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Seoul Film Festival & Israeli Film Academy Winners + London Festival Movies

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

The 2006 Seoul Film Festival came to a close this past Sunday, Sept. 17. The Best Film winner in the International Competition section was Sebastián Camposs dramatic comedy La Sagrada familia / The Sacred Family, the story of a dysfunctional Chilean family whose routine is turned upside down when the sons rebellious and highly sensual new girlfriend comes visit on Easter weekend.

The Special Jury Prize went to Nam Sun-hos Family Matters.

Feature Film Competition

Senefian Grand Prize: La Sagrada familia / The Sacred Family (Chile) by Sebastián Campos

First Cut New Director Prize (new directors): Family Matters by Nam Sun-ho

Seoul Net Festival

Senefian Ace Prize (tie): Le Parc / The Park by Bruno Rhinn and Hervé Marchal, and Blackout by June-hak Lee

Digital Express Web Performance Prize (international competition): Samorost 2 by Jakub Dvorský

Digital Express Cinema Format Prize (international competition): Le Marin acéphale / The Headless Sailor by Lorenzo Recio

Next Stream Wep Performance Prize (new directors): Pick Flowers… by Ji Young

Next Stream Cinema Format Prize (new directors): War Movie by Dong-hoon Park

Mobile DMB Festival

Mobile Express Grand Prize: Between You and Me by Patryk Rebisz

Mobile Express Special Prize From Judges: BANKOMAT by Nikolay Belov, and ladida by Nam-hun Huh

Times/bfi London Film Festival Film Line-Up

The film line-up for the 50th Times/bfi London Film Festival (website), which runs between Oct. 18-Nov. 2, has been announced.

Among the selections are the following:

The Last King of Scotland (UK), the London Festival’s opening night gala screening, tells the story of a fictional Scottish doctor (played by James McAvoy) who becomes an advisor to Uganda’s mad ruler Idi Amin Dada (Forest Whitaker). Directed by Kevin MacDonald (whose One Day in September won the 1999 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award), and written by Peter Morgan (Venice Film Festival winner for The Queen) and Jeremy Brock, The Last King of Scotland is based on Giles Foden’s novel.

Stranger Than Fiction (US) is the tale of a taxman (Will Ferrell) whose life belongs more to a novelist (Emma Thompson) – who’s writing about a character just like him – than to himself. Compounding matters, the novelist is about to kill off her protagonist. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah are also in the cast of this comedy directed by Marc Forster and written by Zach Helm.

Bamako (Mali / France /US) is writer-director Abderrahmane Sissako’s attack on the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions ruled by the moneyed elite of the richer nations. (Bamako, by the way, is the name of the capital of Mali.) In the cast: AÁ¯ssa MaÁ¯ga, Tiécoura Traoré, and Hélène Diarra. (Plus Danny Glover and Elia Suleima in a cowboy film-within-a-film.)

Les petites vacances / Stolen Holiday (France), one of the entries in the “French Revolutions” sidebar, stars veteran Bernadette Lafont as a grandmother who takes off with her two grandchildren to the Swiss Alps. This psychological drama was directed by Olivier Peyon, from a screenplay by Peyon and Cyril Brody. Also in the cast, the invariably excellent Claude Brasseur.

Also in the French Revolutions sidebar, director-writer Bruno Dumont’s Flandres / Flanders (France), described as the story of young men who “are conscripted into a war out east, where they brutalize, and are brutalized. Not every viewer will find it easy to subscribe to Dumont’s picture of a bestial humanity, toiling and rutting in harsh proximity with the earth.” In the cast: AdélaÁ¯de Leroux, Samuel Boidin, Henri Cretel.

Aurore (France), a fairy tale directed by Nils Tavernier (Bertrand’s son) about a dancing princess who’s forbidden to dance. The ball sequences were choreographed by Carolyn Carlson, Kader Belarbi, and Yann Bridard. Tavernier also wrote the screenplay, along with Marjolaine Nonon, Marc Quentin, and Jean Cosmos. In the cast: Carole Bouquet, Margaux Chatelier, and Anthony Munoz.

In the “World Cinema” sidebar, Pablo Trapero’s Nacido y criado / Born and Bred (Argentina / France / Chile / UK / Spain) from a screenplay by Trapero and Mario Rulloni, portrays the struggles of a man who tries to rebuild his life in Patagonia following a family tragedy. Starring Federico Esquerro, Martina Gusman, and Guillermo Pfening.

In the “Cinema Europe” sidebar, Annette K. Olesen’s 1:1 (En til En) / 1:1 (One to One) (Denmark), the story of the murder of a young white man in a poor Copenhagen suburb inhabited by dark-skinned immigrants, examines issues such as racism, social inequity, and the clash of cultures. Screenplay by Kim Fupz Aakeson. In the cast: Mohammed-Ali Bakier, Joy K. Petersen, and Anette StÁ¸velbaek.

Israeli Film Academy Awards 2006

The winners of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television’s 2006 Ophir Awards, the Israeli equivalent to the Oscars, were announced yesterday at a ceremony in Tel Aviv.

For the first time, two films tied for the top prize: the odds-on favorite Aviva Ahuvati / Aviva My Love, which also won the Best Director (Shemi Zarhin) and Best Screenplay (Itzik Portal) awards, unexpectedly shared the Best Film award with Dror Shaul’s coming-of-age tale Adama Meshuga’at / Sweet Mud, about a boy growing up in a Kibbutz in the 1970s.

