Taglines: How far would you go to escape the past?
The Human Stain is the story of Coleman Silk (Hopkins), a classics professor with a terrible secret that is about to shatter his life in a small New England town. When his affair with a young troubled janitor (Kidman) is uncovered, the secret Silk had harbored for over fifty years from his wife, his children and colleague, writer Nathan Zuckerman, fast explodes in a conflagration of devastating consequences. It is Zuckerman who stumbles upon Silk’s secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life came unraveled.
Review for The Human Stain
“The Human Stain” contains a significant secret about one of the characters. This review discusses it. “There’s no way we can contain the secret, and we’re not even trying to,” the film’s producer, Tom Rosenberg, told me at the Toronto Film Festival. “It’s out there already with the Philip Roth novel. And this isn’t a movie like ‘The Crying Game,’ which is really about its secret.” That’s because the secret belongs to the character, not the movie. It is one he has lived with all of his adult life.
Twenty-something Ana, now living in Buenos Aires, returns to her native city of Paraná. She meets old school mates, old friends, makes new ones, and starts to rethink her life, and perhaps change her future. A stunning Camila Toker plays a young woman who returns to her birthplace Paraná for the first time in years and seeks in vain the places, memories and intimacy she once knew. Melancholy film with a light touch, at once recognisable and mysterious.
After many years away, 25-year-old Ana returns from Buenos Aires to the town where she was born. She is looking for her past but when she arrives it turns out there’s not much left. She walks the streets and along the riverbank on a hot summer’s day; places she used to know very well. She feels at home here, but also a stranger. She sees a photo her ex-boyfriend Mariano took in the local newspaper. She asks all her old acquaintances about him. Apart from that, she has nothing much to say to these people.
Celina Murga’s multi-award-winning debut film Ana and the Others is an intimate portrait of a woman looking for her memories, for people and places from her youth. Ana’s Rohmerian search brings up both questions and answers from the past, and these cause her to think about her future. The film rests on the capable shoulders of Camila Toker in the role of Ana.
Ana and the Others (Spanish: Ana y los otros) is an Argentine independent drama film directed and written by Celina Murga. Starring Camila Toker, Ignacio Uslenghi, Juan Cruz Díaz la Barba. and Natacha Massera.
Ana and the Others
Directed by: Celina Murga
Starring: Camila Toker, Ignacio Uslenghi, Juan Cruz Díaz la Barba, Natacha Massera
Screenplay by: Celina Murga
Cinematography by: José María ‘Pigu’ Gómez, Marcelo Lavintman
Film Editing by: Martín Mainoli
Art Direction by: Sebastián Corujo
Studio: ID Distribution
Release Date: April 21, 2003
Taglines: Some loves are never forgotten.
In the dysfunctional Italian middle-class family Ristuccia, the middle-aged executive Carlo has a stalled life without passion, bored in his work and having a monotonous life with his wife Giulia. Giulia is a frustrated and hysterical woman because she gave up of being an actress in her youth to dedicate to the family. Their needy son Paolo feels lost and rejected, trying to find who he is and flirting with a schoolmate.
Their seventeen years old daughter Valentina is decided to work in a television show, and is fighting to have an audition. When Carlo meets his former sweetheart Alessia in a class reunion, they confess to each other that their marriages are in crisis and both feel passion arising again. Meanwhile Giulia is invited to an audition in a stage production and to participate of a play. Paolo tries to make friends using marijuana in his birthday party, and Valentina has sex with different guys trying to be a dancer of the famous TV show ‘Ali Babbi’.
