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Amanda and Gil - Back from TIFF '08

After six days and twelve screenings, we're back in town and ready to report to everyone about the films that we saw.

The Best

Slumdog Millionaire (UK, Danny Boyle)

Winner of the Cadillac People’s Choice Award! A young Indian man, who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, becomes a finalist on the TV show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Due to his background and upbringing, the authorities question the young man as they assume he has been cheating. During their interrogation, we learn about the boy’s life and how he came to learn the answers to the questions. Brilliant direction and screenplay by director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty). Q&A with director Boyle, actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, and screenwriter Beaufoy. 5 cats.

The Wrestler (USA, Darren Aronofsky)

Comeback of the year! Mickey Rourke is Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed-up professional wrestler whose glory days are long-gone. Instead of playing to sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, Robinson must now settle for wrestling in front of a few hundred bloodthirsty diehards in school gymnasiums. While hard to watch at times (especially the barbed wire match), Aronofsky brings a complete character study of a man who doesn’t know how to function out of the limelight. Introduction by Darren Aronofsky, no Q&A. 4.5 cats

Sill Walking (Japan, Hirokazu Kore-eda)

A quiet, slow-paced drama that perfectly captures the dynamics of a family reunion as the Yokoyama family gathers to commemorate the 15th anniversary of eldest son Junpei’s accidental death. There was a nice introduction by Kore-eda. 4.5 cats

Horn of Plenty / El Cuerno de la abondancia (Cuba, Juan Carlos Tabío, co-director of Strawberry and Chocolate)

A comedy about the upheaval that occurs in the small town of Yamaguey when the extended Castiñeiras family learns of a large inheritance that may be coming to them. Excellent acting, especially Jorge Perugorría in the lead role of Bernardito. A story of family relationships and the quest for material gain, set against the backdrop of the poverty, isolation, and class differences of modern-day Cuba. Q&A with Perugorría. 4.5 cats

Something Different

$9.99 (Israel/Australia, Tatia Rosenthal)

A stop-motion animated film for grown-ups, based on short stories by Israeli writer Etgar Keret. The film tells the intertwining stories of a group of neighbors, including a widower, a little boy, a homeless man who may be an angel, and a young man named Dave, who discovers a book that will tell him the meaning of life for only $9.99. The biggest surprise of the night was the unexpected attendance of Geoffry Rush (the voice of the angel) who did the Q&A with director Rosenthal. 4 cats

24 City (China, Jia Zhang-Ke)

Part documentary, part narrative, this film documents the demise of a giant Chengdu factory complex, which is being dismantled to make way for a new high-end housing development called ’24 City.’ Interviews with three generations of factory workers and their family members are interspersed with monologues by Chinese actresses Lv Liping, Joan Chen, and Zhao Tao, who are themselves representative of the three generations. We’re not sure if we liked the idea of blending the real and made-up narratives, but it worked, and the film provided a fascinating glimpse into the fast pace of social and economic change in recent Chinese history. No Q&A. 4 cats

Detroit Metal City (Japan, Toshio Lee)

Based on the popular anime story, this bizarre film tells the story of a young man who dreams of playing “trendy” pop songs. Somewhere along the way, his life takes a wrong turn and he finds himself the lead singer of D.M.C. (Detroit Metal City), Japan’s answer to KISS. Part of the Midnight Madness selection, Detroit Metal City is a future cult classic that will surely find an audience that is looking for something fun and different. Director Lee introduced the film and stayed for Q&A, but we did not, as we were running late for another film. 4 cats.

Religulous (USA, Larry Charles)

Bill Maher looks into the beliefs and practices of a number of different organized religions. Shot in a comedic style that is similar to the Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore, this documentary is entertaining yet seems overambitious and may have benefited from narrowing its focus. Q&A with Larry Charles. 3.5 cats.

