A diminutive, renowned, high-octane performer of the Spanish-speaking world, primarily in Mexican films from 1936, Cantinflas began his entertainment career at age 16 as a song-and-dance man in "carpa...
A new movie about a Spanish man's quest to meet John Lennon has been selected as Spain's official entry for next year's (15) Best Foreign Film Oscar. Director David Trueba's Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados (Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed) chronicles an English-language teacher's obsession with the late Beatles star.
The movie's title is a lyric from the Fab Four's Strawberry Fields Forever, which Lennon began writing in Almeria, Spain.
The Trueba family isn't new to Oscars glory - David's brother Fernando won gold in the Best Foreign Film category in 1994 for Belle Epoque.
Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados faces stiff opposition for a nomination in January (15) - Venezuela's Simon Bolivar biopic El Libertador - the most expensive film made in the nation - and Croatia's Cowboys, which won the Audience Award at the country's recent Pula Film Festival, are among the early favourites, alongside Mexico's Cantinflas and Turkey's Winter Sleep.
Venezuela, Estonia and Croatia are hoping to win first-time Oscar nominations after submitting official films for the Academy's consideration. Film bosses in the countries joined peers in Sweden, Finland, Mexico and Serbia by offering up their best movies for the Best Foreign Film category at the 2015 Oscars this week (beg08Sep14).
Venezuela officials chose historical drama El Libertador - the most expensive film made in the nation - while the Croatians surprised Oscars bosses by overlooking award-winning films Number 55 and The Bridge at the End of the World in favour of comedy Cowboys, which won the Audience Award at the country's recent Pula Film Festival. The Estonians have offered up another festival favourite, war movie Tangerines.
Croatia and Estonia have never been nominated in the 22 years the two nations have been submitting films for the Oscars.
So far, 14 countries have submitted official movies for Academy Awards consideration, with critics picking Turkey's Winter Sleep as the early frontrunner over films from Germany, Ukraine, Austria, Japan and Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Mauritania has made history by submitting its first film, Timbuktu, which premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and picked up the event's Ecumenial Jury award and Francois Chalais Prize. The movie went on to win the In Spirit for Freedom Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
The latest film submitted for consideration is Mexico's Cantinflas biopic, which was released in America late last month (Aug14), ahead of its debut in Mexico on 16 September (14).
The Sebastian del Amo movie features Oscar Jaenada as iconic comedian and actor Mario Moreno, aka Cantinflas.
The Academy Awards nominations will be announced on 15 January (15).
The film beat Dona Barbara and Maria Candelaria in a new Latina magazine poll.
Modern classics like last year's (08) Rudo y Cursi, Amores Perros, Like Water For Chocolate and Y Tu Mama Tambien also make the top 25.
The top five Must-See Mexican movies are:
1. Ahi Esta el Detalle
2. Dona Barbara
3. Maria Candelaria
4. Calabacitas Tiernas
5. Los Olvidados.
Based loosely on the 19th century Jules Verne novel 80 Days revolves around two unlikely heroes--the eccentric and reclusive inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) and his (French?) valet Passepartout (Jackie Chan). While Fogg's "wacky" inventions actually make a lot of sense to us modern-day folk including his insights on flight electricity (which he has rigged so that light illuminates with a whistle) and even Rollerblades to his turn-of-the-century contemporaries the scientist is a giant crackpot. Desperate to be taken seriously Fogg makes an outlandish bet with Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) the head of the London's Royal Academy of Science that he can circumnavigate the globe in no more than 80 days. Impossible you say? Not to Fogg whose obsession with facts and schedules makes him the perfect candidate for such an adventure. With the ever-faithful Passepartout by his side--who has his own secret reasons for joining in on the fun--Fogg heads out on his frantic heart-pounding journey picking up a third traveler a beautiful French artist named Monique (Cécile de France) in the process. But of course the trip doesn't go exactly as scheduled and Fogg as well as Passepartout learn more than a few valuable life lessons along the way. How sweet. Got a toothache yet?
Jackie Chan knows precisely what works for him. Differing slightly from the 1956 adaptation this 80 Days is all about Passepartout as the story tapers itself to fit Chan's specialties. This means you get to marvel once again at his masterful martial arts skills as well as chuckle at his innate sense of physical comedy. As another perfect straight man to Chan's Chinese sensibilities and kung-fu shenanigans Coogan (24 Hour Party People) also does a nice turn as the befuddled and veddy British Fogg while the lovely de France as Monique breathes some fresh air into her ingénue role (and is much more substantial to the plot than the original's Shirley MacLaine who played an Indian princess). Broadbent is adequately sleazy as the pompous Lord Kelvin full of as much hot air as the balloon Fogg and company take a ride in. But 80 Days's extensive list of cameos is the most fun--from Owen and Luke Wilson as the bickering Wright brothers to Rob Schneider as a malodorous San Franciscan hobo to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Arabian prince (please tell me he made this before he became California's governor). Plus any movie in which Kathy Bates plays Queen Victoria British accent and all has got to be worth seeing .
