40th Annual Telluride Film Fest: Overview #2, Features

40th Annual Telluride Film Fest: Overview #2, Features

Please note: Whenever available, posts contain links to trailers for the films for your previewing pleasure.

Photo Credit: Clint viebrock

Photo Credit: Clint viebrock

In Telluride, as regulars know, the full list of films, filmmakers and tributes are not released until the first day of the long Labor Day weekend gathering. Except, well, in these days of social media, rumors happen in real time and go viral.

The closer it got to the height of film festival season and upcoming events in Venice, Toronto, New York, the closer it got to Labor Day weekend and the Telluride gathering, the chattier the Internet became about which films would screen where. The Coen Brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis was considered a sure bet for Telluride.

 “Inside Llewyn Davis,” is based on the memoir of folk singer Dave Van Ronk, a friend of Bob Dylan’s and other famous musicians. Set in the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene, the plot follows a struggling musician from Queens who, despite being a talented singer and guitarist, can’t make ends meet.  Stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, and John Goodman. Isaac is in town with the Coens and T Bone Burnett.

The following is an overview of other selected features – because local buzz takes care of the rest.

Other buzzy  films that made the cut:

“The Invisible Woman.” At the height of his success, novelist Charles Dickens meets a younger (married) woman, who becomes his secret lover until his death. Ralph Fiennes directs and stars. Supporting cast includes Michelle Fairley, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Hollander. In town, Ralph Fiennes.

Nebraska.” Bruce Dern won Best Actor at Cannes 2013 for his nearly wordless portrayal of Woody, an aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim the million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize he believes he won. With Will Forte and June Squibb. Film Fest favorite Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) directed. In town, Payne and Dern.

Blue is the Warmest Color.” Fifteen-year-old Adele, a suburban high school senior (Adele Exarchopoulos) dreams of experiencing her first true love. She encounters an older, mysterious, blue-haired girl named Emma (Lea Seydoux) on the streets and winds up in her bed. The film was the talk of Cannes for a very  controversial sex scene. Directed by Abdellatif Keriche, in town with Adele Exarchopoulos.

“Labor Day.” Frank (Josh Brolin), a convict, is bleeding from his side. He demands help from single mom Adele (Kate Winslet) and her teenage son (Gattlin Griffith) over a long, late-summer holiday weekend. Helpers or hostages? Directed by another Festival favorite, Jason Reitman, (“Juno,” “Up in the Air”) based on a book by Joyce Maynard (“To Die For”). Reitman and Maynard are in town.

“Under the Skin.” In search of loners to send back home, a seductive alien in human form (Scarlett Johanssen) drives around the Scottish highlands. An accidental act of pity disrupts her mission. Director Jonathan Glazer (“Sexy Beast”) is in town.

Gravity.“A medical engineer and an astronaut work to survive in deep outer space following an accident that leaves them adrift. Stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Alfonso Cuaron wrote and directed with co-writer son Jonas Curaon. Both are in town.

Consider for director or actor:

The Past.” In his first film made outside Iran, writer-director Asghar Farhadi of the surprise hit “The Separation,” (TFF 2011), tells the story of Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. The wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband is forced to confront when she requests a divorce. Stars Berenice Bejo (Best Actress at Cannes 2011, “The Artist”), Tahar Rahim, and Ali Mosaffa. Farhadi and Rahim are in town.

“Tracks.” Based on a memoir by Robyn Davidson who did the trek in 1977, a young woman travels 1,700 miles across the deserts of West Australia with four camels and a dog as company. Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Jane Eyre,” “Albert Nobbs”) stars. She is in town with director John Curran and Davidson.

The Lunchbox.” Irrfan Khan (star, “Slumdog Millionaire,” Life of Pi”) is Saajan, a widowed accountant who falls in love with the anonymous creator of delicacies he finds by mistake in a lunchbox. She turns out to be a lonely young wife with a workaholic husband. The comedy-drama is directed by Ritesh Batra, who is in town.

“Before The Winter Chill.” Kristin Scott Thomas clearly had a banner year. In addition to starring in “The Invisible Woman,” the actress plays Lucie, wife of Paul (Daniel Auteuil). She gardens and cooks. He works as a respected surgeon. Together the pair are a perfect French haute bourgeois couple – until his passion for a stranger wreaks havoc in their little Eden. Philippe Claudel directs Scott-Thomas once again, continuing a creative partnership they began in “I Loved You For So Long,” (TFF 2008). Claudel is in town.

Different generations depicted through the lens:

In addition to “Blue,” young Millennials are depicted in Palo Alto, a dark drama centered around a group of half-smart, half-warped teens who know all there is to know about sex, drugs, and suicide. What they don’t know is how they feel. Gia Coppola (niece of Sofia and Roman Coppola) directs and is in town.

Set in Santiago,“Gloria,” tells the story of a fee-spirited, divorced woman of a certain age (Pauline Garcia), who hooks up with a former naval officer while out on the town at a club seeking one more one-night stand. Garcia won Best Actress, Berlin, for the role. She is in town with director Sebastian Lelio.

Focus on geopolitics:

In addition to Rasoulof’s “Manuscripts Don’t Burn,” director Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush,” based on real characters and events, is a haunting drama that focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in 1969 in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The chilling story is a preamble to the rising violence of a generation of protesters from Egypt to Oakland. The director is in town.

“Bethlehem” is a film about the complex relationship between Razi, an Israeli secret service agent who works as a coordinator for the Bethlehem district of Israel’s General Security Services, and his informant Sanfur, a Palestinian teenager, the younger brother of the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in the city of Bethlehem. According to the Festival, “the moral costs of Middle east violence have never been so vividly depicted.” In town director Yuval Adler.

A few revivals and silent films:

Telluride audiences love  the treasured restorations, Among the numerous revivals of classics are two silent films from the 1920s.

“Who Gets Slapped,” 1924, is about a failed scientist who become a circus clown, with The Alloy Orchestra.

“A Simple Case” is  a Russian film from 1928 that caused a sensation at last year’s Pordennone Festival. Emotionally charged live music performance by Gabriel Thibaudeau.

“Portrait of Jennie,” 1948. The story of a mysterious woman who inspires a struggling painter. This elegy to demented love is purportedly Luis Bunuel’s favorite film. Stars Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton, Ethel Barrymore. David Thompson presents.

“La Poison,” 1951. A dark comedy about the myth of happily-ever-aftering. A Hollywood remake about marriage gone wrong, “How to Murder Your Wife,” starred Jack Lemmon. Presented by Monique Montgomery.

“Death Rides a Horse,”1967, is a spaghetti Western who extreme violence anticipates Quentin Tarantino. Presented by Michael Barber, co-founder, Sony Pictures Classics.

Continue Reading Related Posts:
Telluride Film Fest: Overview #1, Tributees
Telluride Film Fest: Overview #3, Docs & More
Telluride Film Fest: Overview #4, Meyer on Herzog & More for 40th

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