Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Getting Ready for TIFF + Recent Reading

For nearly 15 years I've attended TIFF as a member of the general public but this year I applied for, and received, press accreditation. I'm looking forward to socializing with critic friends and making some new ones. Here's what I plan on seeing:

Bastards (Claire Denis, France)
Le Joli Mai (Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme, France, 1963)
Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France)
Manila in the Claws of Light (Lino Brocka, Philippines, 1975)
At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman, USA)
Closed Curtain (Jafar Panahi, Iran)
Abuse of Weakness (Catherine Breillat, France)
Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt, USA)
Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
Un Conte de Michel de Montaigne (Jean-Marie Straub, France)
The King's Body (João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal)
Redemption (Miguel Gomes, Portugal)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, UK)
A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke, China)
Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan)
The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zürcher, Germany)
Wavelengths 1 (Avant-garde program with new films by Luther Price, Kenneth Anger, David Rimmer, Andrew Lampert and Scott Stark)
Manakamana (Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, USA)
Story of my Death (Albert Serra, Spain)
The Last of the Unjust (Claude Lanzmann, France)
When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)
The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard, UK)
Three Landscapes (Peter Hutton, USA)
Song and Spring (Nathaniel Dorsky, USA)
Three Interpretation Exercises (Cristi Puiu, Romania)
REAL (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan)
October November (Götz Spielmann, Austria)
The Police Officer's Wife (Philipp Gröning, Germany)
R100 (Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan)
Pays Barbare (Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Italy)
We are the Best! (Lukas Moodysson, Sweden)
Ilo Ilo (Anthony Chen, Singapore)
Love is the Perfect Crime (Arnaud & Jean-Marie Larrieu, France)
Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia)
The Major (Yury Bykov, Russia)

Any comments on these films or suggestions/recommendations of others playing at TIFF?


* * *

Links to recent reads:

-- Essential: Laurent Kretzschmar's blog Serge Daney in English has posted new translations of a series of essays from his first book La Rampe (1983).

-- A feature on the essay film in Sight & Sound, with an introductory essay by Andrew Tracy followed by a dozen short pieces by critics and scholars, each highlighting a particular film.

-- Steven Shaviro on "Vulgar Appropriationism".

-- A conversation between Peter Hutton and Luke Fowler in which Hutton discusses, among other things, his new film Three Landscapes. Via Matthew Flanagan on Twitter.

-- Many terrific candidates and films on director Travis Wilkerson's list of "100 Greatest Living American Filmmakers" at MUBI. [UPDATE: This list, which went viral on Twitter and Facebook recently, was not in fact created by Travis Wilkerson. Please see his comment below.]

-- Steve Rybin on Hal Hartley at his blog Cinephile Papers.

-- "New York Neorealism" by Mark Asch at Fandor.

-- Darren Hughes at MUBI: "Looking at Women: William A. Wellman’s Style in "Frisco Jenny" and "Midnight Mary"".

-- A great interview with Abel Ferrara at Indiewire.

-- A 1950 article by Jacques Rivette on Hitchcock's Under Capricorn, translated by Ted Fendt and appearing in English for the first time, at Andy Rector's blog Kinoslang.

-- The "Cinema of Resistance" series at Lincoln Center in NYC looks great; Kevin Lee has created a video tribute inspired by it.

-- The new issue of the journal Grey Room is devoted to the cinema of Guy Debord.

-- Christopher Small posts Tag Gallagher's article "Angels Gambol Where They Will: John Ford's Indians," which appeared in Film Comment in 1993.

-- At the AV Club by various writers: "Beyond the Jedi: 10 Underappreciated Movies from 1983".

-- The new entry "Philosophy Through Film" at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (via Catherine Grant).

-- "The Importance of Postcapitalist Imagination": an interview with David Harvey.

-- Chris Cagle has been posting from the Visible Evidence conference in Stockholm.

