September 11, 2009

Toronto is Underway

Getting settled in took a bit longer than expected on Thursday (flying to Miami from Nashville to get to Toronto is a bit draining), so didn't get to catch any Thursday screenings, but got underway after a good night's rest today.

Samson & Delilah - Warwick Thornton - Australia

This Aboriginal tale is a bleak film about present-day circumstances for the original settlers of Australia. Filled with some beautiful cinematography, some devastating moments of violence and despair, and some unique use of music and sound, it certainly marks a huge step forward for Aboriginal filmmaking in Australia, but it's challengingly slow pace will limits its appeal to those accustomed to slower movies.

The White Ribbon - Michael Haneke - Austria

Michael Haneke has become one of my favorite working directors - in part, because he refuses to give into his audiences' whims. There is little in his films that doesn't challenge viewers to dig deeper. One must almost lean closer to the screen to see past the action to what is really happening. The White Ribbon is no exception. It's bleak and beautiful. The black-and-white cinematography is a marvel and the acting perfection. Like his masterpiece, Cache, it's dense and ambiguous. It frequently misleads you into seeking answers to questions he isn't really asking. The ending left many at the press & industry screening asking one another how they interpreted it. I obviously don't want to go into too much detail, but it's disturbing and fascinating to discuss and to ponder.

On a local note of interest: Got to sit next to Toby from the Belcourt! We both decided that the film needed to sit with us for a while before drawing final conclusions. To me, that's usually a sign that I'm going to end up thinking very, very highly of the film.

It's never less than fascinating even when it becomes a tad frustrating. Certainly one to catch. Presently, Sony Classics has it listed for the final weekend of the year.

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