, with a dual Best Actress prize, for the two young women,Cosima Strahaan and Cristina Flutur, who play the leads. Childhood best friends since the orphanage they grew up in, Stratan’s character joins an Orthodox nunnery that separates her from Flutur.

Alina(Flutur) is obsessively attached to Voichita(Strahan) and right off the bat, in the very first scene of the film, she crushingly hugs her friend, collapsing in tears in a train station, in such a way that Voichita, the nun, is dreadfully embarassed.

Alina, long story short, is revealed to have an overwhelming lesbian love for Voichita, and will stop at nothing in the convents’ attempts to separate the two, after Alina comes for an extended visit and then stays and stays. Her obsession becomes violent and the nuns and their priest attempt to exorcise the demons they believe Alina is possessed by. It’s horrifying. And it it not set in the past though the   convent and its’ inhabitants and rituals seem medieval.

And this is based on the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, which in turn were based on a true story.

Oscar Gets “Amour”

Well, this certainly is news! Austria has decided that “Amour” is going to be its’ official submission to the Best Foreign Film race this coming Oscar season. Since it’s by a German director, who I LOVE, Michael Haneke, and maybe it’s German-Austrian financed although the two octogenarian leads,  who are winning raves, act in French, this makes “Amour” kosher. And definitely eligible for a Best Foreign Film nomination and perhaps win.

This is despite Jeffrey Wells at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com not liking a whole hell of a lot.

And to top that off Sony Pictures Classics is deciding to open it in Dec. RIGHT in the heat of the Oscar season. I know, I know. It’s freezing in New York at that time of year, and this is hardly your Christmas-y picture. But SPC, as I’ll now call them, are throwing down the Oscar gauntlet(is that a mixed metaphor?) going full court press with this one.

Although Michael Haneke only gives interviews in German, and the two stars are yes-for-real are in their 80s. But have Oscar buzz will travel. So we’ll be seeing them, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva stateside around the holidays. Or at least I will be seeing them, I hope, in their press tour.

I love SPC’s taste in movies. Last year,  they had “Midnight in Paris” and while it got a bunch of nominations in many categories and won in Best Original Screenplay, they did not move any of the many wonderful performers in that movie from the sidelines to center stage. Like for instance, Corey Stoll as Hemingway, Marion Cotillard as the Muse of many centuries and Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Not to mention Owen Wilson’s, astonishing lead performance and Rachel McAdams as his blonde bitch of a fiancée.

Although Owen did get a Golden Globe nomination in the Musical or Comedy category, he lost out to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” And who could’ve stopped THAT express train once it left the station???

I can’t stand Wes Anderson movies, so I only go to them, if dragged so I haven’t seen “Moonrise Kingdom” yet. But I guess I’ll have to at some point. I hate when straight men try to do camp. Which is basically what his great “Style” is. Stolen from the Homosexual Handbook. I ought to know. I helped write it back in The Day.

And tomorrow I’m actually going to see “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  I’ll let you know if I think all the who-ha at Sundance and Cannes was justified.

More “Amour” & “Beasts”

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone is back in Hwood and she and Jeffrey Wells just put up their podcast Oscar Poker, now looking back on Cannes. And mostly “Amour.”

Sasha of http://www.awardsdaily.com loves it. And Jeff begrudgingly now has to say he “admires ” it, but says the film that just won the Palme d”Or in Cannes, made him want to commit suicide.

Ok, it’s about Death, he says, and Sasha says it’s about Love, with a capital “L.” Jean-Louis Trintignant is taking care of his dying wife of over 40 years, who does not want to go to a hospital and so he has to do everything for her that a hospital staff would. And he wants to. He doesn’t want to let her go. She looses her appetite. She has two strokes. And it won the Palme d’Or.

Sasha proclaims the film a classic. Jeff can barely bring himself to talk about it. But he does. With Sasha’s prodding. He’s in Prague on his way back to the States, and she’s in L.A.

She talks about her grandmother’s death, and how her father did not want to let her go, and…well, take a listen. Jeff and Sasha both go “there”  It’s very heavy. And profound, and reveals a lot about both bloggers.

