Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Telluride Film Festival #38 POSTER

This year's poster for the 38th Telluride Film Festival

TFF  has its poster for the 38th edition of "The Show" from artist/illustrator/designer Maira Kalman.  This from Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood at Indiewire.com.

You can read Thompson's full article here:
It quotes TFF co-director Gary Meyer and the artist as well.

Whimsical might be the best descriptive term I could apply here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cannes in 2012???

Paul Thomas Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman collaborating on "The Master"  Cannes and Telluride bound next year?

Ioncinema had a Cannes guess list up earlier this week for NEXT YEAR'S Cannes possibles.  So, if they're crazy enough, I'm thinking, "Why not me?"  You can find their complete list for the possible 65th Cannes field here:

Of those listed and hinted at here are the films from that list that I think would stand the best chance of being booked at the 39th Tellurdie Film Festival...

"Amour" from director Michael Haneke (Cache, The White Ribbon).  Ioncinema's description:
"Currently in post-production, it's been reported that Michael Haneke is planning on taking his time with this one, so the 2009 Palme d'Or winner has a huge 12-month work window. This has Isabelle Huppert, William Shimell, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in a film about two retired classical music teachers whose relationship is tested by the wife’s stroke."

"Big House" from director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah).  Again from Ioncinema:
"Winner of the 2008 Cannes Grand Prix for Gomorrah, it was reported during this year's Cannes market activity that the Italian filmmaker has already begun filming on his next project, Big House. Filming in Rome, this stars Aniello Arena and Loredana Simioli (who was in Antonio Capuano's L'amore buio), and will focus on “the TV industry, reality shows and the illusions of notoriety.”

"Lay the Favorite" from director Stephen Frears (Tamara Drewe).  The Ioncinema description:
"In his lengthy career, Frears has been to Cannes will only a handful of films (last year's Out of Comp entry Tamara Drewe) was his last. Based on the Beth Raymer gambling memoir, by appearances Lay The Favorite isn't what you'd call your typical Cannes item, glossy and more mainstream than art-house, this stars Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Joshua Jackson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn in a tale that follows the rise of Internet gambling and off-shore sports betting through the story of a woman who becomes involved with a group of fifty-something math geeks in Queens who have worked out a way to rig the sports books in Vegas."

"The Master" from director Paul Thomas Anderson. (There Will Be Blood).  From Ioncinema:
"Can we already put bets on this for the Best Actor prize? If so, Philip Seymour Hoffman would make a return appearance since his Synecdoche, New York, while PTA would be returning for the first time since. It all depends on what kind of strategy The Weinstein Company has in store for the film --- so Croisette, going under a new title would be a strong possibility as production is due to begin next month. This sees Hoffman play a man who creates a religion in 1952, and Joaquin Phoenix stars as his second in command."

"Something in the Air" from director Olivier Assayas (Carlos).  Ioncinema says:
"After the acclaim and presentation that his Carlos received in 2010, Assayas made a festival long stint as a jury member for the main comp this year, which logically means that Something in the Air is next in line. IFC Films didn't wait much time to pick up the film which is set in the 1970s and follows a young high school student in Paris, torn between his artistic ambitions and the politics of the times."

There are also hints at Terrence Malick's post-"The Tree of Life" project (that was shot largely in Oklahoma), Ari Folman's "The Congress" and Mike Leigh's next project.  Any or all of which might capture the attention of Luddy, Meyer, Huntsinger and crew.

So put these at the back of your mind and maybe in a year or so we'll be talking more intensely about them as Telluride film possibles.

On another note...back to speculation for TFF #38.  Alexander Payne is apparently on record that "The Descendants" will be submitted to Telluride.  You can find that at the UCLA FIlm School site.  Here's that web address:
Here's a link to the youtube posting from The Film Informant for the trailer to Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."  Looks good.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Parsing the Cannes Prizes

Will "The Source" be in Telluride?

The 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is in the books.  Now we look at the outcome and see if we can read the tea leaves and divine any conclusions for the Telluride Film Festival 3 months from now.

