90th Academy awards winners

An evening without much surprises. Not much suspense! And they opened all the right envelopes. A bit boring, but a classy job from host Jimmy Kimmel. The winners are in red.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


Best picture

Call me by your name (Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, and Marco Morabito)

Darkest hour (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, and Douglas Urbanski)

Dunkirk (Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan)

Get out (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Jordan Peele)

Lady Bird (Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Evelyn O’Neill)

Phantom thread (JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi)

The post (Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, and Kristie Macosko Krieger)

The shape of water (Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale)

Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, and Martin McDonagh)


Best actor

Timothée Chalamet (Call me by your name)

Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom thread)

Daniel Kaluuya (Get out)

Gary Oldman (Darkest hour)

Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)


Best actress

Sally Hawkins (The shape of water)

Frances McDormand (Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)

Meryl Streep (The Post)


Best supporting actor

Willem Dafoe (The Florida project)

Woody Harrelson (Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Richard Jenkins (The shape of water)

Christopher Plummer (All the money in the world)

Sam Rockwell (Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)


Best supporting actress

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Lesley Manville (Phantom thread)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Octavia Spencer (The shape of water)


Best director

Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom thread)

Guillermo del Toro (The shape of water)

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Jordan Peele (Get out)


Best animated feature film

The boss baby (Tom McGrath and Ramsey Ann Naito)

The breadwinner (Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo)

Coco (Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson)

Ferdinand (Carlos Saldanha)

Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart)


Best original screenplay

The big sick (Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani)

Get out (Written by Jordan Peele)

Lady Bird (Written by Greta Gerwig)

The shape of water (Written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro)

Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Written by Martin McDonagh)


Best adapted screenplay

Call me by your name (James Ivory)

The disaster artist (Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber)

Logan (Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold)

Molly’s game (Aaron Sorkin)

Mudbound (Virgil Williams and Dee Rees)


Best cinematography

Roger Deakins (Blade runner 2049)

Bruno Delbonnel (Darkest hour)

Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk)

Rachel Morrison (Mudbound)

Dan Laustsen (The shape of water)


Best production design

Beauty and the beast (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)

Blade runner 2049 (Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola)

Darkest hour (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)

Dunkirk (Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis)

The shape of water (Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin)


Best sound mixing

Baby driver (Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis)

Blade runner 2049 (Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth)

Dunkirk (Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo)

The shape of water (Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier)

Star wars: The last jedi (David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson)


Best sound editing

Baby driver (Julian Slater)

Blade runner 2049 (Mark Mangini and Theo Green)

Dunkirk (Richard King and Alex Gibson)

The shape of water (Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira)

Star wars: The last jedi (Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce)


Music (Original song)

“Mighty River” from Mudbound (Music and Lyrics by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq & Taura Stinson)

“Mystery of Love” from Call me by your name (Music and Lyrics by Sufjan Stevens)

“Remember Me” from Coco (Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez)

“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall (Music by Diane Warren; Lyrics by Lonnie Lynn & Diane Warren)

“This Is Me” from The greatest showman (Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul)


Music (Original score)

Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk)

Jonny Greenwood (Phantom thread)

Alexandre Desplat (The shape of water)

John Williams (Star wars: The last jedi)

Carter Burwell (Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)


Documentary (Feature)

Abacus: Small enough to jail (Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman)

Faces Places (Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda)

Icarus (Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan)

Last men in Aleppo (Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen)

Strong island (Yance Ford and Dan Cogan)


Documentary (Short subject)

Edith+Eddie (Laura Chekoway and Thomas Lee Wright)

Heaven is a traffic jam on the 405 (Frank Stiefel)

Heroin(e) (Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon)

Knife skills (Thomas Lennon)

Traffic stop (Kate Davis and David Heilbroner)


Short film (Animated)

Dear basketball (Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant)

Garden party (Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon)

Lou (Dave Mullins and Dana Murray)

Negative space (Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata)

Revolting rhymes (Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer)


Short film (Live action)

DeKalb elementary (Reed Van Dyk)

The eleven o’clock (Derin Seale and Josh Lawson)

My nephew Emmett (Kevin Wilson, Jr.)

