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Cannes once again makes a political statement - as they did with Dheepan last year and Winter Sleep (from Turkey) the year before. Winners of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival awards, including the coveted Palme d'Or, were revealed at a glamorous ceremony in Cannes featuring Donald Sutherland and George Miller. The big winner is Ken Loach for his film I, Daniel Blake, about an aging man in the UK who struggles to get welfare because of a very broken system. This is the second Palme d'Or for Ken Loach, who won for The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006; he has also received four other awards in Cannes previously. A few of my other favorites, including The Red Turtle and Captain Fantastic, also won awards this year. See below.
"They say that Neruda is the most important communist in the world." The first trailer has debuted for the latest film from Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín titled Neruda, which is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in just a few days. I've been raving about Pablo Larraín ever since catching his film No at Cannes in 2012, as well as his outstanding film The Club at Berlinale in 2015 just last year. For Neruda, he reteams with No star Gael García Bernal to tell the story of Senator Pablo Neruda (played by Luis Gnecco), who was impeached at the beginning of the Cold War, utilizing his position to become "both a symbol for liberty and a literary legend". This looks fantastic - the shots are unique, it feels poetic, and looks inspiring already.
"You've died so many times. You will never die again." Well, this looks crazy cool. Sony Pictures Russia has debuted a trailer for a big-budget Russian adventure movie called The Duelist, directed by indie filmmaker Alexey Mizgirev. A few moviegoers might've seen the WWII action movie Stalingrad a few years back, as it was released in IMAX by Sony. This is Sony's latest Russian feature that they're be releasing to US audiences in IMAX even though no date has been set yet. The Duelist is about a vengeful duelist who never loses. The cast includes Pyotr Fyodorov (Stalingrad), Vladimir Mashkov (Ghost Protocol), Yuri Kolokolnikov (Game of Thrones), and Martin Wuttke (Inglorious Basterds). This seems dark and epic and very violent.
Every year, cinephiles wake up early to catch the announcement direct from France of the films playing at the Cannes Film Festival. For the 69th Cannes Film Festival taking place this May they've revealed a fantastic selection of films premiering. For 2016 they've programmed quite a few prominent returning filmmakers along with some exciting newcomers. Steven Spielberg's new adaptation The BFG will premiere Out-of-Competition, along with Shane Black's The Nice Guys and Jodie Foster's Money Monster. In the competition, they're showing new films from Andrea Arnold, the Dardennes Brothers, Xavier Dolan, Jim Jarmusch, Jeff Nichols, Park Chan-wook, Paul Verhoeven, and Nicolas Winding Refn. Full list found below.
What the heck is this? The full official trailer for Stephen Chow's wacky new film has arrived online. After bringing us Kung Fu Hustle and CJ7, Stephen Chow's latest work is about a genetically engineered mermaid program run by a madman, called The Mermaid. While there are no English subtitles on this, the footage more than speaks for itself and it's not that appealing, I have to admit. It seems to be some kind of mix of Human Centipede (or Tusk) and Pirates of the Caribbean, but set in the real world. I don't really know. The cast includes Kris Wu, Chao Deng, Show Luo & Ke Bai. Give this trailer a look below if you're curious.
"Cinema as the stuff dreams are made of…" Strand Releasing has unveiled an official US trailer for Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest film Cemetery of Splendor, which has been playing at film festivals since last year. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, played at TIFF and the New York, Busan, Vancouver and Denver Film Festivals, and is now playing at the Sundance Film Festival this year, arriving in theaters in March. This dream-like, mesmerizing Thai film is about a lonely housewife (Jenjira Pongpas) who tends to a soldier with sleeping sickness that "falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams, phantoms, and romance." Those who are fans of "Thai Joe" and his films - this is his latest must-see feature.
"It's his duty to save his men." Magnolia Pictures has debuted the official US trailer for their release of the film A War, written & directed by Tobias Lindholm. The film was one of the five nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in this year's Oscars. The story involves a Danish man who goes off to fight in "a war" in the Middle East, and returns home after being charged with bombing and killing civilians. The cast includes Pilou Asbæk, Tuva Novotny, Dar Salim and Søren Malling. It seems that this film examines a very complex situation, where a soldier had to make a very tough decision under fire and the consequences may follow him all the way home. From this trailer you should get an idea for why this earned the nominated.
