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Thread: 34th TIFF

  1. #1
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    34th TIFF

    WOODSTOCK


    This event happened 40 years ago, and a lot of people lament that the "promise of Peace and Love" of the 60's was never fulfilled. I'm not so sure about that.

    Embodying peace and love is an individual thing, and I'm sure that there are millions who, deep down, want peace and want love. (And great, passionate music to go with it).

    Why do fuckheads have to start wars and maintain them? Is there a place for that shit here?
    Really? We need Defence Departments? We need armies?
    Why? What for? Because someone out there ain't happy about their lives? The Woodstock event, no matter what you want to say about it, was a phenomenon at the time.
    Never in the history of humanity had there been an exodus like that to a farm in Upstate New York. Jerry Garcia is seen sitting on the hill early in the film, getting ready to smoke some reefer and he makes a point about how it's like some Biblical, Epic-al, thing, all these people coming from all over the country to see some of their favorite musicians play the soundtrack of the times.

    It was all brilliantly caught on camera by Michael Wadleigh, Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker and others. They captured the moment. And it was a Moment. Nothing exactly like it has happened since, in the same way, with the same impact.
    But I noticed some things about it, that time reveals quite interestingly.
    Last edited by Johann; 11-13-2010 at 02:52 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    The organizers were starting to feel the weight of the situation even before the festival was near ready to begin.
    Problems emerged.
    How are you going to feed all of these people?
    What facilities are there for bodily functions?
    Where are they staying? Hotels? Motels? in the fields???
    Garbage collection?
    And then the issue of actual tickets.
    How many have them? How are you checking to make sure that every audience member is a paying audience member?
    Soon they found out. It was going to become a disaster area (of sorts). Bill Graham (famous Fillmore East & West impresario) is seen advising Michael Lang about what has to happen. And he's smiling too, because he knows whats going down.

    It gets to the point where there are so many people that the artists and bands have to be flown onto the site by helicopter.
    Major highways and freeways are closed due to the influx of humanity.
    Fences are ripped down- people just don't care. They have no ticket but they are getting in ANYWAY. Floods of people.
    Eventually it's announced over the loudspeakers that it's a free festival. No one has to pay to get in. Unreal...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    What a Happening.
    Everyone knows what a once-in-a-lifetime situation this is, from the organizers to the artists to the crowd. They know it's special.
    And they all pretty much worked it out.
    When I say worked it out, I mean that there was no violence.
    No guns. No fights. No real crazy shit going down. Except some babies were born..
    They were there for the music, not to be a "Downer, Man..."

    Ritchie Havens was the opening act, and he really brought it.
    The cameras caught him perfectly. Great angles.
    His back was soaked in sweat when he walked off, the front of his guitar worn down from furious strumming, strings broken.
    Wow. He opened it perfectly, wailing about FREEDOM and "Marching to the Concord War". Greatness.
    Last edited by Johann; 11-13-2010 at 02:53 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    To all the girls who believe they can- YOU CAN!

    Whip It


    Well, ladies, you've got a companion piece to Tarantino's Death Proof for greatest girl-power movie ever made. Better than Drew's own Charlie's Angels in my opinion, "Whip It" is a fantasy movie that is quite real. This is a serious Cinderella story, but it's based entirely in reality. A reality that is probably very common to many girls out there in America.

    Ellen Page is Bliss, "Blister" as her Dad (Daniel Stern) calls her.
    She lives at home with Dad and Mom (a sure-fire Oscar nominee Marcia Gay Harden) and works at the "Oink Joint", a diner on the edge of some very small Texas town.

    Mom wants Bliss to make the most of her opportunities, which include beauty pageants. Bliss isn't so keen on them. Especially at 17. She pines for a life elsewhere. Anywhere but home.
    After embarrassing Mom at a beauty pageant with blue dyed hair and answering the question of "who is your hero?" with "Amelia Earhart", the gulf between her and her parents couldn't be greater. Mom decides to cheer her up one day by taking her shopping in Austin.
    Bliss picks out a pair of Army boots and Mom takes her credit card up to the cash to buy 'em. She comments on the lovely vases in the display case under the cash register. (Bongs).
    The staff agree, yes, flowers fit in them nicely...
    Embarassed again! Shopping for shoes in a head shop!
    What great parenting!
    Mom refuses to buy the shoes and Bliss pays for them herself, all the while trying to get Mom to not flip out, that it's funny that she thought they were bongs.
    Mom is getting more and more agitato...
    Before they leave, some roller derby girls come in and leave flyers on the counter for people to take free. Bliss snags one.

