DAILY NEWS: "Beauty" in NYC; Hugo in Chicago; MIX Fest
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> French Toast U.S. Arrival of "Venus" Beauties
(indieWIRE/ 10.18.00) -- At the French Consulate on New York's 5th Avenue
on Monday night, French officials and American journalists toasted the
arrival of writer-director Tonie Marshall, esteemed actress Nathalie Baye
(recently seen in "An Affair of Love"), and up-and-coming ingenue Audrey
Tautou (to be seen next in creator Jean Pierre Jeunet 's "Amelie").
The trio of ladies was honored for their quadruple award-winning French
film, "Venus Beauty Institute," being released next week in the States by
Lot 47 Films. With a clean sweep at this year's Cesar Awards -- Best
Picture, Director, Screenplay and Young Actress (Tautou) -- the film and its
stars reflect once again the increased presence and recognition of female
talent in France. Paving the way for other French female directors like
newcomers Anne-Sophie Birot and Sophie Fillieres, whose films, respectively, "Girls Can't Swim" and "Aie" premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and will be released in the U.S. next year, "Venus Beauty" sets a fine example of a "woman's picture" that any gender can relate to.
The action of "Venus Beauty," however, revolves around that most feminine of
locations, the beauty salon, where 40-year-old Angele (Baye) struggles to
overcome loneliness and falls in love with a younger man, while young
Marie (Tautou) becomes smitten with a much older man. In addition to Baye
and Tautou's fine performances -- representing beauties both mature and
youthful -- Marshall also cast two ageless beauties in the film: her
mother, Micheline Presle, an actress with over 100 credits to her name,
and Emmanuelle Riva, most memorable for her 1959 debut, Alain Renais'
classic, "Hiroshima, Mon Amour."
The crack team of tuxedo-clad servers kept the champagne and hors d'oeuvres
flowing at the French Consulate prior to the formal sit down dinner, while
Marshall, a former actress with two previous directorial credits
("Pentimento" and "Pas tres catholique"), entertained guests in French and
English. She told indieWIRE that the success of the film in France has
created a surge of interest in her career.
"Everyone's waiting for your next work," she said. Marshall's answer to the
offers: she's got two projects in the works, one more mainstream, the other,
"the special one," she says, to star Catherine Deneuve, acknowledging that
the latter, more personal script, will be harder to get financed.
Before the guests enjoyed a perfectly choreographed dinner that included
shrimp aspic, shredded roast lamb with risotto and mashed potatoes, as well
as an array of desserts, Marshall disputed any expectation that "Venus
Beauty Institute" is simply a chick flick, saying, "It's for men and women.
I don't believe in making a movie just for women. It's for people."
>> "Perros" and "Gleaners" Win Gold Hugo Awards at Chicago Fest
(indieWIRE/ 10.18.00) -- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Amores Perros" won the Gold Hugo Award at the 36th Chicago International Film Festival, taking the event's top prize. In a prepared statement, jury president Haskell
Wexler said, "The film was chosen for its outstanding power, originality,
its shocking directness, and beauty."
From the doc jury, the Gold Hugo for Best Documentary was awarded to Agnes
Varda for her acclaimed doc, "The Gleaners and I" (Les Glaneurs et la
Glaneuse). The Silver Hugo went to Kim Longinotto and Jano Williamns' "Gaea Girls" and Tod Lending's "Legacy."
Silver Hugo Awards were presented to Bahman Ghobadi's "A Time for Drunken Horses" (special jury prize), Clara Law for Best Director ("The Goddess of 1967"), Hannelore Elsner for Best Actress ("No Place to Go"), and to two Best Actors, Emilio Echevarria and Gael Garcia Bernal for "Amores Perros." An award for Best First Film went to Marzieyh Meshkiny for "The Day I Became a Woman."
FIPRESCI presented its critics award to Cesc Gay's "Krampak" (Nico and Dani) and Yoichiro Takahashi's "Sunday's Dream." Gay's Spanish film was recently acquired for release next year by Avatar Films.
Finally, in the short film section, Jocelyn Cammack won the top narrative
award for "Better or Worse," Don Hertzfeldt was acknowledged in the
animation category for "Rejected," and Aditya Assarat won the award for best student narrative for "Motorcycle." [Eugene Hernandez]
[indieWIRE will publish a report from the Festival later this month.]
>> NYC's MIX Festival Announces Plans for Experimental Event
(indieWIRE/ 10.18.00) -- New York's Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film
Festival, aka MIX, has announced plans for its 14th annual event, running
November 15 - 19 in Manhattan. 27 world premiere screenings are among the
lineup, along with 38 New York premieres -- 100 titles will screen in total.
Singled out as a highlight is Curt McDowell's "Thundercrack," a film from
1975 that will show in the festival's "Sexy Horror Picture Show" series,
dubbed by organizers as a showcase of "sexy queer date movies."
Also on tap is a selection of work by Liza Johnson ("Fernweh: The Opposite
of Homesick"), Ned Ambler and Todd Verow ("Once and Future Queen"), each with films screening in the Innovations Feature Series. The event's ACCESS sidebar will offer digital media work, including an installment of "The
Queer Online Digifest" and another project entitled HUGE, in which New York directors interpret the word "huge" using a digital camera.
The Festival will also offer an array of shorts, animation and other
experimental work during screenings at numerous downtown venues.
[For more information, visit: