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LATEST UPDATE! Viggo-Works Fundraiser 2014 - We Still Are SSOOO Close!

Categories: Viggo-Works

We can see the goal line. We are asking one last time this year for your support.

To those of you who have contributed so far ... our SINCERE thanks.

We do, however, need everyone's help to reach our goal and keep Viggo-Works running for another year.

As with the previous 10 wonderful years, once again economic times are challenging, and this year,
we again need to ask for your support for the cost of our webserver to keep
Viggo-Works running. Those of you who have contributed over the years have
earned our undying gratitude. Thank you all so very much.

However, times
are still tight and again this year we find ourselves well short of our goal.
We are asking for contributions. Please contribute, as you are able, to keep us
going so that we can continue to enjoy Viggo-Works every day and every week.

To make a contribution to our webserver fund and to keep Viggo-Works
on the air… please click on the PayPal button
you see on the Lower Left side of the News Page

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Director David Oelhoffen looks for humanity in hell with the help of Viggo Mortensen in this gripping period epic.

Source: Little White Lies.
Found By: Chrissie

Chrissie brings us what Adam Woodward has to say about Viggo in this review from Little White Lies.

Image Michael Crotto.
© One World Films.

The sprawling existentialist odyssey has become a familiar motif at this year's Venice, with Tahar Rahim showing great perseverance despite being dealt a poor hand by Fatih Akin in The Cut, and before that Viggo Mortensen and director David Oelhoffen showing them how it's done with the elegant and enrapturing Far from Men. Based on the Albert Camus short story, 'The Guest', this is lensed by Guillaume Deffontaines (Camille Claudel 1915) and boasts some gorgeous landscape photography of the Atlas Mountains region, which provides the backdrop for an intimate buddy travelogue that embraces the tropes of the traditional frontier western.

Northern Algeria, 1954. Ex army major-turned-school teacher Daru (Mortensen) is faced with a grave dilemma when an Arabic-speaking criminal is dropped on his doorstep. Having been tasked with escorting the man, who's named Mohamed (Reda Kateb), to a town some several days' walk away to stand trial for the murder of his cousin, Daru must quickly decide whether or not to accept responsibility for this stranger. This being a film centred around an unexpected journey, there's no prize for guessing which way Daru's moral compass swings, although it doesn't make his internal tussle any less gripping. Either way though, it seems that Mohamed is living on borrowed time — be set free and he'll likely be scalped by the French; return to his village and his cousin's relatives will exact eye-for-an-eye retribution, as according to local custom.

No sooner do the pair set off than their relationship is put to the test. As they navigate this vast inhospitable terrain while attempting to stay out of sight, it becomes apparent that there are ulterior motives in play and the power balance slowly begins to tip. Initially their exchanges are more heated, but the longer they spend in each other's company and the more they go through together — their trek is punctuated by moments of sudden conflict and banterous companionship, like during a scene in a brothel that wryly recalls an earlier heart-to-heart — the stronger our emotional investment becomes. Though left unspoken, there is a mutual understanding between the two men that allows their bond to transcend its situational context.

Mortensen and Kateb are terrific together, their complex on-screen dynamic given a curious ebb-and-flow by Oelhoffen's intelligent script, which uses the looming civil war to position these men as contrasting "outsiders" — the pacifist with the military past; the killer who can't go home — while retaining a level of ambiguity concerning their obligation to one another. But this is Mortensen's film. As with Lisandro Alonso's exquisite Jauja, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, Far from Men finds Mortensen inhabiting the kind of enigmatic, erudite character you wouldn't hesitate to follow under similar circumstances. In many ways it's one of his less conspicuous, more lived-in roles, although he is given the chance to add a couple of strings to his multilingual bow, confidently switching between Arabic and French.

Revealing himself to be of Andalusian descent, Daru explains to Mohamed that his forefathers were nicknamed "caracoles", or snails, due to the fact that they carried their possessions on their backs. But his ancestral ties to this land count for nothing now that war is threatening to displace both natives and pre-colonialist settlers — the French regard him as Algerian while the Algerian's see him as French. For as long as he can hold off choosing a side, however, he will continue to show humanity the right path.

