Film Review: ‘Pollock’
What happened to Jackson Pollock when he was painting? That's what Ed Harris communicates in the film. What Harris, in an Oscar-nominated turn, is able to show in "Pollock" is that..
'20th Century Women'
Chain-smoking and Birkenstock-wearing 55-year-old Dorothea "comes from the Depression," explains her 15-year-old son Jamie, as though "The Depression" is the planet Jupiter..
Film Review: ‘Aquarius’
Led by a powerful performance from Sônia Braga, Aquarius uses a conflict between a tenant and developers to take an insightful look at the relationship between space and identity..
Factory of Lies (2018)
The False News From Russia
Russia has launched an information war - introducing a new weapon. Hundreds of young Russian are producing fake news from fake profiles. But some brave Russian..
Film Review: ‘Mary Shelley’
“Mary Shelley” is a rarity: a literary biopic with an argument. Which is by no means to say that the film, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour (“Wadjda”) forgoes the expected pleasures of the genre..
The legendary actress leaves our world
Today the legendary Iranian-American actress Vida Ghahremani passed away after battling cancer for many years. She went beyond taboos of her time to have the very first..
A Thousand Times Goodnight: Absorbing fact-based drama
Beautifully filmed and powerfully acted, 1,000 Times Good Night achieves absorbing fact-based drama without overindulging in Hollywood contrivances. Starring Juliette..
Cannes 2018 • Changeless Change • Jean-Luc Godard and Jia Zhangke
“We are never sad enough for the world to be better,” laments a concluding female voice in 'The Image Book.' “Something that burns so..
Sridevi honoured At the Cannes Film Festival 2018
Veteran Bollywood actress Sridevi was honoured with the TITAN Reginald F Lewis Film Icon Award at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival..
CANNES 2018 • Awards
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film has scooped the top prize, while other names on the winners’ list include Europeans Alice Rohrwacher, Marcello Fonte, Pawel Pawlikowski and Jean-Luc Godard..
CANNES 2018 • Un Certain Regard • Awards
CANNES 2018: Victory for the film by Swedish-Iranian director Ali Abbasi. Girl scoops the Award for Best Performance, while Sofia, Donbass and The Dead and the Others are..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Ash Is Purest White’
Jia Zhangke’s gangster epic is a twisting tale of love and survival in 21st-century China. A winding tale of love, disillusionment and survival that again represents his vision of..
Cannes 2018: Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’
It’s a drama that leaves you shaken yet detached, chilled and a little numb. Almost every scene in it has been overly designed to grab your attention..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Bergman — A Year in a Life’
Ingmar Bergman emerges as a compulsive figure with a very grand hunger in a penetrating documentary about his pivotal year of 1957..
CANNES 2018 Competition • 'Summer' (Leto) • Review
CANNES 2018: You'd be right in thinking this was a biopic, but Kirill Serebrennikov's new film – in the running for the Palme d'Or – is above all a ray of light and colour..
Cannes Film Review: Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘The Image Book’
Jean-Luc Godard's new film is a kaleidoscopic bulletin on the state of our world, and the question it asks could apply to itself: Is anyone watching?..
Iran’s Asghar Farhadi • On the push and pull of home
CANNES, France — The Cannes Film Festival opening-night premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” coincided almost exactly with President Trump’s announced..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Sextape’
Half the conversation in “Sextape” is about blowjobs
Two cads treat their girlfriends like sex toys in a slice of bad behavior that would like to be a vérité youthquake but sticks to the raunchy..
CANNES 2018 • Un Certain Regard • Ali Abbasi • Border
CANNES 2018: Cineuropa talked to Tehran-born director Ali Abbasi about his sophomore effort, Border, based on a short story by John Lindqvist and screening in Un..
Cannes 2018: The directors who are banned from attending the film festival
Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi and Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov – who both have films competing for the Palme d’Or – have..
'Wonder Wheel'
A larger-than-life Kate Winslet

Actress sets the screen on fire in filmmaker's torrid period drama about broken Brooklyn dreamers. Kate Winslet is on fire in Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel..
Through the Black Forest
A Rare Interview With von Trier
Here he looks back at his work, talks about his forthcoming movie, and reveals his idea for a new series of small films. Finally he makes a comment on his controversial statement..
Nasser Cheshmazar
'Rain of Love' creator dies at 68

