Archive for the ‘Trailers – @ 1st Impression?’ Category

The True Cost of Fast Fashion

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

I had the privilege to meet Livia Firth in Cannes. She’s everything a real woman should be and more. And she believes in a different business model for consumers. She’s changed the way I shop and you should read this interview on the Huffington Post with her about the film she’s produced, titled The True Cost (directed by Andrew Morgan) to find out why.

Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer of the film and a schedule of where it’s currently playing or how to stream/download it.

Check out this link to find out how to download or stream the movie.

It’s also currently playing in NYC at the IFC Film Center on and in Los Angeles at the Laemme Music Hall 3. It will also be in Shanghai, China on June 11th, and June 4th in Winnipeg, Canada. Check out their website for more upcoming screenings.

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Best of Venezia 70: Turkish Film Nobody’s Home

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

There are films that hit you in the gut, powerfully and undeniably, at first viewing. For me, that is usually followed by a need to be alone, retreat to a place where I can decompress from the emotions I feel and which don’t leave room for talking, thinking or writing about it. Then there are films that need a day or so to sink in, films that slowly but surely insidiate themselves in your heart and soul, to form there basis for conversations and inspiration for months, years to come.

Turkish filmmaker Deniz Akçay debut work Koksuz – Nobody’s Home belongs to this latter category, and it has taken me at least 36 hours to fully understand the film’s might.

Part of the “Venice Days – Giornate degli Autori” sidebar at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Nobody’s Home is the story of a family in crisis. After the father’s death, the family dynamic has shifted and each person within the nucleus deals with this breakdown in a different, but equally alienating way.

The mother Nurcan, played by the spellbinding Lale Başar, has taken on the role of the helpless victim, while the elder daughter Feride, played by Ahu Türkpençe with grace and insight, has inherited the undesirable role of caretaker. The brother İlker, also played to brooding perfection by Savaş Alp Başar, the only male left within the family nucleus, misses his father and, in typical teenager fashion, acts this out through drugs and sex, instead of dealing with it head on. Then there’s the younger sister Özge, the lovable child actress Melis Ebeler, who wants desperately to be a part of the family, but only manages to feel ignored and forgotten. When Feride decides to marry, the fragile balances of this family’s codependency snap.

For the entire piece, go to the Huffington Post.

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Ruba Nadda’s Latest Is Inescapable

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

It’s no secret how much I adored Cairo Time, filmmaker Ruba Nadda’s last oeuvre. But I’m also looking forward to her next, titled Inescapable and starring Alexander Siddig, Joshua Jackson and Marisa Tomei. It’s a story of a father looking for his kidnapped daughter in Syria and it’s as straight-out-of-today’s-headlines modern as they make them. Movies that is, how they make them movies…

Anyway, it’s screening for the first time at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and I’m thinking it can’t, can’t, can’t be missed, particularly given my personal fascination with Siddig. Perhaps no movie will ever take the place in my heart that Cairo Time has been occupying for the last two and some years, but at least this film promises to be a close contender. N-joy a very limited first look at the trailer for the film and see you at TIFF!


All images courtesy of Alliance Films, used with permission

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“Caesar Must Die” but He Will Win the Golden Bear!

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

There are proud moments and then there are proudest moments! The recent win by the Taviani brothers in Berlin can be counted among the latter. Amidst stories of negligent Italian sailors and the economy of my beloved homeland gone south, this is a greatly welcomed bit of good news. The beginning of some momentous Renaissance for Italian cinema.

A recent article in an Italian publication mentioned the lack of cinematic culture in my modern-day countrymen (and women). It’s a sad time for a land that can boast the talents of masters like Fellini, Visconti, Rosi and De Sica, on whose films the entire world has drawn inspiration. Yet the numbers for new films, foreign imports and for movies in general (unless you count Titanic and equally simplistic American flicks) in Italy is abysmal. An eighth of the attendance numbers in France, where there are roughly the same number of inhabitants.

So, the fratelli Taviani, with this ode to Shakespeare, but also a tribute to those we would rather forget, behind the bars of various jails around the world instead of rehabilitating, are winners all around. And you can quote me on this, the film is going all the way to the Oscars next year. Oh, dare I say it? Why not… And it will win too! See, you just can’t lose with the Bard these days, he taps into every contemporary nerve, and I’m not just saying that because I’m my grandfather’s (Hans Rothe) granddaughter!

Caesar Must Die (Cesare Deve Morire) is distributed in Italy by Sacher Distribuzione, the company founded by another personal favorite filmmaker Nanni Moretti. It has picked up nearly worldwide distribution at the Berlinale, even before receiving the Golden Bear, so expect it soon in a theater near you.