More World Cinema

Linha de Passe (Brazil, Walter Salles, director of the Motorcycle Diaries and Central Station, and Daniela Thomas)

A portrait of four brothers and their pregnant mother struggling to get by in São Paolo, Brazil. The mother works as a maid and cheers on the local soccer team. Denis, the oldest, works as a motorcycle courier and has a child of his own. Dario, 18, wants to be a professional soccer player. Dinho works at a gas station and spends much of his time in an evangelical church. Reginaldo, the youngest, spends much of his time riding the city bus, looking for his father. No Q&A – the film opened in Brazil the same night we saw it. 3.5 cats

Country Wedding (Iceland, Valdís Óskarsdóttir)

Having never seen an Icelandic film, we were excited to see one of two Icelandic wedding films that screened at the festival (the other one was White Night Wedding). Largely improvised, this “road” comedy follows the wedding party and close family – who each have a secret – as they travel across the countryside in rented buses looking for the chapel where the wedding will be held. Good performances, but a bit too much bickering. Q&A with one of the actors. 3.5 cats

Un été sans point ni coup sûr / A No-Hit No-Run Summer (Canada, Francis Leclerc)

A light-hearted family comedy set in Montreal during the summer of 1969, the Expos’ first season. Twelve-year-old Martin dreams of playing on the local little-league baseball team. But, when he doesn’t make the cut, his father forms a “B” team with all of the kids who didn’t make the team. The film was a bit too sentimental for our taste, especially Martin’s imaginary conversations with one of the Expos’ players. But the film should appeal to baseball fans, especially those who grew up during the late 60s/early 70s. Q&A with the director, producer, screenwriter, and one of the actors. 3 cats.

A Film with Me in It (Ireland, Ian FitzGibbon)

We wanted to see this black comedy about two slackers (one writer and one actor) because we’re fans of Irish comedian Dylan Moran, from the British TV series Black Books. Despite an excellent performance by Moran, the film was disappointing as it didn’t come together as well as it could have. No Q&A. 2.5 cats

TIFF Day 5 (posted on Day 9)

Every Little Step 4 cats The director of this documentary got incredible access to every aspect of the audition process for the revival of A Chorus Line – he combines this with audio and interview footage from the 70’s during the original musical’s inception, and present day interviews with people who were part of both productions.

Ashes of Time Redux 4 cats Wong Kar Wai in the house! Biggest rockstar reception I saw anywhere, including the Canadian galas – the Ryerson went nuts when the TIFF speaker introduced him. I haven’t seen the original version of the film, so can’t say how well the Redux part of the film was, but good god is it a beautiful film. It’s his only martial arts film, and tells the story of great fighters, each told in its own seasonal vignette. The fight scenes are shot like paintings, broad strokes of movement and shifting light, and the score accentuates the big mood with sweeping orchestral pieces, featuring Yo Yo Ma. This is the film that inspired Hero and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – it’s 15 years old, but you can’t tell that at all on the screen.

Adoration 3.5 cats Another big Canadian premiere at the Elgin – this one wasn’t as crazy as Blindness, but it was still madness. Speaking of mad, Arsinee Khahjian is off her rocker in this film about the line between truth and fiction in a day of viral communication. A student is encouraged by his French teacher (Khahjian) to write a piece in POV style, so that his classmates will believe it’s his own story. The ruse is far more effective and its impact wider than either expect – in part because of the way in which elements of the lie dovetail with the student and teacher’s personal histories. Truth and fiction seem to have the most effect, though, on the boy’s uncle (Scott Speedman) who has raised him since the death of the boy’s parents years ago. The leads give strong performances, but the usual Egoyanian timeshifting gets confusing this time around, I think because the story is about a story that itself plays with time – it’s like there’s one layer too many. Egoyan uses the internet to be something of a postmodern Greek chorus, and while I don’t know that internet oriented stories are ever going to be all that interesting to film, he does as good a job as possible to prevent the computer usage scenes from killing the film’s tempo. Sadly, though, the score really really bugged me – while it was gorgeous music, the whole time I felt like it was pushing on me and on the movie to have a tone and mood that wasn’t on the screen. (So if you like the music, then I think you might give it 4 cats)

This is it for me while in Toronto – the rest of my films will get posted from home. Now I’m off to checkout, and catch my last two films of the fest. Ciao for now!

