River to River Florence Indian Film Festival had its first edition in October 2001 at the Rondò di Bacco Theatre of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy. The aim of River to River is to promote only films from and about India and it is the first Festival of this kind in the world.

During the first year of the Festival, Indian cinema was seeing a new life: Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan won the Audience Award in Locarno and Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair won the Golden Lion in Venice. And in 2002 Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas was screened in Cannes.

Between 2001 and 2002 the influence of Indian cinema can be seen in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams, with music by the future Oscar winning A. R. Rahman (Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Milionaire).

During these years, the Festival has grown and gained awareness among the audience, the film industry and the press.

Read more

APERTI AL PUBBLICO, by Silvia Bellotti

Aperti al Pubblico was by far the best documentary film in this year’s Festival Dei Popoli in Florence. Made by Silvia Bellotti, a beautiful and intelligent filmmaker whom I had the pleasure of meeting during the festival, this is a film that goes from subtle humour, to farce and from moments of kindness and warmth, to unnecessary rudeness. One thing it never loses is its absurdity. Aperti al Pubblico never becomes normal. It doesn’t want to, it’s not interested in it, but more than anything I don’t think it can.

Read more

Filmmakers

  • Wes Anderson Fills the Space

    Wes Anderson Fills the Space

    Upon leaving Moonrise Kingdom I felt it was the best film Wes Anderson had made — a feeling which, at the time, I could only express in words like “honest” and “mature”. In an A.V. Club interview actor Bob Balaban…

    Read more

  • The Unrealized Projects of Milos Forman

    The Unrealized Projects of Milos Forman

    When taking a look at Milos Forman’s filmography, it becomes evident that the filmmaker had made it his goal from the beginning not to attach his name onto anything that wasn’t an absolute work of genius. From as early as…

    Read more

  • Whit Stillman

    Whit Stillman

    And so here’s to a writer who chooses to tell rather than show, and to a director who makes ongoing dialogue work and action feel unnecessary. Whit Stillman stays faithful to his principles through all his four feature films and establishes his very own filmmaking style that might remind us of Woody Allen…

  • Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Unsung Films watched Mike Freedman’s Critical Mass this year when it screened at the Biografilm Festival in Bologna. On approaching the filmmaker with a short review of his documentary, we ended up with a great deal more: a 3000-word interview taking readers deep into the story of how Freedman’s film came together, how it affected him – both personally and professionally — and what we should expect in the years to come.

  • Paul Thomas Anderson

    Paul Thomas Anderson

    The man who’d brought There Will Be Blood to the screen just five years ago — possibly one of the most accomplished films since entering the 21st century — turned just forty-two this year. He’d released his debut feature at twenty-six, and continued his immensely explorative journey since.

  • Bruce Robinson

    Bruce Robinson

    After Bruce Robinson directed his third film, Jennifer 8, he promised himself that he would never direct again. While intended to establish his reputation in Hollywood, it ended as a box office disaster, garnishing negative reviews and unfavourable reception among both critics and the public all over. While the film was not as substandard as general public reaction led Robinson to believe – presenting itself as an enjoyably gripping thriller with a stellar cast and expectedly quality performances – his directing career was placed aside, giving way to various screenwriting endeavours, including Return to Paradise and In Dreams.

  • Tony Kaye

    Tony Kaye

    Tony Kaye wrote a deeply confessional piece in the Guardian around a decade ago, admitting to have asked a priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk to join him in a meeting with New Line studio executive Michael De Luca, concerning the release of his debut feature, American History X. He didn’t want them on his side – he only wanted ‘some help from God’ because he needed ten extra weeks to recut the film.

  • Anton Corbijn

    Anton Corbijn

    Anton Corbijn’s career can be traced back to 1972, when he borrowed his father’s camera and took it around the smaller musical venues scattered across Holland to experience Dutch rock bands in a closer, more personal way – triggered more…

    Read more

  • Spike Jonze

    Spike Jonze

    Adam Spiegal aka Spike Jonze got his nickname from the owner of Bethesda community store, where he hung out in his later high school days. The name was given in reference to Spike Jones (25th Hour, Boyz in the Hood)….

