This weekend, a European phenomenon is back — though Americans may have to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.
The Eurovision Song Contest, a cross between “The X Factor” and the Miss Universe pageant that offers Yanks a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a culture that doesn’t have jazz and blues as the foundation of its pop music.
For those who’ve never seen — or even heard of Eurovision — before, here’s a quick primer to get you caught up.
What exactly is this contest?
That sounds like a pretty noble goal.
Then there are the artists themselves. As Eurovision has evolved, more and more ridiculous acts have come out of the woodwork. Finnish monster-rock bands, Russian grandmas and Latvian pirates are among the acts that have performed for a TV audience of hundreds of millions in recent Eurovisions. And that Finnish monster rock band actually won.
Jeez! So is this just some musical freak show?
There’s also a small handful of top stars on the winners’ list you might recognize. ABBA used Eurovision as a launch pad to stardom in 1974 with their song “Waterloo,” and French-Canadian Celine Dion’s win in 1988 was her biggest claim to fame before “Titanic” came out. Quality — or at least creativity — does tend to win out at Eurovision.
OK, so how does this contest work?
Then the show transitions to a long procession of national “ambassadors” reading out who each country gave their votes to. The top 10 performers in each country’s vote get points, with 12 points going to the top vote-getter, followed by 10 and then eight down to one for the rest of the order. The same goes with the juries, but with 10 points going to the performer in first place.
And what does the performer with the most points win?
What? No prize money? No contract? No vague promises of superstardom?
Even now, a good chunk of the acts are homogenous power ballads that can blur together when performed in succession. Still, Eurovision is worth watching just for the spectacle of it all. The Disneyland-esque sweetness of the proceedings is charming, and the lack of stakes for the performers keeps it feeling light and fun rather than a battle for wealth, glory, and continental supremacy.
It has also made headlines in recent years that have allowed it to take steps beyond the realm of annual oddities like the Running of the Bulls. The winner in 2014 was gay Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, who performed as drag queen superstar Conchita Wurst. The victory transformed Conchita into an LGBT icon in Europe, even as Russian conservatives raged in fury and used the singer as an example of why Russia shouldn’t be a part of the EU. For all of Eurovision’s platitudes about tolerance and peace, this was a moment where those ideals were actually acted upon, even if it meant breaking the general tone of inoffensiveness.
If it’s supposed to be European, why is Australia a competitor?
So…if all these countries that aren’t strictly European are competing, does this mean we may be seeing the USA compete in Eurovision soon?
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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19
After Cannes’ opening night film “The Dead Don’t Die” got the festival off to a somewhat slow start with mixed reviews, Wednesday’s two debuts, “Les Misérables” and “Bacurau,” proved that this year’s lineup will have some life in it.
Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables” isn’t based on Victor Hugo’s classic story, but it’s set in the same region in France and has the spirit of the original. Ly (picture above) originally directed an acclaimed short in 2017 of the same name that set the stage for this larger feature focused on police brutality and crime. The Guardian critic said Ly’s feature debut had a dose of “humor, cynicism, energy and savvy” and was worthy of some comparisons to previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan.”
Another reviewer even predicted we might already have a prize winner on our hands. “‘Les Miserables,’ Cannes’s first prize-worthy film of this still young-edition,” Screen Comment said in a tweet. “Edge-of-your-seat realism that echoes the 2005 riots in France, this film is winning #Cannes19.”
The industry took notice as well, with Anne Thompson reporting that Ly was already signed by CAA and that his film has become a hot title on the market.
The same could be said about “Bacurau,” a Brazilian film from the directors of “Aquarius.” David Ehrlich at IndieWire called it a “delirious Western” that amazingly features Udo Kier “fighting ghosts with a sniper.” He added that it is part “Hostel” and part “Seven Samurai.”John Carpenter takes a bow
Cult horror master John Carpenter, the director of “The Thing” and “Halloween,” among many others, graciously accepted the Golden Coach award from the French directors guild at the festival’s opening ceremony as part of the Director’s Fortnight. According to Reuters, Carpenter said he had been fascinated by cinema since he saw “The African Queen” at age three.
“It’s that transportation of an audience through the world of light and the shadows around it that I’m proud to be a part of,” he said.
Film Twitter also had fun spotting him with other horror luminaries like Dario Argento, and his presence felt even more significant in part because some critics felt “Bacurau” gave off vibes of early Carpenter classics.A surprise from Todd Haynes
There’s always a handful of films each year that make their way to the festival marketplace under the radar, and this year’s biggest title was the documentary on the Velvet Underground from director Todd Haynes. THR reported that footage from the movie would screen Thursday at the Cinema Olympia and would be presented to buyers by Cinetic and Submarine.