Chlotrudis Indie Film Wrap-Up, September 12 - 18

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

The ever-bizarre Boston Film Festival kicks off this week, changing venues to the Kendall Square Cinema and opening with the Ed Harris helmed adaptation of Robert Parker novel, APALOOSA. While there are some interesting docs in the line-up, I just can't see what they're going for. I am much more interested in the Edward Yang retrospective going on at the Harvard Film Archive. Edward Yang is a Korean director who died too young and was responsible for the sheer genius of YI YI (A ONE AND A TWO). That's the only film by Yang that I've seen because the others haven't been released in the U.S. Now the HFA is playing a handful of them, and bringing some of the late filmmaker's collaborators. Wu Nien-jen, a director in his own right, who also acted in YI YI, will be in town all weekend. I really have to try and make one of these shows.

The Coen Brothers new flick, BURN AFTER READING is quite a change of pace from last year's NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. The wacky comedy starring George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton has a very funny and wacky preview, but only the next few weeks will determine whether it opens too wide to be eligible for Chlotrudis consideration. I will try to catch it regardless. The other high profile release is the remake of THE WOMEN, starring Meg Ryan and Annette Bening, I haven't read a single good thing about this film, which is a shame since it was shot in Boston. Oh well.

Stay tuned! One of Chlotrudis' most loved programs returns in a couple of weeks! The Sunday Eye Opener, co-presented by the Brattle Theatre, is a sneak-preview film and discussion series that takes place every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. for eight weeks. This season's session begins on Sunday, September 28. Watch this space to find out what film will kick things off.

Thanks to Beth Curran for keeping us informed from the Toronto International Film Festival! Beth has made several blog posts reviewing some of the great films she's seen. Thanks also to Bruce for reporting in as well. I can't wait to hear from everyone who went to find out what movies I need to be looking out for!

See you at the movies!

Playing this week, September 12 - 18, 2008.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Repoertory Series - Hitchcock's 50's
North by Northwest & The Man Who Knew Too Much (Fri. - Sun.)
Psycho (Mon.)
The Wrong Man (Tue.)
To Catch a Thief (Wed.)
To Catch a Thief & Dial M for Murder (Thu.)
Special Live Music Event
Juliana Hatfield (Sun.)
Harvard Bookstore Presents
Slavoj Zizek (Mon.)
Brian Greene (Tue.)
CineMental Presents: Bi's Night Out: Queer Bisexual Film Program (Wed.)
Coming Soon!
5th Annual Art House - Special Fundraising Event
Sunday, September 28, 7 p.m.
Longy School of Music

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Man on Wire
Frozen River
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Encounters at the End of the World
Presented by The Film Foundation and American Express
The Barefoot Contessa (Mon.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

Bottle Shock

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
No independent movies playing.

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Sam Peckinpah, Blood Poet
The Wild Bunch (Fri.)
The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage (Fri.)
The Taiwan Stories of Edward Yang and Wu Nien-jen
Taipei Story w/ The Wind Kaili Peng in Person! (Sat.)
Yi Yi Kaili Peng and Wu Nien-jen in Person! (Sun.)
A Borrowed Life Directed by Wu Nien-jen, Appearing in Person! (Sun.)
That Day on the Beach Screenwriter Wu Nien-jen in Person! (Mon.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Elegy
Sixty Six
Tell No One

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
Trouble the Water
Burn After Reading
A Girl Cut in Two
The Women
I Served the King of England
Frozen River
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Man on Wire
2008 Boston Film Festival
Appaloosa (Fri.)
So You Want Michael Madsen (Sat.)
Soviet Story (Sat.)
Spitting Game: The College Hookup Culture (Sat.)
Hotel California (Sat.)
Childless (Sat.)
Clear Lake WI (Sat.)
Stars and Their Guitars (Sun.)
Courting Condi (Sun.)
America's Lost Band (Remains) (Sun.)
Nashoba (Sun.)
Lonely Street (Sun.)
Speed and Angels (Mon.)
Forgotten Ellis Island Short Program (Mon.)
Operation Shock and Awe...some (Mon.)
Under Our Skin (Tue.)
My Mom's Name is Jean? (Tue.)
Death in Love (Tue.)
Flash of Genius (Wed.)

