Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Archive for the tag “Amour”

The Best Films of 2013

This round-up first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 29th December 2013

Looking back over a year of fairly intensive cinema-going, one might feel a little underwhelmed. We’re up to three Hangovers, six Fast & Furiouses and countless derivations from comics and videogames, and you’d be forgiven for thinking Hollywood is taking the mickey (and our money) just a little bit.

Thankfully, the expertly curated annual New Zealand International Film Festival still salves those winter blues and, with any luck, the favourites will return for wider audience appreciation in 2014. For the best of those films which enjoyed a general release this year, read on.

The Imposter

A stunning documentary about a French teenager who turns up half a world away, purporting to be a much younger American boy missing for several years. Despite a manifestly different physical appearance, the family welcome him “back” into the fold. The stranger-than-fiction tale which unfolded was gripping and disturbing in equal measure.

Amour

Better known for cruelty, Michael Haneke proved he can also be compassionate in this Cannes-prized, Oscar-winning two-hander about an elderly Parisian couple whose twilight years grow increasingly dim as one deteriorates into ill health. Despite the heartrending subject, superlative performances and subtle direction made Amour a masterclass in European film-making.

Rust and Bone

More French emotional trauma followed in the younger and buffer form of Matthias Schoenaerts’ battered street fighter and Marion Cotillard’s broken orca trainer, whose blossoming love affair was forgiven its melodrama because of fine acting and some terribly moving scenes. I even wept through a Katy Perry song. Twice.

Performance (A Late Quartet)

Four top-class actors, a zingy script, and moral dilemmas of the “who shouldn’t I be sleeping with?” kind – Performance took the seemingly chaste world of the professional string quartet and had us hanging on every bow lift as marital relations were frayed and egos were smited.

The Hunt

Mads Mikkelsen deserved the critical acclaim for his nuanced performance as a kindergarten teacher accused of impropriety by a small child. Brilliant acting, a credible script and a particularly devastating betrayal at the hands of his community had our blood boiling and hearts hammering throughout.

Utu Redux

What a joy it was to see director Geoff Murphy’s classic Utu restored beyond its former glory and returned to the big screen. This veritable Kiwi western made us miss Bruno Lawrence all over again while we marvelled at the sheer bombast of a film that still manages, 30 years on, to make us laugh, gasp and tear up.

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

A breathtaking Kiwi-made documentary about the travails of those working year-round on the bases in Antarctica, this perfect mix of poignant interviews, hilarious insights and amazing time-lapse photography was a festival highlight worthy of a second viewing.

Behind the Candelabra

Matt Damon’s hair shone as gold as Michael Douglas’s slippers, yet thanks to the superb script and Steven Soderbergh’s fine direction, it wasn’t the bizarre episodes of facial reconstruction which had us in thrall so much as the Hollywood stars’ ability to convey a touching and credible love affair. Liberace is probably dancing in his grave.

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon’s energetic update of Shakespeare’s seminal rom-com showcased the linguistic and comedic talents of a bunch of little-known American actors, and the 12-day shoot in his Californian home not only looked like a whale of a time for the cast, but provided enormous entertainment for anyone with a heart and the merest scraping of a wit.

Stoker

Mia Wasikowska was enchanting as an enigmatic young woman who falls under the spell of her mysterious uncle, for whom mother (Nicole Kidman on top form) has her own designs. Murder and mayhem ensue in an exquisite gothic fairytale so breathtaking, I gave it five stars based on an aeroplane viewing.

Blancanieves

Despite last year’s The Artist pipping him to the innovation post, a young Spanish director persevered with his own labour of love and brought us this year’s piece of beautiful, silent, black and white whimsy. Taking Snow White’s story back to 1920s Andalusia, the dark-eyed beauty became a bull-fighter with a troupe of travelling little people.

One Direction: This is Us

I know. I was surprised, too. British boyband extraordinaire One Direction allowed Morgan “Super Size Me” Spurlock all access to a portion of their multi-month world tour. The screamed-out shows, the catchy music and the charming boys themselves proved that talent contests do, occasionally, unearth real stars.

What Maisie Knew

Julianne Moore deserves next year’s Best Actress gong for her turn as the narcissistic rockstar splitting from Steve Coogan’s self-involved bad father, much to the detriment of their tiny daughter. Familial dysfunction has never been so engaging – nor so credibly, downright awful.

