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New on Video: ‘Code Unknown’

Code Unknown

Written and directed by Michael Haneke

France/Germany/Romania, 2000

Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown, the director’s 2000 follow-up to his brilliant 1997 film Funny Games, opens on group of deaf children playing sign-language charades. It’s an oddly provocative opening, in that it instantly leaves one to speculate where such a scene is heading, and yet is curiously soon forgotten as the film proper begins, only to be recalled again at the very end of the movie. While this may appear as an arbitrary insertion of an apparently irrelevant parenthesis, there proves to be more to the inclusion than one could initially gather when the scene is first presented. It would indeed be impossible to understand its full significance until the film concludes, for like these children attempting to guess the phrase or word mimicked by another, Code Unknown is itself about figuring out behavior, trying to deduce and
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Criterion Collection: Code Unknown | Blu-ray Review

Over the past two decades, Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has grown into one of the most formidable cinematic titans currently working today. Winning five awards for his six times competing at Cannes (including Palme d’Or wins in 2009 and 2012), several of his prominent early titles tend to be overlooked in broad discussions concerning the filmmaker’s continued observation of humankind’s increasing inability to communicate.

A purveyor of social maladies, usually within an isolated microcosm, Criterion’s restoration of his first French production, 2000’s Code Unknown, is a perfect opportunity to revisit a prescient example of greater cultural shifts and conflicts to come. Although contemporary audiences might be tempted to lump this early title from Haneke into a movement of cinema from this particular decade wherein interconnected vignettes became a popular format, this compilation of one shot, single-takes is beyond comparison with the glut of busy-bodied melodramas eventually running this composition tactic into the ground.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Halfway Pt. 5 Best Performances

Are you getting restless about all these halfway posts? We're almost done. The Power of List compels me. There's one more halfway post to go that's basically 'The Oscar Charts are Updated!' as the coding problem I mentioned is fixed and the updates are happening behind the scenes as you read this. We must get all this halfway business behind us by Saturday morning so that we can ape out all weekend with Andy Serkis & Co and start this second half of the year off right.

Herewith...

The Greatest Performances Of 2014's First Half

Best Leading Actress: Keira Knightley does her most relaxed and fluid work ever in Begin Again as a musician at a crossroads, never letting any one aspect of the character's situation pigeonhole her emotional responses; Agata Kulesza is an abrasive and evasive presence in her first scenes in Ida as a cynical woman who is
See full article at FilmExperience »

Film Review: Challenging ‘Child’s Pose’ Sparked by Luminita Gheoeghiu

Chicago – Parents often feel responsible for their child’s reprehensible actions or despicable behavior. They may feel it reflects poorly on their own character and will go out of their way to fix a situation, make it all better. Certainly not all parents, but definitely the mother we meet in “Child’s Pose,” a Romanian film from last year that is finally getting released here in the States.

It’s a fascinating film centered on a controlling and manipulative mother who will confound audiences with her own questionable behavior and blunt demeanor, leaving them to ponder whether or not her concern and emotional responses are genuine or come from a place of self-preservation.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

We meet the sixty something Cornelia (Luminita Gheoeghiu) at her birthday party, surrounded by her husband and a collection of Eastern European bourgeoisie. We learn this affluent woman is a successful theatrical set designer and architect
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

‘Child’s Pose’ is a wonder to watch

Child’s Pose

Directed by Calin Peter Netzer

Romania, 2013

Continuing in the tradition of recent dominant cinematic mothers, ranging from Hye-ja Kim in Joon-ho Bong’s Mother to Jacki Weaver in David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, Luminita Gheorghiu casts an impressively controlling maternal shadow in Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose as Cornelia Keneres.

When Cornelia’s son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) strikes and kills a child with his car, Cornelia sees the tragedy as an opportunity to steer her son’s life in the opposite direction of what she believes to be wayward and away from her.

