This, with a few additions, would have been our "Odds" post last night if we hadn’t rushed off to see "Babel," which in retrospect we probably could have lived without.
Gotham Award nominees! The Best Picture list include "Half Nelson" and "Old Joy," as well as, laughably, "The Departed," "Marie Antoinette" and "Little Children." What does the "I" in IFP stand for again? If this is the trend, then it’s going to be another year in which the Indie Spirit Awards and the Oscars are near-identical.
Via CRI, "[s]peaking at the Rome Film Festival, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman said
she will give up the role in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai‘s project
‘Lady from Shanghai’. The Oscar-winning actress said she wanted to accompany her newlywed
singer husband Keith Urban, who entered a rehabilitation treatment
center Thursday for alcohol abuse." She could have probably stuck it out â€” it’s possible that WKW will be shooting "My Blueberry Nights" for, like, eight years anyway.
Via Empire, George Clooney will appear in "Burn Before Reading," the next Coen brothers film, though he won’t play the lead. The film, loosely based on Stansfield Turner’s book of the same name, is "a semi-comic CIA pic about an agency man who pens a book detailing some of his missions and then loses the disc with his manuscript on it."
At indieWIRE, Brian Brooks reports that Chinese director Heng Yang’s "Betelnut" and Malaysian director Chui Mui Tan‘s "Love Conquers All" shared the Pusan International Film Festival’s New Currents Best New Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown was also at Pusan, and reports on the festival’s first Asian Film Market:
Cluelessness is pandemic. People don’t see what they don’t want to see and some of the sellers had little to no idea about the American market. The price tags attached to some truly dodgy pictures were in the six digits, an amount that anyone who’s not the Weinsteins would find prohibitively expensive since there’s no way you can pay a six figure minimum guarantee, pay P&A on a theatrical release and hope to make your money back in this lifetime. Better to take your acquisitions money and head out to Vegas where the chance of a return is greater. But comments from sellers ranged from, "America is a big country" to "This is the best I can do" while showing off price tags from Mars.
And, while on the topic of Korea, Jason Burke at the Observer writes that Jang In-hak‘s "The Schoolgirl’s Diary" was picked up by Paris-based film distributor Pretty Pictures, making it the first North Korean film to be sold to a Western distributor for decades.
[Pretty Pictures’ head James] Velaise hopes to secure a slot for the film at the Cannes Film Festival next May. ‘If the film arrives in Cannes it’ll show another side to North Korean culture. They’re not all out to do nuclear crazy things. There are normal people in that country.’
We wish we’d thought of the "respectable snuff film" angle in Dennis Lim‘s Sunday New York Times piece first. Our goal for next year: to coin a film phrase.
+ IFP Announces 2006 Gotham Award Honorees and Nominations (IFP.org)
+ Nicole Drops Wong Kar-Wai Plan? (CRI English)
+ Clooney Says Burn After Reading (Empire)
+ "Betelnut" and "Love Conquers All" Take Pusan Prizes; American Presence Slowly Increases (indieWIRE)
+ WHAT I LEARNED IN PUSAN (Kaiju Shakedown)
+ Cinematic bombshell from Kim (Observer)
+ Mondo Multiplex: The Snuff Film Turns Respectable (NY Times)