Gravity

“Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in space” didn’t really do it justice. Gravity was in fact the most exciting 90 minutes you could spend in a dark room with 3D glasses strapped to your face, thanks to a breath-holdingly simple premise and cinematographic wizardry. Audiences raved. Even Nasa said they got it mostly right.

Enough Said

Two stars of the small screen, sadly the late James Gandolfini and the thankfully alive and perky Julia Louis-Dreyfus, have a go at dipping their toes in the pond of second-time-around love. A simple yet deliciously squirm-inducing plot device propelled us through fantastic dialogue delivered by two engaging middle-aged people with an easy chemistry. Enough said.

20 Feet from Stardom

The backing singers finally got their moment in the spotlight, thanks to this magical documentary which belatedly gave four decades of “supporting talent” their due. With singers who are consistently better than most of our contemporary popstars, the film showcased extraordinary talent, great humility and many illuminating stories.

The Turning

Some will baulk at the idea of three hours in the cinema, but this adaptation of Tim Winton’s short stories by a raft of Australian film-makers proved “event cinema” at its most worthy. The Turning delivered all the joy, beauty and devastation of 17 individual but gently intertwined tales around life’s core themes – love, family, faith and fishing.

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Amour

This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 24 February 2013

By now, Michael Haneke aficionados will know that Amour won the Palme D’Or at Cannes last year, won the BAFTA for Best Foreign Film, and is highly likely to take a prize at today’s Oscars (it’s up for Best Film, Original Screenplay, Actress, Foreign Film and Director. My bets are on the latter two).

The premise is simpler, yet even more devastating, than the Austrian director’s previous films. But while the couple in Amour are named Georges and Anne after their Hidden (Caché) counterparts, this plot is everyday, devoid of a whodunnit mystery or overt psychological cruelty, and the characters’ relationship much more solid – a true example of how love, felt over decades and into old age, can be.

The elderly couple live a comfortable life in a culture-filled apartment in Paris. Anne suffers a stroke, and Georges embarks on the long and painful journey of devotedly tending to his wife. Life is punctuated by visits from their self-centred daughter (a terrifically believable performance by Isabelle Huppert) but for almost the entire running time we are cocooned in the daily life of Georges and Anne, artfully echoing the growing suffocation of Anne’s world.

There’s no denying, this is a tough watch. The film has been receiving universally high star-ratings and accolades around the world. Emmanuelle Riva is making history as the oldest Best Actress nominee – she turns 86 on the day of the Awards! – and notwithstanding her powerful performance, for someone of that age to embody this subject matter makes her quite extraordinary. This speak to Haneke’s incredible talent for casting great actors who take themselves (and us) deep into the world of their character, and for creating an atmosphere that is on the one hand entirely natural, while also completely enthralling. Something as simple as Georges (the legendary Jean-Louis Trintignant, a worthy partner to Riva) recounting a tale from his youth, has us hanging on every word.

Those who appreciated Hidden will recognise Haneke’s style, shooting scenes from a static camera position, quietly listening in on his actors, or from a distance through doorways that neatly frame the action as if not wanting to intrude. The long-held shots allow for complete immersion in the performances, more like theatre than film. Like the closing shot in Hidden, this film starts with a long takes shot from a distance, your gaze searching out the leads who are inconspicuously present amidst a crowd – everyday people, to whom everyday things will happen.

Without doubt, Amour, for all its emotional devastation, is a superlative film. If you have the stomach for such truths as it unveils, it is a deeply rewarding watch.

Oscar predictions 2013

Well, you can’t be a critic without having an opinion, right? So here, on the almost-eve of the 2013 Academy Awards, I present my predictions for who will win on the night.

Best Picture

A few years ago, when they expanded the shortlist of nominees from five to a hundred (or so it felt), it seemed like any jolly fool could win – even War Horse got a look in, though mercifully it didn’t cross the finishing line. This year, however, all the Best Picture nominees are worthy adversaries, even if I have loudly publicised my boredom of Lincoln and as yet failed to utter an underwhelmed word about Zero Dark Thirty.

