2010 Festival Films
Best Actress - Juliette Binoche
France | French, w/ English Subtitles | 106 mins
Legendary Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who won the 1997 Palme d'Or at Cannes with A TASTE OF CHERRY and had a brief American art-house moment with THE WIND WILL CARRY US, slides smoothly into upscale Western filmmaking with CERTIFIED COPY, an intriguing, not-quite love story featuring French superstar Juliette Binoche, English opera singer William Shimell and the spectacular Tuscan countryside.
Binoche plays a nameless woman who lives with her son in the Italian city where British author James Miller (Shimell, a debonair, erudite presence in his screen debut) has landed on his book tour. She's a journalist who writes about books, and offers to take him on a brief driving tour to a nearby village so they can chat. Even before they set out, Binoche's 10-year-old son jokes that she's decided to fall in love with Miller.
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Claude Carriere, Gianna Giachetti, Adrian Moore, Agathe Natanson, William Shimell
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
Denmark, Sweden | Swedish, w/ English Subtitles | 148 mins
In THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST - the final installment of the "Millenium Trilogy" - Lisbeth Salander, played by the incomparable Swedish actress Noomi Rapace in a career-defining role, is fighting for her life in more ways than one. The film picks up immediately where THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE ended. In intensive care and charged with three murders, Salander will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back!
The late Steig Larsen’s literary phenomenon has taken the world by storm and the film trilogy is equally as successful, generating boffo box office around the world. With David Fincher’s Hollywood adaptation in production now, it will be hard to shake off Rapace’s explosive and award-worthy performance as the punk rock, bisexual hacker who unravels the dark underbelly of the Swedish patriarchy.
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Cast: Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Michael Nyquist, Noomi Rapace
Winner Best Film
United Kingdom | Arabic, English, Urdu w/ English Subtitles | 102 mins
Chris Morris' FOUR LIONS is a funny, thrilling comedy that illuminates modern jihadism through the prism of farce. It understands jihadists as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous. What THIS IS SPINAL TAP did for heavy metal and DR STRANGELOVE the Cold War, FOUR LIONS does for the modern face of terrorism.
Living with his wife and young son in an unspecified British city, Omar (Riz Ahmed) is determined to mobilize his band of Muslim brothers: clueless Waj (Kayvan Novak) relies on Omar to think and act for him; Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is a sad sack who says little and spends his time training crows to fly bombs; and white convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay) is a belligerent renegade as stupid as he is strident. This is what Omar has to deal with. They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face?
Director: Christopher Morris
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Adeeel Akhtar, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak
How I Ended This Summer
Winner Best Director - Aleksei Popogrebsky
Russia | Russian, w/ English Subtitles | 124 mins
One place. One day. Two men.
The place is a polar station on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. A day up here in the far north lasts weeks, since the sun never sets during the summer at this high latitude. This used to be an important research station but, Sergei, an experienced meteorologist and Pavel, a high school graduate, are now the only inhabitants. Soon a ship will arrive to pick up the two men. Sergei is anxious about returning to his wife and child on the mainland, while Pavel hopes that he might yet be able to experience the kind of real adventure he was dreaming of when he volunteered for an internship in this desolate region. And then one day when Sergei is out angling, Pavel picks up a radio message that he daren’t communicate to Sergei.
Director Alexei Popogrebski found the inspiration for his psychological polar thriller in the diaries of N. V. Pinegin which were written in 1912 when Pinegin accompanied Russian polar explorer Georgio J. Sedov on his tragic attempt to reach the North Pole.
Director: Aleksei Popogrebsky
Cast: Igor Chernevich, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Sergei Puskepalis, Ilya Sobolev, Artyom Tsukanov
Italy | Italian, w/ English Subtitles | 205 mins
Luchino Visconti’s THE LEOPARD (IL GATTOPARDO) is an epic on the grandest possible scale. The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Alain Delon) and his beautiful fiancée (Claudia Cardinale). Awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, THE LEOPARD translates Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel, and the history it recounts, into a truly cinematic masterpiece. This restored version, by Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation, premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
IL GATTOPARDO has been restored in association with Cineteca di Bologna, L'Immagine Ritrovata, The Film Foundation, Pathé, Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Twentieth Century Fox and Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale. Restoration funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation.
Director: Luchino Visconti
Cast: Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Burt Lancaster, Rina Morelli, Paolo Stoppa
Italy | Italian, w/ English Subtitles | 110 mins
Tommaso has a comfortable life in Rome as an aspiring writer and a steady relationship with his boyfriend Marco. When he’s called back to his hometown of Lecce in Italy’s deep south to help run the family pasta business, he decides to finally reveal his homosexuality to his family and hopefully get out of his business obligations in the process. But when his brother thwarts his plans, Tommaso gets stuck on the path that he was desperately trying to avoid.
Director Ferzan Ozpetek takes a playful approach to this family dramedy, matching a critique of provincial Southern values with an eccentric cast of characters that includes a philandering conservative father, a boozing aunt, a pair of disgruntled maids, and Tommaso’s bubbly friends. LOOSE CANNONS is a playful take on family obligation and the possibility of being uprooted from comfortable surroundings.
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Cast: Ennio Fantastichini, Nicole Grimaudo, Ilaria Occhini, Alessandro Preziosi, Elena Sofia Ricci, Lunetta Savino, Riccardo Scamarcio
Queen to Play
France, Germany | English, French, w/ English Subtitles | 101 mins
When Helene (Sandrine Bonnaire), a chambermaid in a cliff-top hotel on the beautiful island of Corsica, sees an American couple (Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould) playing chess on the balcony of their room, something deep within her stirs. Their duel is beautiful and sensual, a battle of wits and a declaration of love. Helene finds a chess set at the house of reclusive Dr. Kroger (Academy Award winner Kevin Kline), where she cleans. She implores him to teach her how to play. As her passion for the game grows, her natural talent and unwavering commitment lead her to an unexpected chance to reinvent herself.
Director: Caroline Bottaro
Cast: Jennifer Beals, Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline, Francis Renaud
A Somewhat Gentile Man
Winner Best Actor - Stellan Skarsgard
Norway | Norwegian, w/ English Subtitles | 103 mins
Ulrik (Skarsgard), the gentle man of the title, is a mechanic who has just been released from prison, where he served 12 years for murdering his wife’s lover. After being released from jail he looks to reinstate himself in decent society, and reconnect with his son who is now grown and about to become a father himself. His son’s pregnant partner is mistrustful of Ulrik, and the relationship between father and son is put into jeopardy when cronies from past insist that he finish a job.
The humor of the film does not necessarily arise from the situations Ulrik is put in, but from the oddball characters that surround Ulrik, such as his vulgar landlady, who demands that Ulrik service her while she shouts out religious terms. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland and Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard are a match made in cinema heaven, and in the criminal comedy A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN they achieve a cool, deceptively simple minimalism which is both perfectly timed and brilliantly pared-down.-- Screendaily
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Cast: Gard B. Eidsvold, Bjorn Floberg, Jan Gunnar, Jorunn Kjellsby, Stellan Skarsgard