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Entries in Mountains May Depart (3)

Tuesday
May 24 2016

Doc Corner: Jia Zhangke Gets a Tribute in 'A Guy from Fenyang'

Glennhere.Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres,festivals,and on demand.This week we're looking at Walter Salles' doc about Chinese film giant Jia Zhangke.

In the opening scene of Jia Zhangke's sublimeMountains May Depart,characters dance to the Pet Shop Boys' euphoric rendition of "Go West".The song may have been a demand for a gay utopia,but it is also an apt choice for a movie in which characters slowly shift from rural China to the blue skies and bright lights of Australia.Zhangke's characters are often caught between two worlds,travelling down a road (literal of metaphorical) to an unknown future and it is these pervading themes that have made him the unofficial cinematic chronicler of modern day China.They are also what makesJia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyangsuch a fitting tribute to the man.

Directed by Walter Salles,A Guy from Fenyangfollows the director in intimate fashion as he returns to his hometown as well as prominent filming locations featured across his filmography in movies likeXiao Wu,The World,Platform,Still Life(my personal favourite of his works),and most prominentlyA Touch of Sinfor which this doc was made as a sort of companion piece.[More...]

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Thursday
Oct 01 2015

Oscar Contender "The Assassin"Leads the Golden Horse Nominations

Nominations for the 52nd annualGolden Horse Awardshave been announced withTaiwan's Oscar submissionThe Assassinleading the pack as well as netting arthouse favorite Hou Hsiao-Hsien a non-competitive statue for "Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker"to go along with his Best Director prize from Cannes earlier this year.The Assassinopens in limited US theatrical release on October 16th via Well Go entertainment.China's Oscar submissionWolf Totem,which is actually from animal-movie loving French director Jean-Jacques Annaud (!),only received 1 nomination for visual effects.The latter film is about a student living with Mongolian herders who adopts a wolf cub.

ThoughThe Assassinis likely to sweep the Golden Horses outside of acting (where only the ridiculously beautiful Shu Qi,Hou's regular muse,is nominated.No Chen Chang?Grrrr.) it's not the only big deal in Chinese languages cinema this year.Taiwan'sThanatos,Drunk,Hong Kong's popular crime thrillerPort of Call,and China's acclaimed festival favoriteMountains May Departalso reaped several nominations.The event will be held on November 21st in Taipei.

BEST FEATURE FILM

A complete list of nominationsafter the jump...

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Wednesday
May 20 2015

Cannes Actress: Zhao Tao and Jane Fonda

The latest buzz from Cannes is that the Best Actress race is heating up.Or at least speculation is.Marion Cotillard's Lady MacBeth has yet to screen but those that have seen it early are typically wowed.But we know at this point not to expect Cannes juries to point and go "Her!Her!".If there is a Blanchett-Vanquisher out there it may well be Zhao Tao who stars in the "giddily ambitious"Mountains May Depart.

That's the latest from the reknowned Jia Zhangke,a regular at the fest for whom Zhao Tao is a recurring player (Still Life,Platform,A Touch of Sin).Mountainsis Zhangke's fourth try at the Palme and though he usually comes away empty-handed,his last attemptA Touch of Sin(2013) took Best Screenplay.Despite the jury completely changing each year Cannes somehow has an Oscar-like sense of momentum wherein you generally move up the ranks as to which prizes you take;longevity wins the Palme.(It's not as simple as that of course but there can be a weird cumulative coronation effect.)

So that makes the Palme race: Hungary'sSon of Saulvs.USA'sCarolvs China'sMountains May Depart?(Or am I forgetting something that's been similarly ecstatically received?) Typing them out that way it makes Cannes sound like the Olympics of the movies,only annual instead of bi-annual.And maybe it is?

In other Canne actressy news,our friend Kyle Buchanan says that Jane Fonda walks away with Paolo Sorrentino'sYouthwhich stars Michael Caine as a retired film composer.I'm hearing that Fonda's role is very showy (an old combative muse to Harvey Keitel's director character),but quite small.Nevertheless I couldn't help but immediately picture bothGrace(Jane)and Frankie(Lily) as Oscar nominees this year inSupporting(forYouth) andLead(forGrandma) and how much media fun wouldthatbe?Sorrentino had a major Cannes sensation and eventual Oscar winner with his last filmThe Great Beauty.This one is in English which naturally will give it a leg up with Oscar voters if it opens this year but it's already more divisive which can be a problem.Still love/hate divides are tough to predict with awards.All you sometimes need is the right people on the love side to turn the critical tide around.And anyway when this mixed review called it 'elegant fun'I just thought...doesn't that describe a lot of well received prestige films?

But just to remind us that she's already one of the immortals (with 2 Oscars,亚博主页multiple classic films,and celebrity outside of acting as well,the legend is assured) here is Jane Fonda looking amazing on the cover of W --  their oldest cover girl ever.

Here's an interesting bit on self-awareness fromthe W interview:

One day on the set ofOn Golden Pond,a film that she coproduced so that she could costar with her father,the legendary actor Henry Fonda,she was fixing her hair when Katharine Hepburn (who played her mother in the film) pinched her cheek and demanded,"What do you wantthisto mean?""It was 1981,and I didn't know what she was talking about,"Fonda recalled."Back then,I didn't give my looks a fare-thee-well,and that bothered Katharine.She said to me,‘This is what you present to the world.What do you want it to say about you?' Her question has been lodged in my psyche ever since.I now think what Katharine meant was awareness of a persona.She wanted me to consider how I wanted to be seen.Now I pay attention to how I present myself to the world.I realize that it matters."