Last day of August, and not a moment too soon. While others sort out the implications of Disney's acquisition of Marvel (have at it, folks), we're anxiously awaiting the more or less official beginning of the fall festival season: Venice opens on Wednesday, followed by Telluride this weekend and Toronto on September 10.
Over the weekend, Geoffrey Macnab explained in the Independent why he's got a hunch that this year's Venice lineup "appears to be shaping up better" than last year's. Stephanie Bunbury echoes the upbeat tone in the Age: "The festival's director, Marco Mueller, has pulled out all the stops to make up for last year's program, which was universally panned.... Over 10 days audiences will be offered 71 world premieres, with a record 25 countries represented. European directors include Jacques Rivette, Alexander Sokurov, Fatih Akin and Claire Denis, and from Asia there are genre maestros Johnny To and Shinya Tsukamoto. There are offerings from from countries whose film cultures are little known even to determined arthouse patrons, such as Egypt, Albania and Peru."
Telluride famously keeps its lineup relatively secret until the first day of the festival (that'll be Friday), but one highlight of this year's edition will surely be the tribute to Manny Farber, coinciding with next month's Library of America release of Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber. Besides a screening of one of Farber's favorite films, there'll be a panel featuring the collection's editor, Robert Polito; Farber's wife and collaborator, Patricia Patterson; Jean-Pierre Gorin; Kent Jones; Greil Marcus; David Thomson; and Robert Walsh. And this year's guest director, who, as tradition has it, has a hand in curating the program, is Alexander Payne.
Toronto, of course, is the big one - 273 features and 64 shorts from 64 countries. It hardly matters that most of these films won't be seeing their world premieres at TIFF; for most Americans and Canadians, this'll be the first shot. Michael Guillén's been gathering word on what we know so far about the films screening in the Masters and Discovery programs, while Michael Sicinski's been previewing Future Projections and Wavelengths. Darren Hughes, who hosts a TIFF-attending community at 1st Thursday, also has a few Wavelengths previews (1, 2 and 3). The Playlist lays out its "13 Most-Anticipated Picks," while TIFFReviews has been amassing trailers (well over 160 so far) and Joe Bowman's been tracking down posters: Rounds 1 and 2.
Further down the line, the coming season not only brings us the New York Film Festival (September 25 through October 11) but also the Viennale (October 22 through November 4), which Neil Young previews right here at The Auteurs.
Image: Lourdes premieres in Venice, screens in Toronto, and is currently being snapped up by European distributors, as Elsa Kelassy reports in Variety: "Jessica Hausner's pic follows a lonely woman, played by Gallic thesp Sylvie Testud (La Vie en Rose), who is miraculously cured from a life-long physical handicap after visiting Lourdes, and suddenly becomes the object of envy and admiration."