-- "Left" is the theme of the new issue of World Picture, which includes essays on Paul Thomas Anderson (by Tania Modleski), Vincente Minnelli, Hollis Frampton, Guy Debord, and more. Via Catherine Grant, who has put up a post rounding up a Pasolini event organized by BFI last year, and including talks by John David Rhodes, Rosalind Galt, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, etc., all of which can be downloaded from iTunes.

pic: "The Strange Little Cat" (Ramon Zürcher, Germany)


Blogger Michael Guillen said...

Congratulations on your first TIFF press pass, Girish! It will be interesting to measure how it alters your experience of the festival. I can only imagine it will enrichen it. You've chosen a lovely suite of films. I'm quite fond of the Zurcher's Strange Little Cat.

August 27, 2013 12:43 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Michael.

Because of the slightly odd way in which I attend TIFF (I go up for two long weekends with a trip back home in between to teach my classes), I will do press screenings in the first half of the festival and public screenings in the second. Let's see how it works out!

August 27, 2013 12:46 PM  
Blogger girish said...

As Darren put it on Twitter, this lineup appears to be TIFF's strongest since 2006--the year of SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY, STILL LIFE, COLOSSAL YOUTH. etc.

But my heart sank when I noticed that the new Garrel film wasn't on the lineup ...

August 27, 2013 12:48 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The Lino Brocka film has been one of the most unexpected but deeply impressive discoveries of the past five years for me; I can only imagine what seeing it in a (hopefully) good copy on a big screen, rather than as a downloaded file, must be like, but I wish you all the best for the experience. I've written here before that I think it would make an outstanding Criterion release; let's hope that this is a first step?

August 27, 2013 5:13 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Nathan, I'm really looking forward to it too. Here is an excerpt from the program capsule note:

"Considered by many to be the greatest Philippine film of all time, Lino Brocka's masterpiece of gritty realism has finally resurfaced thanks to the World Cinema Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese. This new 4K restoration was created from the original camera and sound negatives, which were deposited at the BFI National Archive in the early 1980s by legendary film programmer Pierre Rissient on behalf of Brocka."

August 27, 2013 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy. Travis Wilkerson here. I didn't actually write that list of top 100 filmmakers. I was put on the list (nice but crazy) and got tagged in the posting so that's where the confusion came from, I think. I've always been sort of opposed to lists of this sort so that's the only reason I mention it. Flattering, but certainly not my work. And I'd never ever put myself on my own list, if I ever broke down and wrote one. It's like wearing your own band t-shirt...

August 27, 2013 10:09 PM  
Blogger Sachin said...

Congrats on getting a press pass Girish. This should allow you a bit more flexibility in checking out certain films.

You already have a mouthwatering list of films to see. In addition, I am quite curious about these titles:

Norte, the End of History: as always I keep hoping that this will be the time that a Lav Diaz film will get wider distribution aside from a few film festivals.

The Past: want to see in order to find out how one can follow A Separation.

Thou Gild'st The Even: It won multiple awards at the Istanbul Film Festival including best film & a FIPRESCI prize for national film.

Borgman: The first Dutch film selected in Cannes competition in almost 4 decades looks like a Haneke setup but perhaps with a tad more humor.

The Lunchbox: Looks to be a sweet charming film expanding on that great tiffin culture in Mumbai. Watching Irrfan Khan at work is always a bonus.

And I really liked Unfair World, the comedic style reminds a bit of Aki Kaurismäki & Corneliu Porumboiu.

August 27, 2013 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

I loved Amer and would rush to see The Strange Color of your Body's Tears. Also, Wetlands seems very intriguing and promises to be controversial.

August 27, 2013 11:50 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Sachin and Peter, thank you for these suggestions! I recognize some of the films you mention but not all. I will look them up in the schedule.

