September 11, 2007

Half Time (2007)

I've now seen 20 of my 40 films, and with only one exception, they've all been very good. (In case you're curious, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a trainwreck of a film, a movie so bad it works only as Surrealist spectacle.) I just posted my first collection of capsule reviews at Long Pauses and want to invite everyone to do the same. If you're getting any writing done, link to it in the comments.

18 comments:

Dan Sallitt said...

My favorites so far: The Tracey Fragments, Happiness, Avant Que J'oublie, The Banishment, Mutum, Silent Light.


J Robert said...

My favorites so far: You, the Living; 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days; and Silent Light. But there are several more that I've enjoyed a great deal, including The Banishment and Happiness. I can never remember how to link in the comments, but I'm posting in my blog. Just click on my name


Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I've done daily posts since Day 1, and it's a challenge!


Anonymous said...

Alas, I'm back to the daily grind, but my 4+ days at the festival were exhilirating. Off the top of my head, my favorites were Persepolis, The Mourning Forest, Silent Light, and One Hundred Nails.

- Andrew


Bob Turnbull said...

By far my favourite has been You, The Living with the opening night docs (Dinner With The President/Please Vote For Me) and Chacun Son Cinema being next up. I liked Ploy (the whole film plays like a dream) and The Exodus (great use of colour) as well.

Shannon, I've been following your summaries daily. Very impressive considering the number you're seeing! Though I'm hoping to get around to all 14 of my films, I've only been able to cobble together 3 posts so far...


Walter said...

I saw 19 in 5 days--I'm done with TIFF this year--and my favorites are: Night, The Voyage of the Red Balloon, My Winnipeg, Honeydripper, and Happiness. I've posted on Ping Pong Playa, with more to come during the next 7 days.


Darren said...

First thing: Everyone who has nothing better to do on Friday at 12:45 should go see Dans La Ville de Sylvia, which just took the top spot for me. Unbelievably great film. Perfectly conceived and executed. Girish and I sat there with stupid grins on our faces for 90 minutes straight.

And in other news . . .

That seals it, Dan. I'd originally planned to see the Chabrol on Saturday morning, but you're now the fifth or sixth person (including J. Robert) to praise The Banishment. I have tickets for both and had been waffling, but you've helped me decide.

Shannon, I wish I'd known you were at the screening of Contre Toute Esperance. It was my first Emond film, and I was very impressed. I'm eager now to track down his other films.

Andrew, Walter, I'm glad to hear you made it home safely. The festival felt quieter today. Girish was back in town, and we spent most of the day together, but I didn't have many chance run-ins with other friends.

Bob, it was great getting to meet you and James on Monday. After dinner, I jumped on the subway and made it to Wavelengths in time to see all but the first short film. I was 20 minutes late, but apparently they'd had fairly long opening comments. It was a really strong program, so I'm glad I went.


James said...

I have a few left to see, but at this point, my favourites have been Persepolis, Secret Sunshine, and Silent Light. It was great to meet some of you on Monday night and I hope to run into a few of you before you head home.


Dan Sallitt said...

I'll add a recommendation for Wolfsbergen.

Darren, good luck tracking down the early Emond films! They all seem to vanish into a hole as soon as TIFF is over. I wonder what the Quebecois DVD scene is like.


Larry said...

My tastes run a little more populist than most of you guys, but I like using TIFF to reduce the amount of movies I need to see in the fall. I am blogging briefly each day at www.strangeandnew.com.

Please forgive the spelling mistakes; I will clean up later, but each night I am too exausted to be as carefull as I would like.


Larry said...

Oh yeah, my favorite films so far are Persepolis, Eastern Promises, No Country For Old Men and Juno.


Michael said...

I made it home just a few hours ago; man, how I wish I were still at TIFF. :) Of the films I saw, my favorites include The Man from London, Fengming: A Chinese Memoir, Schindler's Houses, and Silent Light, with a close call by Le voyage du ballon rouge, which I think I'll have to see again for making a final judgment (well, wait ... are judgments on certain films ever truly final?). Elizabeth was a travesty, and to make matters worse, Cate Blanchett didn't show up to the screening. That might have made up for at least some of its massive awfulness.

