September 15, 2016
This morning, Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival announced its GEMS 2016 Lineup. Like last year, the mini film festival will offer an array of films that will satisfy connoisseurs of world cinema, fans of music and those looking for a sneak peak at films that will surely go on to be Oscar contenders.
Shadows obscure life throughout Dheepan, in the drudgery of scraping a living together from nighttime street vending to cleaning out dank common areas in a French housing development rife with tension between rival gangsters to the room the titular character shares with a woman and girl masquerading as his wife and daughter. The shadows seep into the lead character’s sense of self, for his real name is not even Dheepan, as established early in the film. He’s a former Tamil soldier fleeing strife in Sri-Lanka, adopting a new name and joining forces with a young woman and an orphaned girl for safe passage to France.
Presenting Princess Shaw star and director talk connecting via Internet and criticism leveled against film
July 19, 2016
She hugs strangers and loves to declare “Cool sauce!” punctuating the quirky saying with operatic singing of “rock sauuuce!” Samantha Montgomery, known to her YouTube subscribers as Princess Shaw, has positive energy to spare. A recent documentary about her, Presenting Princess Shaw, which we reviewed last week (Presenting Princess Shaw reveals value of success in music without the money — a film review), reveals she didn’t come to her positivity lightly.
July 13, 2016
Presenting Princess Shaw is a sweet yet frank documentary on the aspirations of an amateur YouTube star as she unwittingly is about to go viral. By focusing on Princess Shaw (real name: Samantha Montgomery) — the YouTube user — and the popular YouTube channel of Israeli multi-instrumentalist Kutiman (real name: Ophir Kutiel), Israeli director Ido Haar reveals the rather noble possibilities of a relatively new medium in the world of music. Due to legal circumstances, Kutiman’s channel is free of pop-up ads so as not to infringe on the contributions of the musicians he samples. This allows for more cathartic rewards of success to resonate and reveals how vital and essential success is to the unknown talent of Princess Shaw.
Sweet Bean is a deeply moving depiction of true friendship and a lesson on how to appreciate life through the world around us — including our food. The story centers around Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase), a manager of sorts at a local food stall that serves sweet treats called dorayaki, which are made of sweet bean paste sandwiched between two small pancakes. Sentaro is a rather unhappy guy, dragging his feet around, he travails from his apartment to his shop, which is only steps away. He is unaware of his surroundings, except when those surroundings annoy him. Early on he shoos away a group of young girls who talk too loud and laugh too much. However, he seems to give great care to his work, investing on preparing the perfect pancake.
Yorgos Lanthimos, director of The Lobster, talks finding filmmaking freedom in England and two new projects
June 3, 2016
Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, probably one of the most distinctive voices in that already distinctive cinema scene that Greece has produced in recent years, did something special to preserve his idiosyncratic voice when he switched to making films in English. He moved to England. Often, you hear about foreign filmmakers, especially Oscar-nominated ones, like Lanthimos, wooed by Hollywood to make their English language debut. But, when we spoke, he made it clear that’s not what he wanted to do with his career. We spoke while he was in Los Angeles … for a brief press tour.
June 2, 2016
Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos burst onto the International film scene in 2009 with the disturbing, Oscar-nominated family drama Dogtooth. There was no way it was going to win. It peered deep into the malleable psyche of humanity, a sort of parable of Hitler-like brainwashing in an intimate domestic setting. Now he emerges with his first English-language movie, and it’s no less critical of the dumb things people do when they follow the crowd without question.