Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
The Venice Film Festival has finished and The Master won the Silver Lion award, amongst others:
“Anderson’s intense character study of the relationship between the leader of a fledgling religious movement and his impulsive disciple has been building off-the-charts buzz at Venice and Toronto and pop-up screenings in the U.S. in advance of its arrival in theaters Friday. “The Master” [also] won one other honor as well: the FIPRESCI critics award for best film in competition.“
As the London Film Festival draws closer, I start to try and work out what I want to see ahead of receiving my programme of films. Cannes, Venice and Toronto all factor into what gains my attention, but I thought I’d use this space to share with you which films have perked my interest, and why they have garnered my attention. Frustratingly, The Master is not due to play in London so today’s article is primarily highlighting how the news regarding the festivals feed into my selection of what to watch.
Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, additionally, has no planned screenings in London. But we can wait with baited breath as to whether either film will be the ‘Surprise’ film of the festival – joining the Coens’ No Country for Old Men and Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, both of which turned up at the ‘Surprise’ screenings in previous years.
Cannes ensured Michael Haneke’s Amour would not be forgotten. I have recently begun watching the back catalogue of Haneke and he truly is a fascinating director – challenging the relationship between viewer and film. His second Palme D’Or winner, surely, would be worth hunting out. Which brings us nicely to The Hunt, directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Festen), and tackles the accusation of a teacher behaving inappropriately with a young girl. Antiviral sees David Cronenberg’s son, Brandon, direct his feature debut, tackling themes similar to his father. He should be proud.
The Toronto International Film Festival, hitting so close to the London Festival, manages to nab a fair few of the American premieres. Toronto, along with Telluride, both seem to stop London from gaining films such as The Place Beyond the Pines, Silver Linings Playbook and Cloud Atlas – alongside Malick and Anderson’s recent releases. Hyde Park on Hudson and Argo though, have both crossed the Atlantic and are screened this year. Bill Murray and Olivia Coleman star in the former, as it depicts the British royals crossing the Atlantic themselves to reside in New York. Ben Affleck’s Argo has achieved a bit of a buzz as Glenn Whipp headlined an article titled “Toronto premiere of Argo leaves locals cheering.” Clearly one to watch out for [read Flickering Myth’s TIFF review here].
Beasts of the Southern Wild, though clearly good enough to be viewed, seems like it will become successful in the art-house cinemas in the UK due to its success in the US. With this in mind, I don’t feel there is any specific need to ‘hunt’ this one down at the festival.
End of Watch, Rust and Bone and Seven Psychopaths are all in competition this year amongst a group of 12 films. These three films are very much ‘on the circuit’ – and we shall see if they make more of a show when awards season starts. End of Watch stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a role that, hopefully, shows how skilled he is as an actor – opposed to the missteps of Prince of Persia and the overrated Source Code. Rust and Bone is the next film from The Prophet director Jaques Audiard. Starring Marion Cotillard, I know very little about the film – but feel like this should be an advantage when walking in. Seven Psychopaths is the follow-up from In Bruges from director Martin McDonough. In my head, I imagine it is akin to Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, after the success of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. McDonough has more money this time round, and a bigger and stronger cast (Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell alongside McDonough regular Colin Farrell) but so far, its all positive, as Matt Goldberg writes for Collider: “delightfully mad and surprisingly genius”. Sounds good to me.
Though the screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Manxman is seen as the highlight of the ‘Treasures’ screenings, I would beg to differ. A complete remastering of Lawrence of Arabia means that an opportunity to see the vast landscapes and deserts of the film can now be appreciated in full 4K digital resolution in a 222mins directors cut. The final film-of-note for me is Wings, which all Best Picture Oscar-winner completists will know as the difficult-to-find first winner of the statuette in 1927 – and until The Artist last year – the only silent film to win the award. Back in the day, it was named ‘Outstanding Picture’, and I can only hope that the majority of these films are outstanding at this year’s festival.
Nothing controversial this week – merely an overview of what to look out for in the future as I should certainly be watching these films at the festival, if not when they gain their UK release. Suffice to say, I believe the majority of these films will be around in December as the awards season truly kicks off.