Viggo Mortensen Shirtless and Tattooed: London Film Festival Opening Gala
David Cronenberg’ London-set thriller Eastern Promises will open this year’s Times BFI 51st London Film Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 17. (A far cry from The Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn: Viggo Mortensen shirtless, tattooed, and deadly in Eastern Promises image.)
Written by Steven Knight (Oscar nominated for the Stephen Frears-directed thriller Dirty Pretty Things), Eastern Promises reunites David Cronenberg with his A History of Violence leading man, Viggo Mortensen, playing a ruthless member of one of London’s Russian mafia families. Ugly dirty things happen after his encounter with a midwife (Naomi Watts) who has accidentally uncovered a prostitution ring.
Also in the Eastern Promises cast are Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinéad Cusack, and Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski (whose quirky, dark Deep End is one of the best films of the 1970s).
‘Eastern Promises’: David Cronenberg’s first film shot entirely outside Canada
“I’m thrilled to be returning to the scene of the crime,” David Cronenberg is quoted as saying in the Times of London. “Eastern Promises is the first film I’ve ever shot entirely away from my home in Canada, and it makes perfect sense that it is set in London, home of so many of my most potent film influences.”
Cronenberg began directing films in the mid-’60s, but he became an international name only in the early ’80s, following the release of bizarre psychological horror thrillers such as The Brood (1979), starring Samantha Eggar and Oliver Reed; the head-exploding Scanners (1981), with Jennifer O’Neill and Stephen Lack; and Videodrome (1982), with James Woods.
Focus Features will release Eastern Promises in the U.S. on Sept. 14, while Pathé will release the film in the U.K. on Oct. 26.
The full schedule of the 2007 London Film Festival will be announced on Sept. 13.
Shirtless and tattooed Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises photo: Focus Features.
Times BFI 51st London Film Festival website.
Gangster Viggo Mortensen: San Sebastian Film Festival
In addition to this year’s London Film Festival, David Cronenberg’s thriller Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, and Vincent Cassel, will also open the 55th San Sebastian Film Festival, which will be held from Sept. 20-29. (Eastern Promises trailer.)
The festival will come to a close with a screening of Michael Radford’s caper thriller Flawless, starring Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Joss Ackland, and Lambert Wilson in a tale about an attempted “perfect robbery” at the world’s largest diamond corporation.
Paul Auster’s The Inner Life of Martin Frost, the story of a successful writer who is inspired by a mysterious woman (a vision? a ghost? flesh-and-blood mating material?) starring David Thewlis and Irène Jacob, has been added to the out-of-competition line-up of the festival’s Official Selection. Auster will also chair the International Jury.
Another out-of-competition film is Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield’s documentary Earth, which uses highlights from the Planet Earth TV series. The reformatted documentary is described as “a spectacular look at our planet from north to south through all seasons observing the behavior of the different animal species and the effect of climate change on their lives.”
San Sebastian Film Festival – Zabaltegi (New Directors) Sidebar
(DAH BE ALAVEH CHAHAR)
Director: Mania Akbari.
Cast: Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Behnaz Jafari, Roya Akbari, Mina Hamidi, Maedeh Tahmasebi, Bahareh Mosadeghiyan, Jinous Azadegan, Ramin Rastad
In this sequel to Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten, Mania Akbari, the leading actress of the film, again drives a car and talks to her son, her sister and other people. Her situation in this sequel differs because she is suffering from cancer. As the disease progresses she’s unable to drive. So she sits in the back of the car and the conversation continues. She becomes weaker through her illness and, unlike Ten, the camera for 10 + 4 has to follow her wherever she goes. This is a totally new experience in which the director is directed by her cancer throughout the process of making the film. Second work by the maker of 20 Fingers.
(THE CALLING GAME)
Director: Felix Randau
Cast: Valerie Koch, Esther Schweins, Franziska Ponitz
A woman engages in a bizarre role playing with total strangers on the telephone. Longing for human warmth and devotion, she triggers feelings of trust and compassion on the other end of the line under the pretence of being a child suffering from terminal illness. When she meets the vigorous Sina one day, an explosive but promising friendship develops… Second feature from the director of Northern Star (2003)
THE BIRD CAN’T FLY
South Africa-The Netherlands-Ireland
Director: Threes Anna.
Cast: Barbara Hershey, Yusuf Davids,Tony Kgoroge, John Kani
Melody returns home to Fairlands for the funeral of her estranged daughter June. The town has almost disappeared under the encroaching desert. She also has to confront the fact that she has a 10 year old grandson, River, whose existence she knew nothing about. Melody decides to take River away with her but he is resistant. Also his father, Scope, wants her to leave because he has a secret to hide. A series of confrontatieons ensues until Melody discovers the truth and faces some painful facts from her past, which will allow Melody and River to begin a new future together.
THE BLUE HOUR
Director: Eric Nazarian.
Cast: Emily Rios, Alyssa Milano, Yorick Van Wageningen, Clarence Williams III, Derrick O’Connor, Paul Dillon.
Set in a working-class neighbourhood by the Los Angeles River, The Blue Hour is composed of four stories examining the everyday lives of a Mexican graffiti muralist, an Armenian camera repairman, a Blues guitarist and an elderly pensioner. Each story is peripherally tied to the Los Angeles River, exploring the delicate ties between strangers who rarely communicate yet share brief moments of connection. Featuring an appearance by Eric Burdon.
Director: Sarah Gavron.
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson, Naeema Begum, Lana Rahman, Harvey Virdi, Lalita Ahmed, Zafreen
A 17 year-old girl forced into a marriage of convenience is obliged to leave her small Bangladeshi village for an East London block of flats. While trying to humour her unattractive husband and look after her children, she tries to make sense of her life in a multi-racial environment bringing her the chance of a new love. The story of a whole life based on the bestseller by Monica Ali, author of Alentejo Blue.
Director: Max Lemcke
Cast: Juan Diego, Javier Ríos, Luis Tosar, Estíbaliz Gabilondo, Alberto San Juan, Alex Angulo, Arturo Valls, Secun de la Rosa, Malena Alterio, Marta Etura
‘Casual Day’ is a company practice imported from the USA. Some companies use their Fridays to organise a trip to the countryside or different activities to better personal relations between their workers, reduce stress and improve business performance. Ruy has always lived as he liked. Though clever, he’s gotten himself into a corner. José Antonio, his girlfriend’s father, has earmarked an important job for him in his company. He wants him to be his successor. At the age of 25, without having taken any kind of a decision, he’s trapped. He’d like to say no to the job, to José Antonio, to Inés, his girlfriend, and to the Casual Day stuff. But it’s not easy to say no. What started out as a simple event, a weekend in the country, ends up deciding
the rest of his life… Second feature from the director of Mundo fantástico.
Director: Diego Fandos
Cast: Oihana Maritorena, Xabier Elorriaga, Ramón Barea.