One conclusion...for the second consecutive year the Palme D'Or winner will NOT be on Telluride's list.  Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" begins its roll out in the U.S. on May 27th and will continue on a 5 week schedule to add theaters nationally.  You can find that schedule on the Fox Searchlight website at:
(I'll always say that "The Tree of Life" played at Tff#37 because that's where the deal was made for Fox Searchlight to pick it up after an incredibly small special screening occurred there).

Here is the list of winners from this afternoon's announcement (and from all categories in addition to the main competition) from Cannes:

In Competition :

Feature films

Palme d'Or

THE TREE OF LIFE directed by Terrence MALICK

Grand Prix Ex-aequo


LE GAMIN AU VÉLO (THE KID WITH A BIKE) directed by Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE

Award for Best Director


Award for Best Screenplay

Joseph CEDAR for HEARAT SHULAYIM (Footnote)

Award for Best Actress

Kirsten DUNST in MELANCHOLIA directed by Lars VON TRIER

Award for Best Actor


Jury Prize


Short Films

Palme d'Or - Short Film

CROSS (CROSS - COUNTRY) directed by Maryna VRODA

Jury Prize - Short Film

BADPAKJE 46 (SWIMSUIT 46) directed by Wannes DESTOOP

Un Certain Regard :

Prize of Un Certain Regard Ex-aequo

ARIRANG directed by KIM Ki-Duk


Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize

ELENA directed by Andrey ZVYAGINTSEV

Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard

BÉ OMID É DIDAR directed by Mohammad RASOULOF

Cinefondation :

1st Prize Cinéfondation

DER BRIEF (THE LETTER) directed by Doroteya DROUMEVA

2nd Prize - Cinéfondation

DRARI directed by Kamal LAZRAQ

3rd Prize Cinéfondation

YA-GAN-BI-HANG (FLY BY NIGHT) directed by SON Tae-gyum

Golden Camera :

Caméra d'or


From this list I'd venture to guess that the Dardennes "The Kid with a Bike" still stands an awfully good chance to be at TFF #38.  I'm also betting on "The Artist."  Other "in competition titles that I still think have a good shot at being in T-ride despite not winning a prize include: Lynne Ramsey's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Aki Kaurismaki"s "Le Havre."
I am less inclined to think we'll Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In (or Inhabit...depending on how you want to translate it) or Winding Refn's "Drive" (despite the fact that it stars Carrie Mulligan).
I also continue to think the Lars Von Trier probably closed the book on his chances to have "Melancholia" play at Telluride with his press conference antics concerning Nazism from earlier this week.
In the "It wouldn't surprise me" category: "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" and "The Source."
And let's not forget that over the years Telluride programmers have not limited their Cannes selections to the main competition category.  Telluride films have also been culled from Un Certain Regard and Special Screenings as well.   Among those from this year that might be part of the Telluride program are Gus Van Sant's "Restless" and don't forget Serge Bromberg's restoration project of "A Trip to the Moon" that we reported about earlier this week.

Attention now turns to upcoming announcements about what will play at other fests especially Toronto, Venice and New York as those announcements can sometimes provide insight into whether a particular film may be in the San Juans on Labor Day.  Meanwhile, congratulations to Terrence Malick and "The Tree of Life."

The "Tree" is a Palme

Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" takes Cannes' Palme D'Or. Dunst and Dujardin win acting prizes. Telluride analysis coming later today.

Counting Down to the Palme

Does Terrence Malick win the Palme D'or today???

With just hours left before we find out the jury's decision ab out which films receive what awards at the 64th Cannes Film Festival I can confidently say that there is absolutely no consensus about where this jury, headed by Robert DeNiro, is going to land.  Every one of the films that Cannes regulars seem to think have a chance also has some serious baggage to overcome.  Added to that is the fact that predicting a jury's decision when the members are new each year is a fool's game.  Nevertheless, no one ever said I wasn't a fool, so here's some speculation...

