War is hell. Film Movement is offering an exemplary Blu-ray collector’s set that commemorates the bravery of a nation at war in five gloriously restored British World War II classics.
Their Finest Hour: 5 British WWII Classicsbrings together some of the most celebrated British war films, digitally restored and available for the very first time on Blu-ray. Titles include the Ealing Studios-produced, Graham Greene adaptation Went the Day Well? (1942), along with Michael Anderson’s Oscar-nominated The Dam Busters (1955), as well as three box-office hits starring John Mills: The Colditz Story (1955), Dunkirk (1958) and Ice Cold in Alex (1958). The set releases on March 17.
WENT THE DAY WELL? (1942) Based on a story by Graham Greene and directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. Bramley End, snug and safe, seemed far away from the perils of World War II. Little did the villagers suspect the grim events that would arrive at their doorsteps. Surprised by the lorry loads of Royal Engineers that rolled onto their village green, they had no reason to believe that these soldiers were disguised German paratroopers, and even less reason to be suspicious of Oliver Wilsford (portrayed by Leslie Banks), their trusted town squire. A.O. Scott of The New York Times, said this Ealing Studios wartime production “contemplates some pretty grim stuff, but with equipoise, discipline and a sense of humor that embody exactly the virtues it sets out to defend. Apart from its considerable historical interest, this is a movie about how civilization survives.”
THE COLDITZ STORY (1955) The Nazis believed that no man could break out of Colditz Castle. A medieval fortress located in the heart of Saxony and situated 400 miles from any neutral frontier, it was the prison where the most contentious Allied POWs were held. Determined to find a way out, a British officer (John Mills) hatches a plan to navigate the castle’s subterranean tunnels towards freedom. Based on the best-selling book by actual Colditz escapee Major Pat Reid and brought to screen by four-time James Bond director Guy Hamilton. Nominated for a “Best Film” BAFTA Awards, THE COLDITZ STORY was called “Easily one of the best prisoner-of-war yarns to come from any British studio” (Variety).
THE DAM BUSTERS (1955) Based on actual events. Convinced that the war can be shortened by attacking the German industrial nerve center, Dr. Barnes N. Wallis (Michael Redgrave) develops a “bouncing bomb” that can be used to destroy the Ruhr dams. Facing seemingly impossible odds, the 617 Squadron, led by Air Ace Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd), is then tasked with carrying out the dangerous night raids to complete the mission. Adapted by R.C. Sherriff from the book by Paul Brickhill and featuring innovative special effects photography by Gilbert Taylor (cinematographer of Star Wars: A New Hope), The Dam Busters would become a major influence on George Lucas in his storyboarding and filming of the Death Star attack sequence. James Dennis of Screen Anarchy called the film “a triumph of British ingenuity [that] served to highlight the best of the war effort in a wonderfully celebratory fashion.”
DUNKIRK (1958) It is early May 1940. London is lulled into an atmosphere of false security, but war correspondent Charles Foreman (Bernard Lee) knows better. As the Battle of France takes a turn for the worse, he joins the Merchant Navy and volunteers for Operation Dynamo, the greatest rescue mission ever mounted. John Mills and Richard Attenborough star in this Leslie Norman-directed first cinematic retelling of the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk, produced by Ealing Studios. James McAllister of The London Economic said, “Those who thought Christopher Nolan’s shattering summer spectacle could have benefitted from greater historical context, need look no further than [this] epic wartime classic.”
ICE COLD IN ALEX (1958)
The year is 1942. Along the barren North African coast where war has turned towns into smoking ruins, Captain Anson (John Mills), a commanding officer in the Royal Army Service Corps, is tired and thirsty. Separated from his unit while evacuating to Alexandria in a military ambulance, he takes on several passengers but soon realizes that one of them may be a German spy. Nominated for four BAFTA Awards and winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1958 Berlin International Film Festival. Lou Thomas of the British Film Institute says, “Sixty years after its release, director J. Lee Thompson’s desert epic still stands up as an essential war film.”
