La Vie en Rose
What: Biopic of French singer �dith Piaf.
Why: Want an Oscar? Make a biopic. Like Helen Mirren in The Queen, sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated Marion Cotillard disappears under the skin of a real person, uncannily evoking an icon's essence through physicality and emotions. Unlike traditional biopics, this saga skips around in time, leaving out whole chunks of Piaf's mid-20th-century life. The result is livelier and deeper than most biopics, tracing Piaf's live-it-up/go-to-hell spirit from poverty and abandonment through stardom and drug addiction, to her tragic decline and death at 47.
The Tracey Fragments Contest
What: Online challenge to re-edit movie.
Why: Calling all filmmakers and Canadians--this contest's for you. It's a chance to take a movie's raw footage, re-edit it multiple ways, then post it online. If you're Canadian, you can also get your version on the movie's DVD and win a Final Cut Pro package. These "fragments refragmented" suit the theme of this current Canadian feature: screens-within-screens, designed to represent a schizophrenic's shattered perspective. The contest works whether you like the movie or not--and it feels like the next frontier of user-generated content.
Paris, Je T'aime
What: 18 stories of love in Paris.
Why: It's like a biography of a geography--Paris in 18 short films, each made by a different filmmaker. Highlights include a deadpan Coen brothers skit with Steve Buscemi getting beat up in a Metro station; Gus Van Sant's anatomy of cross-cultural lust; Catalina Sandino Moreno as a wistful immigrant; Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands as bitter exes; sequences with Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood and Maggie Gyllenhaal; and Alexander Payne's memorable sketch of a Midwestern postal worker (Margo Martindale), which, like a great short story, evokes a whole life in just a few minutes.