This category is also a mystery to me, though the absence of a shoe-in brings me hope that the ceremony may not be entirely dull. If precedent has been set by the Globes and the BAFTAs (which, apparently, the Academy doesn’t listen to), then Argo will win. Personally I’d like it to be Life of Pi, but there’s been very little buzz about this film, so it’s unlikely. People seem to be Les Mised-out (I blame Anne’s dreadful Globes speech, but perhaps the film had already had its day by then). ZDT has done itself out of contention due to Torturegate. Some say Lincoln’s sudden outing as a fiddler of history has ruined its chances too. Amour can be fobbed off with Best Foreign Film. Beasts of the Southern Wild is too left-field, classic “It’s enough to reward the new kid on the block just by nominating him”. And Quentin isn’t going to win anything other than Best Original Screenplay (maybe) for Django.

So what does that leave us? Silver Linings Playbook? It’s terrific but it’s not a Best Picture. My half-hearted bet (though I’d be happy for it to be true) is on Argo. Since Affleck got the very public snub by missing a Director nomination, it’s the least they can do.

Best Director

Although it’d be nice for Ang Lee to get it, it’s just not his year. So I’m going for Michael Haneke for Amour. That way they can give Quentin the screenplay gong, Haneke the Best Foreign Film, and everyone’s sort-of-happy-even-if-not-over-the-moon. Plus, his film is mastery at work, and he totally deserves it.

Best Actor

Bored or not, I cannot fault Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in/as Lincoln, so he is set to make history as the only person to win three Best Actor gongs. Huzzah.

Best Actress

I’m actually placing all my money on Emmanuelle Riva. I watched Amour for the second time recently, and was bowled over by her performance. Quvenzhane Wallis has (in theory) her whole acting life ahead of her, so hers is a token, cutesy “Look! Youngest ever nominee!” nomination, though she did put on a terrific show. Jennifer Lawrence is consistently good, but doesn’t beat the competition here. Similarly, Jessica Chastain will be back; so will Naomi Watts. I want and believe this will be Riva’s time. As she turns 86 on the day of the ceremony, it would be the most moving and wonderful birthday present.

The Support Acts

Obviously Anne Hathaway will win for Les Miserables, and that’s OK with me, as long as she does a bloody good speech this time. And most likely Christoph Waltz will take home yet another little gold statuette for Django Unchained. It does seem like something he’s done before and will no doubt churn out again, but at the same time he was great in it. However, if there is a God, this one will go to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was amazing in The Master. My fingers are still a wee bit crossed for a miracle.

Best Foreign Film

As above – Amour. That way they can acknowledge it’s a great film, but still leave the Actual Best Picture slot open to Movies Without Subtitles (or Films sans sous-titres as I like to call them).

Documentary Feature

Searching for Sugar Man. That is all.

Original Screenplay

This is Quentin’s patch. They can give him this in lieu of Directing or Best Film because he’s the brains behind the babble, and it’s a bit like saying “Hey, your film was awesome, but, y’ know…”. I don’t disagree with their choice if they do – I liked Django Unchained much more then Inglourious Basterds and have been a big Tarantino fan since the very beginning. Dude has a way with words – bring it.

Adapted Screenplay

Yes, it may be Argo, but shouldn’t this be the “unfilmable” Life of Pi? Yes, it should.

The Rest

I’ve not seen any of the Animated Features strangely, so that’s anyone’s guess. Cinematography will go to Life of Pi, unless Roger Deakins wins for Skyfall, but I don’t believe he will. Costume Design is more likely to reward Anna Karenina than Les Mis. Visual Effects – The Hobbit? Life of Pi? Hobbit? Pi?…

 

With apologies to the less glamorous awards, I don’t have a fixed view on what will or should win. But one thing seems clear: Sunday’s ceremony will be a pot-luck dinner of shared goodies, rather than a greedy feast for any one film – and since Lincoln is up for 12 but looks unlikely to pull more than a couple out of the bag, this comes as a great relief.

 

Who and what do you think will win an Oscar on 24th February?

Cannes films at the NZFF (Sunday Star Times review)

This article first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 1st July 2012

Despite torrential downpours peppered with deceitful sunny spells, there has been great excitement since the New Zealand International Film Festival programme was announced this week. Film-buffs can be found brandishing highlighter pens and screening guides in cafés all over town, and are counting down until our respite from dark, cold winter commences on 19th July.  

We can thank the excellent Festival programming team for bringing home no fewer than 15 films from Cannes less than a month after the closing ceremony.  Of these, eight won prizes.  All have something that will entertain, provoke or thrill a keen Kiwi audience.

