PFF/CF: Just For the Record, A Short List of What’s Missing

March 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm 1 comment

35 Shots of Rum

Look, I know. One can’t score everything. Certain titles simply elude a film festival’s grasp, be it for economic or circumstantial reasons, or even matters of personal taste. I can’t be sure, in many of these cases, someone didn’t give it the old college try. And as I’ll show in a second, this year’s crop is fairly impressive as is. And yet. Surveying this year’s festival scene, a cinephile can’t help but feel stung by the lack of the following:

  • 35 Shots of Rum (above): For my money, there might be no better living, working filmmaker than France’s mood-meister Claire Denis, whose (utterly brilliant) Trouble Every Day pissed off a lot of people when it played the PFF in ’02. (And whose Beau Travail and Friday Night are also utterly swoon-worthy.)  No distributor (let’s just abbreviate this to ND).
  • Lorna’s Silence: The latest from Belgium’s  serial Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Rosetta, The Child) has at least been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics and drops stateside in July.
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird: South Korea’s most expensive homegrown movie is, improbably, ridiculously entertaining — a zany western-action-comedy that’s as confidently made and inventive as you’d expect from Kim Ji-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life). Insanely, no American distrib has nabbed, but you can watch the whole movie, with subtitles, here.
  • Three Monkeys: From Distant and Climates genius Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Was picked up by Zeitgeist, but no release date is listed.
  • 24 City: The latest from Jia Zhang-ke, the mixed-method, glacially-pacing social satirist of The World and Still Life. Appears to have a tiny distributor called Cinema Guild, but no release date.
  • Tony Manero: My bud Vadim Rizov is all about this Chilean film about a serial killer obsessed with Saturday Night Fever. Picked up by Lorber HT Digital.
  • Four Nights With Anna: The return of Polish New Wave great Jerzy Skolimowski, who co-wrote Polanski’s Knife in the Water and made the amazing British films Deep End and Moonlighting (no relation). ND.
  • Night and Day: South Korean relationship fetishist (and minimalist) Hong Sang-soo has seen his last couple films (Woman is the Future of Man, Woman on the Beach) wind up on Manhattan screens. And yet no one’s touched his latest, despite it being utterly hilarious. ND! Really!
  • Chouga: An Anna Karenina riff from Kazakhstan’s terrific (at least based on his 1992 film Kairat) Darezhan Omarbaev. ND.
  • Afterschool: The great, Cannes-bound critic Mike D’Angelo named Antonio Campos fragmented survey of American high school life his third favorite movie of the decade. Others are considerably less wowed. Of course: ND.
  • The Headless Woman: Pro or con, everyone agrees on two things about Lucretia Martel’s follow-up to The Holy Girl: it makes not a lick of sense and it’s utterly beautiful looking. Has been picked up by Strand.

Anything notable I’m missing?

Okay, one more carp: where’s the Repertory? A small tribute to the Quay Brothers — visiting their homeland from deep within Eastern Europe — but that’s it. Drat.

This whinging, it should be said, is being got out of the way now so I, and you, can enjoy what is here. And again, any festival would be happy to have scored such fest circuit favorites as The Hurt Locker, Moon, Sugar, Sita Sings the Blues, Revanche, Hunger, Tyson, The Brothers Bloom, Goodbye Solo, Surveillance, Il Divo, It’s Not Me I Swear!, Revanche, Treeless Mountain, Tulpan, The Beautiful Person, Not Quite Hollywood, Rumba, Summer Hours, Snow, Rudo y Cursi, I’m Going to Explode, Lake Tahoe, Of Time and the City and the recent SXSW player The Way We Get By. Also, kudos for taking a chance on Erick Zonca’s notoriously shrill (but kind of transcendently so) Julia, featuring Tilda Swinton as one of the most unlikable and dirt-stupidest protags in the history of fiction.

Tomorrow: I review opening night film (500) Days of Summer and bring you an absolutely epic preview of the first weekend.

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Opening Night! I Got Nothin’ Review: (500) Days of Summer

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