The Best of 2006
The Washington DC Film Society announces the 6th annual vote for the Best of 2006. It's YOUR chance to tell us what you think are the best films, performances and director of 2006. This is not an Oscar opinion poll. These are what you think are the best movies of 2006.
Cast Your Ballot and Win
Yes, win! All ballots will be entered in a drawing to win great prizes, CDs, DVDs, videos, gift certificates and more. Ten people will win.
More details are available here.
Happy voting and the best of luck!
Comments by Guillermo del Toro, Director of Pan's Labyrinth
By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member
This Q&A took place December 12, 2006 at Landmark's E Street Theater. After a preview screening of Pan's Labyrinth, Director Guillermo Del Toro took questions from the audience and made these comments:
I'm a closet set designer. I design my own sets, sketch them, and use a different designer for each film. We had only twelve weeks to design the set for Pan's Labyrinth. This is what the pages in my notebook look like (shows his sketchbook).
David Cronenberg was a major influence. He is a nihilist and I am a romantic. I admire Terry Gilliam; we have the same sense of fantasy. Reality and fantasy have equal weighting. Also Luis Bunuel. Alfred Hitchcock because he was fat, Catholic and repressed; he had mysterious fantasies. I wrote a book on Hitchcock at the age of 23 [published by the University of Guadalajara Press]. He went from silent to sound; then from black and white to color. He said that if you are going to use sound, use it for a reason. Same with color. When you make beautiful images you have a beautiful film. People fixate on the screenplay with is a legacy from theater.
The film starts with two parallel stories that entwine and converge at the end. The ending is the same for both. Things echo in both worlds--the banquet, the descent into the pit and the descent into the mother's belly. The wheels echo the father's watch. Each has a different color scheme. The real world has cool colors--green, blue, grays. The fantasy world has lots of red. Same with textures and shapes. The fantasy has curves and round forms. Reality has horizontal lines. The shape of the trees echoes the shape of the faun. There are symbols in both stories, such as the key. You have to watch for them. There is a faun head over every door.
Each person has a sound associated with them. Ofelia is the swishing of silk. The faun is the creaking of wood, and the captain is the rustling of leather. I try to use low frequencies. I did the voice of the fairies and the frog; I like voicing the monsters--it takes longer to explain what I want to the sound man than to do them myself.
I'm Mexican, so for me blood does not mean death. We aren't obseesed by the end of physical life; I believe in immortality. The doctor is most alive when he tells the captain "only you can obey like that." At that point he has only a few seconds to live. But during those few seconds he is most alive; those were the best moments of his life.
This is the third film that Alfonso Cuarón and I have produced together. We have known each other for twenty years and have a professional friendship. The film cost 13.5 million euros. Early in the production our financing fell through. We needed 800,000 for the special effects. I didn't have it and told them to take my salary; Alfonso gave up his salary also.
Pan's Labyrinth opens in theaters on January 12. It has already been nominated for several awards and has been chosen as Mexico's Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film.
Washington DC Film Critics Awards
The Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) selected a movie honoring the memories of the brave heroes of September 11, the poignant United 93, as Best Film of the Year in a victory that could spur the movie's burgeoning Oscar hopes. Director Martin Scorsese was voted by the group as Best Director for his smash hit movie The Departed, while Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) was named Best Actor, and Helen Mirren (The Queen) was named Best Actress as both actors brought characters to real, and even sympathetic, life. Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) was a two time winner awarded Best Supporting Actress and Breakthrough Performance of the Year. In other categories, Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) was named Best Supporting Actor, Happy Feet danced away with Best Animated Feature and Pan's Labyrinth Best Foreign Language Film. Additionally, WAFCA honored two first time feature length screenwriters as Jason Reitman walked away with Best Adapted Screenplay for the DC-based Thank You For Smoking and Michael Arndt won Best Original Screenplay for the summer's surprise indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. The Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association is comprised of 36 DC-based film critics from television, radio, print and the internet. Voting was conducted from December 9-10, 2006.
