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8 July 2002

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  • 17 Fois Cecile Cassard

    Dir: Christophe Honore. France. 2002. 105mins. A patchily promising first feature from writer turned director Christophe Honore, 17 Fois Cecile Cassard charts a woman's agonising struggle to rebuild her life after the devastating death of her husband. Told in 17 snapshots of moments that define her journey from abject misery to fragile hope, the film gains in interest and accessibility in direct relation to the character's growing sense of renewal. The first half of th
  • A Piece Of Sky (Une Part Du Ciel)

    Dir: Benedicte Lienard. Belgium-France-Luxembourg. 2002. 85mins.Defiantly out of step with the prevailing mood of the times, Une Part du Ciel makes no bones about its militant political stance nor about its intransigent art-cinema leanings. A story of two estranged female friends - one a factory worker, the other serving time in prison - the debut fiction feature by documentarist Benedicte Lienard argues that women are similarly oppressed in and out of prison, and that
  • Andy Lau being sued for $19.6m

    Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau is being sued by his partner in Team Work Corporation - CCT Telecom Holdings - which claims it lost $19.6m (HK$153m) when he backed out of an unanimous decision to float the company.A CCT subsidiary, Noble Trend International, made the claim in a 34-page writ against Lau, a Lau-controlled company - Ablegate Group Limited - and Team Work Corp managing director Winson Chan.According to the writ, both parties agreed to float Team Work on Hong Kong's Gro
  • Apartment 5C

    Dir: Raphael Nadjari. US/Fr/Israel. 2002. 93 mins. Two qualities distinguish this grungy, ultra-low-budget New York production: John Surman's gorgeously moody saxophone jazz score and the fact that the film, set during last year's cold, grey Thanksgiving celebrations, was apparently one of the first shot to be in the city after the events of 11 September. Otherwise, though, it remains on a resolutely amateurish level in terms of script, performances and technical credits. Lim
  • Arsenal loads up with Only The Strong Survive, Fast Runner

    Germany's Arsenal Film has picked up Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's musical documentary Only The Strong Survive and Zacharias Kunuk's Inuit language action thriller Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner. Only The Strong Survive has been screening in an homage at this week's Filmfest Muenchen to Hegedus and Pennebaker, while The Fast Runner has shown in the festival's main "World Cinema" programme.
  • Australian film investment fund falls short of target

    The ambitious joint bid by Australia's Macquarie Bank and the Nine Network to raise $35.1m (A$62.5m) from private investors has fallen considerably short of the target with the result that only two features will be produced rather than the hoped-for eight.But although only $13.3m (A$23.6m) was raised by the time the deadline passed on Friday (June 28), the two partners immediately declared that they will be doing a similar raising next year. "Given the tough market we felt it wa
  • BBC approved for ITV Digital rescue

    State broadcaster BBC, which has frequently been criticised for its costly embrace of digital services, has won the licence to run channels on the UK's collapsed ITV Digital platform.The award, made by the Independent Television Commission today (July 4), is said to give the digital terrestrial (DTT) platform the best possible chance of recovering lost viewers and credibility. Critical in the choice of the award of the "B" multiplex was the BBC's decision to make the services free-to-v
  • BrekFest celebrates film soundtracks

    The importance of soundtracks to film will be the focus of the BrekFest Film & Music Festival to be held on Sunday 4 August at the Valhalla Cinema Glebe, Sydney.The festival is a one-day event that involves an industry discussion forum, short film and music video screenings and live soundtrack performances The aim of the festival is to support and encourage emerging filmmakers and musicians, giving them much needed exposure and the opportunity to gain feedback. Filmmakers and mu
  • Bridget

    Dir: Amos Kollek. Fr-US. 2001. 90mins.Amos Kollek is one of the great wonders of the film festival world. Each new film seems virtually guaranteed of a slot on the A-list (the last two, Queenie In Love and Fast Food, Fast Women, both premiered in Cannes), yet none has broken though to outstanding success or established his name outside this rarefied circuit. Regarded by critics in Berlin as the director's weakest offering in some time, Bridget also looks
  • Cambridge film festival boasts multiple UK premieres

