Widehouse

Biographies

Ulyana Lopatkina: A Russian Star

HD - 2015 - French - 90 min - Color / Black & White

Ulyana Lopatkina: A Russian Star

Ouliana Lopatkina: La Divine (original title)


A film by Marlène Ionesco

Born in 1973 is a small Ukrainian village, Ulyana Lopatkina reveals herself as a precocious dancer and enters the prestigious Vaganova Academy in Saint-Petersburg from which she graduates with a Grand Prix in 1991.

 This is when she starts collaborating with the Marinski theatre where she quickly becomes a Prima Ballerina with incredible performances.

Injured, she will stop dancing for two years and come back with more insurance and more characters personification. She then triumphs with Swan Lake and according to specialized critics, she is to date the most beautiful swan they ever seen in the history of classical ballet.  




AGNES LETESTU

HD - 2014 - French - 93 - Color

AGNES LETESTU

Agnes Letestu (original title)


A film by Marlène Ionesco

The film focuses particularly on the two last years in this prestigious institution. The story of this film takes us to the official farewell of Agnès Letestu with "La Dame Aux Camelias" by John Neumeier in the evening of October 10, 2013 at the Opera de Paris. From "Children of Paradise" to "La Dame aux Camelias" by choreographer José Martinez, this film captures the ultimate emotional and magical moments on stage, in rehearsals and backstage.The testimonies of major choreographers of our time such as W. Forsythe, Carolyn Carlson, Jri Kylian, Nureyev, Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Pierre Lacotte, and other stars like Jose Martinez, Stephane Bullion, Ghislaine Thesmaret bring a unique insight of Agnes Letestu. The film shows many extracts from classical and contemporary ballet: Cinderella and Swan Lake by Nureyev, The Prodigal Son by Balanchine, "Dances at a Gathering" by Jerome Robbins, “Signs” by Carolyn Carlson “Wound work” by Forsythe...In a long interview this extraordinary dancer opens up and gives us her past, present and future: a life devoted to dance.

 




CARMEL

35 mm, DCP, HD - 2012 - Israel, France, Italy - 93 Min - Color

CARMEL

Carmel (original title)


A film by Amos Gitai

Amos Gitai creates a kaleidoscope of images and associations from the distant Jewish past and the immediate Israeli present and brings us a deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary fragments, Gitai links his family history to ancient history. Through exquisitely composed long takes, he begins the film with his country’s biography, especially during the Roman siege of Masada during the Jewish rebellion of the first century (C.E.), and contrasts them to the young soldiers enlisting in Israel's army today, including his own son, making the film "a passionate expression of Mr. Gitai's anguish at living in a country in a continual state of war" (Stephen Holden, The New York Times).

The cycles of violence are never-ending, but so are the bonds of family. With Jeanne Moreau narrating poems, letters, and journal entries and "abstractly beautiful" (V. A. Musetto, New York Post) cinematography by Stefano Falivene, we are taken into a dreamlike state of overlapping images from different periods of Amos Gitai’s life and that of his mother Efratia, linking generations of Jews and Israelis within the warm embrace of memory.

Carmel feels like a cinematic poem. Its sequences and incidents are not designed to construct a linear narrative, as if chaos would be the only possibility in the world Amos Gitai sees around him. Sounds, music and images bang together. So is Gustav Mahler’s 1st Symphony bursting through the claustrophobic reality of people engaged in war or in an account of Amos Gitai's personal exploits as a soldier shot down in a helicopter during the Yom Kippur War. The filmmaker has turned into a great chronicler of his country.

 

 

 




LULLABY TO MY FATHER

DCP, HD - 2012 - Israel, France, Switzerland - 90 Min - Color

LULLABY TO MY FATHER

Lullaby to my father (original title)


A film by Amos Gitai

We follow the journey of Munio, Amos Gitai’s father, born in 1909 in Silesia, Poland, the son of a sharecropper of a Prussian junker. At 18, Munio leaves for Berlin and Dessau to study the Bauhaus of Walter Gropius, Kandisky and Paul Klee. In 1933 the Bauhaus is closed and soon after the Nazis accuse Munio of betraying the German people. Munio is jailed, then deported to Basel. From there he leaves for Palestine. Once in Haifa, he starts his career as an architect, adapting the European modernist principles for the Middle East.
The movie is a voyage searching for the relationships between a father and his son, architecture and movies, the history of a journey and intimate memories. Like in the movie CARMEL, based on director’s mother, Efratia's letters, there is no chronological sequence of events. It is not a reconstituted biography, but a mosaic. The story comes together piece by piece, as a poetical association of pictures, faces, voyages, real architecture and snippets of fiction. The movie interweaves historical events and intimate memories. Amos Gitai examines the way that architecture represents changes in society and those that shape the architecture. For the filmmaker, the traveler to these places, reality and remembrance are juxtapositions of fragments becoming incarnate in the movie




O Gringo

HD - 2012 - Serbia & Brazil - 90 min - Color

O Gringo

O Gringo (original title)


A film by Darko Bajic

Brazilian footballer usually becomes famous playing for greatest European clubs. This film is a story about European player who became greatest footballer in Brazil.

