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Andy Garcia Special Guest of Karlovy Vary Fest

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Andy Garcia Special Guest of Karlovy Vary Fest and a Touch of Class with Jacqueline Bisset Andy Garcia, Cuban born actor (Havana, 1956) will be honored with a career award and will also present his hotly awaited new film "Lost City" this week in Karlovy Vary. The film, which deals with the rise of Fidel Castro, has raised hackles in certain circles because of the less than sympathetic light in which Counter-Culture and perennial youth hero, Che Guevara, is shown among other things. However, And...

Chaos, sex addiction and Ned Beatty in person at Minneapolis

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CHAOS is just a theory in physics, but it's a full blown practice at the Minneapolis film festival. Whether or not a can of film will arrive at its designated venue at all, or, if it does arrive, whether it will be wound on backward or inside out -- therefore unshowable -- is often a toss-up. One such instance, Werner Herzog's latest, "The Wild Blue Yonder" -- an astronaut fantasy in a post-Armageddon world -- arrived at the Oak Street theater projection booth cut into unmarked segments, so th...

Magyar film revue: from the ridiculous to the sublime

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New Hungarian features on view here range from the utterly ridiculous to the utterly sublime. At the ridiculous extreme is "TAXIDERMIA" by "Hukkle" director Pálfi György, while on the sublime side of the spectrum is the ethereally sensuous "The Bird Saviour, Clouds and Wind", by first time director István "Taikyo" Szaladják."Taxidermia" doesn't have much to do with the art of taxidermy (although a taxidermist does make a brief appearance toward the end), but everything to do with force feedi...

Budapest Fest sets record in spite of bomb scare

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BUDAPEST FEST SETS RECORD IN SPITE OF BOMB SCAREby Alex Deleon, BudapestFebruary 12, 2OO6With ticket sales now counted and statistics compiled, it turns out that the 37th Hungarian Film Review (Magyar Film Szemle) in Budapest set a new paid attendance record in spite of the fact that an entire evening of screenings had to be canceled because of a bomb threat. The phoned in threat turned out to be a false alarm, probably the act of a twisted mind rather than a Moslem terrorist cell, however, with...

Szabo flap flusters first-nighters in Budapest

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The opening night of the Hungarian film week at the Budapest Congress centre turned out to be more of a political than a cinematic event. "Rokoknok" (Relatives), the eagerly awaited new film by Hungary's leading filmmaker, Istvan Szabo -- his first Hungarian language film since 1992 -- was scheduled to open the festivities, but just a few days prior to the opening an article appeared in a prestigious literary magazine casting serious doubts upon director Szabo's past political integrity. To put ...

Japanese racoons and a clamorous chinese new year in the midst of Rotterdam Fest

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It so happens that Rotterdam's extensive Chinatown is located just around the corner from the film festival centre, and the Chinese New Year which is reckoned according to the lunar calendar, came out extra late this year on January 30th, smack-dab in the midst of the film festival. Consequently, all afternoon today, festival filmgoers navigating between film venues in the area, were treated to an extraordinary side-show -- fabulous colourful dragon mock-ups held aloft by teams of dragon dancers...

Hungarian Film Week to show Szabo's latest film

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The 37th Annual Hungarian Film Week, or "Magyar Filmszemle" (Film Survey) as it is officially known, opens the curtain on February 1st and will continue for five days thereafter, during which an overview of the entire preceding year's film production -- both features and shorts -- will be presented. There are actually very few such exclusively national festivals (most of them in former Communist bloc countries) showing the entire film production each year of a relatively small country at one fa...

Japanese Heart Beating in the Dark: the talk of the Rotterdam Fest

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On day number three of the Rotterdam film festival the buzz is still going strong regarding the new Japanese film "A Heart Beating In the Dark" (Yami ni utsu Shinzo) by maverick Nippon director Shunichi Nagasaki. Mr. Nagasaki has been around for a long time but his films are so wide of the mainstream that he is barely known outside of Japan and not particularly well known even in his own country. Rotterdam, a festival which specializes in introducing new faces as well as older ones who have no...