The big prize, of course, is the Plame D'Or.  Films thought o have the best chance are "The Skin I Inhabit" from Pedro Almodovar, "The Tree of Life" from  Terrence Malick, "Melancholia" from Lars Von Trier, "The Artist" from Michel Hazanavicius, "The Kid with a Bike" from The Dardennes Brothers, "Drive" from Nicolas Winding Refn, "La Havre" from Aki Kaurismaki and "We Have to Talk About Kevin" from Lynne Ramsay. 

Late entries for which there has been little time for critical response were "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" from Nuri Bilge Ceylan and "The Source" from Radu Mihaileanu.  I mention these despite not having their critical reaction in total because of late Cannes has made something of a habit of awarding the Plame to a late showing film and because the limited critical reception to both pf these late films has had at least some high praise...

I think it's a fair bet that almost all (if not all) of the major awards will come from the above list.  But as mentioned.  These "heavy hitters' also have some issues.  Different ones for different films...but issues nonetheless.  To wit:

"Skin" and "Drive" have both been well received critically ("Skin" is at #1 on Ioncinema's compiled critical chart: http://www.ioncinema.com/images/cannes2011/day10part2.pdf) but both films are regarded as "genre" pictures and lacking as much "art" as Cannes is used to rewarding.

"The Artist" and "La Havre" are also critically well received but the knock on them "too light."  Crowd pleasers for sure, so the thinking goes in some corners, but not enough heft to merit the top honor.

"Melancholia"  In light of Von Trier's "Nazi week" and his status now as a Cannes "persona non grata," I'd be stunned that this jury decided to award it the Plame.  The jury's makeup doesn't say to me "we will buck the negative reaction to reward the cinematic art of Von Trier."  I don't see them separating the Von Trier's meanderings from the top award.  Additionally, it's not like "Melancholia" was a cinch to win the Palme before Lars put his foot in his mouth.

"The Kid with a Bike" suffers from the fact that The Dardennes have won twice previously.  Would this jury make them the first 3 time Palme winner in the history of the festival for this film? 

"We Have to Talk About Kevin" from Lynne Ramsay.  Early presentation may doom it.  It was the first film to be presented in competition after the opening from Woody Allen.  Also, if Tilda Swinton wins Best Actress (and many think she will) then that lessens the films chance at the Plame.  Cannes does have a history of "spreading the wealth" between many films 

And finally Malick's "The Tree of Life."  A lot of people think its going to win.  A lot of people don't.  Again, I'm not sure that the makeup of this year's jury does Malick any favors.  (the jury this year consists of: DeNiro, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Olivier Assayas, Martina Gusman, Linn Ullmann, Johnnie To, Nansun Shi, and Mahamet-Saleh Haroun).

As I write rumors have begun floating that Tilda Swinton has won Best Actress and that Jean Dujardin has won Best Actor for "The Artist."  We'll know soon.

In addition to the Palme, there's the Grand Prix (sort of like a second place) the jury prize, actor, actress, director and screenplay.  The announcement is scheduled tentatively for about 2 hours from now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cannes Bits and Pieces

Ryan Gosling takes a "Drive" at Cannes

Among the news and notes from the Cannes Film Festival this morning is the story about the first film that we can predict with a high degree of certainty that will play at Telluride's 38th Film Fest...from 1902..."A Trip to the Moon."  Kenneth Turan in the LA Times is telling the world today about Serge Bromberg's presentation of the restored motion picture at Cannes and his desire to unspool it at Telluride in the fall.  I'll bet it happens.

Check Turan's story here:

Meanwhile, as Cannes gallops towards its conclusion this weekend, 3 big name films have played since my last post and we are beginning to gather reaction to them. 

Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Inhabit" starring Antonio Banderas has taken the top spot in Ioncinema.com's collective critical response to the 20 films in competition.  You can find the latest chart here:

The chart is indicating this morning Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" starring Ryan Gosling and Carrie Mulligan is faring moderately well.

You can also see that early reaction to Sean Penn in Paolo Sorentino's "This Must Be the Place" is less than enthusiastic.

