Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Palm Springs Weekend: Dogtooth, City of Life and Death

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 10, 2010 at 8:40AM

Nora and I drove out to the Palm Springs International Film Festival Saturday, already well under way (it winds up on the 18th). Fest director Darryl Macdonald and lead programmers Helen du Toit and Carl Spence not only play the pre-Oscar awards-tributes-red-carpet game with such films as Precious, An Education and The Last Station, but also assemble a large selection of foreign Oscar submissions (not all are deemed worthy). A Fipresci jury will choose the best film and performances of the 41. Altogether the fest brings in about 1000 assorted folk to the robust--and growing-local fest, with help from distribs as well as various foreign consulates. We registered along with the filmmakers from Ajami, a tough Palestinian/Israeli drama that is Israel's entry.
3
Thompson on Hollywood

Nora and I drove out to the Palm Springs International Film Festival Saturday, already well under way (it winds up on the 18th). Fest director Darryl Macdonald and lead programmers Helen du Toit and Carl Spence not only play the pre-Oscar awards-tributes-red-carpet game with such films as Precious, An Education and The Last Station, but also assemble a large selection of foreign Oscar submissions (not all are deemed worthy). A Fipresci jury will choose the best film and performances of the 41. Altogether the fest brings in about 1000 assorted folk to the robust--and growing-local fest, with help from distribs as well as various foreign consulates. We registered along with the filmmakers from Ajami, a tough Palestinian/Israeli drama that is Israel's entry.

Saturday after a spartan organic lunch at Ace Hotel & Swim Club (a renovated Howard Johnson's and Denny's in minimalist/moderne style that showed The Big Lebowski to a crowded rec room that night), Nora and I screened Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, which was initially announced as the Greek entry for Oscar consideration. Greece thought better of it.

Thompson on Hollywood

The sensationalist film was this year's Cannes Un Certain Regard prix-winner. Half the audience left after a sweet kitten was stabbed with garden shears; another sizable portion split when three nubile teens climbed into a tub together. The family unit lives in a walled in compound; only the over-protective father leaves for work every day, returning with food, objects and entertainment for his wife and kids. One older son has escaped over the wall. The rest are deprived of stimulus and act out in various all-too predictable ways. I didn't want to leave this curious, compelling movie (which Kino International is releasing), but I could understand why so many did. They felt assaulted.

Also slipping into the audience were Australian star couple Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward, who had just unspooled her debut feature, Beautiful Kate, to a warm reception (it was deemed too dark to acquire by at least one stateside distributor). At the Viceroy Hotel party later, Brown said he stayed through to the end, but thought the "experimental" movie could have been dispatched in "twenty minutes."

Sunday brings a foreign film panel moderated by Variety's Peter Debruge and a plethora of choices. No City of Life and Death, though, one of two films pulled by China Film Group in protest over the showing of a pro-Tibet doc, The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom. It turns out that the ink was not dry on the deal for National Geographic Films to distribute The City of Life and Death (set for March), which is complicated by parent National Geographic's complex ties with China. There's a chance the deal could fall through. When the festival spoke to Ye Kai, whose short Quick Quick Slow Slow was also pulled from the fest, she was clearly intimidated, they said.

This article is related to: Awards, Festivals, Oscars


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.