Monday, December 31, 2012

YOUR SISTER'S SISTER

Writer/director Lynn Shelton moves forward and upward from her acclaimed mumblecore sex comedy Humpday with Your Sister's Sister, a fuzzy and free romantic comedy of mismatched loves at a Seattle cabin over the course of a few days, where sex rears its ugly head to destroy - or reinforce - the fragile balance of love. Still reeling from the death of his brother one year earlier, Jack (Mark Duplass) accepts his best friend Iris's (Emily Blunt) offer of her family's cabin retreat in Puget Sound to spend some alone time and think things through. Once there, though, he finds Iris's half-sister Hannah (Rosemarie de Witt), whom he'd never met, has had the same idea; a drunken night leads to casual sex and lots of dissembling when Iris arrives the following day out of the blue, with the awkwardness of the situation revealing everyone's true feelings for one another.

     Though - as in Humpday - Your Sister's Sister was in fact partly improvised by the cast over Ms. Shelton's narrative framework, I can't help but see something delightfully Lubitschian in the light, buoyant, utterly relatable touch with which the tale develops, with an unexpected elegance and discretion underlined by the actors' easy back-and-forth. The comedy of errors develops at first in a very traditional manner, but does so with a tenderness, a frankness, a freshness that have been mostly absent from more mainstream fare, with the lightness required to talk of serious things without falling into the maudlin or the farcical.

     What is most surprising is that, in essence, the new film pretty much follows the basic no-budget template of mumblecore - minimal cast and crew, low budget, improvisation to the fore, maximum attention to actors and dialogue - and yet it rises above any easy categorisation, in many ways thanks to the unobtrusive yet sensitive camerawork (kudos to DP Benjamin Kasulke) and the attention paid to the performers' beats. It is also notable just how easy both Ms. Blunt and Ms. De Witt click into place with Mr. Duplass, a veteran of both Humpday and the mumblecore movement of young filmmakers with which Ms. Shelton has become affiliated. And the director herself is in excellent control of the film's rhythm, tempo and tone, making this a truly welcome, comforting surprise in the realm of contemporary Hollywood comedy: a smart, well-made, intelligent film.

Cast: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie de Witt, Mark Duplass

Director and writer: Lynn Shelton
Cinematography: Benjamin Kasulke (colour)
Music: Vinny Smith
Designer: John Lavin
Editor: Nat Sanders
Producer: Steven Schardt (Ada Films)
USA, 2011, 90 minutes

Screened: DVD, Lisbon, December 19th 2012


Friday, December 28, 2012

JACK REACHER

Calling Jack Reacher the contemporary equivalent of those B star thrillers directors like Don Siegel used to churn out in the 1960s and 1970s might be stretching the point. It's fairly obvious there's some calculation at work here, both from star and producer Tom Cruise and from backers Paramount, as to its self-evident franchise potential. After all, the former military policeman dispensing justice in his own way created by crime novelist Lee Child has become a franchise of its own a while ago. And though much has been made of Mr. Cruise's physical misfit with the character (who is physically much more imposing on the books than the star is), the truth is actor and part are a perfect fit. Outside his usual comfort zone of steel-jawed heroes, Mr. Cruise has been a hit-or-miss performer, and his clean cut all-American looks work better as a no-nonsense action hero like in the Mission: Impossible series.

That is exactly what writer and director Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote The Usual Suspects and previously collaborated with the actor in Valkyrie) gives him: a straight-forward action hero with no vulnerabilities to explore, a no-nonsense professional single-minded in his devotion to his work, thrown into an equally no-nonsense whodunit/procedural recapturing the simple pleasures of classic mysteries, in which a former Army sniper may have been framed for a killing spree in downtown Pittsburgh. In that sense, Jack Reacher pretty much refuses the current credo of post-modern, complex action heroes and fast-moving, frantically-edited, jagged thrillers such as the Bourne series. Instead, Mr. McQuarrie, in a surprisingly confident sophomore effort that understands perfectly it is working with time-honoured, specific genre constraints and mechanics, posits the film as heir to those no-nonsense thrillers of the 1970s - at over two hours a bit oversized, it's true, but following many of its precepts; such as surrounding a star placed squarely within its comfort zone with a solid cast of supporting performers (including a surprising villain turn from a perfectly cast Werner Herzog and a casually cool Robert Duvall).

A delightful genre effort, Jack Reacher is the cinematic equivalent of comfort food - hardly the best meal you'll ever have, but genuinely satisfying nonetheless.

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, David Oyelowo, Jai Courtney, Joseph Sikora, Robert Duvall

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Screenplay: Mr. McQuarrie, from the novel by Lee Child, One Shot
Cinematography: Caleb Deschanel (colour, processing by Efilm/DeLuxe, Panavision widescreen)
Music: Joe Kraemer
Designer: Jim Bissell
Costumes: Susan Matheson
Editor: Kevin Stitt
Producers: Mr. Cruise, Don Granger, Paula Wagner, Gary Levinsohn (Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Tom Cruise Productions)
USA, 2012, 130 minutes

Screened: Distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Alvaláxia 1 (Lisbon), December 18th 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

THE PAPERBOY

At a moment when so much is being made of Quentin Tarantino's incursion into politically incorrect trashploitation with Django Unchained, it's surprising how little is being made of the "real thing" so breathlessly recreated by Lee Daniels in The Paperboy. True, Mr. Daniels didn't set out to deliver the trash monument the film ended up as; it's more a case of ending up in an entirely different place than expected - but that shouldn't undermine the fearlessness with which the director of Precious - Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire dives headfirst into the gloriously sweaty and dirty pleasures of Pete Dexter's Southern Gothic noir about crime and race in the Florida swamps at the end of the 1960s.

