ENJOY THE MOVIES
There's always a gem or two (or sometimes more) to discover at film festivals, usually a film you've never heard of before, something that when you sit down in the theater, all you know about it is the title, nothing more. That was the case with The Attack at Telluride this year, a personal but powerful drama focused on an innocent surgeon caught in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film is the third feature by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, who previously worked on Quentin Tarantino's crews in his early years, and with this film he shows just how talented and intricate of a director he is, with quite a career still ahead of him.
In late 2010, after the film earned rave reviews, I finally caught The King's Speech at its very last screening in Toronto (my review). I was instantly amazed by it, and as we all know it went on to win Best Picture, for good reason. Director Roger Michell's Hyde Park on Hudson, a story about Franklin D. Roosevelt's meeting with the King and Queen of England in 1939, is sort of a sequel to The King's Speech - although I'm sure everyone involved in the production doesn't like that comparison. But it fits, and fits for good measure, because it's just as charming, wonderful, and entertaining as The King's Speech, but in all of its own ways.
"Expand, or die." Before seeing this film, I had thought that a story about independent American farmers living and working in today's aggressively corporate environment would not be something I could possibly fall in love with. But I did. At Any Price is an incredible film. And it's thanks to Ramin Bahrani, one my favorite indie filmmakers on-the-rise (his past films include Man Push Cart, Chop Shop and Goodbye Solo, all worth seeing). He takes the subject of farming in Iowa and tells a very real, very human, very emotionally affecting but enchanting story of family, work, and the lengths we go to live the ideal life we all want.
Based on a declassified true story. Although it wasn't initially listed in the 2012 Telluride Film Festival official line-up, one of this year's surprise "sneak previews" is Ben Affleck's Argo, which he directed and stars in. We didn't expect to see it until later in the fest, but they opened with a screening of the film, and so this year kicked off with an outstanding, edge-of-your-seat thriller based on a true international story from the 1980s. Many people may already be very familiar with the CIA (and Canada's) clandestine plan to get American embassy hostages safely out of Iran, but if you're not, or just want a good inside look, it's worth it.
Last night, I caught the first sunset of my 2012 trip to Telluride, and it was stunning. This is my fifth year in a row attending the Telluride Film Festival and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains is more than enough to keep me coming back. But I'm here to see films, right? Of course. To watch movies. To meet filmmakers. To discover wonderful cinema. To bask in the beauty of this mountain town. To catch up with colleagues. To discuss films. Telluride may only last four days (during this Labor Day Weekend) and its line-up may not appeal to everyone, but it is cinematic heaven if you can make it up into the mountains for this fall festival.