Child’s Pose has several of the trademarks of the films of Netzer’s Romanian peers, making up what many refer to as a Romanian New Wave: long takes, class and bureaucratic commentary, abrupt cuts from scene to scene. It’s Netzer’s anxious camera, constantly panning, tilting, and zooming, that sets it apart.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Movies This Week: March 28-April 3, 2014

 

The Austin Film Society will begin a series this weekend spotlighting the best in New Romanian Cinema with Child's Pose, which won the Golden Bear for best film at last year's Berlin Film Festival. The film stars Luminita Gheorghiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and plays tonight and again Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa.

Meanwhile, Richard Linklater's incredible Jewels In The Wasteland series continues this week with Godard's Every Man For Himself on Wednesday night. Linklater will introduce the film and lead an audience discussion after the screening.

On Monday night, Tiger Tail In Blue is screening at the Marchesa thanks to Afs. Local filmmaker Andrew Bujalski will moderate a post-film Skype Q&A with director and lead actor Frank Ross. The indie film was nominated for a Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" and we're lucky to have a theater to bring movies like this to town.
See full article at Slackerwood »

Review: Golden Bear Winner 'Child's Pose' Anchored By A Great Performance From Luminita Gheorghiu

One of the great pleasures of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, aside from its generally friendly atmosphere, and awesome local tipple Becherovka, is that its timing and the breadth of its selection gives us the chance to catch up with films we, for one reason or another, missed at festivals previously. And so it was last year with Calin Peter Netzer's "Child's Pose," a film that didn't make it onto our radar in advance at all, but then snuck up and took the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, while we were probably, statistically speaking, in the next theater over watching a James Franco movie. But while we're immensely impressed by the central performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (a towering actress of the Romanian New Wave, with "The Death of Mr Lazarescu" and two Cristian Mungiu titles "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and "Beyond the Hills" among her many credits
See full article at The Playlist »

Child’s Pose Director Calin Peter Netzer on Rigorous Preparation, Letting Go on Set and Riding the Romanian New Wave

More than a year after winning the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlinale, Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose, a Romanian domestic drama that covers class and motherly impulses, is finally receiving a U.S. release, opening today at New York’s Film Forum and spreading to L.A. by week’s end. The latest entry in the ever-burgeoning Romanian New Wave, which has given us everything from Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills to Radu Muntean’s Tuesday, After Christmas, Child’s Pose zeros in on wealthy Bucharest native Cornelia Keneres (Luminita Gheorghiu) and her family, paying particular attention to her connection to her grown son, Barbu […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Child’s Pose Director Calin Peter Netzer on Rigorous Preparation, Letting Go on Set and Riding the Romanian New Wave

More than a year after winning the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlinale, Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose, a Romanian domestic drama that covers class and motherly impulses, is finally receiving a U.S. release, opening today at New York’s Film Forum and spreading to L.A. by week’s end. The latest entry in the ever-burgeoning Romanian New Wave, which has given us everything from Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills to Radu Muntean’s Tuesday, After Christmas, Child’s Pose zeros in on wealthy Bucharest native Cornelia Keneres (Luminita Gheorghiu) and her family, paying particular attention to her connection to her grown son, Barbu […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Review: Motherly Love Spirals Out of Control in Romania's Chilling Oscar Entry 'Child's Pose'

Review: Motherly Love Spirals Out of Control in Romania's Chilling Oscar Entry 'Child's Pose'
From Hitchcock's "Psycho" to Siegel and McGehee's "The Deep End," cinema loves its messed up mother-son relationships. But rarely are they handled with the mastery of Calin Peter Netzer's tale of smotherly love "Child's Pose," Romania's 2014 Oscar entry and also one of the country's strongest films in a surprising, prosperous New Wave of films by Cristian Mungiu and Cristi Puiu. Add Netzer to that list. Luminita Gheorghiu plays Cornelia, a wealthy, weathered, swilling matriarch who manipulates her entire family. Especially her son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) who, after a hit-and-run, is about to undergo criminal prosecution for the manslaughter of a child. All wringing hands and cold calculation, Gheorghiu's is the sort of iconic performance that would get more plaudits if this weren't such a crowded year of other iconic performances. She has worked with Puiu and Mungiu before, as well as Michael Haneke, and once again slips into the
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Review: Child's Pose Looks At Mommy Love

