The Masters programming has now been rounded out with the addition of ten new films to those noted in previous posts. Of these, Film Socialism, Jean-Luc Godard’s attempt to grapple with a meaningless world “in three movements” will be interesting, since grappling with the meaning of Jean-Luc Godard films is a perplex task for many. But I will certainly see it. Poetry by Lee Chang-dong about a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s mixed with a “disturbing take on juvenile violence” has me worried, but this master is always worth taking in. Each year, the indefatiguable Amos Gitai has something to offer us and each year I go – it’s just a festival priority now. This year, Roses à Crédit continues a fascination with historical drama and is set in WWII and after France. Ken Loach is back with a film that sounds like one of his most socially critical yet: Route Irish about abuses during the Iraqi war. Who can resist a Catherine Breillat feature – even when she fails, she’s fascinating. The Sleeping Beauty, about a girl’s coming of age is said to also have “breathtaking cinematography”. Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira is similarly prone to success and failure, but like Loach, you gotta go because how many more can this octagenarian possibly turn out. The Strange Case of Angelica sounds like his most metaphysical yet.
Over in Special Presentations, besides the frontrunners mentioned in previous blogs, I am certain to see Dan Rush's Everything Must Go, in part because I loved Will Farrell in Stranger than Fiction and in part because my friend Kara production designed it. (This picture is a great preview of her work!) Mike Leigh’s Another Year got my attention, about a dysfunctional group of people who confide in a perfectly happy older couple. Mike Leigh is one of the few filmmakers who are still able to think in complete ideas about characters, rather than character traits: so characters are seen right through to their inevitable conclusions, sometimes in every painful step. I am also curious about Clint Eastwood’s, Hereafter, which sounds very Babel-like in its focus on random stories around the globe joined by themes of death and spirituality. There is, however, only one screening of this film – period. No P & I screenings are listed at the moment. So it may be impossible to see. I probably won’t be able to resist Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Jack Goes Boating about New York couples or John Turturro’s Passione, a musical romp through Napoli. I still miss the fact that his Romance and Cigarettes of recent years was never properly released on this continent. Ditto Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger, only because it is such a wonderful pleasure to see a largely underappreciated and unknown character actress like Gemma Jones, have an entire Woody Allen film built around her.