The silent child (Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton)

Watu Wote (All of us) (Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen)


Film editing

Baby driver (Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos)

Dunkirk (Lee Smith)

I, Tonya (Tatiana S. Riegel)

The shape of water (Sidney Wolinsky)

Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Jon Gregory)


Costume design

Beauty and the beast (Jacqueline Durran)

Darkest hour (Jacqueline Durran)

Phantom thread (Mark Bridges)

The shape of water (Luis Sequeira)

Victoria & Abdul (Consolata Boyle)


Makeup and hairstyling

Darkest hour (Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick)

Victoria & Abdul (Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard)

Wonder (Arjen Tuiten)


Visual effects

Blade runner 2049 (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover)

Guardians of the galaxy Vol. 2 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick)

Kong: Skull island (Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus)

Star wars: The last jedi (Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould)

War for the planet of the apes (Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist)


Foreign language film

A fantastic woman (Chile)

The insult (Lebanon)

Loveless (Russia)

On body and soul (Hungary)

The square (Sweden)


Au revoir là-haut (See you up there)

Albert Dupontel’s explosive adaptation of Pierre Lemaitre’s Goncourt-winning novel makes you think you are either watching a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, The city of lost children, Amélie, and most blatantly A very long engagement) or reading a comic book (AKA graphic novels). The film’s early scenes are a good cue of we are to expect later. In the World War I trenches, we meet Albert Maillard (Albert Dupontel) and Édouard Péricourt (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart). The sadistic and murderous Lieutenant Pradelle (Laurent Lafitte) orders an assault and sends his soldiers to battle. What follows is one of most beautifully choreographed war battle. Maillard almost dies but is saved by Péricourt, just before he is hit himself by an explosion. At the hospital, with Maillard at his bedside, Péricourt discovers that he has a gaping hole where his mouth used to be. Unable to sustain the pain and wanting to escape, Péricourt asks his friend to get him some morphine. Maillard steals the morphine anywhere he can. Péricourt is an artist who was disowned be his rich father (the always marvelous Niels Arestrup). He pretends to be dead and spends his days creating a series of colorful and campy masks to hide his disfigurement. To make money Maillard and Péricourt plan to sell phony war monuments to honour the dead soldiers. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Pradelle is back and he is as mean as ever. This is a spectacular film with excellent production values. Nahuel Pérez Biscayart spends most of the film behind masks with his voice only coming in growls and grunts. This is impressive mime acting. Au revoir là-haut is not to be taken too seriously and is a lot of fun to watch.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Au revoir là-haut (See you up there)


Directed by:
Albert Dupontel

Screenplay by:
Albert Dupontel and Pierre Lemaitre
Based on the novel by Lemaitre

Albert Dupontel
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
Laurent Lafitte
Niels Arestrup
Heloïse Balster
Mélanie Thierry
Émilie Dequenne

117 min.