A prominent Iranian composer who was best known for his memorable album “Rain of Love” and theme music for over 20 movies, died of a heart attack on Friday. He was 68..
The Young Karl Marx
Brainy Content Bracing
The early years of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Jenny Marx, between Paris, Brussells and London. In Paris, Marx struggles, unpaid by Ruge, unable to provide for his wife Jenny..
'Lucky' • Movie Review
Harry Dean Stanton Gets the Goodbye He Deserves

Lucky is a bittersweet meditation on mortality, punctuating the career of beloved character actor Harry Dean Stanton. The late, great..
U – July 22 • Film Review
Norwegian kills for thrills?
Erik Poppe’s hyperrealist one-take dramatisation of Anders Breivik’s summer camp massacre offers little sign of moral perspective..
Interview • Kamyar Mohsenin
The Fajr International Film Festival’s manager of international relations, Kamyar Mohsenin, explains to Cineuropa how the gathering has played a vital role in the development of Iranian cinema..
Inuit drama "Aga"
Crowned best at Fajr Film Fest
Bulgarian director Milko Lazarov’s drama “Ága” about two Inuits that live with the dream of reuniting their family has been picked as best movie at the 36th Fajr International Film..
Interview • Director Sergei Loznitsa on Russia
The acclaimed Ukrainian director discusses his latest drama A Gentle Creature, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and the ‘hell’ of Russian history. “Hell isn’t when horrible things..
Oliver Stone In Iran 2018
For attending Movie Festival
American movie director Oliver Stone was Iran on Monday attending an international film festival. Stone hosted a workshop for filmmakers during the Fajr Film Festival..
Cate Blanchett • To Lead Cannes Film Festival Jury
Chaired by Australian actress Cate Blanchett, the competition jury at the 71st Cannes Film Festival (9-19 May) has now had its line-up unveiled in its entirety..
CANNES 2018 Official Selection
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Yann Gonzalez and Sergey Dvortsevoy are all now in the race for the Palme d’Or. Lars von Trier will feature out of competition, while Terry Gilliam will close the festival..
Lars von Trier
Receives Denmark's Largest Cultural Award

Denmark's largest cultural award of one million kroner, awarded to Danish film director Lars von Trier on Thursday at the University of..
IRAN NOW • A Mini Festival
The Danish Film Institute 2018
IRAN NOW is a mini festival that looks into the situation in Iran right now, as it is expressed artistically, culturally and socially. Through plenty of guests, we explore the..
The Party (2018)
It Knocks The Wind Out of You

Potter's comic dissection of the London intelligentsia's personal and political angst is completely of the moment. Old-fashioned charm meets sharp wit and modern social..
'Umbra' and 'Like a Good Kid'
Two Iranian movies join Cannes competition
Two movies by Iranian filmmakers will be competing in the Cannes Film Festival as the 71st edition of the event will open with..
Peter Bradshaw on the Cannes 2018 lineup
Some mixed signals with the traditional unveiling of the Cannes film festival’s official selection: a very lively and effervescent list, with eight newcomers in competition and..
Cannes Festival To Feature Films By Dissident Iranian, Russian Directors
France's Cannes film festival has made a show of support for dissident directors in Iran and Russia in unveiling its selection of films..
Cannes 2018
Un Certain Regard puts its faith in young talents

The Cannes selection features a strong European presence, six feature debuts, and films by Valeria Golino, Bi Gan, Ali Abbasi..
Jafar Panahi: Cannes 2018
French Authorities To Appeal Iran For Filmmaker’s Fest Presence. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux said today that the festival will appeal to Iran for the filmmaker’s presence..
Copenhagen to screen
'The Home' (Ev) from Iran

A superbly cinematic chamber piece, 'The Home' (Ev) has been selected for screening at Danish Film Institute during a festival of Iranian films..
Last Men in Aleppo (2017)
Feras Fayyad’s Breathtaking Work
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature and winner of the Grand Jury documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival..
Doc on Farhadi’s “Salesman”
to premiere in Tehran

A documentary on Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning drama 'The Salesman' is scheduled to premiere in Tehran in the near future. It will be screened at the Art and Experience..
'Everybody Knows' to open the Cannes Film Festival
The film by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi will be screened in competition as the opening movie of the 71st Cannes Film Festival starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin..
Faces Places (2017)
A Visual Ode to Ordinary People