     Taste, tone and subtlety are not and have never been Mr. Daniels' fortes, since he trades in a rampant energy borne out of a bloody-minded conviction about having things to say and needing to tell them his way. What he wants to say with The Paperboy, though, is anyone's guess: it could be a long-winded meditation on the racial and social make-up of the American South wrapped up in all the age-old stereotypes (the noble black, the white trash slut, the crusading journalist, the admiring teenager), but that is hardly supported by the central plot: local-boy-made-good reporter Matthew McConaughey returns home to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice over the murder of the local sheriff, and gets sucked into more than he bargained for. The utter guilelessness with which Mr. Daniels overlooks the essential disconnect between the actual narrative he is telling and the racial and sexual subtexts he makes overtly visible throughout, the outrageously convoluted plot disregarded for the sake of bravura performances by an A-list cast engagingly slumming it with gusto, turn The Paperboy into a madly entertaining trash-fest, so lurid and overwrought you cannot help but admire the earnestness with which all involved dedicate themselves to this folly.

     The Paperboy seems to have sprung fully-formed from the seedier side of 1970s film-making, traveled through time to land in 2012. Without any pretension of post-modern comment, artistic irony or even satire, it's a gloriously messy, utterly riveting piece of honest-to-goodness old-fashioned schlock, expertly and professionally presented with a wondrous feel for location and casting. It features engagingly winning, all-or-nothing performances from Mr. McConaughey and Nicole Kidman as the tarty woman whose walk on the wild side starts the ball rolling. So weird and misguided it demands to be seen, but a heartfelt throwback to 1970s exploitation films like nobody has been able to do since their heyday, The Paperboy is definitely one of the most entertaining two hours you'll spend in a theatre these days.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Scott Glenn

Director: Lee Daniels
Screenplay: Pete Dexter, Mr. Daniels, from the novel by Mr. Dexter, The Paperboy 
Cinematography: Roberto Schaefer  (colour, processing by Technicolor, widescreen)
Music: Mario Grigorov
Designer: Daniel T. Dorrance
Costumes: Caroline Eselin-Schaefer
Editor: Joe Klotz
Producers: Hilary Shor, Mr. Daniels, Avi Lerner, Ed Cathell III, Cassian Elwes (Nu Image, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Paperboy Productions)
USA, 2012, 107 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Alvaláxia 1 (Lisbon), December 17th 2012


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ON THE ROAD

The call of the road has certainly been strong enough throughout the years to lure a great many name directors into attempting to film Jack Kerouac's beat manifesto of a novel, On the Road. Yet no production ever managed to actually come to fruition until now, with the Motorcycle Diaries writer/director team of José Rivera and Walter Salles in charge and a blessing from exec producer Francis Ford Coppola, in a transatlantic production with European and American monies. Yet the impossible has certainly not been achieved. Their filming of On the Road (screened here in the longer 140-minute cut, not in the two-hour version released in the US) is by no means a dud, merely a sincere but bungled effort that buys wholesale into the beat myth the novel built around itself, but that fails to locate the beating heart at its centre.

     The opening scenes of Kerouac's alter ego Sal Paradise (played in earnest puppy mode by British actor Sam Riley) hitching a ride on a farmhand truck heading West, suggests Messrs. Salles and Rivera have their hearts in the right place. But that attempt at capturing the call of road, the exhilaration and freedom of finding your own path through life, is quickly left behind in a film that ends up resolutely boxed in, grounded throughout, stuck in the impeccably retro cheap rentals, dive bars, diners and halfway houses where Sal chases the mercurial inspiration for his work, and his fascination with the quicksilver Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). There is no magic, no freedom in Mr. Salles' film, earnest to a fault and unable to meet the oblique poetry demanded to even approach the energy of the book.

     There are many things done right in On the Road: Carlos Conti's lovingly detailed production design, Éric Gautier's attentive, lyrical widescreen cinematography, Mr. Hedlund's commanding performance, smart cameos from Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. Ultimately, though, there is nothing really wrong with On the Road other than the earnest desire to get it exactly right - so right it ends up completely bypassing its truth and becoming merely a leftfield coming of age tale about an aspiring writer entranced by the older, experienced man whom he thinks he can learn truth and life from if he just sticks around long enough. The book was so much more than that; the film isn't.

Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen

Director: Walter Salles
Screenplay: José Rivera, from the novel by Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Cinematography: Éric Gautier (colour, processing by Digimage Cinéma, widescreen)
Designer: Carlos Conti
Costumes: Danny Glicker
Editor: François Gedigier
Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
Producers: Nathanaël Karmitz, Charles Gillibert, Rebecca Yeldham, Roman Coppola (MK2 Productions, American Zoetrope, Videofilmes, France 2 Cinéma, Jerry Leider Company in association with Film 4 and Vanguard Films)
France/Brazil/United Kingdom/USA/Canada, 2012, 140 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Alvaláxia 5 (Lisbon), December 13th 2012



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HOLY MOTORS

Such is the magic of cinema: a director all but left for dead as an unreliable megalomaniac is reborn and acclaimed as a genius with a Hail Mary pass of a film not many people expected. The acclaim Holy Motors received at Cannes 2012 made it the must-see art-house film of the year; and yet, French auteur terrible Léos Carax has not budged at all from his uncompromising filming stand. Holy Motors is the least linear and most demanding of his works, even if it is hardly inaccessible; not so much a narrative, more of an abstract meditation on the very nature and existence of cinema, told through a series of tableaux connected in a daisy chain of love letters to the magic of illusion.

     There is, to be sure, a through-line to this dozen micro-narratives constantly harking back to the director's past features: a man (the remarkable Denis Lavant) leaves home in the morning, picked up by a limousine in order to go to work. Is he an executive, a politician, a power broker? No: his job is to sell illusions, to make fantasy come true, by disguising himself as an actor would and performing a number of "assignments" for... whom exactly? We'll never know; and that's not the point. The point is made in a brief conversation halfway through the picture between the chameleonic Mr. Lavant and Michel Piccoli in a one-scene cameo: the point is "the beauty of the gesture", art for art's sake, performance for its own pleasure, a terminal belief in the romantic idea of art as a gloriously intangible something that enriches one's life.

