Awards season has already started in the US, with the Los Angeles Film Critics weighing in. The Best Picture winner was Brokeback Mountain, the story of two cowboys in love, which has its premiere in Israel on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. This screening is the Cinematheque's annual tribute to George (Rehor) Ostrovsky, the philanthropist whose contribution financed the building of the theater. Brokeback Mountain will open throughout Israel shortly.
Other winners chosen by the L.A Film Critics include Ang Lee, the director of Brokeback, Philip Seymour Hoffman for his tour-de-force performance in the title role in Capote, Catherine Keener as Best Supporting Actress for her work in a number of films (unlike the Oscars, in which actors are nominated for a single performance, in most of the critics' awards, actors may be honored for all their work during the past year, which is particularly relevant to supporting players who may make several films in a given year), including Capote (she plays Capote's friend author Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird), The Ballad of Jack and Rose, and The Interpreter, and William Hurt as Best Supporting Actor for his role as what has been described as the first Amish gangster ever in A History of Violence. The one big surprise was the critics' choice for Best Actress; they picked Vera Farmiga, who starred in the low-profile indie film Down to the Bone, as a mother who tries to keep her drug habit secret from her children.
In a strong year for documentaries, Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, the story of an animal lover killed by his favorite beasts, took the prize for Best Documentary Film. The Foreign Film Award went to Michael Haneke's Cache, the story of a couple stalked by a stranger with a mysterious agenda. Cache took top prizes at the awards of the European Film Academy earlier this month.
The various criticsâ€š awards tend to be fairly uniform, so expect Brokeback and Hoffman's Capote performance to clean up as the awards season unfolds throughout the month.
The Jerusalem Cinematheque continues its Cinematic Variations on Live Classical Music series this week on Saturday at 11 a.m. with A Brivele Der Mamen (1939), directed by Josef Green, the last Yiddish movie produced in Warsaw before World War II. The story is a melodrama concerning a musical family who are torn apart when some of its members emigrate to the US. The film will be accompanied by a lecture by Prof. Eliyahu Schleifer, and he will also sing songs from the film, as well as other Yiddish and Israeli songs. Aya Schleifer will accompany him on piano.
This week's marathon at the Jerusalem Cinematheque will be on the theme "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," but don't expect to see Pedro Almodovar's movie of the same title. This marathon is made up of recent movies in which a woman in peril feels she is losing her mind. The first, which starts at 10 p.m., is Cellular, starring Kim Basinger as a science teacher kidnapped by thugs who manages to repair a broken telephone and call for help. If you want to see Basinger in a meatier role, skip this and rent last year's The Door in the Floor, which co-stars Jeff Bridges, in which Basinger plays a bereaved mother who is truly on the verge of a heartbreaking nervous breakdown. Next up is Jodie Foster in The Panic Room, about a woman and her child terrorized in their own home (since becoming a mother, Foster seems to enjoy making mother-and-child-in-jeopardy movies like the recent Flightplan). Last is Wes Craven's modest but enjoyable thriller Red Eye, in which a murderous stranger terrorizes a young woman on a night flight.
The David Cronenberg retrospective continues at the Jerusalem Cinematheque this week, featuring The Fly (1986) on Sunday at 7 p.m. It stars the once-married couple, Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, and is an updated version of the 1958 film, which was both sillier and scarier (remember the "Help me! Help me!" scene?). But the Cronenberg film, which is not for the squeamish (none of his films are), works well. The movie posters featured one of the all-time great taglines: "Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid."