Michel Piccoli Locarno Film Festival Honoree + Andrzej Wajda Subversive Film vs. Polish Censors

Michel Piccoli, Japanese drama 'Rebirth': Locarno Film Festival winners

The Best Film at the 60th Locarno Film Festival, which came to a close this past Saturday, Aug. 11, was Masahiro Kobayashi's Golden Leopard-winning The Rebirth / Ai No Yokan, a stark drama with little dialogue that, as per Variety's Derek Elley, had viewers “streaming out during its public screening.” (Elley takes a rather negative view of the “arty” Locarno Film Festival; a more “balanced” view written by Gino Buscaglia can be found at Swissinfo.)

Veteran Michel Piccoli takes home two awards

Locarno's Best Actor Silver Leopard was shared by Michele Venitucci, who plays a boxer in Fulvio Bernasconi's Fuori dalle corde (the English translation would be something like “Outside the Ring”), and veteran Michel Piccoli for his portrayal of a lonely old man in the throes of death in Hiner Saleem's Beneath the Rooftops of Paris / Sous les toits de Paris. Mylène Demongeot co-stars with Piccoli in Beneath the Rooftops of Paris, which, needless to say, is not a remake of René Clair's light-hearted 1930 musical Under the Roofs of Paris, starring Albert Préjean, nor a film version of Henry Miller's erotic novel of the same name.

Also at Locarno, Michel Piccoli took home the Excellence Award for his long film career. Former Pedro Almodóvar muse Carmen MauraLaw of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and recently seen in the director's Volver – was the festival's other Excellence Award recipient, while Hou Hsiao-hsien was given the Leopard of Honor.

More Locarno Film Festival winners

The 2007 Locarno Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, “for a work that promotes understanding between peoples and cultures,” went to Memories, which consists of three digital video shorts commissioned by South Korea's Jeonju Digital Project. Pedro Costa, Harun Farockis, and Eugène Green were the directors.

Philippe Ramos won the Best Director trophy for Captain Achab, a reinterpretation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The film also won the FIPRESCI Award from the International Federation of Film Critics.

And finally, Marián Álvarez was chosen as Locarno's Best Actress for her role in Roser Aguilar's romantic drama The Best of Me / Lo Mejor de mí, while Frank Oz's black comedy Death at a Funeral, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes, received the Audience Award for Best Film.

The 2007 Locarno Film Festival international competition jury was headed by Irène Jacob (Red, Othello). Nineteen films were in competition for the Golden Leopard.

Mylène Demongeot and Michel Piccoli in Beneath the Rooftops of Paris photo: Agat Films & Cie.

'Hallam Foe'

The 2007 edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival kicked off last night with the UK premiere of David Mackenzies Hallam Foe, starring Jamie Bell and Sophia Myles. The romantic drama had previously been screened at the Berlin Film Festival.

Shot on location in Scotland, Hallam Foe was adapted from Peter Jinkss novel. In the film, Bell plays a young man who, besides being a sort of peeping tom, happens to suspect that his stepmother may have had a hand in the mysterious death of his mother. After moving to Edinburgh, he discovers love in the form of Sophia Myles. Also in the cast are Ewen Bremner and Ciaran Hinds.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival, which will screen about 120 features from 31 countries, will come to a close on Aug. 26.

International Competition

Golden Leopard: AI NO YOKAN (THE REBIRTH) by Masahiro Kobayashi, Japan

Special Jury Prize: MEMORIES by Pedro Costa, Harun Farockis, Eugène Green, South Korea

Capitaine Achab by Philippe Ramos

Best Dir.: Philippe Ramos for CAPITAINE ACHAB, France / Sweden

Leopard for Best Actor (ex aequo): Michel Piccoli in SOUS LES TOITS DE PARIS (top) by Hiner Saleem (France) and Michele Venitucci in FUORI DALLE CORDE (bottom) by Fulvio Bernasconi (Switzerland / Italy)

Leopard for Best Actress: Marián Álvarez in LO MEJOR DE MI, Spain

Special mention: Cho Sang-Yoon, cinematographer in the film BOYS OF TOMORROW by Noh Dong-Seok

Leopard of Honour: Hou Hsiao-hsien

© FOTOFESTIVAL / Marco Abram

Excellence Award: Carmen Maura (above) and Michel Piccoli

Filmmakers of the Present Competition

Golden Leopard: TEJUT (Milky Way) by Benedek Fliegauf, Hungary / Germany

Ciné Cinéma Special Jury Prize: IMATRA by Corso Salani, Italy

Special mention: TUSSENSTAND by Mijke De Jong, Netherlands

Leopard for the Best First Feature

Leopard for the Best First Feature: TAGLIARE LE PARTI IN GRIGIO by Vittorio Rifranti, Italy

Audience Award / Prix du Public: DEATH AT A FUNERAL by Frank Oz, USA / Great-Britain

