Updated September 29: “I, Anna” at More Festivals!
Great news! Director Barnaby Southcombe will attend the Vancouver International Film Festival October 6-8! Stay tuned for pictures of the event provided by him!
Vancouver International Film Festival review: I, Anna
September 27, 2012 by Glen Schaefer
Charlotte Rampling is an enigmatic divorcee looking for love, or at least lust, in a misty London. Gabriel Byrne is a cop looking into a man’s beating death in his apartment, after the man attended a speed-dating session. There’s considerably more than that going on in this thriller by writer-director Barnaby Southcombe (Rampling’s real-life son), but all you need to know is that Byrne and Rampling are each in peak form amid twists, illusions and passions.
Another lovely promo picture provided by Barnaby Southcombe
Screenings Monday November 5 and Thursday November 8
In this moody, stylish film noir, Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne play lonely divorcees on either side of a mysterious murder.
When police detective Kominski (Gabriel Byrne) spots Anna (Charlotte Rampling) coming out of a building where he’s investigating a murder, he tracks her down through her car number plate –not because he suspects she has anything to do with the crime, but because he wants to see her again. Their obvious attraction to each other and brooding relationship is hampered only by Anna’s hazy memories of why she was in the victim’s building in the first place. Director Barnaby Southcombe blends the moody atmospherics of film noir with the cold modernity of contemporary London to create an elegant psychological thriller with Rampling at her best as a sensitive and under-confident older woman.
Here is the trailer:
Updated September 21: “I, Anna” at Vancouver International Film Festival
I, Anna will have a gala screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 6 at 7:00 pm, with subsequent showings on October 7 and 10.
No word yet on who might be in attendance, so stay tuned!
Synopsis from the Vancouver festival website:
Charlotte Rampling is at her commanding peak in this psychological thriller directed by her son, Barnaby Southcombe. Rampling stars as Anna, a forlorn divorcée who rolls the dice on a stranger at a speed-dating session and ends up entangled in a murder investigation. Further complicating matters is the immediate chemistry she shares with the dishevelled, heartbroken homicide detective (Gabriel Byrne) assigned to the case. Initially bonding over their respective romantic failings, they subsequently find their fates inextricably entwined. London’s abundant shadows and fog create the ideal milieu for this twist-laden affair in which motivations are murky and the truth remains constantly obscured.
Employing Richard Hawley’s swoon-inducing ballads and K.I.D.’s electro-tinged score to great effect, writer-director Southcombe proves highly accomplished at conjuring atmospherics in this vibrant neo-noir. And while Eddie Marsan, Hayley Atwell and Honor Blackman all deliver pitch-perfect supporting performances, it’s Rampling who takes centre stage and dazzles at every turn.
“Rampling slips into the role of grandmother femme fatale with convincing aplomb, aided by abnormally intelligent dialogue that would almost have been at home in a Hollywood film of the 1940s. Her class, wit and breathtaking figure in an evening dress befuddle the smitten detective to the point of compromising the investigation… The love story between the two mature protags feels convincing and possible…”—Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Thanks to Barnaby Southcombe for the “Tender Tuesday” picture below.
Updated September 8:
According to Sight on Sound, Gabriel Byrne is expected to attend the BFI festival. An official guest list will be published in early October.
And here is another picture provided by the film’s director, Barnaby Southcombe. Thank you, Barnaby!!
Intense. Moody. But not brooding…
Updated September 5: “I, Anna” at the 56th BFI London Film Festival
I, Anna will screen at the London Film Festival October 14 and 16 as part of the “Thrill” section (“Nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenaline pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat”).
Tickets go on sale September 24!
Here is what Michael Hayden has to say about the film at the festival’s website:
Anna Welles is a lonely divorcee who is encouraged by her daughter to attend singles nights, events which get her out of her cramped apartment and provide her with the opportunity to meet men. Following one such evening, she bumps into DCI Bernie Reid, a jaded police detective who is on his way to a crime scene. Reid is immediately enamoured with the enigmatic woman, tracking her down and spying on her. His burgeoning obsession leads him to neglect his work and make some questionable decisions, while Anna’s curious behaviour betrays the dark secrets she is keeping. Adapted from a novel by Elsa Lewin, and with Richard Hawley providing its soundtrack, Barnaby Southcombe’s debut feature is an elegant London-set noir, a moody, unsettling psychological thriller of considerable class. An exceptional cast is led by Southcombe’s mother, Charlotte Rampling, who puts in a performance that is characteristically committed and utterly riveting.