Top honours at Canneswent to Michael Haneke’s Amour.  It played early in the fortnight, and critics were prematurely (though correctly) hailing it as the likely Palme d’Or winner even as they left the cinema.  Kinder than his recent work, but no less challenging, Amour follows the deterioration of an elderly woman whose devoted husband lives alongside and through her ill-health.  This sounds grim, and is no doubt an experience that will resonate uncomfortably with many viewers.  But Haneke seems to have no agenda or desire to upset us, beyond drawing us into a perfectly pitched exploration of love and loss.  Though unsurprising when it won, I didn’t meet a single critic who thought it undeserved. 

Mild dissent, however, when second place went to Matteo Garrone’s Reality.  There were grumblings that Jury president, Nanni Moretti, had unfairly favoured a compatriot, but I must disagree.  Garrone has said he wanted to try his hand at something lighter following the violent Gomorrah, and indeed Reality starts off with a great deal of whimsy and subtly-played humour. It concerns a family man from Naples whose children convince him to try out for Big Brother (Grande Fratello) and who becomes obsessed with the prospect of admission into the house and, by extension, a life of fame and fortune. The result is an incredibly clever fairytale, stylistically gorgeous yet documentary-like in its naturalism, and the lead performances are so real you feel you are ensconced in true Neopolitan life. But clearly Garrone cannot help himself in terms of having it descend into a tale of desperation that leaves you feeling sombre.  Fascinating, too, is the film’s backstory: lead actor Aniello Arena is currently serving a 19-year prison term, and was let out during the day to shoot his debut film, back to his cell each evening.  The irony of an imprisoned person playing someone who aches to be admitted into the captivity of the Grande Fratello house cannot be ignored.

One impressive film, while not in the main competition, displayed such restraint and power that it would have been worthy.  Our Children (the French title more appropriately translating to something like Losing Reason) sees a superb Tahar Rahim and Best Actress winner Emilie Dequenne as a young couple, madly in love, who marry and start a family.  Living under the wing/thumb of the fatherly Niels Arestrup (who played opposite Rahim in A Prophet), their existence becomes suffocating, leading to a tragedy of unthinkable proportion.  Much is made of its being based on a true story, but what makes the film a compelling and breathtaking watch is Dequenne’s brilliant rendition of a mother gradually losing her grasp, and the subtle ambiguity of the men’s performances.  This realistic, unhysterical yet utterly devastating film was in my Cannes Top Three.

It wasn’t all darkness in the South of France, however.  Walter Salles’ adaptation of On the Road showcases Sam Riley (brilliant in Control), Garrett Hedlund (better in this than in Tron) and Kristen Stewart (Twilight.  She still pouts a lot).  Perhaps it’s the nature of the roadtrip source novel, but while this starts with great promise – plunging us into the young Beats’ world of smokin’, boozin’, shaggin’ and druggin’, with the odd burst of poetic writing – once you’ve seen their shenanigans several times, you hanker for your pyjamas and a quiet night in.  It’s the energetic performances that make this engaging, sometimes delightful viewing.  Hedlund sports an intense stare and has charisma to burn, while supporting actor Tom Sturridge makes an impressive debut as Carlo Marx.

For The Hunt, Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor prize as a kindergarten assistant who is falsely accused by a friend’s child.  This delicate subject is handled in an interesting way, upending our assumptions of how a closeknit community might respond, but delivering a film replete with superb acting and realistic dialogue.  This thriller had me seething with outrage, still grappling with it the following day.  Considerably slower is the Russian “war film” In the Fog.  Eschewing battle scenes and melodrama, it focuses instead on the relationship between three resistance fighters whose distrust of one another creates an allegory on moral decision-making.  Beautifully photographed and in no hurry whatsoever, the film is composed of long, well-choreographed scenes, designed by the director to give the viewer pause for thought.

Short, and perfectly formed, I felt a patriotic frisson as the New Zealand Film Commission logo swam across the screen before Zia Mandviwalla’s nominated short, Night Shift.New Zealand’s only film in competition this year, it is a true gem, subtle and devastating, and unofficially short-listed by the jury in their deliberations. 