First reported in January, the documentary would be Haynes’ first, but the musically inclined director behind “I’m Not There” and “Velvet Goldmine” is in good standing to handle the story of Lou Reed and one of the most influential rock bands of all time.“Moonfall” has a Big Landing
Roland Emmerich’s $150 million sci-fi space epic “Moonfall” sold for a reported low-eight figures in both Germany and Switzerland, according to Deadline. An unnamed German indie conglomerate that handles distributors TMG and Universum purchased the film, which Emmerich is writing and directing, and Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance are handling worldwide sales.
“Moonfall” tells the story of a ragtag team of astronauts who are forced to land on the moon’s surface when the moon is knocked out of Earth’s orbit, sending it hurtling on a collision course with Earth and threatening all of mankind.
Among some of the other buzzy deals taking place on Wednesday and overnight, SP Media Group acquired a majority stake in Atlas Comics library, and Paramount has come aboard for a first look deal, according to Deadline. Atlas company is run by Jason Goodman, the grandson of Marvel Comics co-founder and publisher Martin Goodman. And a project is already set to be produced with an eye on a 2021 release.
“Avatar” star Sam Worthington has joined the Australian thriller “Gold,” which Anthony Hayes will co-write, direct and co-star in. Saboteur Media has come aboard the film to handle sales at Cannes, according to THR.
A Michael Caine movie has also hit the market at Cannes, this one called “Best Sellers,” which stars Caine as a washed-up, alcoholic of an author who goes out on a book tour with a young editor in order to help save a publishing house, according to THR. Anthony Grieco wrote the original screenplay, and Foresight Unlimited is handling international sales.
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” star Noomi Rapace is set to star in an action movie from Vicky Jewson called “Sylvia” in which she’ll star as a Mossad agent, according to Variety. WestEnd is handling sales at Cannes.
And finally, Epic Pictures acquired the U.S. rights to the horror comedy “Harpoon” from director Rob Grant, according to Variety. The film stars Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra and Christopher Gray in a black comedy about three friends who get stranded out at sea on a yacht.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/16/19
The 2019 Cannes Film Festival is underway, but a big question on some attendees’ minds might not be about a movie at all, but a TV series. That’s because many festival-goers are probably scrambling to figure out, “How in the name of Westeros can I watch the series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Sunday?”
Since HBO NOW and HBO GO are not accessible for U.S. subscribers while in France, TheWrap has figured out how “Game of Thrones” fans can watch the final showdown in real time without having to learn who ends up on the Iron Throne through social media.
And don’t worry, it won’t take a prayer to the Old Gods and the New. But it will take either an HBO Europe subscription or having the right hotel room — or a friend in the right hotel room — because a Cannes attendee can view the series finale at the same time it airs in the U.S. via the French provider OCS (Orange Cinema Series).
So what you’ll need to do is check around to see if your hotel — or your friends’ hotels — is an Orange subscriber. If it is, then you can tune in to watch the episode on OCS City at 3 a.m. local time on Monday. There will also be a primetime airing at 9 p.m. local time, later that day.
If you happen to be an Orange subscriber yourself, then you can also stream the episode on demand after it concludes its linear debut.
The complete final season of “Game of Thrones” will also be available to purchase via digital download in France on Tuesday at midnight (overnight Monday) on iTunes, Orange, Canal+, Microsoft, Sony and Google.
If you are subscribed to UK Sky Go and Now TV (a subscription-based internet television and video-on-demand service that is a division of Sky Limited), you can watch the finale on your devices in any country in the EU.
In Germany’s official guide from Sky, for example, it says Episode 806 will be shown locally at 3 a.m. (GMT+2) on Sky Atlantic, which is the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S. (9 p.m. ET). That means you’ll be able to access the episode via Sky Go and Now TV at that time. Sky will then air the series finale again on Monday at 8:15 p.m. local time.
If you don’t have a subscription to either of those services, but do subscribe to HBO Go or HBO NOW there is a way to connect to those platforms using a VPN.
A VPN is a virtual private network that builds a secure tunnel between your device and the internet that allows you to mask your location. This way, you can “trick” the platforms into thinking you are still in the U.S. (for HBO) or in the U.K. (for Sky). It’s extremely safe and most VPNs provide a high-quality streaming experience.
HBO tells TheWrap it is unaware of any planned finale viewing parties at Cannes. A spokesperson for the festival said all official screenings can be found in the Cannes program.
Of course, if this is all too much work for you: Fly home early, delete your Twitter app, or pray no one you talk to at Cannes reveals spoilers and wait until you’re back in the United States to watch the HBO fantasy series’ epic ending.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/15/19
Culture meets nature in Saxony: a mere 40 kilometers lie between splendid Baroque art and architecture in Dresden and the distinctive peaks of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
www.dw.com | 5/8/19
The country’s culture of remembrance is crumbling.
www.nytimes.com | 4/15/19
Jafaar Abdul Karim is not afraid to take on issues that many Muslim refugees in the country consider taboo. And, yes, he has had death threats.
www.nytimes.com | 4/5/19
State officials had ordered "Al Nur" to close following revelations that inappropriate literature had been shared at the kindergarten. The day care center is the only Muslim kindergarten in Rhineland-Palatinate.
www.dw.com | 3/27/19
It won’t exactly be on a par with Oscars nominations morning, but Monday will be one of the biggest December days in the history of the Academy Awards.