Hairy Indian Opener in Florence River to River

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One of the nice things about this European based Festival of Indian films is that it is not limited exclusively to films from India itself, but also includes work by Indian filmmakers in the Diaspora as well as works by Non-Indian directors dealing with Indian subjects. The most powerful film of the fest so far was "Murder Unveiled" by Canadian based director Vic Sarin, born in Kashmir but long resident in Canada with more than a hundred films to his credit. The catalog calls this a "modern day...

Indian Film Festival in Florence offers strong openers

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Florence -- Firenze -- the city of Dante, Michelangelo, Botticelli's Venus ... and also of the first and only film festival in Europe dedicated exclusively to Indian film! Officially called the "RIVER TO RIVER INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF FLORENCE, director Selvaggia Velo, explains that this appellation refers to the holy river Ganges in India and the local waterway, the Arno, which flows through this exquisite Tuscan city into the Tyrrhenian Sea near Pisa. So – how did such a festival get started ...

River to River Indian Fest in Florence kicks off

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Florence -- Firenze -- the city of Dante, Michelangelo, Botticelli's Venus ... and also of the first and only film festival in Europe dedicated exclusively to Indian film! Officially called the "RIVER TO RIVER INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF FLORENCE, director Selvaggia Velo, explains that this appelation refers to the holy river Ganges in India and the local waterway, the Arno, which flows through this exquiste Tuscan city into the Tyrrhenian sea near Pisa. How did such a festival get started here? -...

Pike time in Vallalodid, awards and memories

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Somehow eight days of compact quality cinema viewing have slipped by, the main problem being how to find some time to write at least some of it down between widely spaced out screenings. Downtown Valladolid is a tricky maze of narrow streets with sixteenth century churches at every turn, but fortunately, with an extremely friendly populace willing to steer you straight every time you get lost -- on average, three times a day -- but what a nice city to get lost in! The festival is centred at the...

Sauras's Iberia aesthetic extasy, the Master strikes again

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Valladolid Festival, October 27 One might say that there are three kinds of musicals; (1) Hollywood MGM type musicals with a flimsy plot as an excuse for stringing together a bunch of hit songs and "production number", (2) filmed Broadway shows such as "Showboat" or "Westside Story", and (3) CARLOS SAURA MUSICALS, or, Serious Dance and Music as Pure Cinema. His latest such work, "IBERIA", a suite of flamenco and balletic dances, vocalizations (Canto Hondo), and instrumental recitals (piano, sma...

The Valladolid Film Festival celebrates half a century

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The Valladolid Film Festival --"SEMINCI" -- ("Semana Internacional de Cine", or International Film Week), which was launched in 1956 and has been held every year since without interruption, this year celebrates its Golden half-century Anniversary. As usual the emphasis will be on non-mainstream features, auteur directors, and a wide variety of shorts and documentaries. The opening film tonight at the elegant Teatro Calderon will be the latest offering from Constantine Costa-Gavras, "Couperet",...

Hamburg 13th closes with cash prizes and "Electric Shadows"

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HAMBURG 13 CLOSES WITH CASH PRIZES AND ELECTRIC SHADOWSThe thirteenth installment of the Hamburg Film Festival came to a close on September 29 with an invitational screening of the Chinese film "Electric Shadows" (Dyan-Ying), which is simply a direct translation of the Chinese word for "movies". The film is basically a declaration of love for the medium itself, and female director Xiao Jiang picked up a nice little purse of 10,000 Euros, the Otto Sprenger Prize for best debut film. Sprenger is ...

Factotum screened at Hamburg a modest fest in a big city

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Dropping in on the Hamburg film festival on the way back from San Sebastian is something like stopping off at a neighbourhood bar for a nightcap after a gala bash at the Waldorf. Which is not to say that Hamburg is not interesting or lacking in films of merit -- just that it's on a much smaller scale (although Hamburg, as a city, is far bigger than San Sebastian) and is geared to the tastes of the local film-buff public, rather than to industry professionals. Films are shown in five venues, mo...

Hambourg FilmFest winners across the board

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It's fairly unusual at a film festival with umpteen titles to pick from that one selects three names out of a hat, and all three turn out to be not only winners, back to back, but films of quality ranging from excellent to astounding. Today's triple winning ticket: "ZOZO" from Norway by way of Beirut, "Fratricide" Brudermord) -- astounding turf battle between Turks and Kurds in a German city, and "Bashing", a hypnotic Kafkaesque look at life on Desolation Row in a northern Japanese industrial w...

