Tuesday, August 22, 2006

TIFF 2006

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced its list of films today.

The festival runs for 10 days, starting September 7th, and I plan to be there for 8 of those 10 days. Basically, I'll spend two very long weekends in Toronto, returning home once in between to teach my classes. (It's a 2-hour drive.)

Here's the list of films I'm personally considering, although it may look quite a bit different come scheduling time. I'm listing the films by program. The reason there are so few English-language films here is that most of them will eventually find US distribution.

  • Visions: Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa), Fantasma (Lisandro Alonso), Flanders (Bruno Dumont), Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira), Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan), Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako), Day Night Day Night (Julia Loktev), Invisible Waves (Pen-ek Ratanaruang), In Between Days (So Yong Kim), and three films by Jem Cohen, who made Chain.

  • Masters: Cœurs (Alain Resnais), Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismäki), Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog), When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts (Spike Lee), The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach).

  • Special Presentations: Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo), Brand upon the Brain! (Guy Maddin), Fay Grim (Hal Hartley), Hana (Hirokazu Kore-eda), Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal).

  • Mozart Program: Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang), Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul).

  • Contemporary World Cinema: 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu), Offside (Jafar Panahi), Slumming (Michael Glawogger), Summer Palace (Lou Ye), To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die (Djamshed Usmonov).

  • Wavelengths (Avant-Garde): Films by Nathaniel Dorsky, Peter Tscherkassky, Rose Lowder, Lawrence Jordan.

  • Gala: The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (Zacharias Kunuk & Norman Cohn), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar).

  • Real To Reel (Documentaries): Dong (Jia Zhangke), Iran: Une Révolution Cinématographique (Nader Takmil Homayoun), Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett), These Girls (Tahani Rached), American Hardcore (Paul Rachman), The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (Sophie Fiennes).

  • Midnight Madness: The Host (Bong Joon-ho).

  • Others: 2:37 (Murali K. Thalluri), Gambling, Gods And LSD (Peter Mettler), A Grave-Keeper's Tale (Chitra Palekar).

If you'd like to recommend other films or filmmakers, I'd be glad to hear about them.

Specifically, I’d also like to ask if you know these films or filmmakers about whom I am curious: Hamaca Paraguaya (Paz Encina); The Bothersome Man (Jens Lien); Falling (Barbara Albert); Pablo Trapero from Argentina; Catherine Martin from Quebec; Guillermo Del Toro from Mexico; Bahman Ghobadi from Iran; Ann Hui; Marc Recha; any of the three (!) Johnnie To films playing; and any of the avant-garde filmmakers I don't have on my list above? Merci, tout le monde.

155 Comments:

Anonymous acquarello said...

I liked Pablo Trapero's Crane World and El Bonaerense, but didn't care much for The Rolling Family, so there's 2:1 odds that his latest will be good. :) I really, really disliked Barbara Albert's Free Radicals, which was this meandering "butterfly wing"-type free association of very loosely connected vignettes. I'm not a fan of this style in general though, when it's done right, like Carnages, it can be fun, but with Free Radicals, it was just a lot of WTF moments interspersed with gratuitous sex. Having said that, I'll probably see it anyway at NYFF before deciding for sure if I want to keep investing my time on her films.

By the way, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Gambling, Gods and LSD; it's grueling, but it really stays with you.

August 22, 2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Acquarello!

You know, I bailed on Barbara Albert's Free Radicals after an hour (I rarely do this with films) and so didn't want to judge her until I got another opinion, but thanks for giving it to me...

August 22, 2006 6:08 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 22, 2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Lemme just add my voice to the anti-Albert contingent -- I despised Free Radicals when I saw it at the '04 NYFF. The New York voting committee must see something in her, though, as Falling made this year's NYFF. So who knows, etc. etc.

Also, hooray for Guillermo del Toro. I'm consistently impressed with how he can shift between the weird, creepy stuff he does in Spain and the high-quality hyperbolic stuff he does in America. (We'll pretend Hellboy didn't happen.) Pan's Labyrinth, by all rights, should be faboo.

August 22, 2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous davis said...

Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly is a doozy. It's a heartstring-tugger, maybe even too manipulative, but it's unforgettable, and although it has a narrative, it slips into a dream-state pretty easily, which I like. Plus it makes me feel bad for not realizing that such a town exists. Those kids. Those land mines.

Have you seen anything by Jay Rosenblatt? I noticed he has something in the Wavelenths program. He's more of a thematic collagist than a technical one like Tscherkassky. His short Human Remains has permanently changed my view of Mao Tse Tung. (Hey, it just occurred to me that it would a nice companion to Sokurov's The Sun; Hirohito is one of the world leaders that Rosenblatt doesn't dissect.)

I'm glad to see Roads of Kiarostami in the program. I missed it earlier this year somewhere. Here's Rosenbaum.

I'm always antsy to see your first round of picks, Girish. We should thank you for being so prompt. We need to get Harry to weigh in, too.

Calling M. Tuttle.
M. Tuttle?

August 22, 2006 7:20 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

First and foremost, Girish, as I've already expressed, I'm really looking forward to meeting you in person at Toronto this year and looking at your initial preferences, I'm delighted to see that so many of them mirror my own. I'll only get to have five or six days at the festival this year, which I thought would be a good intro. I'm already overwhelmed by what's being offered.

I'd like to put a big plug in for Twitch at this point whose anticipatory coverage of TIFF has been insightful and helpful, especially with regard to Midnight Madness. But also with much of the Latino fare and certainly the Asian fare.

"The Host" is certainly the big one. I loved "Memories of Murder" so "The Host" is quite attractive, though as assignments go, I might be focusing on some of the other stuff, named Nacho Cerda's "The Abandoned."

I'm likewise torn between seeing big films I'm just gnashing at the bit to see--"Renaissance", "Flanders", "Volver", "The Fountain", "Invisible Waves", to name a few--and trusting I'll have a chance to eventually see them on the West Coast. I tell myself I should focus on films I might not have any other opportunity to see.

Definitely Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" looks incredible and he's one of the main people I want to catch in interview. All of his works is fantastically atmospheric. "The Devil's Backbone" and "Mimic" fully entertained me and the glimpses I've caught at Twitch on "Pan's Labyrinth" has me salivating.

Bahman Gohbadi is a poet as far as I'm concerned in the best sense of the word: his themes are universal and transcendent. "Drunken Horses", "Marooned in Iraq" and "Turtles Can Fly" all pierced me to the marrow. I should really get my write-ups posted on The Evening Class.

Oh man. I'm reeling looking at the list. I'm grappling with things like how many movies I can see in five or six days, how many I can afford, how much time will I have left for interviews, which will I choose, and how will all that change the moment the time schedule is announced on the 29th.

Did you buy one of the ticket packages, Girish? I'm hoping to order one and then trade them in for whatever's left when I arrive in Toronto. Is that the way to work it?

August 22, 2006 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

You're coming too, Michael? That's fantastic news! I just did a quick head count and think I might know as many as 15 people who are making the trip this year. Unbelievable.

Harry has already posted his thoughts on some of these films at TIFF Reviews, but I'm hoping he'll pop in here as well to offer suggestions. I caught Battle in Heaven on the strength of his recommendation alone last year and it was one of my favorite films of the fest.

Does anyone know anything about Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer)? It won a special jury prize at Cannes, and I was also interested to see that it got a good review at the World Socialist Web Site.

By the way, can we all agree to have our TIFF discussion here rather than spreading it across various fora and blogs? Might also save some redundant emailing.

August 22, 2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I haven't perused the program yet, but my recommendation is to see the worst films possible and report back how awful the festival turned out to be, so that those of us who can't make it out there don't feel so jealous.

;)

August 22, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

You mean I get to meet you too, Darren?? YOWZA!! Good idea to keep the discussion centralized here at Chez Girish. For starters, here's the Twitch compendium of anticipatory posts on 2006 TIFF:

http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/toronto_film_festival_2006/index.php

August 22, 2006 8:42 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh shoot, that got cut off. Try this. Hope that works.