And finally, if you have any interest at all in Kubrick’s seminal work The Shining, then conspiracy-documentary Room 237 is a must-see.  Five interviewees, who would reject the term “fan” but have no leg to stand on against “obsessive”, put forward their obscure but strangely compelling arguments for what the director “really meant”.  Is it a diatribe against the plight of the Native American Indian?  Proof that the moon landings were staged?  You’ll never watch The Shining the same way again.

Cannes -the final countdown

I had better back up a little, and talk about the last films of my festival.

Friday morning was Cosmopolis. I’ve been saying “eagerly awaited” but perhaps more by my companions from Cronenberg’s homeland of Canada than the general populace. Mind you, anyone who has read Don Delillo’s novel will have high hopes. The director (aptly called le realisateur in French, which subscribes to the auteurist view that the director creates and is responsible overall for the film – a philosophy that understandably riles writers, editors and cinematographers! – but in this case and others where the director has also written or adapted the script, it’s not so outrageous) has spoken in interviews about the challenges of creating a visual movie from the author’s brilliantly worded and wordy story. Interestingly, Cronenberg said this was easier than coming up with an original idea, as it took him 6 days to write this screenplay, whereas new stories can take years. To this end, he has lifted whole excerpts of dialogue straight from the book, and right from the opening scene where Robert Pattinson gets into his limo, he sticks to Delillo’s “script”.

The story is a challenge in itself: city moneyman Eric Packer wants a haircut, meaning his limo must cross town during a series of demonstrations and security hindrances caused by the President (“Just so I’m clear,” he asks his driver “which President?”) being in town. Pattinson does an excellent job of being neither British nor Edward Cullen, as a rolling cast of players in his life are brought forward for their scene. Most of this takes place in the car which has been rebuilt in very Cronenbergian fashion to accommodate a rich man’s daily requirements, including doctor’s appointments, financial updates from staff, and not-so-random sex.

And so it goes. Talky talky it sure is, initially thrilling and inviting us to listen intently, though I admit to being distracted by other things during Samantha Morton’s strange monologue (not dissimilar, in delivery, to her omniscient android in Minority Report. Which, for this film, is not really a compliment). But there is something of a plot trajectory, and several very well conceived set-pieces, including a simultaneously hilarious and moving funeral for a rap superstar. The actors are generally terrific, and even those playing people we’ve seen before manage to be commanding (Paul Giamatti, I’m talking to you). Mostly it just looks bloody great, sounds terrific, and is something of a return to Cronenberg’s earlier, creepier work prior to the excellent and violent A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. If this sounds like you, it’s a must-see.

Saturday was a big film day, since time was running out. First up, Jeff Nicholls’ follow-up to Take Shelter, with Matthew McConaughey as the eponymous Mud, a man in hiding on an island in a remote part of Mississippi. Billed as a modern-day Huckleberry Finn, Mud is befriended by a couple of adventurous young boys, one of whom (a superlative Tye Sheridan who starred in last year’s Palme D’Or winner The Tree of Life) is captivated by his purported love story and commits to helping Mud. It wasn’t as good as people hoped (ie. as amazing as Take Shelter) but it is a good movie, and no doubt we’ll get a bite of this cherry come festival time.

Straight out of that screening and into the premiere of the ten short films in competition, one of which Night Shift was directed by NZ’s Zia Mandviwalla, who waited nervously with the other young filmmakers before going up on stage to great applause, prior to the screening. Of the ten films, I loved three: (with absolutely no bias) the NZ entry is a wonderful, subtle, curious and ultimately moving 14 minutes of a reality for many New Zealanders, delivering a terrific revelation that I didn’t see coming. The Australian entry was far from subtle, but showed bombast and was affecting and exhilarating (even if the manipulations were obvious); and finally, one of the ten actually made us laugh (it would seem it’s easier to come up with a gritty, challenging mini-movie than something for laughs). The French-Canadian film was brilliant, and I spoke briefly to the protaganist outside the cinema after, mainly to thank her for the light relief. Of the rest of the ten, I found two to be actually pretty poor – not technically so much (the wonders of digital seem to eliminate that complaint) but I didn’t like either story, found takes to be held too long, acting to be a bit “acty”, dialogue unrealistic, and even 13 minutes felt too long. As it happened, one of my “Yeah, that was pretty good”s eventually won the prize: sparse on dialogue, aptly called Silence, a Turkish film about Kurds suffering and struggling to make ends meet in a difficult family situation.

