It has been a busy day full of screenings and fun run-ins. I’ve seen 4 films, chatted with a few people who I met at this year’s ArtHouse Convergence in Utah, spotted a couple of my favorite critics, and secured more tickets for the next couple days.
I woke this morning at 6:00am and hopped on the subway by 6:45 in order to secure myself a place in line for tickets. I got my first picks and then headed into a screening of a South Korean film called IN ANOTHER COUNTRY with the always fantastic Isabelle Huppert. The story is about a girl who is writing a screenplay about a vacation town and a series of visitors – all played by Huppert. Though there are moments of charm and an understanding of what it’s like to be foreign (communication gaps, inability to read certain characters of handwriting, etc.), this movie didn’t work entirely for me. Some of the camera work turned me off, and the repetition of thematic material (though I understand that was the point) between each tourist was a little exhausting.
Next I saw LAURENCE ANYWAY – the new film from Xavier Dolan (director of I KILLED MY MOTHER and HEARTBEATS). This is the story of the relationship between a man and woman…and what happens to their relationship once the man announces that he will have a sex change. There’s an interesting movie inside this movie…but at 2 hours and 40 minutes, it’s way too long and a bit of a tonal mess…with long stretches of realism, several moments of editing like an 80’s music video (ala HEARTBEATS) and a handful of visual metaphors that are lovely – but didn’t sync with the film (like W.E. last year, I’d like the opportunity to re-edit this film). All that said, the last 10 minutes are magical (I’m glad I stuck around). Though Melvil Poupaud (from TIME TO LEAVE) does nice work as the transgender male to female character, Suzanne Clement who does the best work in this film (she was the mother in I KILLED MY MOTHER, she was also in a great Canadian film called IT WASN’T ME, I SWEAR). Though not a huge fan of this film, I’ll be anxious to see what Dolan does next. I loved his first 2 films, and he’s only in his early 20’s.
Then I saw AMOUR – the latest and most accessible film from Michael Haneke (THE WHITE RIBBON, FUNNY GAMES, BENNY’S VIDEO, THE PIANO TEACHER, and more). This Cannes winner is terribly heartbreaking and the most realistic, lovely, devastating, sweet, and honest depiction of an older couple I have ever seen. In this case, they’re dealing with a recently onset illness…and the wife’s desire to never be taken to the hospital again. (Isabelle Huppert has a small role…so she’s in the lead for most films I’ve seen with the same actress at TIFF.) This film is being released by Sony Classics, so I’m sure THE NEON will bring it to town.
Lastly, I saw RUST AND BONE – the film I mentioned in yesterday’s update. I was not a big fan of A PROPHET – the director’s last film. And though I don’t completely embrace this film (physical, bloody violence almost always turns me off), I do see the brilliant artistry at work. It’s really nice to see that a director that is so full of a need to portray hideous violence is also able to show us warmth and gentleness. This film is about a father who is down on his luck and the orca trainer he meets at a club one night (brilliantly played by Marion Cotillard). Within the first act, there’s an accident at Marineland, and Cotillard’s character loses both her legs. This film is brutal…but it’s filled with honesty and wonderful moments. The photography is fantastic and the sound design is out of this world. Because Sony Classics has picked it up, I’m guessing it will come our way at THE NEON…and I’m guessing you’ll hear more about it come award season. Cotillard, Mattias Schoenaerts (the lead male) and director Jacques Audiard were all at the screening. Check out the newer trailer for this film at imdb.com
Thanks for reading. I’m off to bed.