    Read more

Documentaries

  • Becoming Cary Grant

    Becoming Cary Grant

    I have to come clear and admit that I knew nothing about Cary Grant the man before watching Mark Kidel’s Becoming Cary Grant. I knew him as an actor and enjoyed him in every capacity, from a comedian to a…

    Read more

  • Peace

    Peace

    At some point in Peace, the filmmaker’s father-in-law is asked why someone acted in a certain way, to which he stoically replies something along the lines, you would need to ask them, because I don’t know and I don’t want…

    Read more

  • L’Ultima Popstar

    L’Ultima Popstar

    L’Ultima Popstar starts silently; it quietly creeps up on you, building itself gradually, seemingly harmlessly. Nature’s sounds start mixing with some human movement, machines with birds, as something big seems to be brewing. Is it a concert? Some kind of a…

    Read more

  • Aperti al Pubblico

    Aperti al Pubblico

    A Council Housing office in Naples manages about 40,000 apartments around the city. This same office goes from doing a serious job, to verbally attacking its customers, from trying to help those in need, to refusing to bend any kind…

    Read more

  • Good Luck

    Good Luck

    Good Luck starts with a long sequence of an orchestra playing and making its way from a tower to a dump. They’re in the middle of nowhere, playing the most powerful music, and letting us observe their faces up close –…

    Read more

  • Il Principe di Ostia Bronx

    Il Principe di Ostia Bronx

    I got to see quite a few profoundly moving documentaries at this year’s version of Biografilm Festival in Bologna, but none touched me half as much as Il Principe di Ostia Bronx. Now that’s quite the statement, considering the selection of…

    Read more

  • SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

    SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

    Mick Rock was the man behind album covers such as Lou Reed’s Transformer, and The Stooges’ Raw Power, as well as David Bowie’s iconic Starman video, and was the creator of almost literally every photograph that has built up our…

    Read more

  • David Lynch – The Art Life

    David Lynch – The Art Life

    Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm could have not filmed David Lynch – The Art Life differently and still paid a fair tribute to the artist. Here, Lynch is seen out of his element, but more comfortable and at…

    Read more

  • Castro

    Castro

    Castro was the name given to an old occupied building in Rome where poor people, the unemployed, the retired, foreign families would come together, live together, and find a place of their own in an attempt to re-establish their lives….

    Read more

Movie reviews

  • Two Irenes

    Two Irenes

    (Original Title: As Duas Irenes) Thirteen-year old Irene (Priscilla Bittencourt) calls out her name into the vast Brazilian drylands: it echoes before falling away into the hilly expanse. “Stop wasting my name!” mutters her friend Irene (Isabela Torres) as she…

    Read more

  • 1945

    1945

    Ferenc Török’s 1945 casts fresh light on cinema’s much-featured and debated time period, the Holocaust. At odds with the contemporary outlook of the rest of Film Fest Gent’s Official Selection, 1945 is set in a small, conservative Hungarian village on…

    Read more

  • The Square

    The Square

    Of all the films I had the opportunity to see at the film festival in Gent, Ruben Östlund’s painfully humorous The Square was the only one which brought tears to my eyes with laughter. Östlund’s cinematic portrait is as satirical as it is dark,…

    Read more

  • The Story of 90 Coins

    The Story of 90 Coins

    The Story of 90 Coins opens on a refused proposal – or a postponed one anyway. In a desperate attempt to marry the woman of his dreams, a young man concocts a 90-day plan that he believes will get him the answer…

    Read more

  • Not Yet

    Not Yet

    Chad Hamilton tells a very simple story in his 10-minute short film that is also one of the most powerful independent shorts I have had the pleasure of watching. There is no dialogue, because the story does not need to…

