‘Three Monkeys’ joins the Foreign Film mix

Posted by · 3:47 am · September 24th, 2008

Nobody who was paying attention at Cannes will be surprised that Turkey has selected Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Three Monkeys” as their entry in the foreign-language derby.

The film was one of the critical sensations of the festival back in May and was many pundits’ pick for the Palme d’Or — it wound up with the Best Director award. Just to jog your memory, here’s a rave from the ever-reliable Jonathan Romney:

An ostensibly routine noir-style psychological thriller vaults into the realms of high art in “Three Monkeys” … For the first time, Ceylan really involves himself in narrative complexity, spinning a subtly-twisty yarn with echoes of such crime writers as Simenon and James M. Cain … the smallest amount of trimming could well turn an exceptional film into a near-perfect one.

I have been excited by this for some time. Ceylan’s 2002 film “Uzak (Distant)” is one of my favourite films of the decade so far, a work of visual wonder and immaculate storytelling grace. While wildly acclaimed, his follow-up, “Climates,” did less for me — it was exquisitely rendered, but on a narrative and thematic level, Ceylan seemed to me to be treading water. So I like the idea of this move into more genre-tinged territory. It’s one of my must-sees at the upcoming London Film Festival.

I suspect the film may prove a little too resolutely arthouse for the frequently auteur-shy Foreign Film committee, but no matter. As when Mexico selected Carlos Reygadas’ bold, beautiful and thoroughly Academy-unfriendly “Silent Light” last year, I applaud Turkey for the bravery of their selection.

In other news in the category, Colombia and Venezuela have selected Sundance entry “Dog Eat Dog” and “The Taint of Fame,” respectively. I don’t know much about these titles (though I find the Venezuelan film’s premise — a destitute girl seeks financial gain by entering a Marilyn Monroe lookalike contest — rather appealing), so if any readers can fill me in, please do so.

Also, word is going round that Italy might announce their selection today — with “Il Divo” and especially “Gomorrah” the obvious favourites. It’s looking like a potential reunion of the big Cannes winners, what with “Three Monkeys” and France’s “The Class” already in the mix. We’ll keep you posted.

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2 responses so far

  • 1 10-01-2010 at 6:20 am

    Michael said...

    i m waiting for this movie,The film was one of the critical sensations of the festival back in