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18 September 2003

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  • 21 Grams

    Dir: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. USA. 2003. 124 mins.Emotionally draining but formally brilliant, the long-awaited second feature by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is for those of us who are passionate about cinema, and who don't mind taking a few body blows in a dark room in the process. The high profile of the film's three leads - Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio del Toro - will help it reach a wide audience sooner than Amores Perros, which was a re
  • 8.17pm, Darling Street (20.17, Rue Darling)

    Dir: Bernard Emond. Canada. 2003. 101minsInexplicable tragedy prompts a soul-searching quest for the meaning of life in 8.17pm Darling Street, a modestly effective but resolutely glum second feature from writer-director Bernard Emond whose debut, La Femme Qui Boit also screened in Critics' Week in 2001. Addressing the guilt of those who survive tragedy and the last hours of those who perish by it, the film delves into fate and forgiveness as it follows a ref
  • A Little Bit Of Freedom

    Dir: Yuksel Yavuz. Germany. 2003. 101minsAwell-intentioned attempt to explore the fate of Kurdish immigrants, both legal and illegal, living on the streets of Hamburg and the illusion of freedom they enjoy there, Yuksel Yavuz's second feature seeks to cover too much ground and ultimately delivers too little for its efforts. A typical product of the Kleine Fernsehe Spiele ZDF TV frame within which it was developed, it is both authentic and relevant, but lacks the professio
  • ADV acquires domestic rights to Korea's animated Mari

    Houston-based ADV Films, a producer-distributor of Japaneseanimation in North America, has acquired North American rights to LeeSeong-Kang's award-winning Korean digital animated feature, My BeautifulGirl, Mari.

    James Mangold's thriller Identity was unable to shake Bruce Almighty from its top spot last weekend despite a strong launch at 26 screens that saw it score the best screen average of the weekend.Also seeing a stunning launch in eighth place was Dutch foreign language Oscar-nominee Zus & Zo. The comedy about three sisters that try to prevent their gay brother inheriting their beloved family summer home by sabotaging his engagement, received 12,664 admissions over th

    Alejandro Agresti's Valentin opened fifth this past weekend, scoring a good launch for the local title and taking the second highest per screen average after The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which pushed Bruce Almighty off the top. The Jim Carrey comedy had played in the number one slot for four weeks. Valentin distributor Buena Vista International expects the bittersweet comedy to have legs, given its critical buzz and the fact that it has been short
  • Arimpara

    Dir: Murali Nair. India-Jap. 2003. 90minsDirector Murali Nair's Throne Of Death and A Dog's Day were feted at Cannes, the former with the coveted Camera d'Or for best first feature. But Arimpara, which screened in Un Certain Regard, has not gone down so well, and it certainly has its problems. Like most South Indian productions (co-financed by the Japanese), it will have a hard time gaining even arthouse audiences in the West if they are at all impatient.

    Pirates Of The Carribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl proved as big a draw in Australia this weekend as it has around the world. The adventure film sailed into the lead for BVI scoring an impressive screen average of A$13,732 from its whopping 377 screen count.James Cameron's 3-D IMAX film Ghosts Of The Abyss was the only one with a better average, clocking up four times that figure (A$58,147), although it had the advantage of only being on two screens. The documentary
  • AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND - Prod Lists - Sep 15 2003

    AUSTRALIA - September 15PRE-PRODUCTIONThe Human Touch(Illumination Films, Go Patterson Films Productions) Backers: Film Finance Corporation Australia. Int'l sales: Cinemavault Releasing. Dist: Dendy (Aust/NZ). Drama. Anna and David's relationship is tested when a wealthy, charming, worldly gentleman enters Anna's life, causing her to lose some of her sexual inhibitions. Exec prods: William Marshall, Nick Stiliades, Irene Loewy. Prod: Mark Patterson. Dir/
  • Austria unveils co-production market plans

    Next year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Cinema (March 13-21, 2004) is to become the latest in a line of international film festivals launching a CineMart-style co-production market and Film Market/Industry Office under the new management of Miroljub Vuckovic and Tillmann Fuchs. Introducing the new concept for the Graz-based festival, Vuckovic said that the Diagonale Bazaar would present 10-15 feature projects - ten from the South East European region and 2-5 from Austria. The pro
  • Awards campaign trail boosts London Film Festival

    The London Film Festival (LFF), held Oct 22 - Nov 6, has lined up a string of Oscar buzz films for its main programme up this year.Opening with Jane Campion's steamy psychological thriller In The Cut, and closing two weeks later with Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, the line-up highlights the fact that the LFF is well-placed as a profile raising event in the newly compressed awards season. The event was moved to a slot two weeks earlier this year, to avoid a clash with M
  • Awards favourites line up for London Film Festival

    The Times bfi London Film Festival (Oct 22 - Nov 6) has lined up a string of Oscar buzz films for its main programme up this year.The Festival opens with Jane Campion's psychological thriller In The Cut, starring Meg Ryan, Mark and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The Closing Night film is Sylvia bu fellow New Zealander Christine Jeffs. Sylvia stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the American writer Sylvia Plath in a bittersweet and ultimately tragic tale of her turbulent l
  • Barbarian Invasions gets Canada's Oscar vote

    Denys Arcand's TheBarbarian Invasions will beCanada's submission to Best Foreign Language Film category of the AcademyAwards. The decision was announcedWednesday by Telefilm Canada, which oversees the 24-person selection committee.It's a been stellar week for Arcand: on Sunday he accepted the C$30,000Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival. Following the film's world premiere in OfficialCompetition at Cannes Arcand won the priz
  • Barclays to bankroll 'Valleywood'

