A mystery is solved and a late master eulogized in the playful and humanistic 3 Faces

Read on: The A.V. Club.

“What if it’s a prank?” So asks Behnaz Jafari, the famous Iranian actress, in the opening minutes of 3 Faces. Jafari, who’s playing herself, is in the passenger seat of a car, hunched over a cell phone, her face illuminated by its glow. She’s watching …

Coen Brothers, Barry Jenkins’ New Films to Play at New York Film Festival

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Paul Dano’s “Wildlife” are among the films that will screen at this fall’s 56th New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Tuesday.

This year’s main slate, featuring films from 22 countries, also includes Olivier Assayas’ “Non-Fiction,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Her Smell,” Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”

Five films were previously honored at Cannes, including Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book.” Returning filmmakers include Alex Ross Perry, Claire Denis, Ulrich Köhler, Lee Chang-dong, Jia Zhangke, and Christian Petzold. Other filmmakers include Alice Rohrwacher and Pawel Pawlikowski.

Also Read: Willem Dafoe’s Van Gogh Biopic ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ to Close New York Film Festival

The festival will kick off on September 28 and run through October 14.

As previously announced, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” will open the festival while Alfonso Cuaron’s “ROMA” is the centerpiece and Julan Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” will close the festival.

“Francis Ford Coppola said that the cinema would become a real art form only when the tools of moviemaking became as inexpensive as paints, brushes, and canvases,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “That has come to pass, but at the same time it’s become increasingly tough to do serious work that is beholden to nothing but the filmmaker’s need to express these emotions in this form in moving images and sound. So if I were pressed to choose one word to describe the films in this year’s Main Slate, it would be: bravery.”

Also Read: Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ to Screen as New York Film Festival Centerpiece

See below for the festival’s main slate:

The Favourite (Opening Night)

Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

ROMA (Centerpiece)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón

At Eternity’s Gate (Closing Night)

Dir. Julian Schnabel

3 Faces

Dir. Jafar Panahi

Asako I & II

Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Ash Is Purest White

Dir. Jia Zhangke

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Dir. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Burning

Dir. Lee Chang-dong

Cold War

Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski

A Faithful Man / L’Homme fidèle

Dir. Louis Garrel

A Family Tour

Dir. Ying Liang

La Flor

Dir. Mariano Llinás

Grass

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

Happy as Lazzaro / Lazzaro felice

Dir. Alice Rohrwacher

Her Smell

Dir. Alex Ross Perry

High Life

Dir. Claire Denis

Hotel by the River

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

If Beale Street Could Talk

Dir. Barry Jenkins 

The Image Book / Le Livre d’image

Dir. Jean-Luc GodardBi Gan

In My Room

Dir. Ulrich Köhler

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Dir. Bi Gan

Monrovia, Indiana

Dir. Frederick Wiseman

Non-Fiction / Doubles vies

Dir. Olivier Assayas

Private Life

Dir. Tamara Jenkins

RAY & LIZ

Dir. Richard Billingham

Shoplifters

Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

Sorry Angel

Dir. Christophe Honoré

Too Late to Die Young

Dir. Dominga Sotomayor

Transit

Dir. Christian Petzold

Wildlife

Dir. Paul Dano

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Cannes Report, Day 6: Harvey’s Ghost, Fainting Over Lars Von Trier

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s been almost a week dodging raindrops and “No Selfies on the Red Carpet” warnings at the Cannes Film Festival, where all cylinders seem to be firing for filmmakers, sales agents and newsmaking stars in town.

The banished-ish Lars Von Trier (“Melancholia,” “Antichrist”) returns to the festival after a seven year absence over a press conference blunder where the director said he had some sympathy for Adolf Hitler.

His latest, “The House That Jack Built,” has a first look trailer — and, as social media tells it, has festival organizers preparing for extreme reactions from the crowd.

Also Read: Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller ‘Destroyer’ in Cannes Bidding War

Elsewhere, the conversation about former Cannes stalwart Harvey Weinstein continues as embedded festival media reflect on his absence. In diametric opposition, the gender parity conversation moves from the red carpet to the big screen as films reflect a world fighting the patriarchy.

Here’s what’s shaking in the South of France today:

Lars and His New “House” 

Much has been made of Von Trier’s return after being declared persona non grata by the festival in 2011, but little has been shared about what he’s bringing to the table in “The House That Jack Built.”

Ahead of his Monday night premiere, IFC Films dropped a teaser trailer for the Matt Dillon film and it’s a doozy. The ’80s heartthrob appears to be a haphazard serial killer in throws of an existential crisis.  Uma Thurman and Riley Keough make Hitchcockian blonde cameos as Von Trier seems to be commenting on his own body of work through Dillon’s character.

“Some people think that the atrocities we commit in our fiction are those inner desires we cannot commit in our controlled civilization,” Dillon’s character muses in between bashing Thurman in the face with a car jack, imprisoning Keough in a hotel room and dragging a body from the back of a van as blood spills out onto the highway. Cute!

Also Read: Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller ‘Destroyer’ in Cannes Bidding War

In the official Cannes program, a warning appears next to the film’s schedule times: “Certain scenes are likely to offend the sensitivity of the spectators.”

