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Tuesday
Aug072018

THE STORY SO FAR...: TARANTINO'S ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

One of the few Hollywood auteurs whose name is as recognizable as the stars that flock to his projects, Quentin Tarantino is currently shooting what is shaping as the most highly anticipated film of his career, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. The director has teased, “It takes place at the height of the counterculture explosion, at the time of the hippie revolution…at the height of new Hollywood.” So what do we know about the Pulp Fiction auteur’s latest…?

The LA industry began buzzing in July 2017, when Tarantino (via his representatives at William Morris Endeavour) announced his latest project - his first original script, five years in the writing, to be based on real events. The narrative was initially described as an account of the infamous Charles Manson murders. The cult leader (once a song-writing hopeful who lived with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson) ordered his followers to slay the residents of a home in Benedict Canyon; on August 8, 1969, five died, including actress Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski and eight months pregnant at the time of her brutal death.

Under the work-in-progress titles ‘Tarantino 1969’, ‘Manson Family Murders Project’ or simply ‘#9’ (a reference to it being the director’s ninth film), top-tier talent began circulating for a myriad of roles. Jennifer Lawrence (as Tate) and Tom Cruise (as an LA County prosecutor) were initially attached; the director’s frequent collaborator Samuel L. Jackson met with Tarantino in mid-2017. With the departure of Lawrence, Australian-born Oscar nominee Margot Robbie firmed for the Tate part (pictured, below; Robbie and Tate); by November, Django Unchained star Leonardo DiCaprio publically declared his intent to work with Tarantino again, accepting a lead role well below his pay grade. When Inglorious Basterds leading man Brad Pitt (pictured, right; on-set with DiCaprio) confirmed his interest, the Hollywood suits closed the deal and fuelled a bidding war between studios and financiers (Tarantino detached himself from longtime production partner The Weinstein Company, with David Heyman replacing the disgraced Harvey Weinstein in the primary producer’s role).

Plot details began to emerge. With the turbulent social change that was the late 60s as its backdrop, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of television star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) who, with his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) by his side, navigates the Los Angeles film industry landscape hoping to re-energise his profile and crack bigscreen fame. Tarantino now posits the murders as a defining event in the narrative but not the all-consuming focus, silencing initial concerns that the film would be his typically blood-soaked take on the horrific crimes. Recent reports suggest the film will adopt a portmanteau structure a la Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece; at CinemaCon in April, he hinted his latest is “probably the closest to ‘Pulp Fiction’ that I have done.”

This more expansive story line explains an ensemble cast list that positions the already high-profile project as an event film (despite the departure of Cruise and Jackson). Dakota Fanning plays Manson disciple Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme; U.K. actor Damian Lewis has been cast as superstar Steve McQueen; as murdered hairstylist Jay Sebring, Speed Racer star Emile Hirsch; Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds as ranch owner George Spahn, who leased his land to Manson and his cultists; and, as talent agent Marvin Schwartz, the legendary Al Pacino (pictured, right; on-set, with his director).

An all-star line-up fills out key roles, including Kurt Russell, Scoot McNairy, Luke Perry, Clifton Collins Jr., Timothy Olyphant, Nicholas Hammond, James Marsden, James Remar, Martin Kove, Brenda Vaccaro, Zoe Bell and, as martial arts icon Bruce Lee, Mike Moh. The shoot will also reteam Tarantino with his Reservoir Dogs’ co-stars, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. No announcement has been made as to who will play Charles Manson.

Sony Pictures had beaten out 21st Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Annapurna to secure production and worldwide distribution rights. Tarantino spun the partnership as being the work of SPE boss Tom Rothman, who impressed the director with his in-depth film knowledge; other reports suggest the film came to Sony on the back of a deal that afforded Tarantino a US$95million budget, rare ‘final cut’ autonomy and a 25% gross-dollar bonus.

With cinematographer Robert Richardson lensing alongside Tarantino on their 6th collaboration, shooting began at Universal Studios and key location across the City of Angels (including, pictured above; the iconic Cinerama Dome, outfitted for a 1969 film screening) on June 18 and is set to wrap in mid-November. The release date had been set as August 9, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Manson-Tate murders; it has been subsequently changed to July 26.

