July 17, 2008

Seven Weeks and Counting

During my lunch hour today I printed out the list of films that have already been announced, grabbed the latest issue of Film Comment, and spent some time looking more closely at the Cannes films. I'd convinced myself that most of the big titles were already confirmed for Toronto, but several are still missing, chief among them:

  • Lucretia Martel's The Headless Woman
  • Philippe Garrel's Frontier of Dawn
  • Steven Soderbergh's 4-hour cut of Che
  • Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lisa

New films by Ferrara, Depardon, and Straub are also conspicuously absent. And after reading descriptions of Clint Eastwood's The Changeling, I'm kind of curious to see it too. I've been on a bit of a "classic Hollywood melodrama" kick lately. For fans of American indies, there's also Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York, which, amazingly, still lacks American distribution.

Reading through Film Comment, I was struck by a few areas of consensus -- that Ceylan's Three Monkeys was a disappointment, that the Cantet film only seems like a reinvention of the "inspiring teacher" story if you haven't watched season 4 of The Wire, that the animated Israeli documentary, Waltz with Bashir, really is that good (it already has distribution from Sony Picture Classics, assuming SPC still exists two months from now). A few other films are now blipping more brightly on my radar: Sergey Dvortsevoy's Tulpan, Duane Hopkins's Better Things (not yet announced for TIFF), and Brillante Mendoza's Service (Mendoza's one of those director's I feel I need to check out).

Speculation? After the announcement today of new films by Jonathan Demme and Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal, 2006), I assume we'll soon see the flood of Hollywood prestige pictures and eventual Oscar winners. The Road is the only one I'm excited about, but the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading will probably show up, too (it opens in general release during the fest, so we can expect a premiere during the first weekend).

Among world filmmakers, my fingers are most tightly-crossed for Claire Denis's White Material, which stars Isaach de Bankole (!) and Isabelle Huppert (!!), and which, if the IMDb page is to be trusted, is scheduled to open in France on November 5. Another Denis film, 35 Rhums, is also in post-production and is tagged, generally, as a 2008 release, but I can't imagine she'd bring two films. Gavin Smith's favorite film at Cannes was Olivier Assayas's Summer Hours, which he saw in a "market screening" and which I didn't even know existed.

What else are we still missing?


ceberle512 said...

Despite having been already announced, the Cantet film (Entre les murs) appears to have been pulled from the festival. I was puzzled when the film was announced as the NYFF opener, which is traditionally a North American premiere. Upon checking the TIFF site, I found that the June 26 press release has been altered -- "Entre les murs" is gone and "Waltz with Bashir" has been moved out of Vanguard and into the empty Special Presentations slot. -Chad

Darren said...

Interesting. When Entre Les Murs was announced for NYFF, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, they must have changed their criteria for opening night," but I didn't think to look to see if TIFF had pulled it.

Russell Lucas said...

Wow. I was really looking forward to Cantet's film. I hope something changes there.

msic said...

1) Yes, TIFF had the Cantet, then NYFF gave it the opening slot and TIFF scratched it.

2) Since Tuesday the Wavelengths lineup will be announced, I suppose I can let you know, the solo Straub will be there. Other goodies to race the pulse as well. (Think recent Cinema Scope cover relating to locomotives and long takes...)

msic said...

Oh, and we're still missing a BIG ONE from way back at Berlin: Hong Sang-soo's "Night and Day," which has been dutifully kept back from every pre-TIFF festival since its Berlin world preem. So it better show up, dammit.

Darren said...

Excellent news, Michael. I haven't seen any Benning films, and I've been especially eager to see the train movie. Any chance they'll show the new Straub and the last Straub-Huillet? And I forgot all about the Hong film.

msic said...

Yeah, there was also the Erick Zonca film from Berlin, too, although that's a tossup. Opinion was mixed to say the least.

All things considered, it's odd that of all the leftovers from Berlin, they've gone straight for the Leigh.

Darren Hughes said...

Russ, the new Slama film has pretty good potential for filling your "teacher film" jones. I posted the trailer for it in the Contmporary World Cinema thread.

Don Marks said...

I don't think the Leigh is that surprising. I imagine that its distributor wants to promote the film's fall release at the festival and pushed for its inclusion.

msic said...

You're right, Don, but it's odd that everyone's playing ball. I mean sure, a big festival like TIFF will include it, no problem. It has slots to spare. But it appears to be headed for the NYFF as well. Given that the film is already out in the UK and even playing on transatlantic jetliners apparently (!!), and the fact that reviews have been mixed, to put it kindly, I find it odd that the distrib is so confidently demanding full fall-fest prestige treatment and getting it. (Compare this with last year's shut-out of "My Blueberry Nights," a comparable product by all accounts.) It's just weird. "Happy-Go-Lucky" looks like the sort of third-rate Leigh that you *wouldn't* want at a festival. You'd want to slink it into arthouses as quickly as possible, before word of its inanity spread. But of course, this is all immaterial to TIFF itself, which has no qualms with the inane, so consider my confusion somewhat off-topic.