    Director Alex Cox is to attend the Cambridge Film Festival (11-21 July) for the UK premiere of his Revengers Tragedy, an adaptation of the Jacobean classic.The festival will open with the UK premiere of Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her, and will close with David Cronenberg's Spider.Other titles receiving their UK premiere at the festival include: John Sayles' drama Sunshine State, Hal Hartley's No Such Thing, Gus Van Sant's Gerry and Ethan
  • Carlos Saura readies two new feature projects

    Veteran Spanish director Carlos Saura is preparing two new projects to follow his forthcoming feature Salome, slated for a September release.The first is a story about Spain's 16th century King Felipe II, a project which Saura foresees as 'complicated and expensive' to pull together.The second, Amor De Dios (Love Of God), is a musical set in a dance school where a different kind of dance is taught on each floor of the school's building. Both are at script stage.
  • Chicken Heart

    Dir: Hiroshi Shimizu. Japan. 2002. 105 mins.Hiroshi Shimizu is a Takashi Kitano protege, having worked as an assistant director on several of his films, including Hana-Bi, Kikujiro and Brother. At the same time he has also received backing for his first two features from Kitano's production company, Office Kitano. Shimizu's style in both 1998's Ikinai and this year's Chicken Heart echoes his master's, particularly his economical shotmaking a
  • Cockram gets top job at Australian Film Institute

    Felicity Cockram is leaving her job as senior business manager with the Montecito Picture Company in Los Angeles and returning home to take up the role of general manager of the Australian Film Institute (AFI) from July 29. During the past six years Cockram has worked as executive liaison for both the American Film Institute's chair and the president of the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences. She has also worked as an independent producer and in other production-related roles in the US, I
  • Coronation, Little Bird to form international film finance company

    South Africa's Coronation Capital and Irish production company Little Bird are to set up a financial services company that will structure and raise finance for international film producers.The two companies recently signed an agreement to produce a feature documentary on the legendary 1950s music of Sophiatown which will be produced by Little Bird's James Mitchell and directed by Pascale Lamche. The partners have approached South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)
  • Cuckoo (Kokoshka)

    Dir: Alexander Rogozhkin. Russia. 2002. 100 min.Awarded best director and best actor (Ville Haapasalo) at last week's Moscow Film Festival, where it proved an audience favourite, Alexander Rogozhkin's new film is another of his contemporary metaphors that deals with war and peace, man's instinct for survival and his need to appreciate the forces of nature. Set on the northern border between Russia and Finland during World War Two, a few weeks before the Finnish surrender in 1
  • Cuckoo heralds Russian spring

    Last week's Moscow International Film Festival marked a milestone for the Russian film industry with Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov declaring at the closing ceremony that "the crisis in Russian film is over." Mikhalkov, who is both festival chief and Russia's best known director internationally, had good reason for his claim. This year Russia will produce nearly 100 feature films - 30 % more than last year- while flagship Mosfilm Studios is running at capacity and booked up mo
  • Dark Water

    Dir: Hideo Nakata. 2002. Jap. 91mins.The latest film by Japanese horror master Hideo Nakata, who directed two of the celebrated Ring series, relies on classic genre staples to run its narrative motor, including a creepy old building where bad things happened, a little girl in jeopardy and parents badly in need of therapy. Think The Shining transposed to Tokyo, with mum, not dad, now on the verge of meltdown. The film's leisurely pace, as well as its straight-ah
  • El Bonaerense

    Dir: Pablo Trapero. Argentina 2002. 92mins. The Buenos Aires police department comes under wry satirical scrutiny in the second feature by the director of the highly-acclaimed Mondo Grua (Crane World). The business of crime-fighting has rarely looked so farcically disreputable outside the Police Academy series, but the humour here is much darker and more cynical. Trapero's gritty drama about police corruption is a narratively taut, highly atmospheric piece that could p
  • EM.TV boss doubts company's chances of survival