Compiled with thanks from reports originally published on The Hollywood Reporter, Screen Rant, Variety, Deadline Hollywood and Indiewire.

Tuesday
Jul102018

FROM TEEN DREAM TO GAY ICON: TAB HUNTER'S MEMORABLE HOLLYWOOD MOMENTS

Guest columnist STEPHEN VAGG recalls 10 of the late Tab Hunter’s finer moments from a filmography that came to symbolize the vagaries of Hollywood fame…

Tab Hunter passed away on Sunday July 8 in Santa Barbara after complications arose from a blood clot; he was 86. He owed his fame to his looks; Ken Doll features which suited the Eisenhower era and turned him into a teen idol. Arriving in Los Angeles as ‘Arthur Kelm’, he was given a silly stage name that made him a joke the moment he achieved stardom. But for a number of years he had the protection of Warner Bros, who put him in big budget films and encouraged a singing career.

His celebrity didn’t survive leaving the protection of Warner Bros in 1960, but he managed to keep working in European features, guest roles on TV, dinner theatre. In the 1980s he made something of a comeback via the films of John Waters, and in recent years his profile lifted with a well-received memoir and subsequent documentary, Tab Hunter Confidential (2015), that focused on his homosexuality.

Battle Cry (1955): Hunter’s first big hit was an adaptation of a Leon Uris best seller about marines in WW2. New Zealanders will get a kick out of Hollywood’s depiction of their homeland with people like Dorothy Malone (pictured, right; with Hunter) cast as 'Kiwis'.

The Sea Chase (1955): Hunter, John Wayne and Lana Turner are all cast as Germans (!) in Sydney (!!) at the outbreak of World War Two being chased through the Pacific by the British. (There were a bunch of “sympathetic German hero” films in the 1950s). Directed by Aussie John Farrow. The film is engrossing, though Hunter’s role is small.

Fear Strikes Out (1955): Like many a 1950s movie heartthrob, Hunter’s best performances in this decade were actually on small screen anthology shows. This was for Climax!, about the baseball player Jimmy Piersall who has a nervous breakdown. Although Hunter was excellent, the role in the film version was taken by Tony Perkins – which ended the real life romance between Hunter and Perkins at the time. (A story to be dramatized in the new feature, Tab and Tony, produced by Zachary Quinto and JJ Abrams.)

Forbidden Area (1956): Hunter is excellent in the first episode of the show Playhouse 90, playing a Russian sleeper, from a script by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer, with Charlton Heston looking bad-ass in an eye patch

Portrait of a Murderer (1958): Hunter scores again in an episode of Playhouse 90, written by Leslie Stevens and directed by Arthur Penn. He plays a murderer – he would be effective in such parts eg Gunman’s Walk (1958) The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972).

Damn Yankees (1958): Warners insisted on casting Hunter in this big screen version of the stage musical, otherwise full of top line Broadway talent. He actually does okay but the film is stolen by Ray Walston and Gwen Vernon (pictured, right; with Hunter).

His Kind of Woman (1959): Hunter plays a soldier who romances kept woman Sophia Loren away from George Sanders. An odd drama, directed by Sidney Lumet, who had worked with Hunter in the early years of television.

Ride the Wild Surf (1964): Jan and Dean were meant to star alongside Fabian in this surfer flick but when their friend was involved in the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jnr they were replaced by Hunter and Peter Brown.  Art and Jo Napoleon directed but were replaced during filming by Don Taylor. Australian Olympian Murray Rose has a small role as an Aussie surfer.

Sweet Kill (1973; aka, The Arousers): Hunter as a serial killer in this interesting thriller, financed by Roger Corman, which was Curtis Hanson’s directorial debut.

Polyster (1981): The ageing heartthrob was exposed to a new audience via this John Waters comedy where he played opposite Divine. Hunter went on to a series of campy films including Grease 2 (1982) and Lust in the Dust (1985), which Hunter produced.

Saturday
Jun022018

THE FIVE-POINT SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE

In his engaging, remarkably frank memoir Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies, Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman reveals the five trade secrets that have helped him cope with what he calls “festival fever”. After 24 years as the founding movie critic at Entertainment Weekly and in his current gig as one of the last paid film commentators on Earth, he knows the pitfalls of film festival overload, declaring in Chapter 17 that “After six or seven days, I’m sated, bloated, reduced to the movie equivalent of a food coma.”