Remember Me, My Love (Ricordati di me) is a 2003 Italian movie directed by Gabriele Muccino. Starring The film’s awards are those: 3 Nastro d’Argento Prizes (Best Supporting Actress: Monica Bellucci – Best Screenplay: Gabriele Muccino and Heidrun Schleef – Best Producer: Domenico Procacci and Nadine Luque)
Remember Me, My Love
Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Laura Morante, Nicoletta Romanoff, Monica Bellucci, Silvio Muccino, Amanda Sandrelli, Gabriele Lavia
Screenplay by: Gabriele Muccino, Heidrun Schleef
Production Design by: Paola Bizzarri
Cinematography by: Marcello Montarsi
Film Editing by: Claudio Di Mauro
Costume Design by: Gemma Mascagni
Studio: IDP Distribution
Music by: Paolo Buonvino
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality and teen drug use.
Studio: IDP Distribution
Release Date: September 3, 2003
Taglines: Can you ever control another person’s sexuality?
Nathalie… is a 2003 French drama film directed by Anne Fontaine, and starring Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, and Gérard Depardieu.
Nathalie is the name a Parisian prostitute assumes for a special mission or “private investigation.” She is engaged in this unusual and secretive task by a professional, upper-middle-class wife who fears that her husband is unfaithful to her. Nathalie has to seduce the clueless husband and regularly report all details of her relationship with him, including his most intimate sexual preferences in bed. Nathalie is stunning, charming, and cunning. Can Nathalie and her reports to the mistrustful wife be trusted? Is the middle aged husband indeed unfaithful?
Review for Nathalie
I think “Nathalie…” is a very interesting film. Once again French moviemakers confirm they’re among the best European and (to me) World directors. Because they’re also able to show a simple story, a simple tale where there’s room for feelings and sensations.
A woman discovers she’s betrayed by her husband. She hires a prostitute to follow constantly and to seduce him. The wife wants always to be told what has happened (she also wants to know exactly the way the girl has had sex with the man). But between the two women a friendship grows and also in the marriage something changes… Thanks to the young girl the married couple will find again the dialogue. Without being melodramatic, the film has an original approach for telling a story about couple problems and human relationships. “Nathalie…” contains studies about that.
Directed by: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Gérard Depardieu, Wladimir Yordanoff, Judith Magre, Évelyne Dandry, Aurore Auteuil
Screenplay by: Philippe Blasband, Jacques Fieschi
Production Design by: Michel Barthélémy
Cinematography by: Jean-Marc Fabre
Film Editing by: Emmanuelle Castro
Costume Design by: Pascaline Chavanne
Set Decoration by: Boris Piot
Music by: Michael Nyman
Studio: Koch-Lorber Films
Release Date: September 11, 2003
The winner of eleven Israeli Academy Awards, Nina’s Tragedies is a powerful and involving drama, with a poignant comic streak.
14 year old Nadav tells us about his torn family; his parents divorce, his dying father, his wild and promiscuous mother, but most of all about his beautiful aunt Nina (Ayelet Zurer). After the death of her husband, Nadav moves in with her – the beginning of a wonderful period in his life. But his perfect idyll is ruined when a new man enters Nina’s life… Hurt and betrayed, Nadav tries with all his power to fight for her heart, during which time he comes to understand something new about love, family, sexuality and himself.
Nina’s Tragedies (Hebrew: האסונות של נינה) is an Israeli comedy-drama film directed by Savi Gabizon and starring Ayelet Zurer, Yoram Hattab, Alon Abutbul, Shmil Ben Ari, and Anat Waxman. It won 11 Ophir Awards.
Directed by: Savi Gavison
Starring: Ayelet Zurer, Yoram Hattab, Aviv Elkabeth, Alon Aboutboul, Shmil Ben Ari, Yitzhak Hizkiya, Rivka Neuman
Screenplay by: Savi Gavison
Cinematography by: David Gurfinkel
Film Editing by: Tali Helter-Shenkar
Costume Design by: Tzipi Anglisher
Music by: Assaf Amdursky
Studio: United Artists
Release Date: October 6, 2003
Taglines: An inside look at the world of ballet.
With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with McDowell the company’s co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America’s most exciting choreographers. Franco plays Campbell’s boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance.
