This Week in Film: We Have a Pope, Moonrise Kingdom, Dagie Brundert, James Richards, Worldwide Shorts, DVD & BluRay

This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, as well as key DVD / Blu-Ray releases, festivals, and other cinema-related events happening in Toronto.


Moonrise Kingdom (Varsity)

Never before has the master of deadpan precision been more precise. Wes Anderson's first live action feature in five years can feel like more of the same to the casual admirer like myself, but fans naturally argue otherwise. Where his superlative stop-motion feature Fantastic Mr. Fox charmed and amused despite the hokey hijinks and calculated one-liners (it's animation, so it kinda has to be under tight control), Anderson's return to human characters underlines his exhaustive commitment to suffocating the humanity in his actors' behaviour.

There's a theme running through Moonrise that pits 'parts' vs. 'the whole', and while it leads to some of the more poignant moments in his filmography, it's hard to shake the feeling that Anderson wants this whole to be his, refusing to share any creative license with his cast and crew. Then, if you loved Rushmore, you'll probably dig this one, too.

We Have a Pope (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

Just in time to capitalize on the press streaming in over Nanni Moretti's presidency at this year's Cannes Film Festival, here comes the latest film from former Palme d'Or winner. Originally titled Habemus Papam, the phrase is the Latin term that's called out from the Vatican when a new pope is elected. Moretti's film is the fictional account of the aftermath of one such election, narrowing in on Il papa (played by French legend Michel Piccoli), who suffers a psychological breakdown when handed his duties.

Unable to cope with the responsibilities of being the 'holiest man alive', Il papa runs and hides, visits a psychoanalyst, and observes cardinal volleyball matches in what amounts to an amusingly absurdist trifle. As watchable as the film is, one still wonders how it manages to be so inoffensive considering its subject, while also passively ruminating over how much flack Moretti will receive in the years to come for his abominable Leos Carax snub.

Also in theatres this week:

  • As One (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
  • A Beginner's Guide to Endings (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
  • Crooked Arrows (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
  • The Intouchables (Varsity)
  • Lovely Molly (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
  • Rowdy Rathore (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman (Carlton, AMC Yonge & Dundas)


For recommendations on what to catch at Toronto's rep cinema's this week, check out This Week in Rep Cinema.


Dagie Brundert: Artist-in-Residence (Thursday, May 31 at 7:30PM; CineCycle)
"Since then I've tried to be a particle-finder, a wave-catcher and a good story-teller. I try to absorb weird beautiful things from this world. Chew them and spit them out again" - Dagie Brundert. This Thursday, LIFT and the Goethe-Institut are hosting their inaugural Artist-in-Residence Dagie Brundert for a screening of her films. "One of Germany's most prolific filmmakers working with small format Super 8 film, Brundert has produced a wide range of films that break from genre, convention and expectation." Including work from the 1990s up until new work made during the residency, the screening will be a rare chance to see her work projected as it was made. Admission is $6 for everyone.

Cannon & Vessel/Mouth Room: James Richards in Person! (June 2-3 at 7PM each day; CineCycle & The Power Plant, respectively)
James Richards is a London-based artist/filmmaker who combines television footage with material gleaned from the Internet to create haunting, meditative and "willfully perverse" video works. Contemplating media glut