- We’ve already got an entry going for Richard Ayoade’s The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg as both Simon James and James Simon. The cast also features Wallace Shawn, Mia Wasikowska, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, and Chris O’Dowd.
- Benedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses and Men. From ND/NF: “Set almost exclusively outdoors amid stunning Icelandic landscapes, the film features in equal parts a cast of exquisite short-legged Icelandic horses and human characters—including the terrific Ingvar E. Sigurdsson and Charlotte Bøving as meant-for-each-other but put-upon lovers—illuminating with great inventive flair the relationship between man and beast.”
- Roberto Minervini’s Stop the Pounding Heart. “Set in a rural community that has remained isolated from technological advances and lifestyle influence—no phones, TVs, computers, or drunken teen brawls—the subtly narrative film follows Sara and Colby, two 14-year-olds with vastly different backgrounds who are quietly drawn to each other.”
- Vivian Qu’s Trap Street (Shuiyin Jie). “While surveying city streets for a digital-mapping company, engineer Qiuming catches sight of Lifen, a beautiful young woman. Immediately smitten, he follows her to a street that doesn’t appear on any map or even a GPS… [T]hings take a disturbing turn when Qiuming is accused of stealing secrets from the lab where Lifen works, and the mystery, as well as the paranoia, deepens from there.”
- Ben Rivers and Ben Russell‘s A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness. We’ve got an entry on this one as well.
- Albert Serra’s Story of My Death, winner of the Golden Leopard in Locarno. Please do see the entry.
- Abdellah Taïa’s Salvation Army (L’Armée du salut). “First seen as a 15-year-old, Abdellah (Saïd Mrini) habitually sneaks away from his family’s crowded Casablanca home to engage in sexual trysts with random men in abandoned buildings. A decade later, we find Abdellah (now played by Karim Ait M’hand) on scholarship in Geneva, involved with an older Swiss professor (Frédéric Landenberg). With a clear-eyed approach, devoid of sentimentality, this wholly surprising bildungsfilm explores what it means to be an outsider, and with the help of renowned cinematographer Agnès Godard, Taïa finds a film language all his own.”
The Berlinale (February 6 through 16) announced today that James Schamus will preside over this year’s International Jury. The other members: producer Barbara Broccoli, Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, Iranian filmmaker and painter Mitra Faharani, Greta Gerwig, Michel Gondry, Tony Leung and Christoph Waltz.
Martin Scorsese interviews Wong Kar-wai
And this just in from Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn: “Cinetic Media, the sales and distribution company founded by John Sloss, announced today that it had hired former IFC Films executive Ryan Werner as a senior executive.”
The new Film Comment is out. Readable online: Jonathan Romney on Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake), Beverly Walker’s interview with Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Geoffrey O’Brien on Orson Welles’s Too Much Johnson, Nicolas Rapold on Axelle Ropert’s Miss and the Doctors, Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son, Chuck Stephens on Helena Kallianiotes, Andrew Chan on John Wells’s August: Osage County, David Fear on Ivan Reitman’s Labor Day, Graham Fuller on Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England, Chris Chang on Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem and Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s Big Bad Wolves, Eric Hynes on Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose, Sarah Mankoff on Lucía Puenzo‘s The German Doctor, a Trivial Top 20: Best Road Movies, and Violet Lucca on Seed&Spark, “a company that helps fund projects, educate filmmakers, and distribute movies to online viewers.”
Koji Wakamatsu’s The Ecstasy of the Angels “has a grammar all its own, one constructed to support a politics that are also all its own,” writes Brandon Harris at the New Inquiry. “Movies like this are too busy inventing there own film language from the ground up to be so adored, even by the most astute observers, in their own time.” He then segues into Carlos Reygadas’s Post Tenebras Lux and Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder.
IN THE WORKS
“After lengthy negotiations, John Hawkes and Michael Cera have signed on to topline How And Why, FX Networks’ half-hour comedy pilot from Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.” Nellie Andreeva has the story at Deadline.
“The Cinema of Alain Robbe-Grillet” from Kino Lorber
Cera is also one of the directors tapped by WGN America to take on segments in its series Ten Commandments. As Tim Kenneally reports at TheWrap, he’ll be joining Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels, Wes Craven and Jim Sheridan.
Zach Galifianakis will star in a new FX show co-written and executive produced by Louis C.K., reports Sean O’Neal at the AV Club.
Back to the big screen. Hou Hsiao-hsien has wrapped 15 months of shooting Assassins, reports Stephen Cremin at Film Biz Asia. “Based on a short story, the film stars Shu Qi as a female assassin during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) who begins to question her loyalties when she falls in love with one of her targets.”
Adam Driver’s joined Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe and Issei Ogata in the cast of Martin Scorsese’s Silence, reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth.
James Hansen‘s listed his top 13 films of 2013. “While not quite on purpose, this list reflects the desire for unique images, assemblages, and experiences outside the confines of traditional narrative, character, and story.” #1: Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel‘s Leviathan.
The Cinema Audio Society has announced its nominees for the 50th Annual CAS Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for 2013 in six categories. Teams of five or six or more are nominated for each film (or television show), and that’s too many names to list here, but know that the five live action features to make the cut are Captain Phillips, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Iron Man 3 and Lone Survivor.
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has presented a round of awards that are “effectively the Oscars of the Australian film industry,” as Guy Lodge puts it at In Contention, where he’s got the full list of winners and nominees: “Gravity came out on top, taking Best Picture and Director, with 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle also going home with multiple awards.”
The new U.S. trailer for Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England
“The Broadcast Film Critics Association has announced recipients of honorary awards for the upcoming Critics’ Choice Movie Awards being held on Thursday,” reports Kristopher Tapley at In Contention. “Before Midnight scribes Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater have been tapped for the Louis XIII Genius Award, to be presented by actor Matthew McConaughey…. Forest Whitaker, meanwhile, will receive the organization’s Joel Siegel Award, presented by Oprah Winfrey.”
“Jerry Lewis has been selected to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Hollywood’s union publicists,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary. “Lewis will be presented the trophy at the Publicists Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Feb. 28.”
Steve McQueen and 12 Years a Slave top the second annual Team Experience awards.