Thursday, May 31, 2007

Atrás das Nuvens

(Portugal, 2006, 86 minutes)

A 10-year old boy whose father died when he was born sneaks away in search of the grandfather he’s never met. Modest, amiable little melodrama carried by a strong lead.

A Lusomundo release. Maria João Mayer and François d'Artemare present a Filmes do Tejo production, with the financial support of ICAM and RTP. Starring Nicolau Breyner, Ruben Leonardo, Sofia Grillo, Graciano Dias. Directed by Jorge Queiroga; produced by Maria João Mayer and François d'Artemare; screenplay by Jennifer Field, adapted by Tiago Santos, based on an original idea by Jorge Queiroga developed by Ricardo Tomé; music by Nuno Maló; director of photography (Tobis, HD video transferred to 35mm), Amílcar Carrajola; production designer, João Martins; costume designer, Carla Figueiredo; film editor, João Braz.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

(USA, 2007, 167 minutes)

Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and Captain Barbossa join forces to rescue Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ locker and confront Lord Beckett, the new governor of Port Royal. Long-winded but generally entertaining third episode in the comedy-adventure swashbuckling saga inspired by the Disney theme park ride; better than the previous Dead Man’s Chest but not as fresh or as inspired as The Curse of the Black Pearl.

A Walt Disney Pictures presentation/production, in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Stellan Skarsgård, Bill Nighy; with Chow Yun-Fat; and Geoffrey Rush; Jack Davenport, Kevin R. McNally, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander; and Jonathan Pryce; special appearance by Keith Richards. Directed by Gore Verbinski; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer; written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, based on Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride and on characters created by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert; music by Hans Zimmer; director of photography (Technicolor prints, Panavision), Dariusz Wolski; production designer, Rick Heinrichs; costume designer, Penny Rose; film editors, Craig Wood, Stephen Rivkin; visual effects supervisors, John Knoll, Charles Gibson; creature concepts, Crash McCreery; special make-up effects concept, Ve Neill.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Indigènes

Days of Glory

(France/Morocco/Algeria/Belgium, 2006, 122 minutes)

In 1943, at the height of WWII, the Free French Army recruits Algerian and Moroccan soldiers to help with the liberation of France, but despite their patriotism they are treated as second-class soldiers and citizens. Combination old-fashioned war movie, true-life story and poignant social tract that, despite its huge impact in France, is really no more than an earnest but dullish slog through previously charted territory.

A Mars Distribution release. Jean Brehat, Rachid Bouchareb and Jamel Debbouze present a Tessalit Productions/Kissfilms/Taza Productions/Tassili/Versus Production/Scope Invest production, in co-production with France 3 Cinéma, France 2 Cinéma and Studiocanal, in association with La Petite Reine; with the support of the Moroccan Kingdom, Région Île-de-France, Région Franche-Comté, Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Région Alsace, Conseil Général des Vosges, Région Aquitaine, Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government, Royal Air Maroc, Maroc Télécom, Human Rights League, Caisse des Dépots et Consignations and Fonds d’Action et Soutien pour l’Intégration et la Lutte contre les Discriminations; with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinécinéma, Kiosque, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Cofinova 1, Cofinova 2 and Soficinéma. Starring Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila, Bernard Blancan, Mathieu Simonet, Benoît Gros, Mélanie Laurent; with the participation of Antoine Chappey. Directed by Rachid Bouchareb; written by Olivier Lorelle and Rachid Bouchareb: music by Armand Amar and Khaled; director of photography (colour, widescreen), Patrick Blossier; production designer, Dominique Douret; costume designer, Michèle Richer; film editor, Yannick Kergoat.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Trust the Man

(USA, 2006, 99 minutes)

Two New York couples try to find a way out of their romantic crisis. Embarrassingly unfunny romantic comedy whose material is so thin and formulaic that it makes you wonder what such a stellar cast saw in it.