There’s even speculation on Twitter that the festival is putting medics on standby should moviegoers faint during the screening.

Here’s the trailer:



 The Fallen “King of Cannes”

On the heels of Salma Hayek’s comments that Harvey Weinstein openly discredited her abuse claims because she’s a woman of color, one critic reflected on the disgraced mogul’s absence.

“The late Harvey Weinstein (well, it feels that way) was famous for bossing the Croisette with his uniquely charming blend of proximal aggression and creative vulgarity,” writes The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke.

He recounted a Weinstein anecdote about meeting Prince Albert of Monaco, who was allegedly introduced to the monarch by Roger Ebert as “the King of Cannes.”

A king no longer.

“The most horrible manifestations of his power lunacy have, following revelations last October, led to his virtual banishment from Cannes,” the critic said.

Also Read: Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘The Image Book’ Acquired by Kino Lorber

Equity On Film 

TheWrap touched this week on the blazing dominance of women in Cannes this year, from jurors Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay protesting on the Croisette to Monday’s pledge from festival organizers to level a massive programming gender gap .

The unifying sentiment is perhaps a direct response to the toxic Hollywood culture exposed in the Weinstein scandal — and now it’s showing up on screen.

“Girls of the Sun” takes a hardened look at a female Kurdish unit fighting ISIS, and is being interpreted as a prism for the real-world events unfolding around the festival.

“If this year is one of reckoning for women, then ‘Girls of the Sun,’ screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is the film for this era,” our own Sharon Waxman, founder and editor of TheWrap. wrote of the film.

“Any number of scenes swing between pathos and horror, but the film cannot possibly exaggerate the horrors that women in this part of the world have actually lived,” Waxman said.

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times singled out “Girls” and  Jafar Panahi’s “3 Faces” as titles that “battle the patriarchy.”

As political and empowering as it is to see parity steal Cannes’ thunder, it’s nice to see these social anxieties and battle cries for change show up in the movies. It’s a film festival, after all.

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Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Also Read: Cate Blanchett Calls for ‘Parity and Transparency’ in Red Carpet Protest of Gender Inequity in Cannes

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

  • Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening.
  • That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition.
  • For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men.
  • The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.
  • The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

Also Read: Cannes’ Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also Read: ‘Girls of the Sun’ Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays ISIS

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Also Read: ‘Cold War’ Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

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‘Three Faces’ Film Review: Once Again, Jafar Panahi Is Modest But Profound

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

For the past few years, Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been sending a series of quietly confounding films to festivals that he’s not allowed to attend. “Three Faces,” which premiered this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival, is the latest of these little examples of his cinematic sleight-of-hand, and another Panahi gem that has more on its mind than it lets on.

“Three Faces” is typical of the canny director’s output in the way it’s modest but profound, leisurely but urgent, a portrait of a country disguised as a meandering road movie.

But it’s not like he’s using misdirection or only pretending to be modest and leisurely. Panahi’s films are all those things at once — and this one is particularly timely at this year’s Cannes in the way he manages, without openly criticizing his home country, to sketch a portrait of how the refusal to give women much agency in their lives is ingrained in the society.

Also Read: ‘Leto’ Film Review: Musical Biopic Is a Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever Dream

He is at once the most playful of directors and the most serious, using a light touch to explore heavy matters in the face of government restrictions.

Along with Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, a critic of the Putin regime who is under house arrest for what his supporters say are political reasons, Panahi is one of the two main-competition directors who has been prevented from traveling to the festival by his home country. Convicted of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” among other offenses, he is not allowed to leave the country, and in 2010 he was officially forbidden from making movies for 20 years, a decree he has now ignored four times.

The first was 2011’s wryly titled “This Is Not a Film,” in which the filmmaker sat in his apartment and described the film he would have made if he had been allowed to do so. The second, “Closed Curtain” in 2013, was a funhouse mirror of sorts, set inside a beach house where a screenwriter keeps the drapes drawn to avoid detection. And the third, 2015’s “Taxi,” was a wry and exceptional film that found Panahi simply driving a cab around Tehran and having conversations with his passengers about the state of life in the country.

Also like Serebrennikov, whose “Leto” was a highlight of the festival’s first few days, Panahi’s contribution to this year’s Cannes is a significant one. “Three Faces” continues to blur the line between fiction and documentary, and to subtly comment on the state of Iran.

Also Read: ‘Girls of the Sun’ Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays ISIS

The film starts with an iPhone video apparently shot by a distraught young woman who seemingly hangs herself after her family and her fiance’s family have refused to let her attend an acting conservatory in Tehran. The video gets to Panahi and to actress Behnaz Jafari, both playing themselves, who venture to the small mountain village where the girl lives in an attempt to track her down.

Typical of the director’s elusiveness, Jafari scolds Panahi early in the trip, saying that she thinks he may just be making a movie about suicide, not really investigating a missing girl. Then Panahi’s mother calls and says, “I hear you’re off making a film?”

“No, that’s not true,” he says.