To round off the cinematic day, I went to see the pre-screening of the Festival’s Closing Film, an adaptation of the French novel Therese Desqueroux, starring Amelie‘s Audrey Tautou and hearthrob Gilles Lelouche. I studied the book at University – well, I say “studied” but I suspect I read the English translation and missed the nuances – but Claude Miller’s last film seems a fairly straightforward rendition of a tale of a feisty woman who marries into a life that eventually feels like imprisonment, and goes to desperate means to free herself. It’s fine; the Bridgeway crowd will love it; I suspect the critics at Cannes were underwhelmed.

And then it was the last day of camp. Cannes thinned out enormously in the final days, and you could discern a feeling of sadness tinged with relief that we’d all soon be going home. I’d been warned Cannes would be exhausting, and it’s true that while sitting in a cinema isn’t inherently tiring, racing from place to place and being on a timetable and eating dinner at 10pm and getting up just after 7 can be. Hence my taking off to Italy for 10 days rest.

But there is still time on Day 12 to see any of the Competition movies one may have missed. So thankfully I went to see Michael Haneke’s Amour, already the buzz of the festival and most-likely-to-win. Eschewing the outright nastiness of many of his recent films, it is still a devastating story of how far love will take you in the care of your loved one. Two central performances by elderly French actors, with support from the omnipresent Isabelle Huppert. It is quiet, meaningful, slow without once losing our engagement, and completely non-judgmental. A flawless film, expertly made, and highly recommended to those who are up for it. That said, I will not be seeing it again for a while, and there are people I know to whom I will be advising caution. But a deserved win from a line-up of admittedly mixed films this year. (Get me! I say that like I’m a regular! But really, even I could tell there were more average films this year than one would expect in a festival of this renown.)

So that was Cannes. The city packed down on Sunday night, I had one last pizza dinner with my Canadian family, and Monday morning I boarded the first of eventually five trains over a ten and a half hour journey into Tuscany.

I have been vowing not to see a film for the next week, but this evening I noticed the wee cinema here in Lucca is showing Dark Shadows (it has received lukewarm reviews, but it can’t be that bad, surely??)…

The jury is back – Cannes awards its winners

As I write, the keen members of the international press (ie. those who didn’t go home on Saturday morning, but stuck around until tonight’s Closing Ceremony and prize-giving) are writing madly, trying to beat one another via Twitter and live blogs in announcing the winners of the 65th Festival de Cannes.

I’m aware that for readers at home, it’s all a bit academic at the moment.  But odds are we will get to see the Palme D’Or winner, if not in this year’s film festival (though I expect so) then as soon as it is available for a general release.  So you can look forward to Michael Haneke’s Amour, a film I am relieved to say I saw this afternoon, which is typically eleventh hour of me.  Thankfully, the Festival screens all the main films In Competition on the final Sunday, so you can catch the one(s) you slept through after a late night on the tiles (I didn’t have any such evenings, but I can’t remember why I missed Amour earlier in the week).  As often happens with these awards, however, it’s neither thrilling nor surprising.  The critics here have been united in their praise of Haneke’s latest since the Cannes-winning The White Ribbon of a few years ago.  A friend of mine was adamant that The Hunt could or should win, though I don’t agree, but I was delighted to see Mads Mikkelsen ascend the stairs, his hair seemingly damp and unkempt from the thunderstorms we’ve been hit by this afternoon, to modestly dedicate 82% of this award to the director, Thomas Vinterberg.  Two actresses won Best Actress, playing against one another in Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills (the one I didn’t want to see because I thought it would be depressing, and which I am still happy to believe is brilliant without needing to prove it to myself.  Since I came here for fun and at my own expense, I’m allowed to do that).  I did, however, see Matteo Garrone’s Reality and he won the equivalent of 2nd prize, so that’s awesome.  More about the ins and outs of that very clever and topical film nearer the time of its NZ release!

So, that was today. I am about to head off for a last hurrah dinner with the Torontans who took me under their wings, then tomorrow I catch four trains into Italy and settle in Lucca for a few nights and absolutely no movies (not even television – notwithstanding Italian TV is a bit rubbish). Buongiorno i miei amici prosecco e pasta!

(PS – I will use my day of train-ing to write up Cosmopolis, the Short Film selection that our Zia Mandviwalla was nominated in, and the late Claude Miller’s adaptation of Therese Desqueyroux.)

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