Jerusalem Film Festival opens with Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Julieta’

Jerusalem Film Festival opens with Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Julieta’

Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta,” which recently world premiered in competition at Cannes, will open the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival.

“We are happy to open this year’s festival with a film by one of the world’s most beloved and acclaimed filmmakers in recent decades, Pedro Almodóvar. Julieta is a cinematic celebration – a colorful, exciting, fun and thought-provoking film,” said Noa Regev, topper of Jerusalem Cinematheque and exec director of Jerusalem fest. “The aesthetic experience offered by the film will no doubt be even greater when shown on the giant screen at the Sultan’s Pool. Like most of Almodóvar’s works, it is focused on female protagonist and deals with women’s power.”

Based on a trio of short stories by Pulitzer-winning Canadian author Alice Munro, “Julieta” stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte in the title role, at different ages. Rossy de Palma also toplines. Pic will be released by Lev Cinemas in Israel on July 8, a day after its festival opening.

Jerusalem fest, which previously opened with Almodovar’s “All About my Mother” and “Talk to Her,” will kick off with “Julieta” in “commemoration of two inspirational female figures of Israeli Cinema who are no longer with us – Lia van Leer, founder of the festival, and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz,” said Regev, who works with artistic director Elad Samorzik.

Jerusalem fest will indeed host a tribute to Elkabetz, the actress and filmmaker who died of cancer in April and has been mourned by the Israeli and international film communities.

The tribute to Elkabetz will include the special screening of her feature debut “To Take a Wife,” in which she also stars. “To Take a Wife” was the first film of a trilogy penned and directed by Elkabetz and her brother, Shlomi Elkabetz. The trilogy was completed by “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” a Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight player that marked Ronit Elkabetz’s last film. On top of earning critical acclaim, “Gett” shed light of women who are faced with unfair, archaic divorce laws in Israel and prompted a heated debate at home and beyond.

The festival will also bow an international competition lineup which will be fully announced in the next few days. So far, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Icelandic coming-of-age drama “Sparrows” and Danish helmer Tobias Lindholm’s Oscar-nominated “A War” have been selected to compete as part of the new international section that’s being backed by New Jersey-based Wilf Family Foundation.

Penelope Cruz to star in Fortitude’s ‘Layover’

Penelope Cruz to star in Fortitude’s 'Layover'

Nadine de Barros and her team will kick off sales in Cannes on the idiosyncratic road movie. Fortitude International is financing Layover and will represent international rights on the Croisette.

Penelope Cruz will also produce the story from writer-director Toni Kalem’s adaptation from the novel by Lisa Zeidner about a successful travelling saleswoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown who goes on the lam and finds her way back to herself.

Animus Films’ Jim Young and Serena Films’ Tatiana Kelly also produce. Fortitude International’s de Barros and Robert Barnum serve as executive producers.

“Toni Kalem’s beautifully layered adaptation of Lisa Zeidner’s acclaimed book is a provocative blend of humour and heartbreak,” said Kelly. “With the addition of the incomparable Penelope Cruz to our team, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase such strong female talent both in front of and behind the camera.”

“We are looking forward to working with the outstanding Penelope Cruz on this film both on screen and behind the scenes,” said de Barros. “Toni is the perfect match to direct this project and bring a strong woman’s perspective to this personal and enthralling story of escape and self-discovery.”

Fortitude has comedy Drunk Parents starring Alec Baldwin, Salma Hayek and Joe Manganiello in post, as well as The Brits Are Coming with Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Stephen Fry, Sofia Vergara, Parker Posey and Alice Eve; and Marjorie Prime starring Jon Hamm, Lois Smith, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.

Vincent-N-Roxxy starring Emile Hirsch and Zoe Kravitz premiered at Tribeca recently. The Bachelors with J.K Simmons and Julie Delpy and The Tribes Of Palos Verdes starring Jennifer Garner are also in post.

In pre-production is the Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan comedy An Ideal Home, The Clapper with Ed Helms and Amanda Seyfried, Tom’s Dad with Will Ferrell set to star, and sci-fi Android with Olga Kurylenko.

Penelope Cruz talks about Volver in Cannes

Penelope Cruz talks about Volver in Cannes

Okay. One obvious question. “Volver” means “coming back”, and it’s for you also a coming back to working with Pedro Almodóvar. Was that…? How was the feeling?

