AFI Fest, Day 7
And so, we come to the end. Not of my coverage, mind you, but certainly the festival. It’s been an amazing, exhausting time. Over six days, I saw twenty feature films (with ties to thirteen different countries and five by female directors), one shorts program, a panel, a presentation, and more question-and-answer sessions than I could handle (literally; I typically had to leave halfway through to get to the next screening). I spoke with a young filmmaker whose first film was one of the best I’ve seen all year (and that discussion is forthcoming), got to see Bela Tarr and Wim Wenders in person, and perhaps most importantly, got to write about everything that happened every day, right here. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, because honestly, I’m not done yet, but for now, here’s a little bit on the only film I saw today, The Silver Cliff.
My plan was originally to see The Kid with a Bike in this slot, but sadly that was moved to 1:15, and I had a flight to catch (for which I was packing almost as I was running out the door). But as has been my mantra, when one film falls, another is always waiting to take its place. And so in I stomped, luggage in hand, for the 11:00am screening of The Silver Cliff. I didn’t end up loving it – though wouldn’t that have been something – but it was an interesting, compact look at the process of grief when your life suddenly spirals out of your control. Concerning a successful woman whose husband suddenly leaves her, and she spends the rest of the day trying to figure out what comes next. Director Karim Ainouz uses lovely long takes and wonderful locations, but narratively I think he shortchanges himself by the end. It’s all well and good to suggest that maybe things won’t be so bad as all that, but it feels a little soon. I loved how interior much of the character’s journey was, but if he’d extended that all the way to the end, he would have really had something on his hands.
And that’s that. As I’ve said, not all of the films I saw will see distribution, but many of them will and hopefully the rest will see some sort of limited engagement beyond this past week. I highly recommend you check out Melancholia this week or whenever Magnolia gets it to your region. Watch it OnDemand if you must, but it’s well worth going out of your way to see on the big screen. The Turin Horse was hands-down the best film I saw during the festival, and I would be shocked if it didn’t end up on my top ten for the year. It will be released theatrically next spring. Green, Almayer’s Folly, and Cafe de Flore were the best films that don’t yet have distribution, so please keep an eye out for those and if you have the chance, make a point of it; it’s hard to tell if you’ll have another. Green in particular is a film I think a lot of you would really dig, and one I hope distributors will take a second look at. If I had any considerable clout, it would all go towards getting this film in more theaters.
Finally, thanks to Tyler and David for giving me the opportunity to cover the festival, and the outlet in which to publish these pieces. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, because, like I said, there’s still more where that came from.