Winner of a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and Romania's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this year's Oscar, Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose is a riveting family drama spiked with some sharp social commentary that is inherent in the Romanian New Wave. Veteran Romanian actress Luminita Gheorghiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, The Death of Mr. Lazarescue) gives a remarkable performance as Neli (Cornelia), a well-connected Romanian upper-class professional whose resolve as a mother of a deadbeat son, Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) gets tested.The film opens with Neli's extravagant birthday dinner with many important government officials attending. She tells her sister that Barbu is not only not showing up for the party, but told her to 'go suck a cock,'...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Child's Pose: Gheorghiu Amazes In a New Romanian Classic

Child's Pose: Gheorghiu Amazes In a New Romanian Classic
Ah, the Romanians — sometimes it seems like no one else is bothering to make movies for grown-ups anymore. Those of us with an abiding New Wave-y interest in human warts and tragic truth-telling have known, since 2005's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, to look to the Carpathians for dependable relief from the contemporary movie dosage of forever-teen faces and digitized pseudo-excitement. With Child's Pose, the Romanian tide enters its Cassavetes phase, where the thin ice of haute bourgeoisie life cracks and opens wide.

Classically, we've got a character study under pressure, with R-wave earth goddess Luminita Gheorghiu at its center. Her Cornelia is a retired Bucharest architect/über-mom, aging into a moneyed loneliness with an ineffectual husband and a s...
See full article at Village Voice »

DVD Review: 'Child's Pose'

  • CineVue
★★★★★A worthy winner of Berlin's Golden Bear and a strong contender for Best Foreign Language Film at next year's Academy Awards, Child's Pose (2013) provides a fascinating insight into Romania's affluent society and ubiquitous corruption. Calin Peter Netzer focuses on one middle-class family and the troubled relationship of a domineering mother Cornelia and her privileged son Barbu. The film opens with Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu) chain-smoking and bemoaning the lack of contact with Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache). She's about to hit sixty and he - for reason's unknown - is refusing to attend his mother's birthday celebration.
See full article at CineVue »

Guy Lodge's DVDs and downloads

Child's Pose is an astonishing Romanian gem that deserved more of a cinema outing, unlike James Franco's attempt to put the vice back into Cruising

The ever narrowing window between the theatrical and DVD release dates of smaller-scale arthouse films is a bittersweet blessing. Viewers in multiplex-only regions get to access them before the critical conversation has cooled entirely, though the sadder flip-side is that their life in cinemas is increasingly brief. Viewed on any size of screen, however, Calin Peter Netzer's astonishing Child's Pose (Studiocanal, 15) – released theatrically only last month – is among the year's most essential films.

There's been a recent critical tendency to elevate indiscriminately just about any product of the so-called Romanian new wave to masterwork status, no matter how dour or protracted, which is perhaps why even discerning audiences were hesitant to see this diamond-hard domestic thriller – a deserved Golden Bear winner at the Berlin film festival.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Win Child’s Pose on DVD

  • HeyUGuys
To mark the release of Child’s Pose on DVD 16th December, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away.

Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, Child’S Pose is a touching film about how we can suffocate our children with maternal love, and on the marks that parents leave on their offspring’s personalities. Written and directed by Calin Peter Netzer, the film is also a portrayal of contemporary high-class Romania, and the low-level corruption and trading of influence within the core social institutions. The film stars Luminita Gheorghiu (The Death of Mr Lazarescu), Bogdan Dumitrache (Traffic), Ilinca Goia and Nataşa Raab (Amen).