Shortly after having been set free, Iñaki is moved by a TV news report: an astronaut has been “forgotten” on the MIR space station because his country no longer exists. Iñaki understands him perfectly and believes that he should do what he can to help him to get out of there as soon as possible. First feature from the director from Navarre, Diego Fandos, author of the short films Hospital Krev, La estrella and Game Over.
Director: Johan Kling.
Cast: Michelle Meadows, Michael Segerström, Richard Ulfsäter, Mikael Lindgren, Natalie Sannerman.
Darling is a dark comedy about young obnoxious upper class, ordinary folks and the condition of life in Stockholm of the 2000s. Beautiful and self-absorbed Eva engages in a banal affair that becomes the starting point of a slow but relentless descent down to the life of ordinary people and a surprising, but doomed friendship.
EKKO / ECHO
Director: Anders Morgenthaler.
Cast: Kim Bodnia, Villads Milthers Fritsche, Stine Fischer Christensen, Peter Stomare
Simon is a police officer who recently lost custody of his six-year old son in a divorce. Desperate, he abducts his son and takes him to the country where they hide out in a vacated summerhouse. Simon wants to spend one last holiday alone with his son, but their week together becomes a nightmare, reviving bad memories. Soon the ghosts from his past threaten to drive Simon mad.
LES FOURMIS ROUGES
Director: Stéphan Carpiaux
Cast: Déborah François, Frédéric Pierrot, Arthur Jugnot, Julie Gayet, Claire Johnston.
16-year-old Alex lives with her father Frank in an isolated village in the Ardennes forest. Obliged to support him after the tragic death of her mother, Alex finds herself growing up too fast for her age. While Frank tries to escape the apathy in which he has been living since the death of his wife, Alex unwillingly revives her father’s pain, plunging them both into an ambiguous world where the frontier between tenderness and desire is increasingly fragile. An unexpected meeting with Hector, a 22-year-old orphan whose aunt contrives to keep him immature, will lead the young woman to open her eyes about her relationship with her father. First feature from the Belgian director Stéphane Carpiaux, with the actress from L’enfant (The Child), by the Dardenne brothers.
Director: Jung Brothers (Jung Bum-Sik, Jung Sik)
Cast: Jin Goo, Lee Dong-Kyu, Kim Tae-Woo, Kim Bo-Kyung
In 1979, Dr. Park receives an old photo album from his twenties in 1942 when mysterious things captured him and his colleagues. Park was bound by his parents to marry a girl he never met, but fell in love with a dead body who happened to be his arranged marriage. Meanwhile, a little girl from a fatal car accident was brought in, unhurt but haunted by ghosts every night. Running through these two odd stories, a married couple of doctors returning to the hospital from Tokyo are constantly surrounded by serial murders. Debut film by an assistant director for Park Chan-Wook on Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Old Boy.
L’HOMME QUI MARCHE
(THE WALKING MAN)
Director: Aurélia Georges.
Cast: Cesar Sarachu, John Arnold, Judith Henry, Mireille Perrier, Florence Loiret-Caille.
Paris, the mid ’70s. A photographer meets an emaciated and tenebrous man named Viktor Atemian. This is the story of how he suddenly becomes a writer and meets with success before hitting on hard times and ending up on the street. A film about the passing of time, renunciation, and plunging into the void. With the Basque actor Cesar Sarachu, who has worked for a large part of his career in Sweden and plays in the Spanish series Camera Café.
Director: Conrad Clark
Cast: Yan Feng Yung, Jia Hong, Chen Jiao Ying
A young building company employee has no money even to buy a few beers for his birthday. Asking his boss for a loan, but the only thing he gets is the corpse of another employee dead on the job that the company wants done away with on the quiet. Carrying the body in his van, the youngster tries to return the dead man to his family.
Director: Itshak (Tzahi) Grad
Cast: Gal Zaid, Keren Mor, Asher Tsarfati, Ya’acov Ayaly, Ania Bukshtein, Tal Grushka, Rivka Michaeli, Menashe Noi, Vladimir Friedman.
A week in the life of Michael Klienhouse, your typical next-door neighbour, married with a child, the one you think you figured out already. One day, on the morning of the Holocaust Memorial Day, minutes before the siren is due to be heard, Michael runs into Dreyfus. Tamar, Michael’s wife, has just flipped Dreyfus the finger, and Dreyfus deliberately hits the gas paddle of his black car and runs into Michael’s open car door, almost hitting her. A law-abiding citizen, Michael hopes to resolve the situation with the help of the authorities, only to find out that the 60-year-old Dreyfus, an old war hero, is a violent man with connections and friends in high places.
LA TORRE DE SUSO
Director: Tom Fernández.
Cast: Javier Cámara, Gonzalo de Castro, César Vea, José Luis Alcobendas, Malena Alterio, Mariana Cordero, Fanny Gautier and the special collaboration of Emilio Gutiérrez Caba
Cundo returns home ten years after having left due to the death of his best friend, Suso. He plans to get drunk with his other old friends in Suso’s memory, pretend that everything’s fine and leave again as fast as he can. But things aren’t going so well for him, and Suso demands more than a simple drinking binge. Debut as a feature film director by the Asturian Tom Fernández, screenwriter for the TV series 7 vidas.
WHERE GOD LEFT HIS SHOES
Director: Salvatore Stabile.
Cast: John Leguizamo, Leonor Varela, David Castro, Samantha Rose.
When Frank, Angela, and their two children are evicted from their New York City apartment, they have no choice but to move into a homeless shelter. After a few difficult months, good news comes their way on Christmas Eve: a nearby housing project has an apartment available immediately – however, Frank needs a job on the books in order to qualify. While the rest of the city prepares for Christmas, Frank and his ten-year old stepson, Justin, roam the cold streets of New York trying to find a job by day’s end. The story of a family that refuses to break apart during the darkest time of their lives. Second movie from the director of Gravensend.
Directors: Mimi Freedman, Leslie Greif.
The private life, films, personal concerns, social struggles and incomparable personality of screen legend, Marlon Brando. A documentary lasting for almost three hours featuring, among many other personalities, Bernardo Bertolucci, James Caan, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Quincy Jones, Martin Landau, Karl Malden, Edward Norton, Al Pacino, Arthur Penn, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, John Travolta, John Turturro, Jon Voight and Eli Wallach.
CALLE SANTA FÉ-RUE SANTA FÉ
Director: Carmen Castillo
Calle Santa Fé, 5th October 1974, in the suburbs of Santiago de Chile, Carmen Castillo survives her partner, Miguel Enríquez, head of the MIR and of the Resistance movement against the Pinochet dictatorship, killed in combat. This is the starting point of Calle Santa Fé, a journey through time from then to now. Was all of the resistance worth the effort? Did Miguel die for nothing?
Director: Per Fly.
