Fugitive Pieces

Not rated yet!
Director
Jeremy Podeswa
Runtime
1 h 44 min
Release Date
6 September 2007
Genres
Drama
Overview
A child escapes from Poland during World War II and first heads to Greece before coming of age in Canada.
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VJ Morton3
Right Wing Film Geek



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  • TIFF Capsules — Day 1

    TIFF Capsules — Day 1

    FUGITIVE PIECES, Jeremy Podeswa, Canada — 4
    Not a terrible movie; just rote, predictable and uninspired. Once you realize the film’s premise — a jumbled-chronology memory piece about a boy rescued from the Holocaust who emigrates to Canada –you basically have the movie. And it just lies there. May work better for you if you’ve never seen a “burden of memory” film where the characters say things like “I long for the loss of memory” and “To live with ghosts requires solitude” (I wanted to say “oh, come off it” every five minutes at the lead character). Here’s the other problem with this movie: film tends to makes things literal, and that kind of self-conscious prose comes across as affected in a movie, at least one that looks naturalistic. And symbology that might work on a page — oranges, in this movie, e.g. — comes across as too crudely “on-the-nose” in a plain-styled film. And one more thing — if a director wants to kill of a character at his peak moment of happiness, in an Existential acte-gratuit on the part of the auteur-god, he’d better have made THE WAGES OF FEAR or THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING to that point.

    THE BRAVE ONE, Neil Jordan, USA — 6
    This film, a much-better-acted update of DEATH WISH, left me asking is: is that a Good Thing? Do we want Jodie Foster in a Charles Bronson role, though there is no question she is a far superior actor? Unlike Jeremy Podeswa, she can “sell” (or rather her character has a plausible reason for saying) lugubrious lines about the role of memory in constituting a city. The script is far more plausible than DEATH WISH, as she becomes accustomed to acts of vigilanteism that become increasingly morally problematic and calculated. Regardless of Foster’s appropriateness, I want to see Terrence Howard in every role that requires a Y-chromosome. The man has apparently limitless screen presence, charisma and realness — here, the first and the third used mostly in the figure of the police detective who kinda knows what he doesn’t want to believe. His cat-and-mouse-game scenes with Foster are clinics. Also Scott Tobias is wrong; this movie is about as pro-vigilantism as anything short of JOE could be. Foster’s character arc is accepting the new person she has become; and [SPOILER] the narrative arc begins with the “my city was gone” lament and ends with the vigilante walking free.

    THE MOTHER OF TEARS, Dario Argento, Italy — 3
    I’m afraid I’m just not the gorehound I thought I was. The coldly baroque, elegant style — the garishly stylized color, the wind, the music — that made Argento’s SUSPIRIA one of the greatest horror movies ever is scarcely present here. Instead there’s a lot of creative ways to draw blood — my favorite [sic] was having a woman impaled through her whatsit and then have the lengthy spear come out through her mouth. Plot is pretty silly (Scooby-Doo quality … trying to find the right priest with the right spell, basically) and the central conflict doesn’t even really get cooking until the last reel. Daughter Asia Argento can’t act. Just a mess in every way. Still, I will go to my grave with the fond memory of hearing the whole Ryerson Theater opening-night Midnight Madness crowd singing “Happy Birthday to You” to Argento, who turned 67 at midnight.

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  • TIFFing time again
    (”Fugitive Pieces” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFFing time again

    If this year’s Toronto International Film Festival lineup is any indication, it will be a long fall, with the Artist-Industrial Complex lecturing about the evil that is (in the words of this blurb) “the so-called War on Terror” (and the rest of the usual demonology). With that in mind, I didn’t give a bunch of films playing at this year’s festival so much as a second look — here’s the whole list of Toronto movies and presentations that I would not see on principle. I saw the subject matter or read the descriptions, crossed it off and moved on.

    Looking at that list, or rather the length of it (20 films and several presentations) — I really have to wonder if alienating conservative viewers is something Hollywood, Indiewood and the Festival Mafia do as a conscious marketing strategy or is just so much their unstated “Dasein” that they can’t even step outside themselves to see it.

    But in a festival of almost 300 films, that’s not an insurmountable loss. In fact, here is another pretty distinguished list (will try to reconstruct later, VJM) — the films I really wanted to see but probably will not (I may juggle stuff around, depending on buzz). For the most part, it was simply a matter of scheduling, trying to squeeze a quart of 60 must-see films into a pint pot of 50 time slots. You can get to their individual pages from this list-page.

    • Cassandra’s Dream (Woody Allen, Britain) — no explanation needed, I hope
    • The Last Lear (Rituparno Ghosh, India) — Amitabh Bachchan, the world’s biggest star, in his first English role
    • Beyond the Years (Im Kwon-taek, South Korea) — the pansori singer was the best part of Im’s Chunhyang
    • Christopher Columbus: The Enigma (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal) — another weird-out conversation piece like A Talking Picture?
    • The Duchess of Langeais (Jacques Rivette, France) — every film by the New Wave Masters is an event
    • Juliette Binoche in films by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Amos Gitai — can maybe the world’s greatest actress help out torpid auteurs?
    • The Pope’s Toilet (Enrique Fernandez/Cesar Charlone, Uruguay) — wack premise could make a great semi- (or even non-) blasphemous black comedy
    • Juno (Jason Reitman, USA) — Thank You for Smoking as a debut film; plus, later, Mike d’A says strong buzz from Telluride
    • Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie, USA) — Ryan Gosling; the word “Lars” and the use a puppet to substitute for a person (Ryan, stay the hell away)
    • Boy A (John Crowley, Britain) — echoes of Nolan’s Memento and the Dardennes’ Le Fils
    • Ellen Burstyn presents Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More (Martin Scorsese, USA) — No explanation needed, I hope

    So … bitching over.

