Tag Archives: Movies

Lebanese Cinema’s Journey at the Venice Film Festival throughout the years

La Biennale di Venezia is currently celebrating its 74th edition with a variety of films by acclaimed filmmakers from around the world. The spotlight in this edition is on the Lebanese film The Insult which is Ziad Doueiri’s fourth feature film and his first one to get in the official competition of the festival. The film was very well received by the international audience in Venice and by the press. While Doueiri is waiting for the jury’s final decision to perhaps bring home Lebanon’s first Golden Lion Award, we wanted to write this post to pay tribute to him and to his fellow Lebanese filmmakers who also took part of the festival in the past few years.

RANDA CHAHAL SABBAG

randa_chahal

Starting with the ladies, the late Lebanese filmmaker Randa Chahal Sabbag who passed away in 2008 from cancer, is one of the most celebrated female filmmakers in Lebanon and the Arab world.

She’s one of the very first ladies to become a director in the cinematic field. Here’s a look at her participation at the Venice Film Festival:

  1. Screens of Sand / Ecrans de Sable (1991)

In a city in the middle of the desert, the passionate friendship of ladies, Sarah and Mariam. One who saw the day after the oil boom and thinks that she can have everything with the power of money, the other is a survival of the war in Lebanon. In this desert, between bans and conflicts, the tension rises.

It was Chahal’s very first feature film. It premiered on September 8, 1991 at La Biennale di Venezia in the official selection.

  1. A Civilized People / Civilisées (1999)

While working in the city, a young woman finds love in the midst of war with an Arab soldier.

This film also premiered on September 4, 1999 at the festival in the official selection and was awarded the UNESCO Prize, before heading to the Toronto International Film Festival. Unfortunately, the film was banned in Lebanon because of some dialogues and characters.

  1. The Kite / Le Cerf-Volant (2003)

A young 15-year-old girl, Lamia, from a Druze community, who is forced to marry her cousin across the Israeli border, but finds herself in love with an Israeli soldier.

It is her last film which premiered on August 30, 2003 at the 60thVenice Film Festival as part of the Official Competition. It was nominated for the Golden Lion. Despite not winning the Golden Lion, she won 3 awards: the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize, the Lanterna Magica Award and the Cinema for Peace Award.

Closing ceremony of the 60th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy on September 6th, 2003

4 years later, she took part of the jury of the Premio Venezia Opera Prima Luigi De Laurentiis section which was presided by the American producer Bill Mechanic. Today, her family is working on releasing very soon all her films as well as the scripts that she wrote but couldn’t turn into movies.

 

NADINE LABAKI

nadine_labaki.jpgThe second filmmaker who made it to Venice is the well-known female director Nadine Labaki. She took part of the Orizzonti (Horizons) jury at the 69th edition of the festival, awarding the Hong Kong documentary film Three Sisters the Best Film Award of the section. The jury was presided by the Italian actress and director Isabella Rossellini.

 

 

MAZEN KHALED

mazen_khaled.jpg

We don’t want to forget to mention the director Mazen Khaled whose film Martyr is also selected at this year’s 74th Venice Film Festival in the Biennale College Cinema section and got its world premiere there few days ago in the presence of the cast and crew.

 

 

Martyr (2017)

The last day of the life of a young man drowned on the coast of Beirut.

 

ZIAD DOUEIRI

Director Ziad Doueiri poses during a photocall for the movie And last but not least is the Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri who takes part of the festival for the first time and in the Official Competition alongside internationally acclaimed filmmakers such as Darren Aronosfky, Ai Weiwei, Guillermo Del Toro, Abdellatif Kechiche and Robert Guediguian. The film is written by Doueiri and the screenwriter Joëlle Touma and was described as “gorgeously short and classily acted feature” and “a fascinating piece of work” by The Hollywood Reporter. It will be released on September 14 in Lebanese theaters and on January 26, 2018 in US theaters.

The Insult / L’insulte (2017)

In today’s Beirut, an insult blown out of proportions finds Toni, a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, in court. From secret wounds to traumatic revelations, the media circus surrounding the case puts Lebanon through a social explosion, forcing Toni and Yasser to reconsider their lives and prejudices.

 


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Oscars 2017: Moonlight wins Best Picture after Announcing La La Land !