August 28, 2013 7:33 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Travis, thank you for letting me know this. As you know, the list went viral on Facebook and Twitter; that's where I got it. I too am skeptical about the value of lists, but I like that they can turn me on to new films and filmmakers or remind me to revisit films I've not thought about for a while. So this one immediately caught my eye. But I *did* wonder why AN INJURY TO ONE (as wonderful as the film is) would appear on it. This isn't unheard of: I've seen lists by filmmakers that include their own work (Tsai Ming-Liang's Sight & Sound list of 10 favorite films includes GOODBYE DRAGON INN. I love Tsai's films but it nevertheless strikes me as odd.) Anyway, I've made a correction in the post above. Thank you for letting me know.

On another note, best wishes to you with FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN: I'm hoping it is distributed. I missed it at TIFF last year and would love to be able to see it.

August 28, 2013 7:52 AM  
Blogger Matthew Flanagan said...

Surprised you're passing on Norte, Girish. Scheduling conflict? Still, a formidable line-up!

August 28, 2013 12:52 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Matthew, alas, yes, a conflict: I'd have to miss both MANAKAMANA and the Claude Lanzmann film to see it! Terrible.

August 28, 2013 12:58 PM  
Blogger Matthew Flanagan said...

Ouch, I'm really looking forward to Manakamana myself. I'd bump Claude for Lav, though. :)

August 28, 2013 1:03 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah, thanks for that link, Matthew. Hadn't seen it ...

August 28, 2013 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Arsaib said...

I wish that the Hong film that premiered earlier this year at the Berlinale, Nobody's Daughter Hae-won, was at the festival as well. But I too am looking forward to Our Sun-hi and many of the other films on your wonderful list.

August 28, 2013 7:33 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Arsaib, this seems to happen every year with Hong (his being prolific is both a blessing and a curse for cinephiles!) ...

August 29, 2013 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...


I'm planning to watch most of Norte on Thursday night. It overlaps by 15 minutes with Stranger by the Lake, so I plan to watch the Guiraudie film, grab a quick bite to eat, and then wander into the Diaz film. It's not an ideal situation, but if I keep passing up these chances to see Diaz on a big screen, I might never see him at all.

August 29, 2013 11:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew Flanagan said...

Lav has often said re: his earlier longer works that he welcomes people coming and going during screenings: taking a break to eat, to drink, to smoke, to walk, etc. So there's a good precedent for not worrying about catching the entirety of this screening! Although I wonder whether it might be different for this one, as it sounds like it's more 'compact' (in narrative terms) than his previous features...

August 29, 2013 12:04 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Darren, I'm seeing the Denis and Guiraudie films back to back on Thursday, and might join you in popping into the Diaz. (For some reason, I thought that TIFF didn't allow people to enter after the first few minutes of a film; I hope this isn't true.) Matthew, I've seen no films by Diaz!

August 29, 2013 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

It's a press screening, Girish. You can walk in late, eating a sandwich and working on your laptop if you want to! (An exaggeration, but only slightly.)

August 29, 2013 2:27 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Whoa, didn't realize that!

August 29, 2013 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I'm looking forward to the new Koreeda (Like Father, Like Son) and Panh (The Missing Picture). And since animation is seiously ignored and underrepresented in the online cinephile community, also the new Miyazaki (The Wind Rises).

September 01, 2013 2:58 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Nicole, I noticed Gabe Klinger's tweet about the Miyazaki: it's his favorite film so far in Venice. Unfortunately I won't be able to fit it into my schedule ...

September 01, 2013 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Adam Cook said...

Looking forward to meeting you, Girish!

Try not to miss the Lav Diaz or La última película.

And I must say I'm shocked you're skipping the Miyazaki, I'm practically flying in just for it!

September 01, 2013 11:40 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi there, Adam! Looking forward to meeting you as well!

The Miyazaki is a casualty of my making two trips to Toronto from home (Buffalo) with a break in between to teach my classes ... but I can't wait to see it when it comes out!

September 03, 2013 7:14 AM  
Blogger Adrian Mendizabal said...

Go for Norte! :)

September 06, 2013 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you must not miss Norte!
And if you have access to karagarga, they have a lot of his earlier films to torrent. If this is your first Diaz, then its a good introduction, for what lies before is exquisite.

September 08, 2013 2:34 PM  

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