In French with English subtitles

God’s own country

The last film I saw in 2017 was Luca Guadagnino’s Call me by your name and my first film of 2018 is God’s own country, two gay films about young men falling in love. Call me by your name has been sold as a possible Oscar contender and a follow-up to last year’s Moonlight. But I think that God’s own country is the much better film. It takes place in present-day Yorkshire, England where twenty-something Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) lives on a sheep farm with his father, Martin (Ian Hart) and his grandmother, Deirdre (Gemma Jones). His father suffered a stroke and Johnny has to work long hours alone to keep things going. He spends his evening drinking at the local pub with occasional gay sex in public washroom. Having been drinking all night, the next day becomes even more of a burden. Some of the work is not being done and Martin and Deirdre chastise him. But what can they do? They have all inherited an unpleasant situation. Johnny is terribly unhappy and lonely. Then the decision is taken to hire some help for the lambing season. Enter handsome Romanian hired hand Gheorghe Ionescu (Alex Secareanu). Initially, Johnny resents Gheorghe’s presence at the farm. They have to spend several days camping nearer to where the animals have moved. Whatever happens during these few day will change their lives. They have sex, but unlike Luca Guadagnino with Call me by your name, director
Francis Lee and his actors seems unafraid to show sex between men or male nudity. It’s raw (don’t worry nothing explicit or pornographic) and it feels real. And Lee has wisely defined the relationship between the two men with an earlier detail. In his previous encounters, Johnny won’t kiss his male partners, but he kisses Gheorghe. But it’s more than that. Gheorghe has a love and appreciation of the beauty of the country, and for Johnny the love of a man and of the country is the only thing that can save his life. After some misstep, Johnny decides that he needs Gheorghe if he wants to be happy. God’s own country has a lot of similarities with Ang Lee’s Brokeback mountain. The two lovers in God’s own country are also masculine men of few words, the movie is raw and rough. O’Connor’s expressive star making performance is riveting. The painful expression of the depressed and unhappy Johnny is heart wrenching. Alex Secareanu’s Gheorghe is an intriguing composition, making him, in Johnny’s eyes, impossible to read. He is forceful and tender all at once. They are well supported by Ian Hart and Gemma Jones, who play characters more concerned with the daily chore and small gestures than the long conversations. Joshua James Richards’s cinematography is most important here. Like a painter, he carefully uses touches of grays and blues for the Yorkshire skies, and browns, oranges and ochre for its trees and leaves. Josh O’connor has said “I loved that this was an unforgiving, bleak view of someone’s life, but which had hope. You don’t see that in any cinema, let alone LGBT.”

Rémi-Serge Gratton


God’s own country


Directed by:
Francis Lee

Screenplay by:
Francis Lee

Josh O’Connor
Alec Secareanu
Gemma Jones
Ian Hart
Harry Lister Smith

104 min.

Rated 18A

2017’s Top Ten

Again this year, all the films on my list of my favorite 2017 movies are films I have seen at the ByTowne Cinema in Ottawa. As I look the lists of other reviewers, I notice that I have no action, super hero or horror movies on mine. I don’t see any of the big blockbuster films, and frankly I don’t miss them. Most the films on my list have very little use for Computer Generated Images (CGI), if any. What they have instead is a lot of inventiveness and a surprising and sometime shocking way of challenging us. Those films demand that we look elsewhere than the big explosions to move us. Even though this is not a bad year, there are no Boyhood or Carol here, films that would shot themselves to the top of the list and remain there unchallenged. Many of the films this year are about art and artists and their importance in our society. I put a link to the full review under each titles. Happy new year!

Rémi-Serge Gratton

1. Frantz by François Ozon


2. A ghost story by David Lowery


3. 120 battements par minute (Beats per minute) by Robin Campillo


4. Dawson city: Frozen time by Bill Morrison


5. Lost In Paris (Paris pieds nus) by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon


6. The square (Rutan) by Ruben Östlund


7. Visages villages (Faces places) by Agnès Varda and JR


8. Paterson by Jim Jarmusch


9. Call me by your name by Luca Guadagnino


10. The big sick by Michael Showalter


120 battements par minute (Beats per minute)