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
The Women
Man on Wire
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Bottle Shock

Lexington Flick, Lexington
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Elegy
Red Roses and Petrol

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
French Cinema
Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Fri., Sat., Wed., & Thu.)
New England Video Artists Present
Enlighten Up! (Fri. - Sun., Thu.)
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (Wed.)
Envisioning Russia
Sadko (Sat.
The Cranes are Flying (Sat.)
The Letter Never Sent (Sat.)
Jolly Fellows (Wed.)
Jewish Luck (Thu.)
The Mirror (Thu.)
Greek American Heritage on Film
The Journey: The Greek American Dream (Sun.)
Art on Film
The Gates (Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Man on Wire

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Burn After Reading
Frozen Fiver
Elegy
Tell No One
I Served the King of England
Sixty-Six

That's all for now!

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

TIFF Day 4 reviews (posted on Day 7)

Dean Spanley 4 cats
This charmer of a film showcases the sublime skills of Jeremy Northam, Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill. Set in 1900s England, a man (Northam) decides to liven up his regular Thursday visits to his eccentric set in stone father (O’Toole) with a trip to a lecture on the transmigration of souls. There they meet Dean Spanley (Neill), another odd sort of fellow with a taste for Tokay. Later the man meets the Dean again, and realizes that when in his cups, Dean Spanley gets rather – doggish. Intrigued beyond his better judgment, the man invites the Dean over for dinner, and Thursdays will never be the same again. This was an unexpected treat to start the day, the script just sparkles with fantastic lines - the Edwardian farce is going along at a splendid clip, and then all of the sudden, it turns on a dime and good lord I was caught out Kleenex-less, no fair! Peter O’Toole is simply fantastic.

Krabat 3.5 cats
Based on a beloved story/myth/folktale (couldn’t quite get a bead on which) - in 15th century Germany in the midst of plague and the 30 Years War, Krabat is a homeless boy who heeds a mysterious call to become the 12th apprentice at a strange mill overseen by the Master. He is shown the ropes by the head apprentice (Daniel Bruhl), who seems to have some secrets of his own in this dark, odd place which dabbles in sorcery and black arts. Is it Krabat’s destiny to become the inheritor of the Master’s work, or his destroyer? What can I say, I’m a sucker for folktale and mythology. The casting is excellent, with a very appealing lead as Krabat, and the scenery and CGI well done. Yes yes yes the story is beyond hokey and nothing in the plot is terribly surprising – that’s kind of the point of folktales – but there is a flair in the particulars here, and okay I confess I love Daniel Bruhl. Let’s face it, I was gonna like the movie the second he and the director sat behind me and I could hear them laughing and whispering in German. I’m an odd sort of fangirl, so sue me.

La Silence de Lorna 3 cats
Directed by the Dardennes brothers, we follow Lorna, a naturalized Albanian using her Belgian status in a scheme that marries her to others immigrating from Eastern Europe. Imagine if 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days had followed the annoying pregnant girl throughout the film instead of the intrepid friend. Lorna, unfortunately, was very much like that friend – I found her to be completely unsympathetic, so her passivity or ‘silence’ bored me. This was too bad, because the rest of the cast was good - I particularly liked her junkie ‘husband’ – and the story was an interesting one. Everything else about it was good, if it had had a different lead, this could have been a truly great film, I think.

Of Time and the City 4.5 cats
This was Terence Davies’ commission for the Liverpool Cultural Group, and it’s a wonderful homage to his hometown city – in a sense it’s his MY WINNIPEG, the story of a city via the life of one of its premiere artists, with the artist as narrator. It is extraordinary, the extent of the archival footage that Davies had access to - the 20th century came late to the poor sections of Liverpool, and when it arrived, it came with a neighborhood-changing crash. Davies is unflinching, using music (mostly well) as wry counterpoint to the images viewed – Peggy Lee singing as the slums are cleared and highrise estates are built to replace them – and his words and voice to rail against the institutions that he feels failed him and his Liverpool, the Catholic Church and the monarchy. He holds nothing back, love and hate, nostalgia and days of remembrance past regret - every major city should have a film like this made, forget about these omnibus thingies that are all the rage now!

