December 29, 2013 |
One suspects the world is out of kilter when a French girl utters cultural sacrilege: "Love is stronger than death? What a load of bull. " The girl in question, Camille, has returned from the dead, unbruised and unbloodied and looking just as she did four years earlier, before her school bus rounded a reservoir and sailed off a mountain. She does not devour flesh or walk in spastic shuffles. She's a zombie in the European style, moving with grace, pouting and posing existential questions in a mountain village where the water is rising and animals are up to strange things.
December 28, 2013 |
It makes for an unlikely combination: some of Hollywood's biggest stars rubbing up against relative obscurities from the international festival circuit. Yet that's exactly what happens each year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which has become an essential stop for celebs working the awards circuit while also showcasing iforeign language cinema (including Oscar hopefuls). "To me, that's the beauty of the festival, that combination," said festival director Darryl Macdonald.
December 19, 2013 |
It's been many years since I interviewed the late producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, then the president of Unifrance, the key promoter of French films overseas, but I always remember a comment he made. Toscan, as everyone called him, was talking about the fate of his country's films in the world marketplace as well as in the U.S., but what he said could be applied to foreign-language cinema in general. "If you are on a street full of hamburger shops, you finally want to eat something else.
December 15, 2013
Re "OED's literal problem," Opinion, Dec. 12 In her delightful column, Meghan Daum bemoans the acknowledgment by the Oxford English Dictionary of the common misuse of "literally," opining that its misuse is not only cheating but "cues the listener to stop listening. " Ironically, this happened to me in reading her article when she equated people living in a different galaxy with residents of Ursa Major. Since Ursa Major is not even close to being a galaxy (it's in our own Milky Way)
December 13, 2013 |
For all its success enrolling tens of thousands in health insurance, California is struggling to translate Obamacare into Spanish. The state's enrollment so far among Latinos is anemic - even though they represent more than half of California's 7 million uninsured residents. Only 5% of enrollees, or fewer than 4,500 people, in the first two months of enrollment are primarily Spanish speakers, new data show. The dismal results have drawn sharp criticism from supporters of the healthcare law. They fault the Covered California exchange for strategic missteps, and they fear that missing out on this relatively young and healthy population could threaten the viability of the state exchange.
December 12, 2013 |
The virtue of words gets a sweet, funny, at times profound close-up in "The Great Passage," Japan's entry for 2013's foreign-language Oscar. Director Yuya Ishii, working off a gentle, finely textured script by Kensaku Watanabe (adapted from the novel by Shiwon Miura) takes his time telling this warm story of the 15-year creation of a definitive print dictionary, but it's a worthy journey. Initially set in 1995, on the cusp of a tech explosion that would gradually render physical books an endangered species, the film follows the trajectory of Mitsuya Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda)
December 12, 2013 |
It's mid-December, and everybody's a winner, what with critics' prizes and best-ofs and award nominations being announced seemingly around the clock. Has any of this changed the best picture race? And how are the documentary and foreign-language categories shaping up? Let's take a look. PICTURE "12 Years a Slave" "Gravity" "Saving Mr. Banks" "American Hustle" "Nebraska" "Captain Phillips" "The Wolf of Wall Street" "Her" "Inside Llewyn Davis" "Philomena" Bubbling under: "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Blue Jasmine," "August: Osage County," "Fruitvale Station," "Dallas Buyers Club," "All Is Lost," "Prisoners," "Enough Said" Analysis: Golden Globes!
December 5, 2013 |
BENGHAZI, Libya - Relatively few Americans remained in this eastern Libyan city as street battles raged and Islamic militants made ever-bolder forays in recent weeks. But Ronnie Smith, a chemistry teacher at an English-language school, stayed on, planning, colleagues said, to return soon to the United States for Christmas. Smith, 33, of Texas was gunned down Thursday by an unknown assailant or assailants as he jogged in an affluent central neighborhood of Benghazi, not far from the U.S. Consulate where an attack in September 2012 killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
December 5, 2013 |
Yu Chao Liang and his wife saved a few bucks recently by checking into a mid-price chain hotel in Santa Monica for a two-day business trip from Suzhou, China. But they were not impressed. In the room, they found no slippers, teakettles or complimentary toothpaste - extras that come standard in Chinese hotels. The hot breakfast bar in the lobby was free but it didn't include any of the traditional Chinese breakfast dishes they get back home, like rice porridge. "I can eat almost anything," Yu said, referring to the breakfast at his hotel.
December 3, 2013 |
For all the high-profile actors assembled in the upcoming drama "August: Osage County" - including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch - the real star of the film may be the language, written by Tracy Letts, who adapted his own Pulitzer-winning stage play. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series , director John Wells and some of his cast talked about the importance of language in the Oklahoma-set family drama. "My concern was that the best possible actor for each part be in the part because the material is complicated, it's difficult," Wells said.