The Broken Circle Breakdown

It’ll be a while yet before we find out which English-language films are up for the Oscars, but the Best Foreign Language Film category has already been narrowed down to nine contenders.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Scientists has just revealed its shortlist of nine foreign films which will be competing for five slots when the nominations are announced on January 16. Among the semifinalists are Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, the Mads Mikkelsen-starring The Hunt, and Belgium’s bluegrass romance The Broken Circle Breakdown (pictured above). Read the rest after the jump.

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Thomas Vinterberg is a name that more people should know, if only for his film Festen (The Celebration). That ’98 effort was the first film in the Dogme95 movement, and was at the leading edge of shooting serious theatrical efforts on video. Shot by Anthony Dod Mantle, who later became Danny Boyle’s regular cinematographer, the film is also arguably the birth of Boyle’s current style.

Vinterberg hasn’t exactly been quiet in the past decade (films such as Dear Wendy and Submarino have made waves on the festival circuit) and now he returns with The Hunt. The film played Cannes last year, where star Mads Mikkelsen (Pusher, Hannibal) won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of a divorced father who becomes the target of accusations of abuse and molestation.

The US is among the last global markets to get the film in a theatrical release, but we will get to see the film later this summer. Check out a great trailer below. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we catch up with the always on-point Gabriel Byrne, get blown away by Tim Roth as a dad we all would want, go on a snipe hunt for a chomo that doesn’t exist, get wowed by a real-life ex-con and his old lady, and be utterly underwhelmed by  Zyzzyx Road’s director, John Penney’s, latest.

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The primary lineup for the competition slate at the 2012 Cannes has been unveilend, and it is a very strong list of films. There are quite a few expected entries: David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis, Lee DanielsThe Paperboy, John Hillcoat‘s Lawless (formerly The Wettest County), and Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly (formerly Cogan’s Trade), and we already knew that Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom would open the festival.

But the international lineup is even more exciting, with films such as Rust & Bone from Jacques Audiard, Amour from Micheal Haneke, The Hunt from Thomas Vinterberg, and Mekong Hotel from 2010 Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. As is occasionally the case with Cannes, this year’s lineup features many returning Cannes award winners; it’s a world-class program.

The downside to all of that is that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master and Terrence Malick‘s as-yet untitled romance starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem didn’t show up in the list. There is some time for them to be added to the festival lineup in some measure, but (as expected) we’ll likely have to wait until this fall for The Master. As for the Malick movie… well, it’s Malick, so who knows?

You’ll find the lineup as it has been announced so far after the break. Read More »

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Outside of Europe, Lars Von Trier got all the attention for Dogme 95, the film ‘movement’ that set down a set of naturalistic rules for directors. But the co-creator of Dogme 95 and director of the first film made under the resulting manifesto was Thomas Vinterberg. His film Festen (The Celebration) is a low-key tour de force, a portrait of family breakdown that toes a nearly undefinable line between satire and tragedy. It instantly established Vinterberg as a talent to watch.

Sadly, Vinterberg’s later films haven’t hit the same high. It’s All About Love is vaguely like a more arthouse version of Southland Tales, while Dear Wendy only seemed to anger audiences. (I think I’m one of the few people who liked it at all.)

But I remain optimistic for each new film from Vinterberg. So here’s the trailer for his latest, Submarino, which premieres at the Berlin Film Festival. Read More »

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