Sasha also again avers her affection for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and that with Fox Searchlight’s help, she thinks it’s going to get Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay nods. Jeff thought they’d put the little child in Best Supporting Actress since she’s only 6 years old in the film. Sasha thinks that that rule about putting child actors in  Supporting doesn’t apply anymore since the little girl in “Whale Rider” got a Best Actress nom.

But I say, look at the Coen Bros. next to last film, “True Grit” and remember where Haillee Stoddard ended up. In Supporting. And she lost there. To Melissa Leo for “The Fighter” a few years back. Leo made a big point of doing practically everything wrong on her road to the Oscar, but win it she did. But Haillee Stoddard has just vanished…so much for fame….and Hollywood’s 15 minutes rule…

Sasha also points out the way to be a success on the Internet is to constantly put up new material EVERY DAY. And more than once again, so that “The people reading your  site will go back and back, several times a day, like I do with Jeff’s site. I check it three times a day.” And so, I have to admit, do I. I go back to Awardsdaily multiple times a day. I check it almost as much as I do my own You Tube channel, and more than I do this blog.

But Sasha’s advice is to post CONSTANTLY. I haven’t been doing that. And I didn’t have a sympatico, working computer from March til May. I dropped my Toshiba and more or less broke it and now I have a new, nice, working Sony. I HOPE it stays so…

Jeff uses a Toshiba also, the top of the line one, and carries it with him everywhere and posts from everywhere. I don’t do that. Sasha seems to only post from her home/office. Except on the rare occasions that she travels to a film festival. Like to Cannes.

Me? I just do what I can. Who can do more? And thank to all my readers, cineastes all, who keep reading me now matter what, or how infrequently I post. Compared to Jeffrey and Sasha, I’m really a slug-a-bed.

I was GOING to try to go to “The Avengers” this AM, but both Sasha and Jeffrey were dumping on it so bad, I really wonder if I’ll get there…No Oscar chances anywhere on that film, they both agreed (And so does everyone else.) Me? I only do Oscar-seeking movies, and “The Avengers” is just all about money, the gigantic amount of money it has made. Doesn’t mean it’s going to get propelled into the Oscar race, both Jeff and Sasha agreed, so why bother? I’m talking myself out of going…

Can You Can Cannes? Some do. Some don’t.

As Cannes 2012 departs, it’s reverberations nevertheless will be felt throughout the Oscar season to come.

Pete Hammond of http://www.deadlinehollywood.com chimes in that he LIKED “Lawless” the Weinstein Australian gangster movie starring Shia LeBouef. Whereas Manohla Dargis of the New York Times  just dismissed it out right.

Jeffrey Wells was left with a WTF? reaction to the awards at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com and is taking three days off to recuperate.

Todd McCarthy, now at the Hollywood Reporter, felt the awards went where they should’ve gone, as did Dargis at the Times.

Hammond unearths a little known Cannes factoid that the two unknown Roumanian actresses, who are now unknown no longer, since they shared the Best Actress prize for Christian Mongiu’s lesbian nun story “Beyond the Hills” , were found by their director ON THE INTERNET! Now that should be uplifting news to a lot of aspiring actresses out there, that the Internet is now a career path.

Did they have websites I wonder? Just WHAT were they doing when Mongiu spotted them?

Another little know fact. If a film wins the Palme d’Or, the French equivalent of Best Picture, it can NOT win another major award, like for instance, say Best Actor or Actress.

And with the across-the-board acclaim of Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and the praise being heaped on 80-something stars Jean-Louis Trintingant and Emmanuelle Riva, they are both likely Oscar contenders for nominations, not wins. But who knows? I still think this film will not be nominated by the French, and the Austrians or Germans are unlikely to support a film that is in the French language.

Sony Pictures Classics already has this on the awards track. “Amour” is a must-see, no matter which way you slice it.