That’s because for the first time, the Academy isn’t systematically doling out the short lists of films that remain in contention. Instead, they’re dropping all the lists at once in a single press release that will trim the fields in Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Song and six other categories.
One drop, nine categories, a total of 101 films that’ll get good news and far more that’ll be disappointed.
The strategy of dumping all the Oscars short lists at once has not been greeted with universal approval. For one thing, contenders in the different categories were used to having their individual moments in the spotlight. Music Branch voters, who are facing a pair of short lists for the first time, now have far less time to listen and decide than they used to. And pundits will need to whip up instant analysis in nine categories simultaneously.
But that’s the new rule, and all the lists will be out on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 17.
(By the way, we hear that the news will come out in the afternoon because the procrastinators on the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee aren’t getting together until Monday morning to decide which three songs they’ll be adding to the six-film short list chosen by Oscars voters.)
Here’s the category-by-category breakdown of what will be coming on Monday.
Best Foreign Language Film
Three films seem guaranteed to land a spot: Mexico’s “Roma,” Poland’s “Cold War” and Lebanon’s “Capernaum.” Belgium’s “Girl” isn’t far behind, and voters reportedly adored Germany’s “Never Look Away.” Denmark’s “The Guilty” is a satisfying film that impressed voters, Sweden’s “Border” a twisted one that did the same.
The executive committee that adds three films to the shortlist may be hard-pressed not to take one or both of the two Asian standouts, South Korea’s “Burning” and Japan’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters.” And watch out for the Paraguayan film, “The Heiresses,” which has strong support in both the general and executive committees.
Other possibilities include Iceland’s “Woman at War,” Norway’s “What Will People Say,” Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” Hungary’s “Sunset” and Romania’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.”
Best Documentary Feature
The four box-office hits that made this one of the best years ever for nonfiction filmmaking should all land on the list: “Free Solo,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and the de facto frontrunner, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (On the other hand, it’d be uncharacteristic of the Academy not to leave at least one of them off the final list of five nominees, and not entirely surprising if one of them doesn’t make the short list.)
Ever since the doc-branch rules were changed to do away with special screening committees in this category, voters have gravitated toward the films that have gotten the most buzz and received the most nominations for the IDA Awards, the Cinema Eye Honors and the like. That should mean that critical and awards favorites like “Minding the Gap,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Bisbee ’17,” “Dark Money,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Shirkers” will all be in contention. And watch out for the Spanish film “The Silence of Others,” a potential sleeper.
We also shouldn’t rule out documentary legend Frederick Wiseman for “Monrovia, Indiana,” or other well-received docs like “On Her Shoulders,” “The Bleeding Edge” and “United Skates.” On the showbiz doc front, movies like “Hal,” “Filmworker” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache” have a shot, as does the released-at-last Aretha Franklin movie “Amazing Grace” and the Quincy Jones doc “Quincy,” whose subject has been highly visible on the campaign circuit lately. And I refuse to abandon hope that voters will recognize Eugene Jarecki’s sharp Elvis-and-America meditation “The King.”
Finally, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the followup to the top-grossing nonfiction film of all time, has been bypassed by nearly all the precursor awards and may well be left off of this one as well. But Moore could still find a way in — after all, he was the prime mover on the changes that led to the current method of picking the short list, and he’s still a strong voice in the doc world.
Best Original Song
The two music categories are introducing short lists for the first time ever, presumably in order to give all the members of the music branch to hear and consider the 15 semi-finalists before voting for nominations. But that means they have less time to consider all the contenders, which this year number more than 70 in the song category.
Yes, we know that “Shallow,” the one song entered from “A Star Is Born,” will make it. And probably at least one of the two songs entered from “Mary Poppins Returns.” The Music Branch’s taste for hip-hop might be tested by “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” but why wouldn’t they want Kendrick Lamar at the Oscars?
They also have to consider songs from luminaries like Dolly Parton (“Girl in the Movies” from “Dumplin'”), Annie Lennox (“Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War”), plus two competitive songs from movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” (written by nine-time nominee Diane Warren) and “Here Comes the Change” from “On the Basis of Sex.” “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” has a real shot, as does “Gravity” from “Free Solo.” And if they want to get truly adventurous, how about the Coup’s “OYAHYTT” from “Sorry to Bother You,” or Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium” from “Suspiria”? (Would the Radiohead frontman show up at the Oscars?)