TIFF - Day 3 reviews (posted on Day 7)

Los Paranoicos 4 cats
About a sadsack of an Argentinian writer with writer’s block who finds out that, thanks to a longtime ‘friend’, he is famous in Spain as the quirky leading character in a hit TV show called The Paranoids…a character that shares his exact name. The friend comes back to get an Argentine version of the show undeway, girlfriend in tow, and our writer has a chance to put his foot down. Question is, does he take it? The director’s real life was the inspiration for the film – the director’s best friend really did base a TV show’s leading character on him. No wonder Daniel Handler, in the lead role, did such a great job in being so specific in his portrayal! The film is funny and appealing and heartfelt, and as an added bonus the soundtrack is fantastic.

Blind Sunflowers 4 cats
Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien and Pan’s Labyrinth) is a tour de force in this drama set in Spain during the 40’s, a few years after the end of the Civil War. Her husband, a republican, has been in hiding in a secret room for 4 years and her daughter is pregnant and determined to escape with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, at her young son’s Catholic school, she draws the attention of a young candidate-priest, newly returned from service in the army and now her son’s teacher. The priest’s obsession grows, and in turn so does the woman’s attempts to keep her family’s secret.

Flame & Citron 3.5 cats
Set in Denmark during its WWII occupation, the film tells the story of two famous Danish resistance fighters, Flame and Citron, and tells it with eyes open and no holds barred, which has made it quite a controversial film at home, according to the director. The two leads, Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen are compelling, and the film conveys well the mood of paranoia, conspiracy and hidden brotherhood in a city and country that both protected and threatened these men. Unfortunately, the plot itself was more labyrinthine than it needed to be, and as the end neared, the good job of character buildup that had been done was itself betrayed by obvious twists and inexplicable choices, particularly by Flame. I wasn’t able to stay for the Q&A to find out how much of the film was based on true events – however I imagine that doing a first biopic about two legendary war heroes would make it difficult to change those ‘stranger than fiction’ events.

Blindness 3.5 cats
Okay, I first must talk about the spectacle first – the film’s premiere was at the Elgin, and it was beyond zooey. Seating took forever, and it was unbelievable how large the reserved section was. While looking for a friend, I was almost tripped by Geoffrey Rush, & nearly got bumrushed by Adrien Brody as he was being whooshed to his seat. Then the intro was a long one – I think about 12 or 13 cast members were up there, along with the director, writer and producer. A packed house, all around. As for the film – in an unknown city, a man driving down the street is suddenly stricken blind, from a mysterious disease that quickly spreads. We follow the plight of a blinded eye doctor (Mark Ruffalo) and his wife (Julianne Moore), who is feigning sickness, as they are quarantined with other sufferers in a military hospital, and basically left to fend for themselves. The cast is uniformly good (Maury Chaykin is intensely creepy) and the visuals are arresting. The director, Fernando Mereilles, does an effective job using washed out images and dislocating jump cuts to help the audience experience something of the disorientation and alienation felt by the characters. There is one section that is clunky and overstuffed – it almost breaks the overall tone of the film, but I mostly forgave it because it provided wider information critical to the rest of the film. My bigger issue was with elements of the plot, and the characterization of the wife. I couldn’t buy why she made many of the choices she did, and this kept me from caring that much for her, or for the people she felt responsible for. It’s not like I needed to cry tears of empathy, but I don’t think the intent was to feel as emotionless as I did at film’s end. I haven't read the book, and have a feeling I would have the same quibbles with it as I do the film - particularly since Saramago is so famously protective of his story, I doubt the filmmakers could have changed too much story-wise.

TIFF - Day 4

Well, I can't sleep, so I may as well blog - fortunately tomorrow I don't have to get up early, I have all the day's tickets already in hand!

