Kaige Chen “100 Flowers Hidden Deep”
Víctor Erice “Lifeline”
Werner Herzog “Ten Thousand Years Older”
Jim Jarmusch “Int. Trailer Night”
Aki Kaurismäki “Dogs Have No Hell”
Spike Lee “We Wuz Robbed”
Wim Wenders “Twelve Miles to Trona”
Ten Minutes Older – The Trumpet (Germany/UK)
CANNES — The concept is both intriguing and simple. With the promise of complete creative freedom, a lineup of the world’s leading directors are given the same assignment: Make a film dealing with the theme of time in their own inimitable fashions, with the ego-curbing catch being that they have only 10 minutes with which to work.
While the results are predictably mixed, most manage to rise to the occasion, with Spike Lee, Spain’s Victor Erice and Chinese director Chen Kaige doing particularly impressive stuff. Continue reading
Bristling with potent erotic imagery, this exquisite film from Spanish director Bigas Luna tells the tale of a young girl’s sexual enlightenment. When fifteen-year-old Lulu succumbs to the advances of one of her brother’s friends, Pablo, she soon finds herself in the back of his car, having her first sexual experience. Years later, when Pablo returns to Spain from teaching in the States, the two meet again and get married. Once married, they create their own private universe, spending their time making love, away from the complications of the real world. Continue reading
Director Carlos Saura’s Carmen develops a fictional story revolving around the rehearsals of Georges Bizet’s opera about the brash and colorful cigarette factory woman and her dalliance with the soldier Don José, and eventual love for Escamillo, the bullfighter. Saura introduces exciting flamenco dance scenes and a love story between Antonio (Antonio Gades), the choreographer of the opera, and the actress playing Carmen, Laura del Sol. Joan Sutherland and Paco de Lucía also perform segments from Bizet’s 1875 opera. The mix of magical choreography, rousing flamenco dances, and operatic insertions as well as the tongue-in-cheek parodies of the French opera and foreign stereotypes of Spaniards keeps most viewers well entertained throughout. Saura’s Carmen won an award for “Artistic Contribution” and for “Technical Achievement” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, another award for “Technical Achievement” at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, and the “Best Foreign Language Film” award at the 1984 British Academy Awards. It was the second in a trilogy of films choreographed in a similar style by Antonio Gades. Continue reading
Sexuality and the prison house of the self are the themes of Pedro Almodóvar’s fantastically twisted new film, a luxury pulp fiction that breathes the atmosphere of the sick-room. Antonio Banderas stars as Ledgard, a wealthy and brilliant plastic surgeon who in his palatial home, tastefully furnished and equipped with its own private operating theatre, is secretly experimenting on the beautiful and submissive young Vera (Elena Anaya), whose entire skin covering he is replacing with an eerily smooth artificial substance, transgenically derived from pig hide. Is the prisoner his long-lost beloved wife, widely thought to have died of burns in a recent car crash? Or someone else entirely, who he is surgically refashioning to resemble her? Either way, captor and captive appear to be in love. Yet it is a relationship that can only end as it began: in violence. Continue reading
José, Paco and Luis are three friends and war veterans who one day decide to go hunting in the company of Enrique, a 20-year-old on his first outing. They will practice their favorite sport on Paco’s land, where not too long ago an important Civil War battle took place. An edgy thriller as well as a heavily symbolic study of hatred and rivalry, the hunt becomes an allegory of war.
Fernando Trueba, one of the most prestigious filmmakers in Spain, has set his latest film somewhere in occupied France in the summer of 1943, not far from the Spanish border. An old renowned sculptor, tired of life and mankind?s folly, rediscovers the desire to work and sculpt his last piece thanks to the arrival of a young Spanish woman who has escaped from a refugee camp. “The lovely and poignant drama ‘The Artist and the Model’ stirringly presents art, life and death as one irrevocably tangled trio” (Los Angeles Times). “[Trueba and Carriere] imbue the material with genuine feeling-exploring the melancholy of waning days and a defiantly naive belief in artistic transcendence. Continue reading
The politics of the past and present begin to merge during the making of a motion picture in this drama from director Icíar Bollaín. Spanish movie director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) have arrived in Bolivia to shoot a picture about Columbus’ exploration and exploitation of the New World. While Sebastián has come to Bolivia for realistic scenery, Costa has chosen the location for the cheap and abundant supply of labor. An open casting call for extras attracts far more people than the picture needs, but when Costa tries to send them away, one would-be actor, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), makes a strong and eloquent case for fair treatment of the locals, and Sebastián casts him as Hatuey, the chief of a native tribe who fought the invading Spaniards. As Sebastián stages scenes of revolt against would-be colonists, a real battle is brewing in Colombia — the government has privatized the national water works, and the price of water has jumped by 300 percent, leading to protests and riots in the streets of Cochabamba. Daniel is one of the activists protesting price gouging for something as essential as water — will Sebastián and his colleagues join him in speaking out against this injustice? También la Iluvia (aka Even the Rain) was an official selection at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Continue reading