Happy New Year, cinephiles! Welcome to First Day First Show, a free weekly newsletter from The Hindu that keeps you updated on all the major developments in cinema from across the world. Check out our curated list of breaking stories from the world of movies, interviews, reviews, opinions, watching lists, and recommendations from our film writers and critics — that will help you tide over the lockdown — and prepare you for what to binge next week!
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Around Tinsel Town
For the first time in its history, Sudan has a submission for the Academy Awards. You Will Die at Twenty will compete in the Best International Feature Film category.
Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth announced that he will not be starting a political party, as his health condition does not permit him to engage in full-scale activity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Bollywood, Ranbir Kapoor has signed director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s next film titled “Animal”, the producers have announced.
Actor Arjun Rampal, who plays a defence lawyer in ‘Nail Polish’, says that playing challenging roles has a calming effect on him.
Alia Bhatt-starrer “Gangubai Kathiawadi”, directed by celebrated filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, will arrive in cinema halls this year.
In Hollywood, Warner Bros. has announced that a third film based on the DC comic superhero Wonder Woman is in the works with franchise star Gal Gadot and writer-director Patty Jenkins set to return.
Actor Tessa Thompson has confirmed that her “Creed” co-star Michael B Jordan will direct the third installment in the sports drama film series.
Director Steven Soderbergh has revealed that he is working on a “philosophical” sequel to his pandemic thriller, “Contagion”.
When it comes to regional cinema, the Tamil remake of 2018 Hindi black comedy-thriller Andhadhun, in which actor Prashanth reprises the role of Ayushmann Khurrana, has been titled Andhagan.
Two days after actor Vijay met with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy to request a removal of the cap on theatre occupancy during Pongal, the makers of his film Master have announced the release date as January 13.
How did Tamil cinema warm upto OTT platforms? The biggest release was Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru. Though theatres are open now, Kollywood is still facing a challenge.
Meanwhile, actor Neetu Chandra is making her Hollywood debut in the upcoming action flick Never Back Down: Revolt.
Telugu film stars Ramcharan Tej and Varun Tej have tested positive for COVID-19 and have quarantined themselves.
It may be a while before cinemas open, but on January 1, a new regional OTT platform Prime Reels has started streaming brand new Malayalam films.
The denial of certification to Malayalam film Varthamanam by the regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification and a tweet by a member of the board citing reasons for the same has kicked up a row.
2020 was a strange year and the pandemic spared no industry. How did Telugu cinema fare? From the success of Sarileru Neekevvaru to OTT release Krishna And His Leela to theatres reopening, we try to make sense of how the industry coped.
Also, as digital streaming emerged the new norm during the pandemic, there were lessons to be learnt. Will Telugu cinema see a change in narrative?
1) Telugu cinema is hoping to lure the audience back into cinema halls with a bouquet of films for Sankranti in mid-January 2021. The line-up includes Krack, Alludu Adhurs, Red and Bangaru Bullodu, and will be followed by several biggies.
>> Read all about What’s in store from Telugu cinema in 2021 here
2) Animators Bobby Podesta, Jude Brownbill and MontaQue Ruffin chat about the challenges of rendering the world and characters we see in Pixar’s hit film Soul.
>> Read about how they brought the wondrous world of the film to life here
3) This year, television was therapy. Romance drama Normal People, space western The Mandalorian, historical mini-series Mrs America, and more made the year slightly easier to handle.
>> We take a look-back at the best English television shows of the year here
4) For OTT platforms, 2020 was a time for serious growth. All these people forced to stay indoors gave the streaming networks untold millions of additional eyeballs every single day; a ‘captive audience’ of sorts.
>> What worked, what didn’t, and what we can expect from the streaming world in the new year here
5) Does your favourite English film of the year make the list? From Oscar favourites and blockbusters to some surprise inclusions, check out our lowdown: from the intense highs of Mank to the swooning comforts of Homemade.
>> A look at the best films from Hollywood that regaled and comforted us in 2020 here
6) As we cut to 2021, we catch up with 21 stars from the celluloid world to find out what they really look forward to in the coming year.
>> Stars from across the country capture in brief what they wish for 2021 here
7) Malayalam cinema provided much-needed comfort in 2020. Everyone seemed to have discovered movies like Kumbalangi Nights, Helen, Kappela and many others garnering a growing interest among non-Malayali fans.
>> Was 2020 the year when Malayalam cinema truly went national? Read about the industry’s fantastic year here
8) From actor Rana Daggubati to director Sudha Kongara, we track down the movers and shakers of South Indian cinema who have been up and about working on films, even as we sat at home watching them.
>> The tinseltown celebs talk about how 2020 has radically changed filmmaking here
9) What are the big-screen Hollywood releases that await us in 2021? Edgar Wright’s horror-thriller Last Night In Soho, Peter Jackson’s documentary on the The Beatles, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, The Matrix 4 and more…
>> After many months of streaming, a look at all the upcoming English theatrical releases here
10) Surely, 2020 was the writer’s year: Streaming platforms served us gems like Scam1992, Paatal Lok and Panchayat, to name a few. Will the next decade witness a revolution, one that is spearheaded by writers?
>> We speak to Indian scriptwriters to find out if this is indeed the start of a new era here
11) Writer Alena Smith, actor Hailee Stienfeld and the cast of Dickinson discuss the idea behind bringing the legendary poet, Emily Dickinson, on to the screen.
>> Read about what to expect from the Apple TV+ show’s second season here
New on Netflix is Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf’s intense drama Pieces Of A Woman, Nicolas Cage’s proudly profane series History Of Swear Words, a new season of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, and more.
Amazon Prime brings new comedy special Yearly Departed, classic fantasy adventure Clash Of The Titans, as well as a much-loved rom-com this week.
We have linked detailed lists of new arrivals on the streaming platforms later in this mail.
What to watch this week
Eugene Ashe’s swooning period Sylvie’s Love melodrama works thanks to its great cast and the fantastic chemistry between Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Read the full review here
Thank you for reading!
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Stay informed, stay safe, and see you next week!