Can you recollect those moments from your life that become exceedingly significant for you and your memory, although they don't seem vital for your life path? I, for example, often think about that time when my wife and I got stuck on West Magnolia Boulevard and North Niagara Street. Her car broke down; hence we had to wait for a tow truck. It took a couple of hours to organize this. Not wanting to waste time, we went to buy a sandwich in a little Italian-styled restaurant and waited for a rescue.
This is a lean, mean, deadly beast of an indie film--at times it is unbearably tense and unlike anything I’ve seen from this genre. Elevated by a star-making performance from Bethany Anne Lind (whose IMDB page I’ve checked; I must say that I am appalled that it has taken this long for her to be seen!). It is a southern crime-thriller that is thematically and structurally reminiscent of films like “Blue Ruin”; yet it is made instantly more fresh with the decision to center the story on a complex woman.
“It’s done,” Céline Sciamma said through laughter, “I don’t need your approval!” Ten minutes earlier, a lengthy applause break punctuated the film screening and Sciamma was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. Sitting in a folding director’s chair on-stage in the sold-out Music Box Theater in Chicago, IL, Sciamma shared insights on the filmmaking process during a question and answer session with the audience. The early pre-screening of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) was part of a press tour preceding the films wide release in the United States.
Marielle Heller's "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is a favourite among the ITOL team, I mean it landed at number 6 on our Top 50 Films of the Decade list for no reason. And, while Heller made her debut with "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", it is "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" where we see Heller shine as well as prove her capability as a director. It's also worth mentioning that Heller latest film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is proof that she's not just a one-hit-wonder. It's clear that this is a filmmaker that is here to stay. Despite garnering positive views and also picking up Oscar nominations for Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant and best-adapted screenplay for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Heller was completely ignored by the Academy for Best Director.
Every year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) holds an annual award show honouring the best and boldest in filmmaking. And every year, there is an extensive discourse on who was snubbed or overlooked or incorrectly nominated. I have those opinions each awards season but there is one snub that still gets me: Ava DuVernay. When her film “Selma” premiered in 2014, it was staggering to see the level of detail put into every aspect of that film. The history, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, and so on. But the direction and momentum of the film rested solely with DuVernay.
In the opening scene of “Little Women” (2019), when we see Saoirse Ronan’s character entering a publisher’s office to try to sell her work and get herself taken seriously as a writer, we’re not just seeing the character of Jo March. We’re also seeing Louisa May Alcott, who wrote the novel that the film is adapted from, and perhaps even the film’s writer and director Greta Gerwig herself.
“Honey Boy” is a deeply sad, yet still hopeful story of a child, Otis, who essentially raised himself. That child’s story is largely based on the life of Shia LaBeouf, the writer and star of the film who plays his own abusive father. The film is raw and hard to watch at times as a young Otis (Noah Jupe) acts to support his parents while living in a motel with his father, James (Shia LaBeouf). Even with the upsetting events that take place, Otis finds joy in his work and through his friendship with a neighbor (FKA Twigs).
Awards season is upon us! Many nominees and winners from multiple critics organizations have already been decided and on December 9th the nominees for the 77th Golden Globe Awards were announced. No huge surprises, maybe a few snubs, and a huge presence of films and tv shows from streaming services. Netflix received an impressive 35 nominations across 21 categories, including two prime contenders for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Unfortunately, something that seems to be an ongoing trend with the Golden Globes is their inability to recognize female filmmakers.
At ITOL we love getting a chance to speak to filmmakers, and we were especially excited to speak to Claire McCarthy after recently catching her latest film, "Ophelia". McCarthy is an Australian filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and visual artist. Throughout her career, she has brought audiences such films as "The Waiting City" (2009), "Little Hands" (2011) and "Skins" (2007) with actress Mia Wasikowska. Her feature film "The Waiting City", which starred Joel Edgerton and Radha Mitchell, was released in North America after premiering at TIFF 2010, and has gone to be sold to over 40 territories world-wide.