    Werner E. Klatten, CEO of the beleaguered German media concern EM.TV & Merchandising, has expressed his doubts about the chances of his company emerging from restructuring after the bursting of the Neuer Markt bubble and the Kirch crisis.In an interview, he stated that the restructuring of EM.TV "has become enormously more difficult through the Kirch affair" as EM.TV is closely linked to the debt-ridden Kirch media empire through a number of joint ventures. The company's tight financia
  • F.A.M.E. and RTV apply to exit from Germany's Neuer Markt

    F.A.M.E. Film & Music Entertainment and RTV Family Entertainment are the latest publicly listed German media companies to announce plans to exit the Neuer Markt and trade on the Geregelter Markt.F.A.M.E. stated that 'due to the high listing costs as well as the difficult market environment in the media and entertainment business, it is reasonable to change to a sector of the stock market which matches both the size of the company and its growth'.RTV also expects to save 'signifi
  • Fate (Yazgi)

    Dir. Zeki Demirkubuz. Turkey. 2001. 115mins.The first of three Tales Of Darkness features by Zeki Demirkubuz, Turkey's most promising new film-maker, this free adaptation of Albert Camus' novel The Stranger is bound to attract plenty of festival activity. The best indication of the film's nature and eventual future comes with its brief passage and untimely disappearance from Turkish screens; and its enthusiastic reception at last month's Istanbul Film Festiv
  • France to end ban on TV advertising of films

    Just as a number of major international film distributors are beginning to seriously question the value of television advertising in the increasingly expensive movie marketing equation, France looks set to overturn its historic ban on advertising films on TV."We are the only country in Europe which such a restrictive position" said new French culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon at a press meeting on Thursday July 4. The French advertising ban affects several areas including cinema,
  • French sales company President Films to be wound up

    French foreign sales outfit President Films is set to disappear as France Television Distribution, the film and television rights trading division of public broadcasters France 2, France 3 and France 5, restructures its activities. Following the departure of Hugo Bergson-Vuillaume, former head of President Films who left the company at the end of June, FTD International's film sales will now be handled directly under the FTD International banner. Claudia Rae-Colombani, who used
  • Germany's CinemaxX posts Euros 29.6m net loss

    Germany's multiplex market leader CinemaxX posted a net loss of Euros 29.6m for the 2001 financial year, due to depreciation of Euros 17.6m and an adjustment for discounted loans to Ufa-Theater of Euros 3.5m.The company's financial report noted that this was despite the fact that the number of cinema-goers to CinemaxX's screens increased year-on-year from 2000's 18.6 million to 22.6 million in 2001 and sales climbed to Euros 191.8m from Euros 161.1m.In a statement CinemaxX said
  • Germany's RTL continues its buying spree

    RTL Television is on a spending spree - taking advantage of the void left by the insolvent Kirch Group and strengthening its position in the German market as the most aggressive buyer of free-TV licenses.Just a week after announcing a deal with Warner Bros. International Television for a package of 144 feature films and five TV series with an unconfirmed price tag of around $200m (Screen Daily, June 26 2002), RTL Television has now concluded a deal with Helkon Media for a package of 12
  • Global cinema admissions overtake world population

    More cinema tickets are being bought across the globe than there are people in the world, according to new research from UK-based media analyst Screen Digest.Worldwide average per capita visits now stand at 1.1 across the globe, according to the research. Predictably, the lion's share of cinema ticket sales is claimed by the US, Western Europe and Australasia, as well as some Far Eastern territories and India, which itself sees more than three annual cinema visits per person.Ice
  • Good Machine wins High Hopes award at Munich film festival

    US production house Good Machine has won German collection society GWFF's High Hopes Award for Michel Gondry's feature debut Human Nature (pictured) at this year's Munich Filmfest.The prize, worth Euros 25,000, was open to all directorial debuts in the Filmfest's international programme as well as from the American independents section.Meanwhile, Michael Hofmann's critically panned Sophiiie picked up the Euros 40,000 Director's Prize at this year's expanded HypoVer
  • Happy Times (Xingfu Shiguang)

    Dir: Zhang Yimou. China-US. 2000. 96minsThe first film from Edward R Pressman and Terrence Malick's Sunflower Productions, Zhang Yimou 's Happy Times is a Chaplinesque sentimental comedy which has its moments of greatness. Even during the more pedestrian scenes, it is difficult not to be warmed by this winning tale of the relationship between a blind girl and her reluctant benefactor . Its People's Republic production values - including some kitchen-scissors editing an
  • Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures pulls out of Naked Weapon

