Archive for June 27th, 2007

Toronto enticing already!

June 27, 2007

Just got an e-mail about films screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’m already salivating at the chance to see new films from Bela Tarr, Jacques Rivette, Alexander Sokurov, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Carlos Reygadas and Roy Andersson. A very promising line-up indeed!

Here’s the e-mail I received today:

“Shekhar Kapur’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” will premiere as a Gala Presentation at the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival, organizers have announced. Reprising the roles they originated in seven-time Academy Award-nominated “Elizabeth,” Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush star in the historical thriller. Queen Elizabeth I (Academy Award-winner Blanchett) faces bloodlust for her throne and familial betrayal in this installment. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th century Europe, Elizabeth finds her rule openly challenged by the Spanish King Philip II (Jordi Molla)–with his powerful army and sea-dominating armada–determined to restore England to Catholicism.

In addition to the second installment of “Elizabeth,” Toronto has also announced 32 international selections that have screened at festivals globally, set for this year’s TIFF, taking place September 6 – 15.

“These are many of the finest films to have screened at other festivals recently,” commented Noah Cowan, festival co-director in a statement. “These films were handpicked by TIFF Programmers to represent the crucial cinematic innovations and moments of onscreen delight from the last several months of cinema.”

Announced films include (with descriptions provided by the festival):

Special Presentations:
“No Country for Old Men,” directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, USA
Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law – in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) – can contain.

“Alexandra,” directed by Alexander Sokurov, Russia/France
Filmmaker Sokurov (“Russian Ark”) tells the story of a woman who travels to visit her grandson, a Russian officer stationed in the Republic of Chechnya.

“Le Voyage Du Ballon Rouge,” directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, France/Taiwan
Hou Hsiao-hsien (“Three Times”) pays homage to Albert Lamorisse’s “The Red Balloon” in a film about Suzanne (Juliette Binoche), her son Simon and a mysterious red balloon.

The Man from London,” directed by Bela Tarr, France/Hungary/Germany
The simple life of lonely Maloin is blown apart when he witnesses a murder.

“Ne Touchez Pas La Hache,” directed by Jacques Rivette, France/Italy
Based on a short story by Balzac, “Ne Touchez Pas La Hache” reunites influential auteur Rivette (“Out One, Va Savoir”) and actor Jeanne Balibar for a film about seduction and revenge amidst the extravagant balls of 1820s Restoration Paris.

“One Hundred Nails,” directed by Ermanno Olmi, Italy
Announced as the last feature of his career, Ermanno Olmi (Palme d’Or winner for 1978’s “The Tree of the Wooden Clogs”) presents a film about a young and eminent professor who finds himself at the centre of a difficult investigation.

“Ulzhan,” directed by Volker Schlondorff, Germany/Kazakhstan/France
A man’s relentless quest to both find an ancient treasure and heal his wounded soul.

Real to Reel:
“The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories,” directed by Andrey Paounov, Bulgaria/USA/Germany
A documentary about a village turned concentration camp, turned city, turned nuclear power plant.

“Import Export,” directed by Ulrich Seidl, Austria
A Ukrainian nurse abandons her family for a better life in Austria. An unemployed security guard leaves Vienna for Ukraine.

“Ploy,” directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand
Ratanaruang (“Invisible Waves”) returns to the Festival this year with an erotic psychological drama which sees three strangers locked inside a hotel room.

“Silent Light,” directed by Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands
Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize for 2007, the film tells of Johan, a married North Mexican Mennonite who falls in love with another woman.

“A Stray Girlfriend,” directed by Ana Katz, Argentina/Spain
Filmmaker Katz takes on writing, directing and acting with “A Stray Girlfriend.” After an argument with her boyfriend on the bus, Ines storms off at the wrong stop, only to find herself lost and alone on the open road – far from the holiday resort where she was meant to spend a romantic getaway.

“The Tracey Fragments,” directed by Bruce McDonald, Canada
McDonald (“Roadkill,” “Highway 61”) delivers the story of Tracey, a 15-year-old who seeks refuge from schoolyard torment and an unstable home life by way of her elaborate imagination.

You, The Living,” directed by Roy Andersson, Sweden/France/Germany/Denmark/Norway
Andersson puts forth a film he describes as “simply a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy about us (human beings).”

“Les Chansons D’Amour,” directed by Christophe Honore, France
Julie and Ismael attempt to reignite the spark between them by inviting a third person, Alice, into their bed – and singing about it – in this romantic drama musical. But when tragedy strikes, everyone and everything is left at loose ends.

“Control,” directed by Anton Corbijn, UK/Australia
Dutch photographer Corbijn moves into filmmaking with the story of the life and death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.

“Naissance Des Pieuvres,” directed by Celine Sciamma, France
Teenage girls awaken their sexuality amidst the world of synchronized swimming.

“The Orphanage,” directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, Spain
From producer Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Laburinth”) comes a film about a woman’s return to the abandoned orphanage where she grew up and her conviction that something long-hidden and terrible is lurking inside.

Contemporary World Cinema:
“And Along Come Tourists,” directed by Robert Thalheim, Germany
A young German – completing his civil service abroad in Auschwitz – must care for a former concentration camp inmate with a fetish for suitcase repair.

“The Banishment,” directed by Andre Zviaguintsev, Russia
The eerie tale of one family’s relocation from an industrial city to the remote birthplace of husband and father Alex (Konstantin Lavronenko – Best Actor, Cannes 2007).

“Caramel,” directed by Nadine Labaki, Lebanon/France
Contemporary dilemmas face a group of women in a Beirut beauty salon.

“The Edge of Heaven,” directed by Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey
Focused on the interweaving lives of six people in Hamburg and Istanbul, the film – winner of the Award for Best Screenplay at Cannes 2007 – is the second in what filmmaker Akin (Head-On) calls his “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy.

“Faro – La Reine des Eaux,” directed by Salif Traore, Mali/France/Canada/Germany/Burkina Faso
Zanga arrives after many years to the village he was once driven out of. At the moment of his arrival, something happens that the villagers interpret as the river spirit Faro’s angry reaction to his return.

“Happy New Life,” directed by Arpad Bogdan, Hungary
Attila has no idea what it means to be a gypsy, but with the help of official documents containing details about the family who abandoned him, he may soon unearth his unknown Romani past.

“Home Song Stories,” directed by Tony Ayres, Australia
The moving story of a Chinese woman who comes to Australia in the mid-sixties.

“In Memory of Myself” directed by Saverio Costanzo, Italy
Finding himself in an existential crisis, Andrea decides to join a monastery only to find his life of ritual and prayer to be under constant surveillance.

“Iska’s Journey,” directed by Csaba Bollok, Hungary
After a life of begging for food, collecting pieces of old metal for money and buying schnapps for her parents, Iska and her sister are discovered on a coal heap and put into a home.

“The Mourning Forest,” directed by Naomi Kawase, Japan/France
Retirement home resident Shigeki and staff member Machiko find themselves on a journey of discovery when a landslide forces their car into a ditch in this Cannes Grand Prize winner for 2007.

“Munyurangabo,” directed by Lee Isaac Chung, USA
Fifteen years after the genocide, two Rwandese teens travel from the city to the countryside on a quest for justice.

“Mutum,” directed by Sandra Kogut, Brazil/France
The gloomy world of adults is witnessed though the eyes of a peculiar child.

“Secret Sunshine,” directed by Chang-dong Lee, South Korea
Actor Do-Yeon Jeon (Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival 2007) stars as a woman trying to set out a new path for herself in the town where her late husband was born.

“Under the Same Moon,” directed by Patricia Riggen, Mexico/USA
Featuring America Ferrera (TV’s “Ugly Betty”), this film by first time filmmaker Riggen tells the tale of the love that endures between a mother and her son despite physical separation. “