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Great Moments in Horror Actressing: Margot Kidder

"This genre gives actresses some really juicy lines and roles,but denies them the acclaim that comes from more 'serious' roles.Kidder was a gifted actress who was indelible in a few films."-Lady Edith

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Entries in Laurent Cantet (2)

Saturday
May 27 2017

Cannes Look-back: "The Class"

As we await the Cannes closing ceremony with all its awards glamour,let's take a look back at a previous Palme winner which has connections to a competition entry this year.Here's John Guerin...

The Class,Laurent Cantet's 2008 Palme d'Or winner,left me both exhausted and inspired.An autobiographical chronicle of François Bégaudeau's first year of teaching French language and literature at an inner-city high school in Paris,The Classis an entirely self-contained glimpse into the daily challenges,joys,dead-ends,nuisances,amusements,and tensions in one especially spirited classroom. AlthoughThe Classis spatially confined to the school building,the currents of the outside world frequently wash ashore and brush up against Bégaudeau's attempts to lead a discussion of the imperfect tense or find meaning inThe Diary of Anne Frankor do just about anything constructive.

Cantet and Bégaudeau,with the assistance of co-writer and editor Robin Campillo (director of the underrated 2013Eastern Boysandthis year's Queer Palme winner120 Beats per Minute),smartly avoid clichés of the Exasperated Teacher genre and opts instead for ambivalence over didacticism;there is no breakthrough in Bégaudeau's attitude from frustration to satisfaction,there is seldom a transformation of student rancor into exuberance,there is no "saving"exactly,but the film doesn't descend into cheap cynicism either...

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Wednesday
Aug 15 2012

Searching for Treasures at TIFF: A Top Dozen List

Hey Everyone.Amirhere to preview the Toronto International Film Festival.There's less than a month to go before opening night.Those of you who follow the festival's news regularly probably know that yesterday marked the completion of most of the festival's strands,so we can officially start salivating all over the program book.Making a "Most Anticipated Films"list is a fool's errand;TIFF's lineup is so vast that the list would basically equate to everything that's left to be screened in 2012 and then some.Titles likeThe Master,Anna Karenina,Argo(the latter of whichI'm anticipatinganddreading) andCloud Atlaswill feature on everyone's list.There are also Cannes leftovers such asRust & Bone,Reality,NoandThe Paperboyto be excited for,but I'm dedicating this list,to the pleasure of discovery which is the lifeblood of festivals.

Last year Nathaniel made a similarlist of sixteen potential gemsin advance of the festival.Some of those were films I would not have watched had he not suggested them,and I'm glad to say that one of them ended up not only as mytop film of the festival,but thebest filmI saw all year.Here's hoping we can strike gold again with any of these:

The Suicide Shop

12.A Liar's Biography/The Suicide Shop

Yes,I hate "ties"as much as you when it comes to list-making but I wanted to round things out with an animated film and couldn't decide between them.We've got a 3D fictionalized telling of Graham Chapman's life through the perspective of the Monty Python gang or a Patrice Leconte musical about a family who help people take their own lives.Can you blame me for the indecision ?!?

12.The ABCs of Death

The Midnight Madness program is the one I've attended the least over the years,mostly because I see too many films in a day to have the energy at midnight.Yet this omnibus film seems like the perfect campy end to a festival day.Twenty-six directorsfrom all over the world (including Ti West and Ben Wheatley) give us twenty-six alphabet inspired ways to die in a horror film.

10.Barbara

Barbaraalready screened at Berlinale to terrific reactions,but given that it has no Canadian distributor I'm watching.Director Christian Petzold netted a Silver Bear in Berlin and Nina Hoss,terrific in his last two films,returns to star in a third consecutive.The 80s-set story concerns a scientist forced to stay in a rural hospital as punishment by the East German government.

Isabelle Huppert,Terrence Malick,and Seven (or more) Pyschopathsafter the jump.

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