Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the auteurs in the Masters Programme have a style all their own. When you go and check out one of these films, you’re never going to see a run-of-the-mill flick. Hot and highly-anticipated new films in this year’s lineup range from perennial Cannes winner Michael Haneke to 103 yr-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira to Bernardo Bertolucci‘s first film in a decade.
Peter Mettler‘s The End of Time and Bernard Emond‘s All That You Possess appear in this lineup, but you can find coverage of those ones in our special article on the Canadian lineup this year.
Here’s the news you can use on the Masters lineup at TIFF ’12:
You can count on a hefty serving of meat ‘n potatoes when you walk into a Michael Haneke movie. There probably hasn’t been a hotter “master” on the festival circuit over the last decade, with very good to great movies like Code Unknown, The Piano Teacher, Cache, and The White Ribbon. Amour, yet another huge Cannes winner for Haneke this year, having snagged the Palm d’Or (his 2nd Palm in 3 years and his 5th Cannes prize overall) is the geriatric drama following eightysomething French acting legends Jean-Louis Trintignant (Z,Three Colors: Red) and Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1962′s Therese Desqueyroux). They play a lifelong couple nearing the end of line when the wife suffers two strokes.
Beyond the Hills
Romanian helmer Cristian Mungiu is another festival hottie at the moment, having won the Palm D’Or in 2007 for his neo-realistic and gritty drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days. That was a sad but highly rewarding film and I’m looking forward to his new one, another female-centric drama that netted Mungiu the screenplay prize at Cannes this year while the films two leads (Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur) shared the Best Actress prize. They play two young adult women and lifelong friends who met as children while at the same orphanage.
Everyday Michael Winterbottom is the most internationally diverse director working today. Earlier this year he treated us to the absorbing Indian drama Trishna, an updating of Thomas Hardy‘s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (which also has its premiere at last year’s TIFF). Now he’s back with a family drama that was quietly shot over 5 years and follows a wife and her four kids and how they must get by when dad is incarcerated in prison. Laurence Coriat, who co-scripted Winterbottom’s Genova and Wonderland, returns to help pen this one, starring Shirley Henderson (Life During Wartime, Meek’s Cutoff) and John Simms (24 Hour Party People).
Gebo and the Shadow
The story here is that Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira is, at nearly 103 years young, still pumping out a feature every year and is in pre-production on another one already. This end of the 19th century drama follows a Parisian family facing down an economic crisis. This film features another cast of French acting royalty, with Jeanne Moreau (Jules and Jim), Michael Lonsdale (The Day of the Jackal), and Claudia Cardinale (Fitzcarraldo).
In Another Country
South Korean festival vet Hong Sang-soo (Woman on the Beach, Hahaha) returns with this three-parter featuring the inimitable Isabelle Huppert (starring in what must be a record 4 films at TIFF this year with Amour, Dormant Beauty, and Lines of Wellington among the rest). And if that’s not enough, she plays 3 characters here, all named Anne. Seven characters in 5 movies. Remarkable.
Like Someone in Love
For all my endless love of Iranian cinema over the last 15 years, Abbas Kiarostami‘s work tends to elude me. Taste of Cherry and Ten were festival hits, but bored the heck out of me. His 2010 Juliette Binoche drama Certified Copy, however, was highly enjoyable and so hopefully his new one continues that trend. This is a Japan-France co-production about the mystical relationship of an old man and a young woman.
Me and You Italian heavyweight Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor) is back after a decade-long hiatus since The Dreamers from 2003–an erotic romantic-drama that I loved. His new one follows 14 yr-old loner Lorenzo, who hides out for the week in the cellar of his apartment building with his older half-sister. Can’t wait.
Night Across the Street This represents Chilean-French helmer Raul Ruiz‘s (Mysteries of Lisbon, Time Regained) posthumous final effort in a character-driven drama following a worker on the verge of retirement and a look at is life at three different ages.
Pieta Kim Ki-duk is one of my favorite South Korean directors. His brilliant and touching Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…Spring and 3-Iron are two of the best foreign films of the past decade. His new one is a gritty character drama about a violent man employed by a loan shark who reconsiders his ways when a woman claiming to be his mother returns on the scene. You can count on Ki-duk for interesting stories, good acting, natural charm, and humanistic narratives that touch upon philosophical themes.
Something in the Air TIFF regular Olivier Assayas (Clean, Summer Hours) returns with this late 60′s coming-of-ager that is hot among younger ticket buyers this year. It follows a Parisian high schooler and absorbs us in culture, art and film with the political backdrop of the social changes of the time. Can’t wait, Assayas is on a roll.
Student Kazakhstan helmer Darezhan Omirbayev is the “master” you’ve never heard of, or me for that fact. He’s the name in this lineup whose films play a few festivals and then disappear. It’s humbling to know there’s still so much to learn about cinema just when you think you’re on top of everything. His new one lifts Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment to his native land.
When Day Breaks Serbian helmer Goran Paskaljevic made one of my favorite 90′s films with his brutal Cabaret Balkan. His new one centers on a retired music professor who receives a call from the Jewish Museum in Belgrade, informing him of documents that set-off a path of self-discovery for the man.
Box Office Report: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' on Course for $83 Million Debut www.hollywoodreporter.com J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness took in roughly $22 million on Friday for a projected four-day debut of $83 million, in line with the opening of the director's 2009 reboot. The 3D sequel opened late Wednesday night in North America and has earned $25.3 million to date. Into Darkness should bene...