     But is this art?, some will ask when confronted with Holy Motors' patchwork of unconnected stories. For all its invention and dazzle, this certainly isn't my favorite film of Mr. Carax's. Where there was focus and intensity, even in sprawling, in his previous works, the cornucopia of episodes here skid from pointless to grave and prevent one mood from lingering too long, even if there are moments of ravishing melancholy throughout and a general sense of the end of an era, almost as if Holy Motors was a requiem for cinema as we knew it. There is indeed some irony in realising that this requiem railing mightily against the dying of the light has marked the rebirth of Mr. Carax's reputation and was shot in digital since there was no other way the production could raise its financing - and, moreover, how can this be a requiem when there is so much invention going on?

     Could this just be another one of those regular grumbles from Grinches blabbing on about the "good old days"? Certainly, Mr. Carax is welcome to mourn and grumble as much as he likes as long as he can keep giving us films like Holy Motors; no matter how much one may find fault or displeasure with elements of the picture, it retains his peculiar way of asking intimate questions in a grandiose scale, it conjures up magic out of nowhere, it risks life and limb by going fearlessly all out. The beauty of the gesture may not be enough to make it into a masterpiece, but there is much to be said for it.

Cast: Denis Lavant, Édith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli, Élise Chomeau, Eva Mendes

Director and writer: Léos Carax
Cinematography: Caroline Champetier, Yves Cape (colour, processing by Éclair Group)
Designer: Florian Sanson
Costumes: Anaïs Romand
Editor: Nelly Quettier
Producer: Martine Marignac (Pierre Grise Productions, Théo Films, ARTE France Cinéma, Pandora Film in co-production with ARTE GEIE and WDR/ARTE)
France/Germany, 2012, 115 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Medeia Monumental 2 (Lisbon), December 5th 2012


Saturday, December 22, 2012

LIFE OF PI

Much as I like Ang Lee as a director, it's fair to say it's been a while now since I've been truly transported by one of his films. Remembering just how striking his approaches at popular cinema (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the flawed but intriguing Hulk) have been, Mr. Lee seemed to be the right hand to bring to the screen Yann Martel's best-selling novel about a young Indian boy's (Suraj Sharma) coming of age on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger for sole company. And yet, despite the wonderfully lush visuals and state-of-the-art digital effects, Life of Pi never truly soars as one would wish; instead, it just drifts along amiably, even effortlessly, but also somewhat lazily on the waves of its own lack of ambition.

     David Magee's adaptation moves in an unfolding narrative structure: the story is told in a lengthy flashback by the now grown-up Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) to a blocked, nameless writer (Rafe Spall). The apparently fantastical fable of boy and beast being told before our eyes in Pi's voice turns out to be a slow reveal of a fiction that questions its own origin: is it fact, invention, or a composite of both? Merely a story being told for the pleasure of the tale, or an allegory of a larger, greater truth? Mr. Lee keeps his options open until the very end of the film (and even beyond), and there is much in common between the tale of Pi and many of the director's earlier works: the coming of age angle of a boy learning his way in the world harks back to The Ice Storm or Race with the Devil, the zen acceptance of fate and letting go into your own life reminds of Eat Drink Man Woman or Lust, Caution (sharing with it also the Oriental settings). But his lightness of touch seems more evident in the early moments of the young Pi with his family, or in the later moments of Pi on the lifeboat, rather than in the big visual effects scenes whose requirements seem to take some of the joy and intrigue out of the film.

     For all that, Life of Pi is not a bad movie; just an amiable but somewhat forgettable fable about finding your place in life, whose naïf tone is perfectly in line with the nature of the story being told but never really grows into the soaring fantasy it could be; a step up from the utterly forgettable Taking Woodstock, but not a return to vintage form.

Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Rafe Spall, Gérard Depardieu

Director: Ang Lee
Screenplay: David Magee, from the novel by Yann Martel, The Life of Pi
Cinematography: Claudio Miranda (colour, digital intermediate by Technicolor, prints by DeLuxe, 3D)
Designer: David Gropman
Costumes: Arjan Bhasin
Editor: Tim Squyres
Visual effects: Bill Westenhofer
Music: Mychael Danna
Producers: Gil Netter, Mr. Lee, David Womark (Fox 2000 Pictures, Haishang Films, Gil Netter Productions in association with Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Big Screen Productions and Ingenious Film Partners)
USA/China/United Kingdom, 2012, 127 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, UCI El Corte Inglés 12 (Lisbon), December 4th 2012


Friday, December 21, 2012

VERTIGO

Everything has pretty much already been said, written and thought of about Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film that was rated a mild disappointment upon release to become one of the "master of suspense"'s most-loved and most-acclaimed works, especially after returning to circulation in the mid-1980s after being withdrawn due to legal issues for over 20 years. Time has uncovered many of the secrets and sophistications surrounding this hyper-glossy melodrama of love and obsession about a retired San Francisco detective (James Stewart) hired by a college acquaintance (Tom Helmore) to find out the reason behind his wife's (Kim Novak) strange behaviours. The sleight-of-hand structure suggests a mirror effect between the narrative and cinema itself, as the film resolves itself into the desire of a man to fashion a woman in someone else's image, performance becoming the key to truth and reality as seen through a specific (directorial?) point of view.

     Though based on an original novel written specifically for Mr. Hitchcock by French novelists Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (whose Diabolique as shot by Henri-Georges Clouzot had become a huge success), Vertigo was entirely rewritten at the director's request. There's no doubt that Mr. Hitchcock was here essaying some of the experiments in narration that would come to fruition in later movies: the constant movement around a hollow centre of North by Northwest, the abrupt narrative switch of Psycho. The central mystery of Vertigo is actually solved halfway through - when the real identity of Ms. Novak's character is revealed to the audience - and the narrative thrust comes from the fact that the audience is one step ahead of Mr. Stewart and is now asking when he will find out the truth.

