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Brody Morelia Diary Day Two: Assayas Talks 'Carlos,' Gets Tour

Photo of Meredith Brody By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood November 7, 2012 at 2:28PM

Public screenings start at the civilized hour of 11 AM at the Morelia Film Festival, where on day two I was going to check out actress-director Sandrine Bonnaire’s “J’enrage de son absence” (“Maddened by His Absence”). But ubiquitous film festival consultant Denis DeLaRoca came over to tell me that Olivier Assayas, who hadn’t been expected to attend the festival, had flown in from Los Angeles the day before and was just about to give an unannounced Master Class right across the street in the Teatro Jose Ruben Romero.

I headed to Cinepolis, too, where I ran into the ebullient and gourmand Kosslick, fresh from visiting an outdoor market, and who was about to introduce Christian Petzold’s “Barbara,” which he assumed I was there to see. “No,” I said, “I’ve already seen it. I think it’s his best film!” (Conveniently forgetting I’d only seen a few, and was looking forward to seeing several more that were to be screened here as part of Petzold’s tribute). “That’s what I’m just about to say,” Kosslick graciously replied.

I went into “The Hunt,” which I managed to miss in both Telluride and Toronto, and I immediately run into Reygadas and his editor Natalia Lopez (who is so beautiful, and chic in Mayan-patterned leggings, that I assumed she was an actress). “You’re going to catch 45 minutes before leaving for Kiorastami!,”  I say, and he agrees: “45 minutes will be a good introduction. It’s more than enough for many films.”

I don’t even last 45.  Which is not a comment on the movie: it’s because it’s shown in Danish, with Spanish subtitles, which presents certain difficulties, but the straw is that the woman seated right behind me is reading the subtitles out loud to her companion, who I assume is blind, because she’s also hissing descriptions of the scenes into his ear.

I duck into “Delta,” (2008) by Cannes favorite Komel Mundruczo, part of Morelia’s “Young Hungarian Cinema Tribute.”  The audience gasps when told that, because of changes in Hungary’s film financing, no new movies have been made there in the last two years.  They also are told that the young actor playing the lead died in an accident midway through filming, forcing a rethinking and reworking of the script.

I do not learn what the denouement is, however, because once again the Hungarian dialogue is subtitled only in Spanish, and I leave for “Daughter of Deceit,” a 1951 film by Luis Bunuel, part of the tribute to prolific cinematographer José Ortiz Ramos.  I’m determined to see a movie I can understand before the day is over!

To be continued…

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.