Penelope Cruz: Very happy, very, like, wishing that everyone else could accomplish a dream like that. Because for me it was a dream since I was a little girl to work with him, and this was my third time with him, with an amazing character that he gave me and I felt… It was so amazing that feeling, I felt I wish everyone could feel like that, with a specific dream that came true.

It’s taking place in La Mancha, which we all know with a hero having too much fantasy, going wild with fantasy. Do you think that in that a sense Almodóvar is a “man of La Mancha”?

Penelope Cruz: I think in many ways he is because of the way he’s been raised there. Also, surrounded by a lot of women, like his mother, who was a very special person, really smart and funny, and I think had a huge influence on him. And… His mother was not an artist, she was dedicated to her son and daughters, but I think she was an artist inside. And I met her and I loved those conversations with her. She was really special and I think she’s present in all his movies. And the way they live there in La Mancha I think is a very special thing, like you can see in the movie. It has put a mark on him.

Penelope Cruz talks about Volver in Cannes

It is Almodóvar. Also this movie is creating great characters, female characters, and the word “machismo”, “macho” as we know it, it comes from Spanish, as I learn. So is it that the film is also dealing with how men treating or mistreating women, in the background? So, do you think it tells something also about the relationship between men and women in Spain, or maybe in general?

Penelope Cruz: No. I think it’s also a very universal story, even if part of it happens in La Mancha and part of it happens in Madrid. I feel everyone from anywhere can identify with it because it talks about family and love and the fear of losing those family bondings, and things that have not been resolved and people that walk around with the weight of not having those things solved, and no hope for solving them. And I feel it talks about very universal feelings.

For me it also talked about the fear not only of death but dying alone, because it’s a great emphasis of taking care of mother, daughters, sisters and everything. Was that a fact which you liked when you read the screenplay? Is it also some of your concerns as well?

Penelope Cruz: I think everyone thinks about death and the mystery of death, the fear involved in that. But there are so many things that are scary to me, even sometimes more than that. There are some types of suffering in this world that are really frightening. So I don’t think about death as the most scary thing on earth. There are things that are scarier. Because I don’t see death as the end of everything.

Pirates Sails to New Overseas Record

Pirates Sails to New Overseas Record

Key territories included the United Kingdom ($19.5 million), Germany ($19.4 million), Japan ($18.2 million), France ($14.8 million), South Korea ($12 million), Italy ($11.5 million), Australia ($10.3 million), Spain ($10 million), Mexico ($9.8 million) and Brazil ($6.1 million).

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides off-set its domestic franchise dip with an unprecedented estimated $256.3 million foreign debut. That topped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as the highest-grossing start ever overseas, and it was also up 20 percent from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’s $216 million.

Further illustrating their rapid growth and increased importance to the foreign marketplace, Russia and China were Pirates’s top territories with $28.6 million and $20 million, respectively. On Stranger Tides is already the top Pirates movie ever in China, and it’s just a day or two away from reaching that mark in Russia as well.

The movie also had strong launches throughout the rest of Europe and Asia, and set industry records in Latin America, the Middle East, Norway, Turkey and Ukraine. Key territories included the United Kingdom ($19.5 million), Germany ($19.4 million), Japan ($18.2 million), France ($14.8 million), South Korea ($12 million), Italy ($11.5 million), Australia ($10.3 million), Spain ($10 million), Mexico ($9.8 million) and Brazil ($6.1 million).

Including its $90.1 million domestic take, On Stranger Tides registered a $346.4 million worldwide start. That ranked slightly ahead of At World’s End but behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($394 million) and Spider-Man 3 ($381.6 million) among worldwide launches.

The big question now is whether On Stranger Tides can surpass At World’s End’s $654 million overseas total. It’s obviously off to a strong start, though it will likely fade fast over the coming weeks against stiff competition from The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2 and X-Men: First Class.

Read Full Production Notes

Box-Office: Pirates Rides Smaller ‘Tides’

Box-Office: Pirates Rides Smaller 'Tides'

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides swooped in with the top-grossing weekend of the year so far. The supernatural swashbuckler claimed an estimated $90.1 million at 4,155 locations, edging out Fast Five’s $86.2 million launch. That was also the 12th highest-grossing May opening ever, but, since close to half of On Stranger Tides’ gross was from 3D presentations at a record 2,747 locations (and due to today’s general ticket prices), its estimated attendance level would rank 27th.