    Read more

  • Is This Now

    Is This Now

    The story plays out over multiple settings, sliding across different dimensions and adapting itself to an ongoing shift in landscape. Is This Now changes quite rapidly both in setting and in the type of characters it follows. Starting in a grey,…

    Read more

  • Manifesto

    Manifesto

    Thirteen different Cate Blanchetts taking on thirteen very diverse roles, from a homeless man to a new reporter or a rock chick sick of it all — what else is new? Well, a lot. Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto is an overpowering eye candy,…

    Read more

  • Drowning by Numbers

    Drowning by Numbers

    Take your favourite Wes Anderson film and imagine it merged with a lesser-known Jean-Luc Godard picture and Ealing Studios’ Kind Hearts and Coronets and you’re close to understanding what British director Peter Greenaway is all about. Drowning by Numbers (1988) was played as…

    Read more

  • Una Mujer Fantastica

    Una Mujer Fantastica

    I saw Una Mujer Fantastica in this year’s edition of Biografilm Festival in Bologna, where although the filmmaker Sebastián Lelio could not be present, he had sent a little video introducing his film. That brief but striking introduction was extremely…

    Read more

The camera shifts from individual to individual, but Civati places most focus on a young couple living together in a cramped apartment, and as we get to know them, their story evolves into one of intense love, regret, and day to day struggle in which their conversations and outbursts shed light on national difficulties, Italy’s failings at not losing sight of the ordinary people that comprise its population, and an ongoing effort to find employment in an atmosphere that seems set on not providing it.

Read more

Klinger layers up his tale, splitting it in three parts, exploring two different points of view, before he moves onto what really happened. His two protagonists, Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are each broken in their way, trapped within life and crazy in the most harmless and harmful way. There’s a quality about them we cannot really explain; they’re younger than their age would suggest and rebellious in the most wonderful of ways. At the same time, they’re criminals – stalking, hurting, pushing each other away.

Read more

From the beginning, the viewer finds himself piecing everything together slowly but with great eagerness. The director, Daniel Kremer, feeds in small doses of coherence until the picture is wholly clear.

Read more

McGregor has taken Roth’s novel and extracted what gives it its shape. The film is a combination of the principle events in the book – all the defining moments in Swede Levov’s descent into the American Nightmare – and a neat collection of the novels finer and more moving details.

Read more

Soundtracks

  • Mortdecai: The Soundtrack

    Mortdecai: The Soundtrack

    Brilliant cast, impressive soundtrack, bad reviews. With these three facts I can begin my introduction of the new David Koepp film; a film by a director who is more known for his achievements in scriptwriting and less known for his…

    Read more

  • Fifty Shades of Grey: The Soundtrack

    Fifty Shades of Grey: The Soundtrack

    Fifty Shades of Grey is already a global phenomenon. Since the Fifty Shades trilogy release, the books have been translated into 51 languages and have sold more than 100 million copies –making it one of the most important and fastest-selling…

    Read more

  • Samba: The Soundtrack

    Samba: The Soundtrack

    The title of the film suggests a very different soundtrack – the songs that comprise the movie make for an unexpected and diverse experience which couldn’t be further from the music that accompanies the famous Brazilian dance. In this film,…

    Read more

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: The Soundtrack

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: The Soundtrack

    The third installment of the The Hunger Games series is ready to premiere and it is obvious that the soundtrack of Mockingjay Part 1 is expected to attract the interest of both fans of the movie and the alternative music…

    Read more

  • Boyhood: The Soundtrack

    Boyhood: The Soundtrack

    Experts and critics believe that Richard Linklater’s Boyhood will be quite prominent at this year’s Oscars. Already highly celebrated by the Berlin International Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and…

    Read more

  • Angels & Airwaves: Start the Machine

    Angels & Airwaves: Start the Machine

    Don’t know who Blink-182, Angels & Airwaves and Tom DeLonge are?  Fine—I won’t need to refer to them much; all you have to picture is the band who wrote the soundtrack to your last summer.  Now imagine one person within…

