Same Same But Different, Director: Detlev Buck, Principal Cast: David Kross, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Stefan Konarske, Jens Harzer, Wanda Badwal
As you may have read from my post on Monday, of my review of this German-Cambodian Based-On-A-True-Love-Story, I was quite impressed with this film. I had the pleasure of watching the North American premiere. And what can I say? I am a sucker for a great love story... And this was definitely one, in the most unlikely of places between Sreykeo, a young Cambodian prostitute, and Ben, the young German backpacker. It was more than a one-night stand, it was connection.
Since, I'm not much a film critic, an excerpt from The Variety's review:
"Throughout the movie, these two bring a lightness to their scenes with the more serious Ben that helps keep the drama from becoming maudlin.
But from the start, too, Sreykeo is shown as a very grounded young woman, not some wilting oriental rose. Though she genuinely loves Ben, she sees that love as carrying financial responsibilities (like supporting her mom's gambling habit) which Ben sometimes sees as bare-assed exploitation of a "rich" Westerner.
By not making Sreykeo a victim, the film avoids playing into the usual East-West cliches, and even bustling Phnom Penh is portrayed in an offhand, everyday way."
Glorious 39, Director: Stephen Poliakoff, Principal Cast: Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, Christopher Lee, Hugh Bonneville
This was the sixth film I saw... And while it wasn't the first screening during the festival, we were fortunate enough to have the director Stephen Poliakoff, the star Romola Garai and co-star Bill Nighy present the film with a bit of an intro at the beginning.
This was the last film I saw with Mathew, Jamie and Maria... Very appropriately screened at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre, this film most definitely lived up to its name of being "Glorious." Garai's performance as Anne Keyes, as well as Nighy's of her father, Alexander was superb!
Before the film, I believe it was Nighy who said there isn't a movie out there that is presented like this, that tells the story like this... Set in 1939 on the eve of World War II, Poliakoff emphasized that the story was based on facts, although the character fictional and embellished for dramatic purposes.
Mathew said it was his favourite film. I know Jamie loved the costume design and make-up... Who couldn't? Garai looked stunning in every shot! Most definitely a thriller unlike any other I've seen!
Harry Brown, Director: Daniel Barberk, Principal Cast: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ben Drew, Liam Cunningham
Now this was the film that was difficult to watch! It was a Mathew-pick, one he admitted afterwards was solely based on the fact that Michael Caine starred. As Jamie pointed out, after seeing "Harry Brown" one will never see Sir Michael Caine the same ever again! A major departure from the character in Cider House Rules, Dr. Wilbur Larch who memorably says... "Goodnight, you princes of Maine. You kings of New England."
All I can say is the first line, which clearly neither Mathew, Jamie or I read in the tiff description was quite accurate, "Michael Caine is Harry Brown. If that sentence carries a hint of action-movie menace, it's not entirely misplaced. Caine's Harry is eventually roused to awesome and satisfying vengeance, but this film begins in more troubling, nuanced territory."
I will be shocked if Caine does not receive an Oscar nomination for his role in this film!
The Informant!, Director: Steven Soderbergh, Principal Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey
This film opened in theatres today. I watched it with Mathew, my big brother G, and our friend David. G apparently was reading the reviews today, and was quite pleased he got a sneak peak. Definitely a perk of attending the film fest! I honestly had a difficult time picturing anyone but Matt Damon playing the role of Mark Whitacre a.k.a. "the tattle-tale."
This was most definitely the quirkest of the films I got to see. Highly entertaining, and at times only difficult to watch because Whitacre would find himself in such ridiculous lying predicaments! Did I mention this movie is based on a true story on the exposure of price-fixing by an agri-business giant in the early 90s? Hilarious to say the least!
Partir, Director: Catherine Corsini, Principal Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sergi Lopez, Yvan Attal
Partir translates to Leaving in English. This film I saw by myself today. J'ai eu envie à voir un film en français... I wanted so very much to see a French film, à la practice my French! All I could find myself thinking is, wow, I would love to be able to speak French as well as Kristen Scott Thomas.
I was drawn to this film, after hearing the glowing reviews of her performance in "Il y a longtemps que je t'aime" also known as "I Loved You So Long" which I believe also had its North Amercian Premiere at last year's tiff!
Much like Harry Brown, what stood out most was the acting of the lead, minus the gore. When I was checking out the details on imdb.com of this film, I ended up reading a review by a fellow fesitval goer... I like how he summed it up at the end of his review, "Catherine Corsini directed and wrote the movie. A male director, like the doomed husband in the movie, might not have understood that love is love, regardless of the cause."
The Vintner's Luck, Director: Niki Caro, Principal Cast: Jérémie Renier, Gaspard Ulliel, Vera Farmiga, Keisha Castle-Hughes
Now this film, which I saw on Tuesday at 9am... The first of three films I saw that day was definitely different. And yes, in a good way. While I new it was about a winemaker's life and the relationships in it.... I had no idea it was directed by Niki Caro, the same director behind "The Whale Rider," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes when she was a mere tween!
Without giving away too much, this film was set in 19th century France (but filmed in New Zealand), and based on a novel by a well-known New Zealander, Elizabeth Knox... It co-starred a gorgeous angel named Xas who played Renier's Sobran's bff! If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will...
As Mathew pointed out, the only complaint is that the film didn't seem to afford thorough relationship development.
Google Baby, Director: Zippi Brand Frank
This was the one documentary we got to see. It was the final screening during the fest, so no FAQ or pre-amble. But this film definitely got a lot of festival buzz, and rightly so... It shed light on a topic so rarely discussed. This was a pick off mine, and what drew me to it was reading an article last year in the New York Times titled "Her Body, My Baby," that and the Tina Fey movie "Baby Mama."
As the title implies, the doc tells the story of "a journey across three continents telling the story of the up and coming baby production industry in the age of globalization." Most definitely interesting food for thought.
Tomorrow, I will be trying to get tickets to the free screening of the Cadillac People's Choice Award Winner at the Elgin Theatre. Tickets are available starting 7pm. So I guess it'll be eight screenings in all, if Heather and I successfully get tickets!
Thank you for sharing this tiff journey with me... It was loads of fun recapping the seven great films I got to see... While it was a lot of movie... I am definitely in for 2010 ;)