And Marion Cotillard’s “Of Rust and Bone” is being mentioned by all who have seen it as also a very likely Oscar contender for another nomination for Maid Marion. Having just won rather recently for “La Vie En Rose” acting in her own language, French, I wonder if that lightning would strike TWICE for her in another French film. The win, I mean, not the nomination. The nomination for Mlle. Cotillard seems almost a done deal and the only one that is emerging from Cannes.

Although there is also that American film, that opened Sundance “Beasts of the Southern Wild” which also won a major prize, for a first feature film, and is also a film that Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com kept commenting on in her famous Cannes’  podcast luncheon with Jeffrey Wells. Sasha thinks, especially with Fox Searchlight having picked it up, that they are going to  ride this one all the way to a Best Picture nomination. The directors first name is Behn. Others would spell it “Ben” and he’s only 23. But this is the film, about a 6-year-old girl trying to cope with the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina, that has captivated not only the Sundance scenesters, but also the French, so it’s broadly popular.

And Sasha thinks the young girl in it could likely be the youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar. She’s THAT good evidently. And her name is unpronounceable and well as un-spell-able, so I’m going to look it up and include it later.

No American films seem to have hit at Cannes, but this one has. And with Fox Searchlight behind it. They are gonna “Tree of Life” it all the way to the Dolby. Which is the new name of the Kodak.

But other than “Beasts” no other American film has gotten much, if any traction. Then comes the big Summer Pause in the awards world, where all the summer blockbusters roll out and we don’t really see much of anything until Toronto. Which I will be attending for the 14th year! Can’t wait! But first comes Provincetown in a couple of weeks. And they always have such smart films there…

“Amour” wins the Palme d’Or at Cannes!

Well, Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone certainly knows how to pick’em! In her historic podcast from a restaurant in Cannes, she mentioned Michael Haneke’s “Amour” second, after Marion Cotillard’s “Of Rust and Bone” as being her top two favorites. And despite it’s difficult subject matter, old age, senility and death, it has gotten widespread and almost unanimous love from the critics across the board.

The only nay-sayer was Jeffrey Wells, at that same luncheon, during that same podcast, which you can hear at http://www.awardsdaily.com in the Oscar poker section and also on Wells’ site http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com JW said he was going to skip it at the time the podcast was recorded and then later he does seem to have reluctantly dragged himself to it and lists it as “A respectful, but difficult sit.”

Will this lead to an Oscar somehow, somewhere? France is only allowed(and so is every other country in the world) one submission to the Oscars Best Foreign Film category. And since Michael Haneke, the director/writer is German, that could mean a more thoroughly French film, like “Of Rust and Bone” or even “The Intouchables” may be submitted by France.

If that does happen, an Oscar brouhaha would like  occur and the two distinguished lead actors, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva could get acting nominations, though I don’t think either would win.

It seemed like the beloved Marion Cotillard was going to walk away with it for “Of Rust and Bone” but she didn’t. Best Actress at Cannes went to two unknown Roumanian actresses in “Beyond the Hills” which Sasha also mentioned as among the best films she saw during her podcast.

Jeffrey Wells’ favorite film? Well, it seems to have been “On the Road” the Jack Kerouac book that established the Beat Generation. Yes, it’s finally made it to the big screen and Jeff loved it. But no one else seems to have.” Boring,” is the word most often used to describe this two and a half hour meticulously re-created road trip.

“On the Road” was described famously be Truman Capote as “That’s not writing. It’s typing.”

Well, we shall see. IFC has it. And Sony Pictures Classics has “Of Rust and Bone” and also “Amour” SPC is used to these races, as IFC is not. The Weinstein Co. has defined and redefined the Oscar race for the past quarter century. But none of its’ pictures at Cannes seems to have caught fire, unlike last year’s “The Artist.”

Anne Thompson, who kept getting disconnected from her own podcast this week, thought that “The Intouchables” had better Oscar prospects than any other of the TWC films at Cannes. Among them “Lawless” ANOTHER gangster film. When will THAT genre ever die???

But congratulations to Michael Haneke for winning ANOTHER Palm d’Or for “Amour”! He won recently, too, for “The White Band.”

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