August 22, 2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Hi everyone, thanks for the vote of confidence, I wish I could be there too... Actually I've seen 19 films on the list (5 other will be released in France before TIFF), and would gladly watch 38 more. :)

Girish picked all the good ones already, but anyway from what I've seen and roughly by preference order:

MUST-SEE : Lights in the Dusk (Kaurismäki); Fantasma (Alonso); Climates (Ceylan); 12:08 East of Bucharest (Porumboiu); Ten Canoes [CANNES SPECIAL JURY PRIZE] (Rolf de Heer);

WORTHWHILE : Invisible Waves (Ratanaruang); 2:37 (Thalluri); Volver (Almodóvar); Summer '04 (Krohmer); Renaissance (Volckman); Drama/Mex (Naranjo); Bamako (Sissako); Taxidermia (Pálfi); The Caiman (Moretti); La Tourneuse de Pages (Dercourt);

DON'T BOTHER : Paris, Je T'aime; Retrieval (Fabicki); Trance (Villaverde); Congorama (Falardeau)

From what I haven't seen and should be on your list Girish:
Chronicle of an Escape (Caetano);
Red Road [CANNES JURY PRIZE] (Andrea Arnold); The Violin [CANNES Un Certain Regard Best Actor] (Francisco Vargas Quevedo); Remembering Arthur [LIPSETT!] (Martin Lavut); These Girls (Tahani Rached); Golden Door (Emanuele Crialese); Jindabyne (Ray Lawrence); Day Night Day Night (Loktev)
I guess you omitted Iñarritu, Aronofsky, Verhoeven because of probable USA distribution.

August 22, 2006 9:09 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 22, 2006 9:40 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Ten Canoes is really good, I loved it, both for the traditional tale of an australian aboriginal tribe and for the multilayered form of its three-fold narration spanning 3 generations/eras of history. The off-screen narrator tells us an ancient story now, this story is about an old man who tells his son an older story to help him understand he should not covet his father's youngest wife. The first story (in a somptuous B&W), and like a documentary follow men building canoes out in the swamp. The ancestral myth (in color) dramatizes the conflict of the young son, where coincidentaly a son is also in love of his father's wife and will cause much trouble to the tribe equilibrium. This film is admirable for its respect of culture and its narrative invention.

Girish you should really watch Renaissance, you will enjoy the B&W graphism since you're a comics fan.

No need to praise Kaurismaki, Ceylan and Ratanaruang. I was a little underwhelmed by Almodovar's and Moretti's, but they are still great films.

Summer '04 was rightly described as a cross between Funny Games and Knife in the Water (not as masterful ) its atmosphere is really dense and especially well written (never going the obvious way).

Drama/Mex is a visually stunning DV film from Mexico about idle teenagers of various social classes, wandering one day on the deserted beach of Acapulco off-season. Their lives meet at crossing points, but this gimmick isn't the most important about this film. The illustration of melancholy, carpe diem, despair of a desillusionned generation is admirable.

Already mentionned Bamako at acquarello's.
I just saw La Tourneuse de Page with Catherine Frot and Déborah François (the girl from L'Enfant!) which is one of the best French film I've seen so far.
Taxidermia is a disappointing second film from the masterful director of Hukkle, because it's too overtly gore and gross, but it might reach cult status as a "midnight movie" for the fun. It's very well made too, just very bizarre.
Congorama is an enjoyable genre movie with an original story, well made, but is not what I'd prioritize within a festival setting.
Paris Je T'aime is a mixed bag, I guess it's cool to see Paris from the viewpoint of so many directors, but don't feel bad for missing it. Only a handful segments were worthwhile.
Trance is a really weird film about women traffic without much dialogue (like a better version of Moodysson's Lylja-4 ever) a russian mother is kidnapped in Germany an sold to a brothel in Italy. Some great long takes there, but ultimately too stylisticaly self-conscious.

August 22, 2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Wowzah.
Thanks, everyone, for all the great ideas and suggestions! This is so helpful.

--Rob, I'd never heard of Jay Rosenblatt; I'll definitely try to catch his film...

--Steve and Michael, I guess I should be putting Devil's Backbone into my Netflix queue...

--Michael, I have a 30-ticket pass and the out-of-town service. You should check to see which passes are still available and you should do it right away. Do e-mail me if you have specific questions, and I can send you my phone #, and we can talk. My advice would be for you to act very quickly on the passes/tickets.

--Hey, Brian. You should think about making the trip sometime. It'd be a blast, especially with so many of us bloggers getting together, and best of all: we'd all get to meet you!

--Darren, I had no idea that many people were going...And thanks for posting those links. I'd forgotten all about TIFF Reviews.

--Harry, thanks so much for the detailed advice. So many films on there that I don't know about. And thanks for taking the time and providing links too...Remind me to buy you several drinks the next time I'm in Paris! :-)
We owe you big.

Harry--As you suggested, I'll make sure to see (in addition to what I already have on my list above): Ten Canoes, Summer '04, Renaissance, Drama/Mex for sure...and thanks for the reminder on the Lipsett doc; I overlooked it.

btw, I already have These Girls and Day Night, Day Night on my list above.
And I'll probably pass on Taxidermia...(the grossness factor; your lukewarmness).

--Here's a doc blog at the TIFF site.

August 22, 2006 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Girish -- I was only able to glance at the entire film list today, but I'm going to go through it with a fine-tooth comb in the coming days. Of the ones you mentioned in your post, I'm most eager about Resnais, Loach, Herzog, Tsai, Jia Zhangke, and Ceylan. I recently saw the trailer for Climates, and it looks impressive.

Maya -- I'll be heading out from the west coast as well. This will be my first time at TIFF, and I'm looking forward to meeting you, along with Girish, Darren, and everyone else who'll be attending. I'll be there for six days. Glad you'll be able to join us.

August 22, 2006 11:53 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael, I'm eagerly looking forward to meeting you as well. This is going to be the most "communal" TIFF I've ever attended...!

My friend Moen (Toronto cinephile par excellence) just emailed me to say that: (1) Alonso and Oliveira are on a double bill together as one screening, 2-for-1, so to speak, and (2) The Benoit Jacquot film is about a Frenchwoman who discovers her dad is an "untouchable" Indian and goes to India, which automatically puts it on my to-see list.

August 23, 2006 12:06 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

James Longley has a 21-minute short in the the Real to Reel section, Sari's Mother. I have a feeling this is like a fourth fragment to accompany his excellent Iraq in Fragments (limited release in November).

August 23, 2006 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Ten Canoes is really good; de Heer, generally, is one of our most interesting filmmakers.

And you've got to go see 2:37. I mean, obviously. How could you not?

August 23, 2006 2:23 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Okay, looked over the program and I'm feeling even more left out. Maybe I will come one of these years. I'll have to console myself with the knowledge that there's some good stuff coming to my town that week too.

I've seen Rosenblatt's Afraid So and can definitely recommend it as a pretty typical (a.k.a. excellent) work for him. It's very short so presumably it screens on a program with other films.

Perhaps nobody's mentioned the Norman McLaren shorts because either a) their quality goes without saying, or else b) revivals are automatically a lower priority at the TIFF. I've seen most of them on video but would thrill to see them on a big screen.

Can't contribute much else. Looks like I liked Treparo's the Rolling Family better than acquarello did, and Turtles Can Fly not as well as Michael did (though I was knocked out by Ghobadi's first film).

Truthfully, I hope you all have a wonderful festival!

August 23, 2006 4:47 AM  
Blogger girish said...

--Useful link: David Hudson's compendium post of all Cannes coverage links from May.

--Indiewire lists films and includes country of origin, which the TIFF list did not.

--Re: 2:37, Matthew is referring to this controversy, most likely old news to all of you.

