TELLURIDE FILM FEST
There's nothing like the Telluride Film Festival. This year, with our expenses severely cut, I could only choose one fall film festival to attend (besides the New York Film Festival where I live) between Telluride, Toronto and Fantastic Fest. It's all I could afford. So, I chose the Telluride Film Festival. Why? Because I love this festival. It's only 3 days, and I can only fit in about 10 films, but I had to go back this year. Not only do they usually bring great films (and for the past few years the Best Picture winner has always premiered there) but there is also a certain atmosphere, a vibe, that no other festival has. I suppose it's the magic of the mountains, and the fact that it is a tiny town deep in the Rockies that you must drive into. But it's worth it.
I love this documentary. It's beautifully made, with so much breathtaking and remarkable footage. Sherpa, directed by Jennifer Peedom, is a doc about the sherpas of Nepal. Most people have heard of them (the most famous being Tenzing Norgay, who was first to reach the summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary), maybe seen a few photos, but they're rarely seen in movies - even ones about climbing Everest. But in reality the sherpas do all of the work, carrying massive loads of supplies up/down the mountain while western "clients" sit in heated tents waiting for their trek upwards. This documentary about the sherpas is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and I genuinely mean that. It's an exhilarating and moving experience.
Cary Fukunaga. If you don't know that name yet, now is the time to learn it. Cary Fukunaga is a filmmaker who previously directed Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre, "True Detective" (Season 1), and most recently, Beasts of No Nation. His latest is Netflix's first "Netflix Original Film" release but it just premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, where I was lucky enough to catch it on the big screen (which I highly recommend despite its availability on Netflix). Beasts of No Nation is a spectacular experience, telling an intimate, powerful story with extraordinary scope about a young African boy trained to be a guerrilla fighter. The film totally blew me away, it's a masterful work of cinema. One of Fukunaga's major achievements in cinematic storytelling.
I'm still not sure what to make of it. Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated film co-directed by the genius Charlie Kaufman and animator Duke Johnson. It's sort of Kaufman's attempt at romance, following a depressed main character tired of the mundanity of life around him, delving head first into the theme of identity. Along the way he meets a woman that, for reasons he can't really explain, he's attracted to. She's unique, different than everyone else, there's just something about her. I'm unsure if Anomalisa is simply brilliant, or brilliantly simple, in showing the importance of the connections we make with other people.
This isn't the story of "tech innovator" Steve Jobs that we all know already. It's something else entirely, an incredibly unique and brilliant creation that encapsulates decades of true stories and distills them down into one glorious three-act performance. An opera, or a Shakespearean play. And it's a phenomenal performance, one for the ages. It's a performance filled with an incredible ensemble, not a weak link anywhere, and some of the best dialogue and discussion you'll ever hear. Thanks to Aaron Sorkin, one the finest screenwriters today, who crafts a beautiful script with so much depth in every single sentence. It's almost overwhelming how much there is going on in every exchange, but it is so delightful to experience. This is one for the ages.
Whether all of modern society has accepted it yet or not, we are living in the age of whistleblowers, lead by the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Tom McCarthy's new film Spotlight is another great reminder of the power of people who speak out, who speak up, when everyone else won't. The film profiles the Boston Globe's intensive investigation into systemic rape in the Catholic Church, which they uncovered and confirmed through multiple sources, and published in multiple shocking articles throughout 2002. The film starts slow, but builds to immensity throughout the investigation, resulting in a riveting look at the power of hard-working journalists who won't let a story go no matter how much resistance they receive.
Wow. I have to admit, I kinda love this poster. But maybe that's because I have a deep appreciation and love for the Telluride Film Festival, occurring every Labor Day weekend in the remarkably beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado. This year the festival chose Belgian artist Laurent Durieux as the official poster artist of the 2015 festival, and his design is now out. Durieux is one of my favorite artists already - we've featured his work plenty before on the site (The Godfather: Part I & II, It's a Wonderful Life, or Back to the Future Part II). He really captures the vibe of the charming town, which actually looks like it does on this poster, sans bear (see photo here). If this doesn't make you want to attend this festival, I don't know what else will?