    Read more

  • Jersey Boys: The Soundtrack

    Jersey Boys: The Soundtrack

    Not many are fully aware of the greatness of The Four Seasons, a band that peaked during the 60s and that The Vocal Group Hall of Fame has recognized as the greatest rock’n’roll group of the pre-Beatles era. Their frontman…

    Read more

  • Chef: The Soundtrack

    Chef: The Soundtrack

    Only one day before Chef’s official premiere, Milan Records released the soundtrack of Jon Favreau’s film, and saw it immediately entering the list of the best compilations of 2014. And as for Favreau, he signs the script and takes on not…

    Read more

  • Sin City: A Dame to Kill for: The Soundtrack

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill for: The Soundtrack

    For those of you who thought that Sin City should stand on its own, the unbeatable filmmaker-duo Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have decided to come back with a dynamic sequel to prove you wrong. Sin City: A Dame to…

    Read more

  • Lucy: The Soundtrack

    Lucy: The Soundtrack

    Lucy’s OST confirms that this is a project where action and suspense have more of a protagonistic role than the main actress. Luc Besson’s new action-thriller comes after a series of dynamic, all-female films (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element,…

    Read more

  • Noah: The Soundtrack

    Noah: The Soundtrack

    One of the most famous Biblical tales has now been brought to the big screen by director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Fountain). God chooses Noah for an important mission; he will save humankind and…

    Read more

  • Transcendence: The Soundtrack

    Transcendence: The Soundtrack

    A myriad of recently talked-about ideas concerning the science fiction genre comes to cinemas, starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman, produced by Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas – a film titled Transcendence. The story is built around Dr. Will Caster…

    Read more

  • Ocho Apellidos Vascos: The Soundtrack

    Ocho Apellidos Vascos: The Soundtrack

    The instant success that Ocho Apellidos Vascos has enjoyed thus far surely defines it as one of the most exciting Spanish movies of the year. The film, starring Clara Lago (Tengo Ganas de Tí) and Carmen Machi (Aida), tells the…

    Read more

  • Before Midnight: The Soundtrack

    Before Midnight: The Soundtrack

    Three meetings held with the same frequency and passion. Before Midnight brings Jesse and Celine to Greece and more specifically to the magical scenery of the Peloponnese. Music, history, love and destiny “compose” a hopelessly romantic atmosphere -like an erotic…

    Read more

  • 300: Rise of an Empire: The Soundtrack

    300: Rise of an Empire: The Soundtrack

    When it was officially announced that within the first few spring days of 2014 we would get the opportunity to watch the sequel of 2006’s groundbreaking 300, we all rushed online to catch a glimpse of the film’s first shots…

    Read more

  • Endless Love: The Soundtrack

    Endless Love: The Soundtrack

    In 1981 Franco Zeffirelli laid the foundations for the romantic drama Endless Love and in 2014, screenwriter Shana Feste reworked the same story, alongside Joshua Safran, delivering a brand new and modernized remake of the film with the same title….

    Read more

  • Nothing Left to Fear: The Soundtrack

    Nothing Left to Fear: The Soundtrack

    Nothing Left to Fear is Anthony Leonardi III’s latest horror film and its title seems to fit the Guns N’Roses former guitarist, Slash, like a glove. As a musician, he has more than proven his value to us, so we…

    Read more

  • Her: The Soundtrack

    Her: The Soundtrack

    Arcade Fire are making their big comeback with a double-strike in discography this year. After launching their new album Reflektor, the band’s members collaborated with the Canadian composer, Owen Pallet for the creation of the original score and soundtrack of…

    Read more

  • Charlie is my Darling

    Charlie is my Darling

    This very personal look into the Stones on tour in Ireland may say a great deal more than certain other documentaries spanning across entire careers. Charlie is my Darling is an intimate peek into two days of performing in small…

    Read more

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull

    Strange, awkward, abnormal and still extremely banal. Awful storyline, very odd execution of a pointless script and disturbing real-bird-life documentation. At the same time, perhaps the most mind-blowing photography and cinematography to come from the Seventies, and an astonishing soundtrack…

