It's Time for Cinema - The Fall Festival Season Kicks Off This Week
by Alex Billington
September 2, 2015
It's time. Time to kick off the fall movie season. We're just about done with summer, the kids are back in school, and most importantly - the fall film festivals are about to kick off. The Venice Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival both open this week, with many big (and surprise) premieres planned. Right after that, the festival season continues with the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest in Austin, leading to the New York Film Festival and AFI Fest in Los Angeles, not to mention the London Film Festival. That takes us right into the awards season of November/December. Whether you like it or not, or you hate the awards grind and endless campaigning, this is the time of year when all the good films roll out - last year's gems, surprising discoveries, more films to fall in love with. I'm ready to start watching.
Things have been a bit quiet around here recently, as we've scaled down and lost most of our daily staff in order to keep operating. But I'm genuinely looking forward to get into the fall movie season. There are just so many films, big and small, that I'm so very excited to see. Yes, Star Wars, but also: Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant, Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, Todd Haynes' Carol, Ridley Scott's The Martian, Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, Baltasar Kormákur's Everest, Sam Mendes' Spectre, Ryan Coogler's Creed, Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, Mike Dougherty's Krampus and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. There are always break out hits that no one is expecting, so I try to make room for a few of those.
As for the festivals, from the line-ups at NYFF and TIFF, this looks like quite a year. There's a new Charlie Kaufman stop-motion animated film (Anomalisa), a new Robert Zemeckis film about Philippe Petit (The Walk), Don Cheadle's take on Miles Davis (Miles Ahead), the latest by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), an Oscar winner telling a transgender story (The Danish Girl), Cary Fukunaga's tale of African warriors (Beasts of No Nation), a new film from David Gordon Green (Our Brand Is Crisis), plus a new Michael Moore documentary (Where to Invade Next). I couldn't make it to Cannes this year, so I'm catching up on all the films coming out of that festival with lots of buzz - Todd Haynes' Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, László Nemes's Son of Saul, the Palme d'Or winner Dheepan, and so on.
Keep your eyes open. Be on the lookout for little indie films that come your way, and don't ignore something just because one critic didn't like it. Be open to different opinions and views. The great joy in this time of the year is in the discovery of something beautiful, and the bliss of seeing a truly remarkable film. Sometimes I get a bit down, or depressed, or worried that most of the films opening this weekend are boring. But then I'll see something that reinvigorates me and reminds me why I love movies. It may just be that I can shut out the world and enjoy a two hour story, occasionally being challenged to think about things differently, but in this busy day and age that's a rare opportunity. So once again I pack up and head into the mountains to experience what so many talented filmmakers have been quietly working on, ready to share with the world.
In addition to reviews, interviews and blog posts about the Telluride Film Festival, I will be covering the fest on both Twitter as @firstshowing and Instagram as @abillington. This is my eighth year returning. You can follow my Telluride Film Festival 2015 coverage/reviews here on FS.net in this category, as well as on twitter as @firstshowing, where I'll be posting my instant reactions and updates. I'm ready to watch films.