     But it's also striking just how risqué Vertigo was for its time, with Mr. Stewart's amiable bachelor falling head over heels in love to the point of mania and obsession, a broken hero who will never be able to overcome that broken self. The film does approach the bitterness of film noir without following that genre's codes - not least in cinematographer Robert Burks' strong colours. But, as Bernard Herrmann's sweepingly romantic score underlines, Vertigo is closer in mind and spirit to earlier, generally underestimated works in Mr. Hitchcock's career such as Under Capricorn or Spellbound: atypically uneasy melodramas of romantic obsession toying with Pandora's box of deep emotions that the propriety and the affluent ethos of 1950s American society still kept locked inside.

Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby, Konstantin Shayne, Lee Patrick

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor, from the novel D'entre les morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
Cinematography: Robert Burks (colour by Technicolor, Vistavision)
Art directors: Hal Pereira, Henry Bumstead
Costumes: Edith Head
Editor: George Tomasini
Special effects: John P. Fulton, Farciot Edouart, W. Wallace Kelley, John Ferren
Production: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
USA, 1958, 127 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, UCI El Corte Inglés 12 (Lisbon), November 30th 2012


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ANTÔNIO DAS MORTES aka O DRAGÃO DA MALDADE CONTRA O SANTO GUERREIRO

Late Brazilian filmmaker Glauber Rocha's fourth feature, also his first in colour and his first with foreign financing, pretty much ended up his early run of forceful, vital cinema; known by two different titles, with the later Brazilian O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro the director's preferred, it goes back to his 1964 breakthrough Black God, White Devil by setting up a quasi-sequel spotlight to one of that film's supporting roles, bounty hunter Antônio das Mortes, played again by Maurício do Valle. By doing so, Mr. Rocha revved up the western elements of that film into another heady mash-up of wildly different cinema styles, equally indebted to Sergio Leone, John Ford and Sergei Eisenstein but also calling on passion plays, folk pageants and medieval pantomime, borrowing as well from his other two films: from Barravento comes the use of local traditions as narrative elements to push the story forward, from Entranced Earth the clash of art and politics, idealism and compromise.

     The intoxicating result makes Antônio das Mortes into a grandiosely berserk summing-up of recurring directorial motifs, where past and (then-)present Brazil meld in an overwhelmingly riotous affirmation of a unique melting-pot identity at once naïf and sophisticated, ancient and post-modern. More focussed but also less traditionally narrative than earlier work, the tale of the bounty hunter brought out of retirement who changes sides when he realises the lack of scruples of his ambitious backwoods employers involves all the hallmarks of the American land-baron western translated into mid-1960s Latin American regime corruption, rising to a fever-pitch finale of hysterical, almost overdosed excess, halfway between blood-thirsty folk myth (and red is a recurring colour in Alfonso Beato's gloriously saturated cinematography) and out-there, transgressive midnight movie. Its ragged hero may be as morally unflinching as those of traditional westerns, but he moves in a much different world, slyly underlining Mr. Rocha's suggestion that a "new", developing country such as Brazil cannot settle for borrowed myths or tales others have made their own.

     The end result is as gloriously overblown as it is fascinating: an expertly choreographed car crash you can't avert your eyes from, a film that takes its director's work to an almost frazzled point of no return.

Cast: Maurício do Valle, Odete Lara, Othon Bastos, Hugo Carvana, Jofre Soares

Director and writer: Glauber Rocha
Cinematography: Alfonso Beato (colour, processing by GTC and Rex Laboratórios)
Art directors and costumes: Paulo Lima, Paulo Gil Soares, Hélio Eichbauer
Editor: Eduardo Escorel
Music: Marlos Nobre, with additional material by Walter Queirós and Sérgio Ricardo
Production: Claude Antoine, Mapa Filmes
Brazil/France, 1969, 99 minutes

Screened: DVD, Lisbon, December 10th 2012


Monday, December 17, 2012

BARRAVENTO

While by no means a fully-fledged work like what would come afterwards and make his nome, Brazilian director Glauber Rocha's debut Barravento carries all the seeds of his spectacularly explosive mash-up of high art and folk traditions, erudite aesthetics and popular narrative. Barravento is doubtless a more traditionally narrative feature than Black God, White Devil but no less exploratory and experimental.

    No doubt the stronger narrative drive comes from the convoluted production process, as the film was taken over by Mr. Rocha from its original writer and director, close friend Luiz Paulino dos Santos, after a disastrous initial shoot, then entirely rewritten and reshot and finally held up for nearly a year before being finally edited into its final form. Mr. Rocha may have later expressed his displeasure at the final result, but that doesn't make Barravento's tale of love and jealousy in a Bahia fishermen's village any less "Glauberian" in its articulation of tradition and modernity, folk beliefs and socialist politics. The story comes out of the return to the village of now flush with cash ne'er-do-well Firmino (Antônio Sampaio), whose refusal of the unbroken cycle of poverty of the local fishermen and meddling in a labour dispute sets in motion a chain of events that will question the village's mere existence.

     There is a sense of brutalist, ethnic reality at play as Mr. Rocha's lengthy takes of candomblé religious rituals or capoeira fights, in the way these simple people's daily struggles are heroicized by his constructivist camera setups and Tony Rabatony's stark black-and-white photography. But there is also a sense of tropical fever slowly taking over in a heady, lush, overwrought brew of Afro-Brazilian mysticism, Hollywood exotic melodrama stripped of gloss, socialist utopia and serious socio-cultural questioning; a mesmerizingly unique concoction where we can anticipate the disassembled, allegorical narrative and strong moods of what was to come afterwards — and an outstanding debut film on its own.

