Monday, September 15, 2014

TIFF 2014: The Round-Up



I returned from Toronto last night, and will put up a couple of posts later in the week on some of the films I was able to catch there. Meanwhile, here's an overall round-up.

Best-of-the-Fest:

Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium)
Horse Money (Pedro Costa, Portugal)
Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner, Austria)

Excellent:

Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Indonesia)

Strong:

The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina)
Li'l Quinquin (Bruno Dumont, France)
National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, France/USA)
Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang, France/Taiwan)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Norway)
Alleluia (Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgium)
Heaven Knows What (Benny & Joshua Safdie, USA/France)
Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, Ukraine)

Good, But I Had Some Reservations:

Phoenix (Christian Petzold, Germany)
Voila L'Enchainement (Claire Denis, France)
Timbuktu (Abderrehmane Sissako, Mali)
Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, France/Italy)
Natural Resistance (Jonathan Nossiter, Italy/France)

Interesting, But Didn't Work For Me:

Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, France)
Tales (Rakshan Banietemad, Iran)

Spellbinding But Category-Resistant:

Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, France)

Disappointment of the Fest:

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson, Sweden)

Surprise of the Fest:

Alleluia (Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgium)

Cried Out for Immediate Rewatching:

Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
Horse Money (Pedro Costa, Portugal)
The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)

Shamelessly Wowed by a Star Performance:

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium)
Viggo Mortensen in Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina)

Best Non-Star Performance:

Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What (Benny & Joshua Safdie, USA/France)
Lola Dueñas in Alleluia (Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgium)

Film That Really Messed With My View of a Director I Thought I Knew:

Li'l Quinquin (Bruno Dumont, France)

Best Scene:

Opening: The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)
Closing: Phoenix (Christian Petzold, Germany)

Best Q&A:

Matías Piñeiro
Lisandro Alonso and Viggo Mortensen
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Films I Most Regret Missing:

The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, UK)
Two Shots Fired (Martin Rejtman, Argentina)
La Sapienza (Eugène Green, France/Italy)
Letters to Max (Eric Baudelaire, France)


* * *

Recent Reading:

-- There's a brand new issue of the video essay journal [in]Transition, edited by Catherine Grant.

-- "Inside, Around and About Notorious," a chapter from Adrian Martin's 2006 PhD thesis, now available at 16:9. Also: two recent video essays by Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian: "Paratheatre Without Stages" (on Jacques Rivette's Out 1); and "Felicity Conditions: Seek and Hide" (on Fritz Lang's Secret Beyond the Door ...).

-- Tributes to Harun Farocki gathered by David Hudson.

-- Sight & Sound's "The Greatest Documentaries of All Time" poll.

-- An interview with Jean-Claude Carrière at Public Books.

-- A 60-page excerpt available on PDF from a recent book that collects global film manifestos, at Film Quarterly, via Neepa Majumdar.

-- "Phil Karlson Confidential" by Bill Krohn, at Kinoslang.

-- Erika Balsom on "cinema as a performing art," at Artforum.

-- Tony Zhou's 5-minute video, "A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film".

-- I re-read Alexis Tioseco's moving letter to Nika Bohinc after listening to Lisandro Alonso talk about how news of their death inspired him to begin working on his new film Jauja.

-- Recent blog discovery: The Mongrel Muse, run by Tanner Tafelski.

pic: Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014).

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Looking Forward to TIFF 2014


This blog is now 10 years old. I started it on the eve of a trip to TIFF, and here I am, headed to TIFF again—for the 16th straight year.

Here is the list of films I’m planning to see in Toronto. If you have any suggestions to make, I’ll be happy to receive them. Thank you! I want to note that Cinema Scope has begun its customary, vast coverage of the festival, and I'll be checking the site daily to help me fine tune my schedule in real time ...

Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
Horse Money (Pedro Costa, Portugal)
National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, France/USA)
Phoenix (Christian Petzold, Germany)
The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Indonesia)
The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)
Voila L'Enchainement (Claire Denis, France)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina)
Li'l Quinquin (Bruno Dumont, France)
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium)
The Old Man of Belem (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, Canada)
While We're Young (Noah Baumbach, USA)
Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang, France/Taiwan)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Norway)
Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
Trick or Treaty? (Alanis Obomsawin, Canada)
Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, France/Italy)
Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, France)
Heaven Knows What (Benny & Joshua Safdie, USA/France)
La Sapienza (Eugène Green, France/Italy)
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson, Sweden)
Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa, Ukraine)
Letters to Max (Eric Baudelaire, France)
Natural Resistance (Jonathan Nossiter, Italy/France)
Two Shots Fired (Martin Rejtman, Argentina)
Tales (Rakshan Banietemad, Iran)
Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner, Austria)
Girlhood (Céline Sciamma, France)
Alleluia (Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgium)
Taprobana (Gabriel Abrantes, Portugal/Sri Lanka)
The Figures Carved into the Knife by the Sap of the Banana Trees (Joana Pimenta, USA/Portugal)

pic: Li'l Quinquin (Bruno Dumont, France)