DAILY NEWS: Toronto Malaise; NYFF Shorts and Avant Garde
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> TORONTO 2000: Wilting in the Humidity and Hoping for A Hit
(indieWIRE/ 9.12.00) -- Perhaps it is the humidity, as one industry executive explained at an overcrowded party on Monday night, but the 25th Toronto International Film Festival has yet to hit its stride as it reaches the midway point. There is an overall lack of energy among many attendees here as festival-goers yearn for a film that will jumpstart both critics and industry folks. Numerous movies that came into the Festival as anticipated hits have simply disappointed.
Organizers have certainly pulled out all the stops to deliver a well-run
25th Anniversary spectacle, but press and industry circles lack a buzz about must-see films. Perhaps we are all looking in the wrong places?
The executive that I spoke with, a Festival regular who works at a company with an annual high-profile presence here in Toronto, expressed a general malaise that is consistent with other people I polled.
Even the few industry deals that have made news here haven't electrified
those who care about such things: Lot47 Films announced a pact for Laurent Firode's "The Beating Of Butterfly Wings" (Le Battement D'Ailes Du Papillon), a film that isn't playing here. Meanwhile, Lions Gate revealed to no one's surprise that it will take the domestic rights to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Toronto entry, "Amores Perros" (Love is A Bitch), a film that it made an international deal for prior to its Critics Week Cannes premiere; while Zeitgeist Films acquired another Cannes premiere, Agnes Varda's documentary "The Gleaners and I" for a March release at New York's Film Forum, according to Variety, a small deal that has all the trappings of pre-fest signatures. As reported in today's editon of indieWIRE (see feature article), Lynne Stopekewich's "Suspicious River" got an offer prior to its Festival debut, while Christopher Nolan's "Memento" closes in on a pact (as reported in indieWIRE yesterday).
Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood For Love" drew large crowds to its
industry/press screening in two theaters last night. Many were turned away as the showings filled quickly. Response was hardly overwhelming, but Wong again delivers a beautiful cinematic experience. Perhaps the best example of the audience's positive, but reserved reaction is the fact that after the movie, talk was more about Maggie Cheung's stylish 60's dresses than the overall film itself. Granted, the film is a bit of a departure for Wong Kar-Wai and it may take some time to set in.
One possible place to look for a bit of a spark is the Discovery section; just ask Festival programmer Kay Armatage. A curator here since 1983, Armatage chatted with indieWIRE at yesterday afternoon's reception for the Discovery and Real to Reel filmmakers.
"Surprising to me is the fact that there is so much good new work coming out of France," Armatage offered, when asked about her thoughts on trends among emerging filmmakers. Also singling out work from Australia, Armatage added, "Suddenly its really happening."
She highlighted a number of films that she brought to the Discovery section, including Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh-Tri's "Baise-Moi" from France, a film that she called "groundbreaking work" in our conversation yesterday, while some critics have simply dubbed it "Thelma and Louise" meets "Debbie Does Dallas." In her catalog notes, Armatage wrote, "Marking a new frontier of realist representation of women's transgressive psycho-sexuality, 'Baise-Moi' is an audacious and challenging film."
Pictured right; Discovery director David Gordon Green ("George Washington") with Festival Programmer Noah Cowan of Cowboy Booking
Photo by: Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
Explaining that a number of work, including many films by women, are
exemplifying "new kinds of subjects and particular visions," Armatage
singled Andrew Dominik's "Chopper" and Belinda Chayko's "City Loop," both from Australia. Additionally she touted Anne Villaceque's "Petite Cherie" (Little Darling) in the Contemporary World Cinema Section and another French film, Pierre-Paul Renders' "Thomas est amoureux" (Thomas in Love), which indieWIRE previewed at Venice, as well as Christopher Nolan's "Memento" in the same section.
Armatage is less enthused by recent work from The States. Defining the Discovery section as a place for "films and filmmakers with an original voice," Armatage said, "The biggest change is that I haven't found American cinema to be coming up with those kinds of people -- [directors] who are doing something that is not just a bid or a go at Hollywood." Three of the nineteen Discovery films are from the United States.
Temperatures are expected to drop to below normal as a cold front arrives in Toronto midweek, perhaps the crisper air and a spate of anticipated films will energize attendees. [Eugene Hernandez]
[Get the latest from Toronto at: http://www.indiewire.com/toronto.]
>> New York Fest Names Short Film Lineup and Avant Garde Selections
(indieWIRE/ 9.12.00) -- As the 38th New York Film Festival nears, organizers have announced the lineup of 11 short films that will screen during the event -- the list
offers movies from nine countries. The films were programmed by Richard
Pena, Gavin Smith and Genevieve Villaflor.
The lineup includes: Raymond Red's Cannes Short Palme d'Or winner "Anino," from the Philippines; Aditya's Assarat's "Motorcycle," from Thailand; Valentina Yelina's "Purse" (Koshelek) from Russia; Roberto Berliner's "You Are What you Were Born For" from Brazil; Cairo Cannon's "Forgotten Pilots" from the UK; Caroline Vignal's "Move It" (Roule Ma Poule) from France; Oliver Krimpas' "Walking Home" from the UK; Adam Elliot's "Brother" from Australia; Felicity Morgan-Rhind's "Donuts for Breakfast" from New Zealand; and Frazer Bradshaw's "Every Day Here" from the USA; and Eric Oriot's "Later" (Plus Tard) from France.
The Festival also named its programs for the fourth "Views From the Avant Garde" sidebar. The selections include Guy Maddin's "The Heart of the World," screening as a Prelude in Toronto, Jean Luc-Godard's Cannes opening short "Origin of the 21st Century," "In Abstentia," a new film from the Brothers Quay, and world premieres by Peter Hutton, Nathaniel Dorsky and Sharon Lockhart. [Eugene Hernandez]
[For more information on the Festival, visit: