The Toronto International Film Festival continues to roll out the blitz of announcements (each one of which makes us more excited than the last!) with a few more programs that will make up the upcoming festival (Sept. 6-16, 2012). The astoundingly pedigreed Cinematheque contains a carefully-curated selection of film classics from Canada and abroad, and is an indispensable must for the true cinephile.
The gem in this collection is undoubtedly the newly-restored version of Roberto Rosselini’s Stromboli (a film often shown and circulated in severely cut versions). The film was absolutely deplored upon it’s release (with the exception of a few curious minds), since it was one of the first to play with narrative economy in a way that frustrated the mid-20th century cinematic audience; indeed, even today, we don’t always realize how reliant we are on the narrative conventions so thoroughly normalized by our cinematic spectatorship. John Flaus calls the film’s ending “transcendent but ambiguous.” The film stars the breathtaking Ingrid Bergmann as a young woman caught in the traps of a patriarchal postwar society.
What could be more timely, in the wake of reclusive and brilliant filmmaker Chris Marker’s recent death at the age of 91, than a screening of Loin du ViÃªtnam. A collaborative project between the activist filmmakers of the day (Varda! Godard! Resnais!), the film is a scathing criticism of the United States’ entanglement in the Vietnam war. Moreover, the film is rarely (actually, from what I’ve heard, almost never) shown, so this might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to add to your May ’68 Marxist-semiotic agitprop mental viewing collection.
Finally, a little Canadiana gets thrown into the mix, and rightfully so. Larry Kent‘s 1963 The Bitter Ash belongs amongst seminal cinema, no doubt. Kent’s debut feature, The Bitter Ash is the restless and sexually-charged tale of a young man’s indulgence in the pleasures of a fling. Raucous jazz music accompanies the nouvelle-vague-ish camera movements and cuts, all attesting to the uncertainty of a cultural era in flux. This film is also rarely seen; check out a clip from the forthcoming documentary about the making of The Bitter Ash:
Other films in the Cinematheque program include Dial M for Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), The Cloud Capped Star (Ritwik Ghatak, 1960), and Tess (Roman Polanski, 1979). Screening dates will not be announced until August 21, so you can’t quite mark your calendars yet. Better to keep the whole festival period open just in case; that’s what I say.
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