Berlin: Download THR's Day 4 Daily
The fest's fourth daily issue includes a look at Amazon's acquisition of a new thriller starring Kristen Stewart, the signs that Saudi Arabia is ready to return to promoting its nascent film industry and a conversation with filmmaker Agnes Varda.
The Hollywood Reporter has released its fourth Berlin International Film Festival daily issue, which features a new deal for Amazon, a look at Saudi Arabia's attempts to hit the reset button in their film sector and a chat with Agnes Varda about her new documentary.
Against All Enemies
After dominating the Sundance market by buying five of the hottest films, Amazon Studios has landed U.S. rights to Benedict Andrews’ political thriller Against All Enemies. The pic, which stars Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell and Anthony Mackie, is inspired by true events surrounding French New Wave darling and Breathless star Jean Seberg, who in the late 1960s was targeted by the FBI because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal. She was the focus of the FBI’s attempts to disrupt, discredit and expose the Black Power movement. Read more on the film here.
Hitting the Reset Button?
Six months ago, the global film industry was still abuzz about the newest (and somewhat deep-pocketed) guest at the table, as well as access to a previously non-existent box office market estimated to be worth $1 billion. But with the October murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a Saudi hit squad in Turkey, the world’s focus very quickly shifted away from business opportunities and onto the country’s human rights record, forcing many to reevaluate — or at least appear to reevaluate — their position on Saudi Arabia and its supposedly reformist defacto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Cinema chains that had previously rushed to announce investments were now “monitoring the situation,” while Endeavor pulled out of its $400 million deal with the Saudi government. In Berlin, however, there are signs — for the Saudi film scene, at least — that the Kingdom is ready to return to promoting its nascent film industry.
"Be Like a Potato"
Few tiny women have left such a large mark on the film world as French New Wave icon Agnes Varda. Often called the “godmother” of the movement thanks to early classics like 1962’s Cleo From 5 to 7, she has long left fiction filmmaking behind for her groundbreaking unscripted films, which blur the line between retrospective and reality with what she calls her “subjective documentary” style. Varda — who was presented with an honorary Oscar last year, the very same year she received her first nomination, at age 89, for Faces Places — takes center stage in her new doc, Varda by Agnes, screening out of competition in Berlin. Billed as a master class (“But I don’t feel like a master,” says Varda, with characteristic humility), the film is a collection of lectures the director has given everywhere from Harvard to Venice Beach, distilling her filmmaking lessons down to a big-screen philosophy she calls “cine-writing.” Now immortalized onscreen, the director doesn’t plan to give any more lectures, and this film may be her last, as she now plans to concentrate on art installations. THR sat down with Varda and her three cats in her Paris apartment in late January to discuss her latest release, staying true to her instincts and why she’s uncomfortable with awards.