Agnes Varda is almost 90 years old and she is still making fantastic films. Searching, compassionate, provocative, funny, sad ones. This is one of them..
A Fantastic Woman (2018)
The story of Marina who undergoes several misfortunes after losing a loved one. A woman who is not granted the respect a grieving wife or girlfriend would receive. All she wants is be allowed to say goodbye, to grieve publicly..
‘In the Fade’ (2017)
A Tale of Grief and Violence

How should liberal societies deal with homegrown political extremists, who seek protection from the democratic norms and institutions they are committed to destroying?
John Malkovich • Interview
Recently, at the Hotel Caron in Paris, I got up to use the bathroom one night and found myself out in the hallway instead. But that is one of a million: I am a constant source of embarrassment to myself..
'Loveless’ (2017)
Unnerving and Fearless

Loveless is a stunning indictment of complacency, and a reminder of how fast something you love — like our democracy — can suddenly go poof if you look away..
The Big Lebowski
A typical Coen brothers film is like no film you've ever seen. It blows other more recent slacker comedies out the water and proves that Bridges can do any role..
Berlin: Mani Haghighi's "Pig"
Talks Buzzy Black Comedy

Iranian director and actor Mani Haghighi is a Berlinale aficionado. His gender-bender “A Dragon Arrives!” made a splash when it launched from the fest’s competition section..
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Anger is an energy in Martin McDonagh’s brilliant “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ,” one of the best films of the year. A vigilante mother takes matters into her own..
36th Fajr Film Festival
winners honored

The annual Fajr Film Festival (FFF) came to an end on Sunday at Tehran’s Milad Tower after presenting awards to the best of cinematic productions in the past year..
The Glass Castle (2017)
Affecting, Moving and Well acted
A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s..
Lars von Trier receives the biggest award in Denmark
The biggest cultural award in Denmark, the Sonning Prize (Sonningprisen) this year goes to Danish filmmaker and screenwriter Lars von Trier, who was elected by a committee..
Armed With Words & Wings
Michael Strunge became the voice of a new generation and a mirror reflection of their identity and life, while he struggled with anxiety and psychotic attacks that pushed him to commit suicide at the age of 27..
THE INSULT (2017)
Civil War Beirut Style

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri made headlines recently when authorities in Beirut arrested him at the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport for questioning about..
The Apu Trilogy
Achingly poignant, beautifully shot, and evocatively atmospheric, Satyajit Ray's classic trilogy is a masterpiece no cinephile can afford to miss. "I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it..
Walk With Me (2017)
A thoroughly meditative cinema

One of the most calming documentaries you’re likely to ever see is “Walk with Me,” a documentation of Zen Buddhists and their community of Plum Village in France..
What Will People Say (2017)
TORONTO 2017: Cineuropa spoke with Norwegian director Iram Haq whose latest film 'What Will People Say' had its world-premiering at Toronto. “I used the knowledge I have to tell a story so we can build bridges..
Silence (2016)
A once in a lifetime movie

Is it moral to allow others to suffer when their suffering can be ended with a single symbolic gesture? Would God want that? Maybe the priest is destined to realize that it’s all right..
Sepideh Farsi preparing The Siren
1980, Abadan. The capital of the Iranian oil industry is resisting an Iraqi siege. Omid, a 14-year-old boy, has stayed back in the city, with his grandfather, waiting for his..
Sohrab Shahid Saless
The Experience of Exile

A visionary and truly transnational artist, Shahid Saless remained a solitary figure throughout his life. Still his films have left an indelible mark..
EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS 2017
The Square sweeps the Awards
Ruben Östlund’s film The Square – and more specifically a comedy – has taken home most of the awards from the European Film Awards ceremony..
Sophie's Choice • Review
Streep is memorable as Sophie

So perfectly cast and well-imagined that it just takes over and happens to you. It's quite an experience. 'Sophie’s Choice' begins as a young Southerner's odyssey to..
'Vanaja' • Movie Review
A wondrous piece of filmmaking
A Sensitive, Engaging movie from a first-time filmmaker. Rajnesh Domalpalli made this poignant 2006 drama as his thesis film for a master's degree at Columbia University..
Invasion (2017)
How Thirsty are you?

