Thursday, September 16, 2010

Per Questi Stretti Morire (Cartografia de una Passione)

At the Venice Film Festival: Per Questi Stretti Morire (Cartografia de una Passione), directed by Isabella Sandri and Giuseppe Gaudrino

Synopsis from the festival's website:

The perseverance, excess and suffering in the life and works of the explorer, filmmaker and photographer Alberto Maria De Agostini (1883-1960) are arbitrarily reinvented. Having left his village in Piemonte at the age of 26 to become a missionary, he reached Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego in 1910. He scaled mountains, discovered fjords and explored glaciers, naming them all. On encountering the anguish and pain of the destruction of the last Indio natives, he expressed these feelings eloquently through the photo plates and frames of his beautiful film Terre Magellaniche. All of this ends up as an imaginary and chaotic repository of memories, amongst the sad, hoarded remains of “white civilization.”

La belle endormie

At the Venice International Film Festival: La belle endormie, directed by Catherine Breillat

I really liked her Bluebeard, so I'm curious to see what Breillat does with a slightly less weird fairy tale. Although I've heard that earlier versions of Sleeping Beauty had the princess awakening from the suckling of the baby that was conceived and born while she was in her coma. That makes it weirder.

Synopsis from the festival's website:

Once upon a time... In a castle somewhere in a bygone age... The fairy Carabosse cuts the umbilical cord of a newborn babe, a little girl called Anastasia. Three young scatterbrained fairies appear, their cheeks red from running... Too late, says Carabosse, at sixteen the child’s hand will be pierced and she’ll die.
The young fairies burst into tears! Their tardiness didn’t deserve that. Now they must ward off the fatal curse... They just manage to predict that instead of dying, Anastasia will fall asleep for 100 years.
Sleeping for a century is very boring, so they bestow on her the possibility of wandering far and wide in her dreams during those 100 years of sleep...


At the Venice International Film Festival: Somewhere, directed by Sofia Coppola

Synopsis from the festival's website:

You have probably seen him in the tabloids: Johnny Marco drives around in a Ferrari and has a constant stream of girls and pills when he feels like having a night in. Comfortably numbed, Johnny drifts along. Then, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) from his failed marriage arrives unexpectedly at the Chateau Hotel and he is forced to confront his life.

This film won the Golden Lion, which means that Coppola basically won the whole festival. Huzzah!


At the Venice International Film Festival: Attenberg, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari

Synopsis from the festival's website:

Marina, a twenty-three year-old girl, lives with her architect father in a prototype factory town by the sea. Finding the human species strange and repellent, she keeps her distance. Instead she stubbornly observes it through songs of suicide, the mammal documentaries of Sir David Attenborough and the sex education lessons she receives from her only friend, Bella. A stranger comes to town and challenges her to a table football duel, on her own table. Meanwhile, her father ritualistically prepares for his exit from the 20th century, which he considers to be “overrated.” Caught between the two men and her collaborator Bella, Marina investigates the wondrous mystery of human fauna.

Meek's Cutoff

At the Venice International Film Festival*: Meek's Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt

Synopsis from the festival's website:

The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high desert plain, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the ensuing days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.

*And yes, I realize the festival is over, but somehow I don't think any of us actually went, so the end result is basically the same, right?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Race to Nowhere

Opening in theaters: Race to Nowhere, directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon

Synopsis from the film's website:

Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

In Theaters: Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

Opening in theaters: Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, directed by Michèle Hozer and Peter Raymont

The Romantics

Opening this weekend: The Romantics, directed by Galt Niederhoffer

Synopsis from AllMovie:

Wedding bells are bringing together a group of old friends as well as reawakening some old rivalries in this comedy-drama. Lila Hayes (Anna Paquin) and Tom McDevon (Josh Duhamel) first met when they were attending the same Ivy League college, and they became part of a circle of close friends who called themselves The Romantics. Six years after graduating, Lila and Tom are getting married, and their friends are seeing each other for the first time in years as they come together for the wedding. Laura Rosen (Katie Holmes), Lila's college roommate, has been invited to be the Maid of Honor, but while they're close friends, Laura has a secret -- she had a fling with Tom while he was dating Lila and she knows they still have feelings for one another. As the wedding day arrives, the occasion (and an open bar) brings some old skeletons out of the closet, especially as Lila's brother Chip (Elijah Wood) confesses his attraction to Laura. Also starring Candice Bergen and Malin Akerman, The Romantics was written and directed by Galt Niederhoffer, who adapted the screenplay from her own novel; the film received its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

The movie's website is here.

In Theaters: Bran Nue Dae

Opening this weekend: Bran Nue Dae, directed by Rachel Perkins