Minus all the silly songs 80 Days is splashy family fare reminiscent of such films as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryand the original 1967 Doctor Dolittle (you know the one with a giant pink sea snail). Supported by glorious sets and costumes director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) clearly loves the fanciful adventure of it all creating colorful transitions from one place to the next as Fogg Passepartout and Monique traverse across the globe. But there's always an inherent problem with films of this nature--they tend to be long-winded. The 1956 version of 80 Days which even with a stellar cast including David Niven and Cantinflas drags quite a bit. But with a feisty martial arts expert in the mix this updated 80 Days maintains its momentum for the most part only losing steam towards the end especially after the whole Passepartout subplot in which he has to return a priceless Buddha to his Chinese village is resolved. Suddenly the film becomes just about the race back to London and less about fighting off evil Chinese assassins. Honestly we don't care much about how an uptight British inventor can build a plane out of a boat that will get him back to his final destination in time so he can give a monologue about how his adventure afforded him to make new friends and fall in love. If it's a Jackie Chan movie it's the awesome fight sequences we want to see.
Starred in the lavish, all-star English-language comedy, "Pepe"
Taken to court in the late 1980s by an American woman who lived in Houston and had a longtime relationship with Cantinflas after his wife died; sued for alimony; Cantinflas lost case
"The Adventures of Cantinflas", a series of cartoons, produced by Televicine
Performed in three comedy shorts to take advantage of his new fame: "Cantinflas y Su Prima", "Cantinflas Boxeador" and "Cantinflas Ruletero"
Made feature film debut in a small role in "No Te Enganes Corazon/Don't Deceive Yourself, My Heart"
First starring role, "Ahi Esta el Detalle/There Is the Detail"
First worked with director Miguel M. Delgado on "El Gendarme Desconocido"
Met with President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico; announcement made of a national tribute to Cantinflas in December
English-language film debut, "Around the World in 80 Days"
Made approximately one film a year with Delgado
Became involved in philanthropic causes, especially those benefitting children
In the early 1970s, signed with Televicine, the feature production branch of Televisa, a major Mexican TV conglomerate, to make and distribute his films
Last film, "El Barrendero" (date approximate)
Worked as a song-and-dance man in shows staged in tents in Jalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico
A diminutive, renowned, high-octane performer of the Spanish-speaking world, primarily in Mexican films from 1936, Cantinflas began his entertainment career at age 16 as a song-and-dance man in "carpas", variety shows staged in tents. He also performed as a circus clown, a bullfighting clown and an amateur bullfighter, and gradually developed the star persona which would serve him so well in his 50 films. His early films include his debut in "No Te Enganes Corazon/Don't Deceive Yourself, My Heart" (1936) and "El Signo de la Muerte/Sign of Death" (1939), but it was "Ahi Esta el Detalle/There Is the Detail" (1940), which began his reign as the Spanish-speaking world's most popular comic at the advent of Mexican cinema's "Golden Age".<p> Usually mustachioed, his dark hair tousled and often sporting an impishly perched hat, Cantinflas essentially played the "pelado", an impoverished wiseacre, who, in the tradition of the great American silent comedians, often found most of the world against him. His background as an acrobat gave him moments of Keaton-like grace, his clever yet sometimes naive go-getter style can be seen as a first cousin to Harold Lloyd, and like Chaplin, he touched the heart while defending the weak and often had trouble keeping up his pants. Cantinflas acquired the nickname, "the Mexican Charlie Chaplin", and the great actor-director, upon seeing the work of his younger Latino colleague, dubbed him "the greatest comedian in the world."<p> Cantinflas was, however, very much a comic of the sound era, one of his trademarks being his rapid patter line delivery as he outfoxed authority with a lengthy stream of gobbledygook. His verbal humor managed to play as well in Spain and the rest of Latin America as it did in his homeland, but its charm was all but lost in translation and doubtless became one of the reasons why Cantinflas's work has been virtually unseen in the U.S. and much of Europe. The Spanish academy, however, even accepted a verb based on his name, "cantinflear"--meaning to say nothing in the most verbose manner possible--into the lexicon.<p> Cantinflas's work was hardly divorced from the English-speaking world. His own favorite among his films, "Ni Sagre Ni Arena/Neither Blood nor Sand" (1941), was an obvious and highly amusing spoof of the Tyrone Power vehicle, "Blood and Sand" of earlier that same year (as well as its 1922 Rudolph Valentino predecessor). And by the mid-50s his fame from films including "Un Dia con el Diablo/A Day with the Devil" (1945) and "El Bombero Atomico/The Atom Bomb" (1951) had spread to the extent that Mike Todd cast Cantinflas in the key role of Passepartout in the lavish "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). If this Oscar-winner, top-heavy with dozens of star cameos, doesn't hold up today, Cantinflas' briskly amusing charm as the hero's resourceful valet does. Columbia followed up with a lavish, cameo-ridden vehicle for the feisty Mexican, but "Pepe" (1960) was such a disaster critically and commercially that Cantinflas never made another US film.<p> Instead, Cantinflas returned to his home turf, continuing the exclusive collaboration with director Miguel M. Delgado which had begun in 1942 with "El Gendarme Desconocido/The Unknown Policeman". In a 1972 series of cartoons, "The Adventures of Cantinflas", and in features like "Un Quijote Sin Mancha/A Quixote Without a La Mancha" (1969) and "El Ministro y Yo/The Minister and Me" (1976) the gracefully aging comic still delighted his immense following. Cantinflas spent much of the 1980s involved in philanthropic work, especially for the benefit of children, and he was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Mexican Academy of Cinemagraphic Arts and Sciences in 1988.
Mario Arturo Moreno Ivanova
of Russian descent; Cantinflas outlived her
Received the Gracias Amigo Award, presented in Houston TX, for his work in promoting Mexican-USA relations