The branch is well known for taking care of its own, which can’t hurt past winner Carole Bayer Sager’s “Living in the Moment” from “Book Club.” They also tend to like songs that are performed onscreen — which, in addition to being one more reason “Shallow” will get in, could help the songs from “Hearts Beat Loud,” the quintessential but twisted Disney-princess anthem from “Ralph Breaks the Internet” or the fatalistic cowboy tune “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
And then there are songs from Patti Smith and Robyn Hitchcock and Elton John and Arlissa and Quincy Jones and Post Malone and Kendra Smith and Aoife O’Donovan and Imagine Dragons and Sade and David Crosby … It’s a deep list, not a shallow one. (Sorry.)
Best Original Score
As usual, more than 100 scores are in contention, with early awards singling out a group that includes “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “A Quiet Place,” “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Green Book.” Most and perhaps all of those should make the list, with other contenders including “BlacKkKlansman,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “The Hate U Give,” “Hereditary,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Red Sparrow,” “The Predator” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
This is a category that’ll likely have three nominees, and one known for nominating films that won’t show up in any other category. This year, that could mean a “Suspiria” appearance on the short list. “Black Panther” and “The Avengers: Infinity War” will certainly be in play — and since makeup designed to make actors look like other people is usually a mainstay in the category, look for “Vice” and “Stan & Ollie” to show up as well. “Mary Queen of Scots” could make the cut too. And will Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury teeth from “Bohemian Rhapsody” be enough to land that film a spot?
If a foreign film gets in, as one sometimes does (“A Man Called Ove,” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”), it could be “Border,” which turned a couple of actors into trolls.
Best Visual Effects
A committee from the Visual Effects Branch has already narrowed the field to 20 films, so now it’s just a matter of cutting that number in half. The elaborate visions of “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther,” “Ready Player One” and perhaps “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are clearly contenders, with the subtler effects of “First Man” and the more retro charms of “Mary Poppins Returns” definitely in the mix as well.
Dark horses could include “Christopher Robin” and “Paddington 2” for their blend of live action and CG figures, and the stop-motion “Isle of Dogs,” which would be following in the footsteps of recent nominee “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Several late-breaking films have a shot as well, including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen.”
Best Documentary Short
The shorts categories are hard to predict because most of the films haven’t been widely seen. But Academy volunteers have been watching them to compile the three lists, and it’s possible to pick up some buzz from festival screenings and awards campaigns.
Netflix has been a major player in doc shorts recently (it won its first Oscar for “The White Helmets”), and this year it has “Zion,” “Out of Many, One,” “End Game” and “Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane,” at least two of which should end up on the list. The New York Times Op-Docs series has “Dulce,” “Earthrise,” “We Became Fragments” and the wry and well-liked “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” the only short nominated by both the IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Honors.
Other IDA and Cinema Eye nominees include “Black Sheep,” “Baby Brother,” “Concussion Protocol,” “Fear Us Women,” “Lifeboat,” “Los Comandos,” “Mosul,” “Sidelined,” “Skip Day,” “The Girl and the Picture,” “Volte” and “We Are Not Done Yet.” The DOC NYC short list also singled out “’63 Boycott,” “The Head & the Hand,” “RX Early Detection” and “Take Back the Harbor,” while “Lotte That Silhouette Girl” tells the story of a woman animation pioneer from the pre-Disney days and could be attractive to the Academy.
Best Animated Short
The Annie Awards, the top prize given to animated films, singled out “Grandpa Walrus,” “Lost & Found,” “Solar Walk,” “Untravel” and “Weekends.” Pixar’s big short this year is “Bao,” and Pixar’s big short usually gets nominated. DreamWorks Animation, which has less consistent success in the category, is represented by “Bilby” and “Bird Karma.”
Other possibilities include “La Noria,” “Animal Behavior,” “Crow: The Legend” and “Age of Sail,” a Google Spotlight VR short made by John Kahrs, who won an Oscar for “Paperman.” “Raccoon and the Light,” “Daisy,” “The Green Bird” and “Re-Gifted” qualified by winning Student Academy Awards, while “The Driver Is Red” won the industry prize at theWrap’s ShortList Film Festival.
Best Live-Action Short
In a category where it’s almost impossible to get an overview of the field unless you’re a festival shorts programmer, standouts include “Fauve,” “Wren Boys,” “Skin” and “Bonbone,” as well as “Souls of Totality,” featuring Tatiana Maslany, and “Dear Chickens,” with Philip Baker Hall.