Cornelia (Gheorghiu), an elegant and well-connected woman at the pinnacle of society, hides a dark secret. She has an estranged son, Barbu (Dumitrache), who seems determined to keep his life as private as possible. Far from the prying eyes of his aristocratic mother,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Child’s Pose DVD Review

Director: Calin Peter Netzer,

Starring: Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Natasa Raab, Ilinca Goia, Florin Zamfirescu,

Running Time: 112 minutes

Certificate: 15

Romania continues to be the country that churns out instant classics. The last decade has produced many startling and confrontational films from a country still looking to make its true voice heard since overthrowing communism. In fact, Romania may very well hold the title for best and second best films of 2013, with Beyond The Hills and now Child’S Pose breathing a mature sense of integrity and excellence into the cinematic landscape. Dark with heart is probably the best way to describe both films, and Child’S Pose reaches levels of emotional confrontation usually absent from many films.

Cornelia (Gheorghiu) is part of Romania’s social elite. Attending luncheons and dressing in finery is all part of the image she has created for herself. One night she is informed that her
See full article at The Hollywood News »

The Braddies 2013: Peter Bradshaw nominates his films of the year

Decadence, violence, love and space – Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw shares his fantasy award nomination list for 2013

• The 2012 Braddies

Awards season is now upon us and here, as every year, is my personal fantasy award nomination list for 2013, whimsically called the Braddies, which covers the period running from the beginning of the calendar year to the present. There are 10 nominations in eight categories: film, director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, screenplay and documentary.

The reader is invited to nominate the winner in the comments section below, and perhaps to note omissions and evidence that the list betrays suggestions of sociocultural bias.

I like to think that these awards will one day evolve into an actual ceremony with chrome-and-glass statuettes, sponsorship from Sky Atlantic and a televised evening presided over by Dara Ó Briain or Mariella Frostrup. But until then, it exists in a world of fantasy only. And so,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Oscar Odds: The Great Beauty, Child’s Pose, The Past and Gloria

Among all the national Oscar ® submissions for consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will nominate 5 on January 16, 2014 to compete for Best Foreign Language Film. One of those five films will receive the Oscar ® for Best Non-English-feature at the Oscar ® Awards March 2, 2014 in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Read more about all the 76 Best Foreign Language Film Submission for the 2014 Academy Awards

At this point (and I have not seen all the films yet), I predict the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar going to The Great Beauty,Child’s Pose or Gloria. Those are three of my four favorites thus far. The Past, while worthy most likely will not repeat Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar 2011 win for A Separation.

Child’s Pose

I am amazed to see that no Romanian film ever even made it to the 5 Nominations level and yet their films are internationally acclaimed and Child’s Pose carries on the tradition of great filmmaking that Romania has established in recent years. A scathing indictment of the complacent bourgeois nouveau riche classes in Romania, this film leaves no doubt in our mind of how far one can go to protect a really ugly new society. The very strength of the film may make it too “high-brow” for the Academy, although it did award another “high-brow” movie when the Oscar went to Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation in 2011, but at that time, there were political motivations as well for awarding the Oscar to a dissident Iranian. If Child’s Pose does not receive a nomination however, I will attribute that to my aforesaid judgement.

Child’s Pose producer Ada Solomon gave a speech at the Berlinale Awards Ceremony Closing Night where the film won The Golden Bear, which deserves an award itself. Starting with the comment that she is more used to fighting than to winning, she pointedly thanked not only those who helped her but also those who did not help her whose resistance to her making this film made her stronger and more powerful. She pointed out the great need to have equal representation of women in the ranks of directors and producers as well, a theme which has been expressed repeatedly during this festival in many forms. ( Read Melissa Silverstein’s blog on the joint meeting of women's films festivals initiated in Berlin by The International Women's Film Festival Dortmund|Cologone and the Athena Film Festival entitled "You Cannot Be Serious" in which women from many countries discussed the statistics and the status of women directors and other positions in the industry and continued the creation of a worldwide network pushing towards a more level playing field. Check out The International Women's Film Festival Network for more information).

