Monday, August 27, 2012

Gearing up for TIFF 2012

I'm on sabbatical this semester, and will be able to spend a few more days at TIFF than usual. Here's what I'm planning to see:

Tabu (Miguel Gomes, Portugal)
Penance (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan), a 4.5-hour TV mini-series
Far From Vietnam (Marker/Godard/Varda/Resnais/Ivens/Klein/Lelouch, France, 1967)
Far From Aghanistan (Gianvito/Wilkerson/Jost/Martin/Yoo, USA)
Passion (Brian De Palma, USA)
Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor/Paravel, France)
Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, Japan/France)
Barbara (Christian Petzold, Germany)
Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, USA) 
Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, UK)
All That You Possess (Bernard Émond, Canada)
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (Sophie Fiennes, UK, including an extended Q&A with Zizek)
The Last Time I Saw Macao (Pedro Rodrigues/da Mata, Portugal)
Something in the Air (Olivier Assayas, France)
Student (Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazhakstan)
differently, Molussia (Nicolas Rey, France)
Night Across the Street (Raúl Ruiz, France/Chile)
Lines of Wellington (Valeria Sarmiento, France)
Gebo and his Shadow (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
Walker (Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan)
The Capsule (Athena Rachel Tsangari, Greece)
Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, UK)
Crimes of Mike Recket (Bruce Sweeney, Canada)
Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, USA)
The Tortoise, An Incarnation (Girish Kasaravalli, India)
Room 237 (Rodney Ascher, USA)
When Night Falls (Ying Lang, China)
English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, India)
Nights with Theodore (Sébastien Betbeder, France)
The Girl from the South (José Luis Garcia, Argentina)
The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh, Israel)
Ginger and Rosa (Sally Potter, UK)
Fill the Void (Rama Burshtein, Israel)
The Fifth Season (Peter Brosens/Jessica Woodworth, Belgium)
Viola (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)
Birds (Gabriel Abrantes, Portugal)

Most of the above are features. I'll be looking to catch a couple of avant-garde shorts programs as well. Some films I'll regret missing at the festival: Bestiaire (Denis Côté, Canada); The Gangs of Wasseypur (Anurag Kashyap, India); Three Sisters (Wang Bing, China); Tower (Kazik Radwanski, Canada); Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, USA); In the Fog (Sergei Loznitsa, Russia); and Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico). I'll be saving Terrence Malick's To the Wonder and Michael Haneke's Amour for their US release, which I hope will be swift.

Here is a link to all the programs at the festival. Any suggestions or recommendations? I'd love to hear them.

* * *

Recent reads:

-- The Sight & Sound poll 2012.

-- At the BFI website: Thom Andersen's wonderful explanatory piece "Yasujiro Ozu: The Master of Time".

-- At MUBI, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has a must-read essay on Tony Scott; and Catherine Grant has put up a collection of links on "'acid aesthetics' and contemporary cinematic stylistic 'excess'" in tribute to Scott. Also: David Hudson's Tony Scott post.

-- J. Hoberman: "Is Cronenberg our most original director?" in the Los Angeles Times; "Where are all the new young movie stars?" in Esquire; "The Lost Futures of Chris Marker" in the New York Review of Books; and appearing in an interview on the "post-film movie era" for the Wall Street Journal. Related: Nathan Lee on Cronenberg at AltScreen earlier this year.

-- Jason Mittell: "Thoughts on teaching theory to undergrads".

-- Essays by Kent Jones at the Criterion website: on La Promesse and Rosetta.

-- Trevor Link: "Five Texts That Have Influenced How I Think About Gender".

-- Darren Hughes has redesigned Long Pauses and put up new posts.

-- At Moving Image Source: Thomas Doherty on "piracy, property rights and the digital revolution"; and Gregory Zinman on Oskar Fischinger's Raumlichtkunst, one of the earliest multimedia projects.

-- Justin Stewart on documentarian Les Blank at Film Comment.

-- In the Guardian: "Why Marxism is on the rise again".

-- An interesting negative take by Australian scholar Simon During: "How did Susan Sontag get to be so famous?" 

-- Recent discovery: Christopher Small's blog, Cinema Over The Waters.

-- Aaron Cutler interviews Portuguese filmmaker Marcelo Felix, whose feature Eden's Ark both preserves and pays tribute to silent cinema.

-- The archives of Cinephile, University of British Columbia's film journal.

-- All the films by the Dziga Vertov Group (Godard & Gorin) are now available to watch online at ubuweb.

pic: The Last Time I Saw Macao (João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata).


Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Pretty daunting list. My only suggestion is if you have the time and inclination for a film for pure fun, I would suggest Korea's biggest hit at the moment, The Thieves.

August 27, 2012 7:30 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

Petzold's Barbara is excellent, a film that really seemed to extend outside the frame for me.

The only thing not on your list of significant interest to me is Lenny Abrahamson's What Richard Did; I like Abrahamson's first two films (Adam and Paul and Garage) a lot -- both very anti-Celtic Tiger views of Ireland made while that rhetoric was in full flight. The cast of the new film looks very strong.

