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Drama Movies

July 4 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter

"It's really true; there's no accounting for taste. Sometimes you make very interesting movies that aren't meant for everybody. But this is a capitalist society, so everything conspires to put value on whether it sells or not. While we have a very strong popular culture, the roots of our culture are very shallow, and we put emphasis on how a movie does as far as the box office goes. Many years ago, it would have been vulgar to print box-office grosses in the paper. Now The New York Times does it, and it's the big story for people interested in arts and entertainment on Monday. Which is why emphasis has shifted away from filmmakers and fallen on movie stars and business people." Actor Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe was the guest of honor at the Czech film festival at Karlovy Vary, which opened on Friday, July 1st. Dafoe walked the red carpet and received the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema. Two of his films, "Pasolini" and "The Last Temptation of Christ" will be screened at the festival.

Dafoe, a native of Wisconsin, frequently works overseas; he has made films with Danish director Lars von Trier, and the film I reviewed this week is an Australian production. "The Hunter" centers on the search for a Tasmanian tiger, which is actually a carnivorous marsupial. The animal is referred to as a tiger because of the stripes on its hind quarters. The film shows black-and-white footage circa 1933 of the tiger, which is a strange blend of kangaroo and wolf. "The Hunter" was filmed on location in Tasmania, and the combination of the unique landscape and unusual subject matter is something I really enjoyed.

Dafoe is also in the news this week due to the death of director Michael Cimino. Dafoe was cast in Cimino's troubled film, "Heaven's Gate", but was fired from the production. In an interview, Dafoe said he had no hard feelings towards Cimino and the director did ask him to appear in another of his films. That did not come to pass but Dafoe said it was a shame the way Cimino was punished for the perceived excesses of "Heaven's Gate". That film went over budget and finished costing in the neighborhood of $40 million dollars. That was 1980 and even accounting for inflation, it still seems ridiculous that Cimino was excoriated for spending that amount when current blockbusters are budgeted in excess of $150 million dollars.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

The Hunter Film Review
The Tasmanian tiger was declared extinct in the 1980s, but is it? A biotech company does not think so and hires a mercenary to hunt the animal down. Willem Dafoe delivers another stellar performance in this unexpectedly beautiful and moving psychological thriller from Down Under.


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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