Child's Pose , good in the vein of A Separation, went head to head in Berlin with the Chilean critic's choice, Gloria whose star Paulina Garcia, won the Best Actress Award. Could have gone both ways and so it could again for the Oscar. The two older women were both great.

By the way, Gloria was produced by Fabula , the Chilean company of the Lorrain Brothers who produced Academy Award winner in 2012 No as well as Crystal Fairy by Sebastian Silva.

Jay Weissberg of Variety describes Child's Pose best as a "dissection of monstrous motherly love" and a "razor-sharp jibe at Romania's nouveau riche (the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict arises."

Regarding Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, one of my three favorites, it is masterful how Asghar Farhadi can take a simple domestic drama – divorce, remarriage, children, step-parents – and based on one simple miss-step (a white lie in A Separation and a forwarding of emails in The Past), he weaves a surprising and suspenseful web whose strands the audience only unravels after it has fully and seemingly effortlessly played itself out.

When I saw A Separation, the Iranian exoticism initially carried it forward, and it was only at its final note played that I realized a simple lie and a few misstatements caused the greatest grief for the most innocent player of the family’s drama. The daughter was left to suffer from the well-meaning white lies of adults and that was the ensuing tragedy of the film. In this film (The Past), it is the daughter who must bear the responsibility when things get complicated.

The story goes thus: Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)'s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past, and the highly charged revelations affecting every character in Mr. Farhadi's complex screenplay unfold with his trademark nuance. Once again he showcases his gifts as a masterful storyteller and director who elicits riveting performances from his cast.

The Past, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 20, 2013. After playing Cannes, it went on to play at Telluride, Toronto and AFI Film Festivals.

Not only did The Past win the Cannes Film Festival Prize for Best Actress (Bérénice Béjo), but Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. For that reason alone, I do not think it will win the Award this year even if it makes it to the 5 top nominated films.

41 year-old writer-director Asghar Farhadi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998. He had won the Berlin Film Festival' Golden Bear for Best Director for About Elly. The Past is his sixth feature.

Argentinian-born and Paris-based actress Bérénice Béjo was last seen in her Academy nominated role as Peppy Miller in Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Following her César-nominated breakout role in Gérard Jugnot's Most Promising Young Actress, Béjo made her American feature film debut in Brian Helgeland's A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger. Béjo is currently in production on director Michel Hazanavicius' new film, The Search.

One of French cinema's young rising stars, Tahar Rahim is best known to U.S. audiences for his indelible performance in Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, for which he won both Best Actor and Best Male Newcomer Césars, as well as the European Film Award for Best Actor.

See SydneysBuzz Review of The Past .

I won’t reiterate my love for the inspirational and awesome film The Great Beauty because you can read about that in my Interview with Paulo Sorrentino the Director of The Great Beauty and for the fabulously self-affirming Gloria which you can read in my Interview with Sebastian Lelio Director of 'Gloria' and Star Paulina Garcia .

Below you can list of rights sold to all these four great films. Note who are the smart distributors buying these art films so that when you make such a film, you will know who will be watching. And for more rights to more films, buy the Rights Roundup Reports by SydneysBuzz for each great festival and market Here.

The Past

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated | Running time: 130 min.

French and Persian with English subtitles

International sales by Memento sold to

Australia-Madman Entertainment

Canada-Métropole Films Distribution

Canada-Mongrel Media Inc.

Denmark-Angel Films A/S

Finland-Cinema Mondo

France-Canal +

France-Memento Films Distribution

Germany-Camino Filmverleih Gmbh

Hong Kong (China)-Golden Scene Company Limited

Israel-Lev Films (Shani Films)

Italy-Bim Distribuzione

Korea (South)-Cac Entertainment

Netherlands-Cinéart Nl

Norway-Arthaus

Poland-Kino Swiat

Serbia-Soul Food Distribution

Sweden-Folkets Bio

Switzerland-Frenetic Films

Taiwan-Maison Motion, Inc.

