This Week’s Featured Films: Awards Season Kicks Off

rapt belveux

Yvan Attal suffers for his César nomination in “Rapt”

Awards Season is upon us!  Not only has there been Oscar analysis going on here at Keyframe, but this last week the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Washington D.C. Film Critics were among the first critics organizations to dole out awards to a bevy of 2011 films.

Not to be left out, the four new Featured Films on Fandor wish to tout their own combined honors and awards.  This week’s films include César Award winners and nominees, as well as the latest short film from the sibling filmmakers who won the John Cassavetes Award at last year’s Independent Spirit Awards.  And you know how Michelle Williams is generating a lot of buzz for her turn in My Week With Marilyn? Check out a grittier take on the Marilyn myth with Venezuala’s entry in the Foreign Film category in the 2008 Oscars.

Watch all of these films for free with a one week pass to Fandor!

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01) Rapt (dir. Lucas Belvaux)

What It’s About: Inspired by the the 1978 kidnapping of Baron Edouard-Jean Empain, Rapt details the kidnapping of a rich and powerful industrialist by a commando group. Completely cut off from the rest of the world, he cannot understand why his friends and family are taking their time to pay the demanded ransom. Outside, his world breaks down as the all of the most intimate secrets of his double life emerge.

Award Status: 2010 Césars: Nominated for Best Film, Best Director (Lucas Belvaux), Best Actor (Yvan Attal), and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Consigny)

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“Belvaux has stripped down the film’s procedural plot to its bare essentials, feeding the viewer’s need to know the mechanics of how every decision in Graff’s case is made… Every scene is filmed with a grim and assured determination, as if each one were loaded with vital information just waiting to be decoded.”

Simon Abrams for The House Next Door

“Despite its contemporary milieu and restive camerawork, Rapt brings to mind classic films noirs like Laura and The Killers in which somehow physically absent characters come into focus through investigations.”

Manhola Dargis for The New York Times

“Belvaux, aided by elegant work from cinematographer Pierre Milon, orchestrates an extensive and dove-tailing cast, the relay of information, dramatic police chases and swift changes of pace and negotiating stance with old-fashioned Melvillian sang froid and teasing emotional restraint.”

Wally Hammond for Time Out London

02) John’s Gone (dirs. Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie)

What It’s About: John’s Gone is a fever dream comedy. John sells things online, cheats off dollar stores, and needs friends but settles for strangers. He is punch drunk, not with love but something far more strange and lost. One can only say John’s gone.

Award Status: Directors won the Independent Spirit Award’s John Cassavetes Award last year.

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“Speaking of their new short film John’s Gone, the Safdie Brothers said on their site that ‘To us, the film’s a feature, ‘short’ is just one way to describe the film’s length. It’s a full film.’ Though the comment is a little flippant, it holds true; this twenty-two minute short has the depth, the expansiveness, what even feels like the time spent with its main character John (played by younger brother Benny Safdie), that it does feel like a feature, or ‘full-length.'”

Jesse Klein for Ion Cinema

“What the Safdies seem to capture best is the jazzy chaos of New York. The streets and apartment hallways never seem like sets, in part because of their permit-free shooting style.”

Susana Locascio for Hammer to Nail

Also, Durga Chew-Bose interviews the brothers for Interview Magazine touching on topics ranging from John’s Gone, their father’s infectious cinephilia, and growing up in Queens, New York.

These up-and-coming young filmmakers have received acclaim for their two feature films The Pleasure of Being Robbed (2008) and Daddy Longlegs (aka Go Get Some Rosemary) (2009), the film that won the John Cassavetes Award.  Catch more of their short films on Fandor, including I Think I’m Missing Parts, Acquaintances of a Lonely John, The Back of Her Head, and more!

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03) The Color of Fame (dir. Alejandro Bellame Palacios)

What It’s About: Magaly (Elaiza Gil) enters a TV contest looking for Marilyn Monroe look-alikes, pressured by her husband (Alberto Alifa) and a money prize of $25,000 to help them overcome their precarious financial situation.  In the process of becoming Monroe, Magaly suffers an identity crisis that mimics the life of the mythical blonde.

Award Status: Venezuela’s entry to the 2008 Oscars

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“An assured, graceful film… alternately amusing and unsettling, affectionate yet clear-eyed.”

Kevin Thomas for The Los Angeles Times

“Gil, as the reluctant reincarnation of Monroe, is especially captivating, and never more Monroelike than when Magaly is swallowed by despair.”

Ernest Hardy for L.A. Weekly

04) Inferno (dirs. Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea)

What It’s About: One of the great, unfinished works in film history, Henri-Georges Clouzot‘s Inferno was an audaciously experimental film with a virtually unlimited budget that was stopped only three weeks into production. Working closely with Clouzot’s widow, Bromberg and Medrea reconstruct Clouzot’s original vision, filling and explaining the gaps with new interviews, re-enactments and Clouzot’s own notes and storyboards, delivering an in-depth look at the masterpiece that might have been.

Award Status: Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 2010 César Awards.

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Watch this space, as next week Keyframe takes an in-depth look at this gorgeous, beguiling documentary of a film-that-should-have-been.  See you then!

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