Youth Jury Prize

First Prize: Anthony Hopkins for SLIPSTREAM, United-States

Second Prize: Peter Payer for FREIGESPROCHEN, Austria / Luxembourg

Third Prize: Amor Hakkar for LA MAISON JAUNE by, France / Algeria

The Environnement Is the Quality of Life Award: Claudio Del Punta for HAÏTI CHÉRIE, Italy

Special Mention: AI NO YOKAN (The Rebirth) by Masahiro Kobayashi, Japan, and SOUS LES TOITS DE PARIS by Hiner Saleem, France

Netpac Prize (Network for Asian Cinema) (ex aequo): LITTLE MOTH by Tao Peng, China, and AN SEH (THOSE THREE) by Naghi Nemati, Iran

FIPRESCI Prize (Internation Federation of Cinematographic Press): CAPITAIN ACHAB by Philippe Ramos, France / Sweden

Ecumenical Jury Prize: LA MAISON JAUNE by Amor Hakkar, Algeria / France

FICC / IFFS Prize: LA MAISON JAUNE by Amor Hakkar, Algeria / France

CICAE Prize: LADRONES by Jaime Marques, Spain

Special Mention: AI NO YOKAN (The Rebirth) by Masahiro Kobayashi, Japan, and LAS VIDAS POSIBLES by Sandra Gugliotta, Argentina/Germany

Critics Week: ALLEIN IN VIER WÄNDEN by Alexandra Westmeier, Germany

Daniel Schmid Prize: AI NO YOKAN (The Rebirth) by Masahiro Kobayashi, Japan


International Competition Jury:
• Walter Carvalho, cinematographer and director, Brazil
• Saverio Costanzo, director, Italy
• Irène Jacob, actress, France
• Jia Zhang-Ke, director, China
• Romuald Karmakar, director, Germany
• Bruno Todeschini, actor, Switzerland / France

'Man of Marble': Andrzej Wajda subversive filmmaking in Communist Poland

Andrzej Wajda's 1977 political drama Man of Marble / Czlowiek z marmuru, made at the time when Poland was still under Communist rule, is the subject of Matilda Mroz's article “Fracturing the Marble Façade: Visceral Excavation in Andrzej Wajda's Man of Marble” in Senses of Cinema.

“This was politically explosive content in 1979 [Man of Marble was released in 1977],” explains Mroz, “when the repressive administration of Edward Gierek was characterised, as Wajda notes, not so much by terror but by a gigantic manipulation of people and reality. Under communism, artists were creatively disenfranchised and recruited into the régime to produce Socialist Realist documentaries, an occupation which Wajda himself undertook and which he acknowledges in the film by appending his name to the credits of one of [Man of Marble's characters, filmmaker Jerzy] Burski's documentaries.”

Mroz adds that Aleksander Scibor-Rylski's Man of Marble screenplay was shelved by the Polish government for twelve years “before a slightly more progressive state film producer in the late 1970s granted permission for the film to be made.”

'Man of Marble' vs. Polish censors

Man of Marble, however, would run into more issues with Polish censors. After the film's completion, “all attempts were made to restrict its release, and positive reviews of the film were suppressed. Having already approved the content of the screenplay, the reaction of the government suggests the presence of an element fundamentally more subversive than what could be contained in a script, an 'impalpable something,' Wajda suggests, 'which renders inoperative the rules of censorship.'"

Perhaps Andrzej Wajda learned that technique from Mae West, notorious for getting risqué material into her films of the '30s.

Man of Marble features Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Jacek Lomnicki, Michal Tarkowski, and Piotr Cieslak. A sequel of sorts, Man of Iron / Czlowiek z zelaza – also directed by Wajda, written by Scibor-Rylski, and starring Radziwilowicz and Janda – would earn a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination in early 1982.

Andrzej Wajda's Man of Marble Jerzy Radziwilowicz image: New Yorker Films.

Amanda award winners

The nominations for the 2006-2007 Amandas were announced on June 26, 2007.

The winners of the 2006-2007 Amandas were announced on Aug. 17, 2007.

Best Film
Mirush, producer Gudny Hummelvold for 4 1/2
* Reprise, producer Karin Julsrud for 4 1/2
Sons, producer Eric Vogel for Tordenfilm

Best Foreign Film
Babel, director Alejandro González Iñárritu, distributor Nordisk Filmdistribusjon
* The Departed, director Martin Scorsese, distributor Sandrew Metronome Norge
La Vie en Rose, director Olivier Dahan, distributor Sandrew Metronome Norge

Best Director
Mirush, Marius Holst
* Reprise, Joachim Trier
Sons, Erik Richter Strand

Best Actor
Nicolai Cleve Broch, Uro
* Raouf Saraj, Winterland
Fridtjov Såheim, The Art of Negative Thinking

Best Actress
* Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Cold Prey
Pia Tjelta, Mars & Venus
Ane Dahl Torp, Uro

Best Supporting Role
Ingar Helge Gimle, Uro
* Henrik Mestad, Sons
Victoria Winge, Reprise

Best Screenplay
* Reprise, Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt
Sons, Thomas Seeberg Torjussen and Erik Richter Strand
Winterland, Kjell Ola Dahl and Hisham Zaman