“Now you’re telling your mother fibs?” she shoots back.

Also Read: ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Film Review: Michael B. Jordan Remakes Ray Bradbury for the Age of Fake News

The trip plays out in long conversations, in arguments and invitations to tea and discussions of what value entertainment has in rural Iran, where one character dismissively says there are more satellite dishes than people. The aspiring young actress, they learn, was branded an “empty-headed brat” because she wants to be an actress — but an aging star of some renown who lives in the area is treated similarly, and the townspeople alternate between adulation and scorn when they speak to Jafari.

A lot of things happen at a remove: Jafari goes into a house to speak to the young woman, but Panahi remains in the car and so does the camera. Attitudes evolve, slightly, but there’s no grand conclusion, just the sense that women, even famous ones, are there to be acted upon, not to act (in every sense of that word).

Before “Taxi” screened in at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, Panahi released a statement: “Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge.

“Cinema as an Art becomes my main preoccupation. That is the reason why I have to continue making films under any circumstances to pay my respect and feel alive.”

With “Three Faces,” he once again makes the audience feel alive as well.

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Spike Lee, Debra Granik, Paul Dano, Alice Rohrwacher and A.B. Shawky are among the filmmakers presenting their work at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Jafar Panahi: Cannes, French Authorities To Appeal Iran For Filmmaker’s Fest Presence

Read on: Deadline.

In a first for Jafar Panahi, the lauded Iranian filmmaker has a berth in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest work, Three Faces. What is not clear is if he will be allowed to travel to the Riviera for the honor. In 2010, Panahi was arrested by the Iranian authorities and banned from making films. He has continued to work, but is unable to leave Iran and still faces a prison sentence which has not been enforced. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux said…

Iran Pulls Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s Passport As Award-Winner Returns Home

Read on: Deadline.

The passport of award-winning A Man Of Integrity and Manuscripts Don’t Burn filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been confiscated by officials in Tehran. The incident occurred upon Rasoulof’s return to Iran on Friday evening, international film critics’ association FIPRESCI said in a statement posted to its website. Kaveh Farnam, producer of A Man Of Integrity (aka Lerd), which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes this year, told the org that Rasoulof is now unable to…

In Searing Iranian Drama “Lerd,” Corruption Creeps Into Every Corner

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Iranian film “Lerd,” screening in the “Certain Regard” section in Cannes, is a brilliantly told tale of corruption by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasouloff.

Reza (Reza AKHLAGHIRAD) is a fish farmer who lives a quiet life with his wife and child in the Iranian countryside. But he learns to his own detriment that society around him is corrupt, even as he resists being pulled into the insidious system of payoffs, bribes, lying and constant moral compromise required to survive.

He yearns for the simple rule of law, but finds it nowhere: a company trying to drive him off his land can access the water supply to his fish via the local police. The religious police trying to smoke out his secret supply of watermelon liquor is also pulling the strings in a bogus fine levied against him. It’s all an attempt to bring him to heel, but Reza will not yield, and his life keeps getting worse as debts amass and his child is targeted at school.

Also Read: Cannes, Day 3: Good Reviews After Boos for ‘Okja’; More Selfie Shame; Gyllenhaal’s Dog Day

Even Reza’s wife Hadis (Soudabeh BEIZAEE) is powerless to keep a young non-Muslim woman from being driven from the school where she is principal. And her attempts to balance the scales with the daughter of the controlling clan in their community backfires badly.

The pace of “Lerd,” which translates to “a man of integrity,” is slow and deliberate, allowing the audience to follow the unravelling of their lives while understanding the depth of corruption in every aspect of their existence. The toll begins to be evident on their marriage, and it appears as if Reza will explode at his own powerlessness.

At a key turning point, he visits a friend from university who reminds him: “In this country, you are either the oppressor, or the oppressed.” As he decides to fight back by breaching the principles he held dearly, Reza finally stands a chance.

Rasouloff makes a devastating commentary on Iranian society, far removed from official politics. As an artist he has himself paid dearly for his insistence on truth-telling principles that have run afoul of Iranian censors.

Also Read: Netflix’s ‘Okja’ Booed at First Press Screening in Cannes

According to his IMDB biography, to date Rasouloff has produced “five feature films which none of have been shown in Iran due to the censorship, while his films are enjoyed by a broad audience in cinemas and festivals outside of Iran. Until 2010 Rasoulof mostly used metaphoric forms of storytelling as his means of expression in his films. Since then he has shifted to using more direct forms of expression. In March 2010 Rasoulof was arrested on set at a filming location together with Jafar Panahi while they were directing a film together. In the following trial, he was sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was later reduced to one year. He was then released on bail and is still waiting for the sentence to be executed”.

In 2011, Rasouloff won the prize for best director in Un Certain Regard for his film ‘Bé Omid é Didar'(Goodbye, 2011) at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013 he won the FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes for the film ‘Dast-Neveshteha-Nemisoozand'(Manuscripts Don’t Burn, 2013) from the International Federation of Film Critics in Un Certain Regard.

“Lerd” is yet another searing statement that will resonate far and wide, if not in Iran itself.