THE COLDITZ STORY
Colditz Revealed documentary
THE DAM BUSTERS
The Making of The Dam Busters
Sir Barnes Wallis documentary
617 Squadron Remembers documentary
Footage of the Bomb Tests
The Dam Busters Royal Premiere
Restoration of a Classic featurette
The Dam Busters 75th anniversary trailer
Dunkirk Operation Dynamo Newsreel
Young Veteran Ealing Studios documentary (1940)
Interview with actor Sean Barrett
John Mills home movie footage
ICE COLD IN ALEX
Extended Clip from A Very British War Movie documentary
John Mills home movie footage
Interview with Melanie Williams
Steve Chibnall on J. Lee Thompson
Interview with Sylvia Syms
Type: Blu-ray (New Digital Restorations)
Running Time: 572 Total minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Original Aspect Ratio: WENT THE DAY WELL, THE COLDITZ STORY, THE DAM BUSTERS; 1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio: DUNKIRK, ICE COLD IN ALEX
When we heard that José was named the Queer Lion winner at the 75th Annual Venice Film Festival, we knew we were in store for something special. (FYI: The Queer Lion is the trophy awarded to the “Best Movie with LGBT Themes & Queer Culture”.) Not bad for the first-ever Central America film at the prestigious festival José is a gripping, layered and beautifully honest story about one working class young man’s struggle to find himself. Made in the neorealist filmmaking tradition, the film is a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America.
José (magnetic newcomer Enrique Salanic) lives with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota) in Guatemala City, where they survive on her selling sandwiches at bus stops and with him working at a local restaurant. In this poor and sometimes dangerous country dominated by conservative Catholic and Evangelical Christian religion, living as an openly gay man is hard for José to imagine. His mother has never had a husband, and as her youngest and favorite son, on the edge of manhood at 19 years old, she is determined to hold on to him.
Reserved and private, José fills his free moments playing with random hook ups arranged on his phone apps and meeting in clandestine sex houses. When he meets the attractive and gentle construction worker Luis (Manolo Herrera), however, their affair develops into a passionate romance; José then must choose between running off with Luis or remaining at home with his mom who needs him. As he is thrust into new passion and pain José is pushed into never before self-reflection. Will his reluctance to take a leap of faith lead to happiness?
Director Li Cheng and producer George F. Roberson lived in Guatemala for two years to make the film using all-Guatemalan cast and crew and all non-professional actors. Researched in the 20 largest Latin American cities, they built the José story based on interviews with hundreds of young people about their hopes and dreams. They restricted the story around answers to three key questions: Which person are you closest to in your life? What’s your most unforgettable memory? Have you been in love?
The film was researched in a dozen Latin countries, and filmed in Guatemala because of extreme homophobia and the young population; half is under age 19.
“We lived in different zones and neighborhoods,” recalls Cheng. “We’d take long walks in the city and see many dramatic, cinematic places. The first scene of José walking to work has a bus, metro station and a chicken bus station. It’s a crossroads. There’s prostitution, drug dealers, a market and it’s dangerous at night; it’s a mix of everything. It’s a big transition place. We saw these iconic places and how people are living their lives. They take two hours to go from the slums to get to the city early in the morning to make money. I wanted to create a kind of reality—where and how these characters lived their lives. We wanted to respect the people and their dignity.” José was sparked from anger and disappointment in the world situation today and the film emerges with hope in the new generation of young people poised to reshape the world in breathtaking ways.
The film has much sex and nudity. It is nothing offensive. As Cheng explains: “For the sex scenes, many gay films are afraid to show a penis, or a complete sex scene. They cut to someone’s face or show a side butt. We need to be honest with gay sex scenes and make them like straight sex scenes. We should see a man’s sex organ like a woman’s. We insisted on this when we prepared with the actors. They were nervous and afraid, but they were bold. For the motorcycle scene, we had the actors sit behind each other, and touch each other. My direction was, “You need to get a hard on. Be intimate with each other,” so that’s what we prepared. I wanted to use this film to show that sex with love is more attractive, and valuable, and passionate. ”
Jose opens nationally on January 31. January 31 New York, NY February 7 Los Angeles, CA & Chicago, IL February 14 Miami, Boca Raton, FL;
San Diego, CA; Phoenix, AZ February 21 Palm Springs, CA [other cities to follow; visit outsiderpictures.us/movie/jose
Maybe a distributor would consider a double bill?
Coming to DVD on March 10 from Film Movement and winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at NewFest 2019:
is Temblores. In this deeply personal follow-up to his landmark debut Ixcanul, director Jayro Bustamante shifts his focus from rural Guatemala to Guatemala City, but once again sets his sights on an individual caught between two seemingly irreconcilable worlds.