Relative to its predecessors, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sank: At World’s End drew $114.7 million on its first weekend in May 2007 (not including $13.2 million in Thursday night previews), while Dead Man’s Chest raked in a then-record $135.6 million opening weekend back in July 2006. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, those grosses would be the equivalent of $131 million and $163 million, respectively.

Since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was the franchise establisher, its early grosses were in a lower league, though still bustling ($70.6 million in its five-day launch, or $92 million adjusted). On Stranger Tides’s start was also less than that of the last Johnny Depp spectacle Alice in Wonderland, which began with $116.1 million.

On the plus side, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ opening held better relative to its predecessor than Shrek Forever After’s did on the same weekend last year. On Stranger Tides was always destined to debut lower than At World’s End and Dead Man’s Chest, given the mixed reaction to those movies and how the audience lost interest with At World’s End.

Sealing the deal was On Stranger Tides’ lower key approach: it came off as just another Pirates movie in its marketing and lacked stand-out visual and character moments. Distributor Walt Disney Pictures’ exit polling indicated that 54 percent of On Stranger Tides’ audience was male and 54 percent was over 25 years old (the age 26-34 group was most represented at 24 percent, followed by 18-25 with 22 percent).

Read Full Production Notes

‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4’ sneak peek

'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' sneak peek

Captain Jack Sparrow pursues the fountain of youth in the “Stranger Tides” trailer premiere.

Captain Jack Sparrow has been betrayed, marooned, imprisoned, cursed, sentenced to hang, and eaten by a giant sea monster. And each time he still came out on top. So you didn’t think he’d stop at just three movies, did you?

Walt Disney Pictures just released the first trailer for Capt. Jack’s fourth adventure, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” And while several of the elements that made the original three films one of the top five trilogies of all time are the same, much has changed.

Johnny Depp is back, of course, as Jack, along with Geoffrey Rush as his old nemesis, Barbossa, and Kevin R. McNally as his first mate, Gibbs. But Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley do not appear in this installment. Instead, Jack confronts new threats, including a legendary pirate, and a woman from his past that reignites an old flame. Jack will have to face them all as he pursues the ultimate hidden treasure: finding the Fountain of Youth.

Watch the exclusive trailer premiere for “On Stranger Tides” below, and then scroll down to see what changes are in store for Jack in the new movie.

Jack Takes London
Captain Jack is out of his element as he finds himself on dry land in England and a captive of the British Crown. Richard Griffiths — who plays Harry Potter’s uncle Vernon Dursley — appears as King George II.

Barbossa Switches Sides
Captain Barbossa, last seen at the end of “At World’s End” running off with the Black Pearl, is back, but he’s out of his pirate gear and in a naval uniform. And with that pegleg it looks like he lost a limb somewhere along the way.

Meet Angelica
Penelope Cruz plays Angelica, who has a history with Jack and her own agenda. She’s Spanish, like the actress playing her, and she’s obviously capable with a sword and not afraid to stand up for herself. She must get that from her father, Blackbeard.

The Pirate All Pirates Fear
Ian McShane is Blackbeard, the real-life pirate (born Edward Teach) who terrorized the seas in the early 18th century aboard his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. He’ll stop anyone who tries to get to the Fountain before him.

Beautiful Threats
Mythological creatures don’t have to be ugly to be treacherous. To reach the Fountain, Jack will sail through “mermaid waters.” And these aren’t like Disney’s other little mermaids. They tempt sailors to their soggy deaths.

Supernatural Dangers
Every “Pirates” movie has some sort of paranormal adversary, like the cursed crew of the Black Pearl and Davy Jones’ fishy fiends. The last movie even had a goddess, th vengeful Calypso. In this one, Jack faces the walking undead — zombies.

More Pirates News

Oscar winners Cruz, Bardem marry

Oscar winners Cruz, Bardem marry

Spanish actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz tied the knot in the Bahamas earlier this month, the latter’s publicist told late Tuesday night. The wedding took place at a friend’s house, said Cruz’s publicist Amanda Silverman, without specifying exactly when it happened.

It was a small ceremony with just family members, Silverman said. Cruz wore a dress designed by her long-time friend, John Galliano. Both Bardem and Cruz are Academy Award-winning actors.

Bardem, 41, won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in the 2007 movie, “No Country For Old Men.” Cruz, 36, won an Oscar in 2009 for her supporting role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” The couple started dating in 2007 and appeared on screen together in the film. Prior to that, Cruz was linked to Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise.