Two great foreign films are what I'm bringing to you this weekend via The Virtual State.
They include France's submission to this year's Oscars for Best Foreign Film — a movie that's already been voted by the Academy onto the Oscar shortlist AND is nominated for the same award at this weekend's Golden Globes!
The other comes from one of the great Russian filmmakers who is still working at 83 and who also has another film shortlisted this month by Oscar voters for this year's Academy Awards.
If you miss the great foreign films we've always brought to the Traverse City Film Festival, this is your weekend!
TWO OF US
Already on its way to potential Oscar glory at this year's Academy Awards in April — and nominated for Best Foreign Film at this Sunday's Golden Globes — TWO OF US is a moving story about two older women who live across the hall from each other in their apartment building and who feel they must keep their relationship hidden from others. This relationship is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other's apartments. This beautiful 99-minute drama will remind you why we always love bringing the French to TCFF!
"TWO OF US is absolutely beautiful ... and so refreshing to see two older women as sexual beings in all their yearning" — Awards Watch
This is the story of Michelangelo as told by one of our greatest living Russian filmmakers. Still working at 83 years old — he's made six movies in the last six years! — the brilliant Andrei Konchalovskiy brings us the story of the great artist who was not only trying to survive the politics and corruption of the Vatican while finishing his masterpiece, he also wanted to finish sculpting a massive piece of marble that would be his tomb. Already the winner of awards from nine different film festivals, SIN brings a whole new angle to a story that has been left primarily to Hollywood and to the Italians to tell. Russian films are literally about agony and ecstasy. Ok, more about the agony. If you've seen any Russian films set in World War II, you get a whole new take on that subject — because the country that lost more than 20 million people to the war produced artists who later had something different to say about fascism and annihilation. This film, SIN, though set 500 years earlier, focuses on Michelangelo's struggle and his response to wealth and authority — and to simply wanting to practice his art. Watching this film at this moment felt... well, I was feeling a whole lot of things — and isn't that what we want from the movies?
"The skill of Alberto Testone's performance is to maintain the gleam of passion and seriousness behind the rough-hewn, manic facade. This film is genuinely impressive — and as enigmatic as it is compelling."
— Screen International
That's it for now. We have a special treat for you next week at The Virtual State. So if you haven't tried our streaming theater yet, give it a shot. It's easier than you think! And our virtual theater manager is available to take your calls for help from noon to midnight every day.
Plus, if an 83-year old Russian can make a movie for us, can't we figure out how to click twice on our phone to watch that (or any) movie on our home screen?
Many thanks to all of you who support us and who hope with us that this is the year we create a much better new normal.
All my best,