A Capitol Films release. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment presents a Process production. Starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James le Gros, Eva Mendes, Dagmara Dominczyk, Glenn Fitzgerald, Justin Bartha, John Ellison Conlee, Sterling Brown, Liam Broggy; with Ellen Barkin; and Garry Shandling. Directed and written by Bart Freundlich; produced by Sidney Kimmel, Tim Perell, Bart Freundlich; music by Clint Mansell; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Tim Orr; production designer, Kevin Thompson; costume designer, Michael Clancy; film editor, John Gilroy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zodiac

(USA, 2007, 152 minutes)

The chase for the Zodiac, a serial killer that terrorized the Bay Area between 1968 and 1974, overcomes the personal lifes of a reporter, a cartoonist and the police detective assigned to the case. Stodgy, long-winded procedural that succeeds as an intriguing study in obsession but doesn’t quite succeed as a conventional thriller.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures present a Phoenix Pictures production. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Robert Fleischer, Zach Grenier, Philip Baker Hall, Elias Koteas, James Le Gros, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, Dermot Mulroney, Chloë Sevigny. Directed by David Fincher; produced by Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Ceán Chaffin, Bradley J. Fischer, James Vanderbilt; screenplay by James Vanderbilt, based on the books Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith; music by David Shire; director of photography (colour; widescreen), Harris Savides; production designer, Donald Graham Burt; costume designer, Casey Storm; film editor, Angus Wall.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pretty Persuasion

(USA, 2005, 109 minutes)


A wily teenage student at a Beverly Hills private academy weaves an elaborate web of revenge against her hapless English and Drama teacher — or is she aiming further and higher? Biting, satirical black comedy that subverts the usual high-school cliches with zest and wit, carried by a superb lead performance.

A Prospect Pictures presentation/production. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Elisabeth Harnois, Selma Blair, Danny Comden, Stark Sands, Michael Hitchcock, Robert Joy, Jaime King. Directed by Marcos Siega; produced by Todd Dagres, Carl Levin, Marcos Siega, Matthew Weaver; written by Skander Halim; music by Gilad Benamram; director of photography (Deluxe, Panavision), Ramsey Nickell; production designer, Paul Oberman; costume designer, Danny Glicker; film editor, Nicholas Erasmus.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ivansxtc.

(USA, 1999, 91 minutes)

A high-powered Hollywood agent is diagnosed with cancer just as he seals the most important deal of his career. Surprisingly effective but little-seen update of Tolstoy set in contemporary Hollywood, done on a very low budget and incorporating a few true-life elements; it works either as a film à clef for Hollywood insiders or as an affecting character study of man facing his own mortality. The project was conceived by writer/director Bernard Rose as an exorcism of his experience with the studios on Anna Karenina, where he was locked out of the editing room, and incorporates elements of the life of Jay Moloney, who had been Rose’s agent at CAA. Shot on digital video for $150,000, the film had been completed when Moloney took his own life and CAA effectively blacklisted the production, which did not receive a theatrical release in the US until 2002.

Rhino Films presents an Enos/Rose production, in association with Alternative Investments of Michigan. Starring Danny Huston, Peter Weller, Lisa Enos, Joanne Duckman, Angela Featherstone, Caroleen Feeney, Valeria Golino, Adam Krentzman, Heidi Jo Markel, James Merendino, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Morgan Vukovic. Directed by Bernard Rose; produced by Lisa Enos; screenplay by Bernard Rose and Lisa Enos, based on the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy; directors of photography (WavePictures; HD digital video), Bernard Rose, Ron Forsythe; online editor, Dan Gadd.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pas Douce

Parting Shot

(France/Switzerland, 2007, 83 minutes)

A highly strung nurse in a mountain town accidentally shoots a young man while attempting suicide, and has to care for him at the hospital where she works. Intelligent, economical melodrama carried by a strong lead performance and solid scripting and handling.