Turkey-Mars Production

U.K.-Curzon Film World/ Artificial Eye

U.S. – Spc/ Airlines – Penny Black Media

Child’s Pose

Zeitgeist Films is handling the U.S. theatrical release of Child’s Pose by Calin Peter Netzer. The film will open at Film Forum in New York on February 19, and at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on February 21. A national release will follow.

Golden Bear winner at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Calin Peter Netzer’s sharply crafted Child’s Pose pivots on a riveting performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (12:08 East of Bucharest; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Beyond the Hills; The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the role for which Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded her the Best Supporting Actress award) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect determined to keep her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash.

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated. / Running time: 112 min.

Romanian with English subtitles

International sales by Beta Cinema sold to

Australia - Palace Films

Brazil - Imovision

Denmark - Camera Film A/S

Germany - Beta Cinema

Germany - X Verleih Ag

Greece - Seven Films

Italy - Teodora Film

So. Korea - Mediaday

Mexico - Cinemas Nueva Era

Netherlands - Contact Film

Norway - Film&Kino

Norway - Tour De Force As

Poland - Aurora Films

Poland - Transatlantyk Festival

Portugal - Alambique

Slovak Republic - Film Europe (Sk)

Spain - Golem Distribución

Switzerland - Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Taiwan - Swallow Wings Films Co.,Ltd.

Turkey - Mor Film

The Great Beauty

140 minutes

Italian with English subtitles

International sales agent Pathe sold to

Australia Palace Films

Brazil Mares Filmes Ltda.

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Denmark Camera Film A/S

France Canal +

Germany Dcm

Hong Kong Edko Films Ltd

Netherlands Abc - Cinemien

Norway As Fidalgo Film Distribution

Russia A-One Films

Slovak Republic Film Europe (Sk)

Switzerland Pathe Films Ag

U.K. Curzon Film World

Gloria

104 minutes

Spanish with English subtitles

International sales agent Funny Balloons sold to

Australia Rialto Distribution (Australia)

Austria Thimfilm Gmbh

Brazil Imovision

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Colombia Babilla Cine

France Funny Balloons

Germany Alamode Film

Greece Strada Films

Israel New Cinema Ltd.

Italy Lucky Red

Japan Respect

Korea (South) Pancinema

Netherlands Wild Bunch Benelux

Portugal Alambique

Sweden Atlantic Film Ab

Switzerland Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Turkey Bir Film

U.K. Network

U.S. Roadside Attractions
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Oscar Odds : The Great Beauty, Child’s Pose, The Past and Gloria

Among all the national Oscar ® submissions for consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will nominate 5 on January 16, 2014 to compete for Best Foreign Language Film. One of those five films will receive the Oscar ® for Best Non-English-feature at the Oscar ® Awards March 2, 2014 in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

At this point (and I have not seen all the films yet), I predict the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar going to The Great Beauty,Child’s Pose or Gloria. Those are three of my four favorites thus far. The Past, while worthy most likely will not repeat Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar 2011 win for A Separation.

Child’s Pose

I am amazed to see that no Romanian film ever even made it to the 5 Nominations level and yet their films are internationally acclaimed and Child’s Pose carries on the tradition of great filmmaking that Romania has established in recent years. A scathing indictment of the complacent bourgeois nouveau riche classes in Romania, this film leaves no doubt in our mind of how far one can go to protect a really ugly new society. The very strength of the film may make it too “high-brow” for the Academy, although it did award another “high-brow” movie when the Oscar went to Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation in 2011, but at that time, there were political motivations as well for awarding the Oscar to a dissident Iranian. If Child’s Pose does not receive a nomination however, I will attribute that to my aforesaid judgement.