Robin Campillo’s 120 battements par minute opens with a shocking scene. During an intervention by ACT UP Paris at a pharmaceutical conference, the key speaker is splashed by a balloon filled with fake blood and handcuffed. At the next meeting held in a college lecture classroom, those events are discussed and some are pointing fingers at Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, the film’s most accomplished performance), the young man who threw the balloon with fake blood. But Sean is unapologetic, his health is declining and there is no time for diplomacy. At the meetings there are many HIV-positive (called “poz” by the members) gay men, concerned lesbians, straight women and a mother and her poz son. They all have different positions about how to force government and big pharma CEO’s to listen to them. For a while 120 battements par minute feels like a procedural. In addition to the lively meetings, we also witness some interventions/protests. In one of them, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to unleash power) take over the offices of a pharmaceutical company, they confront the employees and spray fake blood on the wall. In another one they go to a school with pamphlets and condoms and demand to speak to the students and even stage a kiss-in. This is the early 1990’s and there was no cure for AIDS yet. So we forget how in-your-face ACT UP was. But some people were dying and there was no time to waste being nice. And then the film gradually veers to the more intimate and personal love story between Sean and Nathan (Arnaud Valois, a young handsome actor who, with Biscayart, is the film’s pulsating heart), a new member of ACT UP. In a long bedroom scene, that is the film’s centrepiece, they make love, they talk about their first love as we flashback to those moments, and they also talk about sex and love. Theirs is a tragic story, and there have been plenty in our collective memories since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. There are some stunning moments of pure magic beauty. During a scene at a disco club, Campillo and Jeanne Lapoirie, his director of photography, let the camera focus on the dust dancing on the dance floor. The dust become cells dancing under the microscope. Or in that extended love-making scene where the camera concentrate on the beautiful naked bodies of two young lovers. If 120 battements par minute can be at times didactic, it is never pretentious. It is a passionate, gut wrenching film about love and death.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

120 battements par minute (Beats per minute)


Directed by:
Robin Campillo

Screenplay by:
Robin Campillo
Philippe Mangeot

Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
Arnaud Valois
Adèle Haenel
Antoine Reinartz

140 min.

In French with English subtitles.

Call me by your name

And what I’m trying to say isn’t really new
It’s just the things that happen to me
When I’m reminded of you

Is it okay if I call you mine? from the film Fame (1980), music and lyrics by Paul McCrane

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

Plaisir d’amour (1784), music by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, lyrics by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian

Awards season is near and one of the films that has been on everyone’s lips is Luca Guadagnino’s Call me by your name. Some people are hoping that Call me by your name is this year’s Moonlight (the film that was eventually named Best picture at the last Oscar cast following a screw up with the envelopes). Moonlight was the first LGBTQ themed film to ever win Best picture, and there’s talk of a repeat in 2017. But will it win? In Call me by your name, Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old Italian-American, lives in the Italian countryside with his parents. We are in the summer of 1983 and Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor of archaeology, has hired an American student to help him. Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome a 24-year-old man with golden hair, comes to stay with them at their beautiful villa in Lombardy. Oliver will sleep in Elio’s room. Although Elio spends some time with his girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel) and Oliver is seeing a local girl, it soon becomes clear that the young men are attracted to each other. It’s done in small details. When Oliver suddenly touches Elio’s shoulder during a ball game, the teenager’s reaction is to quickly withdraw. But when they are alone, it is Elio’s turn to touch, kiss and grab, and Oliver to hold back. They are both conscious and wary of their feelings. Oliver is ambiguous. He enjoys the game of seduction and the attention, but is also aware of the danger. But what should happen, happens. Call me by your name is actually not as explicit as screenwriter James Ivory originally conceived it. A lot of nudity (read full frontal) was removed at the request of the actors. And then there is a scene of Elio in bed with a peach (yeah, a peach!). There was Marlon Brando and butter in Last tango in Paris, now there is Timothée Chalamet and a peach in Call me by your name. Guadagnino is such an original filmmaker. In Call me by your name he is more concerned with the small gestures, the furtive glances and the tearful face than the long dialogue scenes that will spell everything out for the moviegoers. The way the part is written, it would be almost impossible to play Elio. There are too many things for a young actor to do, too many emotions at once. But Chalamet hits every nails with brilliance make it seems easy, no sweat, and at the end the audience feels emotionally drained. Armie Hammer is Chalamet’s perfect partner, accompanying him, and us in this intense love story. Hammer, like Chalamet, gives a most multi-layered performance. And as Elio’s dad Michael Stuhlbarg delivers a heartfelt speech to help his son cope with his sorrow. The beauty of the Italian landscapes is casually photographed by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom as we go along for a bike ride or for a swim in a river. He knows that however beautiful it is, there is nothing more beautiful than two young lovers.

