R.I.P. : Guillaume Depardieu (1971-2008), Françoise Seigner (1928-2008) & Ken Ogata (1937-2008)

It’s a very morbid day as not one but two important figures of the French acting world passed away of unnatural causes.

Most tragic is undoubtedly the 37 year old Guillaume Depardieu, son of the internationally-known Gérard Depardieu (Babylon A.D.), who died today, October 13th, of a sudden pneumonia attack due to a virus caught a few days ago in Romania on the set of the thriller L’Enfant D’Icare (literally Icarus’ Child). Winner of a César acting award (the French equivalent of the Oscars) for the 1995 comedy Les Apprentis (literally The Apprentices) and nominated twice before, this is unbelievably not the only incredibly tragic event of Guillaume Depardieu’s short life.

Indeed the troubled, formerly drug-addicted actor had many run-ins with the the law and several stints in prison but most sad is the traffic accident he was involved in in 1995. A suitcase which had fallen from a car caused him to fall from his motorcycle and badly damage his right knee. He was immediately operated on but things didn’t go very well and an infection settled in, forcing him to have his right leg amputated in 2003.

He however didn’t let that stop him and resumed his acting career, at the same time creating the Guillaume Depardieu Foundation for nosomical infections. He was last seen on the big screen in the acclaimed dramas Versailles and On War, both shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Having played over forty roles, some of his best-known films are the 1991’s All The Mornings Of The Wold and 1999’s Pola X. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Jean Gabin Award.

Guillaume Depardieu is survived by his father, his mother the actress Elisabeth Guignot (Jean De Florette), his sister the actress Julie Depardieu (Rush Hour 3), his half-sister Roxane, his half-brother Jean and his daughter Louise. He will posthumously appear in a couple of forthcoming films and no word on what will happen to L’Enfant D’Icare.

Today also marks the death of 80 year old Françoise Seigner, of pancreatic cancer. The acclaimed actress, aunt of actresses Emmanuelle (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) and Mathilde (Harry, He’s Here To Help/With A Friend Like Harry…), best known for her contributions to the theater nevertheless acted in a few films, most famously 1970’s The Wild Child and most recently the 2005 Agatha Christie adaptation By The Pricking Of My Thumbs.

One must also not forget celebrated 71 year old Japanese actor Ken Ogata, who died on October 5th of liver cancer. The award-winning performer is best-known for such films as The Pillow Book, Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and several collaborations with late director Shohei Imamura, including one of the segments of 11’09”01: September 11 and the 1983 Golden Palm winner Ballad Of Narayama. He is survived by his two actor sons Kanta (The Samurai I Loved) and Naoto (The Deep Red).

Movie Of The Day: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

In early August 1945, the USA dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the Second World War. A little more than a decade later, fresh off his acclaimed Concentration Camp documentary short Night And Fog (original title Nuit Et Brouillard), French filmmaker Alain Resnais (Last Year At/In Marienbad) was asked to direct another short documentary, about the atomic bomb. Unconvinced, Resnais ended making not only his first feature-length film, but his first work of fiction as well, Hiroshima Mon Amour (literal translation Hiroshima My Love).

Written by celebrated author Marguerite Duras (The Lover), the film tells of the love story between a French actress shooting a film in Hiroshima and a Japanese man she spent the night with, during her last day in town before returning to Paris. The unexpected emotions stir up some old painful feelings from the actress’ past, and serve as a metaphor to Hiroshima’s tragedy. It stars Emmanuelle Riva (Three Colors: Blue) in her first film role, Eiji Okada (Woman In The Dunes) who had to learn his dialogue phonetically, and Bernard Fresson (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) among others. Trailer and first five minutes of the film’s infamous fourteen minute long opening sequence after the jump. Continue reading

Movie Of The Day: Clerks. (1994)

Note: This marks the first in a series of “Movies Of The Day” that will cover writer/director/actor Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse films, which will be complete in around six weeks.