    Barclays Bank has emerged as the lead funder of Dragon International Film Studios, the planned international studio complex in Wales being championed by Lord Attenborough.The deal with Barclays is still subject to due diligence and a formal announcement of the bank's involvement is expected within a fortnight.Dubbed 'Valleywood', the £140m studio is set to be built on the site of a former opencast mine just outside Cardiff.The driving force behind the studio is Welsh born
  • Bayside Shakedown 2 swells Toho's coffers

    Boosted by the smash success of Bayside Shakedown 2, Japan's largest film distributor and exhibitor Toho has announced record six-month earnings. Half year revenues, for the period ending in August amounted to $422m (Y48.9bn), representing a 4.9% gain over the previous period, as well as a huge improvement on an earlier forecast of $345m. Meanwhile, ordinary profit soared to $75m, a 15.4% rise over the previous period and far over the company's $51m projection. Both figur
  • Bergman's Saraband to premiere on Swedish TV

    Despite being tipped at one time to world premiere at Cannes or Venice, Saraband - the new film from legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman - will make its debut on Swedish broadcaster SVT on Dec 1. The film, which stars Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Borje Ahlstedt and Julia Dufvenius, reunites the characters from Bergman's award-winning Scenes From A Marriage, which was first aired in 1973. Although it was made for TV, Scenes From A Marriage was release
  • Boomer explodes at Russian box office

    While Renfilm's The Return has been racking up awards at Venice for its director Andrei Zvyagintsev, another Russian film has been making news at home. Boomer, directed by 27 year old Peter Buslov and produced by Moscow's Pygmalion Productions has taken more than $600,000 at the Russian box office since its release at the beginning of August, a record for a Russian film.Boomer is slang for a BMW and the film is a story about four young gangsters who set off
  • BVI scores a rousing $29.7m from Pirates

    Pirates Of The Caribbean grossed $29.7m and elevated its internationalrunning total to $238.1m at the weekend, becoming the second release of 2003after The Matrix Reloaded to stayat the top of the charts for the fifth consecutive weekend.In a series of number onebows it took $3.4m from 245 screens in Australia for Buena VistaInternational's (BVI) biggest ever live action opening.In Greece the film grossed$1.1m from 95 for the second biggest industry opening of all
  • Calendar Girls' first date with UK is strong, but not spectacular

    This weekend saw a new champion at the top of the UK/Ireland chart. Buena Vista International's Calendar Girls dethroned stablemate Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl to take the lead with $2.8m (£1.76m).The result provided a strong $6,124 (£3,815) location average from its 462 sites. However, despite a vast array of publicity surrounding the film, the weekend take was lower than many expected. Its average was lower than both The Full Monty (£7,
  • Cinecitta, Air Hollywood team to create European aviation-themed facility

    Cinecitta Studios in Romeand Los Angeles-based aviation standing sets and prop rental company AirHollywood have teamed up to create what they claim is Europe's largestaviation-themed facility.Proposed sets that willresult from the partnership and serve expected market needs include an airportterminal concourse, state-of-the-art airplane mock-ups and a business jet.The move complementsCinecitta's expanding range of permanent sets that includes Ancient Rome, NewYork streets, a Tus
  • Clifford leaves Disney for job as vp, production at Warner Bros

    Jeffrey Clifford has left his post as vice president of productionat Buena Vista to perform the same role for Warner Bros.
  • Columbia's Warriors makes cut as Chinese Oscar choice

    Chinahas selected He Ping's epic adventure tale, Warriors Of Heaven And Earth, as its official entry for the foreign-language categoryof the Academy Awards.
  • Company, Invasions screen at Aspen Filmfest

    A retrospective of 1970sAmerican cinema, a focus on women directors and the latest films from DenysArcand and Robert Altman are among the highlights of the 25th Aspen Filmfest,which runs from Sept 30-Oct 5.The Colorado event openswith Altman's ballet ensemble The Company and will close with Alejandro Agresti'saward-winning Spanish-language relationship drama Valentin.Sydney Pollack's ThreeDays Of The Condor, Dennis Hopper'sEasy Rider
  • DNA, Searchlight board Fellowes romance

    The new joint venture between DNA Films and FoxSearchlight has boarded its first project following an agreement to collaborateon Julian Fellowes' A Way Through The Woods with the UK's Celador Films.The romance will be financed 50:50 by Celador and DNA,with Fox Searchlight handling worldwide distribution.Shooting beganon Sept 8 in and around London and in Paris and is expected to last eightweeks.The film marksthe directorial debut
  • DPS buys animation house Mainframe Entertainment

    DigitalProduction Studios (DPS), the New Jersey-based 3D animation subsidiary of IDTMedia, has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire a controlling interestin direct-to-video and TV computer animation house Mainframe Entertainment.The move, whichis subject to regulatory approval, is the latest plank in DPS' globalexpansion strategy following the partnership with John Williams' UK-basedVanguard Animation and acquisition of The Simpsons animation house Fi
  • Dutch tax break system faces closure

    The Netherlands' tax incentive scheme (CVs) for film production, which has been in place for the last five years, looks set to close. Proposals for the new state budget were published yesterday and made no allowance for the continuation of the scheme.Separately, a government-commissioned report into the CV system was due to have been published yesterday. But the report compiled by management constancy group Berenschot was not made public after disagreement between the ministries of Cul
  • Egyptian Oscar nominee courts controversy

