27 February, 2009

European cinema, a cool breeze in Colombia

In most Latin American countries, right after the movies from Hollywood that take over the theaters normally with “blockbusters” all year round, come the European movies, which are seen in the region mostly as “art cinema”, although they naturally not always are.

In Colombia, for instance, some of the local distributors give special attention to European titles, trying to keep bringing to cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, mostly, those titles that get prizes in festival or else the best box-offices in their home countries. Pantalla Colombia, the weekly newsletter that informs all about movies in Colombia, has brought up this month some statistics on the European features that had the highest box offices in the country last year.

On the top of the list, comes “El Orfanato” (Mexico-Spain), the debut of Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, which conquered almost 500 thousand viewers. Right after it, but far in terms of spectators, comes “La Môme” (France-UK-Czech Republic), from French filmmaker Olivier Dahan, with almost 65 thousand viewers. With similar numbers, around 31 and 35 thousand viewers, come “Die fälscher” (Austria-Germany), from Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, “Le scaphandre et le papillon” (France-USA), from American director Julian Schnabel, and “The other Boleyn girl” (UK-USA), from English director Justin Chadwick.

The numbers are actually low, but actually not poor if one thinks on Colombia’s normal film statistics, which reveal that less than 2,5 million people go to the movies (according to Pantalla Colombia again). The important thing is: Europe seems the only one to bring a “cool breeze” for Colombians who look for non-bad-Hollywood kind of cinema (no need to talk about cinephilia here). The statistics for Colombian or Latin American movies are even lower in the country.

25 February, 2009

Pantalla Pinamar soon to celebrate latest in European cinema in new March slot

Some of the most celebrated European films of 2008 will be shown from March 7-14 in Argentina as part of Pantalla Pinamar, the Argentine-European film series held annually at the exclusive seaside resort city on the Argentine coast. The event’s objective is to strengthen the bond between both industries and create future collaboration.

The fifth edition of Pantalla Pinamar will open with Carlos Sorín’s Spanish/Argentine co-production The Window and will feature Laurent Cantet’s The Class, Manuel Gomez Pereira’s The Hanged Man, Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra (part of the section The Event), Dennis Gansel’s The Wave and Lorna’s Silence by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

There will also be a special section dedicated to new Czech cinema, a “surprise movie” by a Western European director that will be unveiled one minute before its screening, a selection of the best of the Malaga Film Festival. All the European titles are avant-premieres or special screenings as they do not yet have a local distributor.

The fifth edition of the event has been moved to March from its traditional December time slot so as to not directly follow the new November dates of the Mar del Plata Film Festival. Pantalla Pinamar is organized by the National Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and the City of Pinamar, and promoted by the Cultural Institute of the Province of Buenos Aires.

13 February, 2009

Werner Herzog in love with Peru

One of the most important and active German filmmakers alive, Werner Herzog seems always ready to extol Peru. In the country for the fourth time to work on his movies, the director recently nominated to the Oscar in 2008 for “Encounters at the end of the world” went to Cusco to shoot a sequence for “My Son, my son, what have ye done”, a horror movie to be launched in 2010 with David Lynch’s production and the actor Michael Shannon playing the main role.

“Peru is a paradise for a filmmaker”, said Herzog in an exclusive interview for Oscar García published in “Somos” magazine. “It has very strong history and culture, besides wonderful landscapes, beaches, mountains and forests. It’s five countries in one”. Among the movies Herzog has visited Peru for are “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes” (1972) and “Fitzcarraldo” (1981), where Klaus Kisnki plays a rubber undertaker that decides to build a boat in the middle of the jungle.

This time, the adventurous director wanted to shoot some scenes in the Urubamba river, “one of the most dangerous in the world” – he declared. “I am working in this movie that we are going to start filming soon. This great sequence that takes place in the Urubamba river had to be done now, because it’s even stronger in January. So I decided to come, invited by my friend José Koechlin, who helped organize this trip over night. He has always been my ambassador”.

See Herzog’s comments on filming "Fitzcarraldo" in the Peruvian jungle in You Tube: