When German director Margarethe von Trotta makes a film, I rush to see it. Her previous works include powerful portrayals of strong-minded women who come up against the Establishment and boldly act to change society as they see it. She is a fine director, writer, and actress whose films go back to New German Cinema.
Back in September, a new film titled PARKLAND very quickly made the rounds of the film festival circuit, screening at Venice, Toronto, and elsewhere. Then in October, PARKLAND opened theatrically. Even before coming to movie houses, its November 5 DVD release date was announced. From a marketing standpoint, all of this makes perfect sense. That is because PARKLAND is an ensemble piece which recounts the chaos that occurred in Dallas, Texas, five decades ago this month, upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Upon first seeing the word “vampire” in the description of ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, the latest Jim Jarmusch film, which was screened this year at the Toronto Film Festival, I thought to myself, “Oh, no. Not another vampire film.” And furthermore, is Jarmusch just being trendy here? Is he looking to latch onto the coattails of the TWILIGHT franchise by making a film about creatures who subsist by sucking the blood of living beings?
Sarah Polley’s unusual documentary, STORIES WE TELL, was released on DVD earlier this month. It is an outstanding genre piece and a fascinating study of human behavior. If one views it as a low-budget Canadian production about a Canadian show-business family, it might just get lost in the shuffle of Fall video releases. That would be a shame, because STORIES WE TELL has plenty to say—and a very creative way of saying it!
One of the highlights of the just-concluded Toronto Film Festival is a film with an upstate New York connection. And you can be sure that, come the end of the year, it deservedly will be atop a host of critics’ ten-best-films lists and deservedly will garner a host of Academy Award nominations.
Years ago, “older” films that were screened at film festivals included newly-restored versions of silent films or classic Depression-era features: in other words, films that were produced years if not decades before the births of Baby Boomer cineastes.
The Toronto Film Festival, which runs ten days each September, has become the unofficial starting point of the Academy Awards season. If you wish a first look at some of the films that will be Oscar contenders early next year, Toronto will be your destination-- not to mention the festivals that run almost concurrently in Venice and Telluride.