EXCLUSIVE: Dreamworks has set Nikolaj Arcel to direct Rebecca, a remake of the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film. The picture, which has a script draft by Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight, is being produced by Working Title …
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor
If one thing links all five of this year’s nominees for the foreign film Oscar, it’s that the director of each picture was driven to make his movie because of strong, deeply personal feelings. These five films — a varied batch if ever there was one — have nothing in common in terms of where and when they are set, but they all deal, unapologetically, with powerful emotions. And those feelings are expressed not only by the characters in these films but also by their creators.
Perhaps the most obviously personal is Michael Haneke’s Amour, which achieved the rare feat of earning best picture and director noms, as well. The film has been cited for, among other things, its unblinking look at the degradations inflicted by illness on an aged couple. The German-born writer-director says that his recollections of a beloved aunt’s increasing infirmity inspired him to make the film. “I was forced to look on as someone very close to me suffered, someone for whom I cared very much”, he says, noting that the specifics of his aunt’s condition were not replicated in the movie. “What’s shown in the film is the product of lengthy research and my imagination”.
Yet one especially chilling aspect of his aunt’s situation — her asking him to assist in her suicide — was strongly echoed in the film. “Of course I had to tell her I was unable to do it”, Haneke recalls, “because I would have been put in jail if I had done it. I was grateful for that alibi, for I don’t know if I would have had the strength to do it otherwise. But she did it anyway, without my help”.
Asked whether he himself — now age 70 — worries about a fate similar to that faced by the principal characters in Amour (portrayed with uncanny and moving effect by octogenarians Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, who earned a best actress nomination for the role), Haneke responds wryly and invokes another, very different, master filmmaker. “Billy Wilder was asked a similar question”, Haneke says, “and he responded by saying that the bombardments, so to speak, are coming ever closer”.
European Film Promotion, the network that brings together promotional and export bodies from 34 countries, has unveiled the 10 young actors who will be featured at the 2013 Shooting Stars showcase during the Berlin Film Festival. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, last year’s Silver Bear winner for best actor in Berlin, is on the list of up-and-comers. He follows in the footsteps of his A Royal Affair co-star Alicia Vikander, who was a Shooting Star in 2011. Other previous honorees include Oscar-nominee Carey Mulligan, Inglourious Basterds star Mélanie Laurent and Harry Potter‘s Domhnall Gleeson. A jury of international industry professionals chose this year’s talent for their “outstanding work in feature films and their potential ability to expand their careers on the world’s acting stage.” A full list of the 2013 Shooting Stars follows:
Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
Chasing Ice froze out the specialty competition among newcomers on this Skyfall weekend. The documentary released by sales company Submarine’s distribution label grossed $21,000 in a single theater, NYC’s Cinema Village. The company’s Dan Braun noted the film had a big promotional push from key groups including North Face. Advanced group sales were significant. Other titles fared comparatively soft in their launches, with one distrib suggesting that the Skyfall juggernaut and Lincoln — which averaged $81,818 across 11 cinemas — had attracted a sizable chunk of specialty business. Magnolia’s A Royal Affair averaged $5,714 in 7 locations, while Music Box’s Starlet averaged $2,670 from 6. Kino Lorber’s Isabella Huppert-starrer In Another Country debuted in a single location with $3,500, and Tribeca Film’s The Comedy took in $6K at one cinema. Cinedigm/Flat Iron did not report figures for Citadel.
Chasing Ice next will next uptown to the Elinor Brunin Munroe Film Center and expand into 10 additional markets next week. “We’re doing a fairly traditional release with VOD planned later,” said Submarine’s Dan Braun. “The film is obviously striking a chord with the current interest in climate change.”
Magnolia’s A Royal Affair debuted in seven theaters with a total gross of $40K. The Berlinale debut has grossed more than $6 million worldwide, but its appeal in the U.S. is still unclear. “It’s performed terrifically in other English territories including UK and Australia…” noted Magnolia’s Matt Cowal.
Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Chasing Ice’, ‘Citadel’, ‘Coming Up Roses’, ‘In Another Country’, ‘A Royal Affair’, ‘Starlet’
Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
Foreign and domestic titles from the festival circuit will make their theatrical debuts this weekend. Bernadette Peters and French actress Isabelle Huppert will open their latest respective films Coming Up Roses and In Another Country. Starlet with Dree Hemingway has a San Fernando Valley adult film industry bent, while Citadel won SXSW Festival’s Audience Midnight section prize. Film sales outfit Submarine releases the climate-change documentary Chasing Ice via its distribution label Submarine Deluxe, scoring talk show attention as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, while Magnolia’s A Royal Affair will get a traditional theatrical rollout.
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Writer: Mark Monroe
Subjects: James Balog, Svavar Jonatansson, Adam LeWinter
Distributor: Submarine Deluxe
Hurricane Sandy’s devastation resulted in some attention for this documentary which focuses on climate change. “Because of the storm, we were able to get on the Bill Maher Show,” Submarine Deluxe’s Dan Braun said. “The film is about beauty and one person’s personal obsession. We don’t have an actual tagline, but it’s also about capturing the world’s climate change” on film.
Submarine had a previous relationship with Chasing Ice producers, after selling the Oscar-winning doc The Cove to Roadside Attractions at Sundance. Chasing Ice initially went to Oscilloscope, but changes at that company lead the title back to Submarine and its distribution label which also released Being Elmo last year. The title will open in New York and Los Angeles before expanding to 10 other markets. “We’re doing a fairly traditional release with VOD planned later,” said Braun. “We are marketing it with other organizations and have a robust ground-game for this one. North Face is partnering and advanced group sales with other organizations have been great.”