There's really no good reason for me to write about the Telluride or Toronto film festivals (I'm not there, after all), but several circumstances have made me reconsider.
First of all, I can't go anywhere on the Internet without getting smacked in the forehead with all the amazing buzz surrounding Juno, the film written by our very own beloved Diablo Cody, which has been sneak previewing in Telluride and will be premiering in Toronto. Her blog links to early smashing reviews, to various dispatches from Telluride, and to audio interviews.
The film officially opens in theaters December 14, 2007, which is in no way whatsoever an intimidating release date. I'm sold on the movie simply for the fact that Michael Cera—sublime in Arrested Development and sweetly naughty in Superbad—is in it. Perhaps she will someday introduce me to him, and I will accidentally blurt out, "I LOVE YOU!"
Well, Juno alone doesn't warrant its own blog entry right now (like she even needs more PR from me), but I recently read that the other heavily buzzed about film at Telluride is Brian De Palma's unflinching and reportedly horrifying Iraq war documentary, Redacted. *
Not many people know that De Palma is one of my favorite film directors, even though I have a love/hate relationship with his movies. Indeed, Blow Out, a conspiracy theory thriller starring John Travolta, is one of my favorite films of all time, and I still hold the wicked Dressed to Kill, Carrie, and Raising Cain in high esteem. (Yes, I said, "Raising Cain"—shoot me.) To understand the depth of De Palma's artistry and obsessions, read Julie Salamon's delicious book, The Devil's Candy, which taught me more about cinema and Hollywood than four years of film school.
Anyway, commenters on The Gazetteer blog are wondering if De Palma is nothing more than a shameless opportunist "capitalizing on the misery of others to make a buck"—not an unfair inquiry, given the fact that De Palma has built his career on the cinema of exploitation.
I, of course, like to believe he has good intentions, but I wonder if good intentions even matter. If De Palma's movie is enough to turn the tide against the war even a little bit, is it even necessary to approach the issue of intention?
The Gazetteer's blogger makes the provocative and interesting claim that all propaganda is bad propaganda. I, for one, am not so sure about that.
Anyway, when Juno heads for Toronto, so will Redacted, which means Diablo will have yet another opportunity to meet De Palma. And I ask you, who will exploit who first? Either way, I would have a blast watching.
[Prince's Note, 09.04.07: I just read that De Palma's film is actually a fake documentary. In a Blair Witch-like stunt, he presents to us "found" footage of grotesque American soldiers committing heinous acts, which is why the film is courting so much controversy. This, of course, puts the discussion of this film in a whole new light.]