Aviva My Love, the tale of a hotel cook who dreams of becoming a writer, won three other awards, including Best Actress for Assi Levy as the writer wannabe. The Best Actor was Assi Dayan, as a man who looks back on his life while his father lies dying in Things Behind the Sun.

A follow-up vote will take place on Sunday to decide which of the two Best Film winners will be Israel’s submission for the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

By the way, Eytan Fox’s box office hit, The Bubble, failed to win a single Ophir. (In the Jerusalem Post, Hannah Brown asserts that the Israeli Academy of Film, unlike its American counterpart, has a tendency to snub commercially successful films.)

The Alt Film Guide thanks Aviad Shamir for the 2006 Ophir winners list.

The nominees for the Israel Academy of Film and Television Awards, also known as the Ophir Awards, were announced in Tel Aviv this past Tuesday, Aug. 22. As per Hannah Brown in the Jerusalem Post, the most notable aspect of the Israel Academy’s choices was the near complete lack of political content in the nominated films.

Among the Best Film (and Best Director) nominees are Aviva, My Love, directed by Shemi Zarhin, the tale of a hotel cook (Best Actress nominee Assi Levy) who dreams of becoming a writer; Yuval Shafferman’s Things Behind the Sun, the story of a man who looks back on his life while his father lies dying; and Dina Zvi-Riklis’ Three Mothers, about three Egyptian sisters whose promising lives turn out to be tragically unfulfilling. (The winner in the Best Film category will be Israel’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.)

Veteran Gila Almagor, known as the First Lady of Israeli Cinema and one of the stars of Three Mothers, received a Best Actress nomination for her role in Tied Hands, the story of a mother desperately looking for marijuana in the streets of Tel Aviv in order to ease the suffering of her AIDS-stricken son. She won a Special Award at this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival for her performances in those two films.

Notably absent from the list of Best Film nominees was Eytan Fox’s The Bubble – the title refers to Tel Aviv, a city in Israel without quite being of Israel – which revolves around a group of young men and women, including a Palestinian-Israeli gay couple, living in that cosmopolitan and liberal-minded Israeli city.

The 2006 Ophir Award winners will be announced during a Sept. 14 ceremony at the Tel Aviv Opera House.

Reincarnation Movie Tops Karnataka Film Awards

The winners of the 2005-2006 Karnataka State Film Awards were announced on Sept. 19.

Karnataka is a state in southern India. Kannada is its most important language.

Indian filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli’s Nayi Neralu, adapted from a novel by local writer S. L. Bairappa, has won the top award at the Kannada film awards this past Tuesday, Sept. 19. Kannada is a Dravidian language spoken in Southwestern India, mostly in the state of Karnataka. (The region around its capital, Bangalore, is known as the Silicon Valley of India.)

Nayi Neralu tells the story of a widow who marries a man she believes to be the punarjanma – sanskrit for reincarnation – of her late husband.

The nine-person jury also chose the film’s leading lady, Pavitra Lokesh, as Best Actress.

Best Film: Nayi Neralu by Girish Kasaravalli.

Runner-up: Nenapirali by Ratnaja.

Third Place: Amrutadhare by Nagatihalli Chandrashekar.

Special Jury Awards: Dr B R Ambedkar Life Story and Care of Footpath

Film which has special impact on society: Thaayi

Best Film in Regional Dialect: Kadala Mane (in Tulu).

Best Children’s Film: Thuthoori

Best Actor: Shivarajkumar (Jogi)

Best Actress: Pavitra Lokesh (Nayi Neralu)

Best Supporting Actor: Jaggesh (Mata)

Best Supporting Actress: Arundhati Rao (Jogi)

Best Story: C N Muktha (Ms California).

Best Screenplay: Prem (Jogi).

Best Dialogue: Sudarshan and Lakshmipathy Kolar (Mukha Mukhi).

Best Cinematography: H M Ramachandra (Nenapirali).

Best Editing: S Manohar (Akaash)

Best Music Director: Hamsalekha (Nenapirali).

Best Art Direction: Ismail and Shivakumar (Aham Premasmi).

Best Lyricist: Baraguru Ramachandrappa (Thaayi).

Best Child Actor: Kiran (Care of footpath).

Best Male Voice-Providing Artist: Ravindranath.

Best Female Voice-Providing Artist: Amritha Singh.

Best Male Playback Singer: C Ashwath (Shubham).

Best Female Playback Singer: H G Chaitra (Amrutha Dhaare).

Best Sound: Johnson (Amrutha Dhaare).

Lifetime Achievement Award: Cinematographer S. Ramachandra

Dr Rajkumar Award: Jayanthi

Puttanna Kanagal Award: V. Ravichandra.

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moshe rabeynu -

Instead of concentrating on the sordid and ugly aspects of current Israeli society, I think the Israeli film industry should go back in time for inspiration and make some epic heroic films based on historical heroic personages and their feats of bravery. Kurowsawa’s “7 Samurai” could be used as a model for an Israeli version called “The 7 Maccabees”.

moshe rabeynu -

The Israeli film industry is morbid, depressing and shmootzy. It takes audacity and chutzpah to hand out awards for the kind of charah they turn out.


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