    Long story short, she begins an odyssey.
    She and her best friend who works with her at the Oink Joint dupe her parents into letting them go to a football game.
    But they are going to the roller derby. In Austin. Underage.
    A whole kettle of fish opens up.
    A whole kettle.
    She meets a guy in a band, she joins a roller derby team (the Hurl Scouts) and proceeds to have an amazing time while her parents know nothing about it.
    A whole lot happens after she goes to Austin, and I won't spoil it for you. But it's great. Drew Barrymore has assembled an amazing cast, the music is great, the camerawork is excellent, the editing of the roller derby matches is fast and fun, and there's a really great, warm-hearted message to girls everywhere: follow you heart. You be your own hero, you can do whatever you want.
    Just believe that you can.
    And who can knock that?
    Last edited by Johann; 09-18-2009 at 02:50 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Juliette Lewis is a veteran actress and I was in love everytime she is seen onscreen. (As Iron Maven).
    She has a great character- all of the actresses have great characters (such as Zoe Bell as Bloody Holly, Eve as Rosa Sparks, Kristen Wiig as Malice in Wonderland.
    The coach "Razor" is funny as hell. Funny to look at, funny to listen to. His "plays" are a total riot.
    This is a really really fun and enjoyable movie.
    No one will go home disappointed. (Unless you're a real scrooge).
    Ellen Page holds it all together as the dove-like Bliss.
    She should get acting nominations as well.
    She was endearing, emotional, absolutely in-character and the whole audience (at the Ryerson U Theatre, which was almost sold-out) loved her.
    Wonderful movie.
    Wonderful debut from Drew Barrymore.
    It surprised me. For a minute I thought it might actually be too sappy, too girly-girl. But it wasn't.
    She has Radiohead and the Ramones on the soundtrack!
    You can't hate WHIP IT.
    It's too good.
    Last edited by Johann; 09-18-2009 at 02:58 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Chris is right again.
    Wake in Fright (OUTBACK) is Legendary.
    How legendary?

    Only two films have ever been shown twice at Cannes.
    Antonioni's L'Avventura and Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright.
    I had the extreme honor of watching a pristine new digital print of the film, which was introduced by the man himself. I also stayed for the Q& A afterwards and got to meet a hero of mine.
    (He autographed my theatre ticket).


    The movie was lost for over 20 years. No one knew where to find the original reels. They were thought to be in London England, where the prints were made, but no. It took the efforts of the editor of the film, Anthony Buckley (who loved the film) to track it down, all on his own time and nickel. He finally located the reels in Pittsburgh, in a warehouse just a few years ago. Mr. Kotcheff said that he had nothing to do with the film's rescue, and that the reels were labelled "DESTROY" and had Anthony not been there when he was, the movie would've been destroyed the next week! The print was in horrible shape and it was painstkingly restored to a glory that Mr. Kotcheff himself even said was better than he remembered.
    It was first screened at Cannes in 1971, and it didn't go anywhere. Critics were favorable, but the movie did very poor business and Australians felt affronted. Today they embrace it and it's enjoying a fantastic run there now, after being resurrected again at Cannes, selected by the head of Classic Film series, Martin Scorsese, who was sitting directly behind Mr. Kotcheff during the original 1971 screening, exclaiming things like "Wow! The director's going all the way! Wow!" When he left the theatre at the time, Kotcheff asked people around him who that guy was who was behind him, because Cannes was an insiders show. "You wouldn't know who he is. He's just a young director in his twenties..." At the Q&A Mr. Kotcheff told us that he couldn't believe that Scorsese remembered his film from way back then and he wrote him a nice letter about it.

    It is an absolutely amazing classic of cinema history- it kick-started the Australian Renaissance. And it was made by a Canadian. Born in Toronto. Peter Weir himself said that that film could not have been made by an Australian. It had to be given the eye of an outsider.
    Review to follow.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #7
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    We break the rules. But we know about ourselves.

