The Playlist

Marrakech '12: Monica Bellucci On ‘Rhino Season,’ Changing Priorities & Future Projects, Including A Film For Emir Kusturica

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 5, 2012 12:20 PM
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With Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi’s ("No One Knows About Persian Cats") new film, “Rhino Season,” screening Out of Competition at the Marrakech International Film Festival (our review is to follow shortly), we got to speak with the film’s Italian star, Monica Bellucci, in a small press group. Once our eyes recovered from the dazzle a bit (no, she really is very gorgeous), she was asked about her motives for taking a role that could be seen as quite a step outside her comfort zone.

Marrakech ‘12: James Gray Says ‘The Nightingale’ Probably Reverting Back To Original Title ‘Lowlife,’ Hopes To Premiere In Cannes 2013

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 5, 2012 11:19 AM
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With James Gray serving on the jury of the Marrakech International Film Festival this year, we were lucky enough to get some time with a director who has, in just four movies, firmly established himself as one of our very favorite filmmakers. There are a couple of further pieces to come from our talk, so articulate and interesting an interviewee he turned out to be (we left his quotes mostly uncut below), but for now, here’s a small sampler of some news that will interest anyone anticipating his next film, a period piece set around Ellis Island, even half as eagerly as we are: it seems “The Nightingale” is probably going to be jettisoned as the film’s title in favor of the original “Lowlife."

Marrakech ‘12: Isabelle Huppert On Looking Back, Going Hollywood, Turning Down 'Funny Games' & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 3, 2012 12:05 PM
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Frequently namechecked by critics, fellow actors and directors as one of the greatest screen actors alive, French actress Isabelle Huppert is the subject of the first of a series of impressive tributes to be made at this year’s Marrakech International Film Festival. She is also being honoured here by an eclectic, 11-movie sampling of her back catalogue, including 1980 Gerard Depardieu-starrer “Loulou”; Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher,” for which she won the second of her two Best Actress awards in Cannes; and her more recent work with Brillante Mendoza and Hong Sang-soo, “Captive” and “In Another Country.”

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Jessica Chastain On Cannes, Overcoming Shyness And Wanting Isabelle Huppert's Career

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 18, 2011 2:25 PM
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Jessica Chastain has not had a normal year. Not so much breaking through as invading and colonizing multiplexes and arthouse theaters alike (we’ll have more on this in a special end-of-year piece coming soon), when we spoke to her during the Marrakech International Film Festival, she was nonetheless able to identify one defining experience amidst it all: the Cannes red carpet.

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Olga Kurylenko On Fighting Typecasting, Future Projects And 'Land of Oblivion'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 17, 2011 12:55 PM
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With a lead role in Terrence Malick's upcoming untitled film and a supporting role in Martin McDonagh’s "In Bruges" follow-up "Seven Psychopaths" (read what she has to say about those projects here), Olga Kurylenko’s star is firmly in the ascendant. But these roles also mark a shift away from the looking-hot-while-things-blow-up parts in "Max Payne," "Hitman" and, of course, "Quantum of Solace" that first brought her to our attention. During our interview at the Marrakech Film Festival, we asked whether this new direction was an accident or something she had planned.

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Sigourney Weaver On Auditioning For Woody Allen, 'Death And The Maiden,' & Her Passion Projects

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 16, 2011 3:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Outside the "Avatar" and "Alien" franchises, Sigourney Weaver has worked with some top names, not least of whom, Woody Allen, who gave the actress her very first big-screen role, as "Alvy's Date Outside Theater" in "Annie Hall." Though the role is pretty minute, she was actually cast in a bigger part, which she turned down due to theater commitments. Regardless, she has good memories of her first big screen experience. "He’s very sweet, very shy…I feel like Woody Allen discovered me. He always laughed at whatever I did, even though I only worked with him a couple of days. He’s someone I admire very much and I’ll always be grateful to him because he gave me my first job."

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Terry Gilliam Talks 3D, 'Harry Potter,' 'Watchmen' & The Inoffensiveness Of Modern Comedy

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 15, 2011 12:58 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Jean-Jacques Annaud Talks 'Black Gold' & The Importance Of "Discovering The Jungle Of One's Heart"

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 14, 2011 10:20 AM
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For director Jean-Jacques Annaud ("The Name of the Rose," "Quest For Fire," "The Bear"), having served as President of the Features Jury some years ago, returning to the Marrakech International Film Festival with his new film "Black Gold" in tow was in some ways coming full circle. "[Marrakech] is a special city because this is the first Arab city I ever visited. There is no doubt that the beauty and the medieval ambience of the place inspired my desire to make a movie about this world -- this movie," he explained when The Playlist got to sit down with him prior to his Masterclass.

Marrakech Film Festival '11 Reviews: 'Land of Oblivion' Starring Olga Kurylenko & '180°' The Swiss-German Version Of 'Crash' (Basically)

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 13, 2011 3:23 PM
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"Land of Oblivion" It is 25 years ago in the small Ukrainian town of Pripyat. People are fishing. A boy goes to look at the tree he and his father planted. A woman prepares for her wedding. And then it starts to rain - not, in itself, a doom-laden event, except if you know that Pripyat was essentially the ground zero town for the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, and what we are really watching is more like a snapshot of Pompeii in the days before Vesuvius erupted.

Marrakech Film Festival '11 Review: There's A Reason They Don't Make 'Em Like 'Black Gold' Any More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 12, 2011 1:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Left in a strange kind of limbo, partly due to a delay in finding U.S. distribution, and therefore a large swathe of the Western audience to whom it rather panders, Jean-Jacques Annaud's period sand saga "Black Gold" makes an odd addition to a festival line-up.

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