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First Look at Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Whether we are to believe the critics, who are all raving about Freida Pinto’s performance in Michael Winterbottom‘s Trishna — most have yet to watch the film — the trailer does look intriguingly like an old-time Bollywood film. Maybe something from the Raj Kapoor era but colorized, with a dash of Sanjay Leela Bhansali thrown in, or perhaps it will remind you, as it did me, of Deepa Mehta’s exquisite film Earth.

Winterbottom has been deep at work re-adapting and reinventing Thomas Hardy novels into cinematic oeuvres and this is his third try, after Jude the Obscure and The Calm. With Trishna Winterbottom transports Tess of the d”Urbervilles to modern-day India — picturesque Rajastan more precisely — where a clash between Trishna’s (played by Pinto) rural roots and the urbanity and education that her employer Jay (played by British rapper Riz Ahmed) represents are inevitable.

The film will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival on September 9th, 2011. For more info on the film, follow them on Twitter @TrishnaMovie


Top image courtesy of Indiewire

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Immortals — Take a Look at Tarsem’s Latest

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Now that I’ve got your attention with Freida Pinto’s smoldering Grecian goddess look in Immortals, be sure to stop by the Huffington Post for a look at the trailer for the latest film by the artistic genius who brought you the visually fantastical The Fall.

There’s no denying the man’s got talent and quite a vision, so you know this 3D ancient Greece spectacle releasing on 11-11-11 will be on my must-watch list.

Click here for the trailer on the Huff Post. N-joy!

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs © 2010 War of the Gods, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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1/20 The Film – Cinema for a Brand New Generation

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to what draws me to films so deeply. Or, more precisely, to certain specific films. It’s definitely the feelings those movies inspire in me but it also has to do with the life-changing aspect of a project. When I was a little girl, I remember watching some films and coming out of the theater with newfound excitement, and what I can only describe today as a refreshed joie-de-vivre. And even though I have grown a lot in years since those days, I still expect a movie to add an extra bounce to my step when I’m finished watching it. Which does not always mean it has to be about romance, roses and kittens. Rather, it can be a film like 1/20 – A Punk Rock Romance Portraiture of Present-Day America, which shows a different way of looking at the close world around us and in the process inspires me to be better, do better.

Marcel Proust wrote “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes” and indeed, something as politically charged and media driven as the 2008 US Presidential election can also be seen as a romantic depiction of the people who drove Obama to the top post, the same generation which — within its Arab counterparts — is now also responsible for the newfound democracy efforts in Egypt. Whether the older generations want to admit it or not, these days politics, entertainment and fashion are all driven by those who know how to use Facebook and Twitter to their full potential.

CNN, the New York Times and even some of the most notorious online news sites can’t possibly reach as many people as the communities of social networks that are available all over the world, in all different languages, for nearly everyone to use. It’s as if this already small enough world of ours got even tinier. We are all “friends” and we can choose to “like” a president, a film or a revolution with the click of our mouse. As a friend stated so simply and easily “we expected Obama to be like Michael Jordan, but he’s only done as well as a regular player on the Nets”, which is a great — albeit not the most P.C. way — to look at how much was expected of our first African American President, mostly because of all the online hype.


While 1/20 The Movie finalizes the deals which will bring this “Film for the people, by the people” to its audiences later this year, I did catch up with three of the creative forces behind this project. Berwin, the producer and head of C Malo Producciones, Gerardo Del Castillo Ramirez the director and Bruno Zaffora, the assistant director of 1/20 The Movie all spoke to me via Skype, after 11 PM their time, from a street in Bon Pastor, a Gypsy/Arab neighborhood in Barcelona. It was the perfect setting, time, set of characters and conversation for a film that is just so interesting and fresh, it CAN’T be overlooked.

In his director’s statement Gerri, as he affectionately known, wrote “My motivation to make this movie was to break the molds of comedy, individual archetypes, and representations of behavior and family. The objective was to build a rebellious film, very independent, but at the same time innocent, which rescues the lethargy of living in the periphery where the most interesting thing a person can do is to cut her hair into an intricate mohawk or build an inescapable internal universe to escape violence and total alienation.”

The film’s creative forces give the synopsis of the film as follows “We are the 1/20 generation, and we have run away from our teachers. 1/20 is a punk rock romance portraiture of present day America. This teen/coming-of-age film utilizes iconic American imagery to examine the people’s reaction to the campaign and inauguration of Barack Obama. On 9/11 part of America died, but on 1/20 it was reborn.

