Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski – Madame Tutli-Putli (2007)

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Madame Tutli-Putli boards the Night Train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past. She travels alone, facing both the kindness and menace of strangers. As day descends into dark, she finds herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure. Adrift between real and imagined worlds, Madame Tutli-Putli confronts her demons and is drawn into an undertow of mystery and suspense. The National Film Board of Canada presents a stunning, stop-motion animated film that takes the viewer on an exhilarating existential journey. The film introduces groundbreaking visual techniques and is supported by a haunting and original score. Painstaking care and craftsmanship in form and detail bring to life a fully imagined, tactile world unlike any you have seen. Jungian thriller? Hitchcockian suspense? Artistic tour de force? The Night Train awaits you. (Written by courtesy of National Film Board of Canada) Continue reading

Guy Maddin – Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair (2009)

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Rotterdam 2009: Guy Maddin Will “Send Me To the ‘Lectric Chair”
By R. Emmet Sweeney on 01/29/2009
Guy Maddin, courtesy of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2009

Guy Maddin is a hoarder of uncanny images, from the candy-colored Alpine tableaus of “Careful” to the frozen horse heads of last year’s “My Winnipeg.” A commission from the Rotterdam Film Festival centers around another: Isabella Rossellini blasted out of an electric chair. It’s the basis for his new short film, “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair,” part of the Urban Screens series at the festival, which is projecting three works onto office buildings throughout the city. It’s an archetypal Maddin film, conflating sex, death and film history in a manic seven minutes. I spoke with him at the festival about the new work, collage parties, Thomas Edison and the hazards of Dutch public transit.

How did you get this assignment, and how did you conceive it? Continue reading

Guy Maddin – Odin’s Shield Maiden (2007)

His latest, a 5-minute experiment titled Odin’s Shield Maiden is quite beautiful if not all that thematically engaging. Essentially, it’s a series of black-and-white shots of several women mourning the drowning of a guy named Mundi near the shore. The photography is, needless to say, stunning, and Maddin’s lyrical rhythms are spot on. Still no Heart of the World (2001)–or even My Dad is 100 Years Old (2005)–but wonderful to watch, anyway. Continue reading

Atom Egoyan – Where the Truth Lies (2005)

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From AMG:

A reporter unexpectedly gets a personal perspective on a legendary show-business story in this adaptation of Rupert Holmes’ novel, scripted and directed by noted Canadian independent filmmaker Atom Egoyan. In the mid-’50s, Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) were a wildly popular comedy team who suddenly and unexpectedly broke up at the peak of their popularity. Fifteen years after Morris and Collins called it quits, journalist Karen O’Connor (Alison Lohman), who has earned a reputation for her celebrity exposés, wants to write about the true story of what happened with Morris and Collins — and to her surprise, her publisher tells her Collins has agreed to co-author the book for a cool million dollars. The only catch is that Collins has to tell the full truth about a very large skeleton in the team’s closet — a beautiful naked woman was found drowned in the bathtub of Morris and Collins’ hotel suite shortly before they broke up the act, and while the comics were cleared of any wrongdoing, rumors about the incident followed them for years. As O’Connor and Collins complete their book, they learn to their surprise that Morris has opted to write a book of his own about the team’s career; eager to learn what Morris has to say, O’Connor meets him posing as a schoolteacher, and soon falls into an unexpected romantic relationship with him. O’Connor soon finds herself playing two sides against one another as she tried to learn the truth about two men with dark and scandalous pasts. Where the Truth Lies became the subject of unexpected controversy when the MPAA gave the film an NC-17 rating due to a brief scene involving a ménage à trois; the film earned significantly more lenient rating in other countries. Continue reading

Sébastien Pilote – Le Vendeur (2011)

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Quote:
This stunning Quebecois kitchen sink drama is so raw and real, the pain evoked so acute, you’ll be devastated by its quiet power while at the same time dazzled by its cinematic genius. The film had its World Premiere in Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 and was cited as one of Canada’s Ten Best Films of the year in the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) CTT. That it has not garnered one single nomination for a Genie Award is an utter disgrace.

(Greg Klymkiw, canadianfilmcorner.blogspot.com)

Quote:
A tale of quiet resilience and human frailty that plays out against a harsh and apparently endless Quebec winter, befouled by the global economic downturn and a cruel twist of fate, Quebec filmmaker Sébastien Pilote’s debut, Le Vendeur (The Salesman) is a masterful observation of ordinary people squeezing what they need to get by out of unforgiving circumstances. Continue reading

Jean-Marc Vallée – Café de Flore (2011)

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From IMDb :

A love story between a man and woman. And between a mother and her son. A mystical and fantastical odyssey on love.

From Toronto International Film Festival official website :

*** This description contains spoilers ***

Jean-Marc Vallée returns to French-language filmmaking with this powerful and unconventional love story that weaves together two disparate narratives to create a tale of emotion and destiny. The stories center on a devoted mother (Vanessa Paradis) of a young boy with Down syndrome in 1969 Paris, and a successful DJ (Kevin Parent) who is going through an emotional divorce in present-day Montreal. Continue reading