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Golden Apricot Reviews: Asghar Farhadi's Hero

     Golden Apricot  Reviews:  "A Hero", Iranian, 2021, directed by Asghar Farhadi by Alex Delonian    Asghar  is a past master of the shaggy dog story that makes mountains out of mole hills yet manages to maintain interest.  He is also very good at getting the best out of his actors. The  so-called hero of this film is Rahim Soltani who is in and out of jail on debtors charges for failure to pa...

Golden Apricot Reviews: Three aspects of Genocide

By Alex Deleon,   Evolucion,  director Kornel Mundruczo, Hungary.. A stifling regurgitation of all the atrocities perpetrated upon the Jews in the concentration camps and elsewhere, as told by a bitter aging Hungarian mother to her unreceptive daughter. The mother was born in Auschwitz and somehow survived to tell the tale. The daughter who would rather forget the Holocaust doesn't really want to hear all this, but the mother d...

Golden Apricot Reviews: "Maro's Secret". (El secreto de Maró): truly truly truly amazing!

By Alex Deleon, Yerevan  "Maro's Secret", at Moskva Theater Red Hall: director Alejandro Magnone starring the amazing Norma Aleandro, age 85. This actress is truly truly truly amazing! Rarely does the first film you see at a festival make such an impression that you feel your festival is made right there, even if you don't see another picture. That was  my reaction yesterday to the  unheralded Argentine drama  "Maro's Secret" starr...

Dilip Kumar, legendary Indian actor, dies at 98.

By Alex Deleon Dilip Kumar, one of Bollywood’s most revered actors has died. The Indian actor died Wednesday ,July 7, in a hospital in Mumbai after a long illness. He was 98. Kumar was known as the “Tragedy King.” because of the many heartbroken lovers he portrayed, which became his calling card during the Golden age of Hindi cinema.  His active career spanned five decades from 1944 to  1998 during which. time he appeared in over 160 films.    Among ...

The Golden Apricot Film Festival, GAIFF, Rides Again in Yerevan honoring Paul Schrader

After being canceled last year because of the Covid pandemic Yerevan's unique Golden Apricot film festival is back in action. The 18th edition of this Armenian festival has been moved back this year from its usual midsummer slot to the current early autumn  time frame.  The traditional guest of honor this year is senior Hollywood director Paul Schrader, now 75, with nineteen directed feature films behind him. Schrader started out as a film critic and screenwriter. His study of J...

Karlovy Vary rides again ...

By Alex Deleon   The  full scale revival of the Karlovy Vary film festival is an encouaging sign that the end of the Covid era may soon be in sight. Delayed only a month from its usual early to mid July slot the 55th edition  is in full swing with a healthy turnout of fans and celebrities. Guests wore COVID-safe wrist bands after having presented proof of vaccine status on arrival, but few masks were in sight in the fully packed hall at the opening ceremony High profile...

The Film Festival Master Class Phenomenon or how the festivals get big stars to visit them

By  Alex Deleon, flying film cynic   As far as VIP visitors are concerned, some pretty big names can turn up in some pretty peculiar places, as long as their schedules permit, the deal is made sweet (for example by offering a “Lifetime Career Award”), and the destination in question happens to be a spot on the planet which the celebrity in question may be interested in seeing, just for the helluvit.    So, for example, Harvey Keitel turns up i...

Casablanca. Revisited, with revisionist sequel... Here's Looking At You, Kid!

It's still the same old story ... Casablanca.     The story of a hot love affair with  badly crossed wires. Rick Blaine,  an American  adventurer  (H. Bogart) is hanging out in Paris after the Spanish Civil war and carrying on a hot and heavy love affair with Lisa, a central European refugee from the German occupation of her country. She is a stunning beauty. (Ingrid Bergman). When the Germans blitz France out of action , Rick and Lisa agree to mee...

"Don't stir my Martini, Just shake it a little" Sean Connery, 1930 - 2020 a Fond Farewell

By Alex Deleon                 Some actors never die, they just pass away to a higher realm.             The ultimate incarnation of James Bond, double 0'Seven, has cashed in his chips here down below, but in cinema heaven he will reign forever as the coolest of the cool with a License to Kill, but only bad guys, which he did flawlessly in half a dozen of the best romantic action films ever made. Several other ac...

Social Distancing in Action!

Staying safe at the movie with Spielberg. ...

Battle of a Soldier A confinement review

By Alex Deleon Just watched one of the greatest of all Russian films -- On Russian TV, One of the very best. Ballad of a Soldier.  World War II. Black and white masterpiece. I saw it only when it first came out in 1959 But it made such a tremendous impression on me that still remembered many scenes all these years later.     Years later in Manila  I was at the same dinner table with director Grigori Bondarchuk and we  had a fine conversation -- that was 1983,...

The paralytic Parasitic Oscar results: it seems that I was the only film critic in captivity not totally enthralled by Parasite

By Alex Deleon I just thought it was mostly boring with a  tacked on violent ending to relieve  the preceding two hours of tedium.  With crashingly Uninteresting characters all around in an achingly Uninteresting picture.  But maybe I was being too critical because I was basing my lack of interest  on my direct experience with Koreans having spent a good portion of seven years in Seoul where the picture was filmed. Among far far far far far Better foreign language p...

