Festival Favorites: You Might Have to Hunt for These Films
Recommended by the Thin Man, whose photography is sprinkled throughout our Internet Branch.
Check our other Fave Five lists, too!
The only drama on this list was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001in fact, only days after 9/11, which made its statement on senseless acts of war all the more powerful. It stars Sam Neill as a zookeeper in an unnamed Balkan nation beset by civil war and growing chaos. The festival guide described it as "chilling in its portrayal of both the violence of war and the isolating emotional trauma suffered by its victims."
Morgan Freeman stars as an aging actor scouting a location for his next movie role in what a number of reviewers have described as Freeman playing himself (which he does wonderfully). He meets sharp-tongued Scarlett (Paz Vega) inwhat else?the "10 Items or Less" lane of a rundown supermarket. The film is essentially a single-afternoon "road movie" in which this odd couple form an unlikely, but incredibly charming bond. The film was shown in Toronto in 2006, followed by a short theatrical release.
Charlie is an urban-dwelling Native American only a few days away from his 25th birthday. The only problem: His father died on his 25th birthday when he was struck by a milk truck. But wait, there's more. His grandfather, too, died on his 25th.... Okay, you get the idea. Charlie thinks he's cursed as he's fitted for his funeral suit, picks out a cemetary plot and attends to other morbid tasks, but then romance enters his life. This sweet, understated comedy has warmed hearts at a number of festivals, including the East Lansing Film Festival in 2007.
This screwball comedy from Japan had a Toronto audience of film industry reps, reviewers and critics, plus other normally impassive, "seen-it-all-before" movie folks laughing out loud and, on occasion, nearly rolling on the floor in hysterics. A quiet housewife, Miyako, has entered a script in a radio play contest, with the prize being the production of the winning entry. Before the movie is over, rampant egos and laughable demands of the starring performers convert her gentle romance into an intergalactic space adventure.
It's not easy to construct a comedy around the issue of outsourcing jobs by U.S. companies to call centers around the globe, but the sensitive approach of this movie works. Todd keeps his job but, in a true "fish-out-of-water" story, he must travel to India to train a new batch of telemarketers. Cultures collide, but amusingly so, and the film offers a pleasant surprise ending. It's another movie from the Toronto festival in 2006.