Cast: Mads Wille, Sonja Richter, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Pernilla August, Jesper Christensen, Dejan Cukic
A 6-episode TV miniseries, Performances is about love – not only love for a partner but also love for a daughter, a father or a friend. It revolves around Marko, the charismatic stage director who revolutionized Danish theatre in the 1990s. Each episode has its own independent protagonist. Jakob’s episode is about the abrupt awakening from the giddiness of falling in love, Tanja’s is about leaving the man she loves, Katrin’s is about being noticed and loved for what she is, Eva’s is about wanting to resurrect her family, Jens’ is about disappointing his best friend, and Marko’s is about the demonic effects of becoming your very own project. From the director of features like Arven (Inheritance, 2003) and Drabet (2005), which competed those same years at
San Sebastian Festival, with the latter winning the award for best screenplay.
Directors: Aitor Arregi and Jose Mari Goenaga
There have been and still are many anarchists in the world. Those who had to steal or deal in contraband for the cause are numerous. Those who discussed strategies with Che Guevara or helped Eldridge Cleaver –the leader of the Black Panthers– are fewer in number. But those whom, together with the above, succeeded in putting the most powerful bank in the world against the ropes with the massive forging of travellers’ cheques, and without missing a single day of his job as a building worker, are reduced to one. Lucio Urtubia, from Cascante (Navarre). Today Lucio lives in Paris, retired. A documentary by from the Gipuzkoan directors Jose Mari Goenaga (director of prize-winning shorts like Tercero B and Sintonía) and Aitor Arregi (codirector of the animation features
Glup and Cristóbal Molón).
A film giving us a rare glimpse into the fascinating mind of the man who created such visionary classics as Eraserhead, Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart or The Elephant Man. Compiled from over two years of footage, the film is an intimate portrait of Lynch’s creative process as he completes his latest film, Inland Empire. We follow him as he discovers the beauty in ideas, leading us on a journey through the abstract which ultimately unveils his cinematic vision.
Director: Eduardo Félix Walger.
The white scarves of the Mothers of the Disappeared are the universal symbol of the struggle for human rights. State terrorism in Argentina was based on the forced disappearance of people. The love for their absent children led them to overcome their fear and move into the political and economic centre of the country, confronting a totalitarian and brutal power unarmed. Today they preserve the identity of their sons with their cry “30,000 detained disappeared, present, now and always”.
THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA
Director: Wayne Wang.
Cast: Ling Li, Brian Danforth, Pamelyn Chee, Patrice Binaisa
The Princess of Nebraska follows twenty-four hours in the life of Sasha, a young Chinese woman who is four months pregnant, through a fling back in Beijing. Interrupting her first year of college in Omaha, Nebraska, she travels to San Francisco to abort the child and confront her lover’s male friend. A film in unusual format by the director of Smoke (1993) and Chinese Box (1995).
Directors: Omer Oke and Txarli Llorente.
Cast: Djédjé Apali, Esther Vallés, Gorsy Edu.
Moussa is a young boy from Burkina Faso. He was born and lives in the same village as his parents, his family and his wife, Fatima, although he prefers to call her “Bamako”, because it’s there, in the capital of Mali, that he met her before they married and had a baby, Mamadou. Although the land gives them just enough to survive, the precarious balance has recently been upset by a long drought. Driven by the responsibility of helping his family, and having asked the elders of his hamlet for their opinion, Moussa decides to immigrate to Europe.
Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin
Juvenile delinquency in Japan has increased dramatically over the past ten years. Naoki, 20 years old, is caught up in this way of life. His record is dismal; he has failed at school, at work and in his personal life. Not long ago, Naoki decided to try to make a living from crime, much to his mother’s despair. On the advice of a friend, she is handing over her son to the Japanese Mafia for one year. For the first time, a door is opened into the secret world of the Japanese Yakuza, challenging the preconceived ideas of this feared society and experiencing with Naoki the reality of his initiation through the four seasons. Naoki will have to choose between the darkness and the light… From the director of Tokyo Eyes(1998).
New York Film Festival Film Line-Up
The 45th New York Film Festival will screen 28 films at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, between Sept. 28–Oct. 14. Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and sponsored by Sardinia Region Tourism and the New York Times, this year’s edition of the New York Film Festival also features three sidebars, three special event screenings, and a retrospective consisting of five films – not to mention numerous films screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
The New York festival will open with Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston. The plot revolves around three brothers who rediscover their family bonds while on a train ride across India. Here’s hoping that The Darjeeling Limited is better – much, much, much better – than Anderson’s last film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (which also co-starred Wilson and Huston) and that it’s infinitely better than Schwartzman’s collaboration with David O. Russell, I heart huckabees.
The festival’s centerpiece (on Oct. 6) will be Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men, which caused quite a stir at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. (Even though it ultimately fail to win any of the festival’s top awards.) Adapted by the Coens from a novel by Pulitzer Prize-winner Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men is described in the festival’s press release as a “thriller about the violent chain reaction that follows a hunter’s discovery of several dead bodies, a major stash of heroin and $2 million in cash.” Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, and Kelly MacDonald star.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis, an animated coming-of-age tale based on Satrapi’s graphic novel about her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, will be the festival’s Closing Night film. Persepolis, which shared the special jury prize with Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light at Cannes, features the voices of Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni (Deneuve’s daughter with Marcello Mastroianni), veteran Danielle Darrieux, and Simon Abkarian. (Reygadas’ film will also be screened in New York.) More on Persepolis.]
Also represented at the festival are:
Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to his well-received The Squid and the Whale, the comedy Margot at the Wedding, in which Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as bickering sisters who bicker even more when Leigh becomes engaged to icky Jack Black.
Based on the novel by Blake Nelson, Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park shows how the life of skateboarder (Alex Nevins) is turned upside down after he is involved in the death of a security guard. Paranoid Park won a special 60th anniversary prize at Cannes,
Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There is described as “a rumination on the life of Bob Dylan,” with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, and Marcus Carl Frankin “each representing elements [of] the famed musician’s mystique.”
Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (above), about magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, following a stroke that left him paralyzed, blinks out a memoir that became a bestseller in France. Mathieu Amalric stars as Bauby, while Marina Hands, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, and Anne Consigny are the women in his life. Veterans Max von Sydow and the recently deceased Jean-Pierre Cassel are also in the film. Schnabel (right) was voted best director at Cannes.
Juan Antonio Bayona’s much talked-about feature film debut The Orphanage, a supernatural drama about a woman who makes the mistake of reopening the orphanage in which she was raised. The Orphanage caused quite a sensation earlier this year in one of the many Cannes sidebars.
Also, Abel Ferrara’s Italy/U.S. co-production Go Go Tales; Catherine Breillat’s well-received The Last Mistress [more on The Last Mistress]; Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Flight of the Red Balloon, starring Juliette Binoche; veteran Eric Rohmer’s The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, set during the good old days of the druids; Alexander Sokurov’s Alexandra; Béla Tarr’s The Man from London, considered one of the more cryptic entries at the Cannes Film Festival; and Jia Zhang-ke’s documentary Useless.
And Cristian Mungiu’s highly praised Palme d’Or winner 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, about the difficulties of having an abortion in Communist Romania; veteran Claude Chabrol’s A Girl Cut in Two, with Ludivine Sagnier and Benoît Magimel; and Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine, which stars Cannes’ Best Actress winner Jeon Do-yeon.