A Bloody Mary Productions/Prince Film presentation/production, in co-production with Télévision Suisse Romande and Rhône-Alpes Cinéma; with the participation of Région Rhône-Alpes, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Office Fédéral de la Culture (DFI), Fonds Culturel de Suissimage and Fonds Regio Films. Starring Isild le Besco, Steven de Almeida, Lio, Yves Verhoeven. Directed and written by Jeanne Waltz; produced by Didier Haudepin, Pierre-Alan Meier; music by Cyril Ximenes; director of photography (Schwarz Film), Hélène Louvart; art director, Françoise Arnaud; costume designers, Catherine Schneider, Isabelle Blanc; film editor, Éric Renault.

Sang Sattawat

Syndromes and a Century

(Thailand/Austria/France, 2006, 103 minutes)

Tales of love and life at a Thai hospital. If that doesn’t sound like much of a synopsis, that is because there really isn’t much of a story in this oblique but charming, beautifully shot moodpiece that strings together assorted episodes in the life of two doctors, replayed with significant differences in two different hospitals (one provincial, one urban) in two different time frames.

New Crowned Hope Festival Vienna 2006 presents, in association with Fortissimo Films, Back Up Films, Anna Sanders Films, Illuminations Films and Tifa, with the participation of Fonds Sud Cinéma, French Ministry of Culture and Communication, CNC and French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Kick The Machine Films production. Starring Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Earmarram, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Janjira Jansuda. Directed, produced and written by Apichatpong Weerasethakul; director of photography, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom; art director, Akekarat Homlaor; costume designer, Wirachinee Tipgomorn; film editor, Lee Chatametikool.

Hei Yan Quan

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone

(Taiwan/France/Austria/China, 2006, 118 minutes)

A young Chinese man in Malaysia is beaten up and taken in by illegal workers, and eventually enters a relationship with a young Chinese girl whose brother lies comatose. Affecting, dreamlike melodrama about the need for affection, whose story seems to build itself out of thin air in front of our very eyes, shot in long, static takes where nothing much seems to happen. Arthouse audiences will have a field day.

Homegreen Films and Soudaine Compagnie present a Homegreen Films/Soudaine Compagnie/New Crowned Hope Festival Vienna 2006 co-production, with the participation of Centre National de la Cinématographie and Government Information Office of Republic of China. Starring Lee Kang-Sheng, Chen Shiang-Chyi, Norman Atun, Pearlly Chua. Directed and written by Tsai Ming-Liang; produced by Bruno Pesery, Vincent Wang; director of photography (colour), Liao Pen-Jung; art directors, Lee Tian-Jue, Gan Siong-King; costume designer, Sun Hui-May; film editor, Chen Sheng-Chang.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Three Dollars

(Australia, 2005, 120 minutes)

A respected but broke chemical engineer whose wife has just lost her own job and who is about to veto a hefty development project on contaminated soil wonders whether he is doing the right thing. Would-be inspirational melodrama whose refusal to play by the tearjerker rules effectively nips it in the bud.

A Becker Films International presentation of a Dendy Films release. Film Finance Corporation Australia presents an Arenafilm production, in association with Showtime Australia and Fandango. Starring David Wenham, Frances O'Connor, Sarah Wynter, Robert Menzies, David Roberts, Nicole Nabout; and introducing Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik. Directed by Robert Connolly; produced by John Maynard; screenplay by Robert Connolly and Elliot Perlman, based on the novel Three Dollars by Elliot Perlman; music by Alan John; director of photography (Cinevex), Tristan Milani; production designer, Luigi Pittorino; costume designer, Sandi Cichello; film editor, Nick Meyers.

Balaou

(Portugal, 2007, 77 minutes)

A young man grieving for the death of his mother accepts to sail with a French couple from the Azores to Lisbon. Captivating, homemade documentary whose inability to articulate its different segments doesn’t really get in the way of the simple enjoyment of its sensitive construction and handling.

Directed, produced, shot and edited by Gonçalo Tocha; soundtrack by Dídio Pestana.

Rio Turvo

(Portugal, 2007, 77 minutes)

A topographer hired to help build an airport falls for the beautiful niece of the camp’s cook. Moody melodrama with music that is more enamoured of its handling and changing moods than of its plot, but remains intriguing throughout.

