WOODY ALLEN REVELS IN THE MAGIC OF THE FRENCH RIVIERA

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Woody Allen

Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen’s latest comedic offering, does a great job in highlighting the beauty of the region, albeit with a 20’s twist.

Woody Allen loves France, that’s a known fact. He is also a jazz enthusiast who every now and then likes to play the clarinet on stage with his New Orleans band. So it should come as no surprise that just a few years after the release of his hit film Midnight in Paris, he chose the French Riviera as the backdrop for his latest movie, Magic in the Moonlight, another comedy drama set in the 1920s, during the jazz age.

Shot on location last summer between the Var and Menton, the film is a beautifully crafted tribute to our region at a time where it was the favorite holiday playground of the wealthy English and Americans. It tells the story of Stanley Crawford, a cynical illusionist (played by Colin Firth), who travels to the South of France at the request of a friend to uncover as a fraud a young medium, Sophie Baker (played by Emma Stone). Crawford is a die-hard rationalist who does not believe in the existence of a spirit world but after meeting Sophie and slowing falling for her, he will start questioning all his beliefs.

Magic in the Moonlight may not be Allen’s best work and will probably not receive as many rave reviews as last year’s Blue Jasmin, but it is still nonetheless a delightful existential comedy which offers a jazzy soundtrack, a parade of beautiful period dresses and, of course, many amazing shots of the French Riviera.

Allen and his team did indeed a great job to find some unspoiled Belle Époque settings, starting with the Château du Rouët, a lovely vineyard near Le Muy, and the world-famous Eilen Roc on Cap d’Antibes. Some of the interior scenes were shots in the Nice observatory and in the Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-Les-Pins, where F. Scott Fitzgerald penned Tender Is the Night, and where he and Zelda partied with the couple who reportedly inspired the book’s famous characters, Nicole and Dick Diver. Meanwhile, the lovely seaside scenes between the two main protagonists were filmed in the red rock Esterel beaches.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) reportedly invested €200,000 in the film. After seeing the movie, it is clear that the region could not have dreamt of a better marketing campaign to draw even more tourists to these shores.

Lead image © Mars Distribution via AlloCiné

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ENNIO MORRICONE BRINGING HIS GREATEST SCORES TO NICE

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Morricone

Without doubt the most recognized composer in the history of movies, Ennio Morricone will be bringing his world tour to Nice next March.

His name will forever be linked with masterpieces such as ‘For a Few Dollars More’ (1965), ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966), ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988) and ‘Django Unchained’ (2012), and at 85, Ennio Morricone is showing no signs of slowing down. For the last few months, he has been touring Europe to sold-out audiences and next year, he will be bringing his “My life in Music – World tour” to Nice for what should be a memorable experience.

At the helm of an ensemble of 200 musicians and singers, the Italian maestro will revisit some of his most famous creations over a career that spans more than 50 years and includes more than 500 film and television scores.

Morricone is the only composer to have won the prestigious ‘Honorary Oscar’ award in 2007 for his “magnificient and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. He has also been nominated five times for an Academy Awardand has won two Grammy awards, two Golden Globes, five BAFTAs and seven David di Donatello awards. And if his popularity is due in part to his prolific works, it has also a lot to do with the variety of his repertoire that ranges in style from classical and jazz, to electronic and rock.

Ennio Morricone plays the Palais Nikaïa in Nice on Thursday, 12th of March 2015 at 8:00 pm. Tickets range in price from 111,50 € to 150 € and can be purchased from all usual outlets.

A RENAISSANCE OF SORTS FOR FRENCH CINEMA THIS FALL

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French cinema

After an annus horribilis in 2013, things are starting to look up for French cinema with positive reviews from all quarters for recent releases.

The fall movie season is upon us. Oscar and César contenders are being shown at festivals and in theatres the world over, and after just a few weeks, one can already predict that 2014 is going to be a good year…at least, as far as French cinema is concerned. No less than three movies have already been enthusiastically received by both critics and audience alike. After a very tough year in 2013, both at home and abroad, and a decrease in the numbers of films getting the green light, this is a welcome sign!

