Anticipating the Fall Festivals

On Film / The Daily — Aug 27, 2019
David Cronenberg in Albert Shin’s Clifton Hill (2019)

With Venice opening tomorrow, Toronto next week, and Telluride sandwiched in between, the dog days of summer are drawing to a close. Meantime, the New York Film Festival has topped off its lineup rollouts with an announcement that its retrospective this year will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers. Also, among the new restorations that the NYFF will present in its Revivals section are Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Le franc (1994) and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999); Béla Tarr’s seven-and-a-half hour Sátántangó (1994); Bert Stern’s landmark concert film Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959); three short films by Sergei Parajanov; and Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s 1930 collaboration, the surrealist classic L’age d’or.

The NYFF’s retrospective will feature master classes with Ed Lachman and Vittorio Storaro. As it happens, Focus Features has just announced that Lachman’s latest collaboration with Todd Haynes after Far From Heaven, I’m Not There, Mildred Pierce, Carol, and Wonderstruck will open in theaters on November 22. Dark Waters stars Mark Ruffalo as a lawyer investigating a series of deaths that all seem to lead to a single giant corporation. The latest film shot by Storaro, who has worked with Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, and Dario Argento, is Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Liev Schreiber, and Jude Law, the film has so far been met with tepid reviews from Jessica Kiang in Variety and Jordan Mintzer in the Hollywood Reporter.

Tomorrow night sees this year’s Venice Film Festival opening with the world premiere of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth, starring Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, and Ethan Hawke, and naturally, The Truth is one of the twenty most anticipated fall festival titles on the annotated list at the Film Stage. “Following the melodramatic first teaser, here’s hoping Kore-eda doesn’t get lost in translation,” writes Jordan Raup. The Playlist has written up previews of fifteen films slated to premiere in Venice, including Benedict Andrews’s Seberg, with Kristen Stewart as Jean Seberg; Olivier Assayas’s Wasp Network, with Penélope Cruz and Édgar Ramírez; Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, with Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson; James Gray’s sweeping sci-fi journey Ad Astra, with Brad Pitt; Ciro Guerra’s Waiting for the Barbarians, with Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson; and Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat, with Meryl Streep and about a dozen more big draws.

As tradition would have it, Telluride, which opens on Friday and runs through the Labor Day weekend, is keeping its lineup under wraps until just a few hours before the festivities begin. In the run-up to Toronto’s opening next Thursday, one of the most solid previews to turn to comes from the critics for the Globe and Mail. There’s no mention here of the opening night film, Daniel Roher’s documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, but as a side note, let’s do mention here that Greil Marcus, whose essential column “Real Life Rock Top 10” has just moved to the Los Angeles Review of Books, offers a few notes on Robertson’s new album, Sinematic. Robertson’s latest features work he’s done for the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, whose world premiere will open the NYFF on September 27. “I Hear You Paint Houses” is “a hit-man duet with Van Morrison,” writes Marcus, “where by the end Robertson, barely a singer, and Morrison, perhaps the purest singer of the last sixty years, are intersecting with each other within single words, with Morrison sounding like himself and Robertson like a character who’s listed in small type in the cast of a 1950s noir.”


To return to Toronto, the Globe and Mail’s Barry Hertz has conducted a wide-ranging conversation with David Cronenberg, who briefly appears as “a Niagara Falls conspiracy theorist” in Clifton Hill, the third feature from Canadian director Albert Shin (In Her Place). “It’s a juicy part,” writes Hertz, “and one equipped with especially Cronenbergian touches—his character is introduced emerging out of a cloudy lake, a primordial force of nature, ready to talk about the mysteries of the world.” As for directing again, Cronenberg, whose last feature, Maps to the Stars, appeared five years ago, does have two projects in the works, one that Netflix passed on, and another based on his 2014 novel Consumed.

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