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'Man to Man': Defense of Human-Ape Link in Berlin + Ingmar Bergman & Vivien Leigh

Man to Man defense human-ape linkMan to Man: Defense of the human-ape link set in 1870s Africa will open the 2005 Berlin Film Festival. Kristin Scott Thomas and Joseph Fiennes star; Régis Wargnier directed.

'Man to Man': Defense of human-ape link to open Berlin Film Festival

The 2005 Berlin Film Festival will open on Feb. 10 with the world premiere of Régis Wargnier's Man to Man, a historical adventure drama starring Shakespeare in Love leading man Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas – coincidentally, a 1996 Best Actress Academy Award nominee for Anthony Minghella's The English Patient, in which she plays the romantic interest of Joseph's brother, Ralph Fiennes.

Set in the 1870s, the French-British Man to Man revolves around a group of anthropologists searching in Africa for the “missing link” between humans and apes: captured pygmies are believed to be that coveted missing link, but another anthropologist (Joseph Fiennes) thinks otherwise.

Régis Wargnier, whose Indochine won the 1992 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and earned Catherine Deneuve a Best Actress nomination, co-wrote the Man to Man screenplay with Michel Fessler, Fred Fougea, and Ghanaian-born author William Boyd.

'Man to Man' cast

Besides Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, Man to Man also features the following:

Iain Glen. Hugh Bonneville. Flora Montgomery. Alistair Petrie. Mathew Zajac. Lomama Boseki. Peter Egan.

Berlin jury president Roland Emmerich

German-born director Roland Emmerich, whose credits include a bunch of big-budget, special-effects-laden, lowbrow Hollywood productions such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, will head the 2005 Berlin Film Festival main competition jury.

Apart from Man to Man, so far (Dec. 2004) only Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and André Téchiné's Changing Times / Les Temps qui changent have been announced as entries in Berlin's official film line-up.

Anderson's unusual comedy, which had few reviewers laughing in the United States, features Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, and Seymour Cassel. Téchiné's film stars veterans Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu.

German movies surge at domestic box office

And speaking of Germany and cinema, according to Deutsche Welle, German movie houses took in 10 percent more at the box office in 2004 than in the previous year. Peter Dinges of the German Federal Film Board (FFA) told Der Spiegel that 2004 has been the second most successful year for German films since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

During 2004's first nine months, German movies comprised 20.5 percent of the local box office gross, the highest percentage since the FFA began collecting data in 1995.

The year's biggest homemade box office hit has been Michael Herbig's (T)raumschiff SurprisePeriode 1 (“[D]reamship Surprise – Period 1”*), a Star Trek spoof starring director-coscreenwriter Herbig alongside German superstar Til Schweiger (Maybe, Maybe Not / Der Bewegte Mann).

* Raumschiff translates as “spacecraft.”

Fanny and Alexander DVD Ingmar Bergman outstanding classicFanny and Alexander DVD: Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin in Ingmar Bergman 1983 classic that earned the filmmaker his third and last Best Director Academy Award nomination. The previous two Oscar nods had been for Cries & Whispers (1973) and Face to Face (1976).

Ingmar Bergman 1982 classic 'Fanny and Alexander' gets special DVD set

In Nov. 2004, the Criterion Collection released a special five-disc set of Ingmar Bergman's final feature film, the 1982 classic Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander. The psychological family drama won a number of international awards, including the 1983 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Criterion's DVD set includes both the three-hour theatrical version of Fanny and Alexander, and the five-hour version – which Bergman himself prefers – that was originally shown on Swedish television.

Extras include a “making of” documentary and a 1984 interview with the director for Swedish TV.

'Short Cuts' Criterion DVD

Another late 2004 Criterion release is Robert Altman's multi-storied 1993 comedy-drama Short Cuts, for which Altman received his fourth Best Director Academy Award nomination. Short Cuts' extensive cast includes the following:

Julianne Moore. Jack Lemmon. Matthew Modine. Madeleine Stowe. Andie MacDowell. Bruce Davison. Tim Robbins. Anne Archer.

