Midnight Madness may have the more exciting line-up this year, but Visions is probably my favorite programme of the festival. It's like the Midnight programme's intellectual older brother--still weird, but more respectable, and definitely smelling less like bongwater and Cheetos (not that there's anything wrong with that). In the past two years, some of my favorite films of the festival have been in this programme, though this year's line-up seems heavier on the "personal journeys" angle, and lighter on the "what-the-hell-am-I-watching?" angle. Regardless, it's a pretty interesting group of films. Let's get on with it...
M (Lee Myung-Se)
His last film, Duelist, played the festival in '05, and to say it divided the audience is putting it mildly. I remember watching the trailers and thinking it was going to be a generic action flick, only to be taken aback by the sheer, willful strangeness of the actual film. Myung-Se mixes styles, tones and perspectives with an anarchic glee that hovers somewhere between genius and lunacy. His films are high-wire acts and what, on first glance, appears to be a poor sense of narrative, gradually reveals itself to be a love for it in all its myriad forms--a love frustrated by traditional narrative's limitations. If you can't tell, I'm something of a fan and I can't wait to see what he pulls off with the horror melodrama genre.
You, the Living (Roy Andersson)
Songs from the Second Floor is brilliant and this is (allegedly) its less somber mirror image. Should be amazing.
Could Be Interesting:
Dans la Ville de Sylvia (Jose Luis Guerin)
I think the "mostly wordless" description is what excites me most. It's acceptance at both the Venice and New York Film Festivals doesn't hurt.
Dr. Plonk (Rolf de Heer)
A modern silent film that appears to perfectly replicate the look and feel of 1920's silent cinema. Could be a nice palate cleanser in the middle of the festival's heavier offerings.
Ploy (Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
I'm probably the only person who really liked Invisible Waves (the director's last film), but everyone says this is much better and more in line with his much loved Last Life in the Universe.
Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)
The critics have almost universally praised this one, with most giving raves. Good enough...
Silent Resident (Christian Frosch)
This one's a conundrum. It's in the Visions programme. The description sounds intriguing. And yet...I've seen not one image or non-TIFF synopsis or discussion that excites me in any way. Wait and see, I suppose...
The Tracey Fragments (Bruce McDonald)
Another conundrum. The synopsis screams out "emo," but the visual conceit--the screen divided into fragments, each one filled with visual information--is the kind of gimmick I support, even if it could just be an exercise in frustration.
That's that. If anyone has ideas or info on any of these, feel free to had your thoughts in the comments.