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Toronto International Film Festival 2015 The Sky Trembles and Chevalier

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Toronto International Film Festival 2015: The Sky Trembles and Chevalier

Ben Rivers

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: The Sky Trembles and Chevalier

Titled as if in homage to Fiona Apple, Ben Rivers’s The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and Two Eyes Are Not Brothers is the latest in the filmmaker’s unpredictable efforts to not simply fuse documentary and fiction, but set them against each other. For a time, it chronicles a film shoot out in the Moroccan mountains, where a director (Oliver Laxe) orders around a cast and crew of locals to present a realistic glimpse of life in the region. Yet the dailies taken from this production give away the charade, surrounding moments of folk singing and custom with calls of “action” and “cut.” In one shot, a man breaks the spell of his singing when he flashes a thumbs-up to the camera, foregrounding that his performance was just that.

Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2012

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Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2012
Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2012

From Calum Marsh’s introduction to Slant Magazine’s Top 25 Films of 2012: “Two thousand and twelve was, if nothing else, a banner year for uncommonly productive provocation. Audiences were galled by Rick Alverson’s divisive deconstruction of hipsterdom, The Comedy, beguiled by the taciturn charms of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, and, um, probed by the penetrating cultural criticism of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. Masters of cinema both old and new even found time, between saucy bouts of male stripping and fellating chicken parts, to butt heads with every conceivable status quo, grappling admirably with hot-button issues as wide-ranging as colonialism (Tabu), U.S.-endorsed torture (Zero Dark Thirty, maybe or maybe not endorsing it itself), and the very nature of cinema (Jafar Panahi, who didn’t make a ’film’ at all).” Click here to read the feature and see if your favorite films of the year made our list. And see below for a list of the films that just missed making it onto our list, followed by our contributors’ individual ballots.

New Directors/New Films 2011: Happy, Happy

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New Directors/New Films 2011: <em>Happy, Happy</em>
New Directors/New Films 2011: <em>Happy, Happy</em>

Unfolding in a snow-beset Norwegian town that ironically could double for the blustery environs of Affliction, Anne Sewitsky’s Happy, Happy indulges in more than its fair share of clichés and predictable narrative decisions, starting with its plot. The story, involving two neighboring couples who passive aggressively or unknowingly stir up and eventually expose each other’s covert longings and buried guilt through a series of activities and encounters, is reminiscent of literally dozens of sometimes caustic, consistently discomfiting independent dramadies. In fact, it wasn’t even the best film to use the premise within the confines of ND/NF: Hospitalité, Koji Fukada’s odd, witty, and essentially timeless parable, involved a similar story, though it took place largely within a single household, and was one of the great triumphs of this year’s program, along with festival favorites Curling and Attenberg.