2003 was the year that nerds worlwide celebrated the "recognition" by the Academy, of the Tolkin/Jackson trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the only film of the three that earned the Best Picture award, but for everyone, it felt as if the award for the third film, was actually an award for the whole saga and the world that Jackson managed to put in the big screen.
2002 was the year of musicals! Chicago was the big winner at the 75th Academy Awards.
The famous musical, was transfered to the big screen by Rob Marshall, winning another 5 awards: Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing.
Chicago featured tons of great songs! Mr. Cellophane though, is my favourite....
Continuing the countdown to the 2014 Academy Awards, 13 years ago (2001) again a film staring Russel Crowe won the Best Picture Award. A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard's film about the true story of John Nash, the Nobel Prize winner mathematician.
The film earned also Best Actress in a Supporing Role (Jennifer Connelly), Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
14 days left till the big night! While waiting to see who's going to take home the greatest prize of all, let's recap a bit the last 14 years - 14 films that won the Best Picture Academy Award.
2000 was the year of Gladiator, Ridley Scott's film that made Russel Crowe a star.
The film also won another 5 Academy Awards, Best Actor (Russel Crowe), Best Costume Design, Best Sound & Best Visual Effects.
This week’s film is actually last week’s film…
Sorry for not posting last weekend, I hope I can make it up this weekend!
This film is Woman in the Dunes, a 1964 Japanese film by Hiroshi Teshigahara.
An insect collector from Tokyo, searches for insects living in sand dunes and finds himself in a strange situation. When missing the bus, he is invited to spend the night at a young widow’s house, which is located at the bottom of a sand quarry. The next morning he discovers that the ladder leading up has disappeared and that he is in fact kept captive, forced to help the widow every day, to the endless task of collecting the sand and give it to the other villagers sell to factories. The story is a clear reference to the myth of Sisiphus, the Greek king who the gods punished by torturing him to spend eternity rolling a rock to the top of a hill, only to see it roll back down.
One of the finest moments in Japanese cinema, Teshigahara does an amazing job in putting the viewers in the hero’s shoes and make them feel his frustration and anger. Apart from the great direction and cinematography, the amazing music by Tōru Takemitsu, acts as a character itself and makes the film even more imposing.
The film was very well accepted and awarded the Special Jury Prize in the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for two Academy awards, Best Foreign Film and Best Director.
My Film Club
Week #5 was about a great Japanese film nominated for two Academy awards. Week #6 will feature another Academy award nominated film - how appropriate since we are getting closer to the big Oscar night!
Next week’s film: The Great Escape (1963)
Tonight I had the chance to watch a rare documentary on Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary fashion designer. The film is called "Karl Lagerfeld sketches his life", was shot in 2012 and the screening was organised by CineDoc at the Institut Francais Grece.
The film portrays the life of the famous German designer, though images and narration. It's a storytelling through words and sketches.
The director of the film is Loic Prigent, who has also directed among others, the 2007 "Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton" documentary.
In this film, he manages to capture Lagerfeld's aesthetic (by using great photography), to pose "irritating" questions that the designer does not seem to wish to answer and to also show an honest side of Karl's, especially when he admits that he has nothing to fill his life but his work.
Make no mistakes though: Lagerfeld manages to manipulate the camera as he wishes and reveal exactly as much as he wants. Let us not forget that apart from an artist, he is also a businessman.
A really interesting documentary that managed to turn a single shot of the designer sketching, into a vivid naration of an exciting life!
Special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Violetta Kyriakou from Demoded Fashion Business Blog (www.demoded.weebly.com), for inviting me to join her at the screening!
The great Alexander Payne did it again! He delivered an amazing bittersweet film that got us all talking about his great talent.
Nebraska is a very intimate film that deals with family bonds and human relationships, in a very delicate, sometimes funny way. The story is about a senior who believes that he has won 1mil dollars in a Mega Sweepstakes Marketing Prize and sets off on a road trip with his son to claim it.
The road movie turns into an opportunity for his estranged son to get to know his father and his past better and come closer to him. Great performances by the veteran Bruce Dern, SNL's dearest Will Forte and a hilarious performance by June Squibb, in the role of the mother.
Nebraska is yet another great film by Payne that has gained a lot of Academy & Golden Globe nominations but unfortunatelly might not be able to win, having to compete with Mcconaughey, Lawrence and DiCaprio.
It is by far one of his best films though! Definitely a must-see!
This week’s film is Hitchcock’s The Birds, the 1963 thriller.
Well, no introductions needed for Sir Alfred Hitchcock. The Birds is the project that the director worked on right after his most famous film, Psycho.
It is based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier and it was originally purchased for use on Alfred Hitchcock's television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
The story is set in Bodega Bay, California, where suddenly and for unexplained reasons, a series of widespread and violent bird attacks occur. Tippi Hedren stars in her first feature role, along with Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette and a young Veronica Cartwright.
Before watching the film, I figured that decades of watching horror movies with serial killers, dead Japanese girls and a whole other bunch of supernatural forces, would have made me insensible enough to watch a 1963 film where the enemy is a flock of birds. Little did I know.
Well, the film is as thrilling as it was back in the day - Hitchcock has done such a remarkable work in scaring the bejesus out of his viewers!
Adding to the suspense and the horror, the film has no musical score - just the sounds of the birds and the children singing in the school. Also, the film has no ending credits, to make the film (and the terror) non ending. Hitchcock even went more far than that: When audiences left the film's UK premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, they were greeted by the sound of screeching and flapping birds from loudspeakers hidden in the trees to scare them further. Yikes...
The film turned out to be rather terrifying not only to viewers, but also to the cast and crew. For instance, the schoolhouse, in Bodega Bay, California, has also been known to be haunted, even back during the filming. According to Tippi Hedren, the entire cast was spooked to be there. She also mentioned how she had the feeling, while there, that "the building was immensely populated... but there was nobody there." When Hitchcock was told about the schoolhouse being haunted, according to Hedren, he was even more encouraged to film there.
Also, the leading lady suffered a lot, especially during shooting of the scene of the attack in the bedroom. She was shooting that particular scene for almost a week and after finishing, she ended up in the hospital out of exhaustion and with many cuts…
Overall, the film is superb, with amazing direction, cinematography and –yes- special effects (for the time). It takes you by surprise, how easily you can get caught up in the suspense and the agony that the characters experience! No wonder why he got the title “The master of suspense”…
My Film Club
Week #4 was about a beautiful old Hollywood thriller. Week #5, will be featuring another thriller, that was actually released a year after The Birds, yet is so utterly different…
Next week’s film: Woman in the Dunes (Suna no Onna)
Shocking news..... Although having admitted his past struggle with drugs, it came a sock that Philip Seymour Hoffman, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose.
Hoffman, 46, publicly had admitted in 2006 in “60 Minutes”: “It was all that (drugs and alcohol), yeah. It was anything I could get my hands on…I liked it all,”.
Last year, Hoffman reportedly checked himself into rehab again for ten days after relapsing in 2012.
Another great loss for the film industry…
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....