Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TIFF 2010

Here in Toronto, the city's international film festival is slowly creeping toward its opening date. The fest is rather expensive, and I usually like to save my money for the much cheaper and rarely distributed films at Hot Docs, but looking at the films that have been announced so far, I might have some choice documentaries to pay up for.

I don't believe all of the films have been announced (I really want Meek's Cutoff to come. Although I try to use these festivals to see works that probably won't get a release date in the city, Kelly Reichardt is one of my favourite current directors, so to witness she and Michelle Williams in the same room would be priceless).

Coming to town are new films by Errol Morris and Kim Longinotto. I saw the latter's excellent troubled school for boys documentary Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go at Hot Docs earlier this year. I will definitely be checking out her new title.

Here is a list of titles that have interested me so far. Werner Herzog's new film sounds especially fascinating. * = Very interested.

The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town
Thom Zimny, USA World Premiere
“The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” takes us into the studio with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the recording of their fourth album. Grammy and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny has collaborated with Springsteen on this documentary, gaining access to never before seen footage shot between 1976-1978, capturing home rehearsals and recording sessions that allow us to see Springsteen’s creative process at work.

Nostalgia for the Light*
Patricio Guzmán, France/Germany/Chile North American Premiere, World Premiere
In Chile’s Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body parts of loved ones, dumped unceremoniously by Pinochet’s regime. Master filmmaker Patricio Guzmán contemplates the paradox of their quests.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams*
Werner Herzog, USA World Premiere
Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting. He puts 3-D technology to a profound use, taking us back in time over 30,000 years

The Game of Death
Christophe Nick & Thomas Bornot, France North American Premiere
This documentary examines the idea of the limits of obedience and punishment. Based on an experiment conducted in the ‘60s, the setting is a modern television game show where we see how far people will go to inflict pain on a contestant who stands to win one million dollars.

Jose Luis Guerin, Spain North American Premiere
Filmmaker Jose Luis Guerin documents his experience during a year of traveling as a guest of film festivals to present his previous film. What emerges is a wonderfully humane and sincere portrayal of the people that he meets when he goes off the beaten track in some of the world’s major cities.

How to Start Your Own Country
Jody Shapiro, Canada
Shapiro’s documentary about micro-nations, tiny countries seldom recognized by the outside world, mixes comedy and compassion with a serious analysis of the concept of statehood and citizenship.

Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Mark Hartley, Australia International Premiere
From cult cinema documentary director Mark Hartley (“Not Quite Hollywood”) comes this account of the wild and unruly world of genre filmmaking in the Philippines when the country was a back-lot for a bevy of B-movie mavericks and cinema visionaries.

Pink Saris*
Kim Longinotto, UK World Premiere
Acclaimed director Kim Longinotto is often drawn to tough women. Now she follows Sampat Pal Devi, the leader of the “Pink Gang,” who brings her own brand of justice to the streets of Uttar Pradesh, India, combating violence against women.

The Pipe
Risteard Ó Domhnaill, Ireland International Premiere
Irish farmers and fisherman rise up in protest when Shell tries to build a pipeline for natural gas through their county. The local confrontation reflects an international concern for how energy companies affect the environment and communities.

The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical*
Sarah McCarthy, United Kingdom North American Premiere
For one emotional night, a group of children living in a slum in Mumbai, India, get a chance to experience a different world as they perform “The Sound of Music” with a classical orchestra, fostering hopes that it could change their lives.

Errol Morris, USA World Premiere
The director of “The Thin Blue Line” and “The Fog of War” tells the story of a former Miss Wyoming whose quest for one true love led her across the globe and onto the pages of tabloid newspapers.