Annakarinaland

Annakarinaland
Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou

2010-11-27

Winter's Bone Best Film at Stockholm International Film Festival


Winter's Bone Best Film at Stockholm International Film Festival


Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
Fortissimo Films

Winter's Bones

Rating:
Star
Star
Star
Star
Star
Debra Granik's Winter's Bone won the Bronze Horse for Best Film, the highest honor at the 21st Stockholm International Film Festival that ran November 17-28. It also won best film from the FIPRESCI jury, the Association of International Film Critics. The award to Granik was a refreshing nod in a festival which typically features hard boiled films with aestheticized violence by directors such as Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, 1992, Pulp Fiction, 1994), Gaspar Noe (Irréversible, 2001) and Giorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth (2009). This year Michael Winterbottom's controversial The Killer Inside Me destined for home viewing qualified for the category. Maybe some fresh blood in programming will scrape off this veneer in coming festivals.
The Stockholm Film festival precedes the Göteborg Film Festival held in January, which is the largest film market in Scandinavia. Because the Stockholm fest runs in November, it is often a good festival to catch some of the harvest from the past year's Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian festivals.
In recent years the festival has been known to award work by women in film, every other year for the past six years. Granik is the fourth woman in the festival's two decades to win the Bronze Horse. Previous winners are Lucile Hadzihalilovic for Innocence (2004) Laurie Collyer for Sherrybaby (2006), and Courtney Hunt for Frozen River (2008).
Holly Hunter was the head of the jury that selected Winter's Bone. Hunter remarked that it was "the most amazing honor to preside over the jury" when she was presented by festival director Git Sheynius at the outdoor screening in freezing weather of Nine Lives (2005) by Rodrigo Garcia. "The fact that its dark from 3 o'clock on is so romantic, and the fact that I was brought on by fire is a first for me", said Hunter to the audience gathered in the town square. She told the crowd that she had heard a lot of good things about the festival from directors such as the Coen brothers and had wanted to come to Stockholm for a long time.
The jury's motivation for the award to Winter's Bone: by unanimous decision, the jury surrendered to a world so fully described by the director and a protagonist's dilemma in a community seldom represented in America. Through her heroine, the director paints an original portrait of a matriarchy who, by turns, warns, punishes, and ultimately offers an unlikely deliverance. The story and performances worked together to realize an uncompromised vision.
The best actress award went to Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. The jury's motivation for the award: She contains multitudes. Hardened by an independence gained much too soon in life, this actress skillfully explores the unyielding territory patrolled by modern drugs, rudimentary survival, and an ironclad matriarchy. She is, by turns, both subtle and ferocious – and this actress made the powerful choice of always being guided by a wounded and overwhelming love.
Debra Granik was present during the festival at a special seminar entitled Found: Women Directors. The seminar was sponsored by WIFT (Women in Film and Television), Sweden. She was commended on making a film about ordinary female characters without resorting to the usual stereotypes. Granik said that the main actors were flown in but that most of the cast was from the Ozarks. She said that Jennifer Lawrence did a remarkable job.
One of the distinguishing hallmarks of the festival is the First Film Award given to a director who presents his or her first or second film. This year that award went to Phan Dang Di for Bi, Don't be Afraid. The film won best screenplay at this year's Cannes film festival. 
Holly Hunter also presented the Visionary Award to Gus Van Sant along with actor Stellan Skarsgård on November 21. Swedish Actress Harriet Andersson, actress in several of Ingmar Bergman's films with a total of 92 film roles was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other awards at the festival with 180 screenings from 50 countries; Best Screenplay David Michôd,  Animal Kingdom; Best Actor George Pistereanu in If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle; Jameson Music Award Fred Avril, Magnus Börjesson and Six Drummers, Sound of Noise, Special Mention Ensemble Direction by Peter Mullan in Neds; Best Short Film Out of Loveby Birgitte Staermose; Short Film Special Mention Megaheavy by Fenar Ahmad. The 1 km film winner, Hugo Lilja, The Silver Audience AwardThis is England ’86 by Shane Meadows and Waste Land by Lucy Walker.

2010-09-11

Sofia Coppola Wins Golden Lion in Venice


Sofia Coppola Wins Golden Lion in Venice


Sofia Coppola Wins Golden Lion in Venice
Sofia Coppola Wins Golden Lion in Venice
La Biennale di Venezia

2010-09-07


Michelle Williams Re-defines Women in the West


Michelle Williams Re-defines Women in the West

Michelle Williams in Meek's Cutoff
Michelle Williams in Meek's Cutoff
La Biennale di Venezia

2010-09-06

Pernilla August's Beyond Hits Home Run at Venice


Pernilla August's Beyond Hits Home Run at Venice


Tehilla Blad, Pernilla August and Noomi Rapace. "Beyond" , 67th Venice Film Festival.
Tehilla Blad, Pernilla August and Noomi Rapace. "Beyond" , 67th Venice Film Festival.
Heppfilm

2010-09-05

Sofia Coppola's Somewhere Opens at Venice Film Festival



Sofia Coppola's Somewhere Opens at Venice Film Festival


Stephen Dorff, Sofia Coppola and Elle Fanning  67th Venice Film Festival
Stephen Dorff, Sofia Coppola and Elle Fanning 67th Venice Film Festival
La Biennale di Venezia

2010-08-17

Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander in American Millienium Remakes


Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander in American Millienium Remakes


Mooney Mara to be Lisbeth Salander
Mooney Mara to be Lisbeth Salander
AP

2010-08-02

Born in Flames Revisited

When she received the Grand Prize at Créteil Films de Femmes in Paris in 1983, Lizzie Borden said that the film took over four years to make because they ran out of money.  The total production cost for this 16mm film was $40,000. French feminists were so moved by the film that they called it a dream and believed it accurately reported their reality and the issues they were struggling with at the time. There has not been a film like Born in Flames since then at Créteil. It lives on as one of the best feminist films ever made.