When handsome and charismatic Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager) arrives at his affluent family’s house everyone is eagerly awaiting the return of their beloved son, devoted father and caring husband. A seemingly exemplary pillar of Guatemala City’s Evangelical Christian community, Pablo’s announcement that he intends to leave his wife for another man sends shock waves through the family. As Pablo tries to acclimate to his new life in the city’s gay subculture with the liberated Francisco, his ultra-religious family does everything in its power to get their prodigal son back on track, no matter the cost.
Winner of numerous awards on the festival circuit, including the Best Latin American Film at the San Sebastián International Film Festival; the Emerging Filmmaker Award for Bustamante at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival; and the Grand Jury Award for Juan Pablo Olyslager for Outstanding Performance in an International Narrative at L.A. Outfest, Temblores garnered universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The New York Times called the film “vividly imagined”, while The Los Angeles Times says it’s “a penetrating, mournful portrait of sexual identity”. We like what Variety penned: “As the latest in a long line of films to examine the hypocrisy-laden clash between gay rights and evangelical Christian ethos, this strong second feature from Guatemalan talent Jayro Bustamante doesn’t ask new questions, but its sensuous, reverberating atmospherics find fresh, angry ways to answer them.”
Forget Frozen. Perhaps the best film taking place on frozen water (think ice) is The Ice King(Film Movement). With a mix of new interviews, crisp footage and a treasure-trove of archival materials, Emmy-nominated documentarian James Erskine takes viewers on an emotionally resonant journey through John Curry’s remarkable life and career. Curry transformed ice skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form. Coming out on the night of his Olympic win in 1976, he became the first openly gay Olympian in a time when homosexuality was not even fully legal.
Toxic yet charming; rebellious yet elitist; emotionally aloof yet spectacularly needy; ferociously ambitious yet bent on self-destruction, Curry was a man forever on the run: from his father’s ghost, his country, even his own self.
Above all, he was an artist and an athlete whose body time and time again—sometimes against his will—became a political battlefield. This documentary uses Curry’s life and accomplishments to chart both the evolution of competitive ice skating and of the gay movement of the ’70s and ’80s that culminated in the onslaught of AIDS, which he was diagnosed with in 1987 and which contributed to his death in 1994.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube: Creating the Music ofThe Ice King
Film Movement has the knack to move things around . . . actions that move film fans to explore genres, watch movies previously unknown to them, introduce themselves to new directors, new actors, new talent.
We took such actions this year and discovered a trove of treasures; films that moved us to tears and laughter and the promise to keep our minds and hearts open.
A small sampling of Film Movement flicks that must be added to your must-see list:
Oh! The genius of Fritz Lang . . . M, Metropolis, Fury, Scarlet Street, Rancho Notorious, Clash By Night, The Blue Gardenia, The Big Heat. After more than two decades of exile in Hollywood, the master filmmaker Lang triumphantly returned to his native Germany to direct a lavish two-part serialized cliffhanger from a story he co-authored almost 40 years earlier: 1959’s The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb, which together would become known as Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic.
Operating outside the Hollywood system and given more freedom and resources than he had seen in years, Lang returned to remake the exotic adventure The Indian Tomb, which he originally helped to pen in 1921 but didn’t have the opportunity to direct himself. With breathtaking location shoots, a large international cast, elaborate sets and a jungle’s worth of danger and treachery, Lang crafted a blend of evocative images and montage that, in the twilight of his career, once again proved him a virtuoso of film form.
Initially released in America as Journey to the Lost City, a radically condensed 90-minute version, these exotic masterpieces are finally presented in all their original splendor, featuring more than three hours of breathtaking cinematography and cliff-hanging suspense, in this new 4K restored edition. The release of the film is cinematic history.
It’s been described as “less a swan song than a meteor shower rendered in Technicolor”, a fab phrase that we wish we came up with. Cassandro the Exotico! is a stirring feature portrait of a lucha libre legend in his waning years in the ring. The latest documentary portrait from director Marie Losier, whose 2011 film The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jay followed the gender reassignment journey of musician and artist Genesis P-Orridge, puts the spotlight on another, very different gender-bending LGBTQ+ performer.
Famed as much for his flamboyant drag and sky-high pompadour as for his show-stopping kicks and flips, 47-year-old Saul Armendariz — known in the wrestling ring as Cassandro — is a champion “exotico” wrestler, a luchador who performs in drag with generous doses of camp vamping between back-breaking suplexes. His trailblazing ascent as one the industry’s first openly gay wrestlers has resonated internationally for a quarter century- the story of an underdog and a queer icon simultaneously fragile and mighty. Losier captures the moving, at times humorous, and always colorful dualities of this legendary figure with her talent for forging intimacy with a subject while celebrating his individuality broadly.