On the eve of the 2018 Sydney Film Festival, SCREEN-SPACE looks to the author’s experience and festival survival criteria to help navigate the twelve daunting days of the 65th anniversary program. We hope that drawing upon incisive passages of Gleiberman's brilliant prose (Ed: a dog-eared copy of Movie Freak never leaves my desk) will ensure our Emerald City readers maintain good movie-going mental health in the weeks ahead... 

1. SEE ONLY THREE MOVIES A DAY.
Gleiberman has deduced that, “three movies a day…creates a nice sustainable flow.” Four movies is doable but not advised (“…it’s not bricklaying, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to feel good.”) He recounts the first time he tried to conquer a four-movie sit-in - a retrospective marathon of Beatles films, when he was 12. “Halfway through Let It Be, I felt my interest dissolving faster than the Beatles’ love for one another,” he writes. Sydneysiders might be tempted to multi-movie quadrella one of the weekend days; for example, Saturday, June 9 has 46 films scheduled across 14 locations, starting with a 10am session of the 234-minute Chinese drama An Elephant Sitting Still (pictured, right). Best not to, though; as Gleiberman concludes, by the seventh or eighth hour of film immersion, “your system is literally fed up with images.”

2. SEEK OUT ANY DOCUMENTARY ABOUT ROCK & ROLL OR PORN.
The shared rhythmic urgency of great (and/or loud) music and great (and/or loud) sex makes for rousing movie watching. Or, as Gleiberman pens it, “it’s a way of revitalizing the primacy of your responses.” Throughout his book, he cites moments in his musical education that have impacted his worldview (jump ahead to page 257 for his account of how Nina Simone changed his life). And the title ‘Movie Freak’ carries its own double meaning, given the open-door authorial policy re his psycho-sexual complexities. So it is no surprise that the cinema of ‘sex’ and ‘rock’n’roll’ should so energise Gleiberman. SFF programmers get the music part; one of the festival’s most popular strands has always been Sounds on Screen, which in 2018 includes Bad Reputation, a bio-doc on hard-rock goddess Joan Jett, and director Travis Beard’s Muslim-metal odyssey RockAbul. Porn, not so much, although there’s promise in Sari Braithwaite’s [Censored], a montage-doc made entirely of frames excised by Australian censors, and the late inclusion of Gaspar Noe's (non-doc) Cannes sensation, Climax.   

3. TAKE THE MEALS AS SERIOUSLY AS YOU DO THE MOVIES.
Oh, we are so on board with this! Writes Gleiberman, “Watching movies is all about pleasure, and so is evaluating them, so I say that you need to remain in a constant dialogue with your pleasure centers.” His global standing as a critic means he has gorged on the best festival food options the world over, from Sundance (“…Burgie’s, the low-down grease-pit burger diner on Main Street [it closed in 2005]…the Vietnamese place up the block… Davanza’s, where the ground-beef-and-mushroom pizza is an orgy of crusty tasty delight”) to Cannes (“…where you can have the greatest pizza you ever tasted…Even the name of the place is perfect: It’s called…La Pizza”). Rookie festivalists in Sydney may find themselves drawn to the fast food haunts of George Street (don’t…just, don’t). Instead, stick to the ‘three films a day’ rule and use the down time to partake of the event’s restaurant partners, which include Abode, Bloodwood, Bar Machiavelli, Azuma (pictured, right), Chef’s Gallery or The Ritz Bar. Most have specials for fest patrons; all will hurry you through if a session beckons. 

4. ALWAYS HANG OUT WITH...
In Movie Freak, Gleiberman's favoured festival bud is Elvis Mitchell (pictured, right), one of America's finest film critics (Movieline; The New York Times), scholars (lectures at University of Nevada), broadcasters (hosts KCRW’s The Treatment podcast) and curators (oversaw LACMA’s Film Independent series). “An exciting bebop maestro of a critic,” says Gleiberman. But Mitchell won't be at SFF 2018, so who can you hang with to ensure that, in Gleiber-speak, “you will always wind up at a better party or be privy to more gossip - and film insight – than you would with anyone else”? Debonair festival director Nashen Moodley, ideally, but penetrating his high society realm and unforgiving schedule is tough, so ingratiate yourself with this lot – Mathieu Ravier, tireless social gadfly and film sector advocate who in past years has overseen the after-hours hangout, 'The Hub'; Garry Maddox, veteran critic for The Sydney Morning Herald and one of the festival’s favoured Q&A hosts; and, Lisa Malouf, contributor to The Limerick Review site, ebullient lover of classic film culture and the savviest person with whom to spend ten minutes if you need a 'Best of the Fest' update.

