If you haven’t yet heard of Matthias Schoenaerts, a.k.a. the Belgian Brando, you’re going to start running out of excuses. The son of actor Julien Schoenaerts, Matthias is already a sex-symbol in his native Belgium. He made his on-screen debut alongside his father in the Oscar-nominated Daens and broke Flemish box-office records in Erik Van Looy’s Loft. But he really burst forth onto the world cinema stage last year with his gripping turn as the lead in Michael Roskam’s Academy Award nominated cow-hormone crime-epic Bullhead. Injecting testosterone into his thigh with all the flair of a young Robert De Niro, Schoenaerts tempered his young thug’s animalistic rage with an innate vulnerability that’s earned him comparisons to Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy. more »
Director Jacques Audiard's nifty 2009 prison epic A Prophet took a classic arc — the rise of a young man through a criminal world — and found in it something bracing and transformative: an anti-hero for a diverse and changing France. His deeply enjoyable new feature Rust and Bone also feels like a fresh reworking of an older mode of filmmaking; the swooning romantic melodrama shaped by tragedy. more »
It's perhaps much too early to prognosticate on Palme d'Or contenders, but Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone
has at least a decent shot at the festival's top prize if initial audience reaction following Thursday's press screening is any indicator.
New to the distribution arena, Alamo Drafthouse co-founder Tim League became enamored of a small Belgian crime drama called Bullhead at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Less than a year later, he and his Drafthouse Films operation have an Oscar contender on their hands. Not too shabby for a company younger than the Obama administration.