Timely films about the refugee crisis in Europe include “Bismillah” and “Magic Alps,” and Student Academy Award qualifiers are “Spring Flower,” “Lalo’s House,” “This Is Your Cuba,” “Get Ready With Me,” “Almost Everything” and “A Siege”; if history is any guide, at least one of them will make the list.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/14/18
Green energy on track to overtake coal in Germany by year end originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
www.autoblog.com | 12/13/18
‘Searching for Ingmar Bergman’ Film Review: Margarethe von Trotta Explores Her Love of Swedish Auteur’s Work
In the category of culture-driven documentaries that focus on film history, a particularly enjoyable subset of that subset is the kind made by noteworthy artists themselves. There’s Martin Scorsese waxing luxuriously on Italian cinema (“My Voyage to Italy”), Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow fanboy-interviewing Brian DePalma for “DePalma,” and now, German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta (“Hannah Arendt”) taking us on a personal tour of her lifelong admiration for Sweden’s hallowed grandmaster in the playfully inquisitive “Searching for Ingmar Bergman.”
Von Trotta’s connection to Bergman started when she was a young, New Wave-enamored film lover who responded deeply to his 1957 chess-with-Death masterpiece “The Seventh Seal”; she even opens her valentine of a documentary visiting its famed rocky beach setting, narrating the impact of its establishing shots.
When she blossomed as an artist herself as part of West Germany’s own exciting crush of post-war filmmaking talent alongside Rainer Werner Fassbinder (for whom she acted) and then-husband Volker Schlöndorff (they made “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum” together), von Trotta found herself personally acquainted with Bergman after he decamped to Munich in the mid-’70s following a tax evasion charge.
Bergman even became a fan of her work, including her 1981 feature “Marianne and Juliane” in a list of his favorite movies commissioned by a film festival, the program book for which von Trotta thumbs through for the camera like a kid still in awe of being recognized by so key an influence. (Hey, you would, too, if your movie kept company in a film legend’s consciousness with “Rashomon” and “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”)
It’s von Trotta’s onscreen enthusiasm, too, as she interviews key Bergman collaborators (notable leading ladies Liv Ullmann, Gunnel Lindblom), family (sons Daniel and Ingmar, Jr.), contemporaries (Carlos Saura, Jean-Claude Carrière), and next-generation admirers (Olivier Assayas, Ruben Ostlund, Mia Hansen-Løve), that gives “Searching” its gently thrumming cineaste heart.
Between the excerpts and analyses, the remembrances, and the honesty that swings from brutal to touching but that is nearly always illuminating, you’ll surely be dipping into the gloom-meister’s oeuvre afterward. (Or maybe shelling out for Criterion’s 39-film Bergman box set, available starting November 20 if you’re likely to be in mourning over the streaming service FilmStruck going away.)
Bergman’s abiding gift over a career that spanned sixty years — and included successes from “Wild Strawberries” and “Winter Light” through “Scenes from a Marriage” and “Fanny & Alexander” — was a penetrative inventory of the soul as it’s plagued by doubt, loneliness, the existence of God, the vicissitudes of love, and the facing of mortality.
But to hear those closest to him tell it, Bergman was at heart a wide-eyed child in thrall to the creative process, consumed by the innocence of curiosity and experimentation that keeps all artists in a state of turmoil and evolution. It’s what Ullmann says could turn his being introduced to her, alongside actress/former flame Bibi Andersson on a beach, into the likeness-driven experimental hallmark “Persona,” a life-defining work.
But at the same time, that ever-nurtured connection to his inner child made Bergman view his own offspring (nine in all, with six women, including Ullmann) as competitors to his creativity. Daniel Bergman, who would direct his father’s screenplay “Sunday’s Children,” jovially notes how dad preferred his own childhood to his own children. In the presence of his kids, we learn, he would openly miss the company of his actors.
Elsewhere, his longstanding script supervisor-turned-producer Katinka Farago describes the Bergman who worried he was never good enough, while Assayas succinctly captures how he was a game-changer regarding the psychological, subconscious, and female-centric.
The most amusing anecdote comes from Bergman’s grandson, who recounts a movie night of “Pearl Harbor” in the home theater in which granddad insisted the projectionist skip anything that wasn’t an action scene. It’s like backhanded proof that with any kind of film, whether an existential drama or slick Hollywood package, Bergman preferred intensity over everything else.
That von Trotta’s documentary isn’t simply hagiographic keeps it refreshing, although the emphasis on Bergman’s later years, whether lesser works like “The Serpent’s Egg” or his stage directing, also prevents it from potentially satisfying any need to see most of his undisputed classics gone over in detail.
But with so many documentaries on Bergman already in existence, that von Trotta has made her own uniquely inviting tour of his triumphs, anguishes, and longstanding themes — in essence a roomy portrait of the artist as an engaged, fallible searcher — is its own gift of sorts, from one acolyte of cinema to another.