And the Oscar went to… The safest bet for Call me by your name was James Ivory for his adapted screenplay. It was the film’s only Oscar. At 89, Ivory became the oldest-ever Oscar winner. One of many LGBTQ winners that evening, Ivory recalled his late partner Ismail Merchant (d. 2005).

Rémi-Serge Gratton


Call me by your name


Directed by:
Luca Guadagnino

Screenplay by:
James Ivory
Based on the novel by André Aciman

Timothée Chalamet
Armie Hammer
Michael Stuhlbarg
Amira Casar

132 min.

Rated 14A

In English, French and Italian with English subtitles.

The divine order (Die göttliche ordnung)

It is stunning what you learn watching movies. For instance, in The divine order, the new film from Switzerland, you are told that women did not have the right to vote until 1971. This historical event is seen through the fictional story of Nora (Marie Leuenberger), a woman living in a small village with her husband Hans (Max Simonischek), her two boys and her taciturn father-in-law. Nora cleans and cooks for all of them without getting any help. When she tells Hans that she would like to get a job, he refuses, claiming that the law says it is his right. And it was. Everywhere in the village Nora sees that women are taken for granted and are treated unfairly by unjust laws. Soon she gets involved with the local suffragette movement working towards the upcoming referendum that could grant women the right to vote. Coming along with her is Vroni (Sibylle Brunner), a feisty elderly woman, and Nora’ sister-in-law Theresa (Rachel Braunschweig). Together they march in a protest and, in the funniest scene in the film, attend a hippie yoga session in which they are told to “love your vagina”. With the help of a mirror, each women have to look at their vagina and name what animal it looks like (“butterfly”, “bunny” or “tiger”). They come away from the experience with greater sexual awareness. That’s where Nora discover that she never had an orgasm. After being ridiculed by the men of the village and by Frau Dr. Charlotte Wipf (Therese Affolter), leader of the social club, the women leave their family and go on strike. I see no reason not to recommend this film. It is well conceived and directed by Petra Volpe. The three main actresses (Leuenberger, Brunner and Braunschweig) are excellent, as is the whole cast. And the topic is so interesting. It’s a story that has never been told.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


The divine order (Die göttliche ordnung)


Directed by:
Petra Volpe

Screenplay by:
Petra Volpe

Marie Leuenberger
Rachel Braunschweig
Marta Zoffoli
Sibylle Brunner
Ella Rumpf
Bettina Stucky
Max Simonischek
Therese Affolter

96 min.

Rated 14A

In Swiss German and Italian with English subtitles.

Wonder wheel

Wonder wheel, the new Woody Allen film is not a comedy but a melodrama. “I relish melodrama and larger-than-life characters,” says Mickey (Justin Timberlake) speaking to the camera. Mickey is a Coney Island lifeguard and wannabe playwright, and this type of naration is often used in theatre. This is the 1950s, and the film centres on Ginny (Kate Winslet), a clam-bar waitress and wannabe actress. She lives with her husband Humpty (Jim Belushi), a carousel operator, and her young son Richie (Jack Gore), an incorrigible pyromaniac. Their apartment next to the boardwalk is surrounded by the noise of the amusement park and the shooting games. The film starts as Humpty’s estranged daughter Caroline (Juno Temple) comes to seek refuge from her mobster husband. Initially Humpty refuses to get involved because he’s afraid the mobster will be looking for her. But her allows her to stay with them. Meanwhile, Ginny has an affair with Mickey the lifeguard, who is a few years younger than she is. That gives Ginny a little break from the gloom of life at the apartment where Ginny and Humpty are always fighting and Richie gets in trouble again with another fire he has started. With Mickey, Ginny can dream to be an actress again, and Ginny is happy. That is untill Mickey meets Caroline and he falls for her. Although this is an original screenplay by Woody Allen, it feels like a play, either adapted from another source or from an unproduced Woody Allen play. A big chunk of the action is stagey and takes place inside the apartment. But even when it does not, the screenplay has a series of speeches and monologues that seems like it was written for the stage. It may have been deliberate. Look at it this way: Ginny played on stage when she was younger, and Mickey, who wants to be a playwright, reads Shakespeare, quotes Eugene O’Neill (Wonder wheel might have been an O’Neill play, or a Tennessee Williams, or an Edward Albee). The characters in Wonder wheel are angry people, clinging on to their unattainable dreams. They are surrounded by a deafening dysfunctional noise. Wonder wheel is well directed by Allen with an acute sense of doom. But there is a lack of focus in the writing. There is enough drama and material for several films. Winslet is unforgettably tense in portraying Ginny’s increasingly hysterical neuroses. And legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s brilliant use of colors is one of the great joy of this Woody Allen film.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