And finally, Brian De Palma’s Redacted, which depicts the atrocities committed by American troops against a teenage girl and her family in Iraq; Sidney Lumet’s crime story Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, and Marisa Tomei (that’s Lumet’s first film at the festival since Fail-Safe back in 1964); and John Landis’ documentary Mr. Warmth, The Don Rickles Project.
The festival’s retrospective section will screen the “definitive cut” of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner (I don’t know what’s happened to Scott’s filmmaking in the last 15 years); the premiere of a new score by the Alloy Orchestra to accompany Josef von Sternberg’s 1927 crime drama Underworld, a major precursor of the gangster flicks of the 1930s and the winner of the first Best Writing Academy Award (more on the Alloy Orchestra), starring Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent, and George Bancroft; John Ford’s The Iron Horse (1924), an epic semi-Western about the building of the transcontinental railroad, with George O’Brien and Madge Bellamy; Sven Gade and Heinz Schall’s 1920 transgendered production of Hamlet, starring superstar Asta Nielsen (above) in the title role; and “The Technicolor Show,” introduced by Martin Scorsese, and featuring John M. Stahl’s bright-colored film noir Leave Her to Heaven (1945), starring a magnificently psychopathic Gene Tierney, plus Cornel Wilde and Jeanne Crain.]
The Walter Reade Theater will host three upcoming music documentaries: Carlos Saura’s Fados, an exploration of the mournful Portuguese musical rhythms; Murray Lerner’s The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965, when Dylan first used electric amplifiers (ouch!); and Peter Bogdanovich’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream, to be screened at its full 238 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.
This year’s festival sidebar, “Tropical Analysis: The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade,” will honor “a renowned member of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement of the 1950s and ’60s.” (With precious few exceptions, I’m no fan of Brazil’s Cinema Novo – and de Andrade’s work is, unfortunately, no exception to that rule. I found Macunaíma and O Homem do Pau Brasil both unfathomable and unwatchable. Also, irrespective of what the festival’s press release says, neither film is in any way “realistic.” Perhaps The Priest and the Girl, which I haven’t seen, fits that label. In any case, de Andrade directed only about a dozen films. He died of lung cancer in 1988.) The “Tropical Analysis” sidebar will run September 29-October 9 at the Walter Reade Theater.
The two other sidebars at the Walter Reade are “Views from the Avant-Garde” and “Chinese Modern: A Tribute to Cathay Studios,” a “celebration” of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
On Friday, October 5, the Film Society will salute New Line Cinema’s 40 years. The gala event will feature a screening of Chris Weitz’s (literally) multi-dimensional adventure tale The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
Due to ongoing renovations at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, this year’s New York Film Festival screenings will be held at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in the Time Warner Center. The Opening and Closing Night screenings will be held at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Tickets to all events except the sidebars in this year’s New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on Sunday September 9 at 10am at the Frederick P. Rose Hall box office, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street. Online ticket sales to all events, subject to availability, will begin on Monday, September 10 on this website.
Film Society of Lincoln Center website.
Toronto Film Festival Movies: From the Iranian Revolution to Carlos Saura ‘Fados’
Global issues and character studies dominate the Real to Reel documentary sidebar of the 32nd Toronto Film Festival. And so do movie stars, among them Woody Allen, Joan Allen, Donald Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Don Cheadle, Michael Douglas, and Liam Neeson.
Global issues can be found in:
Ted Braun’s Darfur Now features six individuals (including a UCLA student whose grandmother was killed in a Nazi concentration camp, Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle, and a refugee camp leader) who have been trying to generate awareness about the genocide in western Sudan — one more of those “never again” real-life stories that keep on happening over and over again without the vast majority of the human population giving a hoot about the systematic slaughter of other human beings.
Jean-Pierre Lledo’s Algerie, histories à ne pas dire (Algeria, Stories Not to Be Told) follows four Algerians who look back on Algeria’s bloody war of independence from France.
Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan’s Dinner with the President: A Nation’s Journey shows Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharrafdiscussing his “democratic” vision for the country he rules (or pretends to rule, considering the murderous chaos all around him) since the 1999 military coup.
Parvez Sharma’s A Jihad for Love is described as “the first feature-length documentary to investigate the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality.”
In Nina Davenport’s Operation Filmmaker, Liev Schreiber invites a young Iraqi film student — whose Baghdad film school was blown to pieces — to work as an intern on the production of Everything Is Illuminated.
Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge’s Iron Ladies of Liberia is about the first elected female head of state in Africa, Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Among the character studies are:
Former talk-show host Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro’s Body of War shows how 25-year-old war veteran Tomas Young (right) — paralyzed from the chest down after less than one week in Iraq — transformed himself into an anti-war activist.
Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor’s Obscene, the story of American publisher Barney Rosset, who fought court battles to release immoral, perverted, anti-family, anti-flag, anti-god classics such as Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch.
Peter Askin’s Trumbo offers a portrait of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbotold through spoken-word performances, and with appearances by Sutherland, Douglas, Neeson, and Joan Allen. (Trumbo’s 1971 Johnny Got His Gun — about a paralyzed World War I U.S. soldier — is one of the forgotten classics of the 1970s; one that is, both sadly and stupidly, ever so relevant.)
Kevin Macdonald, whose The Last King of Scotland was quite in evidence last year, directed My Enemy’s Enemy, about the post-war activities of ex-Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon.”
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, directed by Academy Award nominee Scott Hicks, takes a look at composer Philip Glass.
Also of interest: Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, which depicts the director’s trip to Antarctica, and Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese — from Dr. Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, and Anna May Wong to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.
The Toronto festival runs between Sept. 6-15. Ticket passes and packages now on sale. For more information, go to tiff07.ca or call 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM.
TORONTO 2007 – DOCUMENTARY LINE-UP
ALGERIE, HISTOIRES A NE PAS DIRE Jean-Pierre Lledo, Algeria
Four Algerians of Muslim origin revisit the last years of their country’s War of Independence, searching for truth about their own lives while recalling memories of troubled relationships with their Jewish and Christian neighbors.
BODY OF WAR Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, USA
Wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a week, 25-year-old Tomas Young – now paralyzed from the chest down – transforms his personal suffering into political activism, evolving as a powerful voice against the ongoing war. Featuring new music by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
DARFUR NOW Ted Braun, USA
A call to action to help stop the genocide in Darfur, the struggles and achievements of six very different individuals – including actor Don Cheadle – bring to light the situation in Darfur and illustrate the need to get involved.
THE DICTATOR HUNTER Klaartje Quirijns, The Netherlands/USA
Revisiting the horrific torture, imprisonment and murder carried out in the 1980s under the regime of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, THE DICTATOR HUNTER follows Human Rights Watch activist Reed Brody in his quest to bring Habré to justice.
DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT: A NATION’S JOURNEY Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan, Pakistan
In October 1999, Pervez Musharraf assumed power in Pakistan through a bloodless military coup. Hearing his vision for Pakistan over dinner, filmmakers Sumar and Sathananthan ponder the irony of a President in army fatigues delivering democracy to the masses. A part of Why Democracy?.
