Tributes and Discoveries

On Film / The Daily — Aug 22, 2018
Ann Savage and Tom Neal in Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945)

Next week’s opening of the Venice Film Festival will launch the fall season of premieres and revivals around the world. Toronto has just put the finishing touches on its sprawling smorgasbord of a lineup and rolled out a complete Discovery program. Festivals from Busan to San Sebastián, too, are making their last round of lineup announcements, and the New York Film Festival has added two new slates.

Rather than devote its retrospective to a single director or actor—recent past subjects have included Jean-Luc Godard and Robert Mitchum, for example—the NYFF will present a program with three distinct yet related strands. Two of them will pay tribute to figures who’ve had an immeasurable impact on film culture, Dan Talbot and Pierre Rissient, both of whom we’ve lost in the past year. As the founder of New Yorker Films and director of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, Talbot introduced such filmmakers as Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Nagisa Oshima to American audiences, and among the ten films screening in tribute is one he was passionate about early on, Bernardo Bertolucci’s second feature, Before the Revolution (1964). Rissient, the critic, filmmaker, producer, distributor, and publicist who helped shape the careers of Clint Eastwood and King Hu, championed Filipino director Lino Brocka before much of the world was familiar with his work. Brocka’s Manila in the Claws of Light (1975) is one of seven films that will screen in his honor.

The third prong of this year’s retrospective comprises three new documentaries, Pamela B. Green’s Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, Margarethe von Trotta’s Searching for Ingmar Bergman, and Gastón Solnicki’s Introduzione all’Oscuro, a portrait of his friend, Hans Hurch, the late director of the Vienna International Film Festival. NYFF 2018 will also present eleven revivals, new restorations of a diverse set of films including Edgar G. Ulmer’s classic noir Detour (1945) and Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyenas (1992), an adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit that takes aim at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Toronto’s Additions

Besides announcing its Discovery lineup, Toronto has sprinkled new titles throughout its program. A highlight will be a special twenty-fifth anniversary screening of Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club, which was, until the release of Crazy Rich Asians this summer, “the most prominent example of Asian American representation on screen for a quarter century,” as Inkoo Kang puts it at Slate. TIFF’s added two new Special Presentations, too: the world premiere of Neil Jordan’s Greta, with Isabelle Huppert as a widow who strikes up a disturbing friendship with a naïve young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz), and the North American premiere Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, with Natalie Portman as a troubled pop star.

Nearly half of the forty-six films in the Discovery program have been directed by women, including Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not, winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin, and Too Late to Die Young, for which Dominga Sotomayor won the best director award in Locarno. For the fourth year running, TIFF will also be presenting its Primetime program spotlighting international television series, and a headliner this year will surely be Homecoming. Created by Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot), the series stars Julia Roberts as a caseworker at a secret government facility which reintegrates military personnel into civilian life.

More Fall Festival News

Venice has filled out all five of its juries and announced that Nick Hamm’s Driven will close its seventy-fifth edition on September 8. Driven tells the story of the friendship between John DeLorean, whose DMC-12 sports car was immortalized in Back to the Future, and Jim Hoffman, an ex-con who became an FBI informant.

The San Sebastián lineup is pretty much set, and perhaps most intriguingly, the festival will revive the overlooked work of Muriel Box with a complete retrospective of all twenty-eight films the British filmmaker wrote and directed from the mid-1940s through the mid-’60s.

Looking ahead to October, the Korean Cinema Retrospective at the twenty-third Busan International Film Festival will pay tribute to Lee Jangho, a “pioneer of 1980s realism,” and the festival’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award will be presented to musician and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto.

And the BFI London Film Festival will open on October 10 with Steve McQueen’s Widows, with Viola Davis leading the wives of a gang of burglars on a mission to complete their husbands’ last heist, and close with Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as Hollywood’s most iconic comic duo, Laurel & Hardy. In between, the LFF will present the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, a tribute to those who fought in the First World War that utilizes colorized footage converted to 3D. Britain’s past will be blow up even larger in the Great Victorian Moving Picture Show of films dating back 120 years projected on England’s biggest screen, the BFI IMAX.

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