And here are some pictures provided by the film’s director, Barnaby Southcombe, whom we thank with all our hearts!
Updated August 2: “I, Anna” at the 65th Festival del Film Locarno
The film will be screening out of competition today. Barnaby Southcombe is there to introduce it. He has provided a photo of our “star-crossed lovers,” 20 feet high on display in the Piazza Grande.
Embargo Films promises more pictures and updates soon!
Congratulations to Charlotte Rampling on receiving the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon at the festival yesterday, August 1.
Thanks to Barnaby for this great shot.
This reminds me of the image I created:
Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne are always larger than life, it is true.
Updated July 13: Barnaby Southcombe Presents “I, Anna” at the 18th Annual Sarajevo Film Festival
From the festival’s official website:
Film I, ANNA Screened in the Olympic Hall Zetra
On Thursday evening (July 12) in the Olympic Hall Zetra, film I, ANNA by Barnaby Southcombe, which is part of this year’s selection of the Open Air Programme, was screened.
I, ANNA is an impressive film noir told from the perspective of an intriguing woman, a key suspect in a murder case, who becomes an obsession for the detective in charge of the investigation.
Leading roles in the film were realized by Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne, Hayley Atwell, Eddie Marsan.
After the screening, director Barnaby Southcomb greeted the Sarajevo audience.
It is so good to see him out there promoting and supporting his film in person with all of these film festival audiences. Yes, I know. We wish Mr. Byrne had been able to attend some of the events in person, in addition to Mr. Southcombe and Ms. Rampling. However, Gabriel has been busy being a mysterious passenger on a train, an embattled politician, and now he is a Viking, for heaven’s sakes! He cannot defy the laws of physics, despite our desire that he do so. You will see from the pictures below that Barnaby Southcombe is doing a great job sharing his vision–just as Gabriel would do.
All pictures are from the festival’s website.
Check out the festival’s YouTube Channel. They have day by day coverage and you can experience an entire day in 3 minutes–and it looks like a fun festival to attend in real life, too!
Updated July 5: “I, Anna” at the 65th Festival del Film Locarno and Charlotte Rampling to receive Excellence Award Moët & Chandon!
The Locarno Film Festival, or more formally, the 65th Festival del Film Locarno, runs August 1-11. I, Anna will be screening out of competition on Thursday, 2 August at 18:30, and will be introduced by Ms. Rampling.
In addition, Charlotte Rampling will receive the Excellence Award Moët & Chandon at the festival:
The Festival del film Locarno will present an Excellence Award Moët & Chandon to the English actress Charlotte Rampling. The award ceremony will take place on the Locarno Festival’s opening night on Wednesday 1 August on the Piazza Grande. The following day the public will have the opportunity to participate in a conversation with Charlotte Rampling.
To mark the occasion the Festival del film Locarno will screen out of competition one of the latest films with Charlotte Rampling: I, Anna (2012), by Barnaby Southcombe (Embargo Films), on Thursday 2 August at 18:30, introduced by the actress. Two other films will be screened in honour of Charlotte Rampling: The Night Porter (Il portiere di notte, 1974) by Liliana Cavani and Under the Sand (Sous le sable, 2000) by François Ozon.
Olivier Père, the Festival’s Artistic director, comments: “I’m delighted to welcome to Locarno Charlotte Rampling, an enigmatic and fascinating actress whose unique magnetism and beauty have graced several landmarks in contemporary cinema. From Visconti to Lars von Trier, from Woody Allen to François Ozon, from Liliana Cavani to Nagisa Oshima, Charlotte Rampling, by turns deadly or vulnerable, has fascinated several major filmmakers, and millions of viewers besides”.