The 89th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, just ended and the winners were announced. But the Best Picture category announced was different from the ones of the past 88 editions. La La Land was announced as the winner of the award, the team was on stage, they started with their speeches, until a sudden announcement was made. Check it out in this video.

 

Afterwards, Warren Beatty explained that he was holding the wrong envelope which was the one of the Best Leading Actress category for Emma Stone, which is why he was hesitating before announcing the winner of the Best Picture.

Here’s the full winners list:

Best Picture: “Moonlight” – Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner

Best Director: Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”

Best Actor: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea” as Lee Chandler

Best Actress: Emma Stone – “La La Land” as Mia Dolan

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight” as Juan

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis – “Fences” as Rose Maxson

Best Original Screenplay: “Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney from “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Best Animated Feature Film: “Zootopia” – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Clark Spencer

Best Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman” (Iran) in Persian – Asghar Farhadi

Best Documentary – Feature: “O.J.: Made in America” – Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best Documentary – Short Subject: “The White Helmets” – Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Live Action Short Film: “Sing” – Kristóf Deák and Anna Udvardy

Best Animated Short Film: “Piper” – Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Best Original Score: “La La Land” – Justin Hurwitz

Best Original Song: “City of Stars” from “La La Land” – Music by Justin Hurwitz, Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Best Sound Editing: “Arrival” – Sylvain Bellemare

Best Sound Mixing: “Hacksaw Ridge” – Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace

Best Production Design: “La La Land” – David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

Best Cinematography: “La La Land” – Linus Sandgren

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Suicide Squad” – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson

Best Costume Design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” – Colleen Atwood

Best Film Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge” – John Gilbert

Best Visual Effects: “The Jungle Book” – Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon

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Christmas Favorites

On the occasion of the Christmas season, we chose three films for you to watch on Christmas eve with your family, friends and beloved ones: the first one is the 1914 silent short film The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus; the second one is the 1990 animation film The Nutcracker Prince; and the third film is the 2003 long feature film Elf.

The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus is the fifth film to be made about Christmas in the “A Christmas Past” collection along with 8 more films. It’s a 14 minutes 1914 short film written by Frederic Arnold Kummer, directed by Charles M. Seay, starring Barry O’Moore (the amateur detective Octavius), Julian Reed (the butler Ignatz), John Sturgeon (the burglar) and many others.

Storyline by IMDB: When a burglar dressed as Santa Claus steals a family’s Christmas presents, amateur detective Octavius sets out to recover the loot.
Genre: Comedy – Drama
Produced by Edison Company.

The Nutcracker Prince is the first production from Lacewood Productions and Hinton Animation Studios to be released in theaters. It’s a 75 minutes 1990 animation long feature film written by Patricia Watson, based on a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman, directed by Paul Schibli, voices of Kiefer Sutherland (Nutcracker Prince), Megan Follows (Clara), Mike McDonald (Mousking) and many others.

Storyline by IMDB: An adaption of the classic tale of a girl’s dreams turned reality when her new toy turns out to be a young man placed under a curse.
Genre: Adventure – Family
Produced by Lacewood Productions, Hinton Animation Studios, Allied Filmmakers, with the participation of The Ontario Film Development Corporation.

Elf is one of Will Ferrell’s most popular films. It’s a 97 minutes 2003 long feature film written by David Berenbaum, directed by Jon Favreau, starring Will Ferrell (Buddy), James Caan (Walter), Edward Asner (Santa), Mary Steenburgen (Emily) and many others.

Storyline by IMDB: After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.
Genre: Family – Comedy – Fantasy
Produced by New Line Cinema and Guy Walks into a Bar Productions.

Merry Christmas from CineTrotter team!

Mamma Mia!

“It’s my last night of freedom… which is what some might see it, but for me it’s the last night before the greatest adventure of my life.” (Sky)

Mamma Mia! - 2008
Brief: It’s the story of Sophie, a bride-to-be, living with her mother Donna on a Greek island. Sophie’s trying to find her real father between three possible fathers (Bill, Sam and Harry), using hit songs by the popular ’70s group ABBA.

Candy

There’s no going back.
If you’re given a reprieve, I think it’s good to remember just how thin it is.” (Dan)

Candy (2006)
Brief: Dan is a poet who falls in love with Candy, an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle and becomes his love of heroin. Hooked as much on one another as they are on the drug, their relationship alternates between states of oblivion, self-destruction, and despair.