    Egypt has chosen a controversial relationship film as its first ever contender for the foreign-language Oscar nomination.Sahar El Layaly which has alternative English titles of Sleepless Nights and Night Out, was selected by a specially formed committee of Egyptian film industry elders. Directed by Hani Khalifa, the film, a drama about four middle class couples and their relationship issues, contains kissing scenes, sexual references and unusually frank disc
  • Ejiofor, Okenodo triumph at UK's 'Black Oscars'

    Dubbed the UK's Black Oscars, the Screen Nation Film and Television Awards 2003 (formerly the bfm Awards) - the UK's only awards ceremony to celebrate and reward the achievements of Black professionals in film - took place on Sept 10 at The Empire, Leicester Square. The winners were:Honorary and major award categories Outstanding Contribution to Film & Television Award (International) Spike LeeEdric Connor Trailblazer Award (UK): Rudolph Walker

    Buena Vista continued to compete with itself at the top of the Finnish box-office, with Pirates Of The Caribbean holding on to the top just ahead of BVI's new release of Timo Koivusalo's Sibelius, Koivusalo's biographical film about the famous Finnish composer was given a wide 50 print release, and managed 19,847 admissions over its first weekend. Perttu Leppaa's Pearls And Pigs continued its solid performance and stayed close behind, beating Piglet i

    German blockbuster Good Bye, Lenin! and local co-production Labyrinths (Dedales) scored strong openings this week in France.Good Bye, Lenin! sold 163,695 tickets from just 89 screens in its first week on release, netting $1.03m. This awarded the film third place in the French chart and saw it boast a screen average of nearly 1,000 admission per screen more than chart leader Bruce Almighty. In Paris the comedy placed second to Bruce Almighty wit
  • France set to unveil fresh incentives for film-makers

    Moves to introduce a sale and leaseback scheme in France have been scrapped, with the government planning to introduce a tax credit system specifically to benefit the French production sector. The tax credit measure should go into effect in January 2004, but is currently being worked on to clarify certain points and will await ratification by the French finance ministry later in the year.Under the new tax credit, a production entity will be able to write off between 10% and 20%
  • Good Bye, Lenin! named as German Oscar contender

    Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy Good Bye, Lenin! has been selected by Germany's nine-person national jury as its candidate for the Foreign Language Oscar category.Since opening in German cinemas in February, the X-Filme creative pool production has attracted over 6.2m admissions, won 10 "Lolas" and prizes at festivals in Berlin, Budapest, and Pescara as well as having been sold to a total of 65 countries. Germany won this year's Foreign Language Oscar with Caroline Link's
  • Good Bye, Lenin! named as German Oscar contender

    Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy Good Bye, Lenin! has been selected by Germany's nine-person national jury as its candidate for the Foreign Language Oscar category.Since opening in German cinemas in February, the X-Filme creative pool production has attracted over 6.2m admissions, won 10 "Lolas" and prizes at festivals in Berlin, Budapest, and Pescara as well as having been sold to a total of 65 countries. Germany won this year's Foreign Language Oscar with Caroline Link's
  • Goodbye Dragon Inn

    Dir. Tsai Ming-Liang. Taiwan, 2003. 82 mins.Tsai Ming-Liang will once again be taking his new film to all the festivals in sight and will see it displayed at a select choice of art houses around the globe, for another mystifying encounter that will delight his fans and baffle everyone else. Never an easy sell but enjoying a solid following of faithful admirers, his elegy for the decaying state of cinema culture - though less fulfilling than his previous outings and lackin
  • Halcyon's Deepwater kicks off in Canada

    Chris Coen's LA-basedHalcyon Entertainment has commenced production on its first film in Canada. Theproject Deepwater is apsychological thriller about a drifter who happens upon the town of Deepwaterwhere he is seduced into a twisted game of deceit and murder.Lucas Black plays thedrifter with Peter Coyote, Mia Maestro, Lesley Ann Warren, Tommy Chong andXander Berkeley also in the cast.Coen is producing, withPeter Wetherell acting as executive producer, First-timer David S
  • Hawn, Hopkins, Howard get Hollywood Film Fest honours

    Ron Howard, Anthony Hopkinsand Goldie Hawn will receive outstanding achievement awards at the HollywoodFilm Festival's awards gala ceremony on Oct 20.The Lord of The Rings star Orlando Bloom and Scarlett Johansson, whoearned critical acclaim this year for her roles in Lost In Translation and Girl With A Pearl Earring, will each collect a Hollywood Breakthrough Award.Other honourees at theBeverly Hilton Hotel event include the veteran prod
  • High Point takes on Godforsaken sales

    The producers of Dutch hit and Oscar candidate Twin Sisters, IdtV, have appointed High Point Films to handle international sales - excluding Benelux - on their thriller Godforsaken.Also produced by Reiner Selen of Rinkel Film, Godforsaken is directed by first time director Peter Kuijpers and has been chosen for the New Directors section at the upcoming San Sebastian Film Festival.
  • Hot Swedish newcomer readies Disease debut

    Swedish newcomer Daniel Espinosa will make his feature debut under Nordisk Film's low-budget label, Director's Cut, with Babylonsjukan (literally The Babylon Disease), a look at the world as seen through the eyes of a thirteen year-old girl in Stockholm. The film will be the first of its kind in Sweden, where Nordisk Film's recently revitalised production arm headed by HP Lundh will produce the film under the same guidelines as the label's previous films, Morten Arnfred's
  • Huppert signs up for erotic adaptation

    Isabelle Huppert is to star in Ma Mere, an adaptation of the erotic novel by Georges Bataille which to be directed by Christophe Honore Ma Mere is produced Paolo Branco and his company Gemini Films. Shooting begins on the film, for which budget details were unavailable, in October in the Canary Islands.Huppert plays a mother initiating her son into libertinism and beyond. Joining Huppert in the cast are Luis Garrel and Emma de Caunes.No release date has been

    Opening day-and-date with North America, Robert Rodriguez's return to his Latin roots with Once Upon A Time In Mexico blasted its way to the top of the Icelandic box-office with an impressive 4,020 admissions.The first international territory to receive the film, the final part the director's El Mariachi trilogy, Iceland gave it a strong 1,340 admission screen average from its three prints. This was twice the number of second-placed rival opener, The League Of Extraord
  • Invasions, Zatoichi take top TIFF prizes

    Denys Arcand's TheBarbarian Invasions won theToronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film and Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi won the AGF People's Choice Award as the 28thToronto International Film Festival wrapped after ten trouble-free days. The Discovery Award,selected by the press corps, went to Rhinoceros Eyes, a US-financed effort directed by Toronto filmmakerAaron Woodley. The FIPRESCI Prize,presented to a film directed by an emerging filmmaker and mak
  • Invasions, Zatoichi take top Toronto prizes

    Denys Arcand's TheBarbarian Invasions won theToronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film and Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi won the AGF People's Choice Award as the 28thToronto International Film Festival wrapped after ten trouble-free days. The Discovery Award,selected by the press corps, went to Rhinoceros Eyes, a US-financed effort directed by Toronto filmmakerAaron Woodley. The FIPRESCI Prize,presented to a film directed by an emerging filmmaker and mak

    BVI's Johnny Depp vehicle Pirates Of The Caribbean continued its stellar performance at the Italian box office on its second weekend, grossing a massive screen average of $6,056 from 531 screens, which brings its running total to $11,968,867.Medusa's newcomer Confidence, a thriller starring Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia, was the second highest grosser of the weekend, out-performing The Hulk as it opened on 246 screens and grossed $968,7
  • Italy's Eagle embarks on Lazarus Child shoot

    Shooting is currently underway on Rome distributor Eagle Pictures' first major production, the English-language picture The Lazarus Child starring Andy Garcia and Angela Bassett.The Lazarus Child focuses on a girl who falls into a coma after being hit by a bus. Her only hope for recovery hinges on an eccentric researcher, who manages to propel the girl's 12-year-old brother into her mind in the hope of luring her back to consciousness.The $30m picture, which was in
  • Jackson set for Rio appearance

    Samuel Jackson will bring some Hollywood star wattage to the Festival do Rio (Sept 25 - Oct 9) when he rolls into the coastal city to promote John McTiernan's Basic. Recent budget cutbacks have not affected the festival's plans to bring some 300 films from across the world. A new sidebar, Premiere America, will serve as a Brazilian launchpad for US fare such as Basic, Tears Of The Sun and Matchstick Men.This year's highlights include feature films by such directors

    Home-made films often appear in Japan's box office top ten - but it is extremely rare for them to dominate the chart, as they do for the week of September 6 to 12, with six local films in the top 10. They account, in fact, for the number one and two films - Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi and Katsuyuki Motohiro's Bayside Shakedown 2, respectively. BS 2 has not only became the movie of the summer, outdistancing all the Hollywood competition, but set a new box office recor
  • La Chose Publique

    Dir: Mathieu Amalric. France. 2003. 85minsAnd you thought they didn't make them like this any more' an old-fashioned political essay in film-on-film, the latest from director Mathieu Amalric - better known as an actor, though he does not cast himself here - wears its Godard influences proudly on its sleeve, right down to the poster campaign, a neat pastiche of Two Or Three Things I Know About Her. Amalric's free-wheeling comedy dusts down Godard's 1960s interrogations
  • Loewy lines up UK trip to recruit Momentum chief

    Victory Loewy, CEO of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution Group, is planning a return to the UK to recruit a new senior executive for Momentum Pictures, the company's wholly-owned UK distribution company. Current Momentum director David Kosse has accepted a position as London-based president of international marketing and distribution for Universal Pictures. While crediting Kosse's management of Momentum over the past three years, Loewy said he had complete confidenc
  • LXG opens top through Latin America for Fox

    A string of number one bowssaw The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) gross $6.6m from 1,749 screens in 21 markets at the weekend.Fox International'sfantasy-adventure opened top in all its markets (unless otherwise indicated)and produced several strong holdovers to raise the international cumulativetotal to $23.3m.It grossed $1.6m from 489screens in Mexico, took $649,000 from 219 in Brazil and scored thedistributor's fourth biggest ever bow in Ind
  • Master And Commander chosen as Royal Command Performance

    20th Century Fox's naval epic Master And Commander:The Far Side Of The Worlddirected by Peter Weir has been chosen as this year's Royal Command Performanceand will take place in London on Nov 17.
  • Merchant Of Venice shoot pushed back

    Shooting on Michael Radford's The Merchant Of Venice has been pushed back until the 10 November.Set to star Al Pacino as Shylock opposite newcomer Lynn Collins as Portia, the $20m-$30m Shakespeare adaptation had been scheduled to begin filming last week.Roughly half of the film will shoot in Luxembourg on a set built to recreate Venice. The remaining half will shoot in Venice itself.The film will shoot for nine to ten weeks. Ian McKellen and Joseph Fiennes co-star.
  • Messier wins again in quest for severance from Universal

    Former Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Marie Messier scoredanother round of victory in his ongoing battle to secure a severance payment onMonday in New York.
  • Michell embarks on Enduring Love shoot

