Saturday, August 27, 2005

movie manna

Day 2. hana is dreaming of the Toronto film festival.
No, hana is likely dreaming of early morning rabbit hunting, her paws wet with sticky dew. I am dreaming of the Toronto film festival.

I started this blog in part because I used to cover the festival for a now defunct movie magazine site and I just miss it too much. So I plan to do it here. The film festival is like a high holiday to me. I start with the website press releases in July, colour coding and keeping lists. Cross-checked with Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and everything inbetween. If you're into this kind of thing, right now you're watching Venice. Venice just precedes Toronto and some of the films get a buzz there just before they come here. What you don't watch, is Montreal. New York is just behind us but they don't care.

It's a banner year. These come along every three to five, or so. A year when almost every significant working filmmaker has something to show. This year is downright delicious for me. The next instalment of the posthumous Krzysztof Kieslowski trilogy of screenplays, completed by his co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Hell, will premiere. The first one, Heaven, released in 2002 and directed by Tom Tykwer, was a beautiful homage to the polish filmmaker while retaining Tykwer's fluid camera visual style. Hell, directed by Danis Tanovic (creator of No Man's Land) promises a very separate but equally powerful experience. In both cases, the ideal directors have been chosen for Kieslowski's vision.

I consider it a good year when there's a Juliette Binoche movie premiering (even the snack-pak Jet Lag was unexpectedly pleasing). I remember exactly which screening room I was in at the festival in 92 when I first saw Three Colours: Blue. It's not possible for me to adequately describe the impact on my soul of the luminously beautiful face and deeply spiritual screen presence of Binoche. It is to me, what the face of Garbo was to Roland Barthes, or what the colour blue created by Giotto became to artists after him, and perhaps more. This is my cinema Beatrice, a figure I will follow like Dante, into any sphere with absolute trust. I know how pretentious all that sounds but don't give a shit.

So to follow her into a Michael Haneke film (Cache), an Abel Ferrera film about an actress playing Mary Magdalene (Mary) and an American film about an unravelling family (Bee Season) all in one year is heavenly manna indeed. The latter movie also features the debut of Max Minghella, son of filmmaker Anthony Minghella who directed Binoche in The English Patient.
The festival starts in 12 days. As I countdown, I will reflect on some great other anticipated bliss in movie dreamland.

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