THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
MAST D: Ken Loach w/ Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney. Ireland/UK/Germany/Italy/Spain. 124 min. Thursday, September 7, 6 PM RYERSON; Saturday, September 9, noon VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Rating: NNNN See review.
CWC D: Hans-Christian Schmid w/ Sandra Hüller, Burghart Klaussner. Germany. 93 min. Thursday, September 7, 6:15 PM VARSITY 1 or 6; Friday, September 8, 11:45 AM PARAMOUNT 1; Thursday, September 14, 9:30 PM VARSITY 2 Rating: NNN
Sounds unlikely, but director Schmid has made a film about exorcism and demonic possession that's not exploitative. Based on real events, it focuses on Michaela (Hüller), a devout university student who suffers from erratic epileptic fits. As these worsen (she hears voices and can't hold her rosary), she alienates her new boyfriend and causes tension in her family.
None of this is played for gothic horror, but rather for psychological mystery; there's a suggestion that Michaela's problems might be caused by her rift with her judgmental mother. Hüller is astonishing, persuading us of her shy niceness in the early scenes so that her later outbursts are shocking.
THE JOURNALS OF KNUD RASMUSSEN
GALA D: Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn w/ Pakak Innukshuk, Leah Angutimarik. Canada/Denmark. 112 min. Thursday, September 7, 6:30 PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN); Thursday, September 7, 8 PM ROY THOMSON HALL; Friday, September 8, 9:30 AM RYERSON Rating: NNN See review.
LA TOURNEUSE DE PAGES
CWC D: Denis Dercourt w/ Catherine Frot, Déborah François. France. 85 min. Thursday, September 7, 8:30 PM VARSITY 4 or 5; Saturday, September 9, 9:15 AM PARAMOUNT 4 Rating: NNN
Call it The Hand That Rocks The Steinway. An icy famous pianist (Frot) cuts short a young girl's music career at a conservatory audition; that same girl finds herself years later as the pianist's page-turner and nanny to her young son. Dercourt's taut little psychological thriller is very well shot and intelligent on the subjects of confidence and doubt. The pianist, recovering from a car accident, is crippled by stage fright, and Frot communicates her fragility superbly. As the hard-to-read nanny, François (the young mom from L'Enfant) is her dramatic equal, with an implacable face worthy of a young Isabelle Huppert.
Despite an exciting mid-film twist, this entertaining pic, like vengeance itself, leaves you feeling a bit empty.
THE BOTHERSOME MAN
CWC D: Jens Lien w/ Trond Fausa Aurvg, Petronella Barker. Norway. 95 min. Thursday, September 7, 9 PM VARSITY 1 or 6; Saturday, September 9, 11:45 AM PARAMOUNT 4 Rating: NNN
A brave new world inspired by Tati and Tarkovsky by way of David Lynch and Roy Andersson, this comic satire of Norwegian bourgeois society is crammed with wild observations about the emotional life (and lack of it) of Scandinavians.
A man suddenly finds himself in a new city where problems and memory don't exist and happy people apparently live without pain or death. Many funny bits arise from the curious fact that politesse takes precedence over feelings. It's a shame Lien had to frame it all within an unnecessary afterlife conceit instead of just giving us an unfiltered lambasting of his countrymen's peccadilloes.
VIS D: Nuri Bilge Ceylan w/ Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ebru Ceylan. Turkey/France. 101 min. Thursday, September 7, 9 PM VARSITY 8; Friday, September 8, 3 PM RYERSON Rating: NNN
This is an intensely meditative personal essay about a disintegrating relationship by Turkish art house darling Ceylan. In a move that's perversely audacious and arguably a tad narcissistic (rest assured, Ceylan is no Vincent Gallo and this is no Brown Bunny), the director casts himself and his wife in an understated, sparsely worded anatomy of a breakup that's at times alienating, at times absorbing.
Some will be awed by its deceptively unassuming complexity, but less patient viewers may grow frustrated by its dissection of mid-life existential ennui that ends up embodying the very ill it depicts. Though Climates is undoubtedly less rewarding than his previous film Distant, it's nevertheless a testimony to Ceylan's talent and mastery of his craft that we remain riveted by a screen on which nothing much happens.
CF D: Andrew Currie w/ Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker. 91 min. Thursday, September 7, 9:15 PM RYERSON; Saturday, September 9, 3:45 PM PARAMOUNT 2 Rating: NNNN See review.
VIS D: Rolf de Heer w/ Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil. Australia. 92 min. Thursday, September 7, 9:15 PM VARSITY 2; Saturday, September 9, 9:45 AM PARAMOUNT 1 Rating: NNNN
A story within a story, replete with many surprising digressions, this gorgeously shot escape into another culture succeeds by re-imagining Aboriginal oral tradition as a movie that, as its narrator says, is "a story like you've never seen before."
It begins 1,000 years ago by bringing a famous Australian photographer's black-and-white photograph of 10 goose-egg hunters and their canoes to life. A warrior who has designs on his older brother's third wife is told a cautionary tale by his brother about two similar brothers many thousands of years earlier, and this thrusts us into a full-blown primeval moral saga. Enchanting.