Thursday, September 02, 2004

Telluride Film Festival...

The organizers of the Telluride Film Festival - (now in its 31st year) are prone to secrecy. So much so that they don't even announce the films that will be showing until the day before the festival. [Most of the staff is even unaware of the full program].

Part of the reason for this is because they don't want to promise a tribute (for which they are famous) for someone who can't make it. But also it is because they have absolute disdain for the papparazti. They don't want star crazy fans lining the streets. What they want is passholders and ticketbuyers who love cinema to show up and just trust that what they have to offer is top quality. And, having come to this festival for 15 years, I can attest to that quality.

The festival starts tomorrow but today is the day they release the 'unofficial' official schedule.

Tributes this year are for Greek master filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos (who's films are graceful and glacial), screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere who wrote many of Luis Bunuel's late films, and Laura Linney who is a fine actress in and out of Hollywood.

Among their retrospectives are for Fernando Arrabal (Viva La Muerte) one of the Spainish surrealist filmmakers from the 1970's. Gustav Machaty a Czech filmmaker from the 1920's whose film Ecstacy was a scandal in its day. Also showing are a new print of Hitchcock's Blackmail with an original score by the world famous Alloy Orchestra. And a new print of THX 1138 will be shown. [Yes, George Lucas will be at the festival].

I've scanned the program and have provided a list of ten what seem to be notable films:
Gunner Palace - the documentary about the Iraqi war from the inside makes it's US Premiere and promises to pique interest and possibly stir controversy.
Moolaade - the latest film by Senegalese master filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.
Palindromes - the new Todd Solondz film gets a world premiere.
Nobody Knows - the latest from Hirokazu Kore-eda about a group of abandoned children in Japan.
Unforgivable Blackness - the new Ken Burns documentary. This one about boxer Jack Johnson.
House of Flying Daggers - Zhang Yimou's latest film is another high flying honk kong style martial arts film.
Bad Education - the latest by Pedro Almodovar.
Kinsey - a film by Bill Condon about the 'carnal cartograher' Alfred Kinsey (played by Liam Neeson).
Being Julia - the latest film by Istvan Szabo based on a Somerset Maugham novel and starring Annette Bening (who rumor says may be up for Oscar consideration with her performance).
Aaltra - a politically incorrect Belgian comedy that became an instant cult hit in Europe earlier this year.
Keane - a film by Lodge Kerrigan whose film Clean, Shaven managed to disturb a good many people.

Telluride has an outdoor theatre (Called the Abel Gance Outdoor Theatre) that shows movies for free. Last night I watched Milos Forman's first film Taking Off, which is about how a couple deal with their runaway teenage daughter. Funny in spots and very 70's the film felt incomplete. The film starred Buck Henry who is the guest director at this year's festival.

Tonight in the park they are showing The Motorcycle Diaries by Walter Salles a film about Che Guevara.
It looks like it could rain and no doubt it will be cold in the park. But this is what festival and film dedication is all about. I'm ready.