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD Werner Herzog, USA
In his first documentary since GRIZZLY MAN, Herzog, accompanied only by his cameraman, travels to Antarctica, gaining unrestricted access to the raw beauty and humanity of the ultimate Down Under.
GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS Scott Hicks, Australia
Filmmaker Scott Hicks (SHINE) documents an eventful year in the career and personal life of distinguished composer Philip Glass as he interacts with a number of friends and collaborators, including Chuck Close, Ravi Shankar and Woody Allen.
HOLLYWOOD CHINESE Arthur Dong, USA
Punctuated with clips from over 100 movies, Hollywood Chinese offers a captivating revelation on the Chinese in American feature films, from the very first Chinese-American film produced in 1916 to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain.
IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge, USA
As the first freely elected female head of state in Africa, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appointed other extraordinary women to leadership positions in all areas of government. IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA asks the question, “can Liberia’s first female president bring sustainable democracy and peace to such a devastated country’? A part of Why Democracy?.
A JIHAD FOR LOVE Parvez Sharma, USA/UK/France/Germany/Australia
The first feature-length documentary to investigate the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality, Sharma’s feature directorial debut brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims with empowering stories from twelve countries.
MAN OF CINEMA: PIERRE RISSIENT Todd McCarthy, USA
Variety critic Todd McCarthy explores the legacy of Pierre Rissient, a key behind-the-scenes figure in Cannes for more than 40 years.
MY ENEMY’S ENEMY Kevin Macdonald, France/UK
From the director of THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND comes a documentary about the post-war activities of one-time Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, infamously known as the “Butcher of Lyon.”
MY KID COULD PAINT THAT Amir Bar-Lev, USA
Chronicling the rise to fame of Marla Olmstead – a four-year-old painter whose work has taken in over $300,000 – filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev examines society’s obsession with child prodigies while exploring the complex on-going debate over what constitutes art.
OBSCENE Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, USA
Drawn from more than 60 years of home movies, media appearances and rare archival footage, OBSCENE tells the story of American publisher Barney Rosset, who fought battles in court to put out some of the most forbidden works of the explosive post-war decades, including Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch.
OPERATION FILMMAKER Nina Davenport, USA
When the dreams of a young Iraqi film student are crushed following the bombing of Baghdad’s film school, actor Liev Schreiber invites him to intern on the production of EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED. But in a comedic turn of events, Schreiber’s good intentions quickly backfire as the eager student proves to have intentions of his own.
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME Weijun Chen, China
In an experiment to determine how democracy might be received in China, third-graders hold an election to select a Class Monitor, competing against one other for the coveted position while being egged on by teachers and doting parents. A part of Why Democracy?.
SURFWISE Doug Pray, USA
Filmmaker Doug Pray tells the bizarre story of an eccentric family: 85-year-old legendary surfer Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children – raised and home-schooled in a camper on a California beach.
TERROR’S ADVOCATE (L’AVOCAT DE LA TERREUR) Barbet Schroeder, France
Veteran director Barbet Schroeder explores the life, career and conscience of criminal lawyer Jacques Vergès, whose clients – including Klaus Barbie, Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein – are among the most infamous figures of the 20th century.
TRUMBO Peter Askin, USA
Told through spoken-word performances of some of its subject’s extraordinary letters, TRUMBO presents a portrait of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who fought back after being blacklisted by HUAC. Featuring appearances by Donald Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Joan Allen and Liam Neeson.
VERY YOUNG GIRLS David Schisgall, USA An eye-opening survey of teenage prostitution in New York City, David Schisgall’s film also tells the story of Rachel Lloyd, the remarkable woman who founded Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS), dedicating her live to help ensure that young girls avoid making the same mistakes that she did.
BLOOD BROTHERS Alexi Tan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong
Shanghai in the 1930s was a city at its prime – no other place in the world could match its glamour, excitement, sensuality, and potential. Kang (Liu Ye), Fung (Daniel Wu) and Xiao Hu (Tony Yang), three innocent young men, have arrived in this “paradise” in search of a better future, finding instead that life is cheap and violence omnipresent. As time goes by, and in a multitude of ways, each is forced into a life of crime. Kang, the most ambitious of the three, falls victim to his quest for power. Fung, previously content with his simple village life, is thrust into a world of violence where he sees his heroic side emerge. Xiao Hu, the most innocent, blindly admires and follows his brother Kang, even as this new world pulls him down. Unable to cope with his fears and weaknesses, Xiao Hu must choose between the two people closest to him. Against this backdrop of decadence, life takes a difficult turn when a forbidden love affair is exposed and everyone is forced to make hard choices. The feature directorial debut from filmmaker Alexi Tan, the film also stars Chang Chen, Shu Qi, Sun Honglei and Lulu Li. Produced by John Woo and Terence Chang, BLOOD BROTHERS is a production of Hong Kong’s Lion Rock Productions.
THE LAST LEAR Rituparno Ghosh, India
Amitabh Bachchan, one of the world’s most worshipped movie stars, takes on his first-ever leading role in English as part of a career spanning over four decades. Veteran theatre actor Harish Mishra (Bachchan) is gravely ill, having slipped into a coma as the result of an accident during a film shoot – his first after years as a headliner on the stage. While his co-star Shabnam (Preity Zinta) is consumed with worry, their director Siddharth (Arjun Rampal) keeps a cold distance, refusing to visit the ailing star. What is it that has brought them all to this tragic point? In a flashback, their story emerges. Wooed out of retirement by the impatient young filmmaker, Harish leaves the perch of his study – where he rages against the modern world – and joins the cast and crew on location for the shoot, where he quickly takes up position as the outsider of the group. Proclaiming the superiority of Shakespeare over anything that cinema can create, Harish holds strong to his belief that theatre trumps film on any given day. From the master of Bengali cinema Rituparno Ghosh, the film also stars Shefali Shah and Jisshu Sengupta. Produced by Arindam Chaudhuri, THE LAST LEAR is a Planman Motion Pictures production.
ANGEL François Ozon, France/UK/Belgium
England, 1905. Angel Deverell is a gifted young writer who dreams of success, fame and love. But what will happen if all her dreams come true? From acclaimed filmmaker François Ozon, ANGEL stars Romola Garai, Lucy Russel, Michael Fassbender, Sam Neill and Charlotte Rampling.
CHACUN SON CINÉMA Various, France
The Toronto International Film Festival is honoured to be showing this Cannes Film Festival favourite. More than 30 of the most distinguished contemporary filmmakers – including Canadians David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan as well as David Lynch, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Roman Polanski, Gus Van Sant, Lars von Trier, and Wong Kar-Wai – celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cannes with short films inspired by the cinephile’s place of worship: the movie theatre.
