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Saturday, Sep 7, 2013
With a couple of fiction films punching below their weight, two major documentaries about young people prove to be the highlights of our second day at Toronto International Film Festival.

A Story of Children and Film
United Kingdom, 2013—dir. Mark Cousins


“I’m still a child before a moving image,” wrote Pauline Kael. It’s a sentiment shared by Mark Cousins who states: “I feel, when I watch a movie, that I watch it like a child.” Cousins’s new documentary, the follow-up to his already-iconic The Story of Film, takes off from that observation. A humbler proposition than was its epic, exhilarating and sometimes exasperating predecessor, Cousins’s latest isn’t really a “story” at all but rather a series of observations, of riffs and refs, around its chosen topic, which, this time around, is the way in which children have been represented on the cinema screen over the years: the diverse ways that childhood experience has been constructed and deconstructed by filmmakers.


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Friday, Sep 6, 2013
Guiraudie's movie unfolds entirely at a gay cruising area on the French coast where men flop naked on the beach, appraise each other and head to the woods for more intimate encounters

Stranger By the Lake
France, 2013 - dir. Alain Guiraudie


In its tactility, its attention to place and space, and its unabashed focus upon the male body, something of Denis’s influence can be felt in Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake (L’Inconnu du lac), along with that of François Ozon, whose See the Sea (1997) contains a central sequence that seems to have inspired the premise of Stranger By the Lake. Guiraudie’s movie—a Cannes sensation that deservedly scooped this year’s Queer Palm and Best Director gongs—unfolds entirely at a gay cruising area on the French coast where men flop naked on the beach, appraise each other and head to the woods for more intimate encounters. Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) has pitched up at the spot for the summer and passes his time chatting to the solitary bisexual Henri (Patrick Dassumçao), lusting after the mustachioed Michel (Christophe Paou) and being lusted after, in turn, by the harmless voyeur Eric (Mathieu Vervisch) whose attentions he continually rebuffs.


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Friday, Sep 6, 2013
On his first day at TIFF 2013, Alex Ramon applauds two startling French features, the latest works from Claire Denis and Alain Guiraudie, that both twist the suspense thriller into fresh territory.

Bastards
France, 2013—dir. Claire Denis


Heaps of high heels. A naked girl wandering through a city street. A blood-stained corn on the cob. A pulsing, tensing Tindersticks soundtrack… Yes, you’ve guessed it: here’s the latest impeccably brooding enigma from the imagination of Claire Denis. Though less confounding than some of Denis’s work (2004’s The Intruder still takes that particular prize), the none-too-invitingly titled Bastards (Les Salauds) certainly takes its place as one of Denis’s darkest and most disturbing offerings to date.


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Atiq Rahimi's new movie is a powerful portrait of a woman struggling to care for her comatose husband and protect her two young daughters in war-torn Afghanistan.

Atiq Rahimi’s second film, The Passion Stone, explores the meetings and divergences of duty and love in an almost folkloric fashion. The director was present for the first showing of the film at the San Francisco Film Festival on Monday. The film is based on the book of the same name, which Rahimi also wrote. Before the screening, he talked a bit about the syngué sabour (patience stone) that lies at the heart of the film. According to Persian myth, this mystical stone sometimes appears to individuals who are burdened. They tell their worries to the stone, unburdening their hearts in full. One day, the stone simply shatters. As it falls out of existence, so do the burdens and worries of the individual who has confided in the stone.


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Friday, Sep 14, 2012
Day five of our TIFF coverage features the latest Terrence Malick film To the Wonder and David Ayer's End of Watch.

To the Wonder
USA—Dir. Terrence Malick


Terrence Malick’s latest opus is a gorgeous, elliptical, dreamy collection of images, sounds and stray thoughts, murmurs of poetry and anguish, scenes of unrecoverable silence, all fitted into a loose-fitting narrative about a man (Ben Affleck), the two women he fails to love enough to make commitment work (Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko), and a Priest who has lost his faith (Javier Bardem). A darkly thoughtful meditation on trust, loneliness, freedom, individuality, and the calamitous anxiety of doubt, all interwoven with suggestions of man’s inability to live in harmony with his environment, To The Wonder is brimming with an existentialist, Kierkegaardian spirit. “How should we live?”, indeed.


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