As you no doubt have gleaned from my last post, I tend to go on a bit, and I find I either have very little or quite a lot to say about what films I've seen. I also find it really hard to rank or rate them; nevertheless, this year I decided to give it a whirl. One note - I use .5s more as extra credit than a further ranking delination; it's a way to note somethin a bit more that stood out. My parameters are: 0 = horrible; 1 = not good; 2 = too many flaws outweigh total good; 3 = good; 4 = great; 5 = fantastic

Day 1 - Passchendaele 2.5 cats
Paul Gross wrote, directed, co-produced and co-starred in a movie inspired by stories told to him by his grandfather about serving in the Canadian army during WWI and experiencing the horrors of trench warfare and the battle at Passchendaele, part of what Americans might know better as the battle for Ypres. It's a story of a German-Canadian brother and sister in Calgary suffering for the actions of their now dead father and the shellshocked soldier (Gross) who has returned to a Canada that no longer feels like home, until he meets these two young people. I heard someone say that this was Canada's Saving Private Ryan, and while that's partly true I think it's also trying to be Canada's Mrs. Miniver. Unfortunately I think whatever larger meaning or significance the film was meant to have is never realized because of the lack of attention to the specific story being told. Which is a shame, because the casting was overall quite good, Calgary looked gorgeous and the warfront/battle scenes were brutal and unforgettable.

Day 2 – The Sky Crawlers 3 cats
Japanese anime, based on a novel about a war that's been wholly privatized by two companies who are at endless war, and the Kildren, genetically mutated humans who cannot age. Yuichi is a new pilot at one of the Rostock bases and quickly becomes an ace, all the while feeling like he's met his fellow pilots and base leader before. the aerial animation was pretty amazing, and the implications of the plot as it unfolded was thought provoking and well developed - but it went on a good 20 minutes too long, and the use of repetition as both a theme and technique was overused and hamhanded. Definitely the first time I've seen a Japanese animated film where I felt the editing was lax.

Day 2 - 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould n/a
This was the Open Vault reissue, and I went because I'd never seen this film all the way through, and thought I should take the chance to do so on the wide screen with a big sound system to get the full effect of the music. The director (Francois Girard), the co-writer (Don McKellar) and the producer (Niv Fichman) were there, and it was pretty incredible to think about how far the three have come since that film was first released 15 years ago - they're now all giants of Canadian cinema.

Day 2 - 35 Rhums 5 cats
Michael will be very happy. So far (end of Day 4) this is my favorite film of the festival. It's a character study, a few days or so in the lives of a father and adult daughter as they go about their daily lives in Paris. He is a subway driver, she is a student - he has raised her as a single parent, with the help of neighbor friends in their building. I can't say enough about the two leads, Alex Descas and Mati Diop, whose dynamic together was astonishingly palpable - at times it felt like the camera truly was just spying on a real single-parent/only child relationship.The supporting cast is uniformly fabulous, of course it's Denis so the visuals are evocative and striking - nut that I am I adored the wonderful shots she got of the Paris rail system. During the Q&A she mentioned that this was kind of her homage to Ozu - which made me appreciate even more the framing and cinematography of her interior scenes. Images are still staying with me, 2 days after seeing this - it's definitely a must-see if you get the chance.

More tomorrow, I hope!

TIFF - Day 1

Hello from Hogtown - Thursday I got into town around 1pm, stowed my bags at the front desk (too early for check-in) and made my first dumb decision. I went to the new box office at Toronto Life Centre, rather than Manulife. I suspect Manulife would have had a less confusing and shorter line - but at least now I know to avoid the new box office like the plague. Others coming in after me, please avoid the plague that is the Toronto Life Centre box office. I did it so you don't have to, inadvertent martyr that I am convincing myself I am.

So, I didn't get back to the hotel until 4 (I did grab lunch beforehand, so those 3 hours weren't entirely on the line, although most were). Then it was check in, unpack, change (I thought I was leaving hot humidity behind me - nope!), and pretty much I was off again, this time to try to meet up with some friends from the internet on the Elgin line for the Opening film. Okay, so when you're meeting people you've never seen before, from among a crowd of, oh, 600 -it's really important to be insanely specific. It helps if one of you has seen a photo of the other. Also helpful are both of you having cellphones. Second dumb thing I did - I got so carried away in my planning for the trip, I forgot to make sure I was prepared for the 'how to meet internet friends in RL' bit. Do I need to tell you how this story ends? Yeah, never met up.