--Brian said: "Perhaps nobody's mentioned the Norman McLaren shorts because either a) their quality goes without saying, or else b) revivals are automatically a lower priority at the TIFF."

The former for me; I want to see them on the big screen. And I wish we had more revivals at TIFF.

August 23, 2006 6:22 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

A couple more notes on the Wavelengths program. Matthias Müller's (with or without frequent collaborator Christoph Girardet) films remind me a little of early Resnais in experimental mode: very formalized, ingenious editing, tongue in cheek cleverness. Cynthia Mandasky's recent focus has been the Middle East and specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and these seem to be in that vein.

August 23, 2006 9:28 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truthfully, I'm not so sure McLaren's work needs to be seen on the big screen, and there's an immanent 7-disc DVD box set in the works from NFB/Home Vision.

Are there fewer revivals this year? It looks like the Talking Pictures speakers will all be discussing their own work rather than what they did in previous years with Akerman and Tsai.

I simply tallied up the titles/names I'm already familiar with and I've got about 50 titles; I'm most curious about the unknowns in world cinema and discovery sections.

Michael, I'm also excited about The Host; it'll be my first ever midnight TIFF screening, so maybe we can keep each other awake.

I'm a big fan of The Tracker, so I'm definitely looking forward to Rolf de Heer's new one. Harry, thanks for the Porumboiu recommendation, too.

I was mightily impressed by Sissako's Waiting for Happiness, so I'm definitely going to try and catch Bamako.

I still haven't gotten around to seeing Atanarjuat--is it genuinely worthwhile? Are we sure Invisible Waves has distribution?

I was excited by the look of Renaissance, but the clips I've seen of it have diluted my enthusiasm. Harry, does it transcend its gunplay/police thriller aspects? Girish, the Benoit Jacquot film sounds fascinating, thanks for the heads up.

Great to see Aurthur Lipsett's Very Nice, Very Nice in there! I've seen it before, but I think the NFB recently restored it and Lipsett's films are so dense they can never be exhausted. He would've been a great choice for the Canadian retrospective.

I think Amelio is terribly underrated (his last only played at a single theatre in L.A. for a week), so I'll definitely try and catch The Missing Star.

I was a big admirer of Hans-Christian Schmid's previous film, Distant Lights, one of the better entries in the dubious ensemble genre, so Reqiuem is a possibility.

Anybody know anything about Trapped Ashes? I'm curious about anything from Dante (just caught his hilarious Homecoming) and Hellman.

At first glance, the documentary line-up looks especially interesting this year...

August 23, 2006 9:53 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Oops! Sorry, one more. Mika Taanila's films are more like documentaries/essay films, from what I've seen of his work, his preoccupation seems to be with engineered environments, modernization, artificial intelligence, and the "dehumanization" of technology...but not in a Harun Farocki kind of way, more like the absurdity and obsolescence of it.

August 23, 2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

You're welcomed Girish, see you in Paris sometime ;)

Oh sorry about the duplicate, so many films there...
The Benoit Jacquot is not released here until december, so I haven't heard about it (stars Isild Le Besco).
http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=109749.html
And he has 2 more films slated for 2007!

Quelques Jours en Septembre (Santiago Amigorena) will be out on Sept 6th
http://www.quelquesjoursenseptembre-lefilm.com/
Juliette Binoche inside (for fans) + Turturro and Nolte. Venice selection too.

Doug, like I say in my short review, the script is a rehashing of common Sci-Fi themes, light (as light as a paper comic can be) but not dumb/lame, and the film is worthy for the look of it alone anyway. Not a must-see, but you won't regret seeing it if you can fit it in your schedule somewhere ;)

August 23, 2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger girish said...

--Doug, I didn't know about the McLaren DVD set; thanks for the heads-up.

--"I still haven't gotten around to seeing Atanarjuat--is it genuinely worthwhile?"
Yes! I think you'd really dig it, Doug.

--Re: Dialogues, I think they've listed simply the films showing along with the directors of the films, and not who will be showing those films and talking about them....the series used to be super strong in earlier years, but has been a bit less so the last few years.

--I suspect the Lipsett film is showing in the same screening/bill as the doc.

--Acquarello, don't apologize--we can all just throw in ideas in bits and pieces here as we think of them, put all our jottings in one place.

--Seconding Doug on the Sissako film; I loved Waiting For Happiness.

--Could someone recommend a good "entry" film for Amelio? I've never seen anything by him...

August 23, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

L'America would be my pick, but They All Laughed and The Keys to the House are all on DVd as well. Open Doors is an excellent courtroom drama. Amelio is a polished narrative filmmaker, which is probably why he's often oevrshadowed at festivals by flashier work, but his storytelling abilities, humanist convictions, and thematic depth are exemplary. MoMA just did a retrospective last year:

http://tinyurl.com/jsnb2

Ah, I hadn't noticed Lavut's documentary on Lipsett! I mentioned it was in the works a few months ago on my blog.

August 23, 2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Woops, that should've been The Way We Laughed.

August 23, 2006 11:36 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

Doug says: "Michael, I'm also excited about The Host; it'll be my first ever midnight TIFF screening, so maybe we can keep each other awake."

In case you can't, I think each midnight movie has a second screening in the morning, so that's an option for those who find it easier to chase their eggs and bacon with jolts of gore than to hit the sack at 3am with ghosts under the bed.

August 23, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Heh. That's a lovely way to put it! Just found Fortissimo Film's calendar for TIFF. Their website also offers several press write-ups on their respective offerings.

August 23, 2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ha. I'll keep that in mind.

BTW, I'm seeing Iraq in Fragments tomorrow, Rob, so thanks for the heads up.

August 23, 2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger girish said...

I'd like to recommend an extra-festival event: I recently caught an Andy Warhol exhibit at the AGO curated by David Cronenberg that is truly excellent. It's not large (about 20 pieces; shouldn't take you more than an hour and a half, max) and the Cronenberg audio commentary tour is incredibly insightful. If you can, try to squeeze it in between films; you won't be sorry.

August 23, 2006 1:28 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That sounds great, Girish, and I'll toss in my recommendation for the NFB Mediatheque, which offers free space-age personal viewing stations of hundreds of digitized short films, including many Lipsett films. Definitely worth a visit--it's across the street from the Paramount.

August 23, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Doug, I was at the NFB Mediatheque last week and spent about a half-hour poring over their electronic catalog and jotting down some work I'd like to see there. They have (as you pointed out) about a dozen Lipsetts; Joris Ivens; Michel Brault; Gilles Groulx's Le Chat Dans Le Sac; Pierre Perrault, etc. And since it's right across the street from the Paramount, it'd even be great to duck into to catch a few shorts between films.

August 23, 2006 1:39 PM  
Anonymous opus said...

Not much to add to the good discussion going on here, but I'm also very excited by this year's listing, particularly:

Invisible Waves (not expecting it to live up up to Last Life..., but I liked what I've seen)

The Host (I love South Korean genre-benders, and the buzz around this one is impossible to ignore)

Pan's Labyrinth (ditto what's been said about del Toro)

Hana (I feel obligated to see any samurai film that comes my way)

The Banquet (extravagant Chinese take on Hamlet, could be really good or really bad)

Election 1+2 and Exiled (I'm not a fan of Johnnie To, and yet I always feel compelled to see his films)

King And The Clown

...to name a few. :)

August 23, 2006 2:02 PM  
Anonymous davis said...

I doubt it was on the list of anyone here, but the Fortissimo calendar that Michael linked to above reminds me to warn everyone away from Snow Cake. I kind of like Alan Rickman, but Sigourney Weaver has just the most darling type of autism. I mean, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind beat his schizophrenia just by toughing it out, but I think Weaver should hang onto her ailment. It produces so many cute one-liners, it'd be a shame to lose it.

Snow Cake. I laughed. I cried. Etc.

