The highpoint so far at the Montreal World Film Festival, where I am serving as a member of the FIPRESCI jury, happened before the first film was shown. Last Thursday during the opening night festivities, Jafar Panahi, the renowned Iranian director and president of the Jury (not the one I'm on, but the "main" jury, the one that gets free bottles of water at the screenings) was walking down the red carpet and came upon a group of demonstrators carrying green balloons and wearing face paint.
As the tempest in the teapot over whether audiences are too
dumb to know what they like has been raging among critics I've tried to put
things in perspective for myself by recognizing that regardless of who's been
watching them the films so far this year have been well above average. It's not
even September yet and we've already seen "The Beaches of Agnès," "Tyson," "Revanche," "Limits of Control," "Tulpan," "The
Girlfriend Experience," "Up," "O'Horten," "Moon," "The Hurt Locker," "In the
Loop," "Séraphine," "Julie & Julia," "District 9," "24 City," "Inglorious
Sometimes the real world offers moments that far transcend
in absurdity and black comedy anything that the movies can come up with. Like
this snippet of Barney Frank making an
obvious point about the latter day know-nothings who are determined to take down
the current administration. Maybe it will encourage the chickenshit news media
to tell it like it is, too.
The new sci-fi film "District 9"
has generated a lot of excitement. It's "fiercely original" says producer Peter
according to its legions of fans, like nothing you've ever seen. At the risk of
having those fans burn down my house, I've got to say that it's actually like a
lot of films I've seen all mashed together.
Every Presidential election the out-of-office party usually
says something like, "Do you feel better than you did four years ago?" Now that
election 2008 is over, the "smart" guy is in the White House, and people are
asking, "Do you feel dumber than you did 8 months ago?"
Bill Maher, for example, doesn't feel any dumber, but he's disappointed that
everyone else does, or at least should feel that way.
I know you've all got more important things on your mind, but
lately I've been thinking - whatever happened to Polish cinema? It was once the
cinema powerhouse of Eastern Europe with
directors like Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Wajda
and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Lately there just
have been the occasional entry, like Wajda's "Katyn"
and Skolimowski's upcoming "Four Nights of Anna
I was kind of kidding when I suggested that the Clinton/Kim prisoner release deal was a North Korean/Hollywood co-production. But instead it turns out my instincts were right! As if further confirmation were
needed that the entire stunt was a package put together by an unholy alliance
between Producer Steve Bing and Kim Il Jong's lackey kidnapped filmmakers, here's
New York Post's columnist Andrea Pyser's shrewd observation:
At first it just seemed like a silly idea, that the Clinton/Kim
prisoner release summit meeting was scripted. But it turns out that Clinton's trip was funded
by A HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER! Steve Bing, who produced "Polar Express," "Shine a
Light" and "Beowulf" and has been a longtime contributor to the Democratic
Party (he also fathered a child with Elizabeth Hurley) sprang for the $100,000
for the jet rental A small investment,
it would seem, if the story hits the big screen.
I was watching some of the news stories on Clinton's
success at getting the two journalists released from North Korea and one of the
reporters said something to the effect that if you had written this in a movie
script no one would have believed it.
Then it occurred to me: WAS it a movie script? Kim is known
to be an avid movie buff with thousands of films in his collection.