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2010: Godard, Malick, Hong, Loach, Kiarostami, Tarr and More

The Auteurs Daily


A few previews are already in. At In Contention, Kristopher Tapley lists ten big budget roll-outs he's looking forward to in 2010; the New York Times (where Michael Cieply explains why some films opening this year have been in the can and waiting their turn for as long as two years now) and the Boston Phoenix's Peter Keough draft local schedules for the weeks ahead; Geoffrey Macnab (Independent) and Kevin Maher (London Times) do the anticipating for the UK; Martin A Grove's preview for Reuters runs through June; and at Techland, Steven James Snyder looks ahead to the year in science fiction. Dark Horizons is previewing the good, the bad and the ugly, a gadzillion movies, in alphabetical order. As I write, they've made it to the letter "S."

But two entries Screen's Fionnuala Halligan posted at her blog back in November present far more tantalizing prospects than all that. In the first, she lists over twenty films that might make it into February's Berlinale lineup (and of course, we now know about seven that have), and in the second, she lays out an even longer of list of contenders for Cannes 2010. While I'd happily get in line for most of titles on these pages, I thought I'd pick out about a dozen that seem most intriguing and poke around to see what we know about them so far. Comments on these and other films you're looking forward to are welcome.

Jean-Luc Godard's Socialisme could be the film of our time - but of course, as with all these as-yet-unseen films, we just have no way of knowing yet. But if Godard is going to be arguing the case suggested by his title, he may find the world more ready to listen than he probably assumed it would be when he first conceived of the project. As Mark Fisher, author of Capitalist Realism, tells Matthew Fuller in Mute, "It took a few years after the 1929 crash for new political forces to emerge, and just because nothing much has happened yet doesn't mean it won't ever happen. The terrain is strewn of ideological rubble, and it's there to be fought over."

Or, you know, there's an outside chance that the film's an apolitical romp. Doesn't look like it, though. Daniel Kasman posted the 4+minute teaser back in May, when Wild Bunch was talking it up in Cannes and Screen's Nancy Tartaglione reported that it's "being billed as a symphony in three movements and mixes an international set of characters on a cruise ship including a Moscow policeman, a war criminal of unknown origins, a French philosopher, an American singer (played by Patti Smith), a Palestinian ambassador and a former double agent." We also know that the cast includes philosopher Alain Badiou. Jeremy Heilman has the official synopsis.

For ages, it seemed, we knew that Terrence Malick was shooting The Tree of Life - but that was all we knew. Speculation at Wikipedia, for example, was rampant - the production seems to have been rather rocky - but now Summit Entertainment has posted something of a synposis. "Our picture is a cosmic epic, a hymn to life." A bit of the story follows: a boy learns that the world is not as wondrous as it once seemed. The film may be set in the 50s; there may be an excursion or two into the prehistoric past. Some of these details might be worrying if it weren't a Malick film we're dealing with here. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn headline the cast; Emmanuel Lubezki is the cinematographer.

Lee Hyo-won has a fine piece in the Korean Times on the "2010 Korean Cinema Lineup," and it's here that we learn: "Director Hong Sang-soo will present his 10th movie Ha Ha Ha early [this] year. The movie depicts two friends who chat about their recent trips to Tongyeong over drinks. Actor Kim Sang-kyeong plays filmmaker Cho Mun-kyung, who wants to go study in Canada, while actor Yoo Joon-sang plays his friend and film critic Park Jung-shik." This may test the patience of those who found Hong spinning his wheels in Like You Know It All. At any rate, also cast is Moon So-ri, star of Oasis.

Speaking of which (and back to Lee Hyo-won): Oasis director Lee Chang-dong's Poem (also listed here and there as Poetry), starring Yoon Hee-jeong, "is a story about a 60-something woman who raises her teenage granddaughter and receives basic living subsidies. One day she signs up for a literature class and begins to write her own poems for the first time. The movie is slated to open in early May."

And, what can I say, a third film from Korea. For some time now, the free availability of Kim Ki-young's 1960 classic The Housemaid has turned it into quite the hit here at The Auteurs. Now it's to be remade by Im Sang-soo (The President's Last Bang) with Jeon Do-yeon, who won accolades for her performance in Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine. Also slated to open in Korea in May.

