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Darren H

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  1. No. Sorry to have implied that in my earlier post. Diop's short films are all quite unconventional--experimental, even. They're also very small productions. Financing is so hard to come by these days, and public funding organizations typically require completed scripts before lending their support, so there's a push for convention in the process itself. This is all speculation on my part, but I feel like there's a tension in Atlantics between the storytelling and Diop's interest in formal invention (a series of beautiful, washed-out shots of the ocean are the only parts of the film that look like her other work).
  2. Sorry to hear about Jessica's pneumonia. It just occurred to me that, aside from a cold one year and an occasional bout of anxiety/panic (usually brought on by exhaustion and the stress of interviews), I've never dealt with any health issues in all of my years of attending fests. On top of the pain of the sickness, that must've been incredibly frustrating! I saw 25 films/programs during my five days at the fest. Of the 16 TIFFs I've attended, this was the worst lineup yet. It's such a huge program, so I'm always hesitant to make generalizations based on 10% of what screened, but that seemed to be the general consensus among critics too. A few friends had already seen most of the top-line stuff at Berlin, Cannes, and Locarno, so their TIFF was especially bleak. I realized this year how much I crave a "wow" experience at a fest, because I didn't get one this time. Even the Wavelengths shorts program, which is usually the highlight of my film year, only included two or three pieces that really worked for me. I still need to catch up with a couple noteworthy TIFF films -- Synonyms, Parasite, Marriage Story, Uncut Gems, Portrait of a Lady on Fire -- and maybe one of those will give me that "wow" I'm chasing. Or maybe one of the films that didn't play TIFF -- Reichardt, Desplechin, the Dardennes -- will be my film of 2019. As it stands, I didn't give any feature at TIFF a rating higher than a 4. My favorites were I Was at Home, But (Schanelec), Liberte (Serra), The Traitor (Bellocchio), and, the most pleasant surprise to me, A Hidden Life. I thought I was done with Malick, but this one complicates my sense of his spiritual project. I mean, I was even disappointed by Pedro Costa! And Atlantics was a big disappointment too. I love Mati Diop's short films, but the feature just doesn't work. I feel like there might a good film in there somewhere but it was lost in the edit. Most scenes don't work. The shape of the entire film doesn't work. I'd be curious to hear the inside story of what kind of pressures she felt to make it a more conventional, Netflix-friendly film. I wonder, even, if the cut was rushed to meet the Cannes deadline. She spent a decade trying to get a feature made, so I hate that the result feels compromised in some way. The good news (at least for me, as a believer in her talent) is that she won some awards and got distribution from Netflix, so hopefully it'll be easier for her to finance the next project.
  3. Here's the latest draft of my schedule. I only get to watch films for five days, so I'm cramming in as many as possible. 9/5 - Endless Night (Enciso) or A Hidden Life (Malick) - Atlantics (Diop) - I Was at Home, But (Schanelec) - Zombie Child (Bonello) - Bacarau (Mendonca) 9/6 - INTERVIEW or Guest of Honor (Egoyan) or Short Cuts 1 (including Lanthimos) - Proxima (Winocour) - The Whistlers (Porumboiu) - Three Summers (Kogut) - Wavelengths 1 - Vitalina Varela (Costa) 9/7 - INTERVIEW or Cunningham (Kovgan) - The Traitor (Bellocchio) - Workforce (Zonana) - Seven Years in May (Uchôa) / My Skin, Luminous (Rodríguez, Pereda) - Wavelengths 2 - Krabi, 2562 (Suwichakornpong, Rivers) 9/8 - INTERVIEW or The Burnt Orange Heresy (Capotondi) - Martin Eden (Marcello) - Lina from Lima (González) or The Audition (Weisse) - INTERVIEW? - Liberte (Serra) - Wavelengths 3 9/9 - The Moneychanger (Veiroj) - Ema (Larraín) - State Funeral (Loznitsa) - Wavelengths 4 - Wet Season (Chen)
  4. With the Wavelengths and Masters lineups announced today, this is shaping up to be a really strong year. My only major disappointment is that it looks like Kelly Reichardt's new film will premiere at Telluride and then skip TIFF before screening at NYFF. I'd also heard rumors of a new Tsai Ming-liang feature that didn't make the lineup, apparently. I wonder if I'll be able to squeeze in 30 films in five days?
  5. I'll be there for a few days. I'm teaching my first Cinema Studies course at UT this fall, so my plan is to fly up on Wednesday, skip my Thursday class, and then fly back on Tuesday in time to teach that afternoon. I have to admit that the TIFF thrill is finally -- after 15 years! -- starting to fade for me a bit. I'll be able to watch films for five full days, including all of the Wavelengths shorts programs, pick up some interviews, see a bunch of friends, and eat a couple good meals. I'm usually ready to leave on Tuesday morning anyway, so this should work out well. With the short TIFF trip, I figure I can also justify going up to New York for more of Projections during NYFF. My course is on film criticism, so the department head is encouraging me to go to fests. My boss at my day job is also supportive. I'm really grateful for the opportunity.
  6. Falling Upward is a small book with one very useful central idea -- the order/disorder/reorder model that I mentioned in that other thread. It's the kind of book you might gift to someone and encourage them to read over a weekend. The Universal Christ is much more ambitious. It's a plainspoken but exhaustively researched and supported expression of Rohr's theology of "the Christ." (The joke-y pullquote is "Christ isn't Jesus's last name.") It really feels like the summation of a life's praxis. Forty pages in I worried that the book would only be a presentation of this one idea -- that "the Christ" was/is God entering our universe -- but he then provides historical context for this understanding and traces it through central ideas like the life and death of Jesus, sin and grace, religious practices other than Christianity, salvation, and the life/culture/politics of the church. I've scribbled notes on more than half of the pages in my copy -- it's one of those books. I'd be curious to hear what non-protestant friends think of it. I was raised in a culture that was ignorant of church history from, say, the 2nd century to Billy Graham, so I relish the sections where Rohr presents theological notions that sound almost blasphemous to my evangelical ears with Biblical passages (that I get to reread with fresh eyes) and historical traditions of theology about which I'm completely oblivious. The Liturgists podcast did a great two-part interview with Rohr about the book.
  7. I'd love to have an excuse to write at length about Denis's films in this context, but my fall is booked up with other projects. Good luck, Ken!
  8. Nice to see this thread resurface. For what it's worth, I've just about finished Richard Rohr's new book, The Universal Christ, which is exactly the book I needed to read. He mentioned in a recent interview that his publisher forced him through seven or eight edits, which apparently exhausted him, but the work shows. It's by far the best thing I've read by him -- it feels like the culmination of his life's work and thinking (he'll celebrate his 50th year as a priest in 2020). I'm grateful for this book if for no other reason than it presents a version of the Christ story that feels intuitively right to me, and it's given me a way to reclaim the vocabulary of Christian religion. Highly recommended.
  9. I wasn't expecting either of these! My trip to Toronto will probably be short this year, so I'm already hoping the scheduling gods will allow me to see them both.
  10. I was happy to see the new film announced today! I was worried that, after working so hard to get your accreditation, you'd find yourself at a Dardenne-less Cannes.
  11. Those are the films I've seen, in ranked order.
  12. The survey requires you to rank all of the films, so only people who have seen all of the films will be able to submit a ranked list. I'm actually okay with that. I love many films on this list but don't feel qualified to rank them because I've only seen half.
  13. Darren H

    HIgh Life (2018)

    My piece is up at The Notebook. Here's a very on-brand tease:
  14. Darren H

    HIgh Life (2018)

    > I'm hoping to read something insightful soon that will help me say, "Okay, I'm glad I sat through this." I think Nick Pinkerton is the best critic of late Denis. His cover feature for Film Comment is great. If all goes as planned, my long essay will be published this week, hopefully on Monday. Only the last fourth is specifically about High Life, but I felt like I was wearing my old A&F hat when I wrote it. I call the film a "theologocal/ontological puzzle box." It's Denis asking "Why live?"
  15. Granted, the world doesn't need another film podcast, but I'd love to listen to one about cinephilia and parenting.
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