The film, shot entirely on 16mm film,follows the “Liberace of the Lucha Libre” in his final years of competition, struggling with opponents and the cruel passage of time, while melding tender encounters and larger-than-life fight scenes into a stylish whole that reflects the vivid textures and hues of a dazzling life in sport.
Dazzling, daring and diversely different, Cassandro the Exotico! is the Best Film Movement Film of the Year!
We never had heard of Arvo Pärt, but That Pärt Feeling The Universe of Arvo Pärt introduced us to the most performed living composer in the world. Who knew?
He is considered to be something of a recluse, and his person and work have rarely been documented on film. In this documentary we get to know Pärt as an artist combining an incredible sensitivity with humor and energy in his work.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s celebrated philosophical children’s book about friendship, love and respect, is one of the world’s most widely translated literary works. In The Miracle of the Little Prince, director Marjoleine Boonstra visits the people who have translated this little masterpiece from French into Tibetan, Tamazight (North Africa), Sámi (northern Finland and Scandinavia) and Nawat (El Salvador). All of these languages are under threat. Passionately enthusiastic language researchers, teachers and translators talk about how the observations of an alien prince on earth are interpreted in their own culture.
They also recall the first time they read the book, and, naturally enough, discuss the linguistic challenges they faced how do you translate water faucet if there’s no such term in your world? This original approach and the exquisite, calm cinematography allow for the telling of personal stories that are as bizarre, human and painful as the experiences of the titular prince. It s a film that inspires wonder a testimony to the imagination and the solace and liberation it offers.
Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives”. But they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety.
Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, Rafiki won a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, Rafiki is a hip tale of first love.
The Mad Adventures of “Rabbi” Jacob, a riot of frantic disguises and mistaken identities, has been magnificently restored in 4K and has been released on Blu-ray fpr the time in North America.
Victor Pivert, a blustering, bigoted French factory owner, finds himself taken hostage by Slimane, an Arab rebel leader. The two dress up as rabbis as they try to elude not only assassins from Slimane’s country, but also the police, who think Pivert is a murderer.
Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who’s returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Adding to the confusion are Pivert’s dentist-wife, who thinks her husband is leaving her for another woman, their daughter, who’s about to get married, and a Parisian neighborhood filled with people eager to celebrate the return of Rabbi Jacob. A hoot!
Umar Bin Hassan hasn’t even hit 70 yet, but he walks with difficulty and there’s sadness and fatigue in his eyes. As a member of The Last Poets, a group of performance poets who expressed the progressive spirit of the times starting in the late ’60s, he was a major influence on later hip-hop artists. In one of his best-known pieces, “Ni****s Are Scared of Revolution”, he criticizes his black brothers’ destructive, macho behavior.
Scared of Revolution, based on Christine Otten’s book, The Last Poets, concentrates on Hassan’s personal life, in which he still fights his demons. He grew up poor with a violent, unpredictable father, which in turn left him with an inferiority complex. In the course of his adult life, he has had a string of bad relationships and left children without a father figure. In his darkest hour, he also battled a crack addiction.
“Deep inside, Umar was scared of the revolution himself,” says fellow member of The Last Poets Abiodun Oyewole. But, as this intimate documentary portrait shows, Hassan takes control of his life again, breaks the destructive cycle and does his best to be the devoted father and grandfather that he was never fortunate enough to have.
We save the best for last. With an emphasis on “best”.
Since its launch in 2015, the Film Movement Classics label has been dedicated to seeking out distinctive films of the past from around the globe, and offering these digitally restored classics to cineastes everywhere. We go excited—truly, really excited—when we found out that Film Movement has acquired a baker’s dozen of British classics from the ’40s-’60s for Blu-ray and digital release on the Film Movement Classics label beginning this month.
That gasp you just heard? That was me. Yes, that excited.
Each of these new home entertainment releases has been digitally restored for optimal enjoyment, and each release will feature numerous bonus features for an unparalleled viewing experience.
The first two British classics to be released on December 20 are The Titfield Thunderbolt and Passport to Pimlico,both hailing from Ealing Studios, whose output from the ’40s and ’50s helped define the Golden Age for British Cinema and the birthplace of the most delectable crop of films to decorate postwar cinema.
