It's interesting to see such a wide variety of film types gather in one place. Two are pictured here: from the edgy British glamour of Oscar winner Tilda Swinton (who is president of the main jury here) to the Danish actress-filmmaker Rie Rasmussen, who's here with a French film in which she plays an Albanian. I was meant to see five films today, but one ran over (and had a Q&A), so I missed the fifth one. I did manage to get to the Panorama party though, celebrating 30 years of the strand which features a great variety of films. It was a long day, but there were some great films...
The Bone Man
dir Wolfgang Murnberger 09/Aut ****
This gritty dark comedy from Germany takes off and barely pauses for breath as a sardonic repo man goes off the grid in a remote country inn, where he starts to believe something nefarious is going on. Indeed, the people he meets there are deeply twisted, most notably the owner who grinds up chicken bones from his restaurant to send to the farm as feed - and you just know that bone grinder could have other uses. Throw in some blackmailing Russians and a missing man who might be hiding right under their noses, and the film keeps us thoroughly entertained - both laughing and quirming in our seats.
Kill Daddy Good Night
dir-scr Michael Glawogger 09/Aut ****
Twisty and complicated, this film weaves togethes several strands that take place from 1959 to the present, centring on a guy issues who creates a videogame to take out his anger against his politician father. But as he travels to New York to help a friend witha special project, he's thrown into a situation that's linked to atrocities against Lithuanian Jews during WWII. The film is jammed with big ideas, provocative themes and intriguing characters, all of whom keep us utterly glued, although the off-handed approach may alienate some viewers.
dir-scr Sally Potter 09/UK ****
Now this is a very difficult one: the whole movie is made up of to-camera interviews by some very big stars (Jude Law, Judi Dench, Dianne Wiest, Steve Buscemi, Eddie Izzard) as if they're talking to a young guy working on a school project backstage during a fashion show. Someone dies tragically during the show, and then the bodies start to pile up - but all off-screen, as we only see these characters' reactions to the events. Despite the starry cast, this is a resolutely uncommercial film that will drive most audiences mad, but it also has some extremely clever things to say about our YouTube culture, experiencing the world second-hand, and being guided by the emptiness of celebrity.
dir-scr Catherine Breillat 09/Fr ***
Taking her typically girl-power view and applying it to a fairy tale, Breillat creates a deeply undettling period tale about two sisters who are obsessed with the story about the resident of the nearby castle - and expecially the way his wives have all gone missing. When they get a chance to meet him, they play it as an audition, and sure enough, one is chosen as the next wife. But things don't go as expected - or maybe they do - as tables are turned and promises are broken. It's a tricky, difficult film to unpack, but there's some fascinating stuff inside. We were fortunate to have Breillat there to chat to us about why she told the story in this way after the screening. What a force of nature she is!