© Little White Lies. Images © One World Films.

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Venice 2014: 'Far from Men' Review

Source: Cine Vue.
Found By: Chrissie
© One World Films.

Our thanks to Chrissie for bringing us the review from John Bleasdale at Cine Vue.


Adapted from the Albert Camus short story The Guest, David Oelhoffen's second feature Far from Men (2014), a handsomely shot drama set during the Algerian War of Independence, joined the race for the Golden Lion at Venice 2014. Following his Spanish language Cannes entry Jauja (2014) earlier this year, multi-lingual Viggo Mortensen essays the role of Algerian-born Frenchman Daru, a teacher in an isolated school near the mountains. It is 1954 and the rebellion against French colonialism is in full swing. One day the local policeman turns up on horseback with a prisoner roped behind. Daru must escort the man to the nearby town where he is to be tried for murdering his cousin.

At first Daru refuses, a man of principle he will not be party to sending another man to his death. However, the vexed official leaves the prisoner Mohamed (Reda Kateb) behind and when the relatives of the dead man attack the school in order to exact blood vengeance, Daru is forced to start on the journey. The two men travelling on foot through roughest terrain, past abandoned villages and exposed to the elements and violence from all sides: first, the relatives of the dead man, but then enraged local French farmers who are happy to hang any Arab they find suspicious regardless of the crime. There are also bandits in the hills, but by far the biggest danger comes from the escalating war between the rebellion of national liberation and a murderously extreme French army with orders to take no prisoners.

Far from Men is set up like a classic western: there are horses and gunfights and even at one point a saloon. The isolation of the schoolhouse brings to mind The Searchers, while Daru's mission - such as it is - feels like 3:10 to Tinguit. Daru's war veteran turned pacifist has something of Henry Fonda's nobleness and Mortensen is one of the few actors working today (Mads Mikkelsen is another) who can make straightforward goodness into a rich and interesting character. There's even a little of Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) here, as the unlikely pair cross and re-cross invisible battle fronts. However, this isn't some generic, postmodern experiment. The film is heartfelt and sincere in its concern to understand conflict and the plight of good men when they're forced to make impossible choices.

The nascent friendship between Daru and his charge matures into a friendship as both characters learn to understand their situation better. Mohammad refuses the freedom Daru offers him, preferring to go to his death for noble reasons that belong to a culture that the didactic Daru doesn't - despite his lifetime spent in Algeria - fully understand. Kateb is fantastic as well, matching Mortensen's star power with a portrait in a different kind of honour. This is all set in the context of a magnificent widescreen landscape of desert and mountain range, shot by Guillaume Deffontaines. This visual polish is not for its own sake, however, and the extremes of weather and location are used to admirable effect, pitting our tiny individuals against the enormity not only of the hostile land, but of historical forces far beyond their mutual control.

Far from Men is further bolstered by a stunning score courtesy of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, a fitting companion piece to their work on John Hillcoat's Australia-set The Proposition (2005). They effectively blend local instruments without falling into exotic clich├ęs, creating a soundscape - a little reminiscent of Philip Glass' score for Kundun (1997) - to match the epic proportions on screen. Mortensen has parleyed his success and fame from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy into the possibility to make a wide range of experiments. In this case, he's amply rewarded with a film from Oelhoffen that's both a riveting, old-fashioned adventure and a politically considered treatment of a dark period in French colonial history.

© Cine Vue. Images © One World Films.

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Best of the Best: Images from the Venice Red Carpet

Source: Zimbio.
Found By: Chrissie
Again, thanks to Chrissie for the heads up on the set of great photos from Venice at ZIMBIO.

Images © ZIMBIO.

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First Venice Red Carpet Image

Again, our thanks to Chrissie] for the finds.

Other early images from the red carpet and another one here.

Images © AP: David Azia/LoudVision/LinkedIn Movies.

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Last edited: 1 September 2014 18:16:40