August 23, 2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Just found out I'll be attending a press screening of "Renaissance" next week in SF so I'll let you know what I think. And was advised by the publicist that "Shortbus" is soon to follow so that helps me out a bit with the film choice dilemma. Such a dilemma. Heh.

Just got some great ticket tips from Todd Brown at Twitch that I thought I'd share here:

"You’ll do fine for tickets, the key will be to go after the daytime screenings. You can always get those. And sign up for the Best Bets emails. A lot of things will show as sold out until the night before, when all the unused comps and sponsor passes come back. Every night after the box office closes they send out an email of all the films with tickets available for the next day. You can either order them online or, if you’ve got coupons to use, hit the box office first thing in the morning. And if you’re desperate to see something you can always camp out in the rush line. Those can be a lot of fun, actually …"

August 23, 2006 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Girish, it's funny that you reference TIFF so much in your blog, I've been a member of the production crew at TFF (Telluride Film Festival) the past five years. The two can't help but be connected.

I've been here three weeks now and the weather's sublime. I'll do my best to blog throughout the Labor Day weekend.

August 23, 2006 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

...and thanks for the good word: if any of the films you mentioned are at Telluride I'll be sure to catch them.

August 23, 2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Excellent, Michael. I'm sure you're relieved to hear that.

Barry, I'll look forward to your reports from Telluride; I have your blog as one of my RSS feed subscriptions.

Both Hamaca Paraguaya and Zidane got fairly strong positive reviews from Cannes in the last Film Comment, from Gavin Smith and Amy Taubin respectively. Gavin said the former was Straub/Huillet-influenced.

August 23, 2006 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Jim Emerson said...

Thanks, girish -- I've been so damn busy I haven't even had a chance to look at the Toronto programming announcements. All I know is (as usual) I'm looking forward to it as a soul-renewing experience...

August 23, 2006 7:30 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Looked the list over, and spotted at least two Filipino films, both of which I haven't seen. Jeffrey Jeturian's The Bet Collector I've been hearing good things about; I would guess it's worth watching and a nice introduction to neorealist Philippine cinema. I can't say I'd go out of my way to see it, though.

Mel Chionglo's Twilight Dancers I'm tempted to say 'avoid,' and leave it at that, but that's being unfair. I have seen many of his previous films, including what I would guess is a prequel, 'Midnight Dancers,' and they are almost all uniformly bad. The 'Dancers' films, inspired by Lino Brocka's 'Macho Dancer'--second rate Brocka, but head and shoulders superior to the best works of many Filipino filmmakers today--are gay erotic cinema at its most exploitative.

Mario O'Hara took a quick sideswipe at the trend (Filipino filmmakers exporting gay softcore porn to film festivals, especially Toronto) in his I think brilliant film Babae sa Bubungang Lata

August 24, 2006 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Thanks for those comments, Noel. I was researching The Bet Collector yesterday and was impressed by its trailer. I have a weakness for realistic, street life films, especially from countries I know little about. Plus, I like to catch a couple films at TIFF that are unlikely to get even a DVD release in the States.

So is anyone planning to see any of the bigger, more popular films as a kind of break from all of the heavy drama? I'm pretty sure I'm going to see the new Christopher Guest film. Mostly, I'm just curious to see if anyone from the cast shows up for the public, non-gala screening.

August 24, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you ~ Jim, Noel & Darren.

Re: bigger films, I think the Christopher Guest is a good pick; I've seen all his others in the theaters too. In addition, subject to scheduling exigencies, I'm eyeing Mira Nair's The Namesake, the Verhoeven, and Barbara Kopple's Dixie Chicks doc (I'm a fan of American Dream and Harlan County USA).

August 24, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Zidane is nothing like a documentary on soccer, but an experimental work focusing exclusively on one player during 90' (including 95% of idelness). As much as I like formalism, I prefer to read about this one, and don't need to sit through it. Critics were mixed over this. It's up to you to enjoy.

Speaking of bad vibes, reported by critical reception from films I skipped (for what it's worth), Guédiguian's Le Voyage en Arménie and Chapiron's Sheitan are supposed to be rather bad.

Maya, I hope you catch a lot of interviews over there for us to read afterward. :)

p.s. I meant La Tourneuse de Page was the better French film I had seen this year, not ever.

August 24, 2006 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I too am thinking about the Guest film and, like Girish, am eyeing The Namesake (heck, I might just buy the novel so I can read it on the plane ride over). I'm also interested in the new Patrice Leconte film, Mon Meilleur Ami and (possibly) the new Minghella, Breaking and Entering (though if push comes to shove, I'll pass on it). And though it's not one of the big films, Volker Schlondorff's Strike interests me, though I probably won't make it a priority.

Darren, are you planning to catch Babel? 'Cause I am.

August 24, 2006 1:01 PM  
Anonymous The Pop View said...

As for Johnnie To...

Exiled is the follow-up to The Mission:

The time is 1998. The setting is Macau. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end. Against this background of fin-de-siècle malaise come two hit men from Hong Kong sent to take out a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf with his wife and newborn baby. They soon find themselves in the throes of a dilemma when two of their former associates also show up, intent on thwarting them at every cost.

Here is the trailer for Election; here is a montage of scenes from the movie. Here is the trailer for Election 2.

August 24, 2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Michael, if you read my spreadsheet post at Long Pauses, you might recall that I've instituted what I call the "Cate Blanchett" rule. So, yes, at the moment Babel is safely in my second tier of films. ;)

August 24, 2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Ah, that's right -- the Cate Blanchett rule. Yeah, the film's in my second tier as well, but I'll do my best to catch it.

August 24, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger Guilherme said...

I think Suely in the Sky by Karim Aïnouz (Madame Satã) is worth a viewing.

August 24, 2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Speaking of neorealist Philippine cinema, Noel, have you seen Cavite? It was recently released on DVD and I'd definitely recommend it.

August 24, 2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

I thought that this year I would make my triumphant return to TIFF, but I cannot and now I am sad. Sigh.

If I were going, though, Zidane would be my first choice. Of course, I liked Gus Van Sant's Gerry...

August 24, 2006 2:45 PM  
Blogger girish said...

I've always wanted to see the early-70s Jamaican film by Perry Henzell, The Harder They Come; it stars Jimmy Cliff and has a killer soundtrack. It just went out of print on DVD and Netflix kicked it off my queue. Might be a good time to catch the Dialogues screening of that film.

August 24, 2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

The other night I was in a bar and "Johnny Too Bad" came on. As usaul I got chills up my spine hearing that fat Farfisa line.

The Harder They Come is a perfect example of a film whose soundtrack is almost universally, justifiably, considered greater than the film itself. But it's certainly something to see at least, and if director Perry Henzell is in attendance to talk about its making it might be the perfect opportunity. I notice he's finally completed a second feature film, No Place Like Home, which also screens TIFF.

August 24, 2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just a few tidbits I noticed today:

• Lucy Walker (Blindsight) was the director of The Devil's Playground, the compeling documentary about Amish culture.
• Agnès Godard shot The Golden Door.
Remembering Arthur has a nice website and a trailer (at YouTube). (I'm not sure how to do links here.)
• Darren and I saw a short film called Wasp at SFIFF a couple years ago that turned out to be a highlight of the festival; Red Road is the director's first feature.

August 24, 2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Here's the YouTube Arthur Lipsett trailer for you, Doug, as well as the official website. And for us. I love how you turn me on to things. Now I'm glad I'm arriving a day or two early so I can take advantage of Girish's Warhol recommendation and your tip on the free Lipsett films at NFB Mediatheque.

August 24, 2006 9:41 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Darren:

Sure thing. Not sure Bet Collector is street-level realism, but Jeturian is known for doing well-made dramas. I think it could be an okay first Filipino film...

I'm disappointed Lav Diaz's 9 hour Heremias (first of two parts) didn't make it, tho.

August 25, 2006 1:21 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Brian, I remember first discovering "Johnny Too Bad" on the UB40 covers record, along with Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine." And here's something I happened to find on Henzell and The Harder They Come.

Also, this is awesome: Acquarello is among the Top 5 film journal websites named by the Times UK. (via Matthew.)

August 25, 2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

All right!! Acquarello's DA BOMB!!

August 25, 2006 7:53 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Another cool thing is that the other sites are group efforts, while Strictly Film School is the only single-person site on that list.

August 25, 2006 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Doug, I wonder if you caught Wasp at the 2004 SFIFF or maybe at Palm Springs, because I've never seen it. The short film we both enjoyed at TIFF 2005 was Suzi Ewing's Going Postal. (There are advantages to obsessively journaling every film you see. ;) )

August 25, 2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

That was supposed to say "The short film we both enjoyed at SFIFF 2005 . . ."

August 25, 2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Geez, Maya, isn't it like 5:00 a.m. in your neck of the woods? (I think I just stumbled into why he's so prolific at blogging :) ). Thanks everyone for the vote of confidence, I didn't expect the citation either; too bad the Times readers were by a bunch of angst-ridden hardcore tunes at the time. ;)

Incidentally, wasn't the latest Straub/Huillet supposed to play at TIFF? Did I miss the listing?

August 25, 2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

umm...greeted by a bunch of... I'm not a morning person. :(

August 25, 2006 8:58 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Sorry if I sound like an ingrate (don't mean to), but let me note in passing the absence of Straub/Huillet, Lynch, Tian Zhuangzhuang and the Austrian doc about food production that Harry liked so much.

August 25, 2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh, how weird--total memory conflation there, Darren. You're right, I actually saw Wasp as part of the Oscar shorts program a couple years ago. But Going Postal was excellent, too.

Thanks for those links, Maya. Since I'm a west coaster I'm taking a red eye Wednesday night and arriving early on the 7th...if you're around on Thursday, maybe we can meet up for coffee. Is anyone else arriving early?

And congrats, Acquarello! Of course, The Times is only confirming what we already know. ;)

I agree with your list of omissions, Girish, and I'll add the new animes by Oshii, Goro Miyazaki, and Satoshi Kon (all at Venice).

August 25, 2006 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

I was kind of hoping I'd finally get to see Claire Denis's ballet documentary.

August 25, 2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Harry, I'm kicking myself now for having missed Our Daily Bread at LAIFF. When I read the description, I feared it would be a picturesque Baraka kind of thing, but I take it that it has depth?

(Oh, and I have a French question: what's the difference between cinéphile and cinéphage? I just saw Jacques Richard's Langlois documentary and Langlois says, "There are cinéphiles and cinéphages. Truffaut is a cinéphile. A cinéphage--a film nerd--sits in the front row and writes down the credits. If you ask him whether it's good, he'll say something sharp, but that's not the point of movies. To love cinema is to love life. To really look at this window on the universe. It's incompatable with note-taking!" I really like that distinction, but I'm thinking cinéphage isn't necessarily derogatory?)

August 25, 2006 10:30 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Well, -phage is from the Greek word, phagein meaning "to eat", versus -phile, which is just "lover of", so the difference is in the level of obsession. It's similar to "cinemaniac" (from the documentary); I wouldn't call it derogatory, but average moviegoers would probably say it is. :)

August 25, 2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 25, 2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, I knew the exact meaning, I was interested in the cultural context. I think of a cinéphage as a fanboy. But I've seen Harry use the term in a positive sense...so I was wondering if the terms were functionally interchangeable?

August 25, 2006 11:04 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

Oh, that Wasp. I caught it at one of those Oscar short series, too. It stars the great Nathalie Press who was also in My Summer of Love. Looks like she's in Red Road too.

August 25, 2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

acquarello is an online legend! Way to go.

Our Daily Bread is definitely very insightful. Especially its form. It develops without a word a coherent narrative by the simple juxtaposition of long plan-sequence filming the automatisation of various stages of food production over a year, in different branches of the industry (vegetables, fish, chicken, porc, beef). You can imagine the chicken factory farms, the chain slaughter... but it's not spectacular, just very ironic.
Nikolaus Geyrhalter was in attendence at a full retrospective of his work last month. He edited out all the interviews with the workers, to keep it unbiased. It's just facts. And actually it's filmed in a way that "glorifies" the industrial tools, because it's clean and efficient. Almost leaving the human factor out of the picture. Animals coming in and processed food coming out. And we're mezmerized by these Metropolis-like conveyer belts that are rarely shown to the public. But this artificiality imposes a bitter reflexion on our mindless relationship to food.
He's filmed other great original documentaries Elsewhere (about ethnic populations all around the world while the West celebrated Y2K), The Year after Dayton a full year spent in Bosnia after the peace treaty, the effort of reconstruction and despair of deported families.
Highly recommended documentarian, don't miss his films! I'm kicking myself for only seeing 2 in this retrospective.

August 25, 2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

re: Langlois. Well acquarello beat me to it. :)
Yeah I think he's the one who coined the word "cinéphage". I guess the cinéphage is the film-geek who can tell by heart the aspect ratio, the year, the credits, all sorts of trivia, but couldn't give a critical appreciation of what they see. Their goal is to "score" the largest number of film seen. They love cinema like a collector. But Truffaut loves cinema like an connoisseur and enters the film like a child. Actually Truffaut was also sitting on the front row with his Cahiers buddies to "eat" the screen, to be in it. So the difference is subtle.
"Cinéphage" sounded definitely pejorative in Langlois' word, but they were a sizeable share of his cinemathèque goers so he couldn't disparage them openly. Langlois was not judgemental about consuming habits. Maybe what you mean is that he recognizes the need for people to save the precious notes on small details, for archive purpose. But it's a functional/emotionless contact with cinema, that prevents total engagement with the work. So if I used it in a positive sense it was irony. Cinéphage is an extreme form of cinephilia when they lose touch with "cinema". From what I understand.

August 25, 2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks, Harry, that's helpful. And the internet is certainly overrun by both cinéphages and cinéphiles, so the distinction is still very much apt. :)

August 25, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Well what I meant to say in my last sentence was that we can all fall into the cinéphage excess, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I guess every cinephile has this side more or less repressed. So in that sense it's not derogatory, only a (bad) tendency.

August 25, 2006 12:37 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

I was going to say, best beware either/or identifications. Just when you think you're a cinephile....

Acquarello, no flies on you! Yes, I was up much too early preparing for an interview later today with animator John Canemaker.

Doug, I was just about to drop you an email to express my hope that we'd get to meet in Toronto. I will be arriving early, on the 5th, but have as yet to secure some kind of guide to Toronto so I have no idea where my host's home is situated in relation to where the festival is being held. All I know is that I'll have to ride the "Vomit Comet" to get home after Midnight Madness!! Yeesh. As soon as I know what I'm talking about, I'll drop you an email.

August 25, 2006 12:53 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do email me, Maya, and congrats on your interview. How coincidental--after mentioning Oscar shorts here this morning, I just looked up Canemaker's website to see if The Moon and the Sun had been released on DVD yet.

August 25, 2006 1:43 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

I'll ask him about it. Anything else you want to know?

August 25, 2006 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Anyone know anything about Mon Colonel? It was written and produced by Costa-Gavras and stars Olivier Gourmet.

August 25, 2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wow, I'm intrigued. Incidentally, Gourmet just won best actor at the Shanghai International film fest for Burnt Out, which also won best director. (TIFF title Four Minutes won best picture.)

Can't think of anything offhand, Maya, but I'm sure Canemaker will be a treat to interview. He's a genuine animation scholar, so don't hesitate to ask him general questions about the form.

August 25, 2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Btw Doug, I understand you're question about Langlois because I was puzzled by his wording too. This soundbite excerpt was cited in a great radio broadcast from Cannes 2005 collecting interviews of many critics of the cinéphile génération. (available online for francophiles 1 & 2)

Hadn't heard about Mon Colonel, it's released in France on january 2007 only.