A Cine-Tuga production. Starring Nuno Melo, Teresa Salgueiro, José Wallenstein. Directed by Edgar Pêra; produced by João Pinto Sousa; screenplay by Edgar Pêra, inspired by the short story Rio Turvo by Branquinho da Fonseca; music score by Dead Combo, Vítor Rua; director of photography (colour; digital video), Luís Branquinho; production designer, Miguel Figueiredo; wardrobe, Maria Ribeiro; film editors, Tiago Antunes, Inês Henriques.

Floripes

(Portugal, 2007, 90 minutes)

In the Portuguese Southern city of Olhão, there is the tale of a cursed girl that seduces fishermen into trying to break her spell. Intriguing, playful investigation on a popular tale that is part documentary on its different versions and on its origins and retellings, and part fictional recreation of the story.

A Jumpcut production. Starring Catarina Barros, João Saleiro, João Sancho, Selma Cifka. Directed and written by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes; music by Paulo Machado; director of photography (colour, digital video), Daniel Neves; art director and costume designer, Eduardo Costa; additional costume designer, Mariana Sá Nogueira; film editors, Patrícia Saramago, Catarina Oliveira.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blades of Glory

(USA, 2007, 92 minutes)

Two former figure skating rival champions, banned from the sport for life, find a way to return to competition by teaming up as a pair. Sweetly silly star comedy; the great premise is never fully exploited but the inspired casting provides some lively, harmless fun along the way.

A Paramount Pictures release. Dreamworks Pictures and MTV Films present a Red Hour Films/Smart Entertainment production. Starring Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, William Fichtner, Jenna Fischer, Romany Malco; and Craig T. Nelson. Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon; produced by Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, John Jacobs; screenplay by Jeff Cox, Craig Cox, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, based on a story by Craig Cox, Jeff Cox and Busy Philipps; music by Theodore Shapiro; director of photography (Technicolor), Stefan Czapsky; production designer, Stephen Lineweaver; costume designer, Julie Weiss; film editor, Richard Pearson.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Renaissance

(France/Great Britain/Luxembourg, 2005, 105 minutes)

In 2054 Paris, a police detective is assigned to find a missing scientist for a powerful corporation, whose disappearance may be connected with a secret biogenetics project. Animated futuristic film noir, whose striking, graphic-novel-worthy visuals and adventurous themes more than make up for the formulaic plot and characterisations.

An Odyssey Entertainment release. Onyx Films and Millimages present a Onyx Films/Millimages/Luxanimation/Timefirm production, in co-production with France 2 Cinéma, with the financial support of Film Fonds Luxembourg, Région Île-de-France and Centre National de la Cinématographie. With the voices of Daniel Craig, Romola Garai, Ian Holm, Kevork Malikyan, Catherine McCormack, Jonathan Pryce. Director and original concept designer, Christian Volckman; produced by Aton Soumache, Roch Lener, Alexis Vonarb; screenplay by Mathieu Delaporte, Alexandre de la Patellière, Patrick Raynal, Jean-Bernard Pouy, based on a story by Alexandre de la Patellière and Mathieu Delaporte; English adaptation and dialogues by Michael Katims; music by Nicholas Dodd; visual designer, Marc Miancé; art director, Pascal Valdes; film editor, Pascal Tosi; animation, Attitude Studio.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fracture

(USA/Germany, 2007, 113 minutes)

An aeronautics engineer shoots his wife, but sets it up in such a way that he can be acquitted in the subsequent murder trial. Formulaic star thriller, elegantly shot, that wouldn’t merit additional attention if it had a lesser cast.

New Line Cinema presents a Castle Rock Entertainment/Charles Weinstock production, in association with M7 Filmproduktion. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton. Directed by Gregory Hoblit; produced by Charles Weinstock; screenplay by Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers, from a story by Daniel Pyne; music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna; director of photography (Foto-Kem, Panavision), Kramer Morgenthau; production designer, Paul Eads; costume designer, Elisabetta Beraldo; film editor, David Rosenbloom.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Brick

(USA, 2005, 109 minutes)

After his ex-girlfriend calls him for help then disappears, a high school senior decides to find out what is going on with her. Hardboiled mystery transplanted to a modern-day California high school; an ingenious premise, tightly scripted and handled, with more depth than the concept might suggest.