    

5. THE WHOLE SYSTEM WANTS YOU TO BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID, OF A SUNDANCE CROWD-PLEASER. DON’T BE. 
One of the key messages in Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies is ‘Back Your Own Voice With Conviction.’ Gleiberman has found himself at odds with editors and audiences alike, his observations often running counter to popular opinion. To wit, his inherent dislike of ‘the Sundance crowdpleaser’, or in his words, “watchable polished-turd entertainments posing as organic movies”. Here’s what he wrote about that flag-bearer for Sundance sweetness, 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine: “…each of its characters – loser dad! surly teen son who refuses to speak! schticky naughty grandpa played by Alan Arkin! – a walking, talking screenwriter’s index card.” We’re not so on board with his ...Sunshine bashing, but we essentially agree with him; in our 2016 SFF wrap, we gave ‘Worst of the Fest’ to an awful, already-forgotten Sundance spawn, Coconut Hero. SFF 2018 programmers weren’t swayed from their sunny Sundance predilection. The festival closes with a Sundance premiere, Brett Haley’s Hearts Beat Loud (we’ll hold judgement, but…wow, that title); there are Sundance-endorsed pics such as Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Grand Jury Prize winner; pictured, right), Jesse Peretz’s Juliet, Naked, an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel (uh-oh) about a romance in the indie-rock scene (UH-OH!) and Sara Colangelo’s The Kindergarten Teacher (US Dramatic Directing Award). They are probably fine films, but if not, we’ll speak up, as should you. Don’t be afraid, writes Owen Gleiberman, of “branding yourself as the kind of curmudgeonly pariah who doesn’t know how to run with the crowd. Because you’re right and they’re wrong.”

THE 65th SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL runs June 6-17. Ticket and session details are available at the official website.

MOVIE FREAK: MY LIFE WATCHING MOVIES is currently available via Amazon (Australia/US) in print and audiobook and wherever all good books are sold.

Monday
May212018

EIGHT DECADES OF BILL GOLD'S MOVIE POSTER ART.

Few men have conjured the spirit of American movies from outside a darkened cinema more than Bill Gold. Since he began designing posters for Warner Bros in 1942 (his first being the James Cagney classic, Yankee Doodle Dandy), Gold has crafted some of the most iconic movie one-sheets in Hollywood history. So great was his reputation, directors such as Frederico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick approved his designs personally; Clint Eastwood would only use Gold's services. At the time of his death on Sunday May 20 at the age of 97, Gold had been credited with over 2000 designs.

  
SCREEN-SPACE honours the work of one of the film community's greatest unsung artists with eight posters from Bill Gold's eight decades of sublime cinema marketing...

The 1940s:

CASABLANCA (Dir: Michael Curtiz; 1942)
With only his second design assignment from the Warner Bros brass, Gold created a poster that would become as famous as the film itself. It was Bill Gold's hand that etched star Humphrey Bogart and the visages of all his co-stars... 
Also from the decade: YANKEE DOODLE DANDY; THE BIG SLEEP

The 1950s:

DIAL M FOR MURDER (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock; 1954)
Hitch's foray into the latest theatrical fad known as 3D was perfectly captured in Gold's evocative representation of the film's most chilling moment - Grace Kelly's hand reaching towards the audience as the murderer strikes.
Also from the decade: THE SEARCHERS; THE JAMES DEAN STORY; A STAR IS BORN; THE SILVER CHALICE; RIO BRAVO; EAST OF EDEN 

The 1960s:

MY FAIR LADY (Dir: George Cukor; 1964)
Collaborated with artist Bill Peak in creating the poster art for the musical adaptation that would become a cultural phenomenon, winning 8 Oscars in the process. The legendarily cranky director George Cukor claimed to have contributed to the design work, which Gold and Peak respectfully deny.
Also from the decade: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?; COOL HAND LUKE; BULLITT; BONNIE AND CLYDE; THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODY; PT 109; 8½; THE WILD BUNCH


The 1970s:

THE STING (Dir:George Roy Hill; 1973)
Simple, elegant, superb representation of the star power on offer in George Roy Hill's Oscar smash. A perfect example of Gold's skill at capturing the essence of a film - in this case, the chemistry and class of Redford and Newman.
Also from the decade: DELIVERANCE; THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS; A STAR IS BORN; A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; HAIR; MAME; THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES; MCCABE AND MRS MILLER, DIRTY HARRY, THE EXORCIST; KLUTE; BLAZING SADDLES; INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

The 1980s:

THE UNTOUCHABLES (Dir: Brian de Palma; 1987)
Another example of Gold's remarkable ability to convey a film's star dynamic (the might of a malevolent De Niro; the fight faced by a small but defiant Costner) as well as capturing such crucial elements as mood and location.
Also from the period: GORKY PARK; BIRD; PALE RIDER; FAME; HEAVEN'S GATE; DEATH TRAP; PLATOON; FOR YOUR EYES ONLY; SUDDEN IMPACT; THE STUNT MAN.

The 1990s:

GOODFELLAS (Dir: Martin Scorsese; 1990)
Also from the decade: THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY; THE ROOKIE; THE MASK; UNFORGIVEN; 

 
The 2000s:

MYSTIC RIVER (Dir: Clint Eastwood; 2003)
Retiring from full-time design work, Gold would only be drawn out to work on the occasional prestige pic, usually for his lifetime friend, Clint Eastwood. Mystic River was a career peak of sorts for Eastwood and his troupe of actors (both Sean Penn and Tim Robbins earned long overdue Oscars); also achieving one of his greatest triumphs was Gold, whose inverted imagery and atypical use of foreboding blacks and blues (not unlike Goodfellas) was a masterwork.

  

The 2010s:

J EDGAR (Dir: Clint Eastwood; 2011)
Gold's career came to a close with a special project for Eastwood. J EDGAR was not the best work from anyone involved - it got some of Eastwood's most mixed reviews, fell out of favour with the Academy early in Oscar season and featured an uncharasterically miscast Leonardo Di Caprio as the FBI boss. Gold, however, captured more in his poster image of a ranting Di Caprio than Eastwood managed in his entire film.

 

 

Monday
May072018

10 MUST-SEE MOVIES FROM THE 2018 SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM

The 65th Sydney Film Festival has announced its 2018 line-up – a whopping 320ish films, from 60 countries in 160 different languages. The programming team want audiences going in and coming out of the 12 day event with smiles on their faces. Opening night honours go to the New Zealand laffer The Breaker Upperers; closing the event will be Brett Haley’s daddy-daughter feel-good dramedy, Hearts Beat Loud. In between, however, there are emotions of all kind to experience. Here are 10 films that immediately earned ‘must watch’ status at this year’s SFF… 

BEIRUT (Dir: Brad Anderson; U.S.A., 109 mins)
Two of Hollywood’s smartest talents combine to provide Mad Men hunk Jon Hamm (pictured, above) with the meaty role he’s been biding his time for – Mason Skiles, a CIA negotiator sent into the Middle East to secure the release of a colleague. After a couple of hired-hand movies (Stonehearst Asylum, 2014; The Call, 2013), Anderson looks to have returned to the hard-edged drama of his 2004 break-out film, The Machinist; script is by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, 2007; State of Play, 2009; Rogue One A Star Wars Story; 2016).

WEST OF SUNSHINE (Dir: Jason Raftopoulos; Australia, 78 mins)
Inner city Melbourne is the backdrop for this father-stepson drama, the directorial debut of Jason Raftopoulos. Cast is lead by Damian Hill (Pawno, 2015; Spin Out, 2016), whose life is crumbling under family issues and gambling addiction. The actor’s real-life stepson, non-actor Ty Perham, is remarkable in his film debut. Music by Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator; Whale Rider); world premiered at Venice 2017.  