Now that I'm home, I'm going to start posting my thoughts on some of the films, and I'll link to them here once they're up. Let me just say that I had a fantastic time (perhaps even better than last year), and I enjoyed seeing everyone, from friends I know well, to people I met for the first time. For those of you who are still there, enjoy the rest of the festival.


Dmitry said...

My favorite (and perhaps the best film I've seen this year) was Silent Light, followed by My Winnipeg. Other festival films that I enjoyed were The Mourning Forest and Ploy. The worst was Greenaway's Nightwatching (he should concentrate on installations and catalogues instead of continuing making movies, especially given his belief that "cinema is dead"). I was majorly disappointed with You,the Living (which felt like a pastiche of unused outtakes from the great Songs from the Second Floor) and mildly disappointed with The Man from London (which revealed to me how much of Tarr's strength is derived from Krasznahorkai's original novels and scripts).
Btw, this was my first and almost certainly last TIFF, and I will be returning to Rotterdam in 2009. The reasons I disliked Toronto are too numerous to list here but I would be happy to share them with anyone interested.


Michael said...

Okay, just put up a post on Wang's Fengming: A Chinese Memoir. More to come.


Walter said...

I've now put up posts on Apichatpong Weerasethakul's short Anthem and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg--two of my favorites at the festival. I'll be curious to know what anyone thought of these. Also, Dmitry, I'm curious as to why you hated TIFF. This was my first time to the festival, and I thought it was incredibly well-run, friendly, and with a plethora of diverse films (and diverse, thoughtful moviegoers to match) to enjoy. I'll definitely be back; so what gives?


Dmitry said...

Walter, I guess my dissatisfaction with Toronto is relative, as I was constantly comparing TIFF with the Rotterdam Film Festival, which I've been attending over the last 4 years.
- Ticket sales in Rotterdam are straightforward: the schedule is announced, tickets go on sale a few days later, you purchase them online or over the phone; if you buy a Tigerpass for 20 euros, you can get all tickets for only 5 euros each (this pass can also be used during the festival to buy additional tickets for the same discounted price).
The way it's organized in Toronto makes little sense to me: one can get discounted tickets using, e.g., 10-film-packages but ONLY if one shells out additional $150 for a lottery or Out-of-Town Package. The whole out-of-town process is not only awkward and mistake-prone (my FedEx envelope was sent many miles away from its intended destination) but also, in my opinion, unfair (screenings get sold out before the tickets officially go on sale).
- Wide geographical spread of the movie theaters across the downtown Toronto makes it occasionally difficult to navigate between the screenings. (In Rotterdam all participating movie theaters are within 5-10 walk from each other).
- I don't comprehend the concept of endless "ticket-holders' line" by the Ryerson theater.
- Going back to the tickets sales: Toronto can become quite a finacial burden - compare 200 euros vs. 800+ (Candian) dollars for the same number of tickets.
- Scheduling issues: about 50% of the movies I wanted to see were screened only during the last 3 days of the festival (I had to leave on Wednesday) - this would never happen in Rotterdam.
Other things that Rotterdam offers and Toronto doesn't seem to: director-in-focus retrospectives (Ruiz (!), Yufit, Jacquot, Nagasaki, To, etc.), para-cinema/ musical events (performances by Tony Conrad, Pierre Bastien, Text of Light with Brakhage's films, David Shea etc.; isntallation by the Quay Brothers, photo exhibitions by Depardon and Ulrike Ottinger), multiple avant garde film programs, repeated several times during the festival (unlike Wavelengths this year) of both past and current filmmmakers (to name just a few - Brakhage, Beavers, Markopolous, Zwartjes...).
The only "issues" I have with Rotterdam are the weather in the end of January, longer flights from Boston, and jetlag (though I truly believe that jetlag actually enhances already hallucinatory festival experience :)

I hope I don't discourage any future Toronto visitors and don't offend any seasoned TIFFers. This is just one Rotterdam-addict's perspective.


Jules said...

Speaking as someone who came from the UK for my first TIFF, I'm already planning my trip in 2009, and planning to come for 2 weeks and a Festival Pass, I loved it (apart from 2 days I was ill LOL).

I only saw a few films - 6 out of the 8 planned. My favourite 2 were Rails and Ties and No Country for Old Men - as a female I love tear jerkers and was surprised by Rails and Ties as wasn't expecting to get as emotionally involved as I did :o)


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