Best Film: United 93
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker - The Last King Of Scotland
Best Actress Helen Mirren - The Queen
Best Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Best Director: Martin Scorsese - The Departed
Best Screenplay, Original: Michael Arndt - Little Miss Sunshine
Best Screenplay, Adapted: Jason Reitman - Thank You For Smoking
Best Foreign Film: Pan's Labyrinth
Best Animated Feature:Happy Feet
Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth
Best Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Best Ensemble: Little Miss Sunshine
Best Art Direction: Marie Antoinette
We Need to Hear From YOU
We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
King: A Filmed Record (Sidney Lumet and Josepsh L. Mankiewicz, 1970) is a compilation of documentary footage on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., showing on January 15 at 1:00pm. "Barbara Stanwyck: A Centennial Salute," starting January 26 and continuing through February, covers some of Stanwyck's best films including Baby Face, Double Indemnity, and Sorry, Wrong Number. "Stanley Kubrick: Selected Works" includes Paths of Glory, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove and more, starting January 26 and continuing to March 1. Looking for Richard (Al Pacino, 1996) is part of "Shakespeare in Washington" with Michael Kahn, Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director present to talk about the film. See the website for dates and times.
Freer Gallery of Art
The Freer's 11th annual Iranian Film Festival begins on January 12 at 7:00pm with Cease Fire (Tahmineh Milani, 2006), a feminist comedy, with a repeat showing on January 14 at 2:00pm. The Willow Tree (Majid Majidi, 2005) is on January 19 at 7:00pm and January 21 at 2:00pm. Mainline (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, 2006), about drug addiction, is on January 26 at 7:00pm and January 28 at 2:00pm. More in February.
National Gallery of Art
"Jacques Rivette on the Streets of Paris" is a series of films by the New Wave French director. On January 12 at 1:00pm and January 14 at 4:30pm is Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974); on January 20 at 2:00pm is La Belle Noiseuse (1991); on January 26 at 1:00pm and January 28 at 4:30pm is Paris Belong to Us (1958) preceded by Fool's Mate (1956); on January 27 at 2:30pm is L'Amour fou (1968). The series continues in February.
"Filming Othello" is a short series of films beginning January 5 at 12:00pm and January 6 at 12:30pm with Othello (Stuart Burge, 1965) with Laurence Olivier as the Moore of Venice. On January 5 at 3:00pm and January 6 at 3:30pm is Othello (Orson Welles, 1948) shown with Filming Othello (Orson Welles, 1977). On January 13 at 2:30pm is O (Tim Blake Nelson, 2001).
Other film events in January include "Norman McLaren Restored", a program of 11 short films in new 35mm prints on January 7 at 4:30pm. Absolute Wilson (Katharina Otto-Bernstein, 2006), a documentary on Robert Wilson is shown on January 21 at 5:00pm with the director present. The Open Road--England in the 1920s (Claude Friese-Greene, 1926), a series of 26 "color postcards" from various locations in Great Britain.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
A program of short films on Joan of Arc, presented in conjunction with the Corcoran Gallery's exhibition on Joan of Arc is on January 18 at 6:30pm. The premiere of Shonali Bose's Amu, a feature film from India is on January 24 at 7:00pm.
Films on the Hill
On January 10 at 7:00pm is Corvette K-225 (1943) with Randolph Scott as the head of a Canadian corvette protecting a convoy during WWII; footage from real battles is used. On January 13 at 7:00pm is The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) with Preston Foster, Alan Hale and Basil Rathbone. On January 17 at 7:00pm is Whispering Chorus a silent film from Cecil B. DeMille about an embezzler who plants his ID on a dead man, only to be arrested for the murder of himself.
Washington Jewish Community Center
Two video documentaries on the Israeli Kibbutz experience will be shown on January 29 at 7:30pm. The Children's House (Tamar Feingold, 2005) is about the former practice of communal parenting of kibbutz children; Kibbutz (Racheli Schwartz, 2005) tells how the realities of the global economy affect the communal lifestyle of the kibbutz.
The 15th Annual New Films from Germany runs from January 19-25 at Landmark's E Street Theater. Films include Summer in Berlin, A Friend of Mine, Ultima Thule: A Journey to the End of the World, Going Private, Warchild, Tough Enough, Wholetrain, Crash Test Dummies, Under the Ice, and Summer '04.
The series "New Women in German Cinema" concludes in January with Three Degrees Colder on January 8 at 6:30pm.
On January 12 at 6:00pm is Freedom Summer (Marco Williams, 2005), a documentary about the three students who were sent to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 to register black voters. The filmmaker will be present to discuss the film after the screening. On January 13 at 11:15am, noon and 12:45pm is The March (James Blue, 1964), a 30 minute film on the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
On January 17 at 8:00pm is Changing Times (André Téchiné) as part of "French Cinémathèque". A new series "Lions of Czech Film" begins on January 10 at 8:00pm with Loners.
As part of the Smithsonian Associates "Sunday Cinema at the Smithsonian" is Placid Lake (Tony McNamara, Australia, 2003) on January 28 at 1:00 p.m. This film won the Most Popular Feature at the Melbourne International Film Festival.