The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), the first Ealing comedy to be made in color, tells the story of the inhabitants of Titfield, who endeavor to prove that their single-track railway is the only form of transport for the village. The villains of the piece are two unsavory characters who have introduced a smart brand new single-decker bus to Titfield. Crump and Pearce, owners of the bus company, are determined to cease the running of the Titfield train, by fair means or foul. The film starred Ealing regulars including Stanley Holloway, Naunton Wayne, George Relp, John Gregson and Hugh Griffith. Extras on the Blu-ray include, “Making The Titfield Thunderbolt“, “The Lion Locomotive” and a Locations featurette; Home Movie Footage from Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe; Slocombe on Charles Crichton audio interview, the original trailer and an archival stills gallery.
Starring Stanley Holloway, Hermione Baddeley, Margaret Rutherford and Paul Dupuis, Passport to Pimlico (1949) is one of the most whimsically charming Ealing films from director Henry Cornelius. When an accidental explosion of an undetonated WWII German bomb unearths a buried cellar containing both fabulous riches and an unknown royal charter from King Edward IV that cedes the surrounding land to the last Duke of Burgundy, the town of Pimlico is turned upside down.
Since the charter has never been rescinded, the London district of Pimlico is now legally the long-lost Duchy of Burgundy, and therefore no longer subject to British law, including postwar rationing and pub closure hours. The locals, quick to see the opportunities, do their best to take full advantage of the situation. Extras include a Locations featurette with Film Historian Richard Dacre; an interview with BFI Curator Mark Duguid; a restoration comparison and an archival slideshow.
Yes, dear readers, as Film Movement Classics reveals other releases, we will be the first to let you know. For instance . . .
The next release, arriving on February 18, 2020, is The Alastair Sim Blu-Ray Collection. Though he is perhaps best known for his role as Scrooge in the 1951 film adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scottish character actor Alastair Sim is one of the best-loved and most prolific actors in classic British comedy. Often appearing in multiple roles, he starred in more than 50 films beginning in 1935 and was both critically acclaimed and unfailingly popular, regularly topping the cinema-goers popularity polls. This specially-curated set includes Hue and Cry (1947), Laughter in Paradise (1951), The Belles of St. Trinian’s (1954) and School for Scoundrels (1960).
We tell us this so that any cash Santa brought you must be set aside so you can buy this invaluable collection.
It’s a mystery within a mystery within the painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, is the most famous and intriguing work by Hieronymus Bosch. He’s an artist who is as much as an enigma as his highly symbolic and detail-rich paintings; in 2017 the world celebrated his 500th anniversary.
Now, through unique exclusive access granted by the Prado Museum, such as witnessing the processes of X-raying and restoring the painting, Bosch: The Garden of Dreams from director José Luis López-Linares seeks to answer centuries-old questions about the painter and painting, as well as to explain the inspiration both have had on artists, writers, philosophers and musicians through the years. Save the date: The flick releases on May 14 from Film Movement.
Interviewees in the documentary include such notable figures as Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Renee Fleming, William Christie, Philippe de Montebello, Ludovico Einaudi and John Eliot Gardiner.
We remember Antonio Lopez from the ’70s and ’80s . . . somewhere in our archives is a poster for one of his exhibitions, boldly signed and safely ready for eBay one day.
But not before we check out Antonio Lopez: Sex Fashion & Disco (Film Movement)from filmmaker James Crump. The film is a vibrant time capsule of the decadent world of ’70s haute couture as viewed through the eyes of Lopez, the dominant fashion illustrator of the era whose distinctive drawings graced the pages of Vogue and Elle. In his obituary, The New York Times called Lopez a “major fashion illustrator.”
A Puerto Rican native raised in the Bronx, Antonio was a seductive arbiter of style and glamour who brought urban street elements to a postwar fashion world desperate for change and diversity. Counted among Antonio’s discoveries were iconic beauties such as Grace Jones, Jessica Lange and Jerry Hall. Antonio’s inner circle was also comprised of celebrated photographer Bill Cunningham and rival designers Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. All these characters and more come together to create a vivid portrait of Antonio Lopez and the revolutionary fashion world he helped create.
Through archival footage and stills of studio life in Carnegie Hall, infamous venues such as Max’s Kansas City and Hotel Chelsea and original interviews with principal characters from the time, Crump takes audiences back to the swinging seventies when fashion designers and their entourages gained the prominence of rock stars.