    Unlike last year, I got all my first choices, and this festival is shaping up with the potential to be the greatest ever. After a so-so first day, the potential masterpieces come in daily and in bunches — Andersson, Herzog, Rohmer, Maddin, A. Lee, Baumbach, Olmi, Lee M-s, Ozon. Plus enormous buzz on the Bar-Lev, Van Sant, the Coens and Matsumoto. The films by the uneven Miike and Loach look to fit the maker’s good molds rather than the bad ones. Plus Cannes prize-winners by Mungiu, Kawase, Lee C-d. And my first exposures to Tarr, Reygadas, and Jiang. The Breillat and Arcand even seem tolerable. A rediscovered Ford silent, plus a contemporary-made silent slapstick homage. Even Greenaway, whose last film became the first I ever walked out on, is cause for optimism — getting back into Dutch paintings and a group of militiamen, so can we expect The Draughtsman, The Thief, His Wife, etc.? And to top it all off — Max von Sydow presenting one of Ingmar Bergman’s movies a few weeks after his death.¹

    This will be an awesome week-and-a-half. Here is my planned schedule.

    6 SEPT
    630pm Fugitive Pieces (Jeremy Podeswa, Canada)
    900pm The Brave One (Neil Jordan, USA)
    1159pm The Mother of Tears (Dario Argento, Italy)

    7 SEPT
    915am You, the Living (Roy Andersson, Sweden)
    noon The Mourning Forest (Naomi Kawase, Japan)
    400pm One Hundred Nails (Ermanno Olmi, Italy)
    715pm Les Chansons d’Amour (Christophe Honore, France)
    900pm Lust, Caution (Ang Lee, Taiwan)

    8 SEPT
    1000am Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, France/Iran)
    1245pm The Man from London (Bela Tarr, Hungary)
    330pm The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey)
    600pm No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, USA)
    900pm The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, USA)

    9 SEPT
    200pm Bucking Broadway (John Ford, USA, 1917; presented by Peter Bogdanovich)
    345pm In Memory of Myself (Saverio Costanzo, Italy)
    600pm Nightwatching (Peter Greenaway, Britain)
    900pm Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Holland)

    10 SEPT
    1000am 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
    1215pm Happiness (Hur Jin-ho, South Korea)
    300pm Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, Britain)
    700pm Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog, USA)
    915pm My Kid Could Paint That (Amir Bar-Lev, USA)

    11 SEPT
    1100am Children of the Sun (Yaldey Hashemesh, Israel)
    100pm Chaotic Ana (Julio Medem, Spain)
    345pm Operation Filmmaker (Nina Davenport, USA)
    600pm Margot at the Wedding (Noah Baumbach, USA)
    915pm Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, USA)
    1159pm Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike, Japan)

    12 SEPT
    930am It’s a Free World… (Ken Loach, Britain)
    noon The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, France)
    230pm Atonement (Joe Wright, Britain)
    600pm A Girl Cut in Two (Claude Chabrol, France)

    13 SEPT
    930am Dr. Plonk (Rolf de Heer, Australia)
    1230pm Reclaim Your Brain (Hans Weingartner, Germany)
    300pm Days of Darkness (Denys Arcand, Canada)
    515pm Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
    915pm A Gentle Breeze in the Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita, Japan)

    14 SEPT
    900am Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Eric Rohmer, France)
    noon M (Lee Myung-se, South Korea)
    300pm The Walker (Paul Schrader, USA)
    545pm Erik Nietzsche: The Early Years (Jacon Thuesen, Denmark)
    800pm The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1960; presented by Max Von Sydow)
    1159pm Dainipponjin (Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan)

    15 SEPT
    945am California Dreamin’ (Endless) (Cristian Nemescu, Romania)
    1245pm Angel (Francois Ozon, France)
    245pm Son of Rambow (Garth Jennings, Britain)
    600pm The Sun Also Rises (Jiang Wen, China)
    800pm My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, Canada)
    1100pm Just Like Home (Lone Sherfig, Denmark)

    ——————
    ¹ Was there nobody in Italy to do the same for Antonioni? Or is/was any tribute programming done at Venice?

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  • TIFF Grades — Days 1/2
    (”Fugitive Pieces” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFF Grades — Days 1/2

    At a Toronto public library with only a half-hour before they log me off (neither a Canadian citizen, nor a Toronto resident, so I really can’t complain at terms of free access). So grades only for now.

    Day 1
    FUGITIVE PIECES, Jeremy Podeswa, Canada — 4
    THE BRAVE ONE, Neil Jordan, USA — 6
    THE MOTHER OF TEARS, Dario Argento, Italy — 3

    Day 2
    YOU, THE LIVING, Roy Andersson, Sweden — 9
    THE MOURNING FOREST, Naomi Kawase, Japan — 5
    ONE HUNDRED NAILS, Ermanno Olmi, Italy — 4
    LES CHANSONS D’AMOUR, Christophe Honore, France — 4
    LUST, CAUTION, Ang Lee, Taiwan — 7

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