3 items from 2004
Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival
TORONTO -- Prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom -- who, in the past three years, has turned out the well-received 24 Hour Party People, In This World and Code 46 -- is back with another, and this one's a certified envelope-pusher.
An examination of a sexual relationship that's about as viscerally explicit as hardcore can get, 9 Songs is shot fast and dirty -- on handheld digital video relying on existing light and unscripted dialogue.
The murky, grainy result, which still offers ample visual evidence that nothing has been left to the imagination, is certain to cause a sensation.
But as satisfying viewing experiences go, the film comes up mighty short in terms of story, interesting characters and technical prowess, not to mention a 65-minute running time.
Winterbottom claims to have taken inspiration from a sexually explicit novel by controversial French author Michael Houellebecq for the graphic liaisons shared by Matt (Kieran O'Brien) and Lisa (Margo Stilley) after meeting at a rock concert in Brixton.
Matt's a glaciologist who's working in Antarctica when he reflects back on the time he spent with Lisa, an American who was studying in England.
Their sticky encounters are interspersed with concert performance footage featuring a bunch of popular bands, including Franz Ferdinand, the Von Bondies and The Dandy Warhols, as well as a 60th birthday piano performance by composer Michael Nyman, who contribute the titular 9 Songs.
Maybe the lyrics of the songs are meant to represent various points in the couple's relationship. Maybe not. Because those live recordings have all the sonic fidelity of a bootleg tape, only Mr. Winterbottom knows for sure. »
TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday announced world premieres for U.S. filmmaker David Gordon Green's Undertow and U.K. helmer Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs and a North American premiere for Claire Denis' L'intrus. In all, 62 titles were announced as Toronto programmers unveiled film bookings for the Discovery sidebar for emerging talent, the Vision program for experimental film and the Wavelengths forum for video artists. Toronto's Discovery lineup will present 28 features from 23 countries, including German director Hendrik Holzemann's feature film debut, Off Beat; Xiao Jiang's Electric Shadows, from China; U.S. filmmakers Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik's On the Outs, which portrays three Latino girls in New Jersey; Oyster Farmer, an Australia/United Kingdom romantic comedy by Anna Reeves; French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic's coming-of-age tale Innocence; Saving Face, which stars Joan Chen and comes from U.S. filmmaker Alice Wu; Macedonian filmmaker Svetozar Ristovski's Mirage; Ra'up McGee's thriller Autumn, a French-American film; Pete Travis' Omagh, an Ireland-United Kingdom co-production looking at a tragic 1998 IRA bombing in Ireland; and from Germany, Marco Kreuzpaintner's Summer Storm. »
LONDON -- U.K. distributor and financier Tartan Films said Thursday that it plans to sue British production banner Revolution Films for £2 million ($3.7 million) for breach of contract in a dispute over U.K. and U.S. rights to Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs. In a statement issued at the end of business Thursday and greenlighted to be released to the press by its lawyers, Tartan said it is suing for "loss of profits as a result of Revolution's attempt to renege on the distribution contract for the U.K. as their actions will prevent Tartan from releasing the film in 2004." The statement goes on to say that Tartan will also miss out on capitalizing "on the publicity generated by Revolution and Tartan during the Cannes film festival (in May)." »
3 items from 2004
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