This is probably not interesting for the great majority of you, but since a large portion of the next month is going to be devoured by the Chicago International Film Festival – aka “Not the swankiest or most important fest, but it’s mine, goddammit” – I thought I should point out that the full schedule of films was announced today, and can be found here. I could grouse that it’s a bit light on South Korea compared to some years (South Korea being, along with Romania and Iran, one of the countries that I always make a point of hitting hard at CIFF because it’s always a safe bet), but this is, by and large, one hell of a good collection of films, and my kudos to the people who put it together.
The assembly of my viewing schedule is always a tortured and days-long process, but in the meanwhile, here is a list of 20 movies that I’m particularly intrigued by. If anyone has some insight as to what I simply must see, or what I simply must avoid, I’d love any bit of advice.
Chico & Rita
As is generally known, animated films are like catnip to me, and of the two animated features at CIFF this year, this is the one that seems to have a more expressive style and point of view.
One of my fascinations that virtually never shows up on the blog is vintage propaganda films, doesn’t matter what country, doesn’t matter what period. A documentary about Tito’s state-run studio sounds like candy.
An Argentine torture porno with satiric overtones? My good sense is probably going to take a backseat to my curiosity on this one.
Day is Done
Elliptical autobiographical essay-films that the festival guide can barely express in a coherent manner have gone very well for me in the past. This might be the most intriguing film to me in the whole slate.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Johnny To’s action films have given me a fair amount of pleasure up till now, and I am absolutely fascinated to see what he can do with a romantic comedy – apparently not new territory for him, but new to me.
Slim pickings from Iran this year, but even if there wasn’t this guerrilla-style study of women fighting the system would seem like a sure thing.
A South Korean action-thriller with a paranormal edge? Yes please.
Juan of the Dead
I suspect the title gives away the game here, but as with Cold Sweat, a chance to see a genre film done in another country – a Cuban zombie film, no less! – is too much for my good judgment.
The new Aki Kaurismäki picture. That’s all I need to know. It’ll probably show up eventually, but I am an impatient man.
Love Is in the Air
The three phrases in the guide that caught my attention: “color saturated”, “musical”, and “Denmark”.
A Romanian film about young men trapping women in lives of prostitution? Sounds like a swell date night. Anyway, you had me at “Romania”.
If there is a way to make “transsexual Indonesia superhero” not sound like the most amazing idea for a movie ever, I do not know what it is.
Oslo, August 31
Joachim Trier is a Young Director to Watch if there’s any such animal out there right now, and I’m a pushover for Norwegian cinema anyway.
I wouldn’t have thought that with a Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders film in the mix, I’d be more excited about the Wenders; but a 3-D study of experimental dance just sounds too beautiful to resist.
Seriously, all you need to do to get my attention is put zombies in a foreign country. In this case, Israel. Which is such a strange and marvelous mixture of genre and national cinema that I can’t stand it.
The Turin Horse
It’s going to pretty effectively squash any possibility of a Béla Tarr retrospective later on, but I absolutely do not want to run the risk of the film not making to the United States after all.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
There’s always one mainstream release that tests my resolve not to see anything that will be coming to theaters in the next couple of months, and the meeting of the great Tilda Swinton with the great, and long-dormant, Lynne Ramsay is going to be really damn hard to resist. I’m kind of hoping that it sells out, so I don’t have to make the decision on my own.