Made for a little under 30 grand, filmed mostly at night because of day jobs and starring basically some of Kevin Smith’s friends and first time actors, Clerks. is a true independent film, a dialogue-driven comedy inspired by Smith’s own job at the time.

Clerks. tells of Dante Hicks and Randal Graves, two 22 year olds who work next to each other, one at a convenience store, the other at a video rental store. Through the course of a day, Dante has to deal with girl problems, annoying customers, Randal’s unprofessionalism, the two dealers who hang outside, Jay and Silent Bob and of course the fact that he isn’t “even supposed to be here today”.

Clerks. stars Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith himself among others, most of whom are best known for their contributions to subsequent Smith films. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

Paul Newman (1925-2008)

This post will remain the top story throughout the weekend

Very sad news today as we learn that legendary actor/food company owner Paul Newman died yesterday, September 26th 2008 of complications arising from lung cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends. He was 83 years old.

An actor first and foremost, Paul Newman has won one Academy Award, two Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Cannes Film Festival Award, one Emmy Award and many others (not forgetting countless nominations). His most famous films include The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Hustler and its sequel The Color Of Money, The Hudsucker Proxy , Slap Shot, The Towering Inferno, Message In A Bottle and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He was last seen on the big screen in Road To Perdition and his voice was featured in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.

In addition to acting, Paul Newman is well-known for the food company Newman’s Own, which he co-founded. A true humanitarian, Newman donated all profits and royalties of the company to charity. The amount donated exceeds 220 million dollars. His daughter Nell, 49 years old, will now head the company.

Paul Newman was also an occasional film director, of such movies as The Glass Menagerie, and an auto racing enthusiast who won several championships. He is survived by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward (Philadelphia), his five daughters and eight grandchildren.

You can read more about the great man and his many acts of philantropy on his Wikipedia page, and view his full screen credits on his IMDB page. According to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, his best film is the crime drama Cool Hand Luke, that film’s trailer is thus after the jump. Please share your thoughts, condoleances and comments.

Continue reading

Three more for Inglorious Bastards

French actresses Léa Seydoux (The Last Mistress aka An Old Mistress) and Anne-Sophie Franck (La Jungle) have recently joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s (Grindhouse) new World War 2 film Inglorious Bastards and the legendary Isabelle Huppert (I Heart Huckabees) is reportedly in talks to play a movie theater’s owner. The film starts shooting this October in Berlin.

Inglorious Bastards has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years and will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

The ever-growing cast also includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films), Til Schweiger (King Arthur) and Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine). It is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Source

New Trailer: Changeling

Attention everybody, potential Oscar winner right here! In addition to being a great actor, Clint Eastwood (Letters From Iwo Jima) is one of the best directors working today, and you can tell he’s done it again just by seeing this trailer.

Even though it didn’t win the top prize, Changeling was one of the most talked about films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It is based on the true story of the Wineville Chicken Murders in the late twenties and the scandal which surrounded the LAPD following their poor handling of the case.

Versatile author J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) wrote the film, which stars Angelina Jolie (Wanted), John Malkovich (Beowulf) and Amy Ryan (Dan In Real Life), among others. The highly anticipated film will be released in the US late in October, and most other countries by January 2009.

Yet another Inglorious one

The cast for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards keeps growing as French up-an-coming César-winning actress Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine) has signed on to play Shoshanna Dreyfus, a young Jewish girl who inherits a movie theatre in Paris and tries to avoid the Nazis (duh). The 25 year old Laurent isn’t Jewish, but I guess that’s beside the point.

Inglorious Bastards, which has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years, will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

In addition to Mélanie Laurent, the cast includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films) and Til Schweiger (King Arthur). Inglorious Bastards will start filming next month in Berlin and is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Fun Fact: Mélanie’s father Pierre Laurent is the French voice for many Simpsons characters including Ned Flanders, Apu, Barney, Reverend Lovejoy and Smithers.

Source