Les Amants Reguliers wins Prix Fipresci 2006

Philippe Garrel won the Prix Fipresci 2006 for his beautiful homage to the Novelle Vague and the May 1968 generation, Les Amants Reguliers (whose recent UK DVD release was reviewed on Kamera). The president of Fipresci, Andrei Plakhov, said, "Philippe Garrel made his first film when he was 16, and by 20 had earned the reputation of the Nouvelle Vague's Wunderkind and 'younger brother of Godard'. His sophisticated cinematographic style, with long concentrated frames, is unique. His films are like fake detective stories, where mystery lies, not in the plot but in the style.”

Fipresci +


Omar Sharif at the Cairo Film Festival

For those of you wondering about Omar Sharif's (pictured) whereabouts, fret no more. Today he's in Cairo (well, he's lived in Egypt all his life), for the opening of the Cairo Film Festival, which started 30 years ago. Sharif is the honorary president of the festival. The event goes on until 8 December and will be dedicated to the Late Nobel Prize Laureate Naguib Mahfouz, who died earlier this year. Films based on his novels will be screened.

The festival will feature Arab and international movie stars such as the American actor Dany Glover and the British actress Jacqueline Bisset besides Jeremy Irons and Julia Ormond who will attend the festival's different sections. These include "The Official Contest", "Guest of Honor", "Arab Films Competition", "Arabs in International Movies", "Panorama of Lebanese Movies" and "Panorama of the Egyptian Cinema".

Cairo Film Festival +


RIP Robert Altman

The legends seem to keep dropping this year, don't they? RIP big man - for the last five minutes of The Player alone you were totally CLASSIC!!


Sighting of the month: Matt Dillon in the Amazon

We spotted Matt Dillon visiting an environmental project in the Amazon during his attendance at the Manaus (the capital of the Amazon) film festival. Shall we rename him 'Mata Dillon' in reference to the Portuguese word for jungle? Or am I paying too much attention to the antics involved in headline writing on British tabloids?

Mata Dilllon +

Round up: Latin American and German cinema in London

In the run-up to the Christmas season (definitely a bad cinema season), there are quite a few options around London for those who want to get a proper film fix before heading off to the Christmas break to watch The Sound of Music for the umpteenth time.

The charity Discovering Latin America, whose main goal is to publicise Latin American culture abroad and raise funds for social projects it chooses to champion, arrives at the
5th edition of its annual film festival on Thursday, 23/11, running until 03/12. The festival will take place at the Odeon Covent Garden and Panton Street in the West End, Tate Modern in the South Bank, The Ritzy Cinema in Brixton and Everyman Cinema in Hampstead. Yours truly will be presenting a section of Brazilian short films at the Ritzy Cinema on 01/12 at 6:30pm, so please come and say hello. The Tate Modern will be showing Luis Bunuel's Viridiana and the rest of the programme is a mixture of films from all over the Latin American continent. Further information from the DLAFF site.

Also starting on 23/11 and running until the 26th is the 9th Festival of German Films promising 'a strong line-up of impressively crafted and compelling new features and documentaries from some of the most exciting German filmmakers working today'. The event also features a section called Critical Cinema of East Germany, presented by the London Goethe-Institut plus the regular Next Generation strand which showcases live-action and animated shorts from German film school graduates. More info here.

(Still from Dog Pound, DLAFF, screening on 3/12)


David Lynch's cow stunt

David Lynch is back after a five-year hiatus with a new feature film, Inland Empire, which reunites the top American surrealist with the ever lovely Laura Dern (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart). Reviews have been good , but so far there's no UK release date scheduled. However, Lynch has been busy promoting his film, due out in the U.S. next month (15/12) and even took to the streets of Los Angeles to promote it. Don't you just love this man?


See it: Stella Polare

Anyone attending the Leeds International Film Festival should check out the striking Stella Polare (pictured left), by British filmmakers Anthea Kennedy and Ian Wilbin, which screens today at 1:45pm and tomorrow at 2:15 at the Carriageworks. Stella Polare is everything that British films quite often are not: meditative, mysterious and oblivious of the strictures of conventional narrative. I saw this film at the Osnabruck Media Art festival in May this year and absolutely loved it. An inspiration for indepedent filmmakers working with video technology; it shows how much can be achieved.


Festival alert: Kassel and Leeds

The 23rd edition of the Kassel Film and Video Festival starts today and runs until the 12th. 214 current films and videos from 21 countries will be screened within the next six days, one third of which are premieres. About 100 directors and artists are expected to attend the festival for the presentation and discussion of their works. The exhibition MONITORING presents 16 media installations from five countries. The opening is going to take place on November 8 at 7 pm. The interdisciplinary conference interfiction as well as the Live Visuals in the DokfestLounge will close the festival. Altogether 68 contributions out of the program will compete for the three prizes of €10,000 in total and the A38-Artist-in-Residence Grant Kassel-Halle.

Kassel film and video festival +

Elsewhere, the Leeds International Film Festival is now well under way. The organisers remind us that although the Fanomenon Horror Weekend has now ended, there's a chance to catch some of the films at their repeat screenings - Silver Méliès winner Isolation (Tue 7 Nov), Resonnances, The Woods (Thu 9 Nov), Gruesome and Dark Remains (Fri 10 Nov). Still to come in the Film Festival are American Hardcore, a film about the American Punk Explosion (Wed 8 Nov), presented by director Paul Rachman and writer Steven Blush. Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell and Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback can be seen again later this week: the former plays on Sat 11 Nov (Hyde Park Picture House, 9:00pm) while the latter will be showing on Mon 6 Nov (The Carriageworks, 3:15pm).

Leeds film festival +


Danish Silent Classics on DVD

A delicious and not to mention important selection of Danish silent film classics has been restored and is now available for purchase online on the website of the Danish Film Institute. The selection includes films by internationally renowned director Carl Theodor Dreyer; the charismatic actor-director Benjamin Christensen and films starring Denmark's most prominent thespians of the silent period: actor Valdemar Psilander and actress Asta Nielsen.

A total of nine DVDs are available at present, while two more will be ready for sale in the coming months. These include films by Holger-Madsen (Himmelskibet, from 1918), August Blom (Verdens undergang/The End of the World, from 1916) and Carl Theodor Dreyer (Blade af Satan's Bog/Leaves from Satan's Book from 1921, Der var engang/Once Upon A Time, 1922).

The launch of this DVD collection (with English intertitles) is the conclusion of an ambitious project of the DFI Film Archive, which began in 2003, when the Danish Ministry of Culture allocated 1 million DKK (about £90,000) to a project for the digitization of national film classics from the silent period. The title list and more information can be found on the site of the Danish Film Institute.