The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has long been one of my favorite film events of the year and while I saw a few great films in the ten days up north, I can’t help but have emerged from the setting with a rather downbeat feeling about the event. However, rather than offer up any kind of a summary here, I’m just gonna do the blog thing and mainly post shorter entries, letting my criticism fall where it may. That said, this one’s kinda long….but there’s boobies after the jump!
Chris Terriro‘s ensemble drama Heights (Sony Pictures Classics, NYC/LA, July 17th) is one of the most assured debut films in years and the fact that Terrio was a scant 27 during production makes it even more impressive. Not only that, but Heights is among the final films produced by the late and legendary indie film producer (and occasional director) Ismail Merchant who passed away on May 25th. Along with his filmmaking partner producer/director James Ivory (Remains of the Day, Room With a View), Merchant helped to nurture a particular style of intimate storytelling and he leaves behind a catalog that contains quite a few timeless classics.
[NB: For the sake of clarity and avoiding parenthetical annoyances, I will refer to the films in the Star Wars “pantheon” in the chronological order of their release). Thus, if I say “the first film” I mean Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Got it?]
is On May 24th, I finally saw Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I say “finally” because, like so many Gen X and Y’ers out there, I was raised in the midst of the original Star Wars mania and was used to seeing the films on opening night. Except the first one, however. I was going on 8 years-old when Star Wars was released and had to endure several weeks of teasing when word got around town that my mother had seen it before I had. Once that humiliation was over, …
The following review first appeared on The Independent Film Weblog on March 11th, 2005.
À tout de suite (Right Away)
Benoît Jacquot, 2004; 96m
In part an homage to the French New Wave as well as “gangster and girl on the run” pictures like Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, Benoit Jacquot’s À tout de suite (Right Now) is a period piece that, despite the fact that it’s based on a true story “lived” by Elisabeth Fanger in 1975, could really take place in almost any era. Strongly acted, directed and shot, À tout de suite is sure to be one of the highlights of this year’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema which kicks off Today in New York (more info below).
The nameless 19 year-old heroine (referred to as Lili in press notes, but not in the film), winsomely played by French ingénue Isild Le Besco, maintains a bourgeois lifestyle, going to art school and living with her father and older sister. Her main act of rebellion is in sneaking her friend into her apartment each night and out again each morning.