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What Ever Happened To These 5 Foreign-Language Filmmakers?

by The Playlist Staff
June 18, 2012 2:54 PM
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Arnaud Desplechin
Who: French filmmaker who frequently employs big French fish notables: Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Chiara Mastroianni, and László Szabó among others.
Years Away From The Game: "A Christmas Tale" hit Cannes in 2008 as a contender for the Palme d'Or while also cropping up on many, many year-end lists.
What Happened: Desplechin has been dealing them out consistently for awhile -- "Playing 'In the Company of Men'" was in 2003, with "Kings and Queens" following a short year afterwards, and both "L'Aimée" and "A Christmas Tale" similarly cropped up soon afterwards. "Jimmy Picard" was announced some time back in 2010, so while it was always cooking, it seems that it either needed a bit more time on the burner or the filmmaker was hoping for a top name to carry the project -- something he got in Del Toro, for sure.
What To Watch: If you haven't seen "A Christmas Tale" yet, (1) we're surprised and (2) go do it. Family as a subject can be painfully trite nowadays, but 'Tale' is both amusing and affecting with terrific performances from its entire cast. "Kings and Queen" is also a solid effort, also featuring an unbeatable Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos.

Kanji Nakajima
Who: Japanese filmmaker that struck Sundance with "The Clone Returns Home," a sci-fi tale in vein of Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris" and "Mirror."
Years Away From The Game: 'Clone' was in 2008, so we've had a four year period of silence.
What Happened: It's hard to say, really, because there isn't much information out there on either the filmmaker or 'Clone' aside from reviews. Quiet, slow-paced cinema can bud passionate champions, though they generally are few in number and that's to say nothing about the science fiction conceit which also unfortunately limits its audience (one look at the glossy, generic Japanese DVD cover will probably hint at how much hope they had for it). All that aside, Nakajima has been working since 1994 and has amassed a scant three pictures, the latter two dealing with fantasy elements that likely cost a pretty penny, so it's safe to assume that while he probably takes his time with his screenplays, it's difficult to fund his meditative work. He was able to find an executive producer in Wim Wenders for his last effort, so a new project isn't out of the cards if he's able to build that kind of relationship again.
What To Watch: If you can find his first two flicks (“Fe” and “The Box”), have at it, but we'd really recommend 'Clone.' Aside from the Tarkovsky lauds, it's a philosophically-rich, highly moving film for those who froth at the mouth for brilliantly composed long takes. Sure, we're few, but we're definitely out there.

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  • elizabeth | June 19, 2012 2:50 PMReply

    Picking up on the Indiewire article discussing lack of female filmmakers at Cannes this year(and every year) and the general lack of female directors anywhere....this list should have been exclusively women.....comprised of some of the women from anywhere in the world who at some point made an interesting film (despite the odds) but were unable to make a follow-up....nevermind in 4 or 5 years but.....ever. I know it's a reality, but it's a tough one to take lying down. and yeah...I'm a woman (producer).

  • Christopher Bell | June 19, 2012 3:02 PM

    That's a good idea for a different list, but no need to discredit this one.

  • Huffy | June 19, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    I still think that Pulse is the ballsiest, most ambitious horror film since The Shining. Eerie as hell too.

  • Nic | June 19, 2012 9:25 AMReply

    Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amlric are in "Jimmy Picard", the next Desplechins'movie.

  • d | June 19, 2012 9:35 AM it says above. On page 2.

  • Jimbo | June 19, 2012 3:04 AMReply

    And what about Gilles Mimouni, who made such a magnificent and assured debut film with 'L'Appartement' fifteen years ago and hasn't be heard of since?

  • Juan | June 18, 2012 8:57 PMReply

    Lucrecia Martel is not a good filmmaker

  • Christopher Bell | June 19, 2012 12:55 AM

    All good (not familiar with Pintille -- but will check out) but different kind of piece. The ones mentioned here made serious waves somewhat recently, and in that sense, you'd expect them to hit back with something else much more quickly.

    I think maybe that piece would be good to question why nobody cares about these filmmakers anymore -- especially Jansco and Erice, with "Spirit of the Beehive" and "The Red And The White"/"Elektra" being so astonishing and respected. They all have movies in the 00s -- some even as recent as 2011 -- but does anyone really know about them? Not just us as an audience, but no festival play either?

  • ralch | June 19, 2012 12:33 AM

    No - she is a great filmmaker.

    Whatever happened to Victor Erice, Lucian Pintilie and Hugo Santiago. Pity no one follows up on Miklos Jancso. He's over 90 and still working.

  • Edward Davis | June 18, 2012 11:33 PM

    Double wrong (ouch, seriously).

  • d | June 18, 2012 9:55 PM


  • MAL | June 18, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    I have seen almost all of Kurosawa's films. My favourites are Pulse and Cure but I have been challenged but never disappointed by his work. TIFF (where Cure was my first Kurosawa experience) has been a huge supporter of his films as well, bringing each of his newest films to Toronto when they are available. And about 10 years ago, TIFF had a director's spotlight on him, showcasing many of his films to that date. I certainly look forward to whatever he does next.

  • MS.HU | June 18, 2012 3:28 PMReply

    Denys Arcand's next film is entitled Deux Nuits/Two Nights. More about here, in French:

  • Arch | June 18, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    Kudos for pointing out Kiyoshi Kurosawa ... really really amazing director! I'll just add that horror fans may want to check his 2001 TV movie Korei/Seance (or maybe his 1989 release Sweet Home, a bit different from later work but a fun flick!), drama fans (?) may want to check Jellyfish.

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