Wonder wheel

Directed by:
Woody Allen

Screenplay by:
Woody Allen

Kate Winslet
Justin Timberlake
Juno Temple
Jim Belushi

101 min.

Rated 14A

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr story

On the surface Hedy Lamarr’s career as an actress is not very impressive. The Austrian-born film actress is mostly known for her nudity and a close-up of Lamarr (then Hedy Kiesler) feigning orgasm in the scandalous 1933 erotic film Ecstasy. Lamarr arrived in Hollywood in 1938 after MGM’s Louis B. Mayer signed her up. The publicity claimed she was “the world’s most beautiful woman”. And they might have been right. Her first Hollywood film was Algiers opposite Charles Boyer. Followed a series of increasingly forgettable films. So why a documentary about Hedy Lamarr? One thing that is not generally known is that Lamarr was also an amateur inventor. In 1942, Lamarr and her friend composer George Antheil designed a device that could help the war effort. Lamarr knew that radio-controlled torpedoes could easily be jammed, and the torpedoes diverted. With their “frequency hopping” device, Lamarr and Antheil could change the radio frequencies and help the torpedoes hit their targets. At the time the Frequency-hopping spread spectrum was rejected by the US Navy, but in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, updated versions of their design appeared on Navy ships. It’s amazing to learn that Lamarr and Antheil’s work led to the development of GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Lamarr made her last film in 1958, was arrested for shoplifting twice, she became addicted to pills and destroyed her beauty with too many plastic surgery. After 6 marriages, she retired to Miami Beach, Florida in 1981 and became a recluse. Today, there are the films of course and her work as an inventor has been posthumously recognized.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr story


Directed by:
Alexandra Dean

Screenplay by:
Alexandra Dean

90 min.

Rated Parental Guidance

The breadwinner

The breadwinner is an animated film about Parvana, an eleven-year-old girl living with her family in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. After her father is arrested, Parvana’s mother is having trouble feeding her children. Women are banned from going out in public without a man and at home there is only Parvana, her older sister and a little brother. So Parvana cuts off her hair and pretends she is a boy. She is then able to earn some money and buy food. One day she meets Shauzia, a girl who also dresses as a boy. Shauzia and Parvana become friends and help each other. At home, Parvana helps her family cope by telling them the story of a young boy named Sulayman who must confront his fears and fight a giant elephant. There are then two types of anination. The more realistic drawings for Parvana’s adventures, and the animation for the Sulayman fantasy tale. It looks like a paper collage, is more colourful, and can be very funny at times. Based on the popular children’s novel by Deborah Ellis, The breadwinner is really for adults and older children. It is beautifully made with a lot of careful details and respect. One more plus: the main character is a fearless girl. It has great artistic integrity and it is charming.

And the Oscar went to… The winner for Animated feature film was the more mainstream blockbuster Coco.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


The breadwinner


Directed by:
Nora Twomey

Screenplay by:
Anita Doran
Deborah Ellis
adapted from The breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

94 min.

Rated Parental Guidance