October 10, 2007

TIFF 07 : 2

In honour of the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, a collection of 35 three minute films about the cinema was commissioned by the festival director Gilles Jacob. A mixed bag, but fun and refreshing overall--expecially after a spate of loooong movies. There are really awesome films by Lars Von Trier, Ken Loach, the Dardennes brothers, Walter Salles and a few others; there are a couple of really terrible ones too. Surprisingly, there are a number of recurring elements: crying women, excited children, blind people remembering... A great little tribute to the cinema. Chacun Son Cinema

Night is essentially an essay about night and our relationship to it. It's the kind of film I really want to like, I guess because I'm curious to see how they structure it; how they decide to tell a story about something essentially neutral. It's reminiscent of Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi, or an Eames film or a learning channel documentary, rife with star fields, traffic flows, and night storms in time lapse (which are amazing, by the way). The film is loosely organized into segments on fear, home, nightlife, those who work at night, etc. and offers some surprisingly, beautiful and smart insights into the nature of nighttime: that it becomes a showcase for light; that it not only sounds different from the day, but richer; that the dusk is the day negotiating with the night to create evening. I do wish it were more directed, more narrowing, and more articulate, but overall it was pretty enjoyable. Night

Go ahead and make fun of me, but Glass: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts was a pretty good documentary. Smart and broad, it shows Philip on the Cyclone roller coaster with this family, conversing with Chuck Close in his studio, in footage of his involvement with the emerging SoHo scene of the 60's and 70's, and making pizza while collaborating on a new opera from his second home in Nova Scotia (Canada). It depicts him as a real human being; brilliant, frustrating, driven, fun, private and very kind. It's long and the mid section drags, but overall it's well worth watching for some insight into the man; I do wish though that we could have seen more about his process. Like a portrait, it is not definitive, but it is defining. Glass: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts

Maybe the best film I saw at the festival. Sharp, tense, assured; exciting, terrifying, heartwrenching, honest. This film, originally made for TV, easily and elegantly navigates between past and present tense and does it cleverly and clearly; the exposition reveals and changes the way we see the characters, offers us greater insight into their motivations, and forces us to ask questions. It does have a couple moments that seem out of place, but otherwise, it's a brilliantly played and very fully realized piece of cinema. If you're going to see this, don't find out anything about it. A+ Boy A