    Shooting has started on Enduring Love, an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel directed by Roger Michell. Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans and Samantha Morton star in the project, produced by Free Range Films and backed by Pathe Pictures, Inside Track, FilmFour, Ingenious Media and the UK Film Council. Pathe Distribution will handle the UK release, while Pathe International is selling the film worldwide.Producer is Kevin Loader, with Pathe's Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken tak
  • Mike Brant: Laisse Moi T'Aimer

    Dir. Erez Laufer. Israel/France. 2002. 101mins.A natural for French markets, this account of the meteoric rise and fatal crash of Israeli performer Mike Brant, who became one of Paris's shiniest stars in the early 1970s, is more than a nostalgia piece. Instead it plays as a cautionary tale about a young man insufficiently mature to handle the frenzy of showbusiness, ultimately conceding defeat by jumping to his death from his Paris penthouse in April 1975. Although theatrical
  • Mongoland director cranks up Norwegian surfer tale

    Acclaimed Danish actors Kim Bodnia and Iben Hjejle will join the cast of the unusual Norwegian surfer love story Monsterthursday directed by Arild Ostin Ommundsen, who made his feature debut with the low-budget surprise hit Mongoland in 2001. Shooting from Oct 7 until Nov 21 in and around the coastal city of Stavanger in South Western Norway. Monsterthursday sees a young man leave his childhood sweetheart with his best friend in search of bigger waves in Australia.

    Finding Nemo showed good resilience in its second weekend against the launch of BVI stable-mate Pirates Of The Carribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl. The swashbuckler stole the top spot but there was little between them. Speaking of resilience, local picture Whale Rider (also handled by BVI) is still refusing to stay out of the chart for long despite being on release for an extraordinary 33 weeks. It has grossed NZ$6.3m to date. Another local title, Kombi Nat

    Focus Features' Lost In Translation enjoyed a strong debut last weekend following rapturous reviews. Sofia Coppola's second film opened 15th on $925,087 for an excellent $40,221 average from just 23 sites. Translation, which left critics infatuated, pairs Bill Murray with the early award season's wunderkind Scarlett Johansson as unlikely partners on a beguiling tour through Tokyo's nightscape. Lost In Translation is due to expand into 125 venues next weekend, and could go
  • Pathe banks on UK production future

    Pathe Pictures has secured a $32m (£20m) revolving facility deal with banks SG Corporate and Investment Banking (SG CIB) and Natexis Banques Populaires. The move signals Pathe's ambitions to continue backing big budget productions out of the UK after the expiry of its National Lottery franchise in Spring 2004, which will have seen the company access over $48m (£30m) in public funding over the past six years.It is the second multi-million pound financing deal for a Lottery Franch
  • Pathe closes deals on Void, Girl

    Pathe International UK chief Alison Thompson closed a slew ofdeals at the Toronto International Film Festival following the screenings ofPeter Webber's Girl With A Pearl Earring and Kevin Macdonald's Touching The Void. Both films had their world premierescreenings at Telluride in late Augus
  • Pathe closes Toronto deals on Void, Girl

    Pathe International UK chief Alison Thompson closed a slew ofdeals at the Toronto International Film Festival following the screenings ofPeter Webber's Girl With A Pearl Earring and Kevin Macdonald's Touching The Void. Both films had their world premierescreenings at Telluride in late Augus
  • Phoenix gets film rights to UK kids' book Skellig

    Mike Medavoy and Arnie Messer's Phoenix Pictures hasacquired film rights to UK author David Almond's award-winningchildren's novella Skellig.Annabel Jankel, whoco-directed the 1988 thriller D.O.A.,is attached to direct and produce, while Irena Brignull, whose TV writingcredits include Come Together, isin line to adapt the screenplay.Phoenix executive consultantAnne Rodman brought the project to the attention of Medavoy, the company'schairman and chief execut
  • Pie 3 could be sixth international $100m hit for Universal

    With 38countries still to open American Pie: The Wedding is in the early stages of itsinternational release and is bearing down on a sixth $100m score for Universalthis year after raising its running total to $64.8m.It grossed $5.1m from 2,046 sites in 11 countries at theweekend, the highlights being strong number one bows in Portugal and Israel,where the comedy sequel grossed $407,000 from 55 sites and $210,000 from 30respectively.The Portugueseopening
  • Pirates eyes $200m weekend haul

    A wide Australian opening and strong holdovers elsewhere should propel Pirates Of The Caribbean past the $200m international mark for Buena Vista International (BVI) this upcoming weekend.The number one international title has exploded on to the scene as a late summer juggernaut and distinguished itself with a superb $38.5m haul last weekend that raised its running total to $189.9m.The distributor does not release screen counts in advance but is certain to open the film o

    Pirates Of The Caribbean distributed by Forum Film spent its second week at the top of the Polish box office with a total of $774,530, while new entry American Pie: The Wedding (UIP) weighed in at number two with a gross of $150,577. Polish comedy Cialo (The Body) released by SPI spent its fourth week on the charts in the number four position edged toward the $1m mark with a total gross of $949,000. But things may look very different by the coming weekend
  • Raja

    Dir: Jacques Doillon. France-Morocco. 2003. 112mins.The latest excursion by the director of Ponette - which scooped a Venice Best Actress prize in 1996 for underage star Victoire Thivisol - is a prickly and at times inaccessible meditation on the nature of colonial and sexual power in present-day Morocco. Though its pessimistic view of human relationships and resolutely downbeat ending will not recommend the film to fans of Grant-and-Roberts-style romantic comedies,
  • San Sebastian opens on realistic note