CHAOTIC ANA Julio Medem, Spain
Ana’s existence seems to be a continuation of the lives of other young women, all of whom died tragically at the age of 22. Doomed to a chaotic fate, Ana must co-exist with these young women as they continue to live on in the abyss of her unconscious memory. From filmmaker Julio Medem (SEX AND LUCIA), the film stars Manuela Vellés, Bebe, Charlotte Rampling, Asier Newman and Nicolas Cazalé.
LOVE COMES LATELY Jan Schütte, Germany/Austria/USA
Though approaching his 80s, Max shows no signs of slowing down. He pursues his love life – both real and imagined – with youthful vigour, thereby risking his relationship to Reisel, the woman he loves but neglects. Based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer, LOVE COMES LATELY is a film about real and imagined longings, the never ending dream of love, and the power of fiction. Starring Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Tovah Feldshuh and Barbara Hershey.
LUST CAUTION Ang Lee, Taiwan
Following his Academy Award? win for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, Ang Lee returns with an erotic espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, in which a young woman (Tang Wei) gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure (Tony Leung, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE). Also starring Chui Wai, Joan Chen and Wang Leehom.
MAD DETECTIVE Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai, Hong Kong
A missing police pistol is connected to a series of recent heists and murders. Its owner, Wong, vanished while pursuing suspects in the mountains, yet his partner, Chi-Wai, miraculously returned unharmed. Hotshot inspector Ho (Andy On) is in charge of the investigation, but Ho knows his only chance of cracking the case lies in enlisting the help of Bun (Lau Ching Wan), the reclusive yet gifted mad detective.
MONGOL Sergei Bodrov, Germany/Kazakhstan/Mongolia/Russia
Commanding and celebrated Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano stars as the historic icon Genghis Khan. Directed by Sergei Bodrov (PRISONER OF THE MOUNTAINS, THE NOMAD), MONGOL is the epic story of a young Khan and how events in his early life lead him to become the legendary conqueror and father of Mongolia.
PERSEPOLIS Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, France
Based on the graphic novels by co-director Marjane Satrapi, this animated film – winner of the Cannes Jury Prize for 2007 – tells of a young girl coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and features the vocal talents of Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni.
RECLAIM YOUR BRAIN Hans Weingartner, Germany/Austria
In the latest feature from acclaimed filmmaker Hans Weingartner (THE EDUKATORS), TV producer Rainer (Moritz Bleibtreu) is always high on cocaine and, as a result, develops shows of the most stupid and vulgar nature, exploiting anyone and anything for the sake of ratings. After being forced to realize the errors of his ways, Rainer decides to change his life, embarking on a guerrilla campaign against the entertainment industry.
SHADOWS Milcho Manchevski, Republic of Macedonia/Germany/Italy/Bulgaria/Spain
Although hospital physician Lucky seems to have it all – a beautiful wife, lovely child, good job – he is always struggling to live up to the expectations of others while living in the shadow of his hotshot physician mother. But after he is involved in a car crash and mysteriously saved from certain death, Lucky’s life dramatically begins to change.
THE SUN ALSO RISES Jiang Wen, China
Shot in the terraced hills of China’s Yunnan province and the sweeping plains of the Gobi Desert, the film juggles several timelines, offering insight into the mysterious forces that make people cross paths and, without realizing it, shape each other’s destinies. Director Jiang Wen (DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP) stars alongside Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan.
LES AMOURS D’ASTRÉE ET DE CÉLADON Eric Rohmer, France
A shepherd named Céladon (Andy Gillet) journeys through crazed love and despair via idyllic glades, craggy hills, nymphs and delicious temptation for his beloved Astrée (Stéphanie Crayencour) in this first film adaptation of Honoré d’Urfé’s baroque love story L’Astrée.
BEYOND THE YEARS Im Kwon-taek, South Korea
A former pansori drummer rediscovers both his abandoned past and step-sibling. Together or separate, they part and reunite, unable to sever the invisible tie of their unspoken true love for each other. BEYOND THE YEARS, the 100th film in director Im Kwon-taek’s highly prolific career, features the music of pianist Kunihiko Ryo.
CHAOS Youssef Chahine and Youssef Khaled, Egypt/France
Nour is the only person who stands up to Hatem, a brash and loathsome police officer who rules his Cairo neighborhood with an iron fist. But when he finds out that Nour is secretly in love with a deputy public prosecutor, Hatem turns envious and Nour’s life becomes a nightmare.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, THE ENIGMA Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal
After more than sixty years and multiple trips between Portugal and America, a researcher named Manuel Luciano is about to discover the true identity of Christopher Columbus and unveil the mystery of the world famous explorer. The film is inspired by the book Christopher Columbus was Portuguese by Manuel Luciano da Silva and Silvia Jorge de Silva.
DÉSENGAGEMENT Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Germany/Italy
After Ana (Juliette Binoche) is reunited with her estranged Israeli stepbrother Uli (Liron Levo), she decides to return to Israel to look for the daughter she gave up at birth. Uli and Ana become tangled in the turmoil and emotion of military-enforced disengagement of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005.
FADOS Carlos Saura, Spain
Filmmaker Carlos Saura (TANGO) offers a fascinating trip through the history of fado, one of the oldest forms of urban folk music in the world, tracing its evolution from its very roots to its place in contemporary culture. Featuring performances by Mariza, Carlos do Carmo and other fado legends.
LA FILLE COUPÉE EN DEUX Claude Chabrol, France/Germany
Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier) makes a perverse choice between two attractive men – the older, married famous author Charles (François Berléand), and the young, suave and distinguished Paul (Benoît Magimel) – in this superbly caustic, droll, touching and scatological film whose title perfectly describes her – a woman cut in two.
FOUR WOMEN Adoor Gopalakrishnan, India
The lives of a prostitute, a virgin, a housewife and a spinster form stories from four different stratums of society. Starring: Nandita Das, Geetu Mohandas, Padmapriya and Manju Pillai.
GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER! Takeshi Kitano, Japan
Playing himself in the film as a celebrated director, Takeshi Kitano (ZATÔICHI, TAKESHIS’) sets out on a quest to produce a box office hit after publicly announcing his departure from gangster films. After failing to secure financing for his next genre projects, he decides to tell the story of a swindling mother (Kayoko Kishimoto) and her gold-digging daughter (Anne Suzuki) who set their eyes on an honest man, which unpredictably leads to the endangerment of the planet.
IT’S A FREE WORLD? Ken Loach, UK/Italy/Germany/Spain
Director Ken Loach (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY) delivers a sharp and incisive story centered around brash Angie (Kierston Wareing), whose newly opened recruiting agency business explodes when personal ambition rubs up against social ethics.
THE PAST Hector Babenco, Argentina/Brazil THE PAST follows the twists and turns in the life of Rimini (Gael García Bernal, DÉFICIT). After his divorce, he survives a string of relationships, loses his livelihood as a translator, becomes entangled in a child custody battle, lands in jail and recovers his ability to fall in love.
