We can all agree that 2012 has been an excellent year for the movies, but the more salacious among us will note that it's been an awesome year to perv out at the movies. Although we didn't get another look at the Fassmember and all the conflicting feelings it brought up (Hotness! Confusion! Embarrassment at being psyched to see him naked in Shame when actually it's really f***ing depressing!) there were some rather interesting trends that reared their heads that invite a closer look. Whether studios are getting braver or filmmakers are getting bolder is a debate for another time — and please don't suggest that 50 Shades had too much to do with it. Let's salute all the sexin' that happened onscreen in 2012.
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 »
Don't use the term "killer whale" in front of Marion Cotillard. In her new Oscar contender Rust and Bone, the actress may play a whale trainer who loses her legs to one of the creatures, but at an advance screening of the picture in New York on Thursday, Cotillard told me she prefers the term "orca." Free Willy the movie is not, but that didn't stop Cotillard from bonding with her new aquatic pals.
In my red carpet interview, below, Cotillard also has something to say about Americans who don't watch French films.
Rust and Bone is essential. It’s life and death. It’s like fucking at a funeral. It throws the grit of existence in your face and while you reel at our insubstantiality and balk at our crudity as human beings, it shows you that love is the only transcendent force we possess. What separates man from beast.
There is no doubt it will polarize. There is nothing commercial here apart from the pulling power of Marion Cotillard. Cinematographically it is an expressionistic essay; intellectually, a two-hour conversation with its filmmaker. And physically it is a kick in the teeth, a depiction of poverty, sex and violence which crosses most known codes of acceptability.
The Toronto International Film Festival is off and rolling. TIFF's official opening night is Rian Johnson's Looper with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt... and all kudos to them, but Toronto is sharing the opening spotlight with Walter Salles' On The Road, a "surprise" event for Dredd, Rust & Bone — starring Gordon-Levitt's The Dark Knight Rises co-star Marion Cotillard — and others.
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.