A VIGILANTE (Dir: Sarah Daggar-Nelson; U.S.A., 91 mins)
Australian-born Daggar-Nelson makes her directing debut with this harrowing drama about a domestic-abuse survivor who turns vigilante to help others escape their attackers. Olivia Wilde is past due on the role that will put her on Oscar’s A-list (The Hollywood Reporter calls her performance, “nakedly emotional”); Daggar-Nelson’s willingness to muddy the morality of self-administered payback, makes this potentially one of the toughest yet most rewarding films of the festival.

 

MAYA THE BEE: THE HONEY GAME (Dirs: Noel Cleary, Sergio Delfino and Alexs Stadermann; Australia | Germany, 85 mins)
The first adventure of Maya the Bee was a solid global performer in 2014 before a huge ancillary life. Three of the animation sectors most respected artist/storytellers, with credits like Blinky Bill, The Lego Movie and Legend of The Guardians to their names, combine talents for this high-concept sequel, a riff on the hugely popular Jennifer Lawrence franchise. Voices include Richard Roxburgh, Justine Clarke and, returning as the lead insect, Coco Jack Gillies.

BlacKkKlansman (Dir: Spike Lee; U.S.A., 128 mins)
Ron Stallworth, an African American detective, went deep undercover into the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. His memoirs seem like perfect material for Spike Lee, who has continued making angry, race-based diatribe cinema (even if the audience hasn’t always turned out for his films). Direct to Sydney from Cannes, where it competed for the Palme d’Or; early Oscar buzz for Topher Grace, whose turn as Klan frontman David Duke is set to shock. Other key players are Adam Driver and John David Washington, son of Denzel. 

HOLIDAY (Dir: Isabella Elköf; Denmark | The Netherlands | Sweden, TBC mins)
Do not let the sunny imagery mislead you. Isabella Elköf’s debut feature is a bleak and brutal love triangle / crime thriller; Sascha (Victoria Carmen Sonne) accompanies her crime boss boyfriend on a trip to the Turkish Riviera, only to have things go bad very quickly. Reportedly contains a rape scene like no other; Variety stated, “a steady female gaze behind the camera tilts the film’s politics in unexpected, deliberately discomfiting ways.”

 

THE PURE NECESSITY (Dir: David Claerbout; Belgium, 50 mins)
Deconstructing cinema is part of what film festivals have to do to service the ‘serious cinephile’ audience; in 2013, SFF presented the brilliant cinematic montage essay, Final Cut – Ladies and Gentlemen. In 2018, Disney’s 1967 classic The Jungle Book comes under the knife; director David Claerbout has removed all remnants of a narrative, anthropomorphism, human interaction and music, leaving an idyllic paradise for Walt’s animals to live a life of freedom.

DISOBEDIENCE (Dir: Sebastián Lelio; United Kingdom, 114 mins)
All eyes will be on the Chilean director’s first film since his Foreign Film Oscar win for A Fantastic Woman. Having turned her back on her Jewish faith and orthodox family, Rachel Weisz must return to the place of her upbringing; a gay affair with her childhood friend (Rachel McAdams) stirs prejudice even further. Variety called the directeor’s English-language debut, “yet another triumph in what’s shaping up to be a major career.” 

THE LONG SEASON (Dir: Leonard Retel Helmrich; The Netherlands, 118 mins)
Director Helmrich had a heart attack mid-production, the difficult shoot being completed by artist Ramia Suleiman and producer Pieter van Huystee. And difficult it was; the small crew was embedded in the Majdal Anjar refugee camp, an enormous community of Syrian refugees who have fled their ISIS-ruled homeland. Shot sans narration, the cinema verite stylings of the Dutch crew has been called, “compassionate, camly observed, lyrical” by Screen Daily.

ONE DAY (Dir: Zsófia Szilágyi; Hungary, 99 mins)
The debut film for director Zsófia Szilágyi, who was Ildikó Enyedi’s first assistant on last year’s SFF Official Competition winner, On Body and Soul. Direct from a coveted slot in the Cannes‘ Critics Circle line-up, the tightly-wound domestic drama takes place over the course of a single day and stars Zsófia Szamosi as Anna,a mother of three dealing with a failing marriage in addition to her daily family grind.