Cast: Antônio Sampaio, Luiza Maranhão, Lucy Carvalho, Aldo Teixeira

Director: Glauber Rocha
Screenplay: Mr. Rocha, José Telles de Magalhães, Luiz Paulino dos Santos, from a story by Mr. dos Santos
Cinematography: Tony Rabatony (b&w)
Editor: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Producers: Rex Schindler, Braga Neto (Iglu Filmes)
Brazil, 1962, 80 minutes

Screened: DVD, Lisbon, December 8th 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

AVALON

A dry and cynical yet desperately melancholy (or melancholically desperate) black comedy, the debut feature from Swedish writer/director Axel Petersén is a cautionary tale about what lies in store in the distant future for the wealthy ne'er-do-wells. Its good qualities, however, are insufficient to make Avalon more than just a promising but slight debut, allegedly inspired by the helmer's own relatives in the beach resort of Bastad (Mr. Petersén's own aunt, Léonore Ekstrand, is one of the leads).

     The film tells of the ill-fated return of Janne (Johannes Brost), just released from some misdemeanor never spoken of, to his usual seaside haunts to help with the opening of a new night club named Avalon (for Roxy Music's song of the same name). A distracted drive, though, sees him kill the Lithuanian jack-of-all-trades his associate Klas (Peter Carlberg) had hired to renovate his cottage, setting in motion a chain of events as darkly funny as they are darkly disturbing and just plain sad. These highlight just how much Janne and his entourage live in a bubble that is being gradually squeezed by the real world, their immaturity and irresponsibility remaining striking in their old age.

     And yet, despite everything, Mr. Petersén successfully manages to make us understand the fears and troubles inside Janne's head, much helped by Mr. Brost's understated performance, while making us wince at the absolute lack of compassion and morality present in these people for whom only now seems to exist. Everything seems to just happen to them, and they themselves are apparently mere accidents waiting to happen. It isn't enough to make Avalon more than a nifty but underdeveloped debut, but it's enough to make it worth keeping an eye on this young director.

Cast: Johannes Brost, Peter Carlberg, Léonore Ekstrand

Director and writer: Axel Petersén
Cinematography: Måns Månsson (colour, processing by Filmek Teknik)
Music: Julian Hruza
Designer: Ellen Oseng
Costumes: Denise Östholm
Editor: Theis Schmidt
Producers: Erika Wasserman, Jesper Kurlandsky (Idyll and Fasad in co-production with Film i Väst, Swedish Television and Film Fyn)
Sweden, 2011, 79 minutes

Screened: DVD, Lisbon, November 16th 2012


Friday, December 14, 2012

L'INTERVALLO (THE INTERVAL)

Italian documentary filmmaker Leonardo di Costanzo makes a fully-fledged, assured leap into fiction with this endearingly small-scale tale of two kids from opposite sides of the tracks thrust upon one another for the space of a day. Sounds like a companion piece to something like Stand by Me, put like that, and it's not entirely unreasonable; L'Intervallo is about a moment when two teenagers who have been forced to grow wise beyond their years rediscover their own age and are able to savour that breath of freedom, even if for only a small moment.

     Salvatore (Alessio Gallo), the chubby kid who dreams of being a chef but has to help his dad with the lemonade street carts they live off of, and Veronica (Francesca Riso), the girl too cool for school who dreams of being famous and on a reality TV show, ask questions about the past of the derelict building they're stuck inside of, or pretend to be on a boat leading them to the Survivor island. The trick is that the "interval" the title speaks of is an unrepeatable one-off: they're actually in Naples and have been put together by the local Mafia. Veronica is challenging the unspoken code of the streets by going out with a boy from a rival neighbourhood, and Salvatore was roped in off the street to look after her while the Mob boss (Carmine Paternoster) deals with other problems, because he's closer to her age that the henchmen sent in.

     The patience with which Mr. di Costanzo allows the relationship between them to grow comes straight from his documentary experience, and that is in fact what sets L'Intervallo apart from other similar pieces. Its sense of apparent and unhurried spontaneity, of life being caught unawares — underlined by the dialogue's exclusive reliance on just-off-the-street Neapolitan dialect and by the quasi tangible Summery game of heat and shadow of Luca Bigazzi's cinematography — brings it more in line with Alessandro Comodin's equally charming L'Estate di Giacomo. But its stronger narrative, carried assuredly by the two non-pro leads, also makes it a more approachable and touching picture, made all the more endearing because both Veronica and Salvatore are fully aware that, even if it all ends well, they are never going to be able to catch up again and this day was really an interval in their lives. It's a lovely, understated film whose fragility — and occasional lack of rhythm —is part of its charm.

Cast: Francesca Riso, Alessio Gallo, Carmine Paternoster, Salvatore Ruocco, Antonio Buíl, Jean-Yves Morard

Director: Leonardo di Costanzo
Screenplay: Maurizio Braucci, Mariangela Barbanente, Mr. di Costanzo, from a story by Mr. Braucci and Mr. di Costanzo
Cinematography (colour, processing by Technicolor): Luca Bigazzi
Music: Marco Cappelli
Designer: Luca Servino
Costumes: Kay Devanthey
Editor: Carlotta Cristiani
Producers: Carlo Cresto-Dina, Tiziana Soudani (Tempesta, Rai Cinema, AMKA Films Production in co-production with Swiss Television, ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel and ARTE)
Italy/Switzerland/Germany, 2012, 86 minutes

Screened: Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival official competition screening, Medeia Monumental 1 (Lisbon), November 15th 2012


Thursday, December 13, 2012

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

There was for a long time no doubt that, were Peter Jackson to return to the oeuvre of J. R. R. Tolkien and render The Hobbit on-screen with as much love and care as he put towards The Lord of the Rings, the results would be outstanding. Well, the proof is in the pudding, as is often said, and sad to report, this particular pudding, marking Mr. Jackson's pickup of the project he was initially to produce only after Guillermo del Toro stepped down from the directing chair due to MGM's long-standing financial problems, is over-egged.

     And it's over-egged by the need to rise to the expectations raised by the artistic, critical and commercial success of the three Lord of the Rings films. The Hobbit - wherein the peaceable hobbit Bilbo Baggins is convinced by the wizard Gandalf to accompany a company of dwarves seeking to reclaim their lost city - is much lighter and slighter in nature. And by wanting to match those expectations rather than deflate them, the Kiwi director risks burdening the tale with far too much back-story and pressure it may not be able to hold, a burden clearly visible in the decision to draw three films out of a much slimmer book. An Unexpected Journey, the first of the three planned Hobbit films (and a nearly three-hour behemoth at that), only covers, in full detail, about a third of the 300-page book, whereas the three Rings films covered one thousand pages of writing in all.

