TIFF update 3

The Holy Girl

Here’s my latest batch of reviews for the Toronto International Film Festival. Stay tuned for another collection of commentary in the next day or two…

La Noire de… (1966)

81-year-old filmmaker and novelist Ousmane Sembene is known as the “father of African cinema” and is surely one of the most poorly-distributed world masters. New Yorker Films owns the rights to his films in the US, and they haven’t even seen fit to release them on VHS. Invariably, the Pan-African Film Festival here in Los Angeles screens a film of his every year or two, and completely by …

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Toronto Cont’d, L’Intrus


Well, I arrived back in Los Angeles this afternoon, and I’ll be posting comments on all of the films I watched in Toronto in the next couple of days. The festival was a truly whirlwind experience, particularly since I stayed with some friends outside the city in Mississauga, which ensured a nasty combination of late nights and early mornings. Large doses of coffee, increasingly blustery weather, and sheer enthusiasm propelled us through the week despite only getting five or six hours of sleep a night. At the same time, as Darren pointed out, the car-pooling and shared accommodations also …

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TIFF update

Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow

One of the pleasures of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival for me personally has been the opportunity to spend time with friends I rarely get the chance to see (J. Robert and Robert Davis as well as folks from Alberta), finally meeting friends I’ve known online for some time (Darren Hughes and Girish Shambu), and generally enjoying the city’s unique ambience, sights and sounds. This morning, I even ran into Jonathan Rosenbaum in a crosswalk, an encouraging Masters of Cinema supporter and a favorite critic, and I expressed my admiration in the …

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LAFF, part 2

The last two features I’ve screened at the LAFF are exemplary thrillers, both immersed in existentialist dread, both diverging in tone: CÈdric Kahn’s brooding and suggestive mood piece, Red Lights (Feux rouges, 2004), and Raoul Ruiz’s comedic and flamboyant neo-noir, A Taste of Murder (known at other festivals as A Place Among the Living from the French title, Une place parmi les vivants, 2004.) Both are filmmakers I know little about, although Ruiz’s film is the fourt of his works that I’ve seen, and the more I see, the more I want to see. (Fortunately, the filmmaker …

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Los Angeles Film Fest Diary

It’s always great to see a film festival establish its groove, and the Los Angeles Film Festival is doing just that in its fourth incarnation since its merger of two film organizations. Evolving from a festival that specialized in independent American fare, it is now more international in scope and offers several high-profile screenings this year, even if much of the program seems directly lifted from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. (But who’s complaining?)

Last weekend, I managed to catch four rewarding films, with more screenings planned later in the week.

South of the Clouds (Zhu Wen, China, 2004)

Novelist …

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