It’s undeniable that Keanu Reeves and fashion go together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, you could say Reeves was born an icon, a closeted fashionista who could do no wrong, whether photographed with a scruffy beard, in his slim frame bare chested or sporting a suit.Read More
It was the film I most craved to watch at this year's Locarno Festival, and it happened to be the very first film I watched here. It didn't disappoint me!
Dominga Sotomayor's 'Too Late to Die Young' ('Tarde Para Morir Joven') is a beautiful shot, strangely evocative and perfectly soothing piece of filmmaking. Yet it somehow has stayed with me throughout the festival, a meter by which I have been judging everything else I've watched in Locarno.
Sotomayor’s film tells the simple enough yet unusual tale of a teenager, Sofia (played by Demian Hernandez) coming of age in a commune on the slopes of the Andes just above Santiago, Chile and the surrounding cast of characters that accompany her journey all the way to the final climax of the film. It is accented by this etherial cinematography and cool sounds and you can't help, as an audience member, but become wrapped in nostalgia. In this film's case, unlike a Syrian filmmaker once said to me when I interviewed him for his film, childhood is a geographical place and Sotomayor brings us there to experience it along with her. It's her memories of growing up in a community very much like the one in the film.
I caught up with the cool and self assured Sotomayor in Locarno where the film screens as part of the festival's International Competition.Read More
I can't help but think of this iconic image of James Ivory at the Oscars this year, wearing the Andrew Mania designed shirt featuring the likeness of 'Call Me By Your Name' co-star Timothée Chalamet. It's everything it should be and more and it's the recognition this giant of the indie film world deserves. What Luchino Visconti was to cinema in the 1960s and 70s, James Ivory -- and his partner, the late Ismael Merchant -- have been to it since then. All the way to 2018! A film featuring either of their names means quality, beauty, poetry and most of all, cinematic dreams galore.
So I wanted to revisit this interview with the Grand Maestro himself, from 2016, which I managed to secure on the occasion of the re-release of 'Howards End', a touching beautiful film about human connections. And love, so much love. In between the serious questions, Ivory and I also exchanged some recommendations on current films to watch -- I suggested 'Elvis & Nixon' which has the feel of a Merchant Ivory production, starring Michael Shannon as, yes, Elvis Presley! -- and I shared my love for 'A Room with a View' the first film I bought on VHS tape, to own and cherish until video went away.Read More
Back in 2014, filmmaker and producer Lee Daniels visited the Dubai International Film Festival. What came out of our chat fueled my love for cinema and made me believe in humanity again. It was the age of Obama then, a different America and a different world.
But I discovered I need to revisit his wisdoms today. They make even more sense now.Read More
A good forty-four years after Lebanese director Heiny Srour had her film featured in the Official Competition at the Festival de Cannes, Nadine Labaki once again breaks all records, foregoes all the unspoken rules and becomes the second woman filmmaker from the Arab world ever to be chosen to be part of the prestigious lineup. And in fact, we can count the women directors who have been on that list on the tips of our fingers...
It's no wonder that the cool, glamorous and utterly fantastic Labaki and her crew (including her composer husband Khaled Mouzanar, who lends the music to all her cinematic masterpieces) celebrated the news of her latest 'Capernaum' being nominated for a Palme d'Or with a video that has gone viral on her social media.Read More
I meet Danish actor Claes Bang at the Dubai International Film Festival, at the height of the sexual harassment tidal wave of scandals that has engulfed the entertainment industry since early October 2017. Major Hollywood players keep falling around us, left and right and in fact, not even a week after my interview with Bang, another filmmaker whose film is featured at the festival, Morgan Spurlock, comes out with his own confession of wrongdoings, on Twitter.
Yet Bang seems unaffected by the hoopla, his soave behavior unchanged as he gazes deep into my eyes and with an almost unrelenting stare. He also sits quite close to me and doesn't care about crossing into my personal space often, during our interview. I don't mind one bit, it's actually refreshing to talk without reservations about sex with a spellbinding man I'll probably never meet again. I won't even have to go out with him, or have to sit through a glass of wine together, while I struggle to keep quiet and "let the man talk" -- as my BFF has often admonished me -- while sitting on my hands to avoid moving them around too much.Read More
When the line-up for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival was announced, in late July, there was one film that immediately jumped off the page at me, and I knew coming into this edition of the oldest film festival in the world, I just had to watch it. I craved to watch it, in fact, as one craves a good meal or the perfect glass of wine.
In fact, “craving to watch it” is the perfect way to describe the desire that accompanies a film like The Bad Batch, which according to producer Eddy Moretti, was initially pitched by its filmmaker as “a cannibal falls in love with his next meal.”
And right I was to be ravenous about watching Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow up to her modern cult classic (yes, it’s already a classic, in case you were wondering) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Watching The Bad Batch turned out to be so spectacular for me, so infinitely ahead of the majority of filmmakers’ visions and critics’ perception that I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else was still unraveling their brains, as I am two days later, to fully comprehend it. I won’t use broad statements like Amirpour is a genius, because for such a young and talented filmmaker where would she go from there if I did — but she comes awfully close.Read More
The last time I met Rajasthani-born superstar Irrfan Khan was in Abu Dhabi, and as we spoke, sitting in a busy hallway inside the grandiose Emirates Palace, waiters and chefs from India and Pakistan working for the hotel would approach him constantly, to ask for an autograph and get their picture taken alongside their idol. The actor indulged them every time, with grace and class.Read More
Apart from Olivier Assayas being one of the most perfectly articulate persons I’ve ever met, indulging each and every question without any sign of haughtiness or “I know better than thou” attitude — which of course is the case because I’m convinced the man knows everything! — personally, I’m a huge fan of his cinema. Assayas’ films are cinematic human mysteries, to be enjoyed on the big screen of course, yet to be re-watched, relished time and time again so that their magic can truly be absorbed. At the moment, I am obsessed with watching ‘Personal Shopper’ starring Kristen Stewart over and over again, each time discovering new images and uncovering new, pardon the pun, personal truths within it.Read More
For cinema insiders of course Monsieur Frémaux needs no introduction, he is the legendary artistic director of the Festival de Cannes. He is also the director of the Institut Lumière in Lyon, which is where his passion for the inventors of modern cinema, as we know and love it today, comes from. When I use the word passion in his case, I am not throwing it around lightly. His enthusiasm for the films of the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, is infectious and now that he’s curated them into a full-length film collection that is presented in exclusive settings with his live commentary, he has easily conquered quite a few new fans for the French inventors of the movie camera.Read More