Congratulations to Ms. Rampling on receiving this honor and also to Mr. Southcombe for yet another showing of his film!
No word on Gabriel Byrne’s participation, but it is highly likely that he will be engaged elsewhere, perhaps playing a Viking or a mysterious gentleman on a train or even an amorous guy named Humphrey…
And for those of us who are geographically impaired,
Locarno is in Switzerland.
Many thanks to the eagle-eyed Ara, our Byrneholics Paris Correspondent, for her help with this update!
Updated June 28: Gala Screening of “I, Anna” and Press Conference at the Moscow International Film Festival
I, Anna will have its fourth showing on the film festival circuit–a Gala Screening–on Friday, June 29 at the Moscow International Film Festival.
According to the schedule for Press and Industry Screenings, only a few films are categorized as Gala Screenings, including I, Anna, Iron Sky, The Admirer, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Love with an Accent, and Baikonur. The press conference takes place on the following day and both director Barnaby Southcombe and star Charlotte Rampling are scheduled to participate.
Press and Industry Screenings
Friday June 29 12.30 I, ANNA Gala Screenings UK, Germany, France
Saturday June 30 12.00 I, ANNA Press Conference Barnaby Southcombe/Charlotte Rampling
[Note: there are some discrepancies on the official festival website regarding the day and time of the press conference, but I think the information above is the most current.]
I love this blurb for the film:
Anna Welles lives in a tiny apartment in London. Although no longer young, she is nonetheless still attractive. From time to time she attends an event for singles where she occasionally meets a man and goes home with him. After one of her nocturnal rendezvous she comes to the attention of a detective superintendent who is investigating a brutal murder that took place at the high rise she is seen leaving the next morning. Somehow, this cultivated loner can’t seem to get this woman out of his mind.
Congratulations on the continued success of I, Anna as it makes its way across the world.
Updated June 27: Report from Sydney Film Festival by Kris, our Byrneholics Correspondent in Australia
Byrneholics live all over the world. We are lucky to have local correspondents in some far-flung places (well, these are far-flung places if you live in Texas, USA as I do!) such as both coasts of the United States, London and other parts of the UK, France, and now Australia. Kris, with whom we are all familiar in the Forum, had the grand opportunity to experience I, Anna at the Sydney Film Festival and she presents her report below. Thanks so much, Kris!
On a cold and rainy Sydney afternoon, I was recently lucky enough to see the Australian premiere of “I, Anna.”
I had been looking forward to seeing the film after reading the book and the pairing of Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling was irresistible.
The organisers chose to premiere the film at the State Theatre, a beautiful old theatre right in the heart of the city. I had not actually been to a film festival or a premiere before, and there was a real buzz to it. People were gathered in groups in the foyer sipping champagne, and it was all quite exciting.
The theatre has 2 levels (I chose the upper level) and by start time the theatre was almost completely full. Christopher Simon, the producer, and Barnaby Southcombe, director, were introduced. Barnaby seemed a little nervous and he made reference to the fact that this was only the second screening of the film in the world, the Berlinale last February being the other.
Without giving away much of the plot, the film was very engaging, with great performances by the leads and others. I do believe, particularly if you have read the book, a second viewing is essential. Firstly because you, like me, will tend to think of how the story evolved in the book and it isn’t quite like that. However, if you haven’t read the book, I still think a couple of other things/characters may not register, if that makes sense. So there are pluses and minuses to having read the book.
Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling work well together and this film inspires me to view some of her earlier work.
Gabriel Byrne is very handsome and charismatic in the role of a police Inspector who has lost his way a bit. Charlotte Rampling manages quite a difficult role, as internally she is a mess, following a difficult divorce, but this is conveyed in strange actions, which ultimately make sense. Having some sort of voice-over or straight out explanations just wouldn’t have cut it.
It is a very engaging film, which I would recommend thoroughly, and as I mentioned before, a film well worth seeing a second time.
The handsome and charismatic Gabriel Byrne at work
Updated June 25: Shanghai International Film Festival + Review/Interview from Sticky Trigger at Sydney Film Festival
The reception at the Shanghai International Film Festival was great. According to tweets from Embargo Films, the screening was packed, the audience was great, and the response amazing!