But wait! There's a surprise ending to the evening. As I was standing in the side street that the Elgin dumps its audiences out into, going for a last ditch effort to spot or be spotted by the internet folks, who do I see but Chlotrudis friend Kish, all decked out in a perfectly tailored suit. He was with Jen, a coworker at what has to be the most gracious and friendly talent agency ever - because everybody we've met there is so wonderful and generous. We did a slow version of the Aaron Sorkin 'walk and talk' as we strolled west, taking us past the City Hall. They would eventually head to the Opening Night party at the Drake - Kish, sweetheart that he is, started to invite me, but 1) that's too TIFFy for my blood and 2) I was in my beat up canvas sneakers. Besides which, as he realized as he spoke, that's not a 'she's with me' kind of party. Does the CEO of the Lead Sponsor want to talk with me? Yeah, not so much. So I ended my night with the words 'thanks I'd love to go but I have to wash my sweaters get up early in the morning', a surreal coda to the evening, but there you are. Oh, I did get introduced to (and shook hands with) friends of Kish who I found out after the fact were one of Atom Egoyan's producers and, uh, Brian DePalma. So I have that going for me...

No I won't just be babbling in my entries and yes I will be reviewing films - but speaking of films I've got to dash off for my day's allotment. It's an earlyish night, though, so upon my return I will be bringing Cat Judgment down on Day 1 and Day 2's films.

Chlotrudis Indie Film Wrap-Up, September 5 - 11

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Well this week heralds the start of the Toronto International Film Festival. About ten Chlotrudis members will head to this extravaganza of film and report back on what we can't miss when it gets released in the coming months. I'm sad to be missing it this year, but I'm looking forward to hear and reading the reports from Beth, Bruce, Gil, Amanda, Maryellen, Ivy, Ned, Nancy, Brian and Traci. Have a great time!

Finally getting around to seeing FROZEN RIVER tonight. It plays at 7:30 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Let me know if you'd like to join us!

Here in Boston there are a couple of new releases to consider including A GIRL CUT IN TWO, the latest by Claude Chabrol. This film starring Ludivine Sagnier opens on Friday at the Kendall Square Cinema. France is also represented by THE GROCER'S SON, a coming-of-age tale about finding the rewards of the country when you're used to living in the city. The Kendall Square Cinema also offers up I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND, an epic black comedy from the Czech Republic.

See you at the movies!

Playing this week, September 5 - 11, 2008.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Repoertory Series - Hitchcock's 50's
Vertigo & Rear Window (Fri. - Sun.)
Strangers on a Train & Stage Fright (Mon. & Tue.)
The Wrong Man & I Confess (Wed. & Thu.)
Harvard Bookstore Presents
Paul Auster (Mon.)
Coming Soon!
5th Annual Art House - Special Fundraising Event
Sunday, September 28, 7 p.m.
Longy School of Music

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Man on Wire
Frozen River
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Encounters at the End of the World
Global Lens Film Series
Kept & Dreamless (Sun.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

Brideshead Revisited

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
No independent movies playing.

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Sam Peckinpah, Blood Poet
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Fri.)
Major Dundee (Fri.)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (Sat.)
Straw Dogs (Sat.)
Ride the High Country (Sun.)
Junior Bonner (Sun.)
Cross of Iron (Sun.)
Noon Wine & The Rifleman: The Marshall (Mon.)
The Getaway (Mon.)

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Elegy
Sixty Six
Tell No One

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
A Girl Cut in Two
The Grocer's Son
I Served the King of England
Frozen River
Bottle Shock
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Man on Wire

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
Man on Wire
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Bottle Shock
The Longshots
The Visitor

Lexington Flick, Lexington
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Elegy

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Envisioning Russia
The Russian Question (Fri.)
The Cranes are Flying (Thu.)
Battleship Potempkin (Thu.)
Happiness (Thu.)
French Cinema
Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Fri., Sun. & Wed.)
Russian Cinema
War and Peace (Part 1) (Sat. & Sun.)
War and Peace (Part 2) (Sat. & Sun.)
War and Peace (Part 3) (Sat. & Sun.)
War and Peace (Part 4) (Sat. & Sun.)
Art on Film (Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
The Visitor

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Frozen Fiver
Elegy
Tell No One
Brideshead Revisited
Sixty-Six
Mongol
The Edge of Heaven
Up the Yangtze (Fri. - Tue., & Thu.)

That's all for now!

