Restaurant Review

Rating: NNNNNfinely graded performance by Neill and an unrecognizable one by Warburton, who was last seen romancing Seinfeld's Elaine as.

Rating: NNNNN

finely graded performance by Neill and an unrecognizable one by Warburton, who was last seen romancing Seinfeld’s Elaine as the guy from NASA. JH

ROCKS AT WHISKEY TRENCHPC D: Alanis Obomsawin. Canada. 105 mins. Friday, September 15, 6:30 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Saturday, September 16, 10:00 am VARSITY 7 Rating: NN This follow-up to Kanehsatake: 270 Years Of Resistance, one of the great documentaries of the last 20 years, isn’t. It’s a “where are they now?” interview film, filled with natives’ complaints that during the long standoff, people were mean to them. Granting that the behaviour of the rock-throwing white yahoos was appalling, my basic response is, ‘What did you expect?’ Mostly shot on grainy video, then transferred to film. JH

CHUNHYANGMAST D: Im Kwontaek w/ Yi Hyojeong, Cho Seungwoo. South Korea. 120 mins. Friday, September 15, 6:30 pm UPTOWN 1 Saturday, September 16, 9:30 am ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Rating: NN Im Kwontaek, South Korea’s dean of directors, with over 90 films to his credit, has been chronicling his country’s culture for over two decades. This beautifully-mounted medieval love story, said to be his most accessible work, is narrated for a contemporary audience in a kind of wailing rap style called Pansori, which was too much of a barrier for this viewer to surmount. I could not even appreciate the Romeo And Juliet-like characters or the sumptuous production. PE

THE KING IS ALIVECWC D: Kristian Levring w/ Miles Anderson, Bruce Davison, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Janet McTeer, Romane Bohringer. Denmark. 109 mins. Friday, September 15, 7:00 pm VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Saturday, September 16, 9:00 pm UPTOWN 2 Rating: NNN This Dogme offspring by Levring, co-author of the crazy 1995 manifesto, is a powerful, visually arresting venture. Relying on a top-notch international cast, he puts a Shakespearean spin on the old trick of stranding a bunch of strangers in a harsh, remote setting (in this case an eerie abandoned mining town in the Namibian desert). While staging King Lear in an attempt to ward off despair, they slowly break down. The film is a harrowing mix of intellect and grittiness. It’s not without its literary pretensions, but its raw energy (something Dogme seems particularly suited to convey) definitely pays off, especially in the final segment. JC

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE CHICKENRTR D: Mark Lewis U.S. 54 mins. Friday, September 15, 9:00 pm CUMBERLAND 3 Saturday, September 16, 3:30 pm VARSITY 7 Rating: NNNN NThis cockumentary ranges from the nutty to the strangely poetic, but it’s the nutty stuff that really tickles. Lewis (Cane Toads) stages re-enactments of just about everything, lending an Unsolved Mysteries absurdity to already funny events. The realities of factory farming are also presented, but never pedantically. This sly gem — one of the last remaining docs not shot on video — will make you search a little harder for the free-range section. KL

WERCKMEISTER HARMONIESMAST D: Béla Tarr w/ Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz. Hungary. 145 mins. Friday, September 15, 9:00 pm UPTOWN 2 Saturday, September 16, 2:00 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Rating: NN Festival director Piers Handling thinks Béla Tarr is a master of the cinema. I think Béla Tarr should be held hostage and forced to edit his movies. Here’s the defining shot of Werckmeister Harmonies. The young protagonist and his mentor walk along a muddy road in the middle of one of the least scenic parts of Hungary. The camera rises behind them and they walk some more. They arrive at a fork in the road. One of them walks one way, the other one goes the other. The camera holds them until they’re out of frame. This takes a couple of minutes. Tarr is the patron poet of beautiful tableaux of crumbling masonry and people walking away from the camera in the rain. His shots are exquisitely choreographed. And then they go on well past the point of human endurance. Unrest is brewing in a small town in Hungary, and the young man sent to spread the word apparently doesn’t have access to a car. Or a bicycle. He does a lot of walking. At 90 minutes, this might be a great film. JH

FACECWC D: Junji Sakamoto w/ Naomi Fujiyama. Japan. 123 mins. Friday, September 15, 9:15 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Saturday, September 16, 6:30 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Rating: NNN The socially withdrawn, middle-aged Masako (Fujiyama) finds freedom after her mother dies and she kills her beautiful sister in a fit of pent-up rage. There are some off-putting moments here. How are we supposed to react when Masako is both turned on and horrified by the two rapes she endures? But the discomfort falls away as Fujiyama gradually transforms Masako from a lonely geek into a confident woman. This movie belongs entirely to Fujiyama, Japan’s leading stage actor, who makes her film debut here. IR

SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOORCWC D: Roy Andersson w/ Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Hanna Eriksson, Peter Roth. Sweden. 98 mins. Friday, September 15, 9:30 pm UPTOWN 1 Saturday, September 16, 9:45 pm UPTOWN 3 Rating: NNN In his first feature since the 1975 Giliap, Andersson stretches the style of his idiosyncratic commercials, planting his very still camera in never-ending corridors. A conjurer botches his act. An employee clutches the legs of the boss who’s firing him. Priests talk money. An old woman tries to stimulate her indifferent husband. Imagine Tati and Buñuel getting together to shoot the apocalypse on a surreal Scandinavian night and you get a sense of this commendable — but also dragging and often alienating — oddity.

THE LAW OF ENCLOSURESPC D: John Greyson w/ Sarah Polley, Brendan Fletcher. 111 mins. Friday, September 15, 9:45 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Saturday, September 16, 10:00 am VARSITY 1 Rating: NN For the first half-hour, we think we’re watching two separate couples — young lovers Polley and Fletcher, and a senior pair, Diane Ladd and Sean McCann. But it’s soon clear that it’s one couple at two stages of their relationship. An interesting premise, but in the hands of art-house filmmaker Greyson, it’s dulled into blunt lifelessness. Polley, Ladd and McCann work hard, and some of their life force seeps into the film, but not enough to save it. IR

saturday 19

AMORCWC D: Alejandro González Iñarritu w/ Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Vanessa Bauche, Alvaro Guerrero. Mexico. 153 mins. Saturday, September 9, 8:30 pm JACKMAN HALL – AGO Rating: NNNN CRITICS’ CHOICE: indicates 4- and 5-N reviews

Festival series are abbreviated as follows:

CWC — Contemporary World Cinema

GALA — Gala

MM — Midnight Madness

DIAL — Dialogues

DISC — Discovery

RBS — Robert Beavers Spotlight

MAST — Masters

BOF — Beckett On Film

PA — Planet Africa

PC — Perspective Canada

RTR — Real To Reel

SPEC — Special Presentations

Y1 — Year 1

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