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‘Leto’: This Russian Rock And Roll Biopic Hits All The Wrong Notes [Review]

‘Leto’: This Russian Rock And Roll Biopic Hits All The Wrong Notes [Review]
Rock and rebellion share identical DNA. From adolescent angst to organized resistance, the music genre has sung backup vocals to more than a few social uprisings in its time. Accompanied by its promises of fame, recklessness, and freedom, rock embodies a lifestyle many seek to lead, and as such, the dream of becoming the prototypical “rockstar” endures to this day.

Read More: The Best Films Of 2019… So Far

However, for Mike Naumenko (Roman Bilyk) and Viktor Tsoy (Teo Yoo), the lifestyle of a Russian musician was far from the fantasy of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

Continue reading ‘Leto’: This Russian Rock And Roll Biopic Hits All The Wrong Notes [Review] at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

Transylvania Film Review: ‘The Humorist’

  • Variety
Transylvania Film Review: ‘The Humorist’
Screenwriter Michael Idov makes an impressive directing debut with the super-smart, confidently lensed “The Humorist.” Set in the waning days of the Soviet Union when decadence and repression went hand-in-hand, the film is a portrait of a comedian whose intellect becomes a burden when he can’t adapt himself to the increasingly heavy chains of expectation and censorship. Idov’s exceptionally clever dialogue is matched with a sharp understanding of structure, culminating in a terrific bathhouse scene with more than casual nods not just to “Julius Caesar” but to the whole fall of the Roman Empire. Released earlier this year in the territories of its its production companies, “The Humorist” is oddly only now finding festival berths.

Boris Arkadiev didn’t set out to be a comedian, but his novel flopped and he found a lucrative career doing stand-up throughout the Ussr. Success hasn’t brought him happiness, as a
See full article at Variety »

Official Us Trailer for Russian Rock Band Film 'Leto' Starring Teo Yoo

Leto! Gunpowder & Sky has debuted an official Us trailer for the indie Russian film Leto, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year to some rave reviews. This also went on to play at lots of other festivals throughout last year, from Karlovy Vary to Vienna and more. Leto, directed by filmmaker & theater director Kirill Serebrennikov who was under house arrest for the last year, is based on the true story of Viktor Tsoy and his band called Kino. The title translates to Summer, and the film is shot in black & white, evoking an old school feeling taking us back to the 70s & 80s. It's an awesome, groovy rock film with some incredible musical sequences that you just have to see on the big screen. Teo Yoo stars as Viktor Tsoy, and the main cast features Irina Starshenbaum, Roman Bilyk, Anton Adasinsky, Yuliya Aug, & Filipp Avdeev. This was one
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Russian Director Kirill Serebrennikov Freed From House Arrest

  • Variety
Russian Director Kirill Serebrennikov Freed From House Arrest
Russian film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose film “Leto” (Summer) was in competition in Cannes last year, has been released from house arrest. He will remain on bail while a criminal charge against him for the alleged embezzlement of 130 million rubles ($1.98 million) is considered.

Serebrennikov remains confident he can disprove the charge against him. “This is not a victory yet but we are almost there,” he said after the decision was made Monday by Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court. During the hearing, Serebrennikov described the case against him as “unfounded and bound to collapse in court,” according to Russian news agency Tass.

Serebrennikov, the head of Moscow’s Gogol Center theater, has been detained since August 2017. He says he intends to return to work, although he is prohibited from leaving Moscow.
See full article at Variety »

Paris cinemas forced to shut amid fresh 'yellow vest' protests

Museums and the Eiffel Tower will also close on Saturday.

Cinemas based on and around Paris’s Champs-Elysées are due to close for business this Saturday (Dec 8) as the French capital braces itself for a fresh round of ’yellow vest’ protests.

The world-famous boulevard has been a flash-point for wildcat demonstrations by France’s ’yellow vest’ movement, which sprang up spontaneously to protest a duty hike on diesel, but is symptomatic of a deeper malaise in French society over rising living costs.