THE VOYEURS Buddhadeb Dasgupta, India
Yasin (Amitav Bhattacharya) moves to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and lives with Dilip (Prosenjit Chatterjee), who installs surveillance cameras for a living. Dilip pursues a tentative romance with Rekha (Sameera Reddy), a beautiful young dancer who moves in next door, after planting a spy camera above her mirror so that he and Yasin can watch her.
Contemporary World Cinema
AVANT QUE J’OUBLIE Jacques Nolot, France
In the final film of Jacques Nolot’s trilogy on aspects of gay life, 58-year-old Pierre (Nolot), who is HIV-positive, finds himself increasingly unable to cope with loneliness and the outside world.
THE BAND’S VISIT Eran Kolirin, Israel/France
A small Egyptian police band is left stranded at the airport in a desolate Israeli town.
BARCELONA (A MAP) Ventura Pons, Spain
Incest, homosexuality and adultery are intertwined in the lives of six characters who come together in an old apartment in the heart of Barcelona.
BATTLE FOR HADITHA Nick Broomfield, UK
Iraqi insurgents bomb a convoy of U.S. Marines, resulting in the death of their most popular officer. Enraged by this loss, the young Marines carry out a brutal retaliation.
BRICK LANE Sarah Gavron, UK
Set against a background of escalating racial tension, Gavron’s debut feature sees Nazneen leave her Bangladeshi village for London’s East End after an arranged marriage to an older man. Despite feeling homesick and unhappy, Nazneen tries to make the best of her current situation. But ignoring her discontentment proves problematic as a hot-headed local man bursts into her life.
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ (ENDLESS) Cristian Nemescu, Romania
The first and final feature from late filmmaker Cristian Nemescu focuses on a small Romanian village during the war in Kosovo, where the local railway chief – moonlighting as a gangster – seeks to gain from the stopping of a NATO train carrying military equipment.
CHOP SHOP Ramin Bahrani, USA
In a chaotic world of adults, young street orphan Alejandro struggles to make a better life for himself and his 16-year-old sister.
THE COUNTERFEITERS Stefan Ruzowitzky, Austria/Germany
Berlin, 1936. King of counterfeiters, Sorowitsch gets all the money he needs by printing it himself. But when someone blows the whistle on him, he finds himself in a concentration camp, forced to produce fake foreign currency in hopes of saving his own life.
DANS LA VIE Philippe Faucon, France
Esther, an elderly Jewish woman with a sturdy ill-temper, runs through nursing assistants like nobody’s business. But when Sélima, a Muslim woman, comes on board as a possible candidate, the two form a strong and intimate friendship despite their differences.
DAYS AND CLOUDS Silvio Soldini, Italy/Switzerland
Finally primed to fulfill her dream of going back to school, Elsa is floored when she discovers that her husband, Michele, was fired from his job two months ago. As Elsa faces the situation head on, Michele loses control, challenging their already fragile marriage.
EMPTIES Jan Sverák, Czech Republic
This film is the last in a trilogy from Jan Sverák (KOLYA) and his father, screenwriter/actor Zdenek Sverák. Literature teacher Josef (Zdenek Sverák) uncovers the root of his unhappiness when, after retiring against his will, he takes up a part-time job in a supermarket.
L’ENNEMI INTIME Florent Siri, France
Algeria, 1959. After a young, idealistic lieutenant (Benoît Magimel) takes command of an isolated French army outpost, he meets a disillusioned sergeant (Albert Dupontel), with whom he will be tested by the harsh realities of the Algerian War.
ERIK NIETZSCHE THE EARLY YEARS Jacob Thuesen, Denmark
Written by Lars von Trier under the nom-de-plume Erik Nietzsche, this semi-autobiographical film follows an intelligent, inexperienced and shy young man who, convinced that he wants to be a film director, enrols in the Danish National Film School.
FOREVER NEVER ANYWHERE Antonin Svoboda, Austria
After an accident somewhere in the mountains, three men find themselves trapped in their car. Injured, wedged and without any possible escape in sight, they await their rescue. But the sound of sirens may not bring quite the relief they had hoped for.
GARAGE Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland
Josie has spent all his adult life as the caretaker of a crumbling petrol station on the outskirts of an Irish small town. GARAGE is the story of Josie’s hapless search for intimacy over the course of a summer which sees his life changed forever.
A GENTLE BREEZE IN THE VILLAGE Nobuhiro Yamashita, Japan
Soyo is one of six students in a combined primary and junior high school – the only student in the second year of junior high. When hip transfer student Osawa arrives at the school from Tokyo, a love slowly begins to blossom between Soyo and this new big-city boy.
GONE WITH THE WOMAN Petter Næss, Norway
The latest work by filmmaker Petter Næss (ELLING). Without fully grasping how it comes about, He, a man who does not even have a name, finds his life invaded by a woman. Struggling to tackle the situation, He passes from falling in love to being left behind. But just as He starts to forget her, she abruptly returns.
HAPPINESS Hur Jin-ho, South Korea
A stint in a country hospital finds city boy Young-su living on a farmhouse with a female patient. But when his friends show up for a visit, Young-su begins to wonder if he should abandon his rural surroundings and reclaim his urban lifestyle.
JAR CITY Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland/Germany
An elderly man is found murdered in his basement flat. When the inspector on the case finds a photo of a young girl’s grave, he reopens a very old case, following a trail of unusual forensic evidence to uncover secrets knit into the bloodline of the entire country.
JELLYFISH Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Israel/France
A woman breaks her leg at her own wedding reception and is forced to cancel her honeymoon. Another woman is followed by a strange little girl who has come out of the sea. A portrait of a messy world in which everyone scrapes by as best they can, JELLYFISH is the winner of Cannes’ Camera d’Or for 2007.
JUST LIKE HOME Lone Scherfig, Denmark
When the residents of a small Danish town learn that a man was seen running naked through their streets, depression spreads like wildfire. Convinced that all of Danish society is collapsing around them, they launch a telephone hotline to help combat the situation.
KING OF CALIFORNIA Mike Cahill, USA
A father (Michael Douglas) fresh out of a mental institution, alongside his emancipated teenage daughter (Evan Rachel Wood, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE), heads out on a quest to uncover an ancient Spanish treasure buried beneath the local Costco.
KINGS Tom Collins, Ireland/UK
In the mid-1970s, six young men left their homes in the West of Ireland and sailed across the sea to England. Thirty years later, the death of one reunites the group, forcing them to face up to the alienation they feel as a result of having no real place to call home.
MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD Daniele Luchetti, Italy/France
Fifteen years of Italian history pass by amidst the small-town adventures of Accio (Elio Germano) and Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio), two passionate brothers in a constant battle over politics and the same woman throughout the 60s and 70s.
NEW YORK CITY SERENADE Frank Whaley, USA
From actor-filmmaker Frank Whaley comes the comedic story – set in the mid-90s – of two friends and the series of events that lead to their final farewell. When aspiring filmmaker Owen is invited to a two-bit film festival, he brings along his childhood friend Ray, a drummer in a rock and roll band. Starring Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Chris Klein.