San Sebastian Alfred and Greta are watching...

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SAN SEBASTIAN -- ALFRED AND GRETA ARE WATCHING ...by Alex Deleon – Lasst DayThis being the centennial of the birth of two towering icons of world cinema, suspense maestro Alfred Hitchcock, and the mysterious lady from Sweden Greta ("I vunt to be alone"), Garbo, both born in 1905, the spirit and image of these two idols is much in evidence this year in Donostia-San Sebastian The official poster of the festival bears a full length photo of Hitch, the official press bag issued to all journalist...

Spanish reviewers unhappy with San Sabastian awards

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The Sunday morning festival reports in the Spanish papers, whose writers represent a cross-section of leading Spanish film critics, were nearly unanimous in denouncing the prizes dished out the day before by the Angelica Huston led official competition jury. The main prize, which went to the Czech film "Something Like Happiness", came in for the strongest condemnation. Three critics used the word "absurdo" (absurd) to describe the top award, one going so far as to say that there were at least e...

53 rd San Sebastian opened with several bangs

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The Donostia-San Sebastian film festival on the incredibly picturesque North Spanish coast, ("NAZIOARTEKO ZINEMALDIA" in the exotic Basque language of the region), has opened heavily "front loaded" as the saying goes these days, which means that many of the big guns, films with high prize potential, have already been fired off in the first few days. The festival opener was, appropriately, "Obaba", one of the most eagerly awaited Spanish films of the year based on a Basque language best seller b...

San Sebastian Basque diaries: crowd pleasers and more

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53RD SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENS WITH SEVERAL BANGSby Alex Deleon, San SebastianThe Donostia-San Sebastian film festival on the incredibly picturesque North Spanish coast, ("NAZIOARTEKO ZINEMALDIA" in the exotic Basque language of the region), has opened heavily "front loaded" as the saying goes these days, which means that many of the big guns, films with high prize potential, have already been fired off in the first few days. The festival opener was, appropriately, "Obaba", one of the m...

Gdynia at tje midpoint: Lions up for grabs

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GDYNIA AT THE MIDPOINT -- LIONS UP FOR GRABSAlex Deleon, September 14, 2005The annual feature film output of Poland has been hovering about the thirty marks since the mid nineties and this year is no great exception. Somewhat over thirty features were submitted for consideration, but the festival selection committee this year felt it necessary to make a distinction between high quality productions, mostly by seasoned directors, and cheapies thrown together by younger or first time directors wor...

Gunther Grass in Gdynia as Festival officially opens

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German author, Nobel Prize laureate Gunther Grass, is a high profile visitor here in connection with the screening of a new Polish film based on one of his novels, "The Call of the Toad". Grass was actually born in Dansk in 1927 when it was a German city known as Danzig, so this amounts to a kind of home-town visitation. His novel, "The Tin Drum" also had a WW II Danzig setting and was made into a highly acclaimed film by Volker Schloendorff in Germany (1979) which featured the Polish actor Dan...

30th Gdynia Festival set for kick-off

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THIRTIETH POLISH FEATURE FILMS FESTIVAL IN GDYNIASeptember 12-17, 2005The Gdynia Festival of Polish Feature Films (Festiwal Polskich Filmow Fabularnych) is an annual event showcasing the entire feature film production of the country in the preceding twelve month period right up to curtain time. The festival was established on somewhat shaky ground in 1974 in the shipyard city of Gdansk -- later to become famous for the Solidarity strikes which led to the downfall of Communism in Poland -- but t...

Locarno Fest closes with awards and Nashville

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NASHVILLE CLOSES FEST AS AWARDS ARE ANNOUNCEDThe 58th installment of the Locarno film festival at the Tippety-top of glorious Lago Maggiore in the Italian Speaking part of Switzerland (Ticino) got underway on Wednesday, August 3rd and concluded August 13. Some 300 films of all kinds will be projected at numerous venues all over town, but the main event is the slate of 18 features in competition for the spotted leopard awards, the jungle cat in question being the symbol of this fabulous Alpine re...
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