Summer in Barcelona is a beautiful thing. The city bursts alive with a myriad of outdoor events—from open-air films and concerts with Música als Parcs and Sala Montjuic, to the Grec international theatre, dance, and music festival. The Sala Montjuic opened for the summer on July 4, and has since been providing a program of classic films and concerts.
Corinne Goldenberg has a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies with a concentration in Cultural and Ethnic Studies from Smith College and a M.A. in International Affairs from the New School, where she dually concentrated in Media and Cultural Studies and International Development. She has had the privilege of living and studying in some of the best film cities in the world—Paris, Bombay, New York. She explores the ways through which political forces interact with art and culture, particularly focusing on modes of intercultural communication, for better or for worse. She is most interested in how film industries represent national identity, particularly its process of ascribing "authenticity," and how the resulting signification affects international relations.
Corinne likes to think that, someday, she'll finish a screenplay or two. In the meantime, she enjoys studying languages and roaming the world in search of delicious vegetarian food.
The glamour of Cannes fizzled away this weekend; amidst the controversy and chatter left by Lars Von Trier, Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris (2010) seems to have endued lighthearted laughter and elevating diversion to the festival. Midnight in Paris is yet another ode to the city of light. While some may have tired of Paris clichés, Allen finds magic in slighted corners of the French capital.
Julian Schnabel’s most recent film, Miral (2010) has attracted much criticism. In contrast, Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), received praise from both the Academy and Cannes. What went wrong? Of course, it’s an immense feat to follow one success with another, yet perhaps the political subject matter proved too overwhelming to draw the same level of enthusiasm as his previous work.
In François Ozon’s film Potiche (2010), renowned actress Catherine Deneuve plays a potiche, or trophy wife, from 1977 named Suzanne Pujol. We watch as her husband, Robert Pujol (Fabrice Luchini) simultaneously treats her as a queen—insisting that her place is not in the kitchen—yet reproaches her for the assumption that she has a place in the politics of the family business, an umbrella factory. Her husband is as nasty to his wife as he is to his children, his secretary/mistress, and his factory workers.
Phew. The King’s Speech (2010) won the Oscar for Best Picture. I was afraid that I would have to go on another rant about the Oscars this year—about it’s impenetrable boys’ club and secret agenda to further hyper-masculine action films. Yet, even with ten films to choose from for Best Picture, the Oscars still seemed like slim pickings this year.
Last year, a woman finally won an Oscar for Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow successfully joined the boys’ club, proudly taking home her little golden man for the film The Hurt Locker (2009), which I discuss in a previous blog entry. Last year, I chalked it up to her ability to fall in rank with the reigning champs of Oscardom.
As Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) has been gaining more momentum with audiences—rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and numerous Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Independent Spirit Award nominations—I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only one out there who thought it was trite. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Aronofsky’s work, and came to the theatre with an eagerness to love his new film. I tried and failed. There’s something about a thriller that naturally engages you, luring you deep into the action.
Eight years after his directorial success with The Magdalene Sisters (2002), Peter Mullan is receiving praise for his new film, Neds (2010). The film made an impression this past September in the Basque Country of Spain, when Mullan received the award for best film at the annual San Sebastian International Film Festival. The word neds is a Scottish term, which is short for non-educated delinquents.