For­eign film coin for Ire­land

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

The Ir­ish Film Board has en­tered into a se­ries of co-pro­duc­tions with Aus­tria, France, Slo­vakia and the UK. “It’s a ques­tion of co-pro­duce or die,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Perry said in Cannes. “Our part­ners in Europe will be in­vest­ing in Ir­ish film. We are do­ing films from else­where be­cause I feel that is how we can get more Ir­ish films made. We can de­velop th­ese re­la­tion­ships and al­liances based on rec­i­proc­ity. Th­ese re­la­tion­ships are a lifeblood for us.”

The Aus­trian co-pro­duc­tion, Das Vater­spiel, di­rected by Michael Gla­wog­ger, deals with a man de­vel­op­ing a com­puter game in which play­ers have to kill their fa­thers. The other IFB co-pro­duc­tions in­clude Slo­vak di­rec­tor Mira For­nay­ova’s Foxes; French di­rec­tor Agnes Mer­let’s psy­cho­log­i­cal drama Dorothy Mills; and Ru­pert Wy­att’s Bri­tish thriller The Es­capist, which has fin­ished shoot­ing and stars Joseph Fi­ennes and Brian Cox.

Polan­ski rips Cannes hack work

Press con­fer­ences at the ma­jor in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals are gen­er­ally waf­fle-dom­i­nated non-events, al­though con­ve­nient for the many jour­nal­ists con­tent to let other peo­ple ask the ba­nal ques­tions and later to write them up as the most in­ti­mate of one-to-one en­coun­ters. But there was a rare flurry of ex­cite­ment at this week’s Cannes press con­fer­ence with many of the 35 direc­tors who con­trib­uted three­minute seg­ments to Cha­cun Son Cinéma, the om­nibus movie the fes­ti­val com­mis­sioned to mark its 60th an­niver­sary.

Ro­man Polan­ski, a Palme d’Or win­ner in 2002 for The Pi­anist, stormed out in frus­tra­tion at the “empty ques­tions” from the me­dia. “It’s a shame to have such poor ques­tions,” he lamented be­fore head­ing to the exit. “I think it’s re­ally the com­puter which has brought you down to this level. You’re no longer in­ter­ested in what’s go­ing on in the cin­ema. Frankly, let’s all go and have lunch.” Polan­ski failed to turn up at the press lunch af­ter the con­fer­ence.

There were more high-profile direc­tors on the red car­pet for this week’s Cannes pre­miere of Cha­cun Son Cinéma than at any time in the fes­ti­val’s his­tory. Al­most all of the direc­tors con­tribut­ing to the film were present, but con­spic­u­ously ab­sent was Lars von Trier, who beats a critic to death – dur­ing a screen­ing of his own dire Man­der­lay – in his seg­ment of the film.

There was also much talk about The Deer Hunter di­rec­tor Michael Cimino (left), who, as one trade pa­per

put it, “was vir­tu­ally un­recog­nis­able from his for­mer self”.

You’ve seen it all be­fore

Who says there’s no orig­i­nal­ity in the film in­dus­try any­more? Among the imag­i­na­tive new pro­duc­tions an­nounced at Cannes in the past week have been re­makes of The Long Good Fri­day, trans­pos­ing the story from Lon­don to Mi­ami; an English-lan­guage re­work­ing of Dario Ar­gento’s stylish 1977 hor­ror movie, Sus­piria; a new treat­ment of the 1957 hit, Sissi, which starred Romy Sch­nei­der as the epony­mous young em­press of Aus­tria and queen of Hun­gary; and Robert Ro­driguez’s new treat­ment of Bar­barella, the campy 1968 romp star­ring Jane Fonda as a fu­tur­is­tic mer­ce­nary.

From Hob­bit to Stooge

The most un­likely cast­ing an­nounce­ment at Cannes has to be that Eli­jah Wood has been signed to play Iggy Pop in The Pas­sen­ger, which fol­lows the gaunt rocker’s early years with The Stooges. Maybe it’s the Frodo fac­tor, but I couldn’t buy Wood as a foot­ball hooli­gan in Green Street, and he seems even less plau­si­ble as Mr Pop. Then again, he is an ac­tor. Iggy has re­port­edly “given his bless­ing” to The Pas­sen­ger, which is ex­pected to be ready for screen­ing at a cin­ema near you in sum­mer 2008.

Hell is a French Scors­ese rip-off

With so many movies com­pet­ing for au­di­ences around the clock, the var­i­ous film trade pa­pers avail­able free here early ev­ery day have teams of re­view­ers whose open­ing para­graphs can de­ter au­di­ences as eas­ily as they can en­cour­age them. Ar­guably the most damn­ing of them all was Peter Brunette’s re­view of Bruno Merle’s French film He­roes, which bor­rows lib­er­ally – and openly – from Martin Scors­ese’s The King of Com­edy in its tale of a failed comic who kid­naps an age­ing rock star.

Brunette’s re­view for Screen Daily be­gins: “Imag­ine a rav­ing lu­natic scream­ing at you vir­tu­ally non-stop for two hours, six inches from your face, and you will be­gin to get an idea of what it is like to watch He­roes.”

You’ve done some­thing dif­fer­ent with your hair, Michael . . .

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