With just a couple of films left to unspool in the competition, here are the top 5 from Ioncinema's collective critical chart as of this morning:

1) "The Skin I Inhabit"/Almodovar
2) "The Kid with a Bike"/Dardennes
3) "La Harve"/Kaurismaki
4 (tie) "The Tree of Life"/Malick and "Melancholia"/Von Trier

Right below those 5 are: "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and "The Artist."

Additionally, spec pieces are beginning to appear about which films have the best shot at the Palme D'Or.  And it's all over the place.  Almodovar?  Malick?  The Dardennes? Ramsay?  Hazanavicius?  Kaurismaki? Others?  Lots of possibles and no strong consensus among those reporting from France.
But keep in mind that last year the critics loved Mike Leigh's "Another Year" and it was rewarded with bupkas...

We'll know soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Less Film to Contemplate...

Still from Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Inhabit"

In light of the Lars Von Trier "Nazi" commentary and the Cannes Film Festival's determination to declare him "persona non grata" you can almost certainly scratch "Melancholia" off the list for TFF #38 consideration.  Von Trier, perhaps trying too hard to be glib or entertaining or controversial or all three (which would be right down his alley) seems to have taken it a step too far and the film world has responded.  And although the Festival board has said that it isn't removing the film from the competition, I think its chances of winning any major award have taken a giant nuking.

"Melancholia" was a serious possibility for Telluride film inclusion considering that Von Trier has had a relationship with the festival in the past and also considering that this film was being viewed as a step back from the relentless controversy that surrounded his "Antichrist" a couple of years ago.  Now...well, I don't plan to see him in Telluride in September.

Read MSNBC's coverage here:

Meanwhile, the Ioncinema.com folks continue to collate critical reaction to the films in competition.  As of this morning the top 5 films in terms of their board of critics are:
1) The Kid with a Bike-Dardennes Brothers
2) La Harve-Aki Kaurismaki
3) The Tree of Life-Terrence Malick
4) (tie) We Need to Talk About Kevin-Lynne Ramsey and The Artist-Michel Hazanavicius

Still to come from Cannes...reaction to (among others) Almodovar's "The Skin I Inhabit," Rfen's "Drive," and Sorrentino's "This Must Be The Place."

You can find the most recent Ioncinema cumulative critical reaction here:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big Noise at Cannes

Cannes has its first true critical darling in Michael Hazanavicius' nearly silent film "The Artist."  Reviews are borderline ecstatic coming from France this morning.  Critics are falling all over the themselves to endorse the black and white film as a potential front runner for the Palme D'Or and for Oscar consideration later this year.  "The Artist" is yet another film under The Weinstein Company banner. 

Which raises the question..."Why haven't you mentioned it as a Telluride film possibility earlier, Michael?"
Good question.  Answer:  "The Artist" was a late ( and I mean really late addition) to the competition slate at Cannes.  It was originally scheduled as a part of the "out of competition" offerings of the Cannes' program, but festival managing director Thierry Frémaux added it to the competition category on May 4, just one week prior to the opening of the festival.  So, I just wasn't convinced that it would be a player and that perhaps that Fremaux was merely filling out the competition schedule.  Looks like I was wrong. 

All that being said, it would appear that "The Artist" is now a real contender for inclusion in Telluride's program for 2011.  If Harvey Weinstein wants to push it as a foreign film contender (and most pundits this morning are saying just that) then Telluride would be an excellent part of that strategy.  Additionally, if the critics are to be believed, you have to think that Luddy, Meyer, Huntsinger and crew would want it for the TFF #38 program. 

So put "The Artist" on the Telluride watch list.  It's IMDB page link is here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/

You can read Dave Karger's story about its Cannes reception at EW.com here:

Also from Cannes...fairly good reaction to the Dardenne Brothers "The Kid with a Bike."  Good enough so that it will also continue on your list of Telluride possibles.

