Reality check on my last full day in Telluride: you can’t see everything. If I go to see Geoff Dyer’s last pick as Guest Director, “Unrelated,” a debut film from director Joanna Hogg from 2007, which was not only the sole film of the six he chose that I hadn’t seen before, but hadn’t even heard of before, I’ll miss seeing Madds Mikkelsen in person with Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Hunt,” a repeat of the Telluride Silver Medallion Tribute from last night – which I missed because I went to the unique performance of Serge Bromberg’s program of early film rarities, “Retour du Flamme.” I figure I can see “The Hunt,” which I also managed to miss in Karlovy Vary, at 6 p.m., when it’s playing without the clip show and interview that is part of the tribute.
Dyer chose an eclectic array of fairly contemporary films – i.e., nothing from the Golden Age of cinema such as the Sight and Sound Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time list that so occupied the hearts, minds, and blogs of international cinephiles recently (Stop the presses! “Vertigo” topples “Citizen Kane”’s reign at the top after 50 years! – that included Tarkovsky’s “Stalker,” subject of Dyer’s most recent book, “Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room,”; Claire Denis’ “Beau Travail”; Lukas Moodysson’s “Together”; a double dose of Werner Herzog documentaries, “Lessons of Darkness” and “The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner”; and “Baraka,” by Ron Fricke, shown in a glorious new 70mm print, which I managed to catch at its technical runthrough the night before the festival opened – in preparation for the imminent opening of his follow-up film in the same genre, “Samsara,” after nearly twenty years.
Dyer mentions, in passing, that one of the cast of “Unrelated,” Tom Hiddleston, has gone on to bigger things, mentioning “Thor,” which confuses me – wasn’t that one of the Hemsworth brothers, the buffer one? I do recognize him as both F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and the caddish lover of Rachel Weisz in Terence Davies’ “The Deep Blue Sea,” two of my favorite movies from last year. (It takes a quick trip to IMDB to learn that he played Loki in “Thor,” which I should have known, since I saw “The Avengers,” in which Loki appeared, along with the well-muscled Chris Hemsworth as Thor. In my defense, Hiddleston’s makeup and costume were somewhat more extreme as Loki than as Fitzgerald and feckless lover Freddie. And, it turns out, “Unrelated” was his debut film, after graduating from RADA, alma mater of “Thor”’s somewhat surprising director Kenneth Branagh, whose directing career it neatly revived.
I’m modestly charmed by “Unrelated”’s modest charms: I get a vicarious vacation in the glorious Tuscan countryside outside of Siena, watching the Jamesian or Fosterian interactions of two vacationing English families of parents and adolescents, the “olds” and the “youngs,” whose psycho-sexual balance is mildly upset by the visit of a female friend on a break from her lover, who is drawn to the slender young Hiddleston.