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The Best of Youth-Movie Review *** 08/06/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Cannes Film Festival, César Awards, David di Donatello Awards, European Film Awards, Movies, National Board of Review, Seattle International Film Festival.
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The Best of Youth (Italian) 2003 ***
La meglio gioventù

Directed by Marco Tullio Giordano
Starring Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Jasmine Trinca, Maya Sansi, Sonia Bergamasco, and Adriana Asti

Among many other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Un Certain Regard Award (Giordano), Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best European Union Film, César Awards, France
WINNER, Best Director (Giordano); Best Film; Best Editing; Best Producer; Best Screenplay; Best Sound; NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lo Cascio); Best Supporting Actor (Fabrizio Gifuni); Best Supporting Actress (Trinca), David di Donatello Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lo Cascio); Best Director (Giordano); Best Screenwriter, European Film Awards
WINNER, NBR Award-Top Foreign Film, National Board of Review, USA
WINNER, Golden Space Needle Award, Best Director (Giordano), Seattle International Festival

An epic Italian film about two brothers, starting out during their young adult years in the 1960s and following them through several tumultuous decades into the early 2000s, a time during which their lives separate but often intertwine. Nicola (Lo Cascio), the thoughtful and responsible brother, becomes a psychiatrist; Matteo (Boni), impetuous and hot-tempered, ignores his true yearnings and becomes a policeman.

When I say the film is epic, I mean long, and, in this case, I mean very long (approximately 6 hours), but viewing times can easily be broken up as the story covers different parts of the brothers’ lives. The entire ensemble cast is outstanding and, similar to reading a good lengthy book, I didn’t want their stories to end. And if the ending doesn’t make you tear up or yell “Kiss her, you fool,” don’t brag about it.

According to Wikipedia, Director Giordano made a previous film about the death of controversial Italian poet and director Pier Paolo Pasolini. The title of this film is taken from one of Pasolini’s poems.

Highly recommended.

366 min. Rated R (language and brief nudity).


Cell 211-Movie Review *** 06/24/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Goya Awards, Seattle International Film Festival, Spanish language film, Suspense, Toronto International Film Festival, Turia Awards, Venice Film Festival.
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Cell 211 (Spanish) 2009 ***

Directed by Daniel Monzón
Starring Alberto Ammann, Luis Tosar, Antonio Resines, Carlos Bardem, and Marta Etura

Among many other awards and nominations:
OFFICIAL SELECTION, Venice Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival; Seattle International Film Festival
WINNER, CEC Award, Best Actor (Tosar); Best Director (Monzón); Best Film; Best Editing; Best Score; NOMINATED, Best Cinematography; Best New Artist (Ammann); Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actors (Bardem; Resines); Best Supporting Actress (Etura), Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain
WINNER, Best Actor (Tosar); Best Director (Monzón); Best Editing; Best Film; Best New Actor (Ammann); Best Screenplay; Best sound; Best Supporting Actress (Etura); NOMINATED in several other categories, Goya Awards
WINNER, Golden Space Needle Award, Best Actor (Tosar), Seattle International Film Festival
WINNER, Audience Award-Best Spanish Film; WINNER, Turia Award-Best Spanish Film, Turia Awards

When it comes to prison movies, here is one that is definitely worth watching. Prison guard Juan (Ammann) shows up a day early for his new job and gets caught up in a prison riot. Juan, whose wife is expecting their first child, must figure out a way to survive inside the cell block, which is run by vicious inmate Malamadre (Tosar).

The number of awards the film received, especially in Spain, is not surprising. This story takes many unpredictable and well-executed twists and turns. Actor Luis Tosar has many credits to his name, but this is the first film for Alberto Ammann.

111 min. Not rated, but do expect a good deal of bloody violence (it is a prison riot, after all).


Cherry Blossoms-Movie Review *** 03/09/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Bavarian Film Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Butoh performance, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Seattle International Film Festival, Valldolid International Film Festival.
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Cherry Blossoms (German) 2008 ***

Written and directed by Doris Dörrie
Starring Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner, and Aya Irizuki

WINNER, Best Actor (Wepper); Best Production, Bavarian Film Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Dörrie), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Wepper), European Film Awards
WINNER, Film Award in Gold, Best Leading Actor (Wepper) and Best Costume Design; Film Award in Silver, Outstanding Feature Film; NOMINATED, Film Award in Gold, Best Direction (Dörrie); Best Supporting Actress (Elsner); Best Screenplay (Dörrie), German Film Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Wepper), German Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, Golden Space Needle Award-Best Film (Dörrie), Seattle International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Golden Spike (Dörrie), Valldolid International Film Festival

When a doctor tells Trudi (Elsner) that her husband Rudi (Wepper) doesn’t have much longer to live, she decides it would be best to keep the prognosis from him. Instead, she tries to get Rudi to visit his children, one of whom lives in Japan, a place she herself always longed to visit.

A story of love and grieving, beautifully photographed and beautifully acted. Especially entrancing are the sequences of Butoh, an avant garde performance form that began in Japan in the 1960s.

Highly recommended.

124 min. Not rated.

Here’s a short Butoh performance (not from the movie):