Born in Flames takes up how class, race and gender affect working conditions and how women are treated, at home and on the streets. And because women are not treated very well in any of these areas, a woman’s army is created. Women on bicycles come to the rescue of women harassed or assaulted in the streets, and patrol the metro helping female commuters in distress (Dana Johnson)  All of this is reported on by the media and twisted and turned several notches. The sensational news that  “men are being attacked by women” is the net result.  The liberties that the media takes when reporting on attacks on power institutions has never changed. Alternative media has never been more important for getting truth out. This is one of many important premises of Born in Flames.

All of these occurrences take place ten years after the socialist (democratic, i.e. capitalist) revolution in the USA. But judging from the film, what kind of social democracy could there have been? Borden shows how collective bargaining leaves women with the short end of the stick. Unions do not stand behind women. The only policy change in this new government is a program to pay housewives for work. It is not safe for women on the streets or at work where they can show up and be fired in seconds. This contributes to a brewing anger among women. Men of color are also excluded from socialist equality in the labor force of this (futuristic)society. They loudly protest and are beaten by the police.  The women’s army works to build alliances with them.  


It is a misnomer to label this film feminist "science fiction" for it is an accurate report of the status quo in politics at the time the film was made and holds true even today. Radical feminism from the 70’s has been inaccurately called  a "white women’s movement". Perhaps because only white heterosexual feminists were reported on by the media. White lesbians and lesbians of color were not. The media was not interested in them, and their stories did not make the papers like those of heterosexual white feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. Feminist superstars may seem to have spoken for women. But grassroots radical feminists did the hard work and battled the territory for far more than equal rights and took up issues that media feminists did not dare to. Rights that young women enjoy today and take for granted.

Born in Flames is about this grassroots movement. Two competing feminist pirate radio stations have dedicated followers. The Radio Ragazza spokesperson is of European descent. Isabel uses spoken poetry to bring up issues of disenfranchisement and standing united. Honey is the anchorwoman for Phoenix Radio and is African American. She also urges women to come together.  It clear that the two stations with their fan bases are divided racially. Born in Flames is important as an historical document because it shows how interracial alliances evolved and co-existed during 70’s feminism. It is proof that this was not only a "white women’s movement", and as an historical document it is extremely valuable. Commentary by the police who investigate the women's army positions women in terms of color, and sexual orientation. Queer women of color were  a threat and alliances made to unite queer women suspect. These women were forgotten and excluded and targeted for attack.

The women’s army is racially integrated.  Hillary Hurst (interviewed by Movie Magazine, June 2007) who plays herself is a white captain, joined by African American Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield). She is inspired by the heroic efforts of an African leader from an unnamed country in armed struggle (Dolly Udemzue) and is invited there to learn combat skills. On the way back from guerilla warfare training she is arrested at the airport and later confined to a jail cell. Shortly after it is reported that she killed herself. Zella, an outspoken and saavy mentor to the women's army , in particular Adelaide, and friends with the social democratic mayor realizes immediately that this was no suicide but murder. The hushup of the event includes the mayor. But the news breaks.

Monitoring the efforts of the women’s army is the "Socialist Youth Review" paper with three editors played by Becky Johnston, Pat Murphy and Kathryn Bigelow (best director Academy Award winner of 2010 and the first woman to win in this category). The editorial team comes to terms with how they are being duped by the party and also believe that Norris was executed in her jail cell.  They see the connections between class, race and gender neatly suppressed by their sweet talking editorial boss, who later fires them for the Norris story.

Member of the Women's Army
The murder sets off a series of incidents. Radio Ragazza and Phoenix merge against their common enemy: an entrenched and omnipotent gender hierarchy within power structures. Later their respective headquarters are bombed but they continue to get on the airwaves in anyway possible. Several armed women go to news stations like CBS and demand at gunpoint that the technicians put on news of the cover-up of Norris’ murder on live TV. In the end a woman manages to get to the roof of the World Trade Center and plants a bomb for knocking off the rooftop broadcasting antennae. This monument of commerce and media broadcasting has historically been targeted for political purposes.  


Born in Flames is a visionary response to oppression and one that targets the media for twisting the truth.

The assemblage of images in Born in Flames is candid and provocative, serving as a time capsule of feminist politics of the time. And because nothing has really changed in the political analysis of gender politics it is important for today’s radical feminism.  Especially that women of color must be at the center of any feminist struggle.  


Ed Bowes is credited with the screenplay and who also worked with feminist director Sheila McLaughlin (She Must be Seeing Things, 1987). Al Santana  and Bowes did the cinematography.