Awards Season News

84th Academy Awards: Winners

The Artist won five awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, (Michael Hazanavicius) and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin).

Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) was awarded Best Actress, whilst in the supporting categories Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) won for their respective roles.

Hugo was the big winner in the technical categories, winning Cinematography, Sound Editing and Mixing, Art Direction and Visual Effects.

The Artist also became the the first silent film to win Best Picture since Wings (1927), which won the same prize at the very first Academy Awards.

So in a year that has seen great changes as cinema shifts from celluloid to digital, there was something appropriate in the big winners being tributes to the silent era and one of its true pioneers, Georges Méliès.


Official Oscar site
> Explore the 84th Academy Awards in depth at Wikipedia

Awards Season

84th Academy Awards: Foreign Language Film


The foreign language category has been the subject of much debate in recent years.

In particular, critics have wondered why some of the most acclaimed films in world cinema have been repeatedly snubbed and there seems to be confusion about the selection process.

Stephen Galloway and Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Mark Johnson, Chairman of the Academy’s foreign language film selection committee, for a wide-ranging discussion about the process.

BULLHEAD (Belgium) in Dutch and French (Dir. Michaël R. Roskam)

A drama  about a Limburgish cattle farmer (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader.

RUNDSKOP (BULLHEAD) trailer HD 720p english… by myfilm-gr

The film was selected for 61st Berlin International Film Festival and Drafthouse Films will release it on February 17th in limited release (UK release is TBC). It has won several festival awards at AFI FestFantastic FestPalm Springs International Film Festival and the Magritte Awards.

FOOTNOTE (Israel) in Hebrew (Dir. Joseph Cedar)

Drama exploring the power struggle between a father and son who teach at the Talmud department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

It premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the Best Screenplay Award. North American distribution rights for the film were acquired by Sony Pictures Classics.

Director Joseph Cedar spoke to David Poland here. [32 mins]

IN DARKNESS (Poland) in Polish (Dir. Agnieszka Holland)

Holocaust drama based on the true story of Polish Jews in Nazi-occupied Lvov, who inhabit the city’s sewers in order to survive.

It began its North American festival run at Telluride and Toronto and Sony Classics will release in the US.

Find out more at the official websiteIMDb and David Poland has interviewed Holland for his DP/30 series (31 mins).

MONSIEUR LAZHAR (Canada) in French (Dir. Philippe Falardeau)

Drama set in Montreal about an Algerian who takes over a class after a tragedy whilst experiencing difficulties of his own.

It won the Best Canadian Feature Film award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival is is a shortlisted nominee for Best Picture at the 2012 Genie Awards.

You can watch Phillipe Falardeau speak with TSO (15 mins) and Strombo (15 mins).

A SEPARATION (Iran) in Persian (Dir. Asghar Farhadi)

Iranian drama about a middle-class couple who separate, and the resulting complications which follow when the husband hires a caretaker for his elderly father.

It won the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to scoop top prize there.

Director Ashgar Farhadi has spoken to David Poland for his DP/30 series [37 mins]

Official Oscar site
Explore previous winners and nominees of Best Foreign Language Film at Wikipedia

Lists News

Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2011

This year’s Sight and Sound poll has been topped by Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

The UK film magazine polled around 100 critics and – as usual – the list has surfaced on various websites before the official one, even though they have confirmed the top two films on their Twitter feed:

“Most of you guessed right: our film of 2011 is The Tree of Life (by a country mile)”

Which begs the question, why has this film got the reputation of being critically divisive?

Whilst a minority booed at the Cannes press screening and it presumably baffled some audiences, if you look at the filtered critical consensus there is a lot of love for Malick’s opus: 85/100 on Metacritic, 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, 79/100 on Movie Review Intelligence and 7.3/10 on IMDb.

As is often the case, there is a good spread of European auteur royalty amongst the list (Von Trier, Dardennes and Tarr), which makes it read a bit like Thierry Frémaux‘s contacts book, but its good to see Michel Hazanavicius, Tomas Alfredson and Asghar Farhadi join the club with films of real distinction and class.

1. The Tree of Life (Dir. Terrence Malick).

2. A Separation (Dir. Asghar Farhadi).

3. The Kid With a Bike (Dir. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne).

4. Melancholia (Dir. Lars von Trier).

5. The Artist (Dir. Michel Hazanavicius).

=6. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan).

=6. The Turin Horse (Dir. Béla Tarr)

8. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Dir. Lynne Ramsay).

9. Le Quattro Volte (Dir. Michelangelo Frammartino).

=10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Dir. Tomas Alfredson).

=10. This Is Not a Film (Dir. Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmashb)

Sight and Sound (follow them on Twitter or connect on Facebook)
Wikipedia on 2011 in film

DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 21st November 2011


Three Colours Trilogy (Artificial Eye): Krzysztof Kieslowski s landmark trilogy of films is available for the first time in the UK on Blu-ray. The three films Blue, White and Red have rightly been acclaimed as modern classics. Co-written by Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz they explore how the French ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity relate to the modern world. Blue examines the freedom of a recently widowed woman (Juliette Binoche) as she tries to restart her life; White explores a Polish husband (Zbigniew Zamachowski) who takes revenge on his French ex-wife (Julie Delpy); and Red sees a Swiss model (Irène Jacob) befriend a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who eavesdrops on his neighbours. Filmed just as Europe was undergoing greater economic integration after the Cold War, like Kieslowski’s earlier films they carefully channel the human experience with emotional subtlety and astonishing technique. [Buy the Blu-ray boxset or the DVD set from Amazon UK]

A Separation (Artificial Eye): The winner of this year’s Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival is a hugely accomplished drama exploring the tensions of modern Iranian society. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, it explores what happens to man (Peyman Moadi) when his wife (Leila Hatami) leaves him and he hires a young woman (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But things are not what they seem and as the film brilliantly unravels, we learn more about how the different characters handles an increasingly complex web of emotions. [Buy the Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon UK]


Cars 2 (Walt Disney) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD] (Collector’s Edition) –
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Horrible Bosses (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Great Raid (Miramax) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Human Centipede 2 – Full Sequence (Bounty Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Zookeeper (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]

Recent UK cinema releases
The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010



UK Cinema Releases: Friday 1st July 2011


Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount): The third film in the series sees more battles between alien robots, which includes the destruction of large chunks of Chicago. Directed by Michael Bay, it stars Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and John Turturoo. [Nationwide / 12A] [Read our review here]

Larry Crowne (Optimum Releasing): Comedy-drama about a man (Tom Hanks) who tries to turn his life around by returning to community college in LA. Directed by Hanks, it co-stars Julia Roberts and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. [Nationwide / 12A]

The Conspirator (Universal): Period drama about Mary Surratt, the only female co-conspirator charged in the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Directed by Robert Redford, it stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Tom Wilkinson and Kevin Kline. [Nationwide / 12A]


A Separation (Artificial Eye): Iranian drama about the knock on effects of a couple breaking up. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, it stars Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi and Babak Karimi. [Key Cities / PG]

As If I Am Not There (Element Pictures): Drama set during the Bosnian war, about a woman (Natasha Petrovic) who gets caught up in the horrors of the conflict. Directed by Juanita Wilson, it stars Stellan Skarsgard and Miraj Grbic. [Key Cities / 18]

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (November Films): Documentary about the Japanese fascination with insects. Directed by Jessica Oreck. [Key Cities / U]

> Get local cinema showtimes at Google Movies or FindAnyFilm
> UK DVD & Blu-ray releases for Monday 27th June 2011, including Never Let Me Go and Akira