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures has pulled out of co-producing action title Naked Weapon with East Asia Entertainment, a division of eSun Holdings which owns Media Asia Group.The English-language film, loosely based on producer Wong Jing's 1992 tongue-in-cheek action comedy Naked Killer, was initially developed by East Asia with Wong on board as producer. Celestial became involved when Wong was appointed by the company to oversee production."Both parties want
  • Hour Of Religion praised at Italy's Nastro d'Argento awards

    Marco Bellocchio's Hour Of Religion; scooped the best film prize at Italy's oldest awards, the Nastri d'Argento, which were held on Saturday night in the Sicilian coastal resort of Taormina. The Italian auteur also received the award for best story, while the best actor prize went to the film's lead, Sergio Castellitto. The best screenplay prize went to Cristina Comencini for her family drama, The Best Day Of My Life, while veteran actress Virna Lisi, who plays the
  • Independence Day record tumbles to MIBII

    Five years after Men in Black took the world by stormmoviegoers clearly still have a taste for alien-zapping, wise-cracking,sharp-dressed secret agents as Men in Black II squashed the competition to set a record five-day haul for the July 4holiday weekend of $90m, according to studio estimates released today. TheColumbia picture took $54.1m for the Friday-to-Sunday period to add toWednesday and Thursday's $35.9m haul, beating the previous three-day markset by the orig
  • InterCom co-founder returns to shake up Hungary's DVD market

    After five years away from the industry George Mihaly, the former Hungarian partner of Andy Vajna, is back on the film scene with a new DVD venture called Ariel International. Mihaly who built the Budapest-based InterCom into Hungary's leading distribution and exhibition outfit during the early nineties was ousted by Vajna in a boardroom shakeup in 1997. Mihaly was managing director and co-owner of InterCom while Hollywood mogul Vajna had helped to fund the company's startup. Sp
  • ITV programming chief Liddiment resigns

    David Liddiment, programming boss at the UK's leading commercial channel ITV1, is to resign after five years in the job. He will leave towards the end of the year once a successor has been appointed.News of his planned departure has shocked colleagues and competitors alike as Liddiment is highly regarded in the industry. Under Liddiment, ITV1 has been a formidable competitor in the ratings battle with the BBC - he has commissioned a string of hit shows which have buoyed the netw
  • Japan's Toei launches Laterna animation affiliate

    Toei Animation, Asia's largest animation house, has launched a wholly-owned subsidiary to produce animation for families and young adults, over a range of media platforms. Called Laterna, the new subsidiary is capitalised at $420,000 (Y50m) and is headed by Tsutomu Tomari, Toei Animation president. Instead of developing projects exclusively with in-house staff, Laterna will work with creators worldwide on a contact basis, project by project. It also plans to solicit story and character
  • Just A Kiss

    Dir: Fisher Stevens. US. 2001. 90mins.This New York ensemble comedy is like a drunk at a party. It thinks it's being witty, kooky and perceptive, but to those of us on the other side of the cranium, it's just slurring its speech. Director Fisher Stevens is a stage, film and TV actor who doubles as a writer and director of stage plays. The cast includes two bankable actresses, Marisa Tomei and Kyra Sedgwick. But although a smoldering Tomei and an overstrung Sedgwick lift many
  • Karlovy Vary film festival opens new 'industry liaison office'

    The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opened yesterday with a renewed emphasis on the concerns of the European film industry in the form of a sales co-ordination office. Four years after abandoning efforts to establish a working film market where international rights could be bought and sold, the festival has this year introduced a Film Industry office to facilitate contacts between producers, sales agents and distributors. "It wasn't a success, because the festival was s
  • L'Adversaire (The Adversary)