If you like Olivier Gourmet he's also in Congorama (at TIFF), but the scenario is TV-grade...

August 25, 2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger girish said...

So, I was thinking back to last year. The FedEx package doesn't get to us till Wednesday but the entire schedule goes on-line on Tuesday (yay). Perhaps we could bounce ideas off each other here while we're making up our schedules mid-week too. Speaking for myself, I know that would be a great help.

I'm already getting jealous of y'all fellow TIFF-goers. By my calculations, you'll be doing 25% "more festival" than me because I have to scurry home in the middle and attend to my classes.

August 25, 2006 6:27 PM  
Blogger girish said...

This Jennifer Baichwal doc, Manufactured Landscapes, looks interesting. I enjoyed her Paul Bowles documentary from a few years ago.

August 25, 2006 6:34 PM  
Anonymous davis said...

Mon Colonel sounds interesting. It's directed by Laurent Herbiet (don't know him, but he's been a second unit director on Resnais's last few films, according to the IMDB), and it's co-produced by the Dardennes.

August 25, 2006 8:17 PM  
Anonymous The Pop View said...

The Harder They Come is playing this month on the movie channel RETROplex. In fact, it was on tonight and will be on again 8/30.

August 25, 2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Belated congrats to the acquaman on Strictly Film School's mention.

If I may, would like to add two other webzines to the list: Criticine is I think does a good job of covering Southeast Asian cinema, with an emphasis on indie filmmakers (the interviews are excellent), and Light Sleeper does a good job of presenting articles on world cinema in general.

Of course, I'm hardly objective; I've written for both. But I wouldn't have wanted to write for em if I didn't respect the quality of their contents.

August 26, 2006 1:40 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Sorry to keep bothering you, Harry, but have you heard anything about Nue Propriété, which apparently stars Isabelle Huppert and Jeremie Renier?

August 26, 2006 3:09 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

It's ok Darren. No I didn't know this Venice film either, and it's due for may 2007 over here. Jérémie Rénier's own brother will play his twin. Hupert is their mother. Apparently it's a family drama over the sale of their house.

August 27, 2006 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Guilherme wrote:

"I think Suely in the Sky by Karim Aïnouz (Madame Satã) is worth a viewing."

Guilherme, would you mind telling us more about this film? It's one of the few that I know nothing about. What makes it worth a viewing?

Thanks.

August 27, 2006 11:34 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Around and about:
--Michael Guillen interviews animator John Canemaker.
--Eric, Zach, Ed Gonzalez, etc on De Palma at Slant.
--MS Smith on Raise The Red Lantern.
--Mubarak on "Jürgen Reble, alchemist of the cinema".
--A listing of some TIFF blogs..

August 27, 2006 1:29 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Hopefully Guilherme will post back with more info, but on the basis of Madame Satã alone, I can certainly understand the recommendation. In general, I think there's a certain stylistic "boldness" and organic narrative that's pretty unique to Brazilian cinema, tracing all the way back from Glauber Rocha, where the story is told in a way that is part hyperbolic myth/part gritty realism. Madame Satã is a great example of this; it's a real story, but it's also quite surreal in its strangeness.

August 28, 2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger msic said...

"If you like Olivier Gourmet he's also in Congorama (at TIFF), but the scenario is TV-grade..."

True that, but I saw an earlier Falardeau film called THE LEFT SIDE OF THE FRIDGE that was surprisingly good. Supple enough to turn another silly premise into a fun comedy.

August 28, 2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

I saw Cannes Palme d'Or, The wind that shakes the barley, it was expectedly mainstream, but well directed. The subject is powerful enough to hold our breath of course although the timeline span is awkward, starting after O'Connell and before the terrorist activity of the IRA. A certain background knowledge of Irish history is required I'd say, because the film focuses on individual characters in one remote village (the narrow view, with limited news from Dublin or from the UK emphasizes the isolation of this home-made resistance cell), rather than painting a comprehensive portrait of this civil war. Loach use 2 brothers who pick 2 incompatible stance in the conflict to illustrate the intimate partition of the people over this war. But I'm glad he didn't go Hollywood with the woman having to choose between the 2 brothers.
I wouldn't make it a priority in a festival.

Speaking of winners, Grbavica, is the Berlin Golden Bear! A bosnian film that should be more interesting.

August 28, 2006 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

I doubt Guilherme has seen Suely in the Sky, given that the film didn't have any public screening here in Brazil yet, but Madame Satã was a pretty good first film, and Suely co-writer and assistant director is a friend of mine who told me the new one is at least as good as Ainouz debut.

August 28, 2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, everyone.
The TIFF schedule will go on-line tomorrow morning. The semester is off and running, and the next couple of days will be spent teaching and TIFF-scheduling....

August 28, 2006 9:07 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Have determined that "The Host" will not only open SF's Animation Festival in October but will also be part of the Mill Valley Film Festival; so, I may just wait for that one. There are several crossovers actually to the Mill Valley Film Festival. That mollifies me somewhat should I not be able to get into some of the ones I want to get into at TIFF.

August 29, 2006 1:27 AM  
Anonymous J Robert said...

Thought I'd add thoughts on three films I've seen. Not that these were likely to be at the top (or middle) of anyone's list, but more info can't hurt.

Starter for 10 - formulaic college dramedy with British sensibilities. One of those movies where you absolutely know that the hero will, in the end, walk by the pretty blonde to kiss the brainy brunette.

The Last Kiss - schematic storyline leavened by some funny dialogue and solid performances. Zach Braff seems to be re-channeling his performance from Garden State, and the director re-uses that film's musical motifs. Nice to see Blythe Danner in a somewhat meaty role. Certainly not worth giving up a fest slot for, but not a bad date movie when it comes on cable next spring.

Stranger than Fiction - every film critic in the world will use the phrase Charlie Kaufmann-esque. The plot is too clever by half, but it eventually builds to something earnest and even moving. Will Ferrell puts on his serious face (seen previously in movies like Winter Passing), and he's fine. The direction gussies things up with on-screen graphics, and certain plot contrivances pop up to move things along, but Marc Forster has made a solid movie. Not worth taking a slot from something else you want to see, but it'd be a nice change of pace if you have too many European miserablists on your schedule.

August 29, 2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous J Robert said...

Thought I'd add to the chorus of boos for Free Radicals and hurrahs for The Devil's Backbone. I almost walked out of the former but ended up staying to the predictable, bitter end. I should've followed Girish.

I haven't been a huge fan of del Toro's Hollywood films, but I think Devil's Backbone is an important work on the theme of violence, war, and memory. It was certainly one of my favorite films of that year, so Pan's Labyrinth is a must-see for me.

August 29, 2006 10:11 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

I am completely overwhelmed by all this. Heh. I don't know where to start. I don't know how to plan. I don't know how to get tickets. I don't know what to do with my hands.

August 29, 2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maya, that Mill Valley fest gets better every year, doesn't it?

August 29, 2006 2:07 PM  
Anonymous davis said...

Mill Valley is a good place for Bay Area residents to get second helpings of TIFF faves. I got another crack at Godard's Notre Musique and Kiarostami's Five (which I missed by oversleeping in Toronto) there a couple years ago.

August 29, 2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger Michael Kerpan said...

Johnnie To

Liked "Election" quite a bit -- but found "Election 2" WAY too brutal and violent for my taste. "Exiled" sounds quite interesting.

Ann Hui

The Western neglect of this excellent director mystifies me. Her newest film has a great tile and a wonderful cast -- I'd love to be able to see this screened.

Bong Joon-ho

His first two films ("Barking Dogs Never Bite" and "Memories of Murder") were excellent. His new "Host" has been burning up the box office in Korea. I am dying to see this.