    Read more

  • Crazy Heart

    Crazy Heart

    Crazy Heart is great. And it’s great for two reasons — Bad Blake and his music. Otherwise known as Jeff Bridges and Bingham and Burnett’s soundtrack, both of which won an Academy Award for their merit. The actor, as well…

    Read more

  • Tommy

    Tommy

    Tommy… The story of that deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball. That’s right, this is not a musical directly inspired by the real world. Writer/composer Pete Townsend and writer/director Ken Russell take an already bizarre…

    Read more

  • Yellow Submarine

    Yellow Submarine

    Lighter than Tommy but darker than Fantasia, Yellow Submarine is rock surrealism, psychedelic animation, a childish plot with deep and dark undertones and sequences of dream-like dimensions and progressions. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is filling up Pepperland with…

    Read more

  • Judas Iscariot Superstar

    Judas Iscariot Superstar

    Jesus Christ Superstar is brilliant whichever way you look at it. As far as mainstream musicals go, the use of rock music has always been a rarity. A Rock/Jesus hybrid has never been seen elsewhere.  Rock associated with rebellion and…

    Read more

  • The Doors

    The Doors

    Oliver Stone’s The Doors paints a strange and awful portrait, leaving a load of questions begging to be asked about The Doors and their frontman, Jim Morrison. Questions like “did Jim really throw his girlfriend, Pam Courson into a wardrobe…

    Read more

  • Quadrophenia: The Soundtrack

    Quadrophenia: The Soundtrack

    Based on The Who’s most mature album, Quadrophenia was released in 1979 as an adaptation of the rock opera for the big screen. The title of the album and the adapted British film is a variation of the term “schizophrenia”…

    Read more

  • Unsung Films’ Favourite Five: Popular Songs in Films

    Unsung Films’ Favourite Five: Popular Songs in Films

    To me, there’s nothing better than a film where a favourite song is suddenly heard on screen, when you least expect it. If the song is used appropriately, it can manage to give you chills for years to come. This…

    Read more

  • Trainspotting: The Soundtrack

    Trainspotting: The Soundtrack

    ’Here comes johnny yen again, with the liquor and drugs’. When Iggy Pop’s emphatic ‘Lust for Life’ is heard thumping behind the screen and a mid-nineties Edinburgh city centre is seen flashing past us while a young, half-starved Ewan McGregor runs from…

    Read more

  • Bottle Rocket: The Soundtrack

    Bottle Rocket: The Soundtrack

    One of my personal favourites and a greatly overlooked comedy by Wes Anderson, Bottle Rocket was released in 1996 and was co-written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Starring Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson and Robert Musgrave, the film was a box office…

    Read more

  • Cadillac Records

    Cadillac Records

    Cadillac Records tells the story of Leonard Chess, founder of Chess Records, a very influential record label mostly active during the 1950s, and mostly known for being the record label which featured many of the African American pioneers of blues,…

    Read more

  • That Thing You Do!

    That Thing You Do!

    This having nothing to do with the fact that I absolutely adore Tom Hanks and think he is the ultimate genius, That Thing You Do!, a comedy written and directed by him, is, as far as I’m concerned, one of…

    Read more

  • Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction was the first Quentin Tarantino film I saw. I found it amid a dusty pile of video cassettes, by chance, while flicking through my parents’ record collection. I never found the Jimmy Cliff album I was looking for,…

    Read more

Awakenings is an extremely well-written story that can perhaps be divided into three parts. Each part contributes differently to the viewer’s experience. The first half is largely comedic, offering a glimpse into a psychiatric ward …

Read more

Interviews

  • Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya speaks to Unsung Films

    Amartya Bhattacharyya, writer-director of The Lost Idea, speaks to Unsung Films The Lost Idea is a fantasy driven tale of two men, a poet and a painter, claiming possession over the same Idea, in a rural village portrayed as a wonderland. Idea…

