Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Make a date: it's Windsor Film Festival time

I’ve checked four films for this year’s Windsor International Film Festival, which opens tomorrow and runs to Sunday. The first is the French-Polish-UK production The Woman in the Fifth by Pawel Pawlikowski with Kristin Scott Thomas and Ethan Hawke, two good reasons (especially Hawke) alone to see it. The other is its distinctly Kafkaesque plot. Hawke, a writer, is caught in a series of emotional dilemmas. More reasons right there. I’d been looking forward to seeing this flick and it’s great the fest has landed it in my lap, so to speak.....Same goes for Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, which has already screened elsewhere in Canada. The film may seem like it’s about eroticism but it’s more about power between the sexes and is informed with a definite feminist sensibility (think Catherine Breillat). In this update of the Sleeping Beauty tale Lucy (Emily Browning) is sedated and men play out their fantasies on an immobile person.....Then Saturday it’s the long-awaited The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar’s latest with Antonio Banderas, who plays a surgeon with a singular, beyond the pale, obsession. But this being Almodóvar the film is sure to be layered and complex and raising a whole range of questions about human identity, gender and what makes people tick.....Finally, on Sunday, it will be time to luxuriate in the old classic Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Vittorio De Sica’s 1964 film with – who else? - Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. The movie won the best foreign language Oscar. It has the two stars playing three couples in different time periods and locations in Italy – three short stories if you will....This year’s fest is better than ever, as they say. It has more titles, almost 50. And unlike the dilemma of last year when festival-goers could choose only one screening of each film certain films will have more than one showing. To accommodate this screenings will be at both the Capitol Theatre as well as the more modern Palace – with more comfortable seats, I should add - a couple of blocks sway. The Palace been sorely missed as a film festival venue and it’s good to see it back....Opening Night has Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen (not necessarily in a comedic role).....Other notable pictures are The Man Nobody Knew, a doc by Carl Colby, son of once CIA spymaster William Colby and about his dad, Emilio Estevez’s The Way, a spiritual journey literally and figuratively across rugged northern Spain starring Estevez, Martin Sheen, and Deborah Kara Unger, Down the Road Again, Don Shebib’s 40 year update of what ever happened to those characters in his Canadian classic Goin’ Down the Road, and Jeff Nichols’s Take Shelter, which has been getting terrific reviews in general release....For more go to

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