Antonio Lopez: Sex Fashion & Disco features interviews with Lange, Pat Cleveland, Warhol superstars Donna Jordan, Jane Forth and Patti D’Arbanville, as well as revered fashion photographer Bill Cunningham in his very last interview, and fashion world luminaries including Grace Coddington, Joan Juliet Buck, Michael Chow, Bob Colacello, Corey Tippin and Paul Caranicas. The film which Interview called “dazzling,” perfectly captures Lopez and his entourage, blithely on a quest for beauty and pleasure before the decade, saturated by drug use, addiction and sexual promiscuity came to a crashing halt.
Rare archival footage
Bill Cunningham interview excerpts
Bonus Short Film — You Can’t Do Everything at Once, But You Can Leave Everything at Once (Directed by Marie-Elsa Sgualdo | Switzerland | 15 minutes) A mesmerizing and fantastic tale of a young woman’s life constructed from a variety of archival footage.
In the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a man named Malin, a Russian literature professor at the University of Havana, is sent to translate for the Soviet children who have been brought to Cuba for medical treatment. While adapting to this emotionally demanding job, the Berlin Wall falls and a deep economic crisis hits the island. But Malin is so entrenched in the lives of the Chernobyl Children that he fails to notice his own family suffering. Now he must find a way to put the fractured pieces of his life back together and become a better person along the way.
We offer Un Traductor (Film Movement), a flick that was nominated for a 2018 Sundance Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema competition. It also captured the Best Director Golden Goblet for the Barriuso brothers at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Rodrigo Santoro, one of Brazil’s most acclaimed actors, plays Malin. And he plays the role brilliantly!
The U.K.’s official submission for Best Foreign Film for this year’s Academy Awards is I Am Not a Witch. The movie, now on DVD from Film Movement, from the Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, is a striking satire about witchcraft in contemporary Zambia.
When nine-year-old Shula is accused of witchcraft, she is exiled to a witch camp run by Mr. Banda, a corrupt and inept government official. Tied to the ground by a white ribbon, Shula is told that she will turn into a goat if she tries to escape. As the only child witch, Shula quickly becomes a local star and the adults around her exploit her supposed powers for financial gain. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision – whether to resign herself to life on the camp, or take a risk for freedom.
At times moving, often funny and occasionally surreal, I Am Not a Witch offers spellbinding storytelling with flashes of anarchic humor, showcasing Nyoni as the birth of a significant new screen voice. Festival audiences and juries also agreed, bestowing more than 20 nominations on the film, including the AFI Fest Audience Award and a BIFA nod for “Best British Independent Film”.
Sex! Betrayal! Corruption! Such facts of life unravel in a Copenhagen hotel, where nine disparate lives intersect by chance or fate.
A hotel manager peers into the abyss of his empty life, leading to devastating consequences for himself, his wife and his mistress.
A Spanish stewardess reaches out for intimacy and finds it in a most unexpected way.
A reserved concierge is forced out of his shell by a shocking event, and an Albanian refugee gets a chance to avenge his wife, but ends up discovering something surprising instead.
An Official Selection in Competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Room 304 (Film Movement), director Birgitte Staermose’s debut feature, will make home audiences think twice before booking a hotel room again.
Sweeping in scope yet full of intimate moments, Film Movement’s The Paris Opera, offers a candid look behind the scenes of one of the world’s foremost performing arts institutions. Over the course of one tumultuous season, director Jean-Stéphane Bron nimbly juggles multiple storylines, from ballet and opera rehearsals, to strike negotiations, last minute crises and ticket disputes, revealing the dedication of the talented personnel who bring breathtaking spectacles to the stage night after night.
It’s Autumn 2015 and, at the Paris Opera, new director Stéphane Lissner is putting the finishing touches to his first press conference. Backstage, artists and crew diligently prepare to raise the curtain on a new season with Schönberg’s opera, Moses and Aaron. However, the announcement of a strike and arrival of a 2000-pound bull in a supporting role complicate matters greatly. As the season progresses, more and more characters appear, playing out the human comedy in the manner of a documentary Opera. Enter promising young Russian singer, Mikhail Tymoshenko, who begins at the Opera’s Academy; in the hallways of Opera Bastille, his destiny will cross paths with that of Bryn Terfel, one of the greatest voices of his time. And Lissner will have to weather star choreographer Benjamin Millepied jumping ship soon after taking over as director of ballet at Palais Garnier. But when the terrorist attack at The Bataclan plunges the city into mourning, the company recognizes the show must go on.
And it does.
Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some