The Company is a film about the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. It was released on December 26, 2003 in the United States and around the world in the first half of 2004. The movie was directed by Robert Altman and stars Neve Campbell, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film. The movie also stars Malcolm McDowell as the ballet company’s artistic director, a character based on Gerald Arpino.
The Company is composed of stories gathered from the dancers, choreographers, and staff of the Joffrey Ballet. Most of the roles are played by company members. While a small subplot relates a love story between Campbell’s character and a character played by James Franco, most of the movie focuses on the company as a whole, without any real star or linear plot. The many company stories woven together express the dedication and hard work that dancers must put in to their art, although they are seldom rewarded with fame or fortune.
Directed by: Robert Altman
Starring: Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, James Franco, Barbara E. Robertson, William Dick, Susie Cusack
Screenplay by: Neve Campbell, Barbara Turner
Production Design by: Gary Baugh
Cinematography by: Andrew Dunn
Film Editing by: Geraldine Peroni
Costume Design by: Susan Kaufmann
Set Decoration by: Karen Bruck
Music by: Van Dyke Parks
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: December 26, 2003
Taglines: On the surface, all is calm.
Swimming Pool is a French-British erotic thriller film directed by François Ozon and starring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier. The plot focuses on a British crime novelist, Sarah Morton, who travels to her publisher’s upmarket summer house in Southern France to seek solitude in order to work on her next book. However, the arrival of Julie, the publisher’s daughter, induces complications and a subsequent crime.
While the film’s protagonist is British and both of the lead characters are bilingual, the majority of the story takes place in France – thus, the dialogue throughout the film is a mixture of French and English, which is appropriately subtitled.
Swimming Pool premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2003, and was released in France a few days later, with a U cinema rating, meaning it was deemed suitable for all ages. It was given a limited release in the United States that July, and was edited in order to avoid an NC-17 rating due to its sexual content and nudity. It was subsequently released in North America on DVD in an unrated cut.
The film ignited controversy with audiences because of its ambiguous nature and unclear conclusion which can be interpreted and argued in various ways – while in France many comparisons were made with Jacques Deray’s 1969 film La Piscine (“The Swimming-pool”), starring Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.
Swimming Pool grossed $10,130,108 in the United States and $12,311,215 internationally for a worldwide total of $22,441,323. It had a budget of €6.1 million (approximately US$7.8 million), meaning that it was a financial success.
About the Story
Sarah Morton, a middle-aged English mystery author, who has written a successful series of novels featuring a single detective, is having writer’s block that is impeding her next book. Sarah’s publisher, John Bosload, offers her his country house near Lacoste, France for some rest and relaxation. After becoming comfortable with the run of the house, Sarah’s quietude is disrupted by a young woman claiming to be the publisher’s daughter, Julie. She shows up one night claiming to be taking time off from work herself. She also claims that her mother used to be Bosload’s mistress, but that he would not leave his family.
Julie’s sex life consists of one-night stands with various oafish men, and a competition of personalities develops between the two women. At first, Sarah regards Julie as a distraction from her writing. She uses earplugs to allow her to sleep during Julie’s noisy nighttime adventures, although she nonetheless has a voyeuristic fascination with them. Later she abandons the earplugs during one of Julie’s trysts, beginning to envy Julie’s lifestyle. The competition comes to the fore when a local waiter, Franck, is involved. Julie wants him but he appears to prefer the more mature Sarah, having struck up a relationship with her during her frequent lunches at the bistro.
An unexpected tragedy occurs after a night of flirting among the three. After swimming together in the pool, Franck refuses to allow Julie to continue performing oral sex on him, once Sarah, who watches them from the balcony, throws a rock into the water. Franck feels frightened and tells Julie he is leaving. The next day, Franck is missing. While investigating Franck’s disappearance, Sarah learns that Julie’s mother has been dead for some time, though Julie had claimed that she was still alive. She returns to the villa, where a confused Julie thinks that Sarah is her mother and has a breakdown. She eventually recovers and confesses that Franck is dead because Julie repeatedly hit him over the head with a rock as he tried to leave her at the pool. His body is in one of the sheds.
