Imitation of Life

A journal about film, music, literature and any other form of imitation of life. Seeing through a glass darkly…

The Best Concerts of Brussels’ Music Winter Season

The period between October and May is traditionally the time when the best musical acts hit the tour circuit out of the festival season. Brussels, with two of the best indoor concert venues in Europe, is the perfect place to look forward to the great music events ahead of us.

Here is IMITATION OF LIFE’s choice of the best concerts in Brussels for the next months. Some of them are already sold out. Touting on the day of the concert is, however, a friendly and affordable tradition in Belgian music scene. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spanish cinema in mourning after Berlanga’s death

Luis García-Berlanga died on Saturday, November 13, at his home near Madrid, aged 89.

Berlanga made his directing film debut in 1951 with Esa Pareja Feliz (That Happy Couple), written and directed in collaboration with Juan Antonio Bardem.

Berlanga and Bardem were to become two of the main representatives of the so-called Spanish film dissidence, a movement of ideological and political opposition to the monolithic culture imposed by Franco’s regime. Later in his life, Berlanga ironically declared that to a certain extent Bardem and himself could be considered the originators of censorship in the Spanish film industry, since nobody before them had ever tried to include in their films anything which could challenge the dominant power. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sofia independent (IV): Teenage Paparazzo, All that Paris Allows

It is certainly striking that the wisest line in a documentary that features academics, professional photographers and reflective film stars comes, of all people, from Paris Hilton. I quote from memory, but somewhere in the middle of Adrian Grenier’s Teenage Paparazzo the world’s most famous heiress says with her usual rigid composure: “They [the paparazzi] are annoying and all in your everyday life, but doing what we do in LA, we couldn’t live without them either”. It may not be the height of philosophical sophistication, but few sentences could better sum up the cautionary tale to which this highly entertaining but inconclusive documentary film boils down to: the tabloid culture is a dangerous snake pit of mutual exploitation where victims and chasers make the rules according to their circumstances and where all you need is a camera to cross the blurred line that separates the ones from the others. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Way Back trailer

Although Peter Weir never equalled the quality of his sophomore effort Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), his filmography, which includes films like The Years of Living Dangerously (1982), Witness (1985), Green Card (1990) or The Truman Show (1998), is interesting enough to pay attention to anything he does. Read the rest of this entry »

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So independent (III): Leaves of Grass, more pot than he can chew.

It is hard to understand why the organisers of So independent decided to schedule Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass as the opening film of the first edition of their festival, specially when two hours later at the Lumière cinema they had planned a screening of Ethan and Joel Coen’s A Serious Man.
Because, if you’re in a hurry and don’t feel like reading the whole review, the trouble with this movie can be summed up as follows: it could have been a good film had it been directed by the Coen Brothers. But it wasn’t, and it isn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ghost Writer leads European Film Awards with 7 Nominations

The excessive discretion with which the European Film Academy announces, hands out and publicises its annual Awards may be a token of good taste but hardly the best strategy for a trophy whose main goal is to increase the visibility of European film production.

The relative immaturity of the awards, the geographical instability of the location where the ceremony is held and the grimness of a show that is erratically broadcasted through Europe are all factors that have contributed to the lack of allure the Awards still have for the general audience. Read the rest of this entry »

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JILL CLAYBURGH, 1944-2010

Actress Jill Clayburgh died yesterday, November 5, 2010, at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut.

She was nominated for an Oscar for her performances in An Unmarried Woman (1978) and Starting Over (1979). Read the rest of this entry »

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So independent (II): Howl by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

It is more than suitable that So independent, a film festival which randomly features fictional and documentary films in its main program, has included Howl among its selection.
Veteran documentarists Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who have two Oscars at home for the documentary classics The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) and The Celluloid Closet (1995), have created an unusual piece of work: a hybrid movie that seamlessly interweaves mock documentary, animation and conventional narrative film. Read the rest of this entry »

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So independent (I): Interview with special guest Linda Olszewski

The So independent Film Festival in Sofia has unofficially kicked off this morning at 11AM with a meeting with some of the festival’s guests at the very appropriate Buñuel Café.
There I had a chance to talk to Linda Olszewski, producer of films like Reality Bites, Shrek and The Prince of Egypt and co-director of Shorts International Ltd., which is the world’s leading short film entertainment company. Its catalogue of over 3000 short movies includes Oscar winners and nominees, festival favourites and genre classics.
Linda is in Sofia to lead a 2-day master class on filmmaking, which will be held as part of So independent.

