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Festroia


The 26th edition of FESTROIA: TROIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL will be held from June 4 to 13 in the beautiful coastal resort town of Setubal, Portugal. The Festival, the country's oldest and most prestigious, is known as the "Cannes of Portugal" and showcases international talents from around the world, with competition sections, special events and a program  of new works from emerging North American independent filmmakers from the U.S.A.


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Christopher Plummer In An Oscar-Worthy Performance

Friday, June 8-------On the (regrettably) long list of top-flight performers who (quite astonishingly) have never even been nominated for an OscarChristopher Plummer is certainly among the most neglected in this respect. Awards aside (and he has won his share), the veteran actor has a long list of film credits going back to the 1960s, which includes such classics as THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965), THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN (1969), SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1980), MALCOLM X (1992) and TWELVE MONKEYS (1995). In the past decade, Plummer has given some of the most intriguing film performances of his career, including his role as television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's THE INSIDER (1999), a role which won him Best Supporting Actor nods from the Boston Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation and the National Society of Film Critics. That career boost put Plummer back in demand, with acclaimed turns in A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001), COLD CREEK MANOR (2003), ALEXANDER (2004), SYRIANA (2005), THE NEW WORLD (2005) and INSIDE MAN (2006).

Plummer may have just aced a career-capping performance in his latest film, MAN IN THE CHAIR, written and directed by Michael Schroeder, which screened at Festroia last evening. Plummer plays "Flash" Madden, a retired film gaffer who is the only surviving crew member from the Orson Welles classic CITIZEN KANE. After a career working with some of Hollywood's greats, Madden is now in his 70s, a drunken shell of a man who holds on to bitterness and cynicism as protective shields against a Hollywood that no longer values him.

Living out his days in drunken disgust at the Motion Picture Home, Madden seems on a downward spiral until he encounters Cameron Kincaid (played by rising star Michael Angarano), a rebellious 17 year old from a broken home who tries to enlist him in a student film project. At first derisive, Madden realizes that this may be the road to his own personal salvation and becomes more involved in the film, a personal essay on how contemporary society marginalizes the elderly. He enlists the long-out-of-work fellow members of the Motion Picture Home, as well as a celebrated screenwriter who has not been employed in decades (a delicate performance by film veteran M. Emmet Walsh). The making of the film, and the community that emerges from the collaboration, transforms the lives of all involved, including the young Cameron who learns valuable life lessons from his mentor. For "Flash", the experience allows him to rediscover his dignity so that he can accept his fate with  peace and tranquility.

Schroeder, whose directorial credits to date have mainly been in the "b" picture arena, works with great skill and delicacy to set up the unhappy lives of all concerned and uses the transformative power of the love of cinema to impart life lessons on the importance of being valued and in expressing compassion. Schroeder has been honored at the recent Method Fest with the Best Director Prize, with the film winning for its Best Ensemble Cast, as well as the Best American Film prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The film has been screened to great acclaim in the youth section of the Berlin Film Festival and at festival events in Rome, London, Cannes and Palm Beach. The film will open theatrically via Shadow Distribution this Fall and is being represented internationally by Shoreline Entertainment. A campaign is just beginning to put Plummer's name forward for Oscar, SAG and BAFTA awards. 

Plummer, his handsome visage almost unrecognizable in grizzled makeup, uses his expressive face and beautiful tonal gifts in a powerful performance as the gruff cynic whose toughness shields a tender and poetic heart. In less capable hands, his ultimate transformation from pariah to poet could have seemed cloying, manipulative and unbearably saccharine. But the combination of the script's subtlety and the actor's innate intelligence allows Plummer to use all the tricks of his trade, including his melifulous voice, which modulates from operatic yelling to tender confessionals. His is a beautiful instrument, indeed, as he is currently demonstrating in his Tony-nominated performance in the current Broadway revival of the stage classic INHERIT THE WIND.

In MAN IN THE CHAIR, Plummer is a knockout. With the proper marketing push, don't be surprised to see Plummer's name on year-end Best Actor lists.  An Oscar nomination is still within his grasp.....

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Online Dailies Editor 

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Sandy Mandelberger
(International Media Resources)

United States



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