Ken Loach's "new film is called Route Irish, its name taken from the infamous, dangerous road that links Baghdad's international Green Zone with the city's airport, and it marks the 73-year-old director's first attempt to grapple with the Iraq War of the past six years." Dave Calhoun in a set report for Time Out London: "Loach's sympathies are well known: he has spoken out in opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But Route Irish doesn't deal with high politics. Instead, it explores the murky world of British ex-soldiers who work for private contractors in Iraq, many of whom, such as the film's main character, Fergus (Mark Womack), are grieving for lost colleagues or suffering from post-traumatic stress. Fergus is living back in his home city in an apartment funded by his contracting work and having to face the demons Iraq foisted on him. We meet him at the funeral of a colleague and close childhood friend, and he's burning up with anger and thoughts of revenge."

There seems to be a general assumption out there that Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy will see its premiere in Cannes this year. From Eric Lavallee's Ioncinema report on the shoot in Italy in June: "Based on an original script by Kiarostami, this tells the story of a British author (William Shimell replaces Sami Frey) who travels to Italy to hold a conference on the relationship between originals and copies in the art world. During the conference he meets a French art gallery owner (Juliette Binoche). The author plays along but the innocent charade becomes a dangerous game as the lines between reality and make-believe blur."

Way back in October 2008, Fabien Lemercier reported in Cineuropa that Béla Tarr was to begin shooting The Turin Horse within weeks; Halligan expects that the film should finally be ready this year. Lemercier: "Co-written by the director and his usual collaborator László Krasznahorkai, the film is freely inspired by an episode that marked the end of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's career. On January 3, 1889, on the piazza Alberto in Turin, a weeping Nietzsche flung his arms around an exhausted and ill-treated carriage horse, then lost consciousness. After this event - which forms the prologue to Tarr's film - the philosopher never wrote again and descended into madness and silence. From this starting point, The Turin Horse goes on to explore the lives of the coachman ([Miroslav] Krobot), his daughter ([Erika] Bók) and the horse in an atmosphere of poverty heralding the end of the world." Quiet Earth has what seems to be an official synopsis.

Tran Anh Hung's Norwegian Wood (click the title for a synopsis) is, of course, an adaptation of the novel by Haruki Murakami and features Rinko Kikuchi and Kenichi Matsuyama. Back in June, in the Japan Times, Giovanni Fazio asked Tran about recreating the 60s-era atmo: "We're going to have to shoot every scene at different places, all over Japan. For example, there's a scene with a pool, and we're using a pool about an hour outside the city, because there's nothing suitable in Tokyo. Tokyo's always changing, and there's almost nothing left that reminds one of the 60s." For more, see a topic on the film in the Forum that was pretty lively a few months ago.

Back in March, FirstShowing's Alex Billington reported that Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire and Woody Allen's upcoming You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) was joining Hiam Abbass in the cast of Julian Schnabel's Miral, "an adaptation of Italo-Palestinian Rula Jebreal's book about Hind Husseini who founded an orphanage in Jerusalem in the wake of the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel." Schnabel also evidently hopes to see an English translation of the book appear at about the same time as the film.

Nanni Moretti is directing himself as a psychiatrist called in to treat a newly elected Pope - played by Michel Piccoli - who doesn't want the job. Der Standard reports that shooting for Habemus Papam begins this month and will wrap in May.

Viewing. Even though it's in German, this Arte report presents a fairly unique shoot. In Orly, Angela Schanelec follows four couples in the bustling airport with two cameras, no artificial lighting, no clearing of non-participants.

What else are we looking forward to in 2010?

Updates, 1/5: First, check the comments below for a few more titles to anticipate.

The Playlist writes up the "75-Plus Most Anticipated Films of 2010."

At Metro Classics: "Mike's Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2010."

Updates, 1/8: "The Japanese film industry, at least the top end where Toho and its media partners dwell, is looking forward to a prosperous 2010, with a lineup of crowd-pleasers that should thump the Hollywood competition.... So what will be the big films in 2010, not only box-office-wise, but worth-watching-wise?" In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling lists them in order of release.

