Archive for April 24th, 2009

The Critics Picks: Cannes Critics’ Week Line-up

April 24, 2009

More from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Here’s the critic’s week line-up:


Feature films

Huacho,” Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chili/France/Germany).

“Ordinary People,” Vladimir Perisic (Serbia/France).

Lost Persons Area,” Caroline Strubbe (Belgium).

Adieu Gary Cooper,” Nassim Amaouche (France).

Mal día para pescar” (“Bad Day to Go Fishing”), Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay/Spain).

“Sirta la gal ba” (“Whisper with the Wind”), Shahram Alidi (Iraq).

“Altiplano,” Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth (Belgium/Germany/Netherlands).

Short films

“Together,” Eicke Bettinga (Germany/UK).

“Noche adentro,” Pablo Lamar (Paraguay).

“Runaway, Cordell Barker (Canada).

“C’est gratuit pour les filles,” Marie Amachoukeli and Claire Burger (France).

“Tulum” (“La virée”), Dalibor Matanic (Croatia).

“Logorama,” François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, Ludovic Houplain (H5) (France).

“Slitage” (“Seeds of the Fall”), Patrick Eklund (Sweden).

Special Screenings

Opening Night: “Rien de personnel,” Mathias Gokalp (France).

Godfathers’s movie: “Hierro,” Gabe Ibañez (Spain).

Special Screenings: Short and Medium-Length Films

Closing Night: “La baie du renard,” Grégoire Colin (France) and “1989,” Camilo Matiz (Colombia).

“Faiblesses, Nicolas Giraud (France).

“6 Hours,” Moon Seong-hyeok (South Korea).

“Les Miettes,” Pierre Pinaud (France).

“Elo,” Vera Egito (Brazil).

“Espalhadas pelo ar” (“Dispercées dans l’air”), Vera Egito (Brazil).


“Throw Down Your Heart” in NYC this weekend, coming to Seattle in August

April 24, 2009

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming up in NWFF’s summer calendar. We will be showing the new documentary Throw Down Your Heart on August 7-13, 2009.

Award winning documentary Throw Down Your Heart follows banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck as he travels through Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali in search of the little known roots of his instrument and cross-cultural musical collaborations. A multiple Grammy-winner for jazz, bluegrass and classical recordings, Fleck suddenly finds himself a wide-eyed novice as he encounters a dizzying array of African languages and cultural traditions. But his musical conversations with both talented amateurs and international stars such as n’goni lutenist Bassekou Kouyate and Malian diva Oumou Sangare are testaments to music’s ability to connect people across superficial divides.

Directed by emerging auteur (and Fleck’s younger brother) Sascha Paladino, Throw Down Your Heart is an enthralling journey and a moving celebration of music and humanity.

The film was reviewed in today’s New York Times:

A Musical Journey

Published: April 24, 2009

The gentle, upbeat documentary “Throw Down Your Heart” chronicles the African pilgrimage of the American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck in search of the origins of his chosen instrument, which he sheepishly admits is “associated with a white Southern stereotype.”

Béla Fleck, left, in Sascha Paladino’s documentary “Throw Down Your Heart.”

At every stop on a journey that takes him from Uganda to Tanzania to Gambia and finally to Mali, Mr. Fleck plays and records with gifted local musicians. Early in the film, a Ugandan villager insists that the common perception of Africa as a continent ravaged by war and disease is “just a very small bit of what Africa is,” and “Throw Down Your Heart” sets out to prove him right.

While traveling, Mr. Fleck encounters reminders of the slave trade. At a seaside port in what used to be German East Africa, he is told that an enslaved African, upon seeing the sea and the ship, understood that there would be no returning and was advised to “throw down your heart.”

Mr. Fleck, a gentle, curious man of few words and formidable talents, is a benign presence. In a Ugandan village his banjo accompanies several local musicians playing a 12-foot xylophone. In Tanzania he collaborates with Anania Ngoliga, a master of the African thumb piano, an instrument consisting of metal tines of varying length attached to a wooden board. It is in Gambia that Mr. Fleck encounters the akonting, a primitive three-string forerunner of the banjo whose preservation is the mission of a troupe known as the Jatta Family.

In Mali he meets and plays with the great guitarist Djelimady Tounkara and the diva Oumou Sangare, a national idol and phenomenally gifted composer and singer. When Ms. Sangare sings a heartbreaking lament of “a worried songbird” searching for her father, you don’t need to know the language to be gripped by the force of her cry.


April 24, 2009

Congrats to Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton and her crew who are off to Cannes. Her latest HUMPDAY screens in the prestigious Director’s Fortnight, whose inaugural year we’re celebrating in our 69 series.

Shelton shares the line-up with Francis Ford Coppola who notoriously turned down Cannes’ non-competition slot, but now his latest TETRO will open the program. According to the fortnight’s director Olivier Pere, “After Coppola announced that he wouldn’t show ‘Tetro’ out of competition, we asked to screen it for the Quinzaine. We loved it! And our enthusiasm convinced Coppola that an opening Fortnight slot would be the ideal place to debut his film.”

A few years back Seattle filmmaker Rob Devor’s ZOO also took a bow in the Fortnight.

Here’s a complete list of the this year’s Fortnight lineup.

“La Pivellina,” Austria, Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
“The Alasness of Things,” Belgium-Netherlands, Felix van Groeningen
“Eastern Plays,” Bulgaria-Sweden, Kamen Kalev
“Carcasses,” Canada, Denis Cote
“J’ai tue ma mere,” Canada, Xavier Dolan
“Polytechnique,” Canada, Denis Villeneuve
“Navidad,” Chile, Sebastian Lelio
“Oxhide II,” China, Liu Jia Yin
“La famille Wolberg,” France-Belgium, Axelle Ropert
“Land of Madness,” France, Luc Moullet
“Le roi de l’evasion,” France, Alain Guiraudie
“Les beaux gosses,” France, Riad Sattouf
“Yuki & Nina,” France-Japan, Nobuhiro Suwa, Hippolyte Girardot
“Ajami,” Israel-Germany, Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani (closer) “Daniel & Ana,” Mexico-Spain, Michel Franco
“Karaoke,” Malaysia, Chan Fui (Chris) Chong
“Ne change rien,” Portugal-France, Pedro Costa
“Here,” Singapore-Canada, Tzu-Nyen Ho
“Like You Know It All,” South Korea, Hong Sang-soo
“Amreeka,” U.S., Cherien Dabis
“Go Get Some Rosemary,” U.S.-France, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
“Humpday,” U.S., Lynn Shelton
“I Love You Phillip Morris,” U.S.-France, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
“Tetro,” Argentina-Spain-Italy, Francis Ford Coppola (opener)

“Montparnasse,” France, Mikhael Hers

“Cicada,” Australia, Amiel Courtin-Wilson
“Jagdfieber,” Belgium, Alessandro Comodin
“Superbarroco,” Brazil, Renata Pinheiro
“Anna,” Denmark, Runar Runarsson
“Nice,” France, Maud Alpi
“The Fugitives,” France, Guillaume Leiter
“Thermidor,” France, Virgil Vernier
“The History of Aviation,” Hungry, Balint Kenyeres
“Song of Love and Health,” Portugal-France, Joao Nicolau
“Dust Kid,” South Korea, Jung Yu-mi
“The Attack of the Robots from Nebuma-5,” Spain, Chema Garcia Ibarra
“Drommar Fran Skogen,” Sweden, Johannes Nyholm
“American Minor,” U.S., Charlie White
“John Wayne Hated Horses,” U.S., Andrew Betzer