    Wake in Fright

    Masterpiece. See it at all costs.
    A schoolteacher in remote Australian outback outpost "Tiboonda" goes into "town" for a night before heading to his chosen destination, Sydney.

    But he never quite gets there in one piece.
    After striking up a conversation with a lawman (in uniform) who's downing pint after pint after pint of beer, and buying round after round for his teacher "pal" he just met, he learns that this "town" (that he had to catch a 3-car rail to get to) is so remote that there's no crime. Where would you go?

    He keeps downing beer after beer (West End XXX bitter) and ends up being taken home by an man who "likes his sense of humour". He is met by Jeanette Hines (Kotcheff's wife at the time I learned) who catches him swiping a smoke from the man's coffeetable when left alone after arriving.
    See, schoolteacher has no money.
    He lost it gambling in the tavern, on an insane game that leaves the men penniliess or richer than rich. Most are miners, who work in the mines, and come into town. There are no brothels. The men outnumber the women 5 to 1, Women have a high rate of suicide in this town. They're alone. The men fight and brawl so much because they just want physical contact. Imagine that. Getting into a fight just to be close to someone?
    But the woman is taking a liking to this sad schoolteacher.
    She tells the man (who has since had friends over to play cards and drink insane amounts of beer) that she and John are going for a walk. Trippy psychedelic imagery abounds.
    He vomits.
    Kills the mood.
    Then there is an insane-in-the-membrane sequence where he gets caught up in a real-life, actual footage kangaroo hunt. Horrifying imagery of 'roos being shot by professional hunters.
    In one of three places:
    A) Head. When shot in the head, the 'roo does a great leap up into the sky before dying
    B)Heart. The 'roo takes three GIANT bounds before dying.
    C)Kidneys. Kills the 'roo instantly.
    Kangaroos are marsupials, not mammals. Their young are in pouches. They are a unique animal in the kingdom of Australia.

    But anyway, I've said enough. Buy the DVD when it comes out or try to catch it in a release in your town. Hopefully. Maybe.
    Last edited by Johann; 09-22-2009 at 08:52 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    At the Q&A, Mr. Kotcheff said that the film was based on a book by Kenneth Cook, and that he was interested in the story, a "lost weekend in the outback" story. It had appealing claustrophobic, imprisoning qualities, good for a movie.
    The film was restored by Deluxe Labs in Sydney, and it took two years, frame by frame. It was premiered at Cannes on May 15th of this year, for the second time since 1971, 38 years later.
    It's set at Christmastime, and i still can't stop thinking about it, a sure way of knowing you saw a great movie.

    Mr. Kotcheff's "Duddy Kravitz" won the Golden Bear at Venice at the time of it's release, a Canadian first!
    Kotcheff had a degree in English Literature when he worked for the CBC in the sixties. A station head said that he had all of the qualities to be a director, that he should direct a program instead of writing them. But it was an all or nothing deal: direct and fail, get fired. If you choose not to direct, then you stay in your post forever. He took the dare and the rest is history.
    He told us a story of the making of Wake in Fright.
    He said the first time he went into the big pub you see at the beginning of the film, an Aussie shouted at him that he was Stalin, looking the way he did with his moustache, which looked exactly like Stalin's. Kotcheff replied: "How can I be Stalin? I'm DEAD... The Aussie looked at him for a while and then got the joke, saying I like a bloke with a sense of humour! 'Ave a beer mate! The line was put in the movie as a result...

    There is more that goes on in the film than I've written. I always wonder how much is too much to say without spoiling it.
    I hope others get to see it and comment.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Back to WOODSTOCK.


    The one thing that stands out to me (by far the most) about the '70 Warners film is Jimi Hendrix.

    The Who, Ten Years After and Janis and Santana and Canned Heat were awesome, but Jimi...

    It's been said that the defining moment of the whole decade of the sixties was when he walked out on that stage in the early early morning of the last day of the festival in a white frilled shirt with a white Fender Stratocaster and made the guitar WEEP "The Star-Spangled Banner".
    Weep it!, Sob it! Cry it out like a country truly at a crossroads....

    Seeing it on the big screen makes me understand that sentiment, makes me acknowledge that yes, that WAS the defining moment of the sixties. Vietnam was raging. Civil rights was raging. Nixon was ruining the oval office, people wanted to be free. Free from racism, war, politics, cops, bad music, everything was in flux.