Child’s Pose producer Ada Solomon gave a speech at the Berlinale Awards Ceremony Closing Night where the film won The Golden Bear, which deserves an award itself. Starting with the comment that she is more used to fighting than to winning, she pointedly thanked not only those who helped her but also those who did not help her whose resistance to her making this film made her stronger and more powerful. She pointed out the great need to have equal representation of women in the ranks of directors and producers as well, a theme which has been expressed repeatedly during this festival in many forms. ( Read Melissa Silverstein’s blog on the joint meeting of women's films festivals initiated in Berlin by The International Women's Film Festival Dortmund|Cologone and the Athena Film Festival entitled "You Cannot Be Serious" in which women from many countries discussed the statistics and the status of women directors and other positions in the industry and continued the creation of a worldwide network pushing towards a more level playing field. Check out The International Women's Film Festival Network for more information).

Child's Pose , good in the vein of A Separation, went head to head in Berlin with the Chilean critic's choice, Gloria whose star Paulina Garcia, won the Best Actress Award. Could have gone both ways and so it could again for the Oscar. The two older women were both great.

By the way, Gloria was produced by Fabula , the Chilean company of the Lorrain Brothers who produced Academy Award winner in 2012No as well as Crystal Fairy by Sebastian Silva.

Jay Weissberg of Variety describes Child's Pose best as a "dissection of monstrous motherly love" and a "razor-sharp jibe at Romania's nouveau riche (the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict arises."

Regarding Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, one of my three favorites, it is masterful how Asghar Farhadi can take a simple domestic drama – divorce, remarriage, children, step-parents – and based on one simple miss-step (a white lie in A Separation and a forwarding of emails in The Past), he weaves a surprising and suspenseful web whose strands the audience only unravels after it has fully and seemingly effortlessly played itself out.

When I saw A Separation, the Iranian exoticism initially carried it forward, and it was only at its final note played that I realized a simple lie and a few misstatements caused the greatest grief for the most innocent player of the family’s drama. The daughter was left to suffer from the well-meaning white lies of adults and that was the ensuing tragedy of the film. In this film (The Past), it is the daughter who must bear the responsibility when things get complicated.

The story goes thus: Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)'s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past, and the highly charged revelations affecting every character in Mr. Farhadi's complex screenplay unfold with his trademark nuance. Once again he showcases his gifts as a masterful storyteller and director who elicits riveting performances from his cast.

The Past, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 20, 2013. After playing Cannes, it went on to play at Telluride, Toronto and AFI Film Festivals.

Not only did The Past win the Cannes Film Festival Prize for Best Actress (Bérénice Béjo), but Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. For that reason alone, I do not think it will win the Award this year even if it makes it to the 5 top nominated films.

41 year-old writer-director Asghar Farhadi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998. He had won the Berlin Film Festival' Golden Bear for Best Director for About Elly. The Past is his sixth feature.

Argentinian-born and Paris-based actress Bérénice Béjo was last seen in her Academy nominated role as Peppy Miller in Best Picture Oscar winnerThe Artist directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Following her César-nominated breakout role in Gérard Jugnot's Most Promising Young Actress, Béjo made her American feature film debut in Brian Helgeland's A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger. Béjo is currently in production on director Michel Hazanavicius' new film, The Search.

One of French cinema's young rising stars, Tahar Rahim is best known to U.S. audiences for his indelible performance in Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, for which he won both Best Actor and Best Male Newcomer Césars, as well as the European Film Award for Best Actor.

See SydneysBuzz Review of The Past .

I won’t reiterate my love for the inspirational and awesome film A Great Beauty because you can read about that in my Interview with Paulo Sorrentino the Director of The Great Beauty and for the fabulously self-affirming Gloria which you can read in my Interview with Sebastian Lelio Director of 'Gloria' and Star Paulina Garcia .

Below you can list of rights sold to all these four great films. Note who are the smart distributors buying these art films so that when you make such a film, you will know who will be watching. And for more rights to more films, buy the Rights Roundup Reports by SydneysBuzz for each great festival and market Here.

The Past

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated | Running time: 130 min.

French and Persian with English subtitles

International sales by Memento sold to

Australia-Madman Entertainment

Canada-Métropole Films Distribution

Canada-Mongrel Media Inc.