    Dir: Nicole Garcia. France 2002. 120 mins.A slow, sombre drama about a mythomaniac in crisis, the latest film by actress-turned-director Nicole Garcia is a stolid effort that additionally suffers by covering too-familiar material. Its story is fundamentally the same as the one told by Laurent Cantet in his recent L'Emploi du Temps (Time Out). Where Cantet was loosely inspired by the story told in Emmanuel Carrere's non-fiction bestseller L'Adversaire, Gar
  • Lawless Heart woos discerning UK audience

    A host of new openers were unable to dislodge Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man from the top of the UK chart this week. Now in its third week on release the blockbuster dropped off 39% from its previous weekend taking $3.97m (£2.6m) from 507 situations. The film faces stiffer competition this coming weekend from Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell.Notably the most impressive performer amongst the openers was Optimum Releasing's 10 pr
  • Le Pays Du Chien Qui Chante

    Dir: Yann Dedet. France. 2002. 95 mins. A quirky, unassuming first feature from highly respected editor Yann Dedet, Le Pays Du Chien Qui Chante displays a number of agreeable qualities without every blossoming into compelling viewing. Possessed of a gentle nature and a quiet humour, it may charm a few festival-goers but it is too slight and far too whimsical to survive in the real world of brutal commercial concerns.Renowned for his collaborations with s
  • Lilo & Stitch

    Dirs: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois. US. 2002. 85mins.Lilo & Stitch may not push the animation envelope much, but with its modestly scaled story and retro cartooning techniques, this endearing ugly duckling tale could still give Disney its biggest traditionally animated summer hit in years. The film's $35.3m opening weekend US gross was the strongest bow for a hand drawn Disney feature in the company's customary late-June release slot since 1994's The Lion King.
  • Madame Sata

    Dir: Karim Ainouz. Brazil/France. 2002. 103mins. There's a wonderful film to be made about Joao Francisco Dos Santos, otherwise known as Madame Sata, a rugged homosexual, six-foot-tall and weighing 170 pounds, who lived as a street fighter, singer, transvestite and devoted father to seven adopted children in the bohemian quarter of Rio from 1900 to 1976. Madame Sata is not that movie. The first feature by Karim Ainouz, who co-wrote Walter Salles's Behind The Sun
  • Major result for Minority Report

    Sci-fi action-thriller Minority Report has delivered an impressive opening in the UK this weekend for 20th Century Fox.Opening at 426 sites the film scored $5.9m (£3.9m) over the three-day weekend (July 5-7) for a mighty average of $13,844 per site. Added to the $961,190 (£631,502) from 422 sites it claimed on Thursday July 4 - its official opening day - the film amassed a four-day gross of $6.9m (£4.5m).While the opening may not be in the same league as th
  • Messier leaves Vivendi in denial, Fourtou appointed

    Jean-Rene Fourtou, the former head of France's largest chemicals firm, was last night voted in as chairman and chief executive of Vivendi Universal. He replaces the Jean-Marie Messier, architect of the company's transition from water group into media mogul, but whose dash for growth cost the firm billions of Euro. Not only has Jean-Marie Messier's departure left Vivendi awash in red ink, but the situation yesterday progressed so far as to prompt the company to refute the possibility o
  • Messier steps down from Vivendi Universal

    Jean-Marie Messier has exited his post as chairman of Vivendi Universal following a board meeting yesterday, according to widespread, but still officially unconfirmed, reports.French daily newspaper Le Monde said that Messier had agreed, albeit reluctantly, to quit his position, but that negotiations concerning his severance package could delay an official company announcement. Vivendi was unavailable for comment at press time.Le Monde reported that the board meeting would also
  • Pinewood-Shepperton appoints sales & marketing director

    UK studio group Pinewood-Shepperton has appointed Nick Smith as its new sales and marketing director.Smith joins from Nokia, where he was European head of sales for interactive services. Before that, he worked in the UK broadcast sector with spells at LWT, Granada and United News and Media.Pinewood and Shepperton finalised their merger last year - a union driven by the need to secure more big budget US productions in the face of growing overseas competition. Smith comment
  • Polish media giant postpones major floatation

    ITI, the giant Polish media concern today (3 July) postponed its share flotation on the Warsaw stock exchange. It blamed difficult stock-market conditions."Despite the good reception of the offering and high interest in ITI, extremely difficult market conditions, both in Poland and abroad led us to decide to postpone the offering," the company said in a statement. Technology, media and telecoms have depressed stock-markets around the world in recent months.But a number of analys
  • Prague Studios to build additional stages

