Hello NEON Supporters,
Yesterday was a super easy day of travel. Though there was one minor delay with a flight, we made up for it in the air…and customs was a breeze. I was on a bus en route to the subway within 15 minutes of landing (perhaps an all-time record). After about 40 minutes of travel to get to the central hub for Press & Industry folks, I got my credentials and first round of tickets, and I was feeling good.
Though my check-in with my airbnb was rather frustrating, I managed to get a lot of work done for the LGBT Film Fest while I awaited the key to my room…so yesterday was productive (albeit in a rather corporate setting and not on the streets of Toronto).
Today was my first day of screenings…and I’m off to a good start.
My first film this morning was LOVELESS – directed by Andrey Zvyagintsey (director of LEVIATHAN – nominated for “Best Foreign Film” a couple years ago…and won the Golden Globe). This Russian film won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s a film about a marriage that’s on the verge of divorce…and how the couple has become so consumed by themselves that they “abandon” their young son. They don’t even immediately notice when he goes missing. The film is a slow, slow burn, and I think some editors (or distributors…you know who I mean) would be inclined to chop a good 30 minutes out. But this is all part of the point. There’s a stillness in its lonely composition and a desire to hold a frame longer than usual…as though the director is provoking you to search for clues within the frame. Overall, I think it’s a hard sell, but I’m glad I was along for the ride.
IN THE FADE was my next film – directed by Fatih Akin (director of EDGE OF HEAVEN – a lovely film we featured at the Dayton LGBT Film Fest several years ago.) This German film stars Diane Kruger – who won “Best Actress” for her role in this film at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s the story of a German woman who loses her husband (of Turkish descent) and son in an explosion…and soon finds out that the explosion was set by Neo-Nazis with the intent to kill foreigners. This film turns from a courtroom drama into a tale of revenge on a dime (the original German title is “Aus Dem Nichts” – aka “Out Of Nowhere”), and the tension builds pretty quickly and effectively – until it becomes a little too absurd. I liked it, but a few major eye rolls kept me really liking it more.
Regarding my third and final film of the day, I have to make a confession. I had already seen it! Sony Classics screened this and several other films for exhibitors in our market over the past several weeks…but this is one that I had to see again (there are 4 other films playing at the festival that I have already seen – but I won’t see any of them for a second time). CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, directed by Luca Guadagnino (director of I AM LOVE – one of my absolute favorite films of the past decade) – is an Italian film that’s mostly in English. Based on one of the best novels I’ve read in quite some time (with a screenplay by James Ivory), this is the story of a teenage boy and his sexual awakening during the summer of 1983. This film is absolutely one of the best films of the year, and the central performance by Timothy Chalamet is unbelievable. The film is sensual in so many ways, and the soundtrack is one that I’ll own as soon as it’s available. Checkout the trailer below…it’s only a small, delicious taste of what’s in store for you. **Director Luca Gaudaanino and actors Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet did a brief and insightful Q&A after the screening.**
Thanks for checking in with me today.
I only have three films scheduled for tomorrow…and then it gets crazy after that.
All the best,