You can check the critical scoreboard through early this morning at this link to Ioncinema (which doesn't yet include a score for "The Artist.")...http://networkedblogs.com/hSHDc

You will see their that, up to now, the best response has been for "We Have to Talk About Kevin."  With Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris' and The Dardenne's "The Kid with a Bike" close behind.  You'll also notice that no film has yet cleared a collective 3 of 4 stars.  "The Artist" may be the first.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cannes:Three Days In

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady"

Word out of Cannes today from Anne Thompson and others is that The Weinstein Company has acquired the US rights to "The Iron Lady."  That's the Margaret Thatcher story starring Meryl Streep.  Many think that Streep will earn yet another Oscar nomination for this or for "August: Osage County."
The addition of the Weinstein's to the party and Thompson's speculation that Harvey Weinstein wants to position the film for potential Oscar consideration make us think that we had better put it on our list of Telluride film possibles.  Thompson's post is here: http://bit.ly/le0IVy

Meanwhile, Ioncinema, the Indie/foreign film website, has put up a critic's scoreboard for films that are in competition at Cannes.  You can find it at: http://www.ioncinema.com/images/cannes2011/day1.pdf

Early on and no film is firing the critic's up...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cannes Eve...

Poster for Lars Von Trier's Cannes entry "Melancholia"

The Cannes Film Festival opens tomorrow with Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and then runs for 11 days.  We're anxiously awaiting the response from the critics on the ground so we can begin to apply that wisdom to our prognostications regarding Telluride #38.  The Playlist (at IndieWire) has an interesting rundown of what it says are 10 titles to be expected to make noise at Cannes.  You can find that link here:

Meanwhile, Hitfix reported this morning that The Weinstein Company is on board for Paul Thomas Anderson's next project.  We met Anderson briefly when he attended TFF #34 as part of the tribute to Daniel Day Lewis and the sneak peak of 20 minutes or so of "There Will Be Blood."  The article suggests that the Weinstein's are looking for the new Anderson project to be a 2013 release...TFF #40???  Maybe.  It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was at Telluride for 2005's "Capote" for which he won the Best Actor Oscar.  So there's enough of  a pedigree there to think that it might be a part of the fest 2 years from now.

I'm kind of hesitant to get really worked up with this after the experience of stalking Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" kind of obsessively for 2 years only to see it scheduled for this year's Cannes followed by its U.S. open on May 27th.  But...it IS PT Anderson with Hoffman.  Check the Hitfix article at this link:

Can't wait to start hearing the buzz out of Cannes...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Films Reconsidered for TFF #38

Ralph Fiennes modern version of Shakespeare's "Coriolanus"

Kris Tapley at Incontention.com has his first stab at Oscar contenders up and it makes us pause and take another look at some films that we have previously mentioned as Telluride possibles but are currently lost in the fog that surrounds the upcoming Cannes Film Festival (starting up a week from today).

You can find Tapley's entire initial Oscar Contender list at:

On his list we are reminded of the following that might make their way to TFF #38:

"Carnage" with Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly. Based on Yasmina Reza's award winning play (God of Carnage) and directed by Roman Polanski. You have to think that this could be a big time contender for Oscar next February. Although IMDB has it scheduled to release in 2012. The fact that it is set to be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics raises its profile as a possible Telluride film.

"Coriolanus" directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. Also starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life), Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox in one of Shakespeare's least produced plays. From The Weinstein Company...which you figure has to have at least one film play at Telluride.

"The Descendants" Despite having not been chosen for Cannes, you still have to think that Alexander Payne's first directorial effort since 2004's "Sideways" is still a pretty good bet to be in Telluride. Also, it's a Fox Searchlight project...so that boosts its chances too.

"My Week with Marilyn" Michelle Williams as Norma Jean from The Weinstein Company.

And the Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody collaboration starring Charlize Theron, "Young Adult."

In the "still wishful thinking dept." Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar, " Martin Scorsese's "Hugo Cabret," and George Clooney's "The Ides of March."

Next week, Cannes and the critical response to what's happening there...