Jennifer Jason Leigh. Peter Gallagher. Lyle Lovett. Buck Henry. Lily Tomlin. Lili Taylor. Lori Singer. Chris Penn. Robert Downey Jr.

Tom Waits. Annie Ross. Frances McDormand. Huey Lewis. Robert DoQui.

Short Cuts DVD extras include a “making of” documentary and a PBS bio of author Raymond Carver, whose stories served as the basis for Altman's film.

For the record, Robert Altman has been shortlisted for a total of five Best Director Oscars:

  • MASH (1970).
    Winner: Franklin J. Schaffner for Patton.
  • Nashville (1975).
    Winner: Milos Forman for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • The Player (1992).
    Winner: Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven.
  • Short Cuts (1993).
    Winner: Steven Spielberg for Schindler's List.
  • Gosford Park (2001).
    Winner: Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind.

'Gone with the Wind' four-disc DVD set

And finally, a four-disc special edition of Gone with the Wind, the 1939 blockbuster and Best Picture Oscar winner based on Margaret Mitchell's sprawling novel about love in times of Civil War, is another important late 2004 DVD release – courtesy of Warner Bros.

The DVD set includes an interview with the sole surviving star of the David O. Selznick / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production: eventual two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland (To Each His Own, 1946; The Heiress, 1949).

Directed by (George Cukor replacement) Victor Fleming, with some assistance from Sam Wood and William Cameron Menzies, besides de Havilland Gone with the Wind features the following:

Best Actress Oscar winner Vivien Leigh.

Best Actor Oscar nominee Clark Gable.

Two-time Best Actor Oscar nominee Leslie Howard (Berkeley Square, 1932–1933; Pygmalion, 1938).

Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel.

Thomas Mitchell. Ona Munson. Barbara O'Neil. Evelyn Keyes. Jane Darwell. Ann Rutherford. Laura Hope Crews. Butterfly McQueen.

Harry Davenport. George Reeves. Victor Jory. Fred Crane. Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson. Ward Bond. Mary Anderson. Alicia Rhett.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Best Visual EffectsSky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Best Visual Effects Academy Award semi-finalist. The domestic box office disappointment stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie.

'The Aviator,' 'Harry Potter': Best Visual Effects Oscar semi-finalists

Seven movies are in the running for the 2005 Best Visual Effects Academy Award. They are the following:

Only three of these films will receive a nomination.

2005 Best Picture Oscar: Long list of eligible movies

In other Oscar 2005 news, no less than 267 films released in 2004 are officially in the running for the Best Picture Academy Award.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules stipulate that to qualify for Oscar consideration in the Best Picture category, a film must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been released theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format in a commercial theater, for paid admission, in Los Angeles County between Jan. 1–midnight Dec. 31, for seven consecutive days.

Oscar-nominated (very) late releases

Obviously, the “seven consecutive days” don't have to be all in the same calendar year.

Here's an example of an Oscar-nominated latecomer: Jim Sheridan's In the Name of the Father opened on Dec. 29, 1993, and went on to receive seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), and Best Supporting Actress (Emma Thompson).

This year, a couple of potential Academy Award contenders – Niels Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon, with Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Don Cheadle; and Paul Weitz's In Good Company, with Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johansson – opened on Dec. 29.

The 77th Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2005 Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Seattle Film Critics Winners: Clint Eastwood boxing drama tops

The 2004 Seattle Film Critics Award winners were announced on Dec. 30.

Best Film: Million Dollar Baby.

Best Foreign Language Film: Maria, Full of Grace.

Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways.

Best Original Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kaufman.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Sideways, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.

Best Documentary (tie): Control Room & Touching the Void.

Best Animated Film: The Incredibles.

Living Treasure Award: Henry Bumstead.

Special Citation: Brian Jamieson and Richard Schickel for the reconstruction of Samuel Fuller's 1980 World War II drama The Big Red One.

 

Berlin Film Festival website.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.

Kristin Scott Thomas Man to Man movie image: ZenHQ Films / Skyline Films / Vertigo Productions.

Best Visual Effects Academy Award semi-finalist Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow image: Paramount Pictures.

Image of Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin in Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander: The Criterion Collection.


         
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