Telluride: ‘Another Year,’ ‘Incendies’ and…Brad Pitt?

09.07.10 8 years ago

The 2010 Telluride Film Festival was an unqualified success.  Well, at least that seemed to be the universal opinion according to the slew of veterans who have made the Labor Day festival a yearly tradition.  The programmers at Telluride refer to filmmakers and attendees as “family” and considering how amazingly friendly everyone was, its hard not to see why.

This year’s installment had fine films such as “Black Swan” (review),  “Tabloid” (review), “127 Hours” (review), and the universally adored “The King’s Speech” (review). Other movies that found positive notices were “Tamara Drewe” (review), “Inside Job” (review), “Precious Life” and “Another Year.”  Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” “Incendies” and “Never Let Me Go” (review) received more mixed reaction — at least from patrons.  With that in mind, here are few quick roundup reviews from the festival

“Another Year”

Is there any living filmmaker who has provided the world more amazing performances by British actresses than Mike Leigh?  From Imelda Staunton to Brenda Blethyn to Marianne Jean-Baptiste to, most recently, Sally Hawkins in “Happy-Go-Lucky,” Leigh has a knack for bringing some of the most realistic and original women to the screen.  “Year” features another great performance by one of his longtime collaborators, Leslie Manville, as a fiftysomething secretary who can’t adjust to growing old and is entranced by the life of her co-worker (a droll Ruth Sheen, her co-worker’s husband (a cheerful Jim Broadbent) and their 30-year-old son (Oliver Maltman).  Spread over the course of a year and divided thematically by seasons, the picture slowly becomes less funny and more serious as it goes on, but overall its an enriching and subtle look at the pain of growing old alone.  Good stuff.

Director Denis Villeneuve has created a visually stunning, dramatic and harrowing epic that finds two twins discovering the unbelievable life their mother had before immigrating to Canada.  Unfortunately, the story strains of credibility as it reaches it’s depressing conclusion.  It’s incredibly powerful filmmaking with a knockout performance by Lubna Azbal, but by the end of the picture you just don’t believe it.  And that’s a problem.

“Of Gods and Men”
Currently causing controversy in the weeks before its French release, “Men” tells the true story of a group of eight monks who have to come to terms with whether they will risk death from Algerian terrorists or abandon the nearby village they have cared for over a decade.  The film’s heart is in the right place, but director Xavier Beauvois’ pacing is, for lack of a better word, glacial.  There is a great idea for a movie here and some wonderful characterizations by the eight actors playing the holy men, but it’s so precious and self aware about its subject matter it ruins any emotional connection you should feel when the picture finally concludes.

On a lighter note, the biggest buzz at Telluride, wasn’t about “The King’s Speech,” but the rumored attendance of none other than Brad Pitt.  This writer couldn’t find anyone who could actually confirm he was there or saw him walk the streets with their own eyes, but local residents insisted Pitt was in town on Saturday.  Stars have dropped in to attend the festival just to catch a screening before (and some such as Laura Linney are just regular attendees), but with no photos or first hand reports, we ain’t buying it.  Would have been fun though if it was true.

Next up?  Awards Campaign journeys to Toronto where Clint Eastwood, Megan Fox, Marion Cotillard, Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman and more await.  Hope you’re ready TIFF, you’ve got a lot to live up to after your Colorado cousin’s fine showing.

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