Friday, September 08, 2006

Quick Update

Since I don't seem to be pounding out those long reviews, let me give a few snippets...

HANA (Hirokazu Kore-eda) 48 - Kore-eda's least impressive film, I think. It's a samurai comedy that features the villagers in a 1700s tenement working together as a community. Favoring companionship over revenge, the film is certainly humane, but it's also mundane. It's probably the director's most audience-pleasing work to date, unless you are the part of the audience that includes me.

The Lives of Others (Florian von Donnersmarck) 73 - Proof that middlebrow does not equal bad, this gripping drama set during Eastern Germany's Communist days becomes thrilling in its mundaneness. The film is stylistically identical throughout, but that only adds to the atmosphere generated. There are audience-pleasing missteps from time to time, but more often than not they lead to an unexpectedly fierce development. This is a great debut.

12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu) 66 - Yet another great film at this festival about Communism... This one is divided cleanly into two parts, the first a droll picture of life in Romania, circa 2004, the second an extended broadcast of a hilarious but thought-provoking local television progam. The film questions the idea of a shared history by offering a series of conflicting viewpoints (via the television show's call-in component) worthy of Rashomon. The second half is a politically charged running gag that recalls the splendid last third of Crimson Gold.

That's it for now... :)


Anonymous said...

Well, whaddya know? The "surprise" Jia Zhangke film, Still Life, won the Golden Lion at Venice. Too bad TIFF-goers won't be able to catch a glimpse of it in the next few days.

Helen Mirren unsurprisingly won Best Actress, Ben Affleck(?!?) won Best Actor. Happily, the Resnais, which WILL be at Toronto, won Best Director!

Ian said...

Is the award for Ben Affleck really a surprise? Every review I've read of Hollywoodland has praised his performance.

More surprising for me has been the great response in Venice to Emilio Estevez's Bobby. Has the director of Wisdom and Men at Work (shudder) actually made an excellent movie?

Anonymous said...

You're right, ian, that Ben Affleck has received excellent reviews for Hollywoodland. What makes his win perhaps more surprising is the fact that his role is decidedly a supporting one.

And, Bobby, to me, sounds like it might be this year's Crash. Shudder. Though, of course, I could be wrong!

Ian said...

Yes, that did surprise me: that Affleck won Best Actor for what I thought was a supporting role. Even got me thinking that I'd misunderstood and he's actually a co-lead.

I'll be going into Bobby with eyes wide open. Buzz or no buzz, the cast is unnervingly overstuffed. And there can be only one Nashville.