Directed by: Francois Ozon
Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier, Charles Dance, Jean-Marie Lamour, Mireille Mossé
Screenplay by: Emmanuelle Bernheim
Cinematography by: Yorick Le Saux
Film Editing by: Monica Coleman
Art Direction by: Wouter Zoon
Set Decoration by: Brice Blasquez
Costume Design by: Pascaline Chavanne
Music by: Philippe Rombi
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: July 2, 2003
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1932, Sylvia Plath developed a precocious talent as a writer, publishing her first poem when she was only eight years old. That same year, tragedy introduced itself into her life as Plath was forced to confront the unexpected death of her father. In 1950, she began studying at Smith College on a literary scholarship, and while she was an outstanding student, she also began suffering from bouts of extreme depression.
Following her junior year, she attempted suicide for the first time. Plath survived, and, in 1955, she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study in England at the University of Cambridge. While in Great Britain, Plath met Ted Hughes, a respected author, who would later become the British Poet Laureate. The two fell in love and married in 1956.
Marriage, family, and a growing reputation as an important poet nonetheless failed to bring Plath happiness. She became increasingly fascinated with death, a highly visible theme in her later poetry and her sole novel, The Bell Jar (1963). After Hughes left her for another woman, Plath’s depression went into a tailspin from which she never recovered. She killed herself at age 30.
Sylvia is a British biographical drama film directed by Christine Jeffs and starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Jared Harris, and Michael Gambon. It tells the true story of the romance between prominent poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. The film begins with their meeting at Cambridge in 1956 and ends with Sylvia Plath’s suicide in 1963.
Filming took place between October 2002 and February 2003. Much of the film was shot in and around the New Zealand city of Dunedin, with the University of Otago serving to represent Cambridge.
Directed by: Christine Jeffs
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Jared Harris, Michael Gambon, Blythe Danner, Lucy Davenport
Screenplay by: John Brownlow
Film Editing by: Tariq Anwar
Music by: Gabriel Yared
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: october 17, 2003
Taglines: Till death do us part.
What starts out as a romantic honeymoon on a deserted island turns into a horrible nightmare as Julianne discovers that her new husband is psychotic. Trapped on the island, he has no plans of ever returning to civilization, or even of letting her go. She slowly realizes that only one of them may ever leave the island.
Devil’s Pond (alternatively known as Heaven’s Pond) is a 2003 American direct-to-video thriller film directed by Joel Viertel, who co-wrote it with Alek Friedman and Mora Stephens. It stars Kip Pardue and Tara Reid. It tells the tale about two newlyweds that head to a remote lake house for their honeymoon, during which the husband turns it into a prison for his new wife.
Newlyweds, Mitch (Kip Pardue) and Julianne (Tara Reid), escape their normal lives and travel to a deserted island for a romantic and adventurous honeymoon, staying for two weeks at an old cottage in the middle of a secluded lake. They discover the area has no electricity or phone coverage, as Julianne tries to settle in despite her fear of water and inability to swim. Mitch enjoys the country life, and when Julianne wants to go into town to call her parents, to confirm her safety, he gets overprotective of her.
While the two weeks go by, Julianne is eager to return home to start their new lives, but Mitch refuses to go back to that life, wanting them to stay put in his ideal setting, even when Julianne cannot find her birth control pills to prevent her pregnancy. When Julianne finds out Mitch had stalked her before they met and got married, she attempts to leave, and she sees a grave in the woods across the lake before Mitch brings her back. To ensure that she does not attempt to escape again, Mitch disposes of their boat.
One night as Mitch is asleep, Julianne takes the key worn around his neck to open his safe box, having grown suspicious of it. She finds a property deed and learns he inherited the land from his deceased father and that he had often visited the property with his dad. Using a raft to head across the lake, she tries to escape again in Mitch’s pick-up truck, only for Mitch to find her there, and knock her unconscious. Chained to an anchor and a tree, Julianne realizes how psychotic Mitch is, and that he knew everything about her, including her fear of water, using it to hold her at their location.
