How am I just knowing about this director’s new movie at TIFF? You are all FIRED! Ok, to be honest I’m not really mad. The most buzzed directors in this year’s festival include Paul Thomas Anderson, who gets better with every movie he does; Jacques Audiard, a director finally emerging with his fifth feature film; and Lee Daniels, a troll. So I understand that with those names and many others like it, there’s not going to be room in the headlines for all the directors. Even some Galas get sidelined. So here are ten movies from five filmmakers that you may have missed, because I almost did. And I’m trying to fit all of them in my schedule.
Bernardo Bertolucci’s Me and You: Bertolucci filmed “The Conformist,” helped Marlon Brando and Debra Winger into career-best performances, won an Oscar, hasn’t made a movie since “The Dreamers” and wants to put Jennifer Lawrence in a movie. But here he works with relative newcomers Jacopo Olmo Antinori and Tea Falco who play half-siblings within a family with a complex history.
Billy Bob Thornton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car: No jokes about Thornton’s connection to Winterbottom, please. Thornton has acted in both comedies and dramas but his directing work is more broody stuff. The title feels irreverently cheeky despite portraying a story about death. His usual Southern backdrop now has a mix of British characters (including John Hurt), bringing home a woman who is also the matriarch of a wealthy family in 1969 Alabama.
Margarethe von Trotta’s Hanna Arendt: The fact that I heard that she made one about medieval curiosity Hildegard von Bingen, who I briefly studied in Art History, means that she has my utmost respect. I was also dissuaded me to choose this movie about Adolf Eichmann’s that stars Janet McTeer and Barbara Sukowa and was told to watch a sex comedy…shiver instead. I need better friends.
Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air: Assayas’ “Carlos” was the toast of the town in 2010 so it’s strange that we’re having a less than bombastic response to his return to this city. Like the miniseries, he brings us to Paris in the early 1970’s, an era that seems further away but I’ll assume that the political and social upheaval that Assayas portrays can be relatable to our present-day volatility.
Francois Ozon’s In the House: I was having a conversation over the phone with friend Corey Atad who has already seen this movie with Kristin Scott Thomas and a kid (Ernst Unhauer) who is writing about her and his fictionalized story becomes true. I like KST’s francophilia but I miss her, bitchy character or otherwise, in good English-language movies. He omitted the part that the quirky Ozon directed it – nobody’s fault. This sounds heavier than most of Ozon’s fare but I am so in for this.
Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday: Winterbottom’s name conjures up Steve Coogan comedies but he also has a dedication to interpreting Thomas Hardy novels for the big screen and has also made gritty movies – those latter two are what he started with. “Trishna,” based on Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Ubervilles,” had a lukewarm reception and I hope he bounces back with “Everyday,” a five-year journey in the lives of Karen (Shirley Henderson) and her jailed husband (John Simm).
Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage Beyond: Kitano’s “Zatoichi” takes us to the past but I’m hoping he expands his horizons and shows us what he can tap into regarding contemporary life. Well, at least the life within the Yakuza subgenre. Japanese movies are loud and emotionally impactful to me, just as they have been in the past, and I can’t wait to find out what the audiences will think of this one.
Manoel de Oliveira’s Gebo and the Shadow: De Oliveira’s has had films here like “The Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired” and “The Strange Case of Angelica,” the former having a run at the old Cinematheque Ontario. This year he unites great actresses like Jeanne Moreau and Claudia Cardinale in a movie where the latter deals with the return of her prodigal son.
Raul Ruiz’ Night across the Street: TIFF’s Masters Programme is a great way to discover great directors and see movies of an acquired but rewarding taste. After last year’s “Mysteries of Lisbon,” thankfully we have his new offering that explores his childhood memories in what he believes are the last moments of his life.
Kim Ki-Duk’s Pieta: Kim has once brought us “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring,” something that most recent Film Studies majors encounter in their private cinephile binges. Here he combines art, sadism and love when a loan shark employee meets a woman who claims to be his mother.