On the red carpet at Shanghai
“I, Anna” was part of the official competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival
Meanwhile, Libby Popper at Sticky Trigger provides a review (glowing) and an interview with director Barnaby Southcombe (enlightening and including audio) that took place at the Sydney Film Festival [Please note: neither the review nor the interview are available at the Sticky Trigger website as of February, 2015].
We thank her for both! A side note: this is the first review I have seen that captures some of the elements of the film that seem to have been overlooked by others: Southcombe’s use of noir tropes, his refusal to rely on voice-over to capture the interior monologues of the protagonist, the filming of London to create a sense of isolation, the “creepy undertone that something’s not right.” Some early reviews seem to want this film to be more standardized and traditional noir. Something else is going on here–neo noir— and I am happy that someone is seeing it!
Excerpt from the review:
I spent the whole time, regardless of the fact that we know from the outset that she’s the femme fatale, wishing that she somehow wasn’t involved at all. Southcombe and Rampling do a really good job of keeping us on Anna’s side – which isn’t easy with a character who is so clearly unstable. Rampling is classy even in hysterics, and it’s so nice to see a naturally aged [Note from Stella: I would have used the word “aging” here] beauty on screen.
I was so excited to see an older femme fatale take centre stage and I was so glad Southcombe didn’t use narration to try to get those internal thoughts across. The actors manage to convey everything they’re thinking and I’m sure the perfect pairing of Rampling and Byrne will stick in the audience’s minds. I hope they get more work together because they have a great chemistry, and the haunted look they both share in I, Anna is just beautiful.
Libby: Were there any major hiccups in the filming process?
Barnaby: Financing is always but there’s nothing new there. It always takes time to you know… films are costly exercises but not even a week before shooting, my leading lady arrived for costume fitting and looked a bit sheepish and had sunglasses on. She then pulled up her sleeve and she’d broken her wrist and was in a huge plaster cast and I was like, ‘Oh my God’. Obviously that kind of threw everything out and there was certainly no room for that. We looked into insurance and then we looked into everyone’s availability – it was that kind of thing where this was the time that everyone could be there and so if we delayed then we would have lost Gabriel and all that. I had to make a decision over the weekend, I needed time to think about it and I had to decide whether this was something that could work for the film and for the story. I had a very long and sleepless weekend but I came out the other end thinking that actually this was a blessing in disguise. It became a crucial part of the storytelling, because she has amnesia and she can’t remember what’s happened and if she was involved in this murder or not. So actually, really interestingly, the cast became a physical manifestation of her amnesia and this pain that keeps coming back but she doesn’t know what it is. It was a very nice cinematic device, which I kicked myself for not having thought of myself. So it did work out well but my God that was a bit scary so close to the shoot.
UPDATED June 22 : Official Competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival
I, Anna is in Official Competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival. The film screens there June 23.
The festival official competition award is called the Golden Goblet and the chair of the Official Competition Jury is director Jean Jacques Annaud.
Cross your fingers for I, Anna!
Official poster for the Shanghai International Film Festival
UPDATED June 20 : UK Release Date!
Sources report that I, Anna will be released in the UK on 12 October 2012. Our roving UK Correspondent Billy D will be providing a report as soon as she sees it, so stay tuned!
UPDATED June 16 : Review from FilmInk
Another review starts off a bit on the negative side but, as you read along, you find out some pretty wonderful stuff!
FilmInk [the review is no longer available on the Internet]:
Charlotte Rampling is Anna – except when she’s speed dating, when she dons the name tag ‘Allegra’. An enigmatic character that the veteran actress delivers with exquisite vulnerability, Anna’s sense of isolation is palpable. That isolation is enhanced by the way London is depicted here – it feels like an anonymous big city. The landmarks are gone.
Aging is another of this film’s themes – and Rampling captures the quiet agony of getting older with delicacy (and without botox, evidently – both she and Byrne are free of the dreaded plastic-face-actor syndrome).
There are lesser but still impressive sequences, though – like the one involving a green child’s umbrella that Anna loses and Bernie finds, and the dinner when Bernie admits to Anna that being a cop is just a job to him. People think he has this great zeal for justice, he tells her, but that’s not the truth. In between these more involving moments of symbolism and honesty are too many where not a lot is going on. Southcombe, who adapted the screenplay from Elsa Lewin’s novel, gets excellent performances from his cast, and although the atmosphere here is not as noir-ish as alleged in the publicity, it’s skillfully created…
It seems that the marketing of the film as a film noir or thriller has raised expectations that are not being met. Perhaps neo-noir would have been better? Or how about “a mood and character piece,” as the reviewer suggests? We need a catchy word for that!
UPDATED June 14 : The Reel Bits Interview with Barnaby Southcombe at Sydney Film Festival
Barnaby Southcombe, writer and director, talks about his first film with Richard Gray over at The Reel Bits. Richard interviewed him at the Sydney Film Festival and he asked some very good questions.Here are two excerpts:
The two for me was Gabriel [Byrne] and Charlotte [Rampling]. Casting is everything, in your decision as a filmmaker it’s the most important. The people who are your heads of department and your cast are the most important, and those are the two people I wouldn’t have made the film without. I wrote with both in mind when I was writing. The others, not so much, I was more flexible with, I’d written with some people in mind and others not. But those are the two I…basically wouldn’t have done the film had they not committed to it.
On translating the novel to the screen
It’s a very familiar premise, in that you have a cop transgressing, but it was very different from the start. It starts with the internal monologue of a woman, and the woman of a certain age who is dealing with very real, a very fragile time in her life. It was a very interesting flip, I guess, subverting the whole femme fatale genre and putting it as an older woman, which I thought was quite interesting. Also, telling it from the point of view of this woman, which I thought was quite interesting. There’s the traditionally objectified woman viewed from afar, through the prism of the male gaze, this was somebody who -it was kind of told from her point of view, and I thought that was a really interesting twist on it. I hadn’t seen that before. I guess finding love at a later stage in life, it’s a very scary prospect. Those kind of things, those risks I find that very beautiful. The character is what interested me, and the story to a certain extent. I added elements to it, because it was quite basic. They pass the scene of a crime, and he gets this umbrella and that’s very much it. So there were added elements of psychology and psychosis which I added. What was very interesting for her is that it was all internal monologue, which obviously reads great, but for an adaptation is a fucking nightmare [laughs], and I didn’t want to use voice-over. I think the starting point is don’t start with voice-over, because it always feels like patch-up work, so you want to try and avoid using it at first. It was an interesting adaptation process, because there was so much internal monologue, how to represent that visually.
Mr. Southcombe also notes the I, Anna is on the festival circuit in a big way:
We’re in official competition in Shanghai next week or the week after, and we’ve got a gala screening in Moscow. Then after that we go to Sarajevo, and to Pula, which is in Croatia, which I wasn’t familiar with, and Lorcarno…
A very fortunate Byrneholic saw the film at the Sydney Film Festival. Her report is in the Forum, so join up and check it out!
Here is a video of the press conference at the Berlinale in February, with Mr. Southcombe and Charlotte Rampling talking about Gabriel Byrne’s participation in this film. It cannot be downloaded so go watch it at the Getty NZ site!
Stay tuned for more news and reviews.
Original Posting June 7: Sydney Film Festival and Sarajevo International Film Festival News + Review from Matt’s Movie Reviews
I, Anna is making the rounds of the festivals, much to our delight. First up is the Sydney Film Festival, as we have reported previously, where the film will be showing as part of the program Special Presentations at The State, the city’s historic theater, along with such films as Amour, which knocked out audiences at Cannes, Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share, and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. That is great company for our favorite I, Anna, yes? There is a very happy and lucky Byrneholic who will be viewing the premiere of the film in Sydney on June 10 and we hope to have an account of her experiences to share with you shortly after.