"You're quite the traveler." Magnolia Pictures has unveiled their official trailer for Arnaud Desplechin's new film My Golden Days, which first premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival (Desplechin has been to Cannes before with A Christmas Tale and Jimmy P). The film is about an aging anthropologist reflecting on his life, mainly focusing on his childhood and a formative trip to Russia, but most of all his love for a woman named Esther, played by Lou Roy-Lecollinet. The full cast features Quentin Dolmaire and Mathieu Amalric playing Paul Dédalus at different ages. This does indeed look like an "evocative portrait of youth" and an emotional story about the unforgettable people we meet in life. Looking forward to seeing it myself.
"What the hell does he know about film?!" Wow, this looks wacky. Strand Releasing put out this new trailer and official poster for Peter Greenway's Eisenstein in Guanajuato, a film about Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein traveling down to Mexico in 1931 to shoot a new film. Elmer Bäck plays Sergei Eisenstein, and Luis Alberti plays his guide Palomino Cañedo, and the cast includes Maya Zapata, Lisa Owen, Stelio Savante. I can't really tell if I'm into this or not. It truly looks "wonderfully mind-boggling", as one of the quotes in this trailer states, I just hope it makes some sense. The footage is definitely appealing, and some of the shots got my attention. It's a very captivating, very mesmerizing trailer that pulls you into the journey, and makes you want to see more of this story about his wacky, wild 10 days in Mexico. Take a look below.
"Lord Ganesh, spare us misfortune, make things go well here." Transmission Films in the UK has debuted a trailer for Jacques Audiard's Dheepan, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year (2015). The film is slated for release in the US this April, but for now this trailer comes from the UK and shares footage from what some are calling a masterpiece. Jesuthasan Antonythasan stars as Dheepan, a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees their Civil War, ending up France. He takes two strangers with him and they struggle to make a home in a housing project outside Paris. This looks better then many are expecting, so I hope people give it a chance and watch this. Audiard is an exceptional filmmaker, and always impresses.
"Before he can become a warrior, a man has to leave everything behind and go into the jungle, guided only by his dreams." Oscilloscope has released an official trailer for the film Embrace of the Serpent, the official Oscar Foreign Language entry this year from Colombia. It's a mesmerizing B&W feature described as a "violent, psychedelic film about colonization". The story follows two real explorers from history, Theodor Koch-Grünberg played by Jan Bijvoet and Richard Evan Schultes played by Brionne Davis, who travel through the Colombian Amazon in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant. This looks like an immersive and particularly unique storytelling experience, you might want to give this a watch.
"Why is everyone on this island addicted to drama?" Magnolia Pictures has debuted a trailer for the Cuban drag queen drama Viva, starring actor Héctor Medina as Jesus, a young hairdresser who dreams of being a drag performer. The film played to some solid reviews at the Telluride Film Festival last year, and looks like an upbeat, energetic film about finding your true self. One review from The Playlist notes "how the director captures the rhythm of Jesus' life in the city, chronicling his poverty, and conveying his dignity" and says it features "strong performances by its three leads". Not everyone is going to be into this, but it's worth giving a shot, as this trailer really sells it well. There's more to this story, including the electric vibe of Cuba.
Whoa! What the heck is this? Every once in a while, Russia produces a movie that actually makes the rest of the world take notice. I still can't forget that magical flying car movie a few years back (Black Lightning) known as Russia's Transformers. The next production we're curious about is a film called Zaschitniki, a Russian superhero feature about four different super-powered humans. This trailer came out in May of last year but we only just now came across it thanks to io9. It's only a teaser and they don't show too much, but it is an appealing first look, and with this early concept art for it I'm certainly intrigued. I want to see more.
"Daddy will make you lots of dollars!" Kino Lorber has debuted a new official US trailer for veteran Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke's latest film, titled Mountains May Depart. This film premiered at Cannes in May and played at a bunch of prestigious festivals through the year. I saw it at the New York Film Festival and was taken back by it, still impacted by the audacity of the story. Set in China and Australia, the film is a tryptich that follows a few people across three different periods of time - showing how China has devolved into a culture of materialism and how this will affect relationships and human connection in the long run. It stars Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi & Liang Jingdong. Anyone in search of bold storytelling should take a look at this.