Dejan Petkovic, born in Serbia, is considered the greatest player of all time by many experts.

His fascinating football career is currently on its top in Brazil, the country of football.

When he was 37, he won the championship title with Flamengo club and was voted the best footballer in Brazil.

In the Maracana Walk of Fame he left his footprints, next to football legends like Pele, Zico, Zagalo, Ronaldo, Ronaldino, Kaka, Adriano and other football legends.  

 

O Gringo shows passionate football fans that follow each game with equal love and respect. It is with their positive approach that they create ideal atmosphere and make the football the most important unimportant thing in the world.




The First Rasta

HD - 2010 - France - 85 min - Color / Black & White

The First Rasta

Le Premier Rasta (original title)


A film by Hélène Lee

At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893 – 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and travelled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard “Gong” Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community in 1939.

 

By recreating a backdrop of that time from film archives, police reports and newspaper articles, we follow in the wake of this adventurer and track the evolution of his thinking.  Through direct witnesses we trace his evolution, from his return home in 1932 to the first manifestations of his movement.  For the first time, these centenarian survivors describe a Rasta movement that is very different from the usual clichéd images. Their interviews, sparkling with humor and common sense, outline not only the silhouette of a great leader, but the daily struggle of a handful of men and women who stand without fear in the face of an all-powerful global system.  An example of incredible moral courage at a time when black people in America and Africa were still considered to be sub-human and were subjected to forced labor and racial discrimination. They paid the price for this bold stand through relentless persecution and through systematic misinformation bent on making them look crazy – but in the end they won.

 

Reggae is everywhere, and millions of young people identify with its message. The release of this documentary film marks the end of the silence and the reintegration of the Rastas in the great altermondialist movement of which they are the precursors.

 

Thereafter, a way of living and thinking was developed which nourished the reggae culture that Bob Marley would spread worldwide. Thirty years after the singer’s death, it is high time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell, The First Rasta, whose revolutionary, political and social discourse resonates with the altermondialist movement of today.




Tony Curtis: Driven to stardom

HD - 2011 - France - 96 & 52 min - Color / Black & White

Tony Curtis: Driven to stardom

Tony Curtis: Driven to stardom (original title)


A film by Ian Ayres

Tony Curtis, the man who influenced Elvis Presley and James Dean, was one of the very first teen idols and one of the last real movie stars. From his difficult upbringing in the Bronx, where he was born Bernie Schwartz, to his unprecedented fame and infamous way with women, TONY CURTIS: DRIVEN TO STARDOM presents Mr. Curtis's life in all its rags to riches glory. Interviews with Tony's family, friends and co-stars (Hugh Hefner, Harry Belafonte, Debbie Reynolds, Mamie Van Doren, Piper Laurie, Theresa Russell, Jill Curtis among others!) along with exclusive footage and film clips are given deeper meaning and clarity by the most honest and intimate interview the actor may have ever given. Here, in the definitive film about Tony Curtis, filmmaker Ian Ayres forms this incredible material into a revealing portrait of one of the greatest Hollywood celebrities of all time.

 

TONY CURTIS: DRIVEN TO STARDOM explores the man's rebellious demeanor, his struggle as a Jew in Hollywood, his difficult childhood, the brief love affair with Marilyn Monroe and his failed marriages to actresses Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufman, his courageous stance to break the color barrier with The Defiant Ones (the film that earned him an Oscar Nomination), and his entire sixdecade career. A sex symbol, a matinee idol, a powerful and magnetic actor, Tony Curtis was the original movie star.




Milos Forman, what doesn’t kill you…

HD - 2011 - Czech Republic - 100 min & 4x56 min - Color

Milos Forman, what doesn’t kill you…

Milos Forman, what doesn't kill you... (original title)


A film by Miloslav Smidmajer

Though there were shot and air a few documentaries about Miloš Forman in the history – it is the theme which cannot make drying up of river, it is really still thrilling and inspiring theme…

There were a lot of changes in his life last fifteen years and his professional career waltzes through some specific turning points and peripetias… We also were in a position to peep into the en famille sneak-holes of his life due to our personal relationship and liason… the sneak-holes, which Miloš Forman seldom has talked about… but which have inspired him and his film creation and which resounded with rare pregnancy and unhoped-for chains of events in his movies.

 

This is no ordinary biography in our documentary. The professional career of the director Miloš Forman is organicly oozed through inscapes of his privacy and is set within the framework of a “short history” of filmmaking. The documentary pursues the idea of how important it is to allow room for films that bring big emotions and that champion the highest values, such as the freedom of mankind. Milos Forman reflects this theme of personal freedom with the rare cogency.

  

There are also framed short interviews of famous actors who had cooperated on most famous movies by Miloš Forman: F. Murray Abraham, A. Bening, W. Harrelson, L. Fletcher, N. Portman etc or short interviews of producers M. Douglas, S. Zaentz or his longstanding cooperator and friend J.-C. Carriere  in our documentary.

 

The documentary was filmed in the USA in Connecticut and New York, in Paris, Madrid and Valencia, and in Prague and other locations in the Czech Republic.