     Ultimately, though, it's not the utter fidelity and respect to the book and Tolkien's universe that explains why this first Hobbit film fails to reach the giddy heights of the earlier trilogy; neither is it the lush visual effects that occasionally give it too much of a video-game sheen, nor the revolutionary 48 frames-per-second shooting technology supposed to render the images more lifelike (for the record, the print screened for the press was in standard 24-fps). You could feel in the three Lord of the Rings films a "do-or-die" attitude, the realisation that this was a labour of love pored over in manic, obsessive detail by a filmmaker willing to do anything to make sure his vision was on screen. You were seeing the book done right and the director doing right by the book, without ever forgetting it needed to make sense in a different medium than the printed word, and in the process giving the viewer a breathtaking, wondrous glimpse into a universe the likes of which had never been visualized in this way. When you sat down for The Fellowship of the Ring, you had no idea what you were letting yourself in for — such was the momentous sense of occasion the film conjured magically.

     Not anymore: not just because there can no longer be a surprise effect, but because all sense of spontaneity, passion, drive has been ejected from The Hobbit, with that obsessive attention to minutiae seeming to exist strictly out of duty and professionalism rather than out of passion. There is nothing spontaneous, unexpected, exciting — and not even bad — about the new film; only a dazzling technical and artistic achievement that behaves exactly as you expected it to but that somehow rings hollow. It's not even surprising that Mr. Jackson, taking over from Mr. del Toro (who remains credited as co-writer and creative consultant), chose to go back to Tolkien after a spotty post-Rings track record with the remarkable King Kong and the much-criticised The Lovely Bones. What is surprising is that, even despite the return of nearly all the creative, technical and artistic team from the original trilogy (key newcomers here are Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage as Thorin, the head of the company of dwarves), the end result feels somewhat rote and bland. Yes, there are remarkable moments, but they're fewer and much more far between than in any of the nearly ten hours of The Lord of the Rings — suggesting that this three-episode telling of The Hobbit may end up a much longer tale than anyone would care to hear told.

Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis

Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Mr. Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, from the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie (colour, processing by Park Road Post Production, widescreen)
Music: Howard Shore
Designer: Dan Hennah
Costumes: Ann Maskray, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck
Visual, make-up and creature design: Mr. Taylor
Visual effects: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton
Editor: Jabez Olssen
Producers: Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Wiener, Ms. Walsh, Mr. Jackson (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, New Line Cinema, Wingnut Films)
USA/New Zealand, 2012, 169 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Alvaláxia 4 (Lisbon), December 11th 2012


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SUEÑO Y SILENCIO (DREAM AND SILENCE)

For my money, Spanish director Jaime Rosales is the most interesting of the filmmakers currently working in the so-called "Catalan school" of austere art-house filmmaking, less wilfully obscure than Marc Recha or Albert Serra, yet as playful and wide-eyed as José Luis Guerín. With his fourth feature, Sueño y Silencio, Mr. Rosales brings us an exquisitely delicate, patient meditation on mourning, focussed on the absence and the void left by a tragic death in the family in a (tastefully elided) car accident.

     It would be tempting to define the film's "before" and "after" segments as "dream" and "silence", but it would be openly wrong, as both concepts are interconnected throughout in a film whose key lies in the communication, or lack thereof, between architect father Oriol (Oriol Roselló) and his teacher wife Yolanda (Yolanda Galocha). After the car driven by Oriol crashes, killing the couple's eldest teenage daughter, all attempts at communicating between them are deafened by the brutal silence left by her absence. Mr. Rosales makes tangible that silence as it slowly transmogrifies into a stunningly ethereal tale of coping with grief that briefly suggests an ethereal, floating ghost story, much helped by Óscar Durán's superb black-and-white Scope photography and the stunning sound design that eschews practically all music.

     Eventually, Sueño y Silencio evolves into an evocatively emotional look at family dynamics that maintains its delicate, tightrope nature throughout, and confirms the director, on the face of his growing body of work, as one of the finest filmmakers working in contemporary Spain.

Cast: Oriol Roselló, Yolanda Galocha, Alba Ros Montet, Celia Correas, Jaume Terradas, Laura Latorre, Carmen Gamboa, Nadia Akdoumi, Derek Bush, Catherine Demazière

Director: Jaime Rosales
Screenplay: Mr. Rosales, Enric Rufas
Cinematography: Óscar Durán (black & white, widescreen)
Music: Clément Trahard
Designer: Ion Arretxe
Costumes: Wanda Morales
Editor: Nino Martínez Sosa
Producers: Mr. Rosales, José María Morales, Jérôme Dopffer (Fresdeval Films, Wanda Visión and Les Productions Balthazar)
Spain/France, 2012, 112 minutes

Screened: Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival official competitive screening, Medeia Monumental 4 (Lisbon), November 15th 2012


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DER GLANZ DES TAGES (THE SHINE OF DAY)

Finding their way from documentary into fiction by constantly exploring the borders of both forms, the Italian-Austrian team of Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel take with The Shine of Day their most assured step towards feature-length narrative. Again, the duo works around loosely improvised scenes, the same way as in their previous fiction La Pivellina.

     The through-line from La Pivellina and the previous documentary work such as Babooshka is the recurrence of circus artist Walter Saabel, again playing a version of himself. Here, he is a man returning to his native Austria to visit his nephew — rising Austrian actor Philipp Hochmair, also playing a version of himself — with a view to reconnecting eventually with the brother he lost touch with.

