Telluride Film Festival #37: Ribbons Of Dreams Realized, Stunning Performances

[click “Play” for Katherine Stuart’s view of TFF 37]

IMG_7960 The world may be schlepping around with a thundercloud over its head, but the 37th annual Telluride Film Festival shone with authority. This year, for a change, I add the voice of a close friend, Festival patron and screenwriter Katherine Stuart to my own, to sing praises, some qualified.

The tribe of cinephiles that makes an annual pilgrimage to Telluride for the Telluride Film Festival are not thrill seekers in the conventional sense of the words. They are not lusting after a testosterone-induced orgy of bang! zoom! pow! Unless, of course, the thrills and spills come packaged with complex characters and their battles with sex, money, social convulsion, and the vagaries of the human heart. (See “Carlos.”)

This year, once again, almost every one of the 26 movies screened at the Telluride Film Festival found that elusive sweet spot where intelligent storytelling, top notch filmmaking, and yes, escapist entertainment meet to fuse into a phenomenon that sings hosannas to the art of the cinema. A number of these films – and I am including the shorts – are sure to become classics.

IMG_7939 At the 37th annual Telluride Film Festival, there were Oscar-worthy performances by super novas (Firth, Bardem, Portman, Rush) and star turns by up-and comers (Edgar Ramirez, Melanie Thierry, (mark my words, the new, rather “nouvelle,” Deneuve), Andrew Garfield (the new “Spiderman”), Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Gemma Arteton.

“The King’s Speech” emerged as the one to beat among the features. Truth proved way stranger than fiction, a festival theme not just among documentaries. (But that’s just an outgrowth of a zeitgeist that nurtures reality TV and voyeurism in general. One definition of a cineaste: someone who enjoys closeting himself in a dark theatre to watch others to make well-lit spectacles of themselves.)

Our prediction: Errol Morris’ “Tabloid” about the life of “beauty queen” Joyce McKinney, Charles Ferguson’s clear-eyed “Inside Job,” about the causes of the Wall Street meltdown and our present financial crisis, and Shlomi Eldar’s spectacular “A Precious Life,” a story of hope in the Israeli/Palestine debacle, will all get Academy nods.

For ongoing coverage of 2010 Telluride Film Festival see Catalog of 2010 Stories. Reviews of previous Telluride Film Festivals at Film Fest.

Click the “play” button and listen to Katherine’s rundown of The SHOW.

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