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www.thewrap.com | 11/9/18
Judith Schalansky has been awarded the prestigious Wilhelm Raabe Prize for "An Inventory of Certain Losses." At only 38, Schalansky has already been the recipient of several of Germany's top literature awards.
www.dw.com | 11/4/18
"Isn't art always, to a certain extent, therapy for the artist?" Oscilloscope Labs has debuted an official US trailer for the cinema documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman, which first premiered as a Cannes Classic at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The documentary celebrates Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's 100th birthday, by taking an extensive and fascinating look at his life and creative inspiration. The doc presents key scenes and recurring themes in his films and his life, and journeys to the places at the center of Bergman's creative achievement and the focal points of his life such as the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, locations and landscapes from his masterpieces, and his stations in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and France. This looks like a profound, entrancing, wonderful look at the life of a true master filmmaker. US trailer (+ posters) for Margarethe von Trotta's doc Searching for Ingmar Bergman, from YouTube: On the 100th anniversary of his birth, internationally renowned director Margarethe ...
www.firstshowing.net | 10/11/18
Culture meets nature in Saxony: a mere 40 kilometers lie between splendid Baroque art and architecture in Dresden and the distinctive peaks of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
The city-state of Berlin is a center of the arts and cinema and a trend-setter. At the same time, the German capital is constantly changing.
Monumental structures from the Roman Empire in Trier, vineyards on the slopes of the Moselle and Rhine: the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is ideal for culture buffs and epicures.
Conservatives and Social Democrats long dominated Germany's political culture, generating broad appeal. But their ability to unite people under proverbial big tents is waning, while small parties profit from the discord.
www.dw.com | 9/21/18
Germany has selected Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Venice-premiere title “Never Look Away” as its entry for best foreign language film at this year’s 91st Academy Awards. German Films, the local body for the promotion of German cinema worldwide, announced the choice Thursday. It is the second time the director has had a film chosen as […]
variety.com | 8/30/18
The effigy of Turkey's leader caused tensions in Wiesbaden after it was put up for an arts festival.
www.bbc.co.uk | 8/29/18
For someone so smart, how can Mark Zuckerberg be so very, very dumb?
Maybe it’s a lack of what we used to call a “liberal arts” education — a foundation in basic philosophy, history, ethics — although they used to teach that stuff at Harvard. Maybe it’s the moral confusion we sometimes see in very leftie liberals who are afraid to offend anyone at any time.
Zuckerberg clearly does not understand that free speech is the bedrock of a democratic society, but that it has its limits. This confusion is very concerning in someone who controls as large a platform as Facebook.
For example: Holocaust denial, which is banned in both Germany and France because of the evident danger to free society posed by spreading poisonous lies. Denying the Holocaust is not an academic point of view or the result of random confusion — it is a deliberate tactic used to sustain and justify anti-Semitism. Those kinds of lies once led to the near-extinction of Zuckerberg’s own ancestral group, European Jews.
But bizarrely, Zuckerberg this week used Holocaust denial as the example of free speech that he would not want to suppress on Facebook.
In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher (one of the only journalists whom he seems to grant interviews), Zuckerberg said when asked about regulating speech on Facebook:
Here Swisher correctly interjects that this is probably not the case.
Zuckerberg plows on:
That was a lot of words, and none of them very eloquent. Did Zuckerberg just compare Holocaust deniers to himself when he misspeaks in public?
For the record, Holocaust denial is usually the textbook example of why you sometimes need to regulate speech. (Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is another one.) Instead, Zuckerberg is using it as an example of why Facebook prefers to let everyone hash it out in public.
After thoughtful people criticized him on Wednesday, Zuckerberg followed up with a note to Swisher saying he was misunderstood — “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.” But that explanation still did not reflect an understanding that this is not a subject of debate among people of good will or that Facebook should have a position on this.
Yesterday, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Abraham Cooper said that Facebook officials told the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2009 that Holocaust denial content would be removed from the platform.
“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news,'” Cooper said in a statement. “The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.”
Get it, Mark? People who control mass communication platforms have a responsibility to think about the intent of the people using the platform. Uncomfortable as it may be, Facebook morally and ethically must make judgement calls about the content being posted. Those of us in news organizations do it every day.
The same goes for denying that the Sandy Hook massacre ever happened. It is immoral for Facebook to exercise no judgement around this content, aimed at spreading misinformation.
And yes, it’s complicated and sticky and a lot harder than coding Xs and Os.
The reality is that Zuckerbeg is winging it when it comes to making value judgements about the vast array of content on his platform. He doesn’t want to have to make decisions, dammit, that’s not why he started the thing.
Zuckerberg has demonstrated before his extreme discomfort with monitoring content, and his unwillingness to step in and make judgement calls. This moral abdication — this doing nothing — dovetails with Facebook’s profitable but questionable practice of mining the data of his users and then selling it to third parties even when he said he wasn’t doing so.
So now we can add Holocaust Denial to the list of things that the man who controls a communications platform with 2 billion-plus users does not understand.