    Spain's leading film festival, the Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 18-28), kicks off today with award-winning Cuban director Fernando Perez's dialogue-free fictionalised documentary Suite Havana - one of several bold programming selections sure to set tongues wagging at this year's edition.Yet the real controversy looks likely to surround Sunday's screening of Julio Medem's documentary on the volatile situation in Basque Country, La Pelota Vasc
  • Sansa

    Dir: Siegfried. France. 2003. 115minsSansa wants to be a profound and moving cinematic experience, perhaps something like a hyped-up tone poem. It is even called 'an essay' rather than a film. Toward that end, writer-director Siegfried employs every trick he can that is available in the panoply of the hand-held camera/berserk editing/rhythmically pounding music repertoire. (There may be more than 2,000 cuts in this film). Unfortunately, the result, rather than
  • Scorsese's The Blues gets Montreal world premiere

    Filmmaker MartinScorsese's new film series, The Blues, will makes its world premiere at the 32nd MontrealInternational Festival of New Cinema and New Media (FCMM), Oct 9 -19. Produced by Scorsese,directed by noted filmmakers from Wim Wenders to Clint Eastwood, the seriesfeatures seven distinct films meant to capture the essence of the music formand its influence on listeners around the world. They are: Feel Like GoingHome, directed by Scorsese;
  • Scott Free's Tristan & Isolde begins shoot in Ireland

    Filming has begun in Galway, Ireland on Scott Free's Tristan & Isolde, directed by Kevin Reynolds.Set in the Dark Ages, it is the story of a princess and young warrior's love affair which threatens to tear apart an uneasy peace between England and Ireland.Written by Dean Georgaris (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Paycheck, Mission Impossible 3), Tristan & Isolde stars James Franco, Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell. The film is being produced

    French blockbuster Taxi 3 parked in the number one spot in its second week, selling 7,503 admissions improving 35% on its launch for distributor Pro Vision.Tuck's A Man Apart sold 4,146 tickets in its prolonged opening weekend, garnering $11,018 and taking the third position, behind the former four-week champion, and stablemate, Daddy Day Care which the crossed 50,000 admission mark. A Man Apart stars Vin Diesel as a DEA agent out for revenge when the myster
  • Sitges unveils first competition titles

    Spain's International Film Festival of Catalonia, better known as Sitges, has unveiled the first of its competition titles for the upcoming 36th edition, which this year has moved dates from early October to late November (Nov 27-Dec 7).The date change is meant to bypass late summer tourism in the coastal town near Barcelona, allowing Sitges to grow its infrastructure and guest capacity.Among the advance titles in the official Fantastic competition are Takashi Miike's Gozu
  • Sogepaq takes on sales for San Sebastian contender

    Making its fourth third-party pick-up in two weeks, Spanish distribution house Sogepaq has taken worldwide rights on San Sebastian competition title Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos).One of the most anticipated new Spanish films of the season, Take My Eyes offers a heartwrenchingly realistic take on domestic abuse. Laia Marull (Fugitives) stars as a women who only begins to discover herself after she flees her abusive husband (Luis Tosar) and moves in with her sister
  • South Korea fully opens up to Japanese film

    South Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced the complete opening of the Korean market to Japanese live-action films, effective from January 1, 2004. This marks the last stage of the incremental dismantling of a ban on Japanese popular culture, that was enacted shortly after Korean independence in retaliation for Japan's colonial rule over Korea from 1910-1945.Currently, Japanese films given an 18+ rating (restricted to viewers 18 and above) by the Korea Media Ra

    Fox's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) held onto the lead in Spain for a second week, despite a 55% drop-off from its debut weekend. New releases, launching on a smaller scale than LXG, were unable to trouble the action adventure, which has grossed Euros 6.9m and sold 1.4m tickets after 10 days.LXG was trailed by BVI's action adventure Pirates Of The Caribbean. The film, which boasts a cumulative gross of Euros 18.3m and 4m admissions after five w
  • Spain unveils Oscar contenders, Belgium submits Sea

    Soldiers Of Salamina, Danube Hotel and South From Granada have made Spain's short-list for the nomination to the foreign-language Oscar. The final nominee will be announced October 1. Meanwhile, Sea Of Silence (Verder Dan De Maan) by Stijn Coninx has been selected as this year's Belgian entry for the Foreign-language Academy Awards. David Trueba's literary adaptation Soldiers Of Salamina (Soldados De Salamina) screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes t
  • Spanish outfits mastermind de la Iglesia's Crime

    Spanish sister companies Sogecine and Sogepaq are set to co-produce and handle worldwide sales respectively on cult director Alex de la Iglesia's next film, Ferpect Crime (Crimen Ferpecto).The Spanish-language black comedy about the far-from-perfect crime perpetrated by a department store sales executive will be a three-country co-production with de la Iglesia's own Panico Films, Italy's Planet Pictures and France's La Fabrique de Films.Guillermo Toledo (The Other Side
  • Spooked draws Murphy back to New Zealand

    Geoff Murphy is back on home soil to direct the thriller Spooked, his first New Zealand film since leaving for LA 15 years ago. Don Reynolds and Merata Mita, both of whom he worked with on Kiwi films during the 1980s, are two of the film's producers. Spooked goes into production on Sept 21 with Cliff Curtis (Training Day, Traffik, Whale Rider) in the lead role of a television journalist who becomes entwined in a whirlwind of intrigue, corruption and violent harassment.
  • Stars travel to San Sebastian for career prizes