Rioting and looting on the boulevard last weekend saw the entrances of popular theatres such as the Ugc Normandie,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Alan Alda Tapped for Hamptons Film Festival Honor

  • Variety
Alan Alda Tapped for Hamptons Film Festival Honor
Alan Alda will be awarded the Hamptons International Film Festival’s Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award.

The festival established the award in 2017, honoring Cavett himself. The Hiff, now in its 26th year, opens Oct. 4 with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Kindergarten Teacher” and closes Oct. 8.

“Alan Alda is one of those now rare actors who in his career continues to distinguish himself on Broadway, in films and on television,” said Hiff co-chairman Alec Baldwin. “Of course, most people remember Alda for his starring role in the seminal TV series ‘M*A*S*H,’ but Alda is also great in the movies and on stage.”

Alda has won seven Emmys and wrote many of the episodes on “M*A*S*H.” He appeared in continuing roles on “ER,” “The West Wing,” “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist,” “The Big C,” “Horace and Pete,” and “The Good Fight.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role
See full article at Variety »

Harvey Keitel, Pavel Lungin Talk Russia and Israel on Set of ‘Esau’

  • Variety
Harvey Keitel, Pavel Lungin Talk Russia and Israel on Set of ‘Esau’
Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov missed the premiere of his film “Leto” in Cannes this month because he is under house arrest. In January, authorities banned “The Death of Stalin” from being screened in Russia, complaining that Armando Iannucci’s satirical movie depicted “ideological warfare” and extremism.”

But acclaimed Russian-French director Pavel Lungin thinks that such crackdowns under Vladimir Putin could end up being a creative blessing.

“Censorship always brings about some kind of force among the cultural society,” Lungin said. “We have the great experience of the Soviet Union, where Soviet censorship created such wonderful films, like [those of Andrei] Tarkovsky. Perhaps a little bit of difficulty only makes an artist stronger.”

Lungin spoke to Variety on the Israeli set of “Esau,” his English-language debut, an adaptation by author Meir Shalev of his novel of the same name. The film follows a 40-year-old writer who returns to his family home after half a
See full article at Variety »

Cannes Report, Day 10: What Will Win the Palme d’Or?

Cannes Report, Day 10: What Will Win the Palme d’Or?
The 2018 Cannes Film Festival is about to come down to a single question: What film will win the Palme d’Or? In the waning days of the 12-day festival, a couple of the strongest contenders in the 21-film field have emerged – but beware, because Cannes juries are nothing if not unpredictable.

After all, it was only two years ago that Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” was by most reckonings the biggest sensation of the festival, setting a new record in Screen Daily’s annual critics’ poll, which tracks reviewers’ reactions to the competition films. But George Miller’s jury sent “Toni Erdmann” home empty-handed, while prizes went to less celebrated films like “I, Daniel Blake,” “It’s Only the End of the World” and “American Honey.”

This year, Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning” has broken the “Toni Erdmann” record in the Screen Daily poll, landing a 3.8 score out of
See full article at The Wrap »

Variety Celebrates 10 Producers to Watch in Cannes

  • Variety
Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2018 at a breakfast on Monday morning on Cannes’ Nespresso Beach.

First launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the event celebrates an eclectic mix of producers from the U.S. and the international film community, who are united in their commitment to bold and original storytelling.

The films produced by this year’s honorees have played festivals including Berlin, Sundance and Venice, with a number screening at Cannes. “As well as they’re doing, as exciting as they are right now, there’s even greater things ahead,” said Variety’s VP and executive editor Steven Gaydos.

Victor Loewy was also honored with a lifetime achievement award for his long and distinguished career. “You can’t tell the story of Cannes, you can’t tell the story of international cinema, you can’t tell the story of Canadian business in cinema, without knowing who
See full article at Variety »

Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women

Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women
If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Also Read: Cate Blanchett Calls for 'Parity and Transparency' in Red Carpet Protest of Gender Inequity in Cannes

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening. That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition. For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men. The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing. The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

Also Read: Cannes' Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also Read: 'Girls of the Sun' Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays Isis

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

Read original story Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

Cannes 2018: Here Are the Cameras Used To Shoot 32 of This Year’s Films

IndieWire reached out to the filmmakers with films premiering at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival to ask which cameras and lenses they used and, more importantly, why they were the right ones for their movies.

