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Based largely on first-hand experiences of director Shane Meadows (A Room for Romeo Brass, Dead Man’s Shoes) growing up in the 1980s during the Falklands War and the second-wave skinhead scene, This Is England feels as raw and authentic as anything Meadows has done. The story tracks the activities of a precocious 12-year-old boy (Thomas Turgoose, creating a noteworthy performance in his first film) after he loses his father and finds acceptance with a group of neighborhood skinheads who grow to become his new family. This Is England covers some dark grounds and raises some difficult issues about that specific time and place but the heart and honesty of the film is never sacrificed and for an open-minded viewer, the journey is quite rewarding.

This French film by Laurent Tirard follows the life of Molière, France's Shakespeare, and takes the form of one of Molière’s plays. Set in 1658, the film opens with a successful Molière (Romain Duris) making a decision about his next play for the King of France. Thirteen years earlier: Molière finds himself imprisoned because of a debt. Monsieur Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini) offers to pay off Molière’s debt in exchange for his artistic talents. In addition, Jourdain has a disguised Molière help him seduce a beautiful young widow, while keeping it a secret from Mme. Jourdain. A delightful score by Frédéric Talgorn combined with magnificent costumes and make-up makes for an all around well crafted comedy about one of France’s most famous playwrights.

Bradley Beesley and Sarah Price's wonderful doc Summercamp! started a limited run at New York's IFC Center on Wednesday, after which it moves on to screenings around the country. The film is a touching portrait of the adventures and dramas of a two-week period at a kids' nature camp in Wisconsin, and features exclusive music by The Flaming Lips. Price will also be in attendance at many of the screenings (check the IFC Center website for more details), and you are strongly recommended to catch it while you can.


IFP announced today that the 17th Annual Gotham Awards will be held on Tuesday, November 27th in New York and have moved the location to Steiner Studios. They also announced three of this year's Gotham Awards Tributes: actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Love in the Time of Cholera, Before Night Falls), filmmaker Mira Nair (The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!) and film industry veteran Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Entertainment. Returning for a second year to collaborate with IFP and its publication, Filmmaker magazine, is The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) Film Department for the presentation of the five nominees for “The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” Award. The screenings at MoMA will be held November 16 – 19. The Gotham Awards will be promoted nationally via a partnership with The New York Times and locally via broadcast on NYC TV. Nominees for competitive awards will be announced on Monday, October 22.

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If you haven't checked out the main page recently, please click over there and watch Jamie Stuart's new short, 12.5 Seconds Later It's goofy and charming and, to my mind, pretty much a miracle of no-crew production. Jamie shot and edited it himself and then, for the post, used new Final Cut Pro Studio software, including its new compositing program Motion. Jamie did the short at our request -- we offered him use of a promo Apple system and in return he wrote a print review based on his experiences actually using the software to make a film. Both Jamie and that system are pictured here as he waits for the shipping guys to show up and take it away.

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It is something of a tragic irony that after escaping the restrictions of Communist Czechoslovakia in 1968 — where he had made five films in five years — in the subsequent 40 years Milos Forman has worked in America, he has only made a further nine features. Taking Off (1971) was a transition between the looseness of his Czech films, such as the classic Loves of a Blonde (1965) and The Firemen's Ball (1967), and the more conventional Hollywood style he would later adopt, and was the first of many films in which he captured the essence of America by taking an outsider's perspective. Forman's greatest successes, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Amadeus (1984), both won him Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture, but even the supposedly less successful films he made around the same time — Hair (1979), Ragtime (1981) and Valmont (1989) — are rich, wonderful and often extremely underrated films. In the 1990s, Forman turned his attention to American counterculture figures, producing acclaimed biopics of porn baron Larry Flynt (The People vs. Larry Flynt) and alternative comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon).

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