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Thompson on Hollywood

Arthouse Audit: 'Her' and 'The Past' Not Eye-Popping, Face Serious Competition

Two significant limited holiday entries opened this pre-holiday weekend, often a tricky time to attract specialized audiences. Spike Jonze's "Her" (Warner Bros.), with somewhat younger appeal, boasted a weaker limited opening than "American Hustle" last weekend, while Sony Pictures Classics slotted "The Past" as their end-of-year entry. Both will break wider in January.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 22, 2013 3:35 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Academy Narrows Foreign Language List to Nine

Six foreign films films picked by several hundred Los Angeles Academy voters --members from various branches who see the requisite number of movies submitted for Oscar consideration--as well as three added by an executive committee hand-picked by producer Mark Johnson--make up the shortlist of nine foreign films that will be narrowed down to five nominees.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 20, 2013 1:20 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'The Past' Director Asghar Farhadi Says Illusion That Audiences Don't Like Complication Is Hurting American Cinema (Q&A)

Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi has created one of the best screenplays of the year with "The Past," a measured domestic drama where every frame counts. In a recent Q & A with the LA Times' Mark Olsen, Farhadi, with help from a translator, discussed the film, his idiosyncratic writing process and the state of cinema today (highlights below).
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • December 12, 2013 1:54 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Mill Valley Film Fest: San Francisco Film Society Losses, Whoopi Goldberg's 'Moms Mabley,' 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,' and Foreign-Language Oscar Entries

It now seems ironic that the first person I chatted with at the delightful opening night cocktail party of the Mill Valley Film Festival, just a week ago, was Ted Hope. The October 9 announcement that he was leaving his post as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, parent organization of the San Francisco International Film Festival raced through the Mill Valley Filmmaker's Lounge like wildfire. Hope was seen as, well, a great hope: an extremely successful independent producer with stellar contacts and standing in the international film community. Eventually he found out that fund-raising was the crucial aspect of his new position.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • October 11, 2013 1:05 PM
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Ramping Up to the 36th Mill Valley Film Festival

While perusing the program for the upcoming 36th Mill Valley Film Festival (October 3 through 13) I was pleased to see that I could indeed see a number of the titles that I'd missed in Toronto and Telluride, including "The Past" by Asghar Farhadi, Roger Michell's "Le Week-End," Stephen Frears' "Philomena," and "The Missing Picture," by Rithy Pan.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • October 2, 2013 6:35 PM
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Cannes Film Fest Diary 3: Seduced by 'The Past,' Abandoned by a Brazilian Beach Bikini Party

At 8:30am Friday morning, I got it. What Cannes is truly all about. You get something in theory, and then there’s the moment you get it through experience. Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” had just begun, and I thought back to what a friend said was the real reason to attend Cannes: because you see the best films in the world. Literally, according to one of the money men in James Toback’s new documentary about Cannes, “Seduced and Abandoned” – more on that later – half of the year’s supply of big films debuts at the festival. Farhadi won the Oscar for best foreign film with his last, “A Separation,” and as the new film began, the audience just relaxed into their seats as the film, with its first shot, took over. It’s a wonderful feeling when you realize you are in very, very, very good hands.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 20, 2013 11:11 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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