After all, it's just a ride….

Toronto Film Festival 2013 – The Curiosities

tiff2OK, so let’s keep this as brief and succinct as possible as I’ve got enough planning and essential errand running to do this final weekend as it is, having finally found the time to download the 23 page FAQ and Press Screening schedule my mind is whirling with imminent diary planning specifics, it’s all rather dauntingly exciting. I’ve also just received a rather charming invitation from the Toronto Film Critic Association to a soiree where they intend to welcome their foreign comrades to town with a booze and canapé fuelled event – I must remember not to get too hammered and engage with verbal fisticuffs with the Armand White’s of the industry eh? So roughly speaking this is my second tier of material, some curiosities with a mix of fiction and documentary, once again some international names return whom are well-known to cinephiles the world over alongside some relatively new talents all jostling for attention at the celluloid digital maelstrom of TiFF – let’s continue;

Unforgiven – After a few decades of shameless Western pilfering of Asian cinema it’s fun to see the Oriental market turning the tables, Lee Song-ils transplant of Eastwood’s Unforgiven to Meiji era fuedal Japan could be a big budget blast.

Bastardo – Magical realism gut punches film noir in Nejib Belkhadi’s mystical realignment of urban unrest, with a Tunisian setting which alone makes this a curious sounding enterprise.

Almost Human – The first of many sacrifices for the Midnight Madness crowd, a brutal looking slice of pulp set in the Maine badlands. I do like to mix things up schedule wise with the serious stuff rubbing shoulders with the gleefully perverted, and the alien invasion angle could make this something different.  

The Story Of Children & Film – Clearly not one to rest on his celluloid laurels, after projecting the astoundingly epic The Story Of Film cinephile enthusiast Mark Cousins is trotting his next around the globe, the agenda to examine the presentation of children in the cathedral of cinema. Given that his last effort was one of the best excavations of the art form of the last few decades the expectations are high….

The Station – Not a Bill & Ted’s tribute piece, this is another lightweight addition to my bruising schedule, as a retreating glacier warps the local wildlife in ravenous beasts looking for a lip-smacking snack. Yummy.  

The Strange Colour of Your Bodies Tears – I wasn’t completely seduced by Amer’s posmodern giallo reckoning, but evidently the production team behind that black gloved hallucination have speared some new financiers for another stylish xerox of cult favourites of yesteryear. Another one for the Midnight Madness brigade, so count me in.  

Cold Eyes – Surveillance paranoia evidently knows no borders in this South Korean critique of the all-seeing eyes infecting our public spaces, deftly recorded under the guise of an adrenaline flickered urban actioner. It’s had some middiling reviews from other festival reveals, I think it looks pretty cool….

A Touch Of Sin – More Chinese carnage from the blood streaked quill of Jia Zhangke, this Cannes screenwriting award winner looks brutally gripping, casting an eye back at the history of the worlds swiftest growing economy in order to predict its turbulent and turmeric future.

Burning Bush – A HBO Europe mini series gets a big screen graduation with this compelling dramatisation of the story of Jan Palach, a radical student who set himself on fire in a protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969 – a frigid inversion of the Arab Spring?

Les Salauds – Claire Denis is one of the highly appreciated current filmmakers whom I’ve not fully got to grips with, clearly this is a deficiency in my attention span and viewing choices which should partially be corrected with this darkly brooding tale of family jealously and nefarious secrets. Any film which boasts a ‘labyrinthine’ plot is always worth a few hours of my time.

Jodorowski’s Dune – And finally a tantalising taste of what might have been, with one of the most bonkers films never made given the full imaginative, speculative treatment. 

Although I claimed three lists in development I’ve had to collapse those streams to two, purely because much of the other material which is flying high on my prefered schedule simply don’t have trailers yet. So for the record I’ll also be seriously angling for Catherine Breillat’s Abuse Of Weakness, Fredrick Wiseman’s At Berkerly, Richard Adoyade’s The Double, Errol Morri’s The Known Unknown  (a quite timely feature-length interview with war criminal Donald Rumsfeld as we Western cowards prepare to rain millions of dollars of cruise missles on yet another Middle Eastern country) Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno, Workman’s What Is Cinema and the potential thrilling shennigans of The Art Of The Steal.

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