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www.thewrap.com | 7/19/18
Comcast has increased its offer for British pay-TV company Sky PLC to $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s most recent offer.
Earlier on Wednesday, Fox raised its own offer for the media giant to $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast said that its increased offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.
Comcast’s new all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid.
“Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” the company said in its release about the new offer. “Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky.”
The move by Comcast is the latest volley between CEO Brian Roberts and Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch over who gets the keys to Sky, which counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.
In the U.S., Comcast is still battling with Disney to buy the film and TV assets from Fox. Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its proposed merger with Disney, though the deal was not contingent on that. Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to formally vote on the Disney sale, which has already received approval from the Department of Justice.
Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. For Fox, Sky is a bit of a passion project for Rupert Murdoch, who founded the satellite broadcaster in 1990, and already owns 39 percent of the company and has had his eye on gaining full control for years.
The UK government had already approved Comcast earlier offer in June, with Matt Hancock, then-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, who said at the time that “the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns.”
However, Fox was given the go-ahead to continue efforts to purchase Sky as well, on the condition that Fox sells off Sky’s 24-hour news channel to Disney in the planned sale of certain Fox film and television assets to the Mouse House. Disney has pledged a 15-year, $2 billion commitment to fund Sky News if it acquires the channel in the Fox deal.
Hancock, meanwhile, resigned amid a British cabinet shakeup this week and has been replaced in his role by Jeremy Wright.
According to Bloomberg, the British government has already signaled willingness to approve Fox’s offer, with its final decision due Thursday.
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www.thewrap.com | 7/11/18
Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” won the Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top jury prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The international competition winner tells of an artist who reenacts a real-life ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Romanian army in 1941, this time as an artistic installation.
The movie is a coproduction of six countries, led by Romania. In 2015, Jude won Berlin’s Silver Bear for best director for his film “Aferim!”
The festival at Karlovy Vary, nestled in a spa town outside Prague, Czech Republic, also awarded a special jury prize to Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianópolis,” and awarded a best director prize to Olmo Omerzu for “Winter Flies.” Mercedes Morán (“Sueño Florianópolis”) and Moshe Folkenflik (“Redemption”) won best actress and best actor, respectively.
Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which featured a trove of unaired, potentially damning footage from the early days of the Russian president’s rule, took best documentary. The jury also gave special mention to Ivan I. Tverdovskiy’s “Jumpman,” about a peculiar orphan who can’t feel physical pain until his estranged mother resurfaces.
Actor and director Tim Robbins joined a long line of American stars like Robert De Niro and Casey Affleck in receiving a special prize for his contributions to world cinema, TheWrap previously reported.
“Good Time” star Robert Pattinson was also handed this year’ President’s Award.
Read the complete list of winners:
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE (25 000 USD)
“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (15 000 USD)
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Olmo Omerzu for the film “Winter Flies”
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Mercedes Morán for her role in the film “Sueño Florianópolis”
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Moshe Folkenflik for his role in the film “Redemption”
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“History of Love”
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST GRAND PRIX (15 000 USD)
EAST OF THE WEST SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (10 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
GRAND PRIX FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (5 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
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www.thewrap.com | 7/7/18
The Texas of Germany, the state is home to a third of the nation’s blue-chip firms and a far-right fired culture war that could bring down the government.
www.nytimes.com | 6/30/18
Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek will take charge from 2020, Germany’s Culture Ministry announced.
www.nytimes.com | 6/22/18
Franchises find a way. With three weeks to go until the release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the sequel to the 2015 dinosaur megahit is looking at an opening weekend of $130-$150 million.
“Jurassic World” became one of the biggest box office hits of all-time three years ago, standing as one of only six films to ever post an opening weekend of more than $200 million with its $208 million launch. It’s also one of only seven films to gross $1 billion outside the U.S. And with a global total of $1.67 billion, it held the record for the highest grossing summer release ever until “Avengers: Infinity War” passed it earlier this month.
However, as today’s tracking shows, “Fallen Kingdom” isn’t expected to match the results of its predecessor. Similar to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Jurassic World” had the anticipation that comes with being the first installment in its franchise in more than a decade.
“Fallen Kingdom” won’t have that advantage, though there will still be hopes for the film to reach $1 billion worldwide. Domestically, an opening weekend 30 percent down from “Jurassic World”‘s opening — in other worlds, in the $140 million range — would be a strong result for the sequel. “Fallen Kingdom” is on course to hit that target based on this first round of tracking, though current estimates could change substantially as the release date nears.
To get to $1 billion, Universal will start rolling out the film overseas this coming Wednesday in 48 countries, two weeks before the film’s U.S. release. Among those countries are France, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, U.K., and UAE.