    And here you have a "black gypsy cat who rocked the world when it needed to be rocked" (a statement made at his funeral).
    Amen to Jimi Hendrix.
    As Neil Young said:
    This IS Johnny B. Goode. I've never seen anyone play an electric guitar like that. there is no one. There is no one in the same building with that guy. NO ONE.

    And another quote I noted down but forgot the author (sorry!):
    He flew it at ya. I mean, he didn't care where he landed. It takes courage for a musician to do that. He could play the guitar upside down or strung upside down. It didn't matter. He knew the NOTES! He was a GENIUS.
    Last edited by Johann; 10-10-2009 at 10:07 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Rattle and Hum


    I'm not the biggest U2 fan.
    In fact, they have an air of pretention that really turns me off.
    But they have made a huge mark on the world, and the 1988 concert film "Rattle and Hum" is pretty damn good, despite some overt posturings by Bono.

    I've never owned a U2 record but they have a few songs that I really like: "Sunday Bloody Sunday"- an excellent, important song in their repertoir, "With or Without You"- actually the whole album of "The Joshua Tree" is pretty masterful, I have to admit. Plus "Bullet the Blue Sky" (which is great) and of course "Mysterious Ways" off of the LP "Achtung Baby". They have talent. No one can deny that.
    Bono can sing, the Edge can wield an axe, the drumming by Larry Mullen is very very good and Adam Clayton adds great depth to the music. They really gel as a band.
    But still, I don't think I'll ever buy a record by them.
    I won't go out of my way to buy a CD or DVD, but I won't shut off their music either. I guess I'm "non-plussed"...

    TIFF showed "Rattle and Hum" as part of their "in Concert film series" at YDS and it was a very satisfying concert film, despite Bono's extreme posturing. He really poses here. I don't know if it was because he knew cameras were rolling or what, but he's one poser of a performer.

    There are some great, memorable moments in the film, moments that the band can really be proud of, like the version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday", complete with Bono's "I didn't mean to bug ya" speech, "When Loves Comes To Town" with B.B. King, the pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis, where Larry says he didn't like the fact that Elvis is buried in the garden- he wished that he was unreachable, somewhere unattainable, like his legacy and fame demand. And he mentions he loved Elvis' movies, that he loved the fact that he was a musician in most of them, that he really related to that aspect of his films. A musician facing the world...

    They wax in the beginning how "it's a musical journey", being U2 on tour. I like the style of the cinematography- black and white, sometimes grainy, color shots, backstage, on the road, on stage- they got it covered well for a concert film.
    It's well worth watching- you could do much much worse for concert films.
    I enjoyed it, even though I'm not the hugest U2 fan in the world.
    People applauded loudly after the film was shown, so it definitely has fans, Rattle & Hum does.
    Quite good.
    Last edited by Johann; 09-29-2009 at 08:39 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Monterey Pop

    I'll do a Criterion DVD release review later, but this film was Magnificent on the big screen at TIFF (Yonge & Dundas square).

    Grace Slick is on record saying that the Monterey Pop festival in 1967 is more important than Woodstock.
    And it is.

    Otis Redding, as far as I'm concerned, was the class act that stood out beyond the rest. And this "rest" was a mighty talented sort:

    Ravi Shankar
    Jimi Hendrix
    Janis Joplin
    The Mamas and the Papas
    The Who
    The Animals

    I mean, that is some mighty Legendary lineup.

    Brian Jones was there. It was so great, so peaceful. A wonderful optimistic vibe was central. Monterey started the whole music festival explosion.
    D.A. Pennebaker made a time capsule of a rock movie that is very special. The lightshow over the opening credits, the editing, the songs of the day, Jimi setting his guitar on fire. The Who almost blowing the whole place up (I think Keith Moon had dynamite in his drums...) Janis just won everyone over. Holy cow, her version of "Ball and Chain" is an epoch. She was amazing. An amazing woman who doesn't get enough respect...

    Monterey Pop is a fantastic historic film that you can watch over and over. It always rewards repeat viewings. Just like Julie Taymor's Beatles movie: Across The Universe or Milos Forman's Hair or Amadeus. Only there are no actors in Monetery Pop. They were all very real.
    I wish I was there.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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