A star and a virtuoso to make a festival splash

Isabelle Huppert, one of Europe’s greatest contemporary art-house film stars and an internationally acclaimed actress, is heading to Thessaloniki later this month to attend the city’s annual International Film Festival, taking place from November 19-28. The tribute to Huppert comes at a time when the award-winning actress is set to feature in two French films, Christophe Honore’s «Ma Mere» and Alexandra Leclere’s «Les Soeurs Fachees,» and an American comedy, David O’Russel’s «I Heart Huckabees,» which is eying choice nominations at the 2005 Academy Awards. As part of the tribute to Huppert, the festival will be screening her two latest French films. It is worth noting that «Les Soeurs Fachees,» which is to be shown at the Olympion Theater on November 21, is not due to premiere in France until December 22. In this incisive comedy, Huppert stars beside Catherine Frot as a sophisticated elder sister who cannot come to grips with her younger sibling’s literary success and obvious happiness. In «Ma Mere,» a provocative psychological drama, she once again – after winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival for a stunning performance in Michael Haneke’s 2001 «La Pianiste» – displays the depth and breadth of her interpretive skills in the role of Helene, a mother who initiates her teenage son into a secret life of sexual exploration, pushing their troubled relationship to the edge of incest. Other awards bestowed on Huppert include another Best Actress Award in Cannes for 1978’s «Violette Noziere,» 11 nominations for a Cesar and one win at the same festival for 1995’s «La Ceremonie,» as well as Best Actress awards from Lumiere (2000, for «Merci pour le Chocolat»), Montreal (same year, for the same film), Moscow (1991 for «Madame Bovary»), Seattle (2001, «La Pianiste»), and Venice (1995, «La Ceremonie,» and 1988, «Une Affaire de Femmes»). Her stature as an actress has allowed Huppert to work with leading directors, most notably Claude Chabrol, the Taviani brothers, Michael Cimino, Andrzej Wajda and Hal Hartley. Pioneer filmmaker Another recently announced treat for festival goers is an opportunity to learn some secrets from cinema master Peter Greenaway. The director, who has made landmark films such as «The Belly of an Architect» (1987), «Drowning by Numbers» (1988), «The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover» (1989), «The Pillowbook» (1996) and «8 1/2 Women» (1999) and has been nominated for four Golden Palms, will be in Thessaloniki to present his latest project, «The Tulse Luper Suitcases.» Already praised for his pioneering and theatrical visuals, original point of view and daring approach to cinema, Greenaway’s new cinematic trilogy is another leap into the unfamiliar, exploring new technologies and their applications in cinema. «The Tulse Luper Suitcases» is an epic film covering some 60 years of modern history – from 1928, when uranium was discovered, through the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The story is centered on Tulse Luper, «a professional writer and project-maker caught up in a life of prisons. He was born in 1911 in Newport, South Wales, and was presumably last heard of in 1989. His life is reconstructed from the evidence in 92 suitcases found around the world – 92 being the atomic number of the element uranium,» explains Greenaway on his website (petergreen What makes this project unique is that it has been shot using high-definition technology which allows a series of different visual presentations to take place in addition to the film’s action. But the secrets of the technique and what promises it holds for the future of cinema will be divulged by Greenaway himself in a masterclass at the festival.