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John Carney’s Once is the rarest of breeds, a modern-day musical about love that doesn’t make you want to run for the door and hurl. A budding relationship develops between a musician and a recently divorced woman who become so madly inspired by each other that they spontaneously break out into song about their love. Despite what seems like the trappings of an overly sentimental, lovey-dovey date flick, this film managed to take Sundance by storm and please even the most cantankerous critic. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irgolva interact with such graceful casualness that they allow Once to overcome cynicism and make for an exceptionally unique and personal tale contemplating the universal search of finding our one true love.

Read more about this film in the Spring 07 edition of Filmmaker, out now!

Severance follows the recent trend of movies like Shaun of the Dead and Grindhouse by mixing gruesome horror with raucous comedy. The story focuses on a group of mid-level sales managers working for an international weapons manufacturer who are given a vacation in the mountains of Hungary to work on team-building exercises. Of course, the ironic twist in the film is how these weapon merchants get a taste of their own medicine when a pack of particularly crazy Eastern Europeans begins to pick them off in subsequently macabre and witty ways. Although essentially a standard slasher flick at heart, Severance strives to be more by amusingly merging genres and has indie horror sleeper hit written all over it.


People have long been excited about the new Mexican cinema, pointing to the three-film wave -- Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel -- that hit theaters last Fall as proof of its dominance. But now the directors are hoping to cash in on their zeitgeist. In their LA Times' article, "Mexican Directors Offer Studios a 5-Picture Deal," Lorenza Muñoz and Claudia Eller report, "Studios are being asked in the unprecedented proposal to bankroll five movies, at least two of which are expected to be in Spanish." And one more thing, not all of the films will be directed by the big three directors. Other Mexican directors, like Alfonso Cuarón's younger brother, Carlos and Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her), will helm the projects. The price tag for all this South-of-the-border talent? $100 million...


I blogged about the L.A. Weekly piece, "Double Cross at the WGA," which was an explosive account of the Writer's Guild of America's policy of collecting and not always paying foreign levies on behalf of member and non-member writers. It's a complicated story but well worth following for several reasons, not the least of which is what it says about our current and possibly future system of copyright.


If you're in New York you've got a few days left to catch Guy Maddin's Brand upon the Brain, the director's spectacular staging of his latest movie with a live chamber orchestra, castrato, three live foley artists and an assortment of guest narrators like Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Isabella Rossellini. Like all of Maddin's work, the film immerses itself in the poetics of early cinema, applying the style this time to a storyline that seems a mix of Dickens and gothic horror. But what makes it a must-see is its rare event quality. When the musicians start, the foley artists summon up the sounds of wind, and the spotlight hits the narrator (last night it was an excellent Crispin Glover), you do feel yourself within a privileged moment echoing what audiences must have felt decades ago...

Read the complete stories at Filmmakermagazine's Blog...


Christoffer Boe likes Cannes. After graduating from the Danish Film School in 2001, his student film Anxiety played at the 2002 festival, where it won a prize from French critics, and then Boe returned to the Croisette the following year with his debut feature, Reconstruction. A dazzlingly inventive and playful film, Reconstruction's tale of love and parallel universes in Copenhagen beguiled critics and was awarded both the Camera D'Or and the Prix Regards Jeune. Boe was celebrated as international cinema's most precocious wunderkind, and his film played all around the world, plundering prizes – including the prestigious FIPRESCI Director of the Year award at San Sebastian Film Festival – wherever it went...

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