Here is an extract of my interview with Linda: Read the rest of this entry »

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Imitation of Life, official blog of So(fia) Independent Film Festival

The first edition of the American independent cinema Film Festival So independent will start tomorrow, November 5, and will run through November 11 at different locations in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 The festival will officially kick off on Friday, November 5, at 1830 at the Cineplex cinema. Festival director Jana Karaivanova, Nadia Zaharieva from the America for Bulgaria Foundation and US Ambassador in Bulgaria James Warlick will all assist to the official opening. Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 OSCAR PREDICTIONS (II): Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively stand out in Ben Affleck’s The Town

To have a solid directing career is not what one would expect from someone who, at the age of 25, wins an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Not, at least, if the Oscar is awarded for a tear-jerking, phoney story like the one Ben Affleck and best pal Matt Damon wrote for Good Will Hunting, one of the most painfully self-complacent films Hollywood gave us in the 90s. Read the rest of this entry »

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JACKI WEAVER FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

David Michod’s Animal Kingdom is not an easy film to watch. To start with, it takes around half an hour to get used to the thick Aussie accent and, more importantly, to the savage rules that reign over the Animal Kingdom in which the characters (and the film itself) live. However, if you manage to watch until the end you will enjoy one of the most satisfying film experiences coming from the land down under in years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Emma Stone gets A for stAr

Her name is Emma Stone and after watching the Easy A trailer I predict she’s gonna be a star. So far this throaty redhead had played some supporting roles in films like Superbad, Zombieland or Ghost of Girlfriends Past, but Easy A looks like the perfect star-making vehicle for an up-and-coming actress like her. Read the rest of this entry »

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THE 10 MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN TV HISTORY

I am, I have to confess, a huge television fan. I like good drama shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men or Six Feet Under, old-fashioned sitcoms like The Golden Girls or Frasier, sophisticated comedies like The Office or trashy, camp soaps like Dynasty or Melrose Place. Last year I was the happiest man on earth when they announced the release on dvd of the original Peyton Place series from the sixties, starring among many others Dorothy Malone, Lee Grant and the very young Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal. And yet, it recently dawned on me that, apart from the Emmy Predictions, I had never posted an entry about television in Imitation of Life.

So I thought a good way to make up for that big omission in the blog was to write an entry about my favourite television series moments of all time. Here are my  ten picks.

(SPOILER ALERT: This entry contains HUGE SPOILERS of THE SOPRANOS and  SIX FEET UNDER and a scene from Twin Peaks’ pilot episode. Don’t read further if you haven’t seen the series yet. It also contains gags (no spoilers) from Ellen, The Office and Will&Grace, plus (presumably) irrelevant scenes from The Colbys, Dallas, V and Melrose Place.) Read the rest of this entry »

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THE KING’S SPEECH WINS IN TORONTO

The King’s Speech received this weekend the Cadillac People Choice’s Award at the Toronto Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere.

The film, directed by Tom Hooper, follows the life of King George VI (played by Colin Firth), who unexpectedly had to assume the British throne after the abdication of his brother Edward. The title of the movie makes reference to the king’s momentous address to the nation before World War II. Read the rest of this entry »

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KIDMAN GETS STANDING OVATION FOR RABBIT HOLE

Rabbit Hole premiered last night at the Toronto Film Festival and was received with a standing ovation. Critics are raving about Nicole Kidman’s performance as a woman dealing with the grief of a terrible loss.

The film, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, of Shortbus controversial fame, is an adaptation of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, who also wrote the script for the movie. Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest star as Kidman’s husband and mother (obviously, respectively). Read the rest of this entry »

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Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret to be released in 2011

It’s probably the best piece of cinematic news of the year: Kenneth Lonergan’s second film Margaret will finally be released in 2011 after five years of legal disputes.

The film, which stars Anna Paquin, Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo, was shot in three months back in 2005, but it has been tied up in several lawsuits ever since. It tells the story of a teenager indirectly involved  in a traffic accident and the unforeseeable aftermath the event has in her life. Read the rest of this entry »

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ROBYN’S BODY TALK, PT. 2 RELEASED

Robyn’s Body Talk, Pt. 2, the second of the three albums the Swedish singer announced for this year, has been officially published today.

Hang With Me, whose acoustic version was already available on Body Talk, Pt. 1, is the first single of the album. Read the rest of this entry »

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PUGGY, BELGIUM’S NEWEST POP SENSATION

It all began in Brussels, and  English vocalist Matthew Irons, French bassist Romain Desdampes and Swedish drummer Egil ‘Ziggy’ Franzen consistently and proudly declare that  Puggy is a Belgian band. Read the rest of this entry »

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CLAUDE CHABROL, 1930-2010

Claude Chabrol will always be remembered as member and co-founder of la nouvelle vague, the French New Wave, and therefore as one of the creators of modern cinema with his early films Le beau Serge, Les Cousins et À double tour. Read the rest of this entry »

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