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Cannes 2024: Caught by the Tides, Misericordie, Grand Tour

A Chinese woman holds a styrofoam container of rice while eating on a deserted boat deck.Zhao Tao in Caught by the Tides

Like Jia Zhangke's Ash is Purest White, Caught by the Tides is a multi-decade triptych beginning in the early aughts and ending in the present, its past emerging from a sort of video diary practice he maintained up through 2006’s Still Life. As he explains, “I got my first digital video camera in 2001. I took it to Datong in Shanxi back then and shot tons of material. It was all completely hit-and-miss. I shot people I saw in factories, bus stations, on buses, in ballrooms, saunas, karaoke bars, all kinds of places.” There are numerous other similarities with 2018’s Ash: the middle segment of Caughts takes place during the Three Gorges Dam’s construction, which Jia first captured in Still…  Read more

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“I Want To Get Back To That Lack of Self-Consciousness I Had as a Kid” Molly Gordon, Back To One, Episode 293

Molly Gordon makes everything better. She was a stand-out among stand-outs in films like Good Boys, Booksmart, and Shiva Baby. Then she showed her talents on the other side of the camera, co-writing/directing the hilarious indie hit Theater Camp. Now she plays Claire on the beloved series The Bear, which is about to drop its third season. On this episode she talks about why she loves improv, how her parents unintentionally formed her comedy sensibilities, getting “buzzed” from in-person auditions, “locking in” with Jeremy Allen White, why she’s always aspiring to a child-like lack of self consciousness, and much more. Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. And if you're…  Read more

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“I Was Much More Influenced by Andrea Arnold’s Work or That of the Safdie Brothers”: Boris Lojkine on His Cannes Jury Prize-Winning The Story of Souleymane

The Story of Souleymane

The Story of Souleymane follows an undocumented delivery worker as he prepares for an asylum application interview while pedaling through the Paris streets. But belying the innocuous title and unassuming premise, this latest narrative feature from veteran filmmaker Boris Lojkine is actually a fast-paced thriller. And also a logistical feat as Lojkine’s lens races to keep up with his less than honest protagonist (played by dazzling newcomer Abou Sangare, an immigrant from Guinea who, unlike his titular character, is a mechanic by trade) as he literally cycles through a Kafkaesque EU system in which even the most mundane move might unleash a disastrous domino effect. Shortly after the film’s Un Certain Regard premiere, where it nabbed both the Jury Prize and…  Read more

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Watch: Sean Baker’s Palme d’Or Acceptance Speech for Anora

Anora

American independent filmmaker Sean Baker was, for us at Filmmaker, the thrilling winner of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or for his forthcoming NEON release, Anora, a comedy about a sex worker, played by Mickey Madison, and her relationship with a Russian oligarch's son. “This literally has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years," Baker said on accepting the award from the Greta Gerwig-led jury, "so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. But I do know that I will continue to fight for cinema because right now as filmmakers, we have to fight to keep cinema alive. This means making feature films intended for theatrical exhibition.” He…  Read more

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“In Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, the Women are Voicing Out Their Deepest Feelings and Thoughts, But Here in Sauna Day the Focus is On the Unsaid”: Anna Hints and Tushar Prakash on their Cannes-Debuting short Sauna Day

Sauna Day

When I last interviewed Estonian filmmaker Anna Hints it was to discuss her Sundance 2023-premiering Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, which would go on to win the World Cinema Documentary Competition Directing Award. (It also nabbed Best Documentary at the 36th European Film Awards on its way to becoming Estonia’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars.) The film offers quite a unique peek into a UNESCO-designated tradition that for centuries has allowed women like those the director (and contemporary artist and experimental folk musician) respectfully lenses to bond, heal and reveal in a safe space of smoke and sweat. And now Hints’s painstakingly crafted short Sauna Day, co-directed with her “partner in life and art,” Indian filmmaker Tushar Prakash (who also served…  Read more

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Cannes 2024: Oh, Canada and The Shrouds

A white man sits behind a desk.Richard Gere in Oh, Canada

For decades, Paul Schrader’s taste in cinema has been widely known, particularly the Bressonian proclivities he’s repeatedly worked over—and, especially since becoming a Facebook poster, he’s provided an open invitation to make his problems ours as well. Watching Oh, Canada knowing of his recent health scares, my guess was that the topical draw of Russell Banks's source novel Foregone was death; indeed, after several hospitalizations for long COVID, Schrader told himself, “If I’m going to make a film about death, I’d better hurry up.” Thus Oh, Canada, which reteams Schrader with his American Gigolo star Richard Gere (the writer-director jokes that this time they’re offering up “Dying gigolo”). This isn’t another one of Schrader’s “Man in a Room” films, at…  Read more

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“Because I HAVE TO Do It, I Do”: Nell Tiger Free, Back To One, Episode 292

She was on Game of Thrones when she was a child, but Nell Tiger Free hit her stride in the M. Night Shyamalan series Servant, and now her absolutely incredible performance in the hit horror film The First Omen has solidified her as one of the great young actors working today. On this episode, she discusses her "total non-process" process, which means every aspect of her work takes place between “action” and “cut” and literally nowhere else. She talks about why she only reads the script once, finds all backstory that isn’t on the page “cringe,” doesn’t like to rehearse at all, is at the complete service of the director, and strives for total immersion in the moment. It’s a…  Read more

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