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Sep 4, 2012
12:28 PMTalk about Arts
TIFF 2012 preview: Amour and more
Starting this Friday, Spree’s Jared Mobarak and I will be at the Toronto International Film festival, posting reviews, thoughts, and more here, on the Spree website, on Spree’s Facebook page, and beyond. (Jared is also covering TIFF for the Film Stage website, while I’ll have at least one review there, and more coverage on Indiewire’s The Playlist site; you can also follow me on Twitter @CTSchobert and Jared @jaredmobarak.)
I’m not sure exactly how many movies total I’ll see over my brief three-day visit, but it’s certainly enough to choose ten eagerly anticipated treats. Here is my TIFF top ten (in random order):
• Amour: Director Michael Haneke’s last film, The White Ribbon, was my favorite of 2010, and an unforgettable TIFF experience. His latest, a love story centered on an elderly couple facing mortality, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and looks to be—without question—one of 2012’s most important films. Seeing this was my real goal for the festival, so I’m thrilled to have it on my list.
• No: Pablo Larrain’s film about Pinochet-era Chile is the third in a trilogy. After reading about the film’s Cannes response, I caught up with Larrain’s previous two efforts, Tony Manero and Post Mortem, and they are both four-star films. Post Mortem, especially, is on my best of 2012 list. (It was shot in 2010, but not released in America until this year.)
• The Place Beyond the Pines: Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine follow-up us is one of the festival’s more mysterious entries. There has not been a trailer, a poster, or even an official release date, but the Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper “multi-generational crime drama” is hitting Toronto. Costar Dane Dehaan recently said it is “epic in scope and plot like The Godfather,” which could not excite me more …
• Room 237: I would argue that virtually any one of Stanely Kubrick’s films could warrant a documentary about obsessive fan theories. But The Shining is probably the most fitting. Rodney Ascher’s documentary on this phenomenon was a Sundance smash.
• Me and You: Bad buzz bedamned—this film about a fourteen-year-old and his junkie sister is Bernardo Bertolucci’s first in almost a decade, and that makes it a cinematic event.
• The Impossible: The trailer for The Orphanage director J. A. Bayona’s true story of a couple’s (Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) attempts at survival during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is a bit disappointing. It’s not that the film doesn’t look like an emotional, technically masterful experience—it does. What’s disappointing is that it seems to show us the entire film … It looks quite good, but still. Save some for the film itself.
• To the Wonder: A new Terrence Malick film is newsworthy in any context, but Wonder, arriving so quickly after Tree of Life, is especially important. The Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem-starrer premiered over the weekend in Venice, where the response was, shall we say, mixed. But that makes me anticipate this one even more. Incidentally, Spree’s Jared and I are making a special return visit just to see this one, which right now, has no North American distributor.
• Passion: Girish Shambu mentioned Brian De Palma’s latest in his TIFF top 5 on the Spree site last week. Jared and I saw the Scarface director’s last film, Redacted, at the 2007 festival, and I found it a flawed but passionate work. This remake of 2010’s Love Crime, an erotic thriller, seems like a dream De Palma project.
• Anna Karenina: Big costume epics can go either way, but there is reason for confidence with Joe Wright’s Tolstoy adaptation. One reason is Wright himself, the filmmaker behind Atonement and Hanna. There is the strong cast, led by the always welcome Keira Knightley. And there is that swirling, intoxicating trailer, too.
• Something in the Air: I know very little about Olivier Assayas’s film, except for its setting: early 70s France. But that’s enough to intrigue me. Assayas’s last two films, Summer Hours and Carlos, were among the finest of the last five years. That makes Air a must-see.
Others I hope to catch include The Sessions, Frances Ha, and The Silver Linings Playbook. I’ve also had a chance to see some interesting films playing TIFF already, including The Gangs of Wasseypur, White Elephant, and What Richard Did.
TIFF is all about choices. Deciding on one film over another means likely months—or longer—of waiting. (There are many films that screen here and then seem to disappear, never to achieve the goal of North American distribution). Sometimes, the films simply are not screening while I’m attending. Other times, I had to make a tough choice. My list of likely 2012 misses (sigh) includes P. T. Anderson’s The Master, the Wachowski/Tykwer epic that is Cloud Atlas, Ben Affleck’s Argo, the Dustin Hoffman-helmed Quartet, and the Bill Murray-starring Hyde Park on the Hudson.
Will I regret missing those? Sure, although The Master is due to arrive this month, and Argo and Atlas in October. I can wait.
But Amour? Nope. Not waiting on Amour.
Photo: To the Wonder photo courtesy of TIFF.