The Danish Girl – In Jackson Heights – A Bigger Splash – Francofonia – Everest – Blood of My Blood – Frenzy

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Jurors: Alfonso Cuarón (president), Elizabeth Banks, Emmanuel Carrère, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Diane Kruger, Francesco Munzi, Pawel Pawlikowski, Lynne Ramsay

Golden Lion:From Afar, Venezuela/Mexico, dir. Lorenzo Vigas
Grand Jury Prize:Anomalisa, USA, dirs. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman
Special Jury Prize:Frenzy, Turkey, dir. Emin Alper
Best Director:The Clan, Pablo Trapero
Best Actress:Per amor vostro, Valeria Golino
Best Actor:L'Hermine, Fabrice Luchini
Marcello Mastroianni Award:Beasts of No Nation, Abraham Attah
Best Screenplay:L'Hermine, Christian Vincent
    Critics Prize:
Blood of My Blood, Italy, dir. Marco Bellocchio
SIGNIS Award:Behemoth, China, dir. Zhao Liang
Venice Horizons Award:Free in Deed, USA/New Zealand, dir. Jake Mahaffy
Future Film Festival Digital Award:Anomalisa, USA, dirs. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman

Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Lion
Francofonia (France/Germany/Netherlands, dir. Aleksandr Sokurov) - Louvre, the End of History. Witty, moving essay on doomed objects surviving, enemies collaborating, time as tight knot.

Heart of a Dog (USA, dir. Laurie Anderson) - Griefs for dog, nation, parent, partner unpacked with warmth, lucidity, and weirdness. Not a funeral. A passageway.

Frenzy (Turkey, dir. Emin Alper) - Formally stunning mitosis of one suspense thriller into two, enigmatically related. Two parts Audiard, one Don't Look Now.

Beasts of No Nation (USA, dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga) - Value, impact hard to deny but formal and narrative storytelling are a little crude. Young Attah is a find.

The Endless River (South Africa, dir. Oliver Hermanus) - Strikingly shot. Taps a rich seam of region-specific tensions and story traditions. Maybe exploits them a bit.

From Afar (Venezuela/Mexico, dir. Lorenzo Vigas) - Study of two men's erratic behavior, suggestive but not all that plausible. Interesting debut but Lion seems generous.

A Bigger Splash (Italy/France, dir. Luca Guadagnino) - Highsmith meets Hockney meets Laurel Canyon meets a crazy person. Messy and strenuous, even while lounging around.

Anomalisa (USA, dirs. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman) - Could summon no enthusiasm. The self-pity of Kaufman's men is usually ballasted by much more creative detail or insight.

Blood of My Blood (Italy, dir. Marco Bellocchio) - My astigmatism around high-theatrical Italian melodrama persists. Less crude than Vincere but ideas seem simple?

Looking for Grace (Australia, dir. Sue Brooks) - Tonally odd. At early best, augurs Short Cuts. Often settles for Safety of Objects. Then its shaky, nervy twist.

The Danish Girl (UK, dir. Tom Hooper) - Literally nothing about Hooper's filmmaking is well-suited to evoking complex internal shifts. And unfortunately...

Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
In Jackson Heights (TIFF Docs; USA, dir. Frederick Wiseman) - Most democratic US community abounds with sidewalk pedagogy and filibusters. Everyone tries to save everyone.

Neon Bull (Brazil/Uruguay/Netherlands, dir. Gabriel Mascaro) - Disarming blend of muscle and tenderness, implying steady surges of violence and desire but refusing any standard route.

Spotlight (USA, dir. Tom McCarthy) - Casually consummate acting. Nimble editing and storytelling. Deep journalism as flawed heroism, as slow digestive tract.

As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia, dir. Leyla Bouzid) - Sonorous, trenchant portrait of an artist as a young woman, riding sharp lines between petulance and dissidence.

Mustang (Turkey/Germany/France, dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven) - Makes you crave a looser, freer world for these girls; then again, you wish the movie itself were more supple and finessed.

Underground Fragrance (China, dir. Pengfei) - No points for sniffing out a Tsai Ming-Liang prot?g?, but this tale of ephemeral encounter has its own voice.

Everest (USA, dir. Baltasar Kormákur) - Not being cute when I say it's too crowded, with bigger plans than it can execute. Weirdly impersonal. Almost interesting.

Black Mass (USA, dir. Scott Cooper) - Third data-point seals it: Cooper makes handsome shots but flails at POV, gives actors confidence but needs more nuance.

Films in the Main Competition:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
The Clan, Argentina, dir. Pablo Trapero
Behemoth, China, dir. Zhao Liang
Remember, Canada, dir. Atom Egoyan
Marguerite, France, dir. Xavier Giannoli
L'Hermine, France, dir. Christian Vincent
The Wait, Italy, dir. Piero Messina
Rabin, The Last Day, Israel, dir. Amos Gitai
11 Minutes, Poland, dir. Jerzy Skolimowski
Equals, USA, dir. Drake Doremus
For Your Sake, Italy, dir. Giuseppe M. Guadino

Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically
Afternoon, Taiwan, dir. Tsai Ming-liang
Bleak Street, Mexico, dir. Arturo Ripstein
The Childhood of a Leader, USA, dir. Brady Corbet
The Daughter, Australia, dir. Simon Stone
Early Winter, Australia/Canada, dir. Michael Rowe
The Event, Netherlands/Belgium, dir. Sergei Loznitsa
Free in Deed, USA/New Zealand, dir. Jake Mahaffy
Janis: Little Girl Blue, USA, dir. Amy Berg
Madame Courage, Algeria/France, dir. Merzak Allouache
Man Down, USA, dir. Dito Montiel
Mr. Six, China, dir. Guan Hu
A War, Denmark, dir. Tobias Lindholm

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