Call me a sucker for a tortured beauty, but "Somersault," an Australian gem starring up-and-comer Abbie Cornish, and "Repulsion," one of my favorite Polanski head-trips, featuring the ice queen herself, Catherine Deneuve, are both worth seeing on 20-foot screens (or as the case may be at the Film Forum, half that size.)
A premiere in Cannes' Un Certain Regard sidebar, Cate Shortland's "Somersault," I reported from Toronto 2004, is a "lush debut about a promiscuous 16-year-old runaway (Cornish) . . . [which] has all the makings of a modest, art-house darling. Employing a colorful and detailed cinematography, Shortland beautifully captures the icy, ski-resort town of Jindabyne, Australia, as well as the sexual confusion of her characters. Fresh and unexpected, at times, this touching coming of age drama transcends its subject matter." We'll be seeing a lot more from Cornish, who is more than just a pretty face. ThinkFilm is releasing her drug-infused relationship chronicle "Candy," co-starring Heath Ledger, and she's just signed on to star in her first Hollywood film, Paramount's "Stop-Loss," an Iraq drama directed by long-in-development-hell Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry").
Much has already been written about Catherine Deneuve, but for a new essay on the French starlet, check out Time Out New York editor Melissa Anderson's "The Ice Storm," in which she writes, "Deneuve is an exemplar of glacial catatonia; rather than madwoman thrashing and gnashing, her character spends hours staring motionless at a crack in a sidewalk." And it's worth catching every minute of it.