Your mileage may vary

August 29, 2006 3:09 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Just saw "Renaissance" at a press screening and can recommend it with the caveat that it compensates for its eschewal of emotional depth by its dazzling glamorization of surfaces. Akin to the sheen of skintight black latex worn by a beautiful curvaceous woman to whom you would never entrust your heart.

It maintains an effective tension between opacity and translucence "exalting the imagination" [as the press notes attest] "toward the elements left in the shadow."

The storyline is spare; but, that might be just as well since you'll be prone to be distracted and fascinated as it is with the film's mocap wizardry and its noirish look. I reference film noir begrudgingly, only because it is a ready reference, and because all too often I think the dark heart of film noir is overlooked. In "Renaissance" the heart simply cannot be found.

August 29, 2006 4:39 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Okay, I seem to have come up with a list of 30 and posted them at Filmjourney. I think I'll be adding/rushing some mid-week.

August 29, 2006 6:29 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Shazzbot! Four hours after I mailed off my NYFF ticket order, I received an email that my press accreditation for the festival was approved. Oh well, maybe I can catch the Iosseliani, Oliveira, and Sissako after all (they were playing weeknights on Week 1, and I can't really afford to take 2 weeks off). I also held off on buying tickets for the Kunuk and To since I'm not that rabid about their work, so maybe I'll catch those on a press pass. Hmm...maybe I can squeeze in more avant-garde too; the first day of the AG program interferes with the screenings of Paprika, Private Fears in Public Places, and Syndromes and a Century... Okay, maybe it's not so bad after all. ;)

August 29, 2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Congratulations on the press pass, Acquarello; I'm still waiting to hear back about mine, which has made me reluctant to purchase tickets yet.

All I know is one way or the other I'm going to have a great time!!

August 30, 2006 1:54 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Clicks:
--Acquarello's NYFF filmlist..
--Jim Emerson on propaganda films.
--Joe Swanberg interviewed by Andrew Grant. (Feels good to say the latter name out loud in public, doesn't it?)
--More De Palma:Dennis; and David Pratt-Robson.

August 30, 2006 7:43 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Oh look--J. Robert has a blog.

August 30, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger girish said...

TIFF post at Greencine.

August 30, 2006 12:30 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Acquarello, I'm so upset that Tian Zhuangzhuang's film is a no-show at TIFF. Your line-up at NYFF looks great.

August 30, 2006 1:52 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Thanks, Doug, yeah NYFF seems to really like Tian and Hong, which is great for me. I'm actually making a special trip just to see those on opening weekend, then coming back that Friday for the second week slate. I'm pretty disappointed that new Costa isn't screening at NYFF, but I suspect it's too out there for the more mainstream panelists, so I'm hoping it pops up at Film Comment Selects, which is my preferred venue anyway.

August 30, 2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Regarding 'Madame Sata' (which I didn't know of until now), just found a wonderful annual magazine - The Harvard Cinematic (http://www.thecinematic.com/issues.html)! You probably already know it, but in its first issue there's a comprehensive article on the film. I only skimmed the piece and will plunge into it tomorrow since it's getting quite late, but it really seems exhaustive.

August 30, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Twitch has put up a cool Korean trailer for The Host. Looks like I might get to interview Bong Joon-Hoo. Keeping my toes crossed!!

August 30, 2006 3:28 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

I wasn't impressed by the Devil's Backbone... but Pan's Labyrinth does look great so I'll want to watch it.

I agree with you on Renaissance, Maya, and thanks for the support. I think it's a much better achievement than say... Sin City ;)
It's more a tech-noir type like Blade Runner, but it's bitonal aesthetics comes from graphic comic rather than cinema anyway.

Just saw Dumont's Flandres (Cannes Grand Prix, and selected at TIFF), both exciting and frustrating... as expected I guess. I really like its understated style, no music, few words and all visual language, but I'm a little disappointed by the little content ultimately. It's a disturbing portrait of humanity and a new illustration of sexuality and war but I'm afraid it doesn't say anything groundbreaking. I would still rank it in the "Must-See".

August 31, 2006 5:20 AM  
Blogger girish said...

--Brian Darr on Frank Borzage at Cinemarati.
--Upcoming DVD schedule at Acquarello's.
--Thom at Film Of The Year on Pathé.

August 31, 2006 7:01 AM  
Blogger girish said...

And FYI: I really should mention the marvelous deep-dish debate on toons taking place in the comments to the Friz Freleng post.

August 31, 2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Dave Hudson at Greencine has a post on "The U.S. vs. John Lennon." Since it's due to be released soon, probably not one I'll catch at Toronto.

Yoko seems to be everywhere I look lately. Mitchell interacted with her for "Follow My Voice" and John Canemaker was talking about her with regard to his animation of Lennon's sketches (which I enjoyed watching at his program but which, due to issues with Yoko, will never be distributed). She also has an exhibit coming up here in SF.

August 31, 2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

I liked The Devil's Backbone a lot, even though I didn't find it nearly as terrifying as, say, The Exorcist or Night of the Living Dead (but, in all fairness, what is?) It has some creepy moments, yes, but it's also got this odd resonance to it that's had me thinking of it long after the film ended.

Got your package today, by the way; thanks very much. I'll have to stop soon or I'll be haunted by the ghost of Cole Porter.

August 31, 2006 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike Rot said...

I noticed no one has mentioned 'the Killer Within'... as a subject for a documentatry I thought this has real potential. In fact the Real to Reel section is perhaps the strongest of all of the programs, on paper at least.

I am curious Harry, what was your problem with Paris je t'aime?

and any advanced word on D.O.A.P.?

August 31, 2006 4:34 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh shoot, didn't secure my press pass afterall. It was something of a pipe dream anyways. In a way it's good, I guess, easier to choose among the existing schedule.

August 31, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

I liked Devil's Backbone, loved Night of the Living Dead, but am not too crazy about The Exocrist, myself.

August 31, 2006 11:15 PM  
Blogger girish said...

--Matt Zoller Seitz on Star Trek and the CGI facelift.
--Apichatpong Weerasaethakul's Syndromes and a Century sounds pretty darned great.
--Several new posts by Jim at Scanners.
--Cinetrix on When The Levees Broke.

Okay, so the first week of classes is done and the Toronto festival schedule has been FedExed back to them, I can get back once again to, er, blogging. Working on something; shall post tonight or tomorrow morning.

September 01, 2006 6:46 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael Sicinski's TIFF preview.

September 01, 2006 7:02 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry to hear that, Maya. But truthfully, this will allow you to see the films with the rest of us lumpen proletariat instead of the press screenings, so actually I'm grateful we'll be seeing more of you.

September 01, 2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

To blogspot.com users: Blogger beta: rss feeds for comments, labels for posts, privacy settings for the blog, drag-and-drop template editing, and the end of "republish blog" thanks to dynamic generation of html pages.

I'll gladly figure out the new tags for old features so I can use some of the new ones.

September 01, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Hi Mike nice to see you here.
Paris Je t'Aime is an uneven omnibus that had very strict rules (only 2 days of shooting for 5') and I feel like most directors took it lightly. Overall it looks like a film student exercice. The only segment worth watching are by Coens, Chomet, Twyker (edited from a longer short film), Laguavenese, Depardieu, Coixet. The others are either really bad (like Christopher Doyle's!) or merely like a TV skit with a weak point. MTV Music videos are more creative than this. And regarding the theme of love and Paris was largely relying on touristic clichés (even Coen's!) or facile plots. We could expect more cutting edge material from these big names.
It's still interesting to watch maybe not in a festival where every slot is dear.

Tuwa : yay great news! finally comments feeds for everyone. :)

September 01, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

As part of the Twitch team, I am so pleased with Todd Brown's administrations. He's just started up the One Stop TIFF Trailer Shop, which will be updated continually by the team as the festival progresses.

September 01, 2006 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Mike Rot said...

hmmm... maybe I will skip Paris Je T'aime, what I look for from TIFF are, for lack of a better term, art-experiences, and mediocrity can be left for dvd viewing.

thanks for the head's up Harry. I am getting more and more intrigued by D.O.A.P... it has made the front of the National Post today with the headline "Kill Bush: The Movie". If done well this really could be something.