According to The Brag [this article is no longer available at The Brag website], Fergus Linehan, director of the Sydney Film Festival before moving on to the Sydney Opera House, is pretty excited about I, Anna too and has placed it on his hitlist of top 5 films to see at the festival:
I’m a huge fan of Irish actor Gabriel Byrne – In Treatment was one of the best TV shows of the past decade – but I haven’t seen him on the big screen for a long time.
We hear you, Fergus!
Next up, the Sarajevo Film Festival, which runs July 6 – 14. The first Open Air Programme Films and Guests for the festival have been announced.
Sarajevo Film Festival audience this year again will have an opportunity to see the remarkable films at one of the most attractive festival stages !hej Open Air cinema.
The first films that will be screened at the Open Air program were announced at a press conference Tuesday. Winner of the Jury Prize of 65th Cannes Film Festival, THE ANGELS’ SHARE by Ken Loach, the French blockbuster THE INTOUCHABLES by Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano, as well as I, ANNA by Barnaby Southcombe will be screened at the !hej Open Air cinema.
And here is what they have to say about I, Anna:
United Kingdom, Germany, France, 2012
Director and Screenplay: Barnaby Southcombe
Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne, Hayley Atwell, Eddie Marsan, Jodhi May, Ralph Brown, Max Deacon, Honor Blackman
Another exciting film arrives to the Open Air cinema this year. It is a debut full length feature film by Barnaby Southcombe, a thriller entitled I, ANNA, which has been screened at this year’s International Film Festival in Berlin, as part of the Berlinale Special programme.
This touching film noir is told from the perspective of an intriguing woman (played by the remarkable Charlotte Rampling), the main suspect in a murder case, who becomes an obsession of the detective in charge of the case (Gabriel Byrne). This highly stylized psychological thriller, set in the gloomy and dark London, brings about a series of dramatic reversals in relations between a man and a woman.
Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Reid hasn’t slept for weeks. Recently separated from his wife and son, he prowls the city as it sleeps. He fields a call to an apartment, where he finds divorcee George Stone bludgeoned to death. Near the scene of the crime, Bernie is distracted by an encounter with a female passer-by, who leaves a lasting impression: Anna. He follows Anna and when they finally meet at a singles’ party, the mutual attraction is instant, although Anna has no recollection of Bernie, nor of the night they first met. As evidence begins to point to Anna’s involvement in Stone’s murder, Bernie’s professional judgement battles with his desire for intimacy and love…
DIRECTOR BARNABY SOUTHCOMBE
ACTRESS CHARLOTTE RAMPLING
PRODUCER CHRISTOPHER SIMON
More about the Open Air Programme:
Open Air Programme offers the first-class film achievements to the satisfaction of the most demanding film fans. Every night, this attractive programme offers an unforgettable experience of watching films in !hej Open Air Cinema, under the stars on the biggest screen in the region and at top projection quality.
Apart from premieres of the new Bosnian films, the Open Air programme offers top quality European film, independent American production and films from the recent documentary feature production. Another very important thing for the future development of the !hej Open Air Cinema concept is the fact that nearly all of the films shown will be attended by several guests, producers, actors or directors, who will personally present their films to our numerous and diverse audience.
The complete schedulee for the festival will be published on the festival website on June 25.
Finally, here is a review from Matt at Matt’s Movie Reviews, who gives I, Anna 3 1/2 stars and seems to like it, mostly:
Based on the novel by Elsa Lewin, I, Anna is a film filled with noir conventions that are tinkered with and well played. Rampling makes for a stunning femme fatale even the age of 66 while also portraying a sympathetic fragility, and Byrne bring a smouldering energy and hound dog look to his role even though he is playing more of a workaday cop than a dogged one…
In the end I, Anna will best be remembered for the pairing of Rampling and Byrne. It’s not often that either actor can headline their own film in an industry unkind to those over the age of 60. Nor is it often that either actor would appear in a film as well written and directed as this in the current stage of their careers. But their pairing in I, Anna is our gain, for these are two talents that suit each other very well.
Not too sure about that last bit, Matt. Mr. Byrne is working on at least seven different projects at the moment with some of the best directors and writers around. But in general, yes. We will probably remember I, Anna as the film that brought Ms. Rampling and Mr. Byrne together to burn up the screen.