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Thread: The 2008 MIami Festival's Comment Page

  1. #46
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    It seems to me many of the films you've described thus far, particularly the non-Hispanic/Spanish ones, illustrate my feeling that random or even educated samplings of big festivals can bring up a lot of only moderately interesting stuff, and underlines why I love the New York Film Festival--as well as Film Comment Selects and, though I am not there to sample it, the upcoming New Directors, New Films series, all at Lincoln Center, for which there was a full-page program ad in Friday's NY Times.

    The Rendez-Vous with French Cinema is just finishing up its run, by the way; tomorrow is the last day.

    I was just looking over the 44 or so films I reviewed from last year's SFIFF and it seemed to me most of my favorites from the roster I had already seen elsewhere. I may have chosen badly.

    When do you see Silent Light?

  2. #47
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    I have seen 50 of the features shown at the MIFF and even though I will watch 2-4 today, the last day of the fest, I can already say this is the best festival I ever attended. It's clear to me that cinema is as good worldwide as it's ever been and that Mr. de Bokay, the new director, and festival programmers (like Monika Wagenberg, founder of Cinema Tropical, who has become a friend) have done an excellent job all around. The experience was made particularly special by the ability to have casual one-to-one conversations with, among others, Ariel Rotter (director of The Other), Cristobal Valderrama (director of Scrambled Beer), Ari Libsker (Israeli director) and, especially, the wonderful Carmen Castillo, director of Rue Santa Fe.

    Notice that I've already reviewed outstanding non-Latin/Spanish films from Sweden, Philippines, Poland and France (well, the Spain/France co-production In the City of Sylvia. Also there are excellent films from the Czech Rep., Taiwan, Romania, and one more each from Poland and France, and 2 solid Israeli docs that I have not reviewed (I have reviewed 19 with a 20th coming up shortly). But what's happening in Latin America is unprecendented. Mexico and Argentina had their "golden age" to rival Hollywood's but it pales in comparison with the number of quality films coming out of those countries right now, and there are as many really good Brazilian films now as there were during the Cinema Novo epoch in the 1960s. There have been excellent films from Peru, Paraguay and Chile in the past couple of editions, and excellent films from Uruguay and Haiti in this one so we can make the case for a Latin American wave. I think we have to acknowledge it has been made possible not only by governmental support in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico but also by funds from European Union countries and European festivals (Rotterdam in particular).

    I watched Silent Light on Thursday. Monika introduced it as "the most celebrated Latin American film of the past year".

  3. #48
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    I was going mostly by your second page, where your descriptions don't make what you saw seem so "outstanding" as all that. I do see that the Miami festival excels for its Latin American offerings and that that scene is very active now.

    You might be interested to know that the Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA) is finishing up a Pedro Costa retrospective, as I learned belatedly yesterday from a San Fransicco Bay Guardian piece by a writer called Max Peranson. I might have gained a better grasp of why people rave over his work.

    I hope you will tell us in summary which of the Miami festival films that you liked most have US theatrical potential or actual distribution.

    I can agree with you on Roy Andersson and with some reservations, Jose Luis Guerin. And, I assume, Reygadas.

  4. #49
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    I've read a lot of Mark Peranson's writings in a variety of publications. He's really good. Thanks for the link to this piece by him. He's co-founder of Cinema-Scope magazine I believe.

    The five reviews on page 2 are too small a sample to make any kind of generalization about a festival with well over 100 features. But now that the fest is over I conclude this is the best edition. I will discuss distribution at the conclusion. A large percentage of the films shown this year are very new. Some haven't even opened in their country of production. Many which don't have a distributor now will eventually have one. I will summarize when the reviewing is done and point out any that gain distribution in the future. Now that the fest is over I will increase the pace of posting the reviews. Because fewer films were screened for press prior to the fest, I watched up to four films per day which of course didn't leave much time for writing.

  5. #50
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    Beautiful thread Oscar.
    I love festival coverage..
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #51
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    Johann: I think you can say we love doing festival coverage even more than you love reading it.

    Oscar: I didn't know of Mark Peranson. I think he's new to the Bay Guardian--but not to Cinema Scope.Thanks to your reference I'm now reading Pereanson's piece about the new film La France in Cinema Scope's current issue online.

    I understand the pace of four a day wouldn't allow review-writing. I've done it, but it knocks me out and I can't do it for long without meltdown. The SFIFF last year also cut way down on its prior press screenings and that put more pressure on me too. I thought it an unfortunate development, but more screener DVDs helped compensate, though the experience is inferior of course and the time was still more compressed. I've said this.

    I look forward to reading what else you have to say in reviews and comments on this year's Miami festival to explain why you say it's the best yet.

  7. #52
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    Johann, Chris: Thanks for the kind words and interest.

    The 3 films you reviewed for SFIFF '07 thread that I haven't seen but would like to are: Daratt, released only in Manhattan, no dvd release planned; Born and Bred by the consistently good but (not yet) great Pablo Trapero, which I can rent on import dvd here in Miami, and The Sugar Curtain.

    This Israeli doc is mostly in Spanish: A WORKING MOM
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-10-2008 at 06:23 PM.

  8. #53
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    Daratt was outstanding, Born and Bred much less so, but we've discussed it already, I think. If you love the director I guess you'll want to see it. I remember it. One doesn't just remember good films. Quite the contrary.

    You have not seen Zabriskie Point. Netflix seems not to have it but there is a NTSC tape of it available on eBay and a DVD on vendio ("rare!").

  9. #54
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    I've seen all three previous Trapero films, with El Bonaerense being my favorite, but still not a great movie. I don't love his work but all 3 films are at least worth watching and each is distinctively different than the preceding ones. This is what Variety had to say about Born and Bred: "With his fourth feature, "Born and Bred," Argentine maestro Pablo Trapero continues his upward trajectory as an artist fascinated by interior states of mind and exterior realities. Flirting with predictable tragedy but displaying an immense sense of empathy toward its central character -- with immense landscapes to match -- pic is finally an emotionally stunning journey of a father's return to his senses after a horrible accident".

    I decided not to purchase the Zabrieski Point dvd, (the original was released by Russian company RUSCICO, others use the same non-anamorphic non-progressive print), because of mixed reviews of the dvd transfer and my belief that a better dvd transfer will be made available in the future. Same goes for Visconti's amazing last film, L'Innocente, which I watched at age 16 and remember quite clearly and fondly.

    I kept running into folks at the fest who really loved Amal and didn't mind one bit that the film is not realistic but a sort of parable. I get the feeling readers of my thread who have not seen it will have a chance to form their own opinion because this film is a crowd pleaser and there's bound to be a US distributor who realizes that.

  10. #55
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    You weren't interested in the eBay videotape of Zabriskie Point? I remember the whole movie as being a snooze, a misfire due partly to Antonioni's being out of his element and using pretty nonentities as his young stars. (I probably have said this on this site before.) Dumont's Twentynine Palms seemed sort of similar. (I've said that too.) But since re-seeing The Passenger gave me a very different and much more positive impression from the first time, I'd wonder about Zabriskie.

    The UK DVD Times review of the UK DVD of L'Innocente seems quite thorough and bears out your memory that it has some magic. It's funny he says it lacks the decadence of Visconti's other late work yet it is based on a work by the most decadent of Italian writers, A'Annunzio. Visconti has a strange trajectory. Starting out as a neorealist and ending up with campy stuff like The Damned and Death in Venice. I have not seen Ludwig, Gruppo di famiglia in un interno, or L'Innocente. Ludwig would be a perfect sequel to The Damned I guess.
    I kept running into folks at the fest who really loved Amal and didn't mind one bit that the film is not realistic but a sort of parable.
    Of course. But that hardly makes me want to see it. I said I'd see it for the stars though.

    Evidently Trapero is an auteur, but it puzzles me that you keep saying none of his films impressed you that much, yet you must see the next one. Because he is an auteur. I love that "maestro Pable Trapero...." I remember that. I looked up the Variety review. It is cool that the film takes place mostly in Patagonia. But it's arty and self-conscious. I might propose as an antidote the films of Carlos Sorin.

  11. #56
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    The Mexican film "discovered" by visiting film critics at Toronto '07:
    COCHOCHI

    This, from the review you researched, sounds right to me: "Showing none of the decadent, camp indulgence of some of his later films, Luchino Viscontiís 1976 film, LíInnocente returned to the lush and stately grandeur of the Italian aristocracy of the nineteenth century seen in The Leopard. Certainly, there is still indulgence and extravagance in the directorís magnificent final film, but they are all pertinent to the subject and none of them are directorial."