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President

CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR 9TH ANNUAL CHLOTRUDIS SHORT FILM FESTIVAL COMPETITION

The Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film announces a call for entries, accepting international submissions for its Ninth Annual Short Film Festival competition which will be held in late fall 2008 in the metro Boston area. Submissions will be accepted through October 15, 2008, and deadlines and fees are as follows: $15 by September 1 (earlybird deadline); $25 by September 15 (advanced deadline); $30 by October 1 (deadline); and $45 by October 15 (eleventh hour deadline). Films under 20 minutes in length, live-action, animated, narrative and documentary are eligible. Previous year�s winners GIRLS ROOM and DARLING DARLING have gone on to much success at film festivals both nationally and worldwide since their Chlotrudis wins.

All films will be screened by the Chlotrudis Society Short Film Committee with the best selected for the festival and voted on by members and the audience, in two categories; Best Short and Audience Favorite. The winning director of Best Short will also receive a cash award, and the winning films will be officially announced and honored at the 15th Annual Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony to be held in March 2009. For the complete list of guidelines for submissions and eligibility requirements, please go to withoutabox.com.

Chlotrudis Indie Film Wrap-Up, August 29 - September 4

Hello, Chlotrudis Members!

Happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone! As summer gives its last gasp, it's hard to think about movies, but I am going to try to catch FROZEN RIVER at the Coolidge this week. I'm still not 100% sure which day I will be able to go, so watch this e-mail space and I will send out a message. For those of you who have missed the Chlotrudis Movie of the Week, fear not! It will be returning later this month! The Chotrudis Board of Directors will take turns selecting the films and meeting the group at the theatre. With the fall comes the release of a whole bunch of indie films, so let's get back to the movies! There aren't a whole lot of new releases this week, but some shifting around may make it easier to see HAMLET 2 and ELEGY, both films I would love to catch before they disappear. And for our friends in the North, ELSA AND FRED is sweet Spanish film about two people who discover that it's never too late to love and dream.

Of course, September marks the Toronto International Film Festival, and as happens on occassion, I am not able to attend this year. This is always a very difficult experience for me, especially this year with so many great Canadian and international films being featured at the Festival. Fortunately, we have a solid Chlotrudis contingent heading north, and they will be sure to fill us all in on the latest in films from across the world.

See you at the movies!

Playing this week, August 29 - September 4, 2008.

Brattle Theatre, Cambridge
Special Engagement - Director's Cut!
Once Upon a Time in the West
Harvard Bookstore Presents
Junot Diaz (Wed.)
Coming Soon!
5th Annual Art House - Special Fundraising Event
Sunday, September 28, 7 p.m.
Longy School of Music

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Frozen River
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Encounters at the End of the World
Science on Screen
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Mon.)

FEI Theatres
Capitol Theatre, Arlington

American Teen
Brideshead Revisited

Somerville Theatre, Somerville
Hamlet 2

Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge
Closed for Summer Vacation - No Screenings!

Hollywood Hits Theatre, Danvers
Elegy
Hamlet 2
Man on Wire
Tell No One

Landmark Theatres
Kendall Square
, Cambridge
Frozen River
Stealing America: Vote by Vote
What We Do Is Secret
Sixty Six
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tell No One
Man on Wire
Trumbo
Bottle Shock

Embassy Cinema, Waltham
Hamlet 2
Man on Wire
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Bottle Shock
The Longshots
The Visitor

Lexington Flick, Lexington
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Loew's Harvard Square, Cambridge
Hamlet 2
Elegy

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Russian Cinema
Elegy of Life Rostropovich.Vishnevskaya (Sat.)
War and Peace (Part 1) (Sun ., Wed., & Thu.)
War and Peace (Part 2) (Sun., Wed., & Thu.)
War and Peace (Part 3) (Sun., Wed., & Thu.)
War and Peace (Part 4) (Sun., Wed., & Thu.)

The Newburyport Screening Room, Newburyport
Elsa and Fred

West Newton Cinema, West Newton, MA
Frozen Fiver
Elegy
Tell No One
Brideshead Revisited
Sixty-Six
Mongol
The Edge of Heaven
Up the Yangtze (Fri. - Tue., & Thu.)
Constantine's Sword

That's all for now!

Michael R. Colford
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, President