Chicago Film Festival 2010
Not much Venice carry-over but quite a bit from Berlin, which pleases, since that festival's entrants tend to have a harder time reaching the U.S. Plus, a full half of the official Cannes competition slate. I told you this festival works hard to be au courant. As per usual, though, it's just as thrilling to see how loaded the large World Cinema program is with titles and directors I've never heard of, and with appearances by personal favorites like Since Otar Left's Julie Bertuccelli whose recent works have been flying slightly under the radar, and with festival phenoms I haven't yet encountered, like Aaron Katz and Xavier Dolan. Dolan's second film, Heartbeats will play along with Bertuccelli's The Tree in the New Directors competition, reserved for filmmakers' first and second features, and also in the "Outrageous" LGBT program, burgeoning from six entries last year to nine in 2010. (I have it on good authority that Dolan's even better-received debut I Killed My Mother, which apparently got a nominal NYC/LA release this summer, will appear as part of the queer Reeling Film Festival in Chicago in November, so put $10 aside now!)
Official press screenings aren't tremendously numerous, leading nicely to the media mostly seeing the films alongside "real" audiences. Between those that have been formally scheduled and the tickets I scooped up out of my own pocket this morning, based on the color-coded Excel sheet I rocked so hard into the wee hours of night, here are the films I'm currently slated to see, in addition to the four I've already screened:
Amphetamine (Hong Kong, dir. Scud; Outrageous)
Black Field (Greece, dir. Vardis Marinakis; New Directors)
Black Swan (USA, dir. Darren Aronofsky; Special Presentation)
Caterpillar (Japan, dir. Kôji Wakamatsu; World Cinema)
Certified Copy (France/Italy/Iran, dir. Abbas Kiarostami; Main Competition)
Cold Weather (USA, dir. Aaron Katz; World Cinema)
Heartbeats (Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan; New Directors)
The Housemaid (South Korea, dir. Im Sang-soo; World Cinema)
How I Ended the Summer (Russia, dir. Aleksei Popgrebsky; Main Competition)
If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (Romania, dir. Florin Serban; World Cinema)
Loose Cannons (Italy, dir. Ferzan Ozpetek; Outrageous)
Love Like Poison (France, dir. Katell Quillévéré; New Directors)
Love Translated (Canada/Ukraine, dir. Julia Ivanova; DocuFest)
Of Love and Other Demons (Costa Rica/Colombia, dir. Hilda Hidalgo; World Cinema)
On Tour (Tournée) (France, dir. Mathieu Amalric; World Cinema)
Revolución (Mexico, dir. Misc.; Special Presentation)
The Robber (Austria/Germany, dir. Benjamin Heisenberg; Main Competition)
A Screaming Man (Chad, dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; Main Competition)
The Sentiment of the Flesh (France, dir. Roberto Garzelli; New Directors)
The Tree (Australia, dir. Julie Bertuccelli; New Directors)
Tuesday, After Christmas (Romania, dir. Radu Muntean; Main Competition)
Waste Land (UK/Brazil, dir. Lucy Walker; DocuFest)
We Are What We Are (Mexico, dir. Jorge Michel Grau; Main Competition)
I also bought tickets to two groups of collected shorts, the scary Midnight Mayhem program and the Tales of the Unexpected collection, which I'm guessing means the "weird" ones, and includes the James Franco-directed Feast of Stephen.
But you know I love to give you all homework, and since I will have possibilities to add here and there to this itinerary, have a look at my CIFF 2010 page and let me know if you recognize anything in the Main or New Directors Competitions or the Outrageous lineup that you think I'm short-changing. Or, obviously, if there's anything else in the full schedule that you can vouch for. I am aware of skimping on the documentary offerings at present, but I cannot say a lot of them sound like they're up my particular alley. Happy to be instructed otherwise, though. Whereas I'm unlikely to take any hints to check out Special Presentations of 127 Hours, Fair Game, Made in Dagenham, The Tempest, and other Oscar hopefuls that will be easy enough to track down later. I did make one exception to that rule for Black Swan, following the same "But I'm Gonna Explode If I Don't!" principle that I followed last year into Precious. But that's it.
I'll add in closing that Sex Magic: Manifesting Maya, the documentary I screened this morning, was funny, unpredictable, and frank, not just in its advertised sexual explicitness but in the extensive, casual access that its key figures enable into a subject that can be very hard to make a documentary about that isn't stuck operating from a considerable distance. I'll be seeing as much as possible of the sex-focused material in the lineup, because that's how I suffer for my job. That is, not only have I published on films in that vein, so one must keep up, but the Festival office has asked me to speak on an October 9 panel about Sex and Cinema, alongside the makers of some of this year's movies. I have been asked to track down those directors' work and to follow all the envelopes they have pushed therein. I was even encouraged to wear to the panel what I was wearing last night to the pre-festival press kickoff, where the invitation was very kindly and unexpectedly extended.
It's one of those life lessons people can be slow to divulge, even though it's been known since the time of Confucius: if you're hoping opportunity will find you, give it a little nudge by wearing hot pink.