I know, most critics go to the Festival de Cannes looking forward to the Competition titles and maybe will grant themselves the joy of viewing the Un Certain Regard selection. But I’ll admit I’m more of a sidebar person, and while I will view a few great titles in the main lineups, my craves lay more in the Quinzaine (Directors’ Fortnight) and Semaine de la Critique.Read More
The greatest thing about the Locarno Festival is how accessible their venues are and how organic an experience watching great cinema becomes here. As author and filmmaker Emmanuel Carrère pointed out earlier, he is in Locarno on Jury duty, while at other festival you basically know what you can expect, here it's wonderful because the discoveries you make are completely unexpected.
Personally, I find it perfect to get up in the morning and catch the press screening of competition films at 9 a.m. at the Kursaal cinema and return there after lunch for more great things. Also sprinkled around town and culminating in the Piazza Grande screening each night, there are many wonderful films to be discovered. I mean, like Meg Ryan said during our public chat this past Saturday, the "Piazza Grande has 8,000 seats!" Now wrap your head around that.Read More
From the black and white stock image reels that kick off the titles of Jean-Bernard Marlin's 'Shéhérazade', the viewer knows they'll be experiencing something different. Even though the film could at first glance appear to be yet another Romeo and Juliet type romance between star crossed lovers, it quickly unfolds into something much more unique and spellbindingly truthful.
Seventeen year old Zach (played by Dylan Roberts) comes out of jail in his native Marseille, only to find that his mother isn't picking him up, she seems to have forsaken him. He is thus taken to a group home and quickly escapes only to try and reconnect with the life that sent him to prison in the first place. But one day, his friends take him to find a prostitute, and there he meets a girl, Shéhérazade (played by Kenza Fortas) whom he remembers from school. Their encounter isn't romance perfect at first, though their "meet cute", the moment in which their stars cross in cinematic terms is perfect. And perfectly human.
Will they make it despite the entire world seemingly being against them?Read More
This year the festival holds a lot of promise. Arab cinema is at its center with an unprecedented two films in Competition, Nadine Labaki's 'Capharnaüm' and Abu Bakr Shawky's 'Yomeddine', while there are of course quite a few other titles sprinkled among the sidebars, including Mohamed Ben Attia's 'Weldi'. A newly formed Saudi Film Council is occupying a harbor-side pavilion and offering wonderful panels (including one on Sunday the 13th at 11 moderated by yours truly and featuring Annemarie Jacir, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Lamia Chraibi and TIFF's own Cameron Bailey) as well as much welcomed Arabic coffee and dates. When I dropped by on a late afternoon I really cherished that cardamom and saffron infused shot of Arabia and the hospitality brought me back to my days in the Gulf.Read More