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Aug 29, 2012
11:05 AMTalk about Arts
A TIFF top five from Girish Shambu
In the world of modern film writing, there are few bloggers more respected or insightful than Girish Shambu. A professor in the management department at Canisius College, his site, girishshambu.blogspot.com, is a cinephile must-read. He is heading to the Toronto International Film Festival next week, so I asked him which five films he’s most looking forward to. (Girish posted a longer list on his site, too.)
1. Tabu, the third feature by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, was greeted by critics at the Berlin film festival with both rapture and bafflement. A black-and-white love story that is also about colonialism and the history of cinema, it promises to be the festival’s great cinematic UFO.
2. Passion, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, is Brian De Palma’s remake of the French thriller Love Crime. De Palma is among the most formally and stylistically playful filmmakers the medium has ever known, so here’s hoping this one approaches the glories of his best films like Sisters, Dressed to Kill, and Carrie.
3. Penance, a four-and-a-half-hour TV miniseries by the Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose work combines the disturbing qualities of horror cinema with the “art cinema” techniques of long takes and static observational camera. His creepy supernatural thriller Cure (1997) is a terrific example of this original and affecting style.
4. The documentary Leviathan, made by filmmakers from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnographic Lab, comes to Toronto after making a powerful impact on cinema-goers at the Locarno film festival. It captures the day-to-day experience of a commercial fishing boat with dozens of digital cameras, hand-held or strapped to various parts of the vessel. Shot off New Bedford, the setting for Captain Ahab’s pursuit of Moby-Dick, it promises to be, by all accounts, an overwhelmingly visceral and ferocious film.
5. Sophie Fiennes (sister of Ralph and Joseph) has made a documentary called The Pervert's Guide to Ideology that is a sequel of sorts to her previous film The Pervert's Guide to Cinema. Both feature the enormously entertaining Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who applies ideas from psychoanalysis and cultural theory to clips from popular movies. (Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch are two of his favorite filmmakers.) Zizek will be present for an hour-long Q&A that will surely be among the humorous high points of the festival.
Photo from Leviathan, courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.