Best Film for Children and Youth
Elias and the Royal Yacht, director Espen Fyksen and Lise I. Osvoll, producer John M. Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo for Filmkameratene
* Girls, director Hanne Myren, producer Øyvind Rostad for Medieoperatørene
Trigger, director Gunnar Vikene, producer Silje Hopland Eik and Tanya Nanette Badendyck for Cinenord

Best Documentary
* Girls, director Hanne Myren
Porn Star?, director John Sullivan, producer John Sullivan for Navillus Film
Usa vs al-Arian, director Line Halvorsen

Best Short Film
To the Moon, director Katja Eyde Jacobsen, producer Pål Røed for the Norwegian Film School
* Janus, director Linda Fagerli Sæthren, producer Linda Fagerli Sæthren for Volda University College
Flat Mates, director Magnus Mork, producer Jakob Fors

Best Film Straight to DVD
Junebug, USA 2005, director: Phil Morrison, distributor Scanbox Entertainment Norway
* Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi), South Korea 2005, director: Park Chan-wook distributor Star Media Entertainment
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Qian li zou dan qi), Hong Kong/China/Japan 2005, director: Zhang Yimou, distributor Universal Pictures Norway AS

Liv Ullmanns Honorary Award: Lauren Bacall

The Amanda Committee Golden Clapper: Aslaug Holm

The Amanda Committee Honorary Award: Knut Andersen

The Peoples Amanda Best Norwegian Film in Theatrical Release
Mirush, director Marius Holst, producer Gudny Hummelvoll for 4 ½
* Cold Prey, director Roar Uthaug, producer Martin Sundland and Magne Lyngner for Fantefilm
The Art of Negative Thinking, director Bård Breien, producer Dag Alveberg for Maipo Film
Mars & Venus, director Eva Dahr, producer Silje Eik Hopland and Tanya Nanette Badendyck for Cinenord
The Junior Olsen Gang and the Silver Mine Mystery, director Arne Lindtner Næss, producer Roy Anderson and Rune Throndsen for Nordisk Film
Reprise, director Joachim Trier, producer Karin Julsrud for 4 ½
Sons, director Erik Richter Strand, producer Eric Vogel for Tordenfilm
Uro, director Stefan Faldbakken, producer Asle Vatn and Christian Fredrik Martin for Friland
Usa vs al-Arian, director Line Halvorsen, producer Jan Dalchow for Dalchows verden
Winterland, director Hisham Zaman, producer Turid Øversveen for 4 ½

The main jury:
Sissel Benneche Osvold (President)
Hans Petter Blad
Iram Haq
Trine Wiggen
Erik Poppe

(Best Norwegian Film in Theatrical Release, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film for Children and Youth, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Role)

The jury for short films and documentaries:
Aslaug Holm
Monica Csango
Arild Fröhlich

Best Foreign Film:
The films have been nominated by members of the Norwegian Cinema Directors Association based on the thirty best box office performers at Norwegian cinemas during the period of 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007.

Eytan Fox to attend Brazilian Jewish film festival

August is the month for Jewish film festivals in Brazil. The 11th São Paulo Jewish Film Festival is currently taking place in Brazil's largest city. It'll be followed by the 3rd Rio de Janeiro Jewish Film Festival (Aug. 16-23, 2007) and by another Jewish film event in Porto Alegre. (Image: Eytan Fox.)

Among the São Paulo screenings are Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud / Adama Meshuga'at, a kibbutz-set drama that shared with Aviva My Love last year's Ophir Award for Best Israeli Film; Miguel Littin's The Last Moon / La Ultima luna, about the friendship between a Jew and a Palestinian in 1914 Palestine; and Oliver Hirschbiegel's Just an Ordinary Jew / Ein Ganz gewöhnlicher Jude, in which the Downfall director tackles the issue of “Jewishness” in early 21st-century Germany.

Eytan Fox movies at the São Paulo Jewish Film Festival

Additionally, the São Paulo Jewish Film Festival will present three Eytan Fox-directed productions:

  • Walk on Water, an affecting drama about a Mossad agent (Lior Ashkenazi) who discovers he can't go on living the life of a merciless avenging angel, especially after befriending a young gay German (Knut Berger) and his sister (Caroline Peters) who happen to be the grandchildren of his next target: a wealthy Nazi war criminal;
  • The Bubble, a somewhat unfocused but haunting Romeo and Juliet – or rather, Romeo and Romeo – tale revolving around two young men, a Palestinian (Yousef 'Joe' Sweid) and a Jew (Ohad Knoller);
  • and episodes from the Israeli TV series Florentine, about young Tel Aviv residents too immersed in their own lives to spend time discussing Middle East politics.

Eytan Fox is expected to be present at the festival.

Brazil's Jewish population

São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre are home to the overwhelming majority of Brazil's Jewish population – somewhere between 100,00 and 200,000 people, depending on the source.

Eytan Fox photo: Strand Releasing.

Michel Piccoli Locarno Film Festival Honoree + Andrzej Wajda Subversive Film vs. Polish Censors © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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