Denmark-Angel Films A/S

Finland-Cinema Mondo

France-Canal +

France-Memento Films Distribution

Germany-Camino Filmverleih Gmbh

Hong Kong (China)-Golden Scene Company Limited

Israel-Lev Films (Shani Films)

Italy-Bim Distribuzione

Korea (South)-Cac Entertainment

Netherlands-Cinéart Nl

Norway-Arthaus

Poland-Kino Swiat

Serbia-Soul Food Distribution

Sweden-Folkets Bio

Switzerland-Frenetic Films

Taiwan-Maison Motion, Inc.

Turkey-Mars Production

U.K.-Curzon Film World/ Artificial Eye

U.S. – Spc/ Airlines – Penny Black Media

Child’s Pose

Zeitgeist Films is handling the U.S. theatrical release of Child’s Pose by Calin Peter Netzer. The film will open at Film Forum in New York on February 19, and at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on February 21. A national release will follow.

Golden Bear winner at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Calin Peter Netzer’s sharply crafted Child’s Pose pivots on a riveting performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (12:08 East of Bucharest; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Beyond the Hills; The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the role for which Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded her the Best Supporting Actress award) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect determined to keep her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash.

MPAA Rating: Not yet rated. / Running time: 112 min.

Romanian with English subtitles

International sales by Beta Cinema sold to

Australia - Palace Films

Brazil - Imovision

Denmark - Camera Film A/S

Germany - Beta Cinema

Germany - X Verleih Ag

Greece - Seven Films

Italy - Teodora Film

So. Korea - Mediaday

Mexico - Cinemas Nueva Era

Netherlands - Contact Film

Norway - Film&Kino

Norway - Tour De Force As

Poland - Aurora Films

Poland - Transatlantyk Festival

Portugal - Alambique

Slovak Republic - Film Europe (Sk)

Spain - Golem Distribución

Switzerland - Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Taiwan - Swallow Wings Films Co.,Ltd.

Turkey - Mor Film

The Great Beauty

140 minutes

Italian with English subtitles

International sales agent Pathe sold to

Australia Palace Films

Brazil Mares Filmes Ltda.

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Denmark Camera Film A/S

France Canal +

Germany Dcm

Hong Kong Edko Films Ltd

Netherlands Abc - Cinemien

Norway As Fidalgo Film Distribution

Russia A-One Films

Slovak Republic Film Europe (Sk)

Switzerland Pathe Films Ag

U.K. Curzon Film World

Gloria

104 minutes

Spanish with English subtitles

International sales agent Funny Balloons sold to

Australia Rialto Distribution (Australia)

Austria Thimfilm Gmbh

Brazil Imovision

Canada Métropole Films Distribution

Colombia Babilla Cine

France Funny Balloons

Germany Alamode Film

Greece Strada Films

Israel New Cinema Ltd.

Italy Lucky Red

Japan Respect

Korea (South) Pancinema

Netherlands Wild Bunch Benelux

Portugal Alambique

Sweden Atlantic Film Ab

Switzerland Filmcoopi Zurich Ag

Turkey Bir Film

U.K. Network

U.S. Roadside Attractions
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

European Film Award nominations revealed

Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Blancanieves and The Great Beauty head up the list of films nominated for Best Picture at this year's European Film Awards, with the winners due to be announced at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin on December 7. It's the first year that the event will include a comedy award, with Pedro Almodóvar's I'm So Excited the front runner.

The full set of nominations is as follows:

Best European Film Blue Is The Warmest Colour Blancanieves The Best Offer The Great Beauty The Broken Circle Breakdown Oh Boy!

Best European Comedy I'm So Excited Love Is All You Need The Priest's Children Welcome Mr President!

Best European Director Pablo Berger, Blancanieves Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue Is The Warmest Colour François Ozon, In The House Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty Giuseppe Tornatore, The Best Offer Felix Van Groeningen, The Broken Circle Breakdown

Best European Actress Veerle Batens,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »
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