Alright, so this is the final pack that TIFF has to offer, I believe. I heard rumor that there are a few more SP films that they need to add, but this seems like the last *official* update. Doing all this has been fun and if you’ve been taking what I’ve been saying seriously, then at least something of benefit came from all of this. And yes, if you’re wondering, I did make that The White Ribbon poster you see – I think it looks pretty decent, but with a photo like that to work with, it’d be hard to mess it up. Alright, here we go – the final 20 films!
Antichrist – starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe. Yeah, this is definitely one of my most anticipated of the year – more Lars von Trier; more incessant handheld photography; more strong female performances. If you don’t like Dancer in the Dark, I’ll go ahead and assume that you won’t like this. The story is simple – a woman and her husband go into the forest in a seemingly simple journey. However, this small trip turns into an acid one and it becomes the heroine’s worst nightmare. Boom, no way I’m missing this. Set for an October theatrical released, with a VOD release that precedes the theatrical release by two days. (A 10/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Carmel – starring: No idea. The latest film from Amos Gitai is ‘Carmel’ a biographical account of the director’s experiences as a soldier and a father, blending in some experiences with some fictionalized events. Now, I’ve only seen one or two Gitai films, but I know he can get good performances out of his actors (see: Free Zone), so I know he has some talent, if an underrated one. However, this synopsis isn’t cutting it for me, so I’ll postpone my seeing this until DVD or at least a theatrical run. Should be a fine one though. No release date set – a World Premiere. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Crab Trap – starring: No idea. Since I can’t gather any information about it elsewhere, I’ll just copy what TIFF has outlined: Treading a fine line between documentary and fiction, Crab Trap is a meditative look at daily life in a remote village on the Pacific coast of Colombia that explores the nuances of social and racial relations in one of the most isolated areas of the country. This sounds pretty good – especially the social conflicts it apparently has. I’m willing to give this a go if word of mouth is good – a second showing or something sounds good. No release date has been announced. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Honeymoons – starring: Lazar Ristovski and Petar Bozovic. The latest Serbian feature comes via Goran Paskaljevic – one of the countries most premier directors. This film sounds a lot like last years Transsiberian – two newlywed couples set off on a romantic adventure for their honeymoons, but soon their expectations fade and their dreams become nightmares. It sounds pretty good – it might actually improve upon the weak parts of the 2008 American feature, but I’m not quite sure I’d see it at the festival. No doubt it’ll be interesting, but lately Goran has been hit or miss. I’ll let critics judge this before I jump into the water. No release date has been set. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Hotel Atlantico – starring: Mariana Ximenes and Gero Camilo. I don’t understand why director Suzana Amaral is being showcased this year under Masters – having only two (albeit well received) features under her belt. Anyways, this film is about an unnamed actor as he wanders into new experiences, living life in the moment. Also said to showcase some of Brazil’s finest landscape, this story is harrowing and beautiful. I might catch this – I really like ‘loner’ movies and Amaral has proven herself… I’m down. The only (major) aspect causing my reluctance is that it *is* a Brazilian production and most of them are too flashy or ‘pretty’ for their own good. That tends to bother me, so it’ll be a close call. No release date has been set. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Mall Girls – starring: No idea. This is another teenage realization flicks, however this isn’t an American feature, but rather Polish. The story is about a 14 year old girl who is bullied and segregated from popularity when she moves to a new town with her family and enrolls in a new school. So rather than accepting her sad place in high school society, she decides to follow around the popular girls, the ‘mall girls’, who trade sexual favors for cash and act more mature than they are. No doubt it’ll be impressive – these movies always strike a chord with me (see: Thirteen) where they might not with others. I’ll give it a go – one of the few films I’ll see that I’ll be iffy on, I think. No release date has been set. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Man Beyond the Bridge – starring: No idea. A lonely man finds a companion in a mad woman in a dense forest in the Western Ghats of India. When she becomes pregnant, a conflict arises between a society that refuses to take responsibility for one of its members and one man’s endeavor to integrate her in his life. Sounds very interesting, but it could just as easily be one of the misleading TIFF synopsises. I’m trying to go for movies I’ll completely like, so I’ll probably skip this out of fear. For more open people, try and catch this to let me know if I was wrong. No release date has been set. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Melody for a Street Organ – starring: Lena Kostyuk and Georgi Deliyev. Usually good for quality, almost 75 year old Ukranian director Kira Muratova is back at TIFF with his latest – a story of two orphans who search for their missing father. Their motivation? Worried about being separated through being adopted by different families. It sounds very endearing, sentimental… all that good stuff, but at 153 minutes it would have to be quite compelling for me to dive in nose first, especially since Muratova has been hit or miss as of late as well. If it gets good reviews, I’d like to catch it on a second run – if I miss it at TIFF altogether, I’d like to see it eventually because it does sound like a good movie. It also won two top prizes earlier this year at the Moscow Film Festival. No release date has been announced. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Mr. Nobody – starring: Jared Leto and Diane Kruger. This final addition to the Special Presentations program comes way of Belgium and France. The story is about the worlds last living mortal. The year is 2092 and the human race has figured out the key to immortality and Nemo is the last living mortal – the last person on Earth that will die of natural causes. As he begins to lose his memory and is unaware of whats going on around him, Nemo tries to grasp onto some everlasting memories to take with him into the afterlife. It sounds great and apparently van Dormael is one genius behind a camera, so I’ll give Toto the Hero a whirl before the festival (I have it on DVD, so it’s a good coincidence). I’m sure this will be a good one – one of the few I’m sure everyone will appreciate in one way or another. Set for an October release in France and Belgium. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Le Refuge – starring: No idea. Francois Ozon’s latest is about a young woman who is left alone with her unborn baby after her boyfriend dies. She runs to the countryside in hopes that her boyfriend’s brother will be able to help the woman with her crushing load. I don’t really like Ozon from what I’ve seen, so I’ll avoid this just based on past experiences. He’s intelligent, but expresses himself in a way I can’t connect to. Should be good for those who appreciate this work, though. No release date has been set – World Premiere. (A 4/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Saint-Louis Blues/Nora – starring: No idea. This is a double bill with the 50 minute short feature musical by Dyana Gaye in ‘Saint Louis Blues’ being preceded by a song-and-dance short biography by Alla Kovgan; what ties these two together are that both of them are Africa oriented and meant to be gorgeous. I’ll be skipping them, but it should be an interesting experience. However, you never know what can happen if the schedules are frustrating. No release date has been set. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
She, a Chinese – starring: Lu Huang. A mockumentary from Chinese auteur Xiaolu Guo is the basis for ‘She, A Chinese’. The story is about is about a young woman on a soul-searching rock’n’roll journey from her native village in China to London. Guo’s documentary Once Upon a Time Proletarian is also being screened this year. It sounds like a good movie – this could be the year I fall in love with Guo. No release date has been set. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Timetrip: The Curse of the Viking Witch – starring: Jonas Wandschneider and Stine Stengade. The story: Ninth-grader Valdemar and younger sister Sille embark on a trip through Danish history as they attempt to break an age-old curse. One of the few Sprockets features, so this will be more aimed for children, I’m sure. Not really my thing – sounds too fantasy oriented for my taste; especially the “traveling through time” aspect. No release date has been announced. (A 3/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Under the Mountain – starring: Tom Cameron and Matthew Chamberlain. ‘Under the Mountain’ is a Sprockets feature – a film designed to bring in the family audiences. This feature is about teenaged twins that battle demons under a volcano to prevent the world from being overrun by darkness. Sounds cheesy, but fun – a movie I’d be willing to rent one day. Set for a December release in New Zealand. (A 4/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Vincere – starring: Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi. This is the true story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dasler and the upbringing of their child, Albino. Marco Bellocchio has been called one of Italy’s top directors for decades now and this is no exception – having been nominated for the Palme d’Or earlier this year and receiving some of his best reviews in over two decades, this is certainly bound to be some of the 70 year old’s best work yet. I’m growing tired of period romances, so this seems to come at a very inconvenient time for me. However, I’m willing to bet Italy will choose this as their Foreign Film Selection for this years Academy Awards, so it’ll find some distribution. Well, this or Baaria. Received an Italian theatrical release in May. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Vision – starring: Barbara Sukowa and Heino Ferch. This is the story of the Benedictine nun who became the first member of the Renaissance before there was even a Renaissance. It sounds alright – maybe I need to understand Margarethe von Trotta’s style a little bit better before I completely give up hope on this because it could be great. Set for a German theatrical release on September 24th. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
White Material – starring: Isabelle Huppert and Isaach De Bankolé. After I missed one of the alleged ‘top fleet’ flicks of last years film festival in Claire Denis’ 35 Rhums, I’ve decided that I’ll be sure not to miss her latest in ‘White Material’; the story of a French family of expatriates (people living in exile) living in an African country. As they try to grow their coffee bean plantation, their well-being and prospering business is threatened by an ongoing civil war. It sounds very interesting; very authentic – and if what I’ve heard about Denis is true, I’m bound to love this. No release date has been announced. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The White Ribbon – starring: Ulrich Tukur and Susanne Lothar. Every major film fan already knows this movie – the 2009 Palme d’Or winner directed by Michael Haneke. It’s the story of a rural German school that begins to experience weird occurrences during the first World War. You know, this movie could be about goats riding Godzilla-sized lawnmowers across northern Canada and I’d still be excited for it because it won the Palme d’Or and is being directed by one of my favourites. I’m there no matter what. Set for a September 24th release in Austria. (A 10/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Window – starring: Swastika Mukherjee and Tapas Pal. This is the IMDb synopsis: Janala tells the story about a man, Bimal, who decides to give a little back to his old school despite the fact he has very little money himself. As a child Bimal had a favourite corner classroom where he used to sit and daydream out of a broken window, and so when he finds himself back in his old school he feels compelled to replace the window. This sounds like one of the few middle-eastern films playing at TIFF this year that actually interests me – it sounds solemn and simple, two of my favourite qualities in a film. I’d like to see it, so if the opportunity arises, I definitely shall. No release date has been set. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
So that will just about do it. To anyone who was following all the updates: cheers. Happy festivities if you come along for the 10 days of cinema magic. To those who were just reading for fun, hopefully you can make your way to a festival sometime soon. Cheers!
Expect two more TIFF related posts in the next week or so. One documenting my ordering of the top 100 or so movies I want to see at TIFF – basically just a guideline for myself to make picking my schedule much easier. The second will, of course, be the schedule outline.