    Read more

  • An Interview with Colin Broderick

    An Interview with Colin Broderick

    Colin Broderick is a playwright, filmmaker and author. He grew up in the heart of Northern Ireland and was raised Irish Catholic during The Troubles. In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx to drink, work…

    Read more

  • An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann

    An Interview with Lindy Heymann, Director of Showboy, Kicks and The Laughing King Lindy Heymann is an award winning director who received a BIFA for Best Directorial Debut for her feature film Showboy, which also won Best Film at the Milan…

    Read more

  • Brent Chesanek talks to Zachary Wyman about City World

    Brent Chesanek talks to Zachary Wyman about City World

    In support of Brent Chesanek’s new film Academy and its production campaign, here is an interview with the filmmaker about his previous film, City World. Questions were sent on April 4, 2013; answers were received about two months later. …What’s…

    Read more

  • Paddy’s Paradise

    Paddy’s Paradise

    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin -William Shakespeare When I occasionally have the privilege of watching independent films made by aspiring film directors, I am reminded of the beauty and addiction of cinema. Despite my personal disinterest…

    Read more

  • Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Interview: Mike Freedman on Critical Mass

    Unsung Films watched Mike Freedman’s Critical Mass this year when it screened at the Biografilm Festival in Bologna. On approaching the filmmaker with a short review of his documentary, we ended up with a great deal more: a 3000-word interview taking readers deep into the story of how Freedman’s film came together, how it affected him – both personally and professionally — and what we should expect in the years to come.

  • Pushwagner: The Man Behind The Mask, The Men Behind The Film

    Pushwagner: The Man Behind The Mask, The Men Behind The Film

    Some documentarians are not content with being journalists, searching for the objective truth of a subject. Directors Even Benestad and August B. Hanssen pushed their medium to its limits in Pushwagner, a “documentary” (if that’s the right word) tracing a Norwegian pop artist known for dystopian sketches in a disarmingly simple, comic book style. “Maybe we could do this ‘Portrait of an Artist’ in a different, new way,” says Even in Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto. Pushwagner is having its North American premiere at Hot Docs.

  • Cannes Short Film Corner: The Foreigner by Alethea Avramis

    Cannes Short Film Corner: The Foreigner by Alethea Avramis

    A short film involves an entirely different creative process to a feature or a series. A filmmaker has very little time, less than 30 minutes to tell a story, grip his audience, evoke emotions and develop characters adequately. Indeed very few filmmakers manage to come up with shorts that tick all these boxes and the fact that Alethea Avramis’ The Foreigner does all this in less than half an hour and in a subtle and artistic way, is exactly what makes this film stand out among other shorts of its genre.

  • Hot Docs Toronto: The Punk Syndrome

    Hot Docs Toronto: The Punk Syndrome

    Punk was always a genre that found its stripped-down groove in unqualified anger. You can forward a lot of theories on why young men and women embraced punk in the 1970s (Watergate? Stagflation? A backlash against Simon and Garfunkel?), but you cannot deny the anti-establishment philosophy that is central to its power and appeal.

Unsung Cult

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie travels alongside Cosmo as he moves through his life as a small-time club owner on Sunset Strip, and trying to deal with a gambling debt that he doesn’t have time for. Eventually, he is talked into killing a wealthy Chinese Mafia boss: his creditors’ rival. What is attractive about Cosmo is that you can never really figure him out…

Read more

Unsung 90s

In Mike Nichols’ film women are not just out to prove their worth and climb the social and professional ladder, they’re also out to get ahead of other women with the same intentions – sometimes even to stop them from advancing altogether. They have to neutralize their competitors as well as those in their team – it’ll be either the strongest, smartest or most ruthless that will get anywhere worth mentioning.

Read more

Unsung Journey

Fatah can’t confess his love to his own wife, but he does it constantly to his cow. He’s simple, but he’s also rather complex. Traditional and ahead of his time. There is a great communication gap between him and his family, but the deepest understanding between him and his cow. She’s not another member of the family, she’s the most important member…

Read more