    Sean Penn, Robert Duvall and Isabelle Huppert will each receive the career achievement Donostia Award at Spain's upcoming Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 18-27).Huppert, who will receive her prize on Saturday the 20th, has starred in over 80 films. She won the best actress prize at Cannes in 2001 for her role in Michael Haneke's The Pianist (La Pianiste) and recently co-starred in Francois Ozon's 8 Women (Huit Femmes).The festival calls Pen
  • Swiss join forces to promote national cinema

    Switzerland's Arts Council Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Film Centre and the Swiss Short Film Agency have joined forces to launch Swiss Films to give the Alpine nation's cinema a higher profile at home and abroad.The new promotion agency will start work at offices in Zurich and Geneva from January 1, 2004 as part of a planned three-year trial period from 2004-2006 and will be open to other organisations such as Film Location Switzerland becoming members.Swiss Films' annual operating

    Buena Vista International scored a hit in the German region of Switzerland this weekend with its release of UK film Calendar Girls. The first territory outside the UK to receive the film (on the same weekend it went wide at home) Switzerland proved a good start for the comedy which placed third behind Hollywood blockbusters Pirates Of The Caribbean and American Pie: The Wedding.Swiss German audiences provided Calendar Girls with a $4,550 (SFR 6,269) screen a
  • The Boys From County Clare

    Dir: John Irvin. Ireland/UK/Germany. 2003. 90 minsWarm in spirit but slight in terms of substance, The Boys From County Clare is a lightweight period charmer. Attractively photographed and ably performed, it is a nice little inoffensive film that lacks the bite or grit to make much headway in theatrical terms. Most likely to appeal to an older demographic, it could attract some modest box-office returns from its home territory of Ireland but will struggle elsewhere. La
  • The Five Obstructions (De Fem Benspaend)

    Dir: Lars von Trier, Jorgen Leth. Denmark. 2003. 91 mins.This two hander by the Great Dane, Lars Von Trier, and his older colleague and compatriot Jorgen Leth, is one of the most thought-provoking slices of cinema we are likely to see this year. It is in many ways a more honest film than Dogville, Von Trier's big American drama, which previewed at Cannes, if only because in this oddball documentary von Trier the Machiavellian manipulator of actors and spectators is no
  • The Soul Of A Man

    Dir: Wim Wenders. Germany. 2003. 100minsWim Wenders' The Soul Of A Man, which screened earlier this year at Sundance and played at Cannes as a special screening, is the first in a series of seven films about that quintessential American art form, the blues. Other notable directors taking part are Charles Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, Marc Levin and Martin Scorsese, with Scorsese acting as godfather to the whole. Judging by this first offering, however, one wond
  • Toronto restores faith in festival experience

    There are times this year when Toronto must have felt like a city under siege - the combination of SARS, a strong Canadian dollar and a power blackout had a devastating effect on the city's allure. The film festival circuit has been suffering from a similar cocktail of misfortune with the absence of star names and the poor quality of competition films among the criticisms levelled at Festivals from Cannes to Locarno. Now, everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief after a Toronto
  • Touching The Void

    Dir: Kevin Macdonald. UK. 2003. 106 minsAn extraordinary story of human survival is transformed into an exceptional human interest documentary in Touching The Void. Director Kevin Macdonald's first theatrical project since the Oscar-winning One Day In September is as dramatic and compelling as any Hollywood fiction but carries a much greater emotional and philosophical charge. Any adaptation of Joe Simpson's bestselling book can count on a core audience of i
  • Twentynine Palms

    Dir. Bruno Dumont. France/Germany, 2003. 119mins.It's The Brown Bunny syndrome all over again. This time, two people driving in a car instead of one, covering only a small part of Southern California instead of the entire continent. And granted, there is a lot more sex, not particularly attractive but quite explicit; certainly no need to wait for the last quarter of an hour, it goes on all through. But once again, there is precious little dialogue, a hunted, obsessive
  • UK Film Council boards New Zealand's Father's Den

    Writer/director Brad McGann's debut film In My Father's Den has become the first New Zealand film to receive funding from the UK Film Council, which is financing the mystery alongside the New Zealand Film Commission and the UK's Visionview.New Zealand producer Trevor Haysom (Crush), from T.H.E. Film, teamed with UK producer Dixie Linder (The War Zone) from Little Bird to produce the NZ/UK co-production, which started shooting this week on New Zealand's south island
  • UK Film Council calls on distributors to apply for support

    The UK Film Council has called on film distribution companies planning to release British films at UK cinemas between Dec 1 and March 31, 2004 to apply for support from its UK Film Distribution Programme.The £1m funding programme is retrospective and aims to reward distributors who release British films in the UK.The scheme is clearly aimed at medium sized releases. Any film selected must achieve a minimum UK box office gross of £750,000 in order to trigger the award. It also ha
  • UK politicians press for continued tax relief

    An all-party parliamentary committee charged with reviewing public funding for British cinema has urged the UK Government to continue offering tax relief as "absolutely essential for the health of the industry." However, those tax-driven incentives should "evolve" to encourage both the production and distribution of British films. The current Section 48 tax relief scheme, which is aimed at spurring the production of British-qualifying films budgeted under $25m (£15m), is not expected t
  • UK producers pair up for Magic Light Pictures

    UK producers Martin Pope and Michael Rose have joined forces to launch a new UK based film company Magic Light Pictures which they will jointly own and run.Specialising in comedy and family entertainment, Magic Light Pictures aims to produce talent driven, quality feature films for a worldwide, commercial audience - working across both live action and animation.Martin Pope's recent productions include The Heart Of Me (starring Paul Bettany, Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia

    Optimum Releasing saw a strong debut for its Oscar-winning Japanese animated feature Spirited Away this weekend. Hayao Miyazaki's blockbuster fantasy opened in 13th place in the UK/Ireland top 20 with a good $4,800 (£2,990) average.In Ireland alone, it placed 15th but scored a powerful average of $6,710 (Euros 5,939) after taking $13,420 (Euros 11,877) from just two screens.London's West End saw the film's best performance. Spirited Away took third place from 13 si
  • UK's ICA plans Sheffield premiere for Five Obstructions

    ICA Projects is to release The Five Obstructions, the latest work from Danish directors Jorgen Leth and Lars von Trier, following a UK premiere at next month's Sheffield International Documentary Festival.ICA will open the film in November, aiming for a publicity boost from Leth attending Sheffield and giving a masterclass. Celebrating his contribution to the documentary genre over the last 40 years, the festival will also look at Leth's career, which includes 66 Scenes From
  • Universal's 2 Fast 2 Furious crosses the $100m line in international

    2 Fast 2 Furious has become Universal's third international summerrelease to pass $100m through UIP, following The Hulk ($104.3m) and Johnny English ($118.8m).The adrenaline-pumped actionsequel passed the mark on Sept 10 and has grossed $100.3m from 45 territoriesto date.2 Fast 2 Furious began its international release on Jun 5 with atable-topping $3.8m four-day Australian bow and went on to secure pole positionin a string of mighty openings.Im
  • US audiences have a taste for Mexico

    The box office bounced back at the weekend as Johnny Depp scoredhis second consecutive number one bow when Columbia's Once Upon A Time InMexico swaggered its way to the top on an estimated $24m.
  • Valladolid fest to open with Dogville

    Following its tradition of attracting high-profile independent premieres for Spain, the 48th annual Valladolid International Film Week (Oct 24-Nov 1) will open with Lars von Trier's Dogville and close with Woody Allen's Anything Else.Four Spanish productions have also been unveiled for the official competition: Santi Amodeo's Astronautas, Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde's La Suerte Dormida, Salvador Garcia Ruiz's Las Voces De La Noche and Eduardo Mignona's
  • Veteran Danish writer directs King's Game debut

    Nikolaj Arcel's feature debut Kings' Game (Kongekabale) has begun shooting this week.The script by Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg (Midsummer) is inspired by a controversial fact-based novel by Niels Krause Kjaer, which deals with a power-struggle in recent Danish politics. The cast is led by Anders W. Berthelsen (Mifune, Italian For Beginners), Soeren Pilmark (Flickering Lights) and Nastja Arcel (Catch That Girl).Major Nordisk Film will re
  • Veteran Russian director shoots with terrorist biopic

    One of Russia's most well known directors Karen Shakhnazarov is in production on a new film that takes the audience inside the mind of the world's earliest terrorist's.The Pale Horse, based on the life of Russian author and terrorist movement leader Boris Savinkov, is produced by Mosfilm Cinema Concern and stars prominent Russian actors Andrei Panin, Ksenia Rappoport and Anastasia Makeeva. The script by Alexander Borodyansky is based on a novel by Savinkov, a real-life
  • Vodka Lemon

    Dir: Hiner Saleem. France/Italy/Switzerland/Armenia. 2003. 84minsThe bittersweet realities of a post-Communist world are threatening to create a mini movie genre. A good deal of the sly humour in Good Bye, Lenin! stemmed from a nostalgic longing for life before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Vodka Lemon, a snowy, dirt-poor Kurdish village also begins to consider if life was really so bad under Soviet rule. Rich in weary irony and gentle observations of huma
  • Von Trier books into Swedish studio for Manderlay

    Swedish regional fund Film I Vast has once again attracted Danish maverick Lars von Trier, who will shoot his upcoming Manderlay at the Trollhattan studio early next year. It had been speculated that von Trier might shoot this second part of his U.S.A. trilogy in either Germany or Norway. But with backing from the fund as well as Swedish broadcaster SVT, it will now become the third of his films to shoot in Sweden following Dogville and Dancer In The Dark.
  • Warner hits in Hong Kong with Turn Left, Turn Right

    Warner Bros' firstMandarin local-language co-production Turn Left Turn Right enjoyed a strong Hong Kong bow at the weekend, whenit scored the biggest ever opening for a local production distributed by a USmajor.The romantic comedy openednumber one on an estimated $808,398 (HK$6.3m) from 38 prints overthe mid-autumn festival session, drawing 132,073 admissions.It was the fourth biggestopening ever for a local romantic comedy title, the year's biggestfour-day opening for a
  • What Alice Found delights Polanski-led jury at Deauville

    In a surprise turn of events, A Dean Bell's What Alice Found took home the trophy for best filmSunday night at the Deauville Festival of American Film. The festival iscentered around independent American cinema and saw ten films compete for theprize. The main jury was presided over by Roman Polans
  • Zein named as chair of UK producers body Pact.

    Tiger Aspect Productions managing director Andrew Zein is to replace Eileen Gallagher as chair of UK producers association, Pact. Margaret Matheson, managing director Bard Entertainment will continue as vice chair of film for a second year.Eileen Gallagher, managing director of Shed Productions and current chair of Pact said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time as Pact chair, during such an exciting time for the independent production industry, and I am very confident that Andrew Z
  • Zhang cranks up Hero follow up

    Zhang Yimou has started production on his second big-budget martial arts film following Hero - Shi Mian Maifu (literally Ambush From Ten Directions) - in the Ukraine. The film, which has been the subject of intense speculation in the mainland press for several months, is set to star China's Zhang Ziyi, Hong Kong stars Andy Lau and Anita Mui and Taiwan-Japanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro. Hero costume designer Emi Wada and action director Tony Ching