28 August, 2010
The European Film Academy (EFA) and the Sarajevo Film Festival congratulate the Sarajevo Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards 2010 Rendez-vous à Stella-Plage (2009), France, by Shalimar Preuss.
The film is now nominated for the European Film Academy Short Film 2010 Award. It was selected by the festival’s short-film jury, which comprised Frank W. Albers, director of the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany), Christine Dollhofer, director of the Crossing Europe Film Festival (Austria) and Serbian director Vladimir Perišić.
In a cemetary, the ‘present’ (attentive and collected) pay homage to the ‘absent’. A public telephone rings. A young couple is passing and takes the call. On the other end of the line, a mother wants to talk to her daughter. Albane takes the game one step further and pretends to be the daughter...
The short film initiative is organized by the European Film Academy in co-operation with fifteen film festivals throughout Europe. At each of these festivals, an independent jury presents one of the European short films in competition with a nomination in the short film category of the European Film Awards.
When the annual cycle is completed in September, the nominees will be presented to the over 2,000 members of the European Film Academy and it is they who will elect the overall winner: the European Film Academy Short Film 2010 which will be presented at the 23rd European Film Awards Ceremony on 4 December in Tallinn/Estonia.
This feature first appeared on the European Film Academy website.
18 mins. In French.
23 August, 2010
Dench does demented
Winner of the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, Dame Judi Dench astonished audiences in 2006 with this, one of her darkest films.
Guess what? Another film I enjoyed. The difference this time being that it was one of a collection that was recently purchased by my good lady. Our taste in films differs quite a bit from time to time and having seen the cover of the DVD and the dreaded words ‘Starring Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett’ I thought I’d be in for an evening of unbridled chick-flickery.
Happily, I turned out to be wrong – which is, of course, highly unusual. Anyway, moving quickly on – this is a real gem of a film from director Richard Eyre (Stage Beauty (2004), The Absence of War (1995)). It’s one of those that will have you giggling at the black and acerbic one-liners and remarks as Barbara Covett (Dench) writes her diary and at the next turn getting a real tingle in your spine as you realize just exactly what she’s up to. The diary narrative is done in voice-over by Dench, who strikes the tone of just the right amount of measured insanity . Dame Judi is famous for playing a variety of roles – hard woman, quaint ageing lady, royalty – and has even appeared in a rather average sitcom on the BBC, but as far as I can remember, this is the first time I have seen her playing a part as complex as this. She is a retirement-age closet lesbian living alone except for a cat – and a chain-smoking, scheming, manipulative woman trapped in her own bitter loneliness. As John Cooper-Clarke once said: “Deliciously, deliciously deranged”.
A teacher with a reputation for being uncompromising and a tough disciplinarian, she is held in high esteem at the Islington school where she works. She at first dismisses Sheba Hart (Blanchett) as a flighty, eager-to-please teacher with wishy-washy politics and a casual attitude. Despite her apparent dislike for her, she rescues Sheba when a classroom fight leaves her unable to control her students. Sheba invites her to a family lunch to thank her, and their friendship grows. It becomes apparent quite quickly that Barbara’s affection for Sheba is more than just merely platonic, unbeknown to anyone at first, except for Barbara and her diary. She very quickly becomes a big part of the lives of Sheba, her husband Richard (a superb Bill Nighy) and their kids.
This cosy relationship takes a turn for the worst when Barbara slips out of a school play for a breath of fresh air and sees Sheba involved in a game of “hide the sausage” with one of the fifteen-year-old male students in a mobile classroom. Barbara soon sees this as the perfect opportunity to win a huge advantage over Sheba, and to bring her closer. She demands a meeting, telling Sheba what she’s seen and promises not to tell anyone – it’ll be “their little secret” – and demands that Sheba end the relationship straight away. Of course, it wouldn’t be a very long film if she did, but I kind of wished she had and saved herself the full horror of what awaited her.
That’s about all I can say without giving too much of the plot away. There are some neat little twists and some powerful (and often disturbing) acting in this film. It’s very well paced and all the little bits – the black humour, the spartan musical score and the locations – all fit together extremely well. My favourite bit? When Barbara goes to Sheba’s house after her cat is put down at the vet’s. If that doesn’t leave you with your mouth open, you should probably switch it off and go and do something else. Dame Judi, please do more of this. In the nicest possible way, you are a world-class nutter.
Awards: Click here for details.
92 mins. In English and French.
The European Film Academy (EFA) and the Locarno International Film Festival congratulate the Locarno Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards 2010,
Diarchia (Diarchy) (2010) by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino.
Made in Italy, the film's EFA 2010 nomination was made by the festival’s international jury, comprising directors Eric Khoo (Singapore), Lionel Baier (Switzerland) and Josh Safdie (USA), actress Golshifteh Farahani (Iran) and actor Melvil Poupaud (France).
The short film initiative is organized by the European Film Academy in co-operation with 15 film festivals throughout Europe. At each of these festivals, an independent jury presents one of the European short films in competition with a nomination in the short film category of the European Film Awards.
When the annual cycle is completed in September, the nominees will be presented to the more than 2,000 members of the European Film Academy and it is they who will select the overall winner, the European Film Academy Short Film 2010, which will be presented at the 23rd European Film Awards Ceremony on 4 December in Tallinn, Estonia.
The next nomination will be presented in co-operation with the Venice International Film Festival.
20 mins. In Italian.
Previously published on www.europeanfilmacademy.org.
12 August, 2010
What lies beneath
Based on an original story by director Luca Guadagnino (Melissa P. (2005)) and co-produced by star Tilda Swinton, Io sono l’amore (I Am Love) (2009) is far more than just another family drama, writes Otilia Ilie.
The movie tells the story of a wealthy, industrial family in Milan, the Reccchis – the story is centred around the brave-yet-delicate Emma (Swinton), the Russian wife of Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) who leads a noble, elegant and empty life, surrounded by servants in an austere house, and spends her time doing little more than organizing family dinners.
Emma has lost her sparkle, is taken for granted by the whole family, and is losing sight of true real self: ‘When I moved to Milan, I stopped being Russian…I had to learn to be Italian.’
But change is coming, on all levels, as the owner of the family’s textile business, Edoardo Sr. (Gabriele Ferzetti) decides to leaves everything to his son, Tancredi and his oldest grandson, the sensitive Edo (Flavio Parenti).
Emma finds out that her daughter Elisabetta (Alba Rohrwacher) ‘likes’ girls, the business is faced with globalization, and her son’s new friend, the shy and talented chef Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini) seems to stir something in her. The new passion seems set to finally reveal her real identity, but at what cost?
Excellent performances and expressively emotional cinematography from Yorick Le Saux portray family secrets, passion and the transformational power of love – the power to admit who you really are and to break free from the oppression of an Italian bourgeoisie opulent life.
While the set-up may appear to be achingly familiar (I mean, how many times have we had ‘older woman finds redemption with younger man’?), the passion, both implicit and explicit at the story’s core, nevertheless imbues the film with a fresh, invigorating perspective.
The music by John Adams is also in perfect agreement with Emma’s reawakened awareness and, while the narrative may seem at times to be simplistic, with only Swinton’s expressions telling the story, you just can’t help but admire the art behind the film.
120 mins. In Italian, Russian and English.