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World Cinema

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    DISPATCH FROM REYKJAVIK: Kiarostami Honored for a Lifetime of Achievement

    Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (director of "Taste of Cherry" and writer of "Crimson Gold") received the recognition of a nation Monday in Iceland. The President of the North Atlantic island nation, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson presented the director with a lifetime achievement award as part...

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    Dispatch From Brazil: Short Films In Abundance at Sao Paulo's Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metra

    "A long life for Brazilian cinema!" was the ironic cheer of the night at the opening of the 16th Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens de Sao Paulo, the largest short film festival in Latin America. Despite being an invitation-only event, the theater was so full on opening night that guests filled the aisles and huddled into corners to watch the evening's selection of films. The scene repeated itself throughout the course of the festival: theaters filled to capacity with their fair share of organizational and technical snags, which were forgiven by the diversity and sheer volume of films on offer to the public. The ten-day festival, whic...

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    At The New York Film Fest (not Toronto), World Cinema Gets its Due and Looks For Distribution

    Finally, world cinema gets the chance to shine. As the 43rd New York Film Festival kicks off tonight at Lincoln Center, about two dozens films from around the globe will get the attention they deserve -- unencumbered by studio junketeering and high-priced acquisitions news.

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    Critics Notebook: Exploring Heaven & Hell At the Toronto Festival

    Much has been inked about Ang Lee’s breathtaking "Brokeback Mountain" and Bennett Miller’s insightful "Capote" (the latter movie’s strength emerging from its fine performances rather than great directorial skill). Like many highly anticipated films, both front-ended Toronto, but they did more. Their protagonists set the tone for a recurring theme that ran throughout many of the fest’s most provocative offerings. They reside in some hell- or heaven-like place, sometimes both at the same time. Their position is more often than not of their own making. In "Brokeback Mountain," Heath Ledger’s macho, emotionally chall...

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    Fest Dispatch: Young Americans in Toronto; from Canada to India, New York to Los Angeles

    Those living in the United States often forget that “America” encompasses a much wider swath of territory than the 50 states. There’s Canada, of course. And even in certain parts of India the residents call themselves “American.” For powerful evidence, see Ashim Ahluwalla’s “John & Jane,” one of the most fascinating discoveries at this year’s festival. An observational documentary about 1-800-call workers in Bombay, “John and Jane” exposes the insidious reach of the so-called American Dream, as experienced by six phone agents who peddle odd products and services to callers ...

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    Here! Gets "Queens" From Fortissimo

    Here! Films has nabbed North American rights to Manuel Gomez Pereira's "Queens" (Reinas), from Fortissimo Film Sales. The company is planning a release early next year in conjunction with regent Releasing. The film is described as as "ensemble comedy that finds five headstrong mothers coping with the personal family conflicts surrounding the impending marriages of their gay sons at a mass wedding." Written by Yolanda Garcia Serrano, Joaquin Oristrell and Pereira, the film stars Marisa Paredes, Carmen Maura, Veronica Forque, Mercedes Sampietro, and Betiana Blum, along with "the sons," Gustavo Salmeron, Unax Ugaldo, Hugo Silva, Paco Leon, Danie...

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    Making A Family Sex Comedy: A Conversation with Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau

    For several years, Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau have been writing and directing distinctive films that take a sunny disposition on what are generally serious issues. Their first collaboration, "The Adventures of Felix," is about a gay man who leaves his lover to find a makeshift family on ...

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    Meet Me in St. Tropez: Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau's "Cote d'Azur"

    To include Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau among France's best-unsung contemporary filmmakers would probably be a bit of a hyperbolic stretch. Yet in the interest of making someone sit up and take note, I'll dare to do just that. Wearing their big-hearted generosity perhaps a bit too much on their sleeves, the directing duo nevertheless repeatedly construct narratives of unending good will and slapdash optimism that send you out of the theater refreshingly buzzed. Even if their brand of homo-happy whimsy doesn't exactly correspond with today's trendy art-house fare, it's been disconcerting to see their work become increasingly gay-ghet...

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    Palestinian Film Looks at Suicide Bombers

    As a Palestinian director, Hany Abu-Assad fully recognized he was stepping into a political minefield. By making a feature film about two young Palestinians who volunteer to become suicide bombers, he risked being accused either of glorifying terrorism or of betraying resistance to the Israeli occup...

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    Movie Stars in a Former War Zone: Sarajevo Film Festival Thrives For Locals and Industry Attendees

    It's rare to find a film festival that has both noble intentions AND an industry relevance -- Cannes isn't trying to cure cancer, after all. That's one reason that the Sarajevo Film Festival is such a standout on the festival circuit. The festival was started during the Bosnian war 11 years ago as a mark of artistic defiance and a way to let the troubled community find solace through film. More than a decade later, the war is over and the festival helps continue the healing process -- embraced by the community through its strong children's and teen programs as well as popular open-air screenings. And it is attracting more and more attention i...

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