Highlights from Toronto

By Patrick Z. McGavin

With some 278 features shown at this year’s edition, Toronto is not just a film festival; it’s a virtual orgy of cinema. No matter how hard one tries, the festival proves logistically impossible to fully assimilate. Even if you include the films screened beforehand, primarily at Cannes and Sundance, I saw only a fraction of the program. According to figures the festival released, nearly half a million people attended the festival.

To their credit the festival organizers have a method to the madness. Toronto has always had a fairly egalitarian, open-ended approach to its programming. It …

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Cannes Rankings

Only Lovers Left Alive

By Patrick Z. McGavin

My Cannes started this year with the cooly suggestive image of a beautiful young woman under surveillance, as captured in the viewfinder of a pair of binoculars, in French director Francois Ozon’s Young & Beautiful, and ended with probably the most famous fall in the history of cinema, that one that concludes Alfred Hitchcock’s magisterial Vertigo.

The Ozon was part of the official competition selection, the Hitchcock, preceded by a terrific introduction from Kim Novak, the concluding work of the Cannes Classics program. All told, I saw 37 films: 20 …

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Chinese Cinema at Cannes

By Patrick Z. McGavin

As the world’s most important festival, Cannes is composed in many parts and layers. Yet one inescapable aspect, seemingly more acute with each year, is how much of the programming—thematically, formally—dovetails.

The narrative at the festival follows a fairly predictable trajectory: the festival slots its weaker titles at the start and then, slowly, starts to introduce the stronger material, probably as to not induce people to leave the festival early but also build a certain momentum leading up to the final weekend and the awards.

Two Chinese films meditate on national identity, representation and the moral …

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Looking Forward to Cannes

Only God Forgives

Heading to Cannes tomorrow, and here’s the list of films I’m looking forward to:

Heli (Escalante) Comp
Jimmy P (Desplechin) Comp
Grisgris (Haroun) Comp
A Touch of Sin (Jia) Comp
Like Father, Like Son (Kore-eda) Comp
Blue is the Warmest Color (Kechiche) Comp
Jeune et Jolie (Ozon) Comp
Venus in Fur (Polanski) Comp
Only God Forgives (Refn) Comp
Death March (Alix) UCR
Les Salauds (Denis) UCR
Notre, the End of History (Lav D) UCR
L’inconnu du lac (Guiraudie) UCR
L’image Manquante (Panh) UCR
La Jaula de Oro (Quemada-Diaz) UCR
Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Rasoulof) UCR
My Sweet Pepper

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TCM Classic Film Festival


Try and Get Me (The Sound of Fury) (1951)

It has been about a year since Film Journey has been updated, but I’ve been hard at work publishing a variety of print pieces, particularly for the LA Weekly.  The site is freshly rebooted now, and you can check out some of my writing from the past year on the More Publications page at top.

This past weekend was the fourth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles. I often remark that I have a love/hate relationship with the Festival.  On the one hand, it’s a pass-driven …

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Post Sarkozy Cannes 8

By Robert Koehler

THE NOT-SO-SWEATY PALMES

Palme d’Or: Amour (Michael Haneke)
Grand Prize: Reality (Matteo Garrone)
Best Director: Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux
Jury Prize: The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach)
Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt
Best Actresses: Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan for Beyond the Hills
Best Screenplay: Cristian Mungiu for Beyond the Hills
Camera d’Or: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Behn Zeitlin)

Michael Haneke can no longer have anything to complain about. Expecting to win the Palme every time he makes a film, Haneke has now broken general patterns and won two Palme d’Ors in four …

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