"This year looks as if it will be a vintage year for British filmmakers... but a very difficult one for the British film industry as a whole." Geoffrey Macnab in the Independent: "We will be seeing work by established auteurs like Stephen Frears, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Meanwhile, there are signs of a new wave in British big-screen comedy led by movies like the 1970s-set Cemetery Junction directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, satirist Chris Morris's directorial debut, Four Lions, and Nigel Cole's We Want Sex, about the 1968 Ford Dagenham strike by 187 sewing machinists. Expectations are high, too, for films from British directors working in North America: Edgar Wright's comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Michael Winterbottom's foray into film noir, The Killer Inside Me."

Updates, 1/9: Film Comment lists "19 unknown pleasures from around the world to look out for."

Stale Popcorn previews the year in Australian cinema.

Update, 1/17: The Los Angeles Times posts a package on the year's big Hollywood releases.

Updates, 1/18: Craig Kennedy's "30 for 2010."

Listening. Film Talk's 2010 preview.

Update, 1/19: Glenn Kenny has begun contributing to MSN Movies, and his first piece is a preview of 2010.

Image: From the teaser for Socialisme.

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @theauteursdaily (RSS).

“Kim Ki-young’s 1960 classic The Housemaid … to be remade by Im Sang-soo…” Sad news indeed.
Aronofsky has new stuff this year. I am very excited for that.
Good call. Aronofsky’s Black Swan stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis and has been described as a “ballet thriller.” Here’s Dark Horizons: “A veteran ballerina finds herself locked in a competitive situation with a rival dancer, with the stakes increasing as the dancers approach a big performance. However it’s unclear if the rival is a ghost or the ballerina herself is delusional.” More here:
I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to more finely crafted columns and great aggregated links from you in 2010. Happy new year, David, with many thanks.
Most anticipated films this year: - Faust (Aleksandr Sokurov) - Samsara (Ron Fricke) - Die Blutgräfin (Ulrike Ottinger) - Forbidden Zone 2: The Forbidden Galaxy (Richard Elfman)
Many thanks, Catherine, and thank you for all the research and curation that goes into Film Studies for Free. Let’s all have a great 2010. Excellent additions to the list, Grey Daisies. For those who aren’t aware of these projects… Variety calls Faust Sokurov’s “fourth and final film in his ‘trilogy’ on the corrupting effects of power.” And quotes producer Andrey Sigle: “The film has no particular relevance to contemporary events in the world – it is set in the early 19th century – but reflects Sokurov’s enduring attempts to understand man and his inner forces…. The film is a big Russian cultural project and for Putin that is very important. He saw it as a film that can introduce the Russian mentality into European culture; to promote integration between Russian and European culture. Russia is not only a military power or an oil and gas power, it is has a huge cultural heritage and film can help European people to better see the face of Russia.” Oh-kay. Wikipedia: “Samsara is a large format non-narrative film currently in production. The film is directed by experimental filmmaker Ron Fricke, and it will pose as a sequel to the highly acclaimed 1992 film Baraka.” And that entry includes Fricke’s 5-point outline: Ulrike Ottinger’s Blutgräfin (The Blood Countess) will be the second recent film about Erzsébeth Báthory after Julie Delpy’s, how shall we say, attempt at telling the story. Ottinger’s stars Isabelle Huppert and Tilda Swinton and the director has quite a bit on the film at her site (in German, but perhaps with the help of Google, etc): As for Richard Elfman’s Forbidden Zone 2, the title pretty much says it all, doesn’t it. For those who don’t know the original… … and Quiet Earth has some info on 2:
True, all seven directors are listed here…;credits That’s certainly all I know; have you heard more?
I thought TREE OF LIFE was coming out last year (2009), but it’s release date just keeps getting pushed further and further away.
It could get pushed along yet again, of course, but wherever you find it listed or reported on, the general consensus is that this is indeed its year.
3 Terrence Malick films in 12 years? What have we done to be so worthy?? I’m also looking forward to Kairostami’s return to more of a regular narrative (hopefully). The more avant garde/experimental films he made last decade were good and admirable, but don’t hold a candle to his previous style.
More on Béla Tarr’s THE TURN HORSE:
Two informative thumbs-up. Looking very forward to new Malick, Tarr, & Woody Allen
Here is my 30 most-anticipated films of 2010 series. Part One: Part Two:

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