Focus Features presents a Bergman Lustig production. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O'Leary, Noah Segan; with Richard Roundtree; and Lukas Haas. Directed, written and edited by Rian Johnson; produced by Ram Bergman, Mark G. Mathis; music by Nathan Johnson; director of photography (CFI), Steve Yedlin; production designer, Jodie Tillen; costume designer, Michele Posch.

Monday, May 07, 2007

O Mistério da Estrada de Sintra

(Portugal/Brazil, 2007, 103 minutes)

In the late 19th century, two writers imagine and publish a mystery serial that turns out to be closer to a true-life case than they thought possible. Entertaining but slight period mystery that wastes a good premise and some solid acting in muddled scripting and TV-movie handling.

An Animatógrafo 2/Filmes de Fundo/Moonshot Pictures production, with financial support from ICAM, ANCINE, Programme Ibermedia, RTP and Sintra City Hall. Starring Ivo Canelas, António Pedro Cerdeira, Bruna di Tullio, Rogério Samora, Giselle Itiê, José Pedro Vasconcelos, James Weber Brown; with special guests Nicolau Breyner, Flávio Galvão. Directed by Jorge Paixão da Costa; produced by Pandora da Cunha Telles, António da Cunha Telles, Roberto d'Ávila, Patrick Siaretta; screenplay by Newton Cannito, Tiago Borralho, Jorge Paixão da Costa, inspired by the novel by Eça de Queiroz and Ramalho Ortigão, O Mistério da Estrada de Sintra, and by the stories by Ramalho Ortigão, As Farpas; adaptation, Nuno Vaz, Mário Botequilha; dialogues, Luísa Costa Gomes, Tiago Borralho; music by Guga Bernardo; director of photography (Tobis), Luís Branquinho; art director, Clara Vinhais; costume designer, Sílvia Grabowski; film editor, João Braz.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sanxiao Haoren

Still Life

(Hong Kong/China, 2006, 113 minutes)

A miner and a nurse from Xianxi province arrive in Fengjie, site of the Three Gorges Dam, in search of their spouses from whom they haven’t heard in years. Moody slice-of-life melodrama with a strong documentary feel, its elliptical elegance slowly unfolding with time.

A Memento Films International release. An Xstream Pictures presentation/production, in association with Shanghai Film Group. Starring Zhao Tao, Han Sanming; special guest, Wang Hongwei. Directed and written by Jia Zhang-Ke; produced by Xu Pengle, Wang Tianyun, Zhu Jiong; music by Lim Giong; director of photography (colour), Yu Likwai; art directors, Liang Jingdong, Liu Qiang; film editor, Kong Jinlei.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Shortbus

(USA/Netherlands, 2006, 101 minutes)

A series of neurotic New Yorkers looking for what’s amiss in their lives try to find it at a liberated sex salon called Shortbus. Sweet, uplifting sex comedy with actual sex seamlessly integrated in its wry New York humour.

Fortissimo Films presents, in association with Q Television Network, a Process production. Starring Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Lindsay Beamish, P. J. DeBoy, Raphael Barker, Peter Stickles, Jay Brannan; and Justin Bond. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell; produced by Howard Gertler, Tim Perell, John Cameron Mitchell; screenplay by John Cameron Mitchell, from characters and stories developed with the cast; music by Yo La Tengo; director of photography (DuArt), Frank G. de Marco; production designer, Jody Asnes; costume designers, Kurt and Bart; film editor, Brian Kates; animation by John Bair.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spider-Man 3

(USA, 2007, 134 minutes)

Comforted by the fact that his crime-fighting alter-ego Spider-Man has become New York’s hero, Peter Parker turns into a selfish, aloof hero, alienating his long-time girlfriend and his friends – but that is the least of his problems, as new enemies and a myserious meteorite come up to his life. This disappointing third entry in a so far intelligent series of comic-strip adventures falls in the exact trap of its own hero by believing its own hype and becoming the cartoonish melodrama that the previous entries weren’t, with the state-of-the-art effects shining at the expense of plot and character.

Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Enterprises/Laura Ziskin production. Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, J. K. Simmons, James Cromwell. Directed by Sam Raimi; produced by Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, Grant Curtis; screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent, based on a story by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi and on the comic book characters created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; music by Christopher Young, from themes by Danny Elfman; director of photography (DeLuxe prints, Panavision), Bill Pope; production designers, Neil Spisak and J. Michael Riva; costume designer, Katina Le Kerr; Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom costumes designer, James Acheson; costume designers for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, Clare Hallworth and Nina Hallworth; film editor, Bob Murawski; visual effects supervisor, Scott Stokdyk.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Le Concile de pierre

The Stone Council

(France/Germany/Italy, 2006, 99 minutes)

The adoptive mother of an Asian orphan finds herself at the centre of what seems to be a mysterious conspiracy surrounding the child. Moody supernatural thriller with a good sense of atmosphere and disquiet that slowly descends into silliness.

UGC presents a UGC YM production, in co-production with Integral Film, RAI Cinema and TF1 Films Productions, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinecinéma, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Filmförderungsanstalt, Sofica UGC 1 and Sogecinema 3. Starring Monica Bellucci; with the participation of Catherine Deneuve; Moritz Bleibtreu, Sami Bouajila, Elsa Zylberstein, Lorenzo Balducci; introducing Nicolas Thau. Directed by Guillaume Nicloux; produced by Yves Marmion; screenplay by Guillaume Nicloux and Stéphane Cabel, based on the novel by Jean Christophe Grangé; music by Eric Demarsan; director of photography (Duboicolor, LTC, Panavision), Peter Suschitzky; production designer, Olivier Radot; costume designer, Judy Shrewsbury; film editor, Guy Lecorne; visual effects supervisor, Thomas Duval.

Les Filles du botaniste

The Chinese Botanist's Daughters

(France/Canada, 2005, 97 minutes)

In remote modern China, a young girl is taken as a temporary apprentice by a renowned university botanist and enters a lesbian romance with his daughter. A daring subject is wasted in a decoratively shot combination of stilted melodrama and exotic titillation tailor-crafted for foreign audiences.

Europacorp presents a Sotella et Fayolle Films/Europacorp/Max Films production, in co-production with France 2 Cinéma, with the participation of Canal Plus, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Téléfilm Canada and SODEC. Starring Mylène Jampanoï, Li Xiaoran, Mr Lin, Wang Weidong, Nguyén Nhu Quynh. Directed by Dai Sijie; written by Dai Sijie and Nadine Perront; music by Éric Levi; director of photography (Technicolor/Eclair, widescreen), Guy Dufaux; art director, An Bin; wardrobe, Wang Xiaoyan; film editor, Jean-François Bergeron.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Drama/Mex

(Mexico, 2006, 91 minutes)

Three interlaced stories taking place in Acapulco over the course of two days: a young girl is unable to choose between her ex and her current boyfriends, a young runaway plays prostitute and an aged office worker steals the payroll and runs away to kill himself. Mosaic drama whose handheld visuals and narrative twists go a long way towards raising it above the genre's current run-of-the-mill prevalence.

A Taller "La Bella Sobriedad"/Cinematográfica Revolcadero production, in co-production with Canana Filmes and Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía. Starring Diana García, Fernando Becerril, Miriana Moro, Emilio Valdés, Juan Pablo Castañeda, Mariana Perez de la Torre, Montserrat Lastra, Karyme Salgado Coria, Hector "Gava" Davila, Luis Calvillo, José Calvillo, Enrique Calderon Singer, Raul Soto, Amandititita, Alejandra Salgado Coria. Directed and written by Gerardo Naranjo; produced by Gabriel García, Miriana Moro, Santiago Paredes; director of photography (Estudios Churubusco; super 16 transcribed to 35mm), Tobias Datum; art director, Claudio Castelli; costume designer, Annaí Ramos; film editor, Yibrán Asuad.