'Invasion' is Shahram Mokri’s third feature after Fish & Cat. Both pics experiment “with nonlinear narrative, thriller elements and point of view,” as Variety critic wrote in her..
Half Moon | Niwemang
A road movie unlike any other
The Kurds may not yet have a country, but as long as Bahman Ghobadi keeps making movies they have a national cinema. Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon is a beautiful and..
Emma Thompson demands
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is brought home

Actress Emma Thompson has accused Boris Johnson of doing “sweet FA” for the British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran..
Kedi (2017) • Movie review
As soft and warm as a kitten
Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion..
'Young Torless' • Cruelty of Man Is Explored
A great psychological and philosophical treatise on how normal, well-to-do people, can turn themselves into "torturers and sacrificial lambs," as Torless himself states..
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Movie Review
With uniformly great performances throughout the cast and Lanthimos’ stunning eye for detail and composition, this is one of the most unforgettable films of the year..
Until the Birds Return (2017)
My characters are at a turning point in their personal lives, yet they are not and do not want to be actors for change. In the 1990s an unprecedented civil war left 200,000 dead in Algeria, and tens of thousands..
The Divine Order (2017)
A hilarious comedy that hides ill-concealed discomfort
Petra Volpe continues to talk to us about women, and does so by turning the spotlight on a somewhat inglorious episode
Iranian filmmaker Cannot attend stokholm film festival
The acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been denied exit from Iran and will not be able to attend the Stockholm International Film Festival..
WINDOW HORSES • A Canadian film about Iranian Poetry
A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival. Ann Marie Fleming’s..
A Look at “My Brother Khosro”
An intelligent movie dealing with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family, one of whose members has a mental problem..
ON THE BEACH 2017
'This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.' These lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears..
Al Berto: A Biopic about the life of Portuguese poet
Liberty was there for the taking, but people had not been taught to be free and were not sure exactly what to do with it. Al Berto was ready for Sines, but Sines wasn’t..
Houman Seyyedi talks to CWB
I knew Houman Seyyedi as a very talented actor until I learned about him as a film director and then came the big suprise. After watching the four movies that..
Pouran Drakhshandeh talks about Under the Smoky Roof
Last Thursday, was the opening night of 'Under the Smoky Roof', a social drama directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh at the Fine Arts Theater, Los Angeles..
12 European films awarded At The Warsaw Film Fest
The Polish event’s Grand Prix went to the Chinese feature To Kill a Watermelon. Danish film The Charmer by Milad Alami won Competition 1-2 prize..
LOVING VINCENT (2016)
The final mysterious days in the life of Vincent van Gogh are the subject of investigation in this formally daring work, seven years in the making, that marries live action performance to..
Never Let Me Go
With Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek has delivered a graceful adaptation that captures the spirit of the Ishiguro novel -- which will be precisely the problem for some viewers..
Interview • Milad Alami
SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Cineuropa chatted to Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami, whose feature debut, The Charmer, is currently taking part in New Directors at San Sebastián..
Wild (2014)
Mini-Odyssey of a broken character
'I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.' Powerfully moving and emotionally..
An Iranian film director
On the country's censorship

How does censorship work in Iran? The FRANCE 24 Observers team is publishing a two-part interview about censorship and Iranian cinema..
Mountain | Monte (2016)
Now, at 70 years old, Amir Naderi is a true international filmmaker. After "Mountain" (made in Italy) he is now ready to come home to US and start all over again. "It is just the beginning,"..
10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Welcome to the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada..
Shirin Neshat • Interview
VENICE 2017

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat remembers an iconic figure from Arab music on the big screen in Looking for Oum Kulthum, a film in competition in the Giornate degli Autori
VENICE 2017 • Interview
Emre Yeksan's The Gulf

“We live in a period of slow decay, and the smell won’t go away any time soon.” Emre Yeksan’s feature debut, The Gulf, has been premiered in the International..
Video Essay Explores
Orson Welles’ ‘F For Fake’

Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with films like “Touch of Evil” and “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig..
‘MOTHER! • VENICE 2017
7 Things to Know About

Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother' centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence...
Shirin Neshat • VENICE
'Looking for Oum Kulthum'

“story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first..
VENICE 2017 • Orizzonti
'Oblivion Verses'

Iranian filmmaker Alireza Khatami is presenting his debut feature Oblivion Verses in Orizzonti at Venice, where Cineuropa spoke to him about fantasy..
VENICE 2017 Competition
'Human Flow'