This early release is being done to give the film a week in theaters before the start of the FIFA World Cup, which traditionally weighs down overseas releases as audiences eschew the cinema in favor of watching the tournament. China, which contributed $228 million to the overseas totals for “Jurassic World,” will get “Fallen Kingdom” on June 15; while the U.S. will open day-and-date with Australia, Mexico, and South American markets.
The sequel sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as the survivors of the Jurassic World massacre, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. The dinosaurs have been living alone on Isla Nublar for three years, but when Claire discovers that a volcano eruption will soon kill them all, she persuades Owen to help her rescue them. Unfortunately, the pair are blindsided by an organization who plans to capture the dinosaurs for their own evil ends.
James Cromwell also stars in the film, with original “Jurassic Park” stars B.D. Wong and Jeff Goldblum returning as scientists Henry Wu and Ian Malcolm in cameo roles. J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls”) directed the film, with Colin Trevorrow returning as executive producer and writer for the film, sharing script credit with writing partner Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is also attached as executive producer.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/31/18
An order to hang crosses in government buildings has stirred the simmering culture wars since Germany opened its doors to more than a million migrants.
www.nytimes.com | 5/31/18
[New Zimbabwe] Dream Team Entertainment will early next month hold a Zimbabwe Culture Show dubbed hashtag "Heritage" which will feature Germany-based prolific mbira player, Stella Chiweshe and Donel Mangena.
allafrica.com | 5/25/18
Tell me if you’ve heard these before. How does a radical feminist end each prayer? A-wo-men. What does a radical feminist need to put together her Ikea furniture? A wo-manual. What’s the most humorless country on Earth? Ger(wo)many.
Such is the level of wit on display in “The Misandrists,” Bruce LaBruce’s new cutting-edge satire about how the most extreme elements of Second Wave Feminism — i.e., the version prevalent half a century ago — were, like, totally cray-zay.
If nothing else, the New Queer Cinema icon’s tenth feature is a reminder that transgression need clear the lowest of bars to be glorified as such. “The Misandrists” is much more interesting than to read about than it is to see: A group of lesbian separatists hatch a scheme to persuade the world of the value of gender equality via politically correct porn, but the group’s coherence is threatened by the presence of an injured man who’s smuggled into the isolated, militantly (read: cartoonishly) feminist stronghold-cum-school where a new generation of violent ideologues are being trained.
Set in Germany in 1999, this riff on Don Siegel’s “The Beguiled” includes storylines about compulsory lesbianism, SAT-vocabulary-heavy treatises on academic feminism, a debate about the role of trans women in women-only spaces, (mostly unrelated) threats of castration, snippets of gay male pornography (a LaBruce obsession), and several nubile actresses in sexy Catholic-schoolgirl uniforms, their skin-tight miniskirts so meager you can catch more than a glimpse of underwear.
Why is the next generation of anti-men revolutionaries dressed for the male gaze? If you’re the kind of viewer who expects basic coherence from a movie, “The Misandrists” is probably not for you.
LaBruce’s technique here — and for some of the auteur’s admirers, its probable selling point — is to constantly throw provocations at the audience in the hopes that one of the taboos that he breaks will elicit a reaction. But the result feels haphazard, rendering the 85-minute running time a slog, and is stuffed with bad-on-purpose lines like, “Wake up and smell the estrogen.” Because goading is the film’s ultimate goal, there’s not enough attention paid to basic storytelling elements, like the barely-there characterization and the across-the-board atrocious acting.
And in too many scenes, it’s simply unclear what the writer-director’s intention is. Are we supposed to take the Female Liberation Army’s mission to make the world a better place, for example, as mere foolhardiness? Creative idealism? A surprisingly effective tactic? In lieu of the productive ambivalence LaBruce may be going for, all I’ve got is my hands up in the air.
But the film’s greatest disappointment is how empty and irrelevant its lampooning feels. Despite renewed attacks from the right, particularly since 2016, feminism has become a driving force in pop culture — and thus ripe for a comic reckoning. Shows like “Girls,” “Broad City,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and “Inside Amy Schumer,” as well as sites like Reductress, have captured the zeitgeist by engaging with the feminism of today, not the cobwebbed version of the “Mad Men” years that has few adherents or influence in the 21st century.
An eleventh-hour burst of hard-to-watch violence does get closer to true impropriety, but with so little investment stored up in the characters, it registers as a hollow shock. In the end, the only transgression “The Misandrists” really commits is self-satisfied solipsism.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/23/18
This article deals with the Culture of Germany as a political state within Europe; for a review of the culture of the German-speaking world, see Culture of German-speaking Europe. German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation state. Due to its rich cultural history, Germany is often known as das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). Germany, over the centuries, has produced a great number of polymaths, geniuses and notable people, such as Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Kepler, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Marx, Richard Wagner, Martin Luther, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Benz, Georg Ohm, Rudolf Diesel, Gottfried Leibniz, Johannes Gutenberg, Richard Strauss, and Bertolt Brecht among others.