Sommer '04 an der Schlei

Summer '04

(Germany, 2006, 97 minutes)

A family Summer vacation by the lake is disrupted by the presence of the son’s underage girlfriend and of a new neighbour who has lived in America for many years. Intriguing melodrama whose clever scripting and strong performances are hindered by the non-descript handling.

A Bavaria Film International presentation. An Ö-Filmproduktion Frank Löprich—Katrin Schlösser presentation/production, in co-production with SWR, BR, WDR and ARTE; with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmförderung Hamburg and Filmförderungsanstalt. Starring Martina Gedeck, Robert Seeliger, Peter Davor, Svea Lohde, Lukas Kotaranin. Directed by Stefan Krohmer; produced by Katrin Schlösser; written by Daniel Nocke; director of photography (colour), Patrick Orth; art directors, Silke Fischer, Volko Kamensky; costume designer, Silke Sommer; film editor, Gisela Zick.

Rabia

Anger

(Chile, 2006, 74 minutes)

A young unemployed woman undergoes several job interviews in search of work as a secretary that never seems to materialize. Gripping, minimalist no-budget melodrama carried by ingenious handling and a superbly controlled lead performance.

Microfilm presents a Silicio/Sud.Cine/Sure production. Starring Carola Carrasco, Constanza Aguirre, Camila Aguirre, Daniela Yuri, Daniela Salinas, Ana Domínguez, Ignacio García, Trinidad Squella, Daniela Riveros, Daniela Rios, Sylvia Hernández, Benjamín Berger. Directed, produced and written by Oscar Cárdenas; director of photography (colour, digital video), Carlos Vásquez Méndez; film editor, Daniel Ferreira.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Så Som i Himmelen

As It Is in Heaven

(Sweden/Denmark, 2004, 132 minutes)

A world-class violinist and conductor retires to his home village in Sweden, and regains his love of life by accepting to direct the local church choir. Superbly accomplished inspirational tearjerker, soberly handled, scripted and acted, that pushes all the right buttons without ever descending into schmaltz.

A Sonet Film release of a GF Studios production, in co-production with Sonet Film, K. Pollak Film, Filmpool Nord, SVT, Cinestar Rentals, Moviemakers Syd, Moviemakers Nord, ASA Film, Intensive, Lefwander Kapitalförvaltning, Eskil Johannesen, Persson Mothander Film and Cinepost Studios; with the support of the Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Danish Film Institute and Cine Tirol. Starring Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjöholm, Lennart Jähkel, Ingela Olsson, Niklas Falk, Per Morberg, Ylva Löof, André Sjöberg, Mikael Rahm, Barbro Kollberg, Axelle Axell, Lasse Petterson, Ulla-Britt Norrman. Directed by Kay Pollak; produced by Anders Birkeland, Göran Lindström; written by Kay Pollak, with Anders Nyberg, Ola Olsson, Carin Pollak, Margaretha Pollak; music by Stefan Nilsson; director of photography (Filmteknik), Harald Gunnar Paalgard; production designer, Mona Theresia Forsén; costume designer, Hedvig Andér; film editor, Thomas Täng.

Down in the Valley

(USA, 2004, 117 minutes)

A rebellious teenager meets and falls for a South Dakota ranch hand who is seemingly lost in Los Angeles but who turns out to be not quite the person he poses as. Bewilderingly unclassifiable drama of contemporary suburbia that incorporates elements of the western mythology, carried by some remarkable acting from a strong ensemble.

Element Films presents a Holly Wiersma/Class 5 production. Starring Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse, Rory Culkin, Bruce Dern, Geoffrey Lewis, John Diehl. Directed and written by David Jacobson; produced by Holly Wiersma, Edward Norton, Adam Rosenfelt, Stavros Merjos; music by Peter Salett; director of photography (DeLuxe, Panavision), Enrique Chediak; production designer, Franco-Giacomo Carbone; costume designer, Jacqueline West; film editors, Lynzee Klingman, Edward Harrison.