Love the site girish... this where it's at.

September 01, 2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Just saw The Way I Spent the End of the World, another romanian film about the demise of Ceausescu (great companion feature to 12:08 East of Bucharest), very well dramatized using the parallel worldviews of a little boy and his teenager sister who see this dictatorship (and a strict education) differently without resorting to cliché situations. Co-produced by Scorsese and Wenders! Really worthwhile if you can still fit it in.

I noticed Grbavica opens in France in septembre (under the revamped title : "Sarajevo, Mon Amour") the trailer looks good.

re Bloggers-beta : I'm not among the chosen few who can upgrade I'm afraid... anybody tried already?

September 01, 2006 8:01 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

I wasn't invited either, Harry, but I set up a new blog on the beta site at http://bloggerbetatesters.blogspot.com/ to test the features.

I sent you an invitation to join; if anyone else wants to experiment with it I'll send an invite (or you can set up your own new site to experiment on, as I did).

My first impression is that labels and other basic new features are easy to use, but I haven't yet gotten into some of the more complicated ones like if/then statements.

September 01, 2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger girish said...

--Just disccovered this good essay on Roland Barthes.

Post in the works, but probably not till tomorrow...

September 02, 2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 02, 2006 10:27 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Happy birthday, Girish.

September 03, 2006 12:31 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Is it is your birthday, guy??!! Feliz cumpleaños!!

September 03, 2006 1:58 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Muchas gracias, amigos. (How did you ever know, Tuwa?)

September 03, 2006 6:51 AM  
Blogger Marina said...

Happy birthday you! :)
Wishes always scare me, so I'll let it be like that - a wonderful day with a wonderful occasion!

September 03, 2006 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Being your birthday, you should be treating yourself to at least one movie starring Jennifer Rubin without apology!

September 03, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Girish, I called the Psychic Friends Network and they pointed me to this post. Which reminds me, I forgot to wish your weblog a happy birthday too.

Bang up work you're doing; I love it.

September 03, 2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, all. Very kind of you. Admittedly it's been a bit of a partying weekend, so the blog post will unfortunately have to wait till tomorrow. Have a good day, y'all...

September 03, 2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Girish, you're supposed to be resting tomorrow. :-) Federal mandate and all....

September 03, 2006 5:55 PM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Happy Birthday, Girish! Many happy returns ...

September 03, 2006 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Happy birthday, Girish! Buy yourself somethin' real nice, then pretend it's a gift from me. ;)

Now that it's official, I've posted my complete TIFF schedule. Is it Thursday yet?

September 03, 2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Have a very merry birthday, and a great year, girish!

September 03, 2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger Campaspe said...

Happy Birthday, Girish! May your next year be glorious Technicolor, dazzling Cinemascope and stereophonic sound.

September 03, 2006 10:28 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Ah, so! Memorable experiences on your natal day, sir.

September 03, 2006 11:37 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Best wishes on your birthday, Girish. And I'm looking forward to your Toronto coverage already...

September 04, 2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Zach, Darren, Brian, Campaspe, Noel, Mubarak ~ Thank you!!

Darren, thanks for posting that link. I look forward to seeing you at Climates on Thursday night.

A weekend of over-consumption; nursing a hangover but will try to get my lazy blog-self into gear at some point today.

September 04, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

I too wish to add my (now belated) wishes for a happy birthday for you to the pile!

September 04, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Sachin G. said...

hey Girish, belated bday wishes and even more belated film comments:

I quite liked both Election movies and even though at times, it feels like neither movie covers new ground from the regular godfather mafia movies, the touch of democracy to the mix made it an interesting watch. Here was a film which showed how democracy can be abused but maybe that was just me trying to strech the film beyond what was intended. Also, watching both movies back to back is good as one can see how Lok's character develops.

If you are in the mood for a light hearted Canadian film, then Paul Fox's Everything's Gone Green is a good watch. Nothing spectacular about it but it is a refreshing film with a feel good innocence about it. Douglas Coupland has written the movie which I found a surprizing fact. It if one of the few movies that overlaps with TIFF, CIFF and VIFF. This year, it seems VIFF is showing a lot of the TIFF films (although at a cheaper price :) but CIFF has more indie films than both festivals (which may or may not be a good thing). But this movie should be in regular Canadian theatres soon after the festival, so no rush to see it at TIFF.

One comment about Day Night Day Night. I found it surprizing that I have not read it compared to Santosh Sivan's The Terrorist. That 1999 film was about a female suicide bomber and was made at a time when this topic was not flashed in the media as much. Personally, I was not a fan of that film but it does have stunning visuals and got some attention at film festivals. Some critics called it the best movie to have come out of India, which I felt was incorrect as the movie suffered from certain script flaws which plague commerical indian movies like contrived plot twists and melodramatic elements used to resolve conflicts. But I wanted to see Day Night Day Night to draw a comparison. Also, with the Terrorist even though the mission was not talked about it, the movie was bogged down with similarities regarding Rajiv Gandhi's assassination so maybe that tainted my view somewhat.

Well anough rambling from me..hope you enjoy TIFF :)

September 04, 2006 11:40 PM  
Blogger David Lowery said...

Happy birthday from me as well, Girish! Many happy returns, and all that jazz. A good TIFF lineup must be the best (and most dependable) birthday present ever.

I've been so busy lately that I've been neglecting all the conversations going on here the past few weeks (much less keeping up with my own blog). Looking over the last 150 comments, I feel nostalgic for last spring...I feel like I've been missing out all summer.

September 05, 2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for the wishes, Andy, Sachin & David.

Sachin, it's good to hear the advance scoop on those films. Have a good CIFF this year.

David, I've missed you, and I know you've been super-busy with your travels and your multiple creative projects.

September 05, 2006 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Girish, let me join the chorus: Happy Birthday (albeit belatedly)!

TIFF is just around the corner, but it can't arrive soon enough. :)

September 05, 2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Michael, and congrats on the 2-year anniversary of Culturespace.
And I really look forward to meeting you in person this week.

September 05, 2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Couple o' days late, but here it is: Happy birthday!

All this talk flying around about what to see makes me want to go to Toronto one of these years even more than I already do. As it is, I'm not even gonna make NYFF for the most part this year... bleah.

September 05, 2006 9:48 PM  
Blogger Ouyang Feng said...

- By Pablo Trapero, I've only seen El Bonaerense, which I thought was quite a solid film, but at the same time not an outstanding film, I avoided The Rolling Family.
- I've seen all the Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's films, I must say that even though Invisible Waves is perfectly photographed and very well directed and acted, I thought Last Life in the Universe was better, perhaps because not willing to be as perfect as Invisible Waves.
I would however recommend Monrak Transistor.
- If you can don't miss Dong by Jia Zhangke. Chinese documentaries are very flourishing, more and more are produced, and several get more and more recognized (Wang Bing, Huang Wenhai... to mention the ones who received great awards).
- I've seen King and the Clown, which was a big hit last year in South Korea (I liked it, found it quite entertaining, well done, in somehow reminded me of Farewell My Concubine but in a more comedy style). I've seen also Election 1 & 2, I like very much Johnnie To's films, both are good in their genre (a genre that To's a master of).
- I, of course, wouldn't not missed Syndromes and a Century (hehe Apichatpong Weerasethakul is one of my favourite directors).
- By Lee Sang-il, I've seen 69 based on Ryu Murakami's book, a too-much teen film and Scrap Heaven (which I much prefered). The Hula Girls is a comedy based on a true story in the 60s, but I don't know if it would be good.
- other films I would see : Woman on the Beach by Hong Sang-soo (not a favourite of mine, but I happen to see all his films), and of course, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (yes another Tsai!).

September 07, 2006 6:21 PM  

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