Sukiyaki Western Django

This Week in Film: September 19th 2008

The first week in film after the Toronto International Film Festival has an eerie, ghost-town quality to it. Basically it's quiet, a little too quiet. Some of the festival flicks are out already, such as Burn After Reading or The Duchess, but some of the best will probably be a long while to come. There are no other festivals to really speak of this week, and the local cinemas are keeping fairly quiet. Still, there are things to see, as always, in a city where the movie-goers keep prowling and the projectors never really stop rolling.

School must be back in session because the Free Friday Films hosted by the Cinema Studies Union at UofT are back in fantastic form. Tonight the free 35mm screening is the Charlton Heston/Sophia Loren film El Cid, a slightly exaggerated historical epic about a Castilian nobleman who, after exile, decided to take matters into his own hands and rallied to fight for governance of the city of Valencia. But no matter, you're seeing this for the awesome one-liners you come to expect out of the mouth of the late, great Heston. The film starts tonight at 7pm at Innis Town Hall.

One of my favourite films from TIFF of yesteryear, the Midnight Madness blow-out Sukiyaki Western Django finally gets a full release in Toronto this week. The film is horror surrealist Takashi Miike's take on the spaghetti western genre and packs enough firepower and blood packets to keep you rolling with the action. The film ran a bit long when I first saw it, but I hear this version is about 20 minutes shorter, which may speed things up for those who don't delight in the absurd artistic decision where Miike made his Japanese actors speak phonetic English through the entire film. With amazing characters such as the Bloody Benten (a gunslinging Grandma), fantastic modern takes on 'Western' music, and a slightly unsettling injection of Quentin Tarantino, this film is a must-see in theatres. Catch Sukiyaki at the Yonge & Dundas AMC.

Coming up this week, the rep cinemas have some interesting classic films for audiences to relive, or see for the first time. On Sunday and Monday, the Fox offers the atmospheric French new-wave film, Jules et Jim, about a friendship that becomes entirely ruined on the whims of a beautiful woman, and offers the remastered Apocalypse Now: Redux on Tuesday. In somewhat the same tragic vein as Jules et Jim, the Bloor Cinema offers a few nights of which to see Monika, an Ingmar Bergman film about young love and the inevitable, but crushing, onset of emotional and marital discontent.

What? Did you expect me to recommend My Best Friend's Girl instead?

Image: Sukiyaki Western Django from Twitchfilm

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