Artist Ai WeiWei is in the Venice competition with this documentary shot in 2015 and 2016, uncovering the growing crisis of displaced people across the..
Asghar Farhadi begins filming 'Everybody Knows'
The two-time Oscar winner is shooting this European co-production in Spain, with a Spanish-speaking cast headlined by Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz..
The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
MONSIEUR IBRAHIM :: Movie Review
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Fest
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
'Insyriated'(2017)
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decision of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes
A NEW FESTIVAL IS BORN

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Incendies (2010)
A Powerful, Disturbing film
Adapted from the 2003 play by Wajdi Mouawad, twins Jeanne and Simon leave Canada for the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s final wish..
Spotlight (2015)
The Power Of The Press

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese..
Before the Flood (2016)
An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio..
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Winner of the Palme d’Or

I, Daniel Blake marks yet another well-told chapter in director Ken Loach's powerfully populist filmography. Returning to filmmaking after saying..
"Razor’s Edge: The Legacy of Iranian Actresses"
A look at the often controversial role of women in Iranian cinema during the secular period from the 1930s to the Islamic Revolution in 1979..
Afghan Film Festival
12-21. April 2017

After much planning and inspirational talk, we can finally unveil a special cultural event on Danish soil: Afghan Film Festival in Copenhagen..
Bahman Ghobadi's
‘Rhino Season’

Produced by Martin Scorsese, this is the first film Ghobadi has made in exile. The work of a great talent marshaling all of his powers as a cinematic storyteller..
Dying for a Song
"Art is education, art is existence, its everything"

A documentary about the musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious..
A Simple Plan • Review
A Frozen Setting Frames a Chilling Tale
"You work for the American Dream--you don't steal it." So says a Minnesota family man early in "A Simple Plan," but he is..
Macon Blair’s
'I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore' (2017)

What's delightful about Macon Blair’s movie is how consistently the film challenges our worst assumptions..
Blue Jay (2016)
A trip down memory lane
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past..
Paterson (2016)
'I breathe poetry'

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Borgen:
The Complete Series

Danish television in a Golden Age of genre thrillers


By Robin Menken, CWB
03/21/2015

"Power is not a cute little lapdog that jumps up and lies in your lap. You have to grab it and hold on to it..."


Danish television, however is in a Golden Age of genre thrillers like "The Killing", "The Bridge/Bron" and "Those Who Kill".


Scandinavian films have never been better. Denmark's product has thrilled festival goers for over a decade, i.e.: Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt", Nikolaj Arcel's "A Royal Affair", Tobias Lindholm's "A Hijacking" (all 2012), Henrik Ruben Genz's mordant "Terribly Happy" (2008) and Susan Bier's "After The Wedding" (2006). One by one these directors have begun making English language films, often migrating to Hollywood.

Danish television, however is in a Golden Age of genre thrillers like "The Killing", "The Bridge/Bron" and "Those Who Kill". Now MHz Home Entertainment has released "Borgen: The Complete Series" and "Unit One: Series 1, 2 & 3" both riveting Must Watch TV series.

"Borgen", which has been broadcast in 21 countries worldwide, was originally broadcast in US markets on KCET's Link TV in 2011. In Southern and Central California, KCET broadcast all three seasons in 2013. Now, thanks to MHz Home Entertainment American viewers can catch up with this powerful series.

"Borgen" (The Castle), labeled Denmark's 'West Wing", follows Birgitte Nyborg, Denmark’s first female prime minister, and the realpolitik she must use to stay in power. Think Machiavelli 21st century: a primer on the Danish political system, riddled with corruption but leavened with inconvenient idealism.

Public broadcaster DR has the luxury to develop shows for years before reaching primetime. How else could they simmer up such a juggernaut of a pilot which juggles so many rich subplots or let them slowly pay off throughout the ten week Season One. (DR is Denmark's oldest media channel, underwritten by license fees paid by every Danish owner of a radio, TV, computer or mobile device.)

The three seasons collected here are peopled with A Bonfire At the Vanities-like crew of insiders and ideologues, spin doktors like the slick Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbaek-"Lucy"), demanding billionaires, obsessive bureaucrats and the media that feeds on their swill.

Birgitte Nyborg (a strong central performance by Sidse Babett Knudse- "After The Wedding") is the idealistic leader of the Moderates. She's as surprised as anyone when she is swept into power as Denmark's first female prime minister. Happily married to Philip Christensen (Mikael Birkkjær-"Killing"), with two kids, Magnus (Emil Poulsen, and Laura (Freja Riemann), her first challenge is learning the building blocks of governing.