Directed by: Joel Viertel
Starring: Kip Pardue, Tara Reid, Meredith Baxter, Dan Gunther, Guy Graves
Screenplay by: Alek Lev, Mora Stephens
Cinematography by: Matthew Jensen
Film Editing by: Jeff Wood
Music by: Louis Febre
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence.
Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Release Date: December 16, 2003
Taglines: The German Democratic Republic lives on — in 79 square meters!
East Germany, the year 1989: A young man protests against the regime. His mother watches the police arresting him and suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma. Some months later, the GDR does not exist anymore and the mother awakes. Since she has to avoid every excitement, the son tries to set up the GDR again for her in their flat. But the world has changed a lot.
Good Bye, Lenin! is a German tragicomedy film. Directed by Wolfgang Becker, the cast includes Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, and Maria Simon. Most scenes were shot at the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin and around Plattenbauten near Alexanderplatz.
The film score is composed by Yann Tiersen, except the version of “Summer 78” which is sung by Claire Pichet. Stylistically, the music is very similar to Tiersen’s prior work on the soundtrack to Amélie (in fact one piano composition, Comptine d’un Autre Eté: L’Apres Midi, is in both films), but is missing Amélie’s trademark accordion waltzes.
About the Story
In a prologue, Alex Kerner (Nico Ledermüller) recalls as a child in 1978 how proud he was along with his countrymen when the first German to enter space, Sigmund Jähn, came from East Germany (the GDR).
The remainder of the film is set in East Berlin, spanning from October 1989 to just after German reunification a year later. Alex (Daniel Brühl) lives with his sister, Ariane (Maria Simon), his mother, Christiane (Katrin Saß), and Ariane’s infant daughter, Paula. His father fled to the West in 1978, apparently abandoning the family. In his absence, Christiane has become an ardent idealist and supporter of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (the Party).
Alex takes part in an anti-government demonstration, where he meets a girl by chance, but they are separated by the Volkspolizei before they could properly introduce themselves. When Christiane sees Alex being arrested, she suffers a near-fatal heart attack and falls into a coma. The police ignore Alexander’s plea to assist his mother, instead releasing him later that evening to go and see her.
While visiting his mother at the hospital, Alex again meets the girl from the demonstration, who is revealed to be Lara (Chulpan Khamatova), a young nurse from the Soviet Union taking care of his mother. Alex becomes smitten with her and asks her out. The two soon begin dating and develop a close bond.
Shortly afterward, the Berlin Wall falls. In that time, Erich Honecker resigns from office, the East German police and military become increasingly toothless, and capitalism comes to East Berlin. Alex loses his job as a TV repairman due to the decommissioning of the labor agency, but gets hired by a West German cable company. The company has a “lottery” to pair those from East and West Germany, and Alex is paired with West Berlin resident Denis Domaschke (Florian Lukas), an aspiring filmmaker with whom Alex quickly becomes good friends, while Ariane leaves university to work at a Burger King drive-through.
After eight months, Christiane awakes, but is severely weakened both physically and mentally. Her doctor asserts that any shock might cause another, possibly fatal, heart attack. Alex realises that the discovery of recent events would be too much for her to hear, and so sets out to maintain the illusion that things are as before in the German Democratic Republic.
About the Story
Directed by: Wolfgang Becker
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Alexander Beyer, Florian Lukas, Christine Schorn
Screenplay by: Wolfgang Becker, Bernd Lichtenberg
Production Design by: Lothar Holler
Cinematography by: Martin Kukula
Film Editing by: Peter R. Adam
Costume Design by: Aenne Plaumann
Art Direction by: Matthias Klemme
Music by: Yann Tiersen
MPAA Rating: R for brief language and sexuality.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: February 17, 2003