    Six months after Prague Studios unveiled refurbished stages and began taking on US productions, the Czech-based firm has announced further plans to extend the facility. Studio executives say construction will begin at the end of this year on four new 2000-meter stages at the Prague Studios complex, to be completed in September 2003."We are continuing to invest in Prague Studios," says Tomas Krejci, a co-owner of the studios, adding that details of the plans are not yet final. "W
  • Road To Perdition

    Dir: Sam Mendes. US. 2002. 119 mins.Brit wunderkind Sam Mendes takes another close look at warts-and-all America in his second film Road To Perdition, a Depression-era gangster movie set in and around Chicago which confirms both his command of the medium and his signature visual bravado. With a smashing cast led by Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, the film should win good reviews and post strong results at the box office when it opens in the US on July 12. But there are chil
  • South Africa cracks down on DVD piracy

    A passenger carrying 3,800 pirate DVDs, including 1,400 copies of Men In Black II was intercepted at Johannesburg International airport over the weekend by South Africa's Federation against Copyright Theft, in its latest drive to stem the counterfeiting market which is costing the industry some $6.1m per year.In just two days almost $200,000 (R2m) worth of product was seized. In addition to the weekend arrest, today (July 2), two passengers were caught trying to smuggle 3,400 pi
  • Spain's Abaco to double its cinema circuit by 2005

    Spanish exhibitor Cines Abaco has unveiled plans to invest Euros 48m over the next three years to grow its multiplex cinema circuit and entertainment chain.The expansion plans encompass seven new multiplexes across Spain with a total of 81 screens by 2005. Plans also include 20 new video game entertainment centres.Abaco currently runs nine multiplexes with 83 screens and forms part of the three-way joint venture CAEC alongside Lauren Films and Cinebox.With 51 sites and 37
  • Spirited opening for Japanese animation on Korea

    Hayao Miyazaki's record-breaking Japanese animated hit, Spirited Away, received a strong reception in South Korea and its capital city of Seoul at the weekend which could see it becoming one of the biggest Japanese successes ever in the country.The film had to settle for second place in the Seoul chart behind fellow opener, local title Champion - which showed greater strength in South Korea as a whole ($4.2m) than in the capital. However Spirited Away, distributed
  • Swedish Film Institute withdraws funding from major local production

    The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) has taken the unprecedented step of withdrawing its financial support of $540 000 (SEK 5m) for the screen adaptation of 2001 local bestseller, Popular Music From Vittula (Popularmusik Fran Vittula). The funding would have made up a quarter of the film's budget.The dramatic move comes after the SFI discovered that some of the application documents for its financial support had been falsified - its suspicions having been aroused
  • Taviani wins top Moscow film festival prize for Resurrection

    The 24th Moscow International Film Festival once again boasted a host of international celebrities at its closing ceremony with Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter, Jacqueline Bisset, Atom Egoyan and Bob Rafelson turning up as well as Vittorio Taviani who collected the main prize for the film Resurrection.Based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy, Resurrection (pictured, right) was directed with his brother Paolo, who shares the festival's main prize, the Golden St George.
  • The Abduction Club

    Dir: Stefan Schwartz. Ire-UK. 2001. 96mins. Based on an amusing plot premise - "the 18th century's answer to Dateline" - The Abduction Club avoids the music-vid gimmickry of previous attempts to bring the costume romp to the youth market such as Jake Scott's Plunkett And Macleane. The gentle tone of this romantic comedy makes it unlikely that it will cut much ice with that audience, despite an overwhelmingly young male cast. However, it could still steal a few d
  • The Next Big Thing to be April's first production

    A production deal signed this week signals that The Next Big Thing, a feature written by and to star Magda Szubanski, is likely to be Australia's April Films' first production. The private owners of the Sydney-based company have put $1.7m (A$3m) of their own money into project development since establishing April in 1999 and have a first look deal with Universal Pictures. Szubanski (pictured) played Mrs Hoggett in Babe and a cantankerous rancher with a crocodile pr
  • The Uncertainty Principle (O Principio Da Incerteza)

