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TIFF Brody Diary Day Three: 'Cloud Atlas,' Entries from Raul Ruiz & Takeshi Kitano, Plus Auguste Perret's Architecture

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood September 10, 2012 at 11:54AM

It’s only Day Three, and already I overslept – easier to do these past two years as the festival has shifted several kilometers south from Yorkville, where I could used to be able to roll out of bed from my friends’ house and still make a screening, to the area around the Bell Lightbox. Now I have to hike to a subway stop and travel downtown...
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Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in "Cloud Atlas."
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in "Cloud Atlas."

It’s only Day Three, and already I overslept – easier to do these past two years as the festival has shifted several kilometers south from Yorkville, where I could used to be able to roll out of bed from my friends’ house and still make a screening, to the area around the Bell Lightbox.  Now I have to hike to a subway stop and travel downtown.

When I went to bed I was debating between an 8:30 a.m. screening of Derek Cianfrance’s ”The Place Beyond the Pines,” or getting in the secondary line early for the 9 a.m. priority press screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.”  I’d not only liked his “Blue Valentine,” but I’d also enjoyed interviewing the articulate and intense Cianfrance at the 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival, where I’d noticed a striking resemblance to his star and friend Ryan Gosling, who starred not only opposite Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine,” but also in this subsequent film. (Yes, I’m not the only one that’s mentioned this.  Google his image and see for yourself!)

As I trained downtown and reached Osgoode Station, I realized I had to go for the nearer and more cinephilic option: the 9 a.m. showing of the architectural documentary “Perret in France and Algeria,” directed by the rigorous Heinz Emigholz, and sure not to be coming to a theater near me anytime soon.  I thought I had a minute or so to spare, but no, the movie had begun before I entered the room.  

Emigholz’s m.o. – carefully composed static shots of various angles of thirty of modernist architect Auguste Perret’s cast-concrete buildings in France and Algeria, its one-time colony – is something like leafing through a magnificent, enormous art book.  I had previously adored his “Schindler’s Houses,” seen at TIFF in 2007, but there I had the benefit of knowing the buildings well, inside and out, and Emigholz also seemed to have better access.  This time I felt frustrated by seeing the interiors of theaters and churches, but not of almost any of the residential buildings – at least one of which, an early apartment house in Paris, also seemed to frustrate Emigholz, who only devoted a few brief shots to it.  The one time his camera penetrated a domestic interior, which seemed a shrine to its modernist period, we seemed shockingly to have entered an “Apartment Therapy” online House Tour. Perret’s influences extended past students like Le Corbusier (but is there really anybody “like” Le Corbusier?) to another master of concrete, Louis Kahn.

Afterwards I seemed to know most of the few aesthetes who had been in the screening room, including the Harvard Film Archive’s director, Haden Guest, who had hosted Emigholz at screenings of his films in Cambridge.

This article is related to: Toronto International Film Festival, The Master, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond the Pines, Festivals, Reviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

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.