    Simple when it comes to Trapero, Chris. Three "good not great" films none of which resembles the others. Not a "maestro" in my book because of the exalted implications of that word. A director who makes consistently good movies deserves my appreciation hence my interest in his fourth feature.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-11-2008 at 11:56 AM.

  12. #57
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    Visconti--Yes, I noted the writer's comments on the decadence vs. self-indulgence, a somewhat delicate distinction but nonetheless if real an important one.
    Certainly, there is still indulgence and extravagance in the director's magnificent final film, but they are all pertinent to the subject and none of them are directorial.
    As is often the case, it probably helps that the film is anchored by working from a text by a well known author on this occasion, namely the decadent, pre-fascist Gabriele D'Annunzio, whose overripe imagination would call for a lush approach.

    Cocochi--Re the names of the directors: it remains true that your accents (using Explorer?) don't read on Mozilla, but do on Explorer. Accents on my website read on either browser. Something to do with Filmleaf's software? I have begun omitting accents in my entries here. I think you often do too. The two browsers are quite different in respect to text, it would seem; but the software of a site is also decisive.
    writer/directors Israel C?rdenas and Laura Amelia Guzm?n.
    Your apostrophes also got lost here on Mozilla:
    Luchino Visconti's 1976 film, L'Innocente
    Cochochi again --The film was in the Venice Festival. It's co-produced by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. The young actors (not Luna and Garcia Bernal--they're just pals; the kids in this new film) are real-life siblings. They don't just separate but lose each other. Cardenas and Guzman are husband and wife.

    Luna quoted by (San Francisco-based) Michael Guillen on Twitch from Toronto:
    This is a very important project for us. We are working with young and very talented people and are very happy to be part of it because it has so much integrity and soul. This is the kind of film we would like to see more often in Mexico.Ě
    Guillen notes the title Cochochi "fragrantly translates into “land of the pines."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-11-2008 at 11:50 PM.

  13. #58
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    My experiment using accents is over. Thanks for pointing out how they don't always "read". That's reason enough not to use them again.
    ************
    Rosenbaum on L'Innocente:
    "Though it wasn't terribly well received when it first appeared, Luchino Visconti's last film (1979) strikes me as arguably the greatest of his late works apart from The Leopard--a withering autocritique of masculine vanity and self-delusion, adapted from a novel by Gabriele D'Annunzio, focusing on a well-to-do intellectual (Giancarlo Giannini) at the turn of the century struggling to justify his sexual double standards and his libertarian philosophy regarding his wife (Laura Antonelli) and his mistress (Jennifer O'Neill). Opulently mounted, dramatically understated, and keenly felt, this is a haunting testament, as well as one of Visconti's most erotic pictures."
    ************
    The name of the valley where the Raramuri live in Chihuahua is called "Okochochi" in their language (I think the Spanish name for the town is San Ignacio) . I couldn't find anything to corraborate the meaning assigned by Guillen, but I assume he's right. Why the title of the film became "Cochochi" is unclear to me. It sounds like the name as it could be typically mispronounced by outsiders who speak only Spanish.
    I hope to get a chance to watch the film again. Maybe Global Lens or Film Movement will pick it up.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-11-2008 at 10:13 PM.

  14. #59
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    I feel uncomfortable with having Giancarlo Giannini and Jennifer O'Neill, but it's a waste of time to opine about films one hasn't seen. I'd like to see what makes it "erotic."

    Indeed as you suggest I see online many references in Spanish to la comunidad de Okochochi or el valle de Okochochi. I don't know where Michael Guillen got that meaning, I'm just passing it on because it seemed interesting. He is a Spanish speaker. All reference online to "Cocochi" on Google are to the film, spot checking the 55,000 or so references (!), except one I see from a French Collection de documents dans les langues indigenes, a sort of index of terms, where Cocochi is given as "name of one of the chiefs of the tribe of Tamub (Google book search) . So maybe it's actually an older form, rather than a Spanish mispronunciation.

  15. #60
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    Apropos of Trapero, I do have his El Bonaerense on my Netflix Queue, saved for when the DVD gets here.

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