ON THE WINGS OF DREAMS Golam Rabbany Biplob, Bangladesh
After Fazlu returns home from a day of canvassing in the village market, his wife finds some foreign currency notes in a pair of trousers Fazlu picked up for their son. Thinking these notes to be of great value yet unsure of what to do with them, Fazlu, increasingly allured by greed and high ambitions, sets off with his childhood friend Siraj in hopes of making a profitable exchange.
L’ORA DI PUNTA Vincenzo Marra, Italy
Vincenzo Marra (VENTO DI TERRA, THE SESSION IS OPEN) returns to the Festival with a film about Fillipo, a young man whose new job as a civil servant sees him confidently navigating the shoals of Roman society, rubbing elbows with the high-and-mighty.
PHILIPPINE SCIENCE Auraeus Solito, Philippines
Eight Philippine Science High School students come of age during the politically volatile 80s, a time filled with excitement and fraught with anxiety.
THE POPE’S TOILET Enrique Fernandes and César Charlone, Uruguay
In 1988, the people of Melo are bustling with the news that Pope John Paul II plans to visit their small town, with tens of thousands of visitors expected to follow in his wake. While many make plans to profit off the event, petty smuggler Beto is certain he’s found the best business idea of all, a place where the multitude of pilgrims can find relief: “The Pope’s Toilet.”
RUN, FAT BOY, RUN David Schwimmer, UK
After Dennis (Simon Pegg) discovers that his ex-fiancée has hooked up with high-flying go-getter Whit (Hank Azaria), he enters a marathon in hopes of winning her back, quickly discovering just how much sweat, strain and tears it takes to train for the run. The first feature by actor David Schwimmer, RUN, FAT BOY, RUN is written by Michael Ian Black (THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY).
THE SECRETS Avi Nesher, Israel/France
While attending a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient town of Safed – the birthplace of Kabbalah – two devout religious girls find themselves in the midst of an evolving rebellion against the suffocating patriarchy.
SLINGSHOT Brillante Mendoza, Philippines
An intimate glimpse into the lives of small time crooks in Manila during a simultaneous election period and Holy Week.
SON OF RAMBOW Garth Jennings, France/UK
In this inventive valentine to the 1980s, Will has his mind and world blown wide open when schoolmate Carter (Will Poulter) exposes him to the Rambo film FIRST BLOOD. The budding filmmaking duo grows popular at school but the arrival of a French exchange student pushes their unique friendship and precious film to the breaking point.
STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING Andrew Wagner, USA
An ambitious graduate student convinces a writer that her thesis can resurrect his career. Starring Frank Langelia, Lili Taylor and Lauren Ambrose, STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING is based on the novel by Brian Morton.
TO LOVE SOMEONE Åke Sandgren, Sweden
Alf, a fish dealer with his own shop, lives happily with his partner Lena. But their relationship is put to the test when Lena’s exhusband suddenly reappears.
THE TRAP Srdan Golubovic, Serbia/Germany/Hungary
Amidst clashes of wealth and corruption in modern day Belgrade, Mladen struggles to pay for his son’s life-saving heart operation. When a man offers to cover the cost in full, Mladen discovers that, in return, he must kill the man’s business rival.
UNFINISHED SKY Peter Duncan, Australia
When Tahmeena, an illegal refugee, stumbles onto John’s isolated farm, he has no choice but to take her in. As they begin to grow closer despite language barriers, a group of men show up in hopes of taking Tahmeena away for good.
UNE VIEILLE MAÎTRESSE Catherine Breillat, France
A future wedding is on everyone’s lips. The young and dissolute Ryno de Marigny is betrothed to marry Hermangarde, a virtuous gem of the French aristocracy. But those who wish to prevent the union, despite the young couples’ mutual love, whisper that the young man will never break off his passionate love affair with Vellini (Asia Argento, THE MOTHER OF TEARS), which has been going on for years.
UNFINISHED STORIES Pourya Azarbayjani, Iran
Having nowhere else to go, three different women are forced to roam the streets of Tehran after being abandoned by the men in their lives.
WOLFSBERGEN Nanouk Leopold, Netherlands
At the age of 83, Konraad informs his relatives that he wants to die. While his only child, Maria, refuses to address the issue, her husband Ernst takes it upon himself to help Konraad fulfill his dying wish.
Toronto Film Festival – Visions & Vanguard Sidebars
4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS Cristian Mungiu, Romania
Palme dOr winner at the Cannes Film Festival, this is the first film in the series Tales from the Golden Age – a subjective history of communism in Romania told through its urban legends – and sees two university roommates in a desperate situation after one becomes pregnant and decides to seek out an illegal abortion.
L’AMOUR CACHÉ Alessandro Capone, Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium
Committed to a psychiatric clinic after three suicide attempts, Danielle (Isabelle Huppert) views her daughter as a hostile and intrusive enemy. However, through an analysts probing, Danielle finally voices the reality of her isolated childhood and the reason behind her self-loathing and hatred of motherhood.
BOY A John Crowley, UK
Jack (Andrew Garfield) has spent most of his young life in juvenile institutions for the murder of another child. He is released into the world, with only his care worker (Peter Mullan) to guide him. Jack is given a new name, a new job, a new home and a new life. But anonymity is both a blessing and a curse as Jack has to contend with keeping his past and the monstrous crime he committed as a minor, from the people he meets.
THE EXODUS Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong
Beat cop Jim (Simon Yam) uncovers a secret worldwide network of women conspiring to exterminate men. His investigation is soon thwarted with the organizations infiltration into the police force and soon Jim can no longer trust anyone, including his family.
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine, UK/France/Ireland/USA
Harmony Korine (GUMMO) returns with a story about a lonely Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) in Paris who falls for a Marilyn Monroe look-alike (Samantha Morton, ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE) and moves to a commune of impersonators. Meanwhile, in parallel, a miracle happens in a Latin American jungle.
SAD VACATION Aoyama Shinji, Japan
One night, a driver named Kenji (Tadanobu Asano, MONGOL), recognizes one of his passengers as his own mother who abandoned him as an adolescent. As seductively charming as she is loving, Kenji surrenders to dark undercurrents of feeling provoked by inexorable family ties and is forced to face both his past and his future.
SMILEY FACE Gregg Araki, USA
Jane F (Anna Faris), unsuccessful slacker actress, is having a bad day. Her misadventures begin when she treats herself to a batch of cupcakes left unattended by her psycho roommate (Danny Masterson) that prove not as innocent as they appear. Soon she is trying to cross town so she can repay an unforgiving drug dealer (Adam Brody), attend an audition, and somehow replace the precious cupcakes.
WHITE LIES BLACK SHEEP James Spooner, USA
This is the first fiction film from the director of the landmark documentary AFRO-PUNK. A successful young black promoter (Ayindé Howell) is fully entrenched in the New York indie-rock world scene. He begins to find that his chosen community, the white rock world, only seems to run smoothly for white rockers. A series of events force him to recognize that his friends exoticize him and are in denial of his blackness.