It all started in early September when doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti released his comedy-drama ‘Hippocrate. Playing like a docu-fiction, it follows a young intern played by Vincent Lacoste (‘The French Kissers’) as he makes his first rounds in a Paris hospital and learns, under the guidance of an experience-Algerian physician, Abdel, portrayed by Reda Kateb (‘Zero Dark Thirty’), how to deal with long hoursbudget cuts and severe understaffing. At the same time grim and funny, this engaging movie shows the gritty reality of the French medical system, which is often reputed to be the best in the world. Nurses and doctors in the film may be fans of the American TV show ‘House’ but, as one intern points out as things get difficult, “Medicine is not a career, it is a curse”.

gemma-bovery-poster

Meanwhile, fans of romantic comedies have been flocking in numbers to see the enjoyable adaptation of British cartoonist Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel ‘Gemma Bovary‘. Featuring one of the most talented French comedians of his generation, Fabrice Lucchini (‘The Women on the 6th Floor’, ‘In the House’), and British actress Gemma Arterton (‘Tamara Drewe’), Anne Fontaine’s new film takes place in a small village in Normandy and tells the story of a French baker who becomes obsessed with the English couple who has just moved next door, after he remarks the similarities between the wife, Gemma, and Gustave Flaubert’s famed heroine, Emma Bovarie. Sparkling with tongue-in-cheek humour and poking fun at both cultures with Luchini delivering some hilarious lines in franglais, this beautifuly mounted production should see solid numbers, not only in France but also overseas.

It is, however, facing fierce competition from Jeanne Herry’s ‘Elle l’adore, which perfectly succeeds in juggling dark comedy and romance, thanks in part to another strong performance by Sandrine Kiberlain (‘9 Month Stretch’). As the daughter of popular singer Julien Clerc and famed actress Miou MiouHerry knows a thing or two about celebrity, and this is why she chose a mythomaniac groupie, Muriel, and the singer she follows everywhere, Vincent Lacroix, as the protagonists of her debut feature. When the latter accidentaly kills his girlfriend, he decides to turn to the only person he thinks will help him dispose of the body, and that’s the beginning of a cat and mouse game between the two heroes and the cops. But nothing is what it seems, and through some crazy plot twists and numerous absurd situations, ‘Elle l’adore’ explores, in an orginal and funny way, the power of obsession and the price of fame.

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SPAIN IS THE STAR OF THE 2014 CINÉALMA FILM FESTIVAL

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Cinéalma

There is much more to Spanish cinema than Pedro Almodovar’s movies and that is what the 9th edition of Cinéalma will demonstrate this month.

Dedicated to cinema from the Mediterranean basin, this annual film festival held in Carros is always an excellent occasion to discover the latest movies from the biggest names in the industry but also the works from up and coming directors. Every year, it focuses on a country and after Italy in 2013, this is Spain’s turn to be the star of this multicultural celebration.

Famed writer/director David Trueba will be presenting his new film, Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) which swept the 2014 Goyas, Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars with wins for Best Actor (Javier Cámara), Best New Actress (Natalia de Molina), Best Original Score (Pat Metheny), Best DirectorBest Original Screenplay, and Best Film.

e will not be alone, as a few young directors who have lately been making the festival rounds will also be there such as Jaime Rosales with his fifth feature, Hermosa Juventud (Beautiful Youth) and Paco León’s Carmina o revienta (Carmina or Blow Up).

In all, these are 33 films, including 14 previews and 7 unreleased movies, from 13 countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Croatia, Argentina and Mali) that are going to be shown.

Through a nice selection of genres and themes, the goal of this 10-day fest is to promote the Mediterranean regionin all its geographic and cultural diversity and to boost tolerance through conferences and convivial exchanges. It will also support Théodora, an association that organises clown visits in hospitals.

The 2014 edition of Cinéalma will take place in Salle Juliette Gréco in Carros from the 10th to the 19th of October. Single tickets cost €2 and a 6-movie pass is available for just €10.

CONTACT DETAILS
Cinéalma 2014
Salle Juliette Gréco
5, bis bd. de la Colle Belle
06510 Carros