     It's precisely in the shifting grounds between truth and fiction, being and acting, playfully represented by Messrs. Saabel and Hochmair's adventures in Hamburg and Vienna, that lies the key of what is Ms. Covi and Mr. Frimmel's finest achievement so far. Their insistence in the lack of a tight narrative may make The Shine of Day seem to wander rather aimlessly — which it does — until a frustrating ending just as a narrative centre seems to have been found (Walter and Philipp's desire to help the wife of the hard-working immigrant from Eastern Europe next door return to Vienna).

     Again, Ms. Covi and Mr. Frimmel develop their interest in making apparently opposite worlds clash: Mr. Hochmair's, lost and absorbed in his own whirling career (to the point we don't really see his real off-stage face until some 20 minutes in, as he leaves the stage in a Thalia Theater production of Woyzeck); and Mr. Saabel's, who is looking to enjoy life as is in a rather long sabbatical. The directors' cinema is more interesting as process than as a result, which makes their work usually somewhat unsatisfying to enjoy but stimulating to think about afterwards - and The Shine of Day is the closest they've ever got to marrying both.

Cast: Philipp Hochmair, Walter Saabel

Directors: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
Screenplay: Ms. Covi, Mr. Frimmel, Xaver Bayer
Cinematography: Mr. Frimmel  (colour)
Editors: Ms. Covi, Emily Artman
Producers: Ms. Covi, Mr. Frimmel (Vento Film)
Austria, 2012, 91 minutes

Screened: Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2012 official competition screening, Medeia Monumental 1 (Lisbon), November 13th 2012


Saturday, December 08, 2012

AMOUR (LOVE)

Amour is, unlikely as it may seem, both one of Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's warmest and most clinical films. As methodical and dispassionately observational as ever, never shying away from hard truths nor afraid to confront audiences with unbearable moments, Amour is also a surprisingly compassionate and even understanding work - no wonder, since it is a film as much about love as it is about death.

     It is literally a chamber piece, a two-hander set entirely within a French apartment, painterly photographed by master Darius Khondji between the comfort of the warm electric lights and the bright, harsh sunlight coming in through the big windows of the flat, wondrously performed by towering French veterans Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant (who came out of a nearly 15-year screen retirement to accept this role). Amour tells of what happens to an elderly couple of retired music teachers when one of them falls ill: paralysed on her right side and requiring a wheelchair to move, Anne (Ms. Riva) becomes a burden to the not-so-nimble himself Georges (Mr. Trintignant), their undying love for each other poignantly threatened at every moment by her despair at losing her faculties and his at watching her becoming ever more frail with every step.

     "None of this is worth seeing", says Georges at one point when the couple's daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert, in a small but pivotal role) asks why he's shying away from keeping her in the loop of what's going on. But Mr. Haneke does believe that it is worth seeing, throwing away the curtains that are usually drawn over old age, his traditional bluntness modulated here by a surprising tenderness, present both in the outstandingly delicate performances and Mr. Khondji's attention at the visual requirements of the piece. With Amour, the director delivers a troubling film that is as unflinching as his previous work, but also passionate and, dare I say, accessibly humane.

Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert

Director/writer: Michael Haneke
Cinematography: Darius Khondji  (colour)
Designer: Jean-Vincent Puzos
Costumes: Catherine Leterrier
Editors: Monika Willi, Nadine Muse
Producers: Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz (Les Films du Losange, X-Filme Creative Pool and Wega Film in co-production with France 3 Cinéma, ARD Degeto, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Westdeutscher Rundfunk)
France/Germany/Austria, 2012, 127 minutes

Screened: advance DVD screener, Lisbon, December 2nd 2012


Friday, December 07, 2012

ANNA KARENINA

Admittedly, there is something fishy about the mere idea of a Working Title Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley in the title role: oh no, not another luvvie piece of posh British heritage cinema! Thankfully, just as director Joe Wright had dusted off quite cannily Pride and Prejudice, so does he bring something else, something new to this take on Leo Tolstoy's classic novel of love in 19th century imperial Russia. It could be roughly described as "Ophüls does Tolstoi", or Anna Montès. 

     In short, following Max Ophüls' sleight-of-hand waltzes, Mr. Wright and playwright/screenwriter Tom Stoppard set most of Anna Karenina's action inside an opulent theatre where the camera swirls about as the theatre's décors change in front of us from a restaurant to a Moscow park. The metaphor, openly taken from Shakespeare's "all the world's a stage", is obvious: society as role-playing where everyone is ready and willing to play its part - except for Anna, banging fiercely against the walls of the puppet theatre she feels herself trapped in.

     Obvious the metaphor may be, but there's a certain grandiose (and very English) bravado in the way Mr. Wright (who has always had a deft hand with sweeping pans and never saw a tracking shot he didn't like) deals with it: by staging the whole thing as an elaborately choreographed social ballet, underlined by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's stylized dances, the actors, sets and camera gliding across the sets seamlessly, everyone swept along in a swooning arc of emotion. It's much better than it sounds like, believe me, since Tolstoi's mosaic of love both free of and tethered to social constraints is strong enough to uphold pretty much everything you want to throw at it.

     But by themselves Mr. Wright's bravura staging and Mr. Stoppard's measured adaptation might fall prey to shallowness, style over substance; such an approach rises or falls on its cast and it's there that the casting of Ms. Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson lets the side down. Both actors struggle valiantly with the demands of the roles, but against the obvious evidence that they're both too young to be fully convincing - Ms. Knightley is simply not mature enough to be Anna, and Mr. Taylor-Johnson is simply too boyish to exude Vronsky's man-about-town seduction. Intriguingly, the casting of such young actors does suggest an innocence about their relationship that gives an added layer to the roleplay conceit, but also undermines the parallel love story between rural landowner Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) and Muscovite society girl Kitty (Alicia Vikander), whose own innocence and restraint is an important contrast to Anna and Vronsky's passionate abandon.

     On balance, with such a stylized staging, it's on the actors that falls the need to give heft, weight and empathy to the production - and if all of the cast performs impressively (none more so than an unrecognisably subdued Jude Law as the put-upon Karenin), it's clear that asking Ms. Knightley and Mr. Taylor-Johnson to anchor the film may be asking too much. Still, let's give due credit to a production that definitely does not go the usual posh heritage cinema way, shall we?

Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams, Emily Watson

Director: Joe Wright
Screenplay: Tom Stoppard, from the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey (colour, widescreen)
Music: Dario Marianelli
Designer: Sarah Greenwood
Costumes: Jacqueline Durran
Editor: Melanie Ann Oliver
Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster (Focus Features, Working Title Films)
UK/USA, 2012, 130 minutes

Screened: distributor premiere screening, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon), November 29th 2012


Sunday, December 02, 2012

ANOTHER HAPPY DAY

The family drama with an all-star cast of name actors playing bit parts has become a staple of modern American independent cinema, and reaches its lowest point with the profoundly ill-advised directorial debut of Sam Levinson, son of Hollywood director Barry Levinson. Roping in an impressive cast led by Ellen Barkin (also producing) to tell of a family reunion where just about anything that can go wrong does, Another Happy Day introduces its central characters en route to the family's Annapolis manor, under the guise of a home video master-minded by ADD asocial brat Elliott (the estimable but typecast Ezra Miller). Driving the family car is mother Lynn (Ms. Barkin), already on the defensive about heading home to the marriage of her eldest son Dylan (Michael Nardelli) whom she did not raise after divorcing her abusive husband Paul (Thomas Haden Church).

     It all goes downhill from here, since Mr. Levinson is aiming at a particularly difficult tone somewhere between dark satire and bleak hopefulness, but never even comes close. Lynn may be an anxious, hysterical woman prone to fits of victimization, but the callous condescension she gets from most everyone else in the household, from imperious matriarch Doris (Ellen Burstyn) to Patti (Demi Moore), the vulgar, disdainful new wife of Paul, perfectly justifies it - to the point that the writer/director is unable to give us one single reason why we would want to spend such a largely overextended two hours with these people.

     Another Happy Day does feature some good moments - the quieter ones, usually intimate conversations between two characters where the actors find opportunities to ground and flesh these people and Mr. Levinson manages to strike the right hushed tone - but they're few and far between, with the film almost immediately returning to the generally ill-judged tone-deafness where nothing is sacred nor taboo, cramming its dislikeable theatre of family cruelty with all sorts of shrill over-reactions and misunderstandings until Another Happy Day becomes both embarrassing (because of the waste of such good actors in characters even they can't bring any empathy too) and unbearable (because the cruelty these people inflict upon one another becomes so entrenched as to be unexplainable). One to avoid.

Cast: Ellen Barkin, Kate Bosworth, Ellen Burstyn, Thomas Haden Church, Jeffrey de Munn, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, George Kennedy, Ezra Miller, Demi Moore, Michael Nordelli, Diana Scarwid, Daniel Yelsky

Director and writer: Sam Levinson
Cinematography: Ivan Strasburg  (colour, Panavision widescreen)
Music: Òlafur Arnalds
Designer: Michael Grasley
Costumes: Stacey Battat
Editor: Ray Hubley
Producers: Celine Rattray, Todd Traina, Johnny Lin, Mr. Nardelli, Salli Newman, Pamela Fielder, Ms. Barkin (Mandalay Vision and Voltage Pictures in association with Taggart Productions, Princess Pictures, Cineric, Filmula Entertainment, New Mexico Media Partners, Red Rover Films and Prop Blast Films)
USA, 2012, 118 minutes

Screened: distributor advance screener DVD, Lisbon, November 24th 2012


Saturday, December 01, 2012

KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Few films in 2012 have been as actively disliked as New Zealander Andrew Dominik's follow-up to the much admired The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Just as that film - also starring Brad Pitt - looked at the classic American western through a whole other viewfinder, so does Killing Them Softly deconstruct the hardboiled thriller, adapting George Higgins' novel Cogan's Trade into a post-Tarantino ensemble piece that posits crime as both trivial and serious, replacing chases and gunfights with wisecracking dialogue. The subversive project works equally well in both films though, for my taste, Killing Them Softly is the better film: leaner, terse, streamlined to the point of a sharp blade, as befits the tale of mob enforcer Jackie (Mr. Pitt) having to sort things out when a mob card game is hijacked by small-timers looking to cash out of the underground.

     Honour among thieves? Certainly you can think that judging from the "you-only-get-one-shot" plotline, but the film's 2008, pre-Obama election setting makes a none-too-subtle pass at something else: crime as a parallel economy, a structure that essentially mirrors what goes on in the business world - the old adage of "Murder, Incorporated" has never been so true, as the constant back-and-forth between Jackie and a nameless Mob lawyer (Richard Jenkins) over authorisations, payments and perception makes clear. Mr. Dominik's constant layering of recession elements throughout may be too heavy-handed to sit easily next to the film's flip, glib gallows humour and tough dialogue, expertly modulated by a great ensemble cast. But it also goes some way to explain just why Killing Them Softly has been so disliked: by reducing crime to a job you do for a living, making great use of its industrial suburbs and rundown blue-collar neighborhood locations, it strips away the veneer of power and glamour to reveal it as just another petty-minded arm of a global rat-race economy. Taut, terse, Killing Them Softly may not be a great movie, but it's smarter than most, and a cut above what everyone seems to make of it.

Cast: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Vincent Curatola, Sam Shepard

Director: Andrew Dominik
Screenplay: Mr. Dominik, from the novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins
Cinematography: Greig Fraser (colour, processing by Efilm Deluxe, Panavision widescreen)
Music: Marc Streitenfeld
Designer and costumes: Patricia Norris
Editor: Brian C. Kates
Producers: Mr. Pitt, Dede Gardner, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, Anthony Katagas (Plan B Entertainment and Chockstone Pictures in association with The Weinstein Company, Inferno Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures and 1984 Private Defense Contractors)
USA, 2012, 97 minutes

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Alvaláxia 7 (Lisbon), November 23rd 2012