Best Ten of 2019 and a few of the Worst

By Alex Deleon. <> 1. SYSTEM CRASHER, director, Nora Fingscheidt, (Germany) Starring ten year old Helena Zengel, as an uncontrollable child   My own Best actress of the year as well. An amazing new talent.                        2.  JOKER, directed by  Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix in an astounding interpretation of the troubled  clown who would later be...

Preview of a new Armenian Film

 By Alex Delonian, Yerevan A major Armenian film centering on the work of one of. the major Armenian painters of the XX <x-apple-data-detectors://2> . Century, Martiros Sarian (1880-1972) is now in preparation. Veteran director David Safarian, 68, states that his purpose is to make the name of an artist who is well know in Armenia and Russia,  but barely known beyond his home territory, better known to the world at large. An artist whose wo...

A film Festival Odyssey by Alex Deleon: Enliven Your Holidays ~~ with some festival bliss reading

by Veteran festival Correspondent, Alex Deleon The highly Entertaining autobiography of a film critic. Few people are as outspoken (in print or in real life) as the author, Alex Deleon. This is reflected in the book at hand, which constitutes Alex Deleon's adventures as a film critic on the film festival circuit. It is far from politically correct and avoids the usual film critic's jargon meandering in plain talk between societal criticism and sophisticated...

Twentieth edition of the Tbilisi International Film Festival set to launch a weeklong run on December 1

by Alex Deleon This is a big year for Georgia with the twentieth edition of the Tbilisi International Film Festival set to launch a weeklong run on December 1. As usual a selection of classic and new Georgian cinema will  be shown as well as a country focus on British filmmakers in addition to works from the rest of the world in this anniversary edition  England being the Country in Focus this year the opening film will be a restored copy of the rarely seen partially-silent partiall...

Joaquin's Joker is really Wild

JOKER's Triumph at Venice 76 By Alex Deleon   Joaquin Phoenix in his Joker Outfit -- and can he shake a leg! There have been some pretty strong Jokers in the past, notably Jack Nicholson for Tim Burton in 1989 and Aussie actor Heath Ledger nearly 20 years later in 2008's "The Dark Knight" by Christopher Nolan but all Joker predecessors pale by comparison to J.Ps current interpretation which makes the Joker far more than a two dimensional Comic book clown and tu...

Joker on Imdb has 2,946 Reviews: Alex strikes a second Joker review

      By Alex Deleon . With 2,946 user reviews already published within days of the release of Joker, almost all 10 star raves calling it a Masterpiece,  best film ever made, a great comic book film, and highly influenced by Scorcese, I feel compelled to respond to this avalanche of hyperbolic enthusiasm with a followup to my own earlier review. That relatively sober review was one of the first published immediately after the world premiere of Joker in Venice a little over ...

The Day The Earth Stood Still: a Retro Review by Alex Deleon

The Day The Earth Stood Still 1951, Directed by Robert Wise Twentieth Century Fox, 92 minutes by  Alex Deleon                             <<A savior from outer space lands and tells the people of Earth that they must learn to live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets>>   "TDTESS", a black and white film from 1951, is still the best alien visitation SciFi film ever ...

76th Venice Film Festival Overview in images

By Alex Deleon         Catherine Deneuve and curvaceous Binoche opened the show                      Scarlett and Brad, pretty faces on Day No. two    The Carabinieri were there to keep the peace (and check all bags)   ...

Venice Friday, Day 3, pretty faces from Hollywood and a Masterpiece from Polanski.

By Alex on the Lido   J’ACCUSE (AN OFFICER AND A SPY) by Roman Polanski press conference and photocall, Polanski not attending. Photos Credit Mostra   ...

76th Venice Festival Opens on an Uppity Note

"French actors Catherine Deneuve (l) and French Juliette Binoche and a glittering array of A-listers swept up the red carpet as the Venice film festival opened in a flurry of celebrity Wednesday. The festival, which has become the launchpad for the Oscar race, has a host of Hollywood heavyweights in a line-up including Brad Pitt, Johnny Dope, Kristen Stewart, Meryl Strope and Scarlett Johansson. But as stars arrived for the gala launch, the world's oldest film festival was already emb...

JAPÓN at Yerevan 2019 Golden Apricot Film Festival - 2002 Digitally restored

By Alex Deleon: viewed on the very last day of the 2019 Golden Apricot Film Festival Hunters with shotguns in a mezcal desert.   No main title for about fifteen minutes. Trudging man with backpack and cane is looking fot a certain village at the bottom of a deep ravine in this rocky mountainous country.  The village of Ata ...  referred to as a godforsaken place.  Finally, the main title appears about fifteen minutes into the film, them a long dark ta...

Farewells (Pożegnania), viewed at the 2019 Yerevan film festival.

By Alex Deleon In 1958 director Wojciech Has was only 32. years of age and Pożegnania (Farewells) was only his second feature after Pętla (The Noose) . Yet the film displays amazing maturity in the handling of the actors and everything else.  If Has can be seen as the Orson Welles of Polish cinema then Wajda is more like a Cecil B. Mille if a comparison is to be made between masters. The flirtation scenes between Janczar and Wachowiak in the early part of the film are exquisite -...


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