Volume 15, Issue 3 / March 2011

A Few Festivals

For cinephiles whose interests go beyond the mainstream, especially beyond North American cinema soils, the local film festival(s) represents the mother lode, the treasure trove of cinema pearls. Offscreen concentrates on three such ‘events’ in this issue, VIFF (The Vancouver International Film Festival), the Berlinale (The Berlin International Film Festival) and The Bradford International Film Festival. In the first report Mike Archibald discusses this very theme in his preamble to his discussion of selected films at the 2010 VIFF. Archibald laments the frustrating reality found in even cinematically affluent major cities: the confinement of great International cinema to a concentrated annual period during Film Festivals. The result is that critics and lovers of non-North American cinema have to overload on these films in the unenviable manner of a cinema gorging; watching three or four intense, demanding films day after day for a ten or 14 day period is not the best way to appreciate these films. In his preamble Archibald (with a mixture of humour and frustration) discusses the reasons for this from his geographical position of Vancouver, Canada. In the second report Wexman looks at key films at the Berlinale through the theoretical gaze of realism and truth in cinema. While it is a knotty issue, there is something about cinema’s noted ability to convey (cinematic?) truth and purport to realism that routinely needs to be hashed out, and this is exactly what Wexman does, through (among other films), Mothers (Majki), Lipstikka, The Turin Horse, and selected films featured in an Ingmar Bergman retrospective. The next festival covered is the 17th Bradford International Film Festival, by regular attendant Philip Gillett. Of the films covered there are three documentaries on cinema: Hollywood on the Tiber (Marco Spagnoli, Italy, 2010), Two in the Wave (Emmanuel Laurent, France, 2010) and Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (Paul Cronin, GB, 2003). The final two pieces are non-festival. First up is Daniel Garrett’s review of first-time actress-turned director Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate, a film whose subject matter is so dark and disturbing that Garrett rhetorically refers to it as “a horror film.” No rhetoric is required in describing the subject of the fifth and final piece as a ‘horror film”: The Sentinel. Something for those of you who are feeling nostalgic for the good old horror films of the 1970s. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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