A few trends emerged. Once again, Arri’s digital cameras reign supreme as the choice of international auteurs and their cinematographers. Meanwhile, 13 cinematograhers shot on celluloid, including eight of the 21 competition films gunning for the Palme d’Or: “Ash is the Purest White,” “Shoplifters,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Lazzaro Felice,” “Sorry Angel,” “Leto,” “Knife + Heart” and “Ayka.”

A handful of films relied on smaller, less expensive cameras that fit their budgets and circumstances, including two documentaries that used outdated Dvcam and Hdv formats when they began as one-person shoots many years ago. Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who is still banned from making films in his home country, used Canon 5d mark and Sony a7s, while Terry Gilliam
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Leto’ Review: Putin’s Least Favorite Filmmaker Delivers a Spirited Requiem for the Leningrad Rock Scene — Cannes 2018

‘Leto’ Review: Putin’s Least Favorite Filmmaker Delivers a Spirited Requiem for the Leningrad Rock Scene — Cannes 2018
On a long enough timeline, every rock scene of the 20th century will get the requiem it deserves. Manchester got “24 Hour Party People,” the American Midwest got “Almost Famous,” and now the Leningrad underground gets Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Leto,” which is as much an impressionist portrait of the Soviet Union on the brink of Perestroika as it is an elegiac tribute to the singing revolutionaries who helped pave the way. The film is all too happy to fudge some of the details and get a bit cute with the classics (often taking a sledgehammer directly to the fourth wall), but its freewheeling spirit results in an ecstatic look back at a brief window of time between oppressions. It’s a shambling, transportive, and semi-tragic story about a fleeting past where anything seemed possible.

Serebrennikov — whose 2016 breakthrough “The Student” was also obliquely critical of Russia’s current regime — doesn’t
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Summer: The Donna Summer Musical’ Review: Broadway’s Last Days Of Disco

Anyone who worked as hard for her money – and for a professional respect that came too late – as Donna Summer did deserves so much more than this. A jukebox musical that could undo all the genre rehab delivered by superior shows built around Carole King and, if you want to stretch the definition a bit to include Lazarus, David Bowie, Broadway’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, opening tonight, is as unimaginative as its title.

With the saving graces of really fine vocal performances from Lachanze, Ariana DeBose and young Storm Lever – each plays the disco great at different points in her life – Summer dutifully pastes the life events of Ladonna Adrian Gaines to the hits she’d perform under the name thought up by pioneering producer Giorgio Moroder. “Summer,” the show’s writers have Moroder saying. “You know, like the season. Hot.”

Directed by Des McAnuff – who set the
See full article at Deadline »

Charades Boards Cannes’s Critics’ Week Player ‘Diamantino’ (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Paris-based sales company Charades has acquired “Diamantino,” Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s zany comedy which will world premiere in competition at Critics’ Week, the sidebar running parallel to Cannes Film Festival.

Written by Abrantes and Schmidt, “Diamantino” follows a disgraced soccer star aspiring to give his life a new purpose who becomes exploited by many people, including a nationalistic party eager to use him as its mascot. Through his frenzied journey, the reconverted soccer star is confronted with Neo-fascism, the refugee crisis and genetic modification.

“Diamantino,” which was pitched at last year’s Work-in-Progress during Les Arcs Film Festival, was produced by Justin Taurand, Maria João Mayer and Daniel van Hoogstraten.

Charles Tesson, the artistic director of Critics’ Week, said “Diamantino” was a jubilant film which addressed serious topics through comedy and fantasy.

The visually stylish film boasts a key crew including the cinematographer Charles Ackley Anderson (“The Unity
See full article at Variety »

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