Saturday, October 17, 2009

LFF09: picking up the pace


I've been sluggish with the pre-festival press screenings, but now that this thing is in swing, I'm going for broke. Look to the sidebar for my undoubtedly over-ambitious viewing planner for the next two weeks -- I'll add in grades as and when each film is ticked off. Today's morning slot brought us John Hillcoat's The Road, which is a lot better than you may have heard, while stalling some way short of greatness -- I was impressed by all sorts of things, but certainly frustrated by its rather strained emotionalism. The best news so far is Claire Denis's White Material, which I only just sneaked into this afternoon, and left me nursing a crick in my neck from straining to read the subtitles past the head of the extremely tall man just in front. To anyone suffering a similar fate behind me, I apologise, but whoever designed Screen 9 of the Vue West End was either oblivious to the whole idea of foreign cinema or a seriously impressive polyglot. More to the point, the rest of the fest will have trouble trumping White Material: I think it's Denis's best movie since Beau Travail, which is saying quite a lot, though the juxtaposition of this scorching territorial tug-of-war with the recently released 35 Shots of Rum does actually back up my belief that the latter film, despite contaning one of her single most gorgeous sequences, was otherwise a teensy bit overpraised. Meanwhile, Huppert, with this, the excellent Home, and Benoît Jacquot's not-yet-screened Villa Amalia (she plays the piano and divests herself of all worldly possessions -- sold!) is clearly on a major roll. Looking forward to some proper cramming next week: do get down there in the comments with any tips or disagreements, or just to say hi.

8 comments:

Guy said...

Hurrah! A fellow champion for my beloved "White Material," and I couldn't ask for finer company. I suspected you might like it, but an A- is really rather special.

I desperately want to catch it again at the fest, but scheduling is conspiring against me. Six weeks (and many, many films) after watching it in Venice, it remains crystal-clear in my mind, and assorted sounds and images from the film return to me on a daily basis. (That Tindersticks score is shivery.) I can't shake it.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Can't wait for these updates! I've gotta get over and do some in my corner, too, after a day away.

tim r said...

I eagerly await a second viewing also, if only to get a grip on that ending. Quite agree about the score. I'd also love to see her Chocolat again -- I think a reissue is in order.

Today, A Single Man, which I've heard wildly mixed things about, and Téchiné's Girl on the Train.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Made audible noises about the Single Man grade and the Up in the Air grade, each of which I had predicted to look more like the other. All ears.... !

NicksFlickPicks said...

Whoa, never mind! I actually think you might be feeling generous to A Single Man. Apologies, Guy; I know you were a fan, but I was enormously disappointed, particularly in the script and the arbitrariness of such a heady stylistic approach to this material, for this character at this moment. Why, aside from Tom Ford's obvious thing for Wong and Mad Men?

Guy said...

Oh dear, I was hoping I wouldn't have to be alone in the Tom Ford bleachers -- he's quite snooty company.

Tim, have you seen "Bright Star" yet? Curious to know your thoughts -- it'd be lovely if all three of us could agree on something!

tim r said...

To be honest, I was totally sure Nick would like A Single Man even less than me. And in fact, I was at a C- all the way home, but it clawed its way up to a C the next day, mainly because I did think Firth was giving it his best shot... but on most levels I found it weirdly airheaded and over-the-top.

Plus, Julianne? Dear oh dear. Perhaps her most demeaning role since Laws of Attraction, which is saying something.

I'm not killing myself to see Bright Star during the fest, because it'll require a lot less hassle to get into the National Press Show week after next. My expectations have stabilised to a nice level of confident optimism.

Fingers crossed! And I'm fairly sure Nick will like White Material, so we can club up on that one in time...

Nasim said...

Thanks for your nice blog job. I like this type of topic. "White Material" And I can't wait too.
have a nice time
bye

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