Scandal and internecine squabbles between the largest parties on the left and right give Nyborg room to wiggle into power leading a liberal coalition.  Kasper Juul's discovery of scandal, which could topple the incumbent, comes with a price: he's loath to reveal his source, protecting his ex-girlfriend Katrine Fønsmark. Nyborg rises to the occasion with an ad-libbed speech that makes her the logical front-runner.

It's easy to fall for Birgitte Nyborg, who, when we meet her is brilliant, beautiful and sexily confident. She's got ethics and she's eager to take on big issues. It's plain annoying when her male 'colleagues" call her Mommy behind her back.

The bike-riding politico seems to have it all, two kids and a supportive dream husband (a clouty CEO) willing to retire to teaching so he can shore up the family. True they bicker, but we're surprised to see their arrangement go off tracks. Eventually a company hires him back, a company that that will profit from one of Nyborg's policy moves. It doesn't help that they have to pencil in their love life or that their woes go national in News interviews. Knudsen is sensational in guiding us through her Pilgrims Progress; we still root for her as she disappoints her kids, axes her mentor and abandons her gal protégée.  Like her, we discover she can't have it all, and we ache for her as she's tragically transformed by the job.

Nyberg's learning political jujitsu under fire. She's naive to start with-balancing a home life with the seemingly impossible task of governing a country with eight (yes eight) strong political parties.

Each episode, which starts with quote from famous powerbrokers, Churchill, Machaiavelli and even Chairman Mao, shows us Nyberg learning to run the machinery of power. She's forced to fire friends and keep her enemies close, she learns when to spin the media, and when to keep mum. Isolated and lonely, the only one she can lean on is her Spin Dokter Kasper Juul.

"Borgen" (The Castle) is named for the Copenhagen castle that's the seat of government and a complex government it is.

Nyborg's party, the left of center De Moderate, is based on the Danish Social Liberal Party. In the third season she develops a new centrist party The New Democrats, based on the New Alliance. The center-right Liberal Party is also based on Venstre.

There's also The Labour Party, based on the Social Democrats, the left-wing environmentalist Green Party- similar to the Socialist People's Party, the far-left Solidarity Collective-similar to the Red-Green Alliance, the New Right -similar to Denmark's conservative Conservative People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party (based on the Danish People's Party.

As you can imagine with so many Party factions, coalitions are as fragile as fairy wings. Every episode they threaten to fall part.

Unlike the US with its last two decades of vicious partisan politics, Danes conduct their right-left struggle under a practiced veneer of civility and compromise. It's a treat to see a democratic system sort of work, after America's shameful decades of a broken system.

In Denmark, the public elects members to Parliament. The party, which dominates Parliament, elects its leader as prime Minister. Amazingly the "Borgen" creative team is adept at translating the nuances of this confusing political system to watchers worldwide, never sacrificing the dramatic tension that makes the series so gripping.

Ok, the scripts sometimes telegraph big changes with coincidental plot points. In episode one, the former regime collapses over a convenient sales receipt that makes the Prime Minister crash and burn. But everything else is so good, you forgive them. The clever show makes even these decisions a plus; we suffer through the inevitable like the characters, ground down by constant pressures in a world where there are no good decisions.

Of course this plot shorthand does water down the show's gravitas but not its entertainment value. The characters are everything.

Other characters include the political journalists who follow Nyborg's career, like ambitious 30-somethig news anchor Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen-"Midsumer Murders") and editor-in-chief for TV1 News Torben Friis (Søren Malling- "The Hour of the Lynx").

Peter Mygind is oily as Michael Laugesen the amoral defeated left-wing leader. Lars Knutzon plays Bent Sejrø Birgitte’s frazzled second in command. Søren Spanning plays incumbent Prime Minister Lars Hesselboe whose coalition is on the verge of collapse. Ole Thestrup plays the old school curmudgeon Svend Åge Saltum who sees through all the claptrap.

If, as Otto Von Bismarck said 'Politics is the art of the Possible", "Borgen" details the price paid to make things possible.

Running to stay in place, Nyborg is sucked under, losing touch with her family and her friends, chased by a relentless media, isolated by the apparatus she mastered that now masters her.

What separates "Borgen" from Britain's The Thick Of It" and Stephen Frears' brilliant backroom "The Deal", which it most reassembles, or American political dramas like "West Wing", “Homeland”, “Scandal" and "House Of Cards" is the balance between the character's lives outside of the corridors of power, and the machinations of parliament and the newsroom. What gives it a universal appeal is the focus on how daily "political" compromise distorts our ethics, and how easily our personal lives can collapse under inattention, workaholism and plain denial.

Indeed every decision characters make publicly or privately seems to bleed across the dividing line, filling each side of the drama with ongoing tension. Personal dramas take the place of American TV tropes like assassination attempts, bombings and murder.

None of the character arcs are shorted, each episode deepens and enriches the dramatic tensions. It all makes for ambitious, thought -provoking TV. Cracking writing greases the episodes, which feel more like complete movies. Topics tackled include gender equality, health reform, questionable Military expenditure, visits to Danish troops in Afghanistan, peace negotiations between warring African states and the extraordinary rendition of CIA suspected terrorists.

Idealistic Nyberg develops her nascent cunning, womanizing sleazy Kasper is surprisingly loyal to Nyberg, reading her mind like a lover and the intuitive fixer he is. And lucky Nyberg, for her businessman husband, who stalled his career to raise their children, while she pursued office, finds her job as PM too much to take,

Meanwhile crusading news anchor Katrine is having an intermittent affair with Kasper, her inside source. Katrine's mentor and editor Hanne (Benedikte Hansen), a divorced former foreign correspondent with an estranged daughter, eases her lonely life with red wine and canine companions.

Nobody escapes the life lessons, progressive Katrine becomes an advisor to a conservative M.P. Cynical spin doktar Kasper Juul, who faces traumatic secrets from his past, winds up as the shows skewed Jiminy Cricket.

In Season Two, Nyborg's been Denmark’s Prime Minister for two years at the cost of her personal life. By the end of the season she's toppled from power.

Season Three starts 2½ years later, after Nyborg has left politics. She sits on the board of powerful corporations, travels the world lecturing and begins to plot her return to politics. Fretting over the direction her Moderate Party is taking, she starts another party. And guess what, it's just as fun watching her start over.

The show is created and written by producer Adam Price with co-writers Jeppe Gjervig Gram and Tobias Lindholm ("A Hijacking"), and produced by DR, the Danish public broadcaster that has also produced another international Danish hit series "The Killing".

Production values are cinema worthy with production design from Søren Gam and Knirke Madelung cinematography from a Who's Who of Danish DPs: Magnus Nordenhof Jønck ("A Hijacking", "R"), Jørgen Johansson ("Italian for Beginners", "Terribly Happy"), Eric Kress ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", Taken 3", "Flickering Lights"), Rasmus Heise (" Helium "), Magnus Lars Vestergaard, Erik Zappon, Lasse Frank Johannessen and Jan Pallesen.

Season One introduces Brigitte and a strong ensemble of personal and profession friend and foes. Season Two expands and deepens the ensemble and its last episode is near perfect. Apparently a last minute renewal from DR caused the already committed Pilou Asbæk was hardly available. Kasper plays a reduced role. The scripts are still topnotch but you can't help missing his pointed performance.

This moves Torben Friis (Søren Malling) into a more central role. Frils was the TV producer in Season one. His character arc doesn't have the sizzle that Kasper produced.

In Season Two, Nyborg's been Denmark’s Prime Minister for two years at the cost of her personal life. By the end of the season she's toppled from power.

Season Three starts 2½ years later, after Nyborg has left politics. She sits on the board of powerful corporations, travels the world lecturing and begins to plot her return to politics. Fretting over the direction her Moderate Party is taking, she starts another party. And guess what, it's just as fun watching her start over.

Stephen King called "Borgen" the best TV program he had watched in 2012 (Entertainment Weekly) , the same year "Borgen" won a BAFTA as Best International TV Series.

NBC has bought the adaptation rights for American television. I'm not holding my breath. Other stellar Danish series have already been made into American shows:  “Forbrydelsen” became AMC’s cop show “The Killing” and FX's readying "The Bridge" which substitutes a body found on the US-Mexican border for the one found on a bridge on the Danish-Swedish border in "Bron/Broen.”

12 DVD Set / 1767 minutes / 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen / Region 1 / NR (SKU: 16754 / UPC CODE: 815047017542)


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