    Dir: Manoel de Oliveira. Portugal 2002. 133mins. Nowadays more prolific than ever, 93-year-old Portuguese veteran Manoel de Oliveira continues to follow his own wildly idiosyncratic path. Although in many ways decorous, even a little staid in its composure, The Uncertainty Principle is overall a characteristically eccentric venture that is as likely to baffle non-acolytes as it is to dazzle admirers - and chances are it will baffle plenty of those too. Closer in tone
  • Tomorrow La Scala

    Director: Francesca Joseph. UK. 2002. 108 mins. Funny, stylish and deeply moving, Tomorrow La Scala! is a little gem of a first feature from award-winning documentary filmmaker Francesca Joseph. Inspired by the director's own experiences and partially improvised over three weeks of workshops, it finds real depth and feeling in the story of a lowly opera company collaborating with the inmates of a maximum security prison. The first film commissioned under a co-productio
  • Two world premieres announced for Toronto.

    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced two world premieres for its 27th outing: Peter Kosminsky's White Oleander, starring Robin Wright Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellwegger, and writer-director Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile, starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Holly Hunter. Atom Egoyan's Ararat will open the festival, which runs Sept. 5-14. A $17m female ensemble piece adapted from the best-selling novel by Janet Fitch, Oleander
  • UGC slashes the price of its UK cinema loyalty card

    UGC Cinemas UK has announced that its cinema loyalty card is to undergo a massive price reduction in a bid to attract more cinemagoers - at the same time bringing it in line with its continental European equivalents.The card, known as the 'Unlimited Pass', is the only subscription loyalty card on offer in the UK and currently costs Euros 31 (£19.99) per month (for a minimum subscription of 12 months). Now it is to be sold at Euros 20 (£12.99). Present customers already in the
  • UK's FilmFour boards Touching The Void

    The UK's FilmFour and the Film Council's New Cinema Fund have boarded Touching The Void, a new feature documentary from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald.The film, which starts production in Peru on July 22 and continues shooting in the Alps in September, tells the true survival story of two mountaineers - Joe Simpson and Simon Yates - who met with disaster on a 1985 climb in a remote part of the Peruvian Andes. On their descent from the west face of Siula Grande, a
  • Une Pure Coincidence

    Dir: Romain Goupil. France. 2002. 92mins.Friends for more than 30 years, a group of radicals rediscover their passion for direct action in Une Pure Coincidence. The result is a timely, entertaining documentary notable for its warm spirit and light humour. Lacking a professional polish or great visual appeal, it is too slight to attract theatrical interest in most territories but should still secure a Festival circuit niche and some television sales.An assist
  • Universal reclaims international DVD distribution

    Reacting to the phenomenal growth of the DVD market worldwide, Universal Pictures International (UPI) has announced the reversion of DVD distribution rights from Columbia Tri-Star Home Video, as a three-year agreement between the two studios comes to an end.Under the 1999 deal CTHV acquired international DVD distribution rights to Universal titles outside North America, with UPI retaining international video rights.Meanwhile, in a separate deal, Universal has entered an exclusiv
  • Vivendi shares plummet amid accountancy queries

    Vivendi Universal shares crashed today (July 2) as the company became the latest to be tinged by questions over its accountancy policies.At 1215 GMT today the shares were down 35% at Euros15.53 having been suspended four times by stockmarket regulator, the COB, which limits violent price movements. The shares had started the day with a 10% gain reflecting the news of chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier's departure.The accountancy story was the front page lead in the influential
  • Year Of The Devil (Rok d'Abla)

    Dir. Petr Zelenka. Czech Republic. 88mins.The opening film at this year's Karlovy Vary festival was another musical -mockumentary by Petr Zelenka, who has already scored in this genre on home ground, both with a television series (Padlock 1982-2007) and the 1996 feature Happy End (Mnaga). Inspired by a concert by singer-songwriter Jaromir Nohavica and his band Czechomor, who are renowned for their approach to folk music, Zelenka has here imagined an exploration