August 27, 2012 8:52 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Girish, when is your ordering window? We'll probably run into each other at a couple of the Wavelengths programs and LOIN DU VIETNAM, but if possible I'd love to carve out some time for a long(ish) meal. I'm at that point in my scheduling where I'm full of ambition, cramming every day with 5 or 6 films. But by day three I'll be skipping screenings.

August 27, 2012 8:54 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Peter, I'd not heard of THE THIEVES. I have to tell you: by the end of TIFF each year I always experience a kind of "art-film fatigue". Not because I only have a limited taste or appetite for "art films" (I don't) but because the films I end up choosing based upon their runs at Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, etc., end up being almost exclusively art films, and seeing 4 or 5 of them a day for a week without the "relief" of any other kind of cinema -- i.e. films that don't display their artistic aspirations so strongly or insistently -- wears me down a little. So, much as I love TIFF and the TIFF experience, what I long to do when it concludes is to spend a couple of weeks immersed in (a) genre cinema, and (b) older films, the latter because TIFF is overwhelmingly "present-ist" in its programming. (Great to see that they're showing FAR FROM VIETNAM and STROMBOLI, though.)

Gareth, I don't know of Abramson at all; thanks for telling me about him. I will try add WHAT RICHARD DID to my schedule.

Darren, my ordering time is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 AM. Let's definitely try to grab a meal together. Looks like your schedule is going to be quite a bit more packed than mine, but you can always reach me via text message.

August 27, 2012 11:00 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

There's a definite Beckett influence in Abrahamson's films to date -- most obvious in Adam and Paul, although present from the very beginning in his short Three Joes. That film also featured the first screen credit of The Wire's Dominic West, for whatever that's worth.

August 27, 2012 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Is NEIGHBOURING SOUNDS in the program? This is one of the year's great films. And the Julio Bressane?

August 27, 2012 4:53 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Adrian, NEIGHBORING SOUNDS is already in US release (I noticed the NYT review the other day), but didn't know of the Julio Bressane. It's not TIFF, alas.

August 27, 2012 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

Based on his past work I d strong recommend trying to program the new Daniele Cipri film as I wouldn't expect it to have much hope of finf fistribution (or showing up that often in later fests).

Adrian, I don't the reason but Bressan'es film hasn't show up in a single festival since Roterddam drom what I know.

August 28, 2012 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Agnès Prassinos said...

An interesting list. A truly genre-defying & fascinating film I saw in Cannes was "Miss Lovely" - a sort of delirious hybrid of pulp and art cinema from India which is on the TIFF list. Felt like a Yasuzo Masumara film, beautifully shot & very unique.

August 29, 2012 12:33 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Filipe, the Cipri is one I'm hoping to squeeze in when I get to the fest...

Agnès, the Ahluwalia film sounded great when I first read about it in Gavin Smith's Cannes report in Film Comment, and now your remarks make me even more curious. I have a schedule clash with it at TIFF but I really, really hope it comes to DVD.

August 29, 2012 10:44 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Adrian's column at Filmkrant:

"The idea comes from Gilles Deleuze: two types of cinema, one tending more toward the body, the other emphasising the brain. It's not a strict or absolute distinction: every film mixes both tendencies in varying proportions. As with all things, it's a matter of degree, of emphasis.

But we know what the philosopher means. The cinema of the body is John Cassavetes, Maurice Pialat, Elaine May, Abel Ferrara, Philippe Garrel. A physical, visceral cinema, centred on the flesh, on the contact of bodies, on eroticism and violence, on 'corporeal subjectivity'. A cinema where the camera gets in the middle of the messy flux of life.

At the opposite extreme, a cinema of the brain: cool, cerebral, systematic, ordered, rational. The cinema of Harun Farocki, Stanley Kubrick, Alain Resnais, Alexander Kluge, Brian De Palma, Straub & Huillet. Calm, highly structured. An essayistic cinema, whether in documentary or fiction mode.

Godard, Varda, Breillat, von Trier, Eustache, Akerman — many filmmakers alternate between brain-films and body-films, where one or the other tendency is dominant. Or they mix both impulses in the same film. But the recent deaths of two masters reminds us of the polarity between these extremes — and the immense artistry that arises in the tension, the back-and-forth movement between them at the greatest heights of film history.

Stephen Dwoskin and Chris Marker, body and brain..."

August 30, 2012 8:15 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

No Mekong Hotel, girish? I know its Cannes reviews were mixed, but...

September 01, 2012 7:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi there, Brian. I did want to see MEKONG HOTEL but alas, I would have had to stay an extra day for it. The hotel rates in Toronto were at a record high this year, and I decided not to. Here's hoping it shows up at Eastman House before too long.

I most belatedly caught up with MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON on DVD this week.

September 02, 2012 9:37 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Ah, that makes sense, girish. The year I went to Toronto I noticed it was a more expensive city than I expected.. It seems like a very good year this year, so enjoy! I hope the Malick & Haneke releases will be swift too.

September 04, 2012 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are this year's attendees at TIFF planning on crossing the film revisers' picket line?

September 04, 2012 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are this year's attendees at TIFF planning on crossing the film revisers' picket line?

September 04, 2012 3:01 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks much, Brian.

Anonymous, thanks for posting; I had no idea.

September 04, 2012 3:12 PM  

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