Six iconic American characters from the 1/20 generation converge on Washington DC the night before the inauguration of Barack Obama. Their experiences reflect the zeitgeist of our times, and we learn that politics are less valuable than friendships and love conquers all.

The 1/20 generation is restless on the eve of the Obama presidential campaign.”


I asked Gerri how did the film “begin” — come about if you will. He answered “Berwin wanted to do something political, he met Matthue Roth — a young novelist from NYC known for depicting this 1/20 generation — and then contacted me to direct it. We are pretty lucky guys that we are all connected in this work.” Berwin added that “Art Basel in December 2008, after the election, had a significant presence of art featuring Obama and the Inauguration which was the initial inspiration for the project”. And if the film seems like a documentary type of project it’s not, it’s actually “all fiction and fully scripted. There are some parts that are documentary, but the setting is fiction. We tried to get a screenplay from someone who is actually a part of this generation and Matthue is also very interested in multicultural ideas.” Gerri continued.

Berwin turned out to be the able translator on a few of the more complicated points by Gerri and Bruno, but also the perfect voice of a producer who is clear about what he wants for the film and knows how to get it. About plans here forward for 1/20 he disclosed “we are submitting the film to indie festivals, searching for someone who reacts to the meaning of the film. We need to connect to an organization that wants to say what we want to say, that if people all collaborate together you don’t need a huge amount of money to do something good, worthwhile.” Then he continued “the film festivals are the first step. We are talking to some producers in Hollywood who have ideas of what this film could do, from a financial POV. At the end of the day, the media and the industry is focused on the bottom line. Right now the film that was completed is a 90 minutes theatrical version… One producer we are working with in Hollywood is interested in maybe making it into a made-for-TV film in the period running up to the next election. He would like to see a shorter, less artistic cut, more linear, more commercial.”

The absolute essence of the film lies in this anecdote Bruno shared at the end of our talk “last night, a few of us sat in an apartment here in Bon Pastor, without heat and hot water, watching the theatrical version of the film on a laptop owned by C Malo Producciones because that’s what we have, in keeping with the spirit of the film.” The spirit of 1/20 The Movie, a film on a journey that has just begun and definitely one to watch!

All images and videos courtesy of C Malo Producciones

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B-Wood’s Akira Kurosawa Song. What?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Ever danced around in the shower singing Fellini, Bertolucci, Kurosawa and De Sica? NO? Me neither… But for those of us who can make a ditty out of just about anything in life, well Bollywood has one-upped you! This is their tribute to Tarantino, Wilder, Hitchcock and all the others we love in the firmament of world filmmakers. Not quite sure what this item number is for, but I say bring it on! Just in time for a good holiday laugh. N-joy it, listen to it carefully and share it.


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‘Eat Pray Love’ Sight Unseen

Monday, August 16th, 2010

This week I’m starting a new column on The Ajnabee, a pre-viewing review of a film based only on the film’s trailer. What do you get at first impression, when you see those two odd minutes of scenes pasted together by a professional trailer editor? This is what I see. Feel free to set me straight or share your own gems. If you have a trailer you wish to share, with a short pre-view review, I’ll publish you on here gladly!


‘Puke Curse Hate’ – or ‘Sit Watch Snooze’ as the blog The Bloodshot Eye, where I got the image above, calls it – is a film I don’t really look forward to seeing. I did not read the book and stand by my principles. When a writer gets an advance to write about her life BEFORE going out there to write about it, it’s a bit fishy to me. And uninteresting. If I read about real life, I want real life, not real life with a hefty advance… As if Gregory David Roberts, the guy who wrote ‘Shantaram’, had gone to his editor to get an advance before dealing drugs, landing in jail and bonding with the gundas of Bombay. Hum… The book would have turned out VERY different, I guarantee it! There is something to be said for just living life and then discovering you might have had an interesting time, which others might be tickled to read about.

So, I see this and I think of Julia Roberts touring India at the same time as I was there, with her family, and how it was in the news that she got the Taj Mahal to close for the day, so she could visit it unbothered by the real Indians there. Sheer mortals are so bothersome to a star. I think Bali’s monkeys caged so they would not bite Mr. Roberts’ children and infect them with real Indonesian rabies. Rabies is such a pesky illness for a star’s kids. And I think that being a hot blooded Florentine, I take offense at how my people are portrayed in the film. It’s great if the book and the film can inspire lonely, bland, middle-aged women to travel the world looking for their own Javier Bardem, travel always does a soul good. But as far as calling it an adventure… NAH!

Oh, and BTW, Naples does not have the best pizza in the world, NYC does! I swear to that fact, Mother’s Neapolitan blood running through my veins and all!

Image courtesy of The Bloodshot Eye

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