Monday, 21 September 2009

Post-haste from San Sebastian

Borderlines director David Gillam has sent news (via multiple texts) about what he's been viewing during the opening weekend of the 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival, the largest of its kind in Spain and one of the major European film festivals. Look out for his recommendations below. Who knows, some of them might be screening at Borderlines 2010...

The first day at San Sebastian Film Festival was a bit of a damp squib. I didn't get to meet Quentin Tarantino or Brad Pitt who were in town for the Inglourious Basterds premiere. Worse still, Atom Egoyan's opener Chloe was really dire, unbelievable with a terrible pat ending. Fernando Trueba's The Dancer and the Thief was even worse, a real mess despite the best efforts of the wonderful Ricardo DarĂ­n.

Best of the day was definitely Whatever Works, Woody Allen's latest. In many ways a comic panto with stock characters, nevertheless it works, funny throughout with great one-liners, s'amuse bien.

Day 2: Just occasionally I see a film that reaffirms my belief in the ability of the cinema to create such empathy for a character that it changes the way we see the world. Precious is such a film. Precious is a 200lb, illiterate 16 year old , pregnant for the second time by her father. From such an unrelentingly grim start comes a wonderfully positive film, full of life and imagination.
N.B. Precious has just won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, often a good indicator of future Oscar success.

Day 3: Ozon's latest The Refuge is very fine, beautifully shot. Every scene leads subtly to a 'surprise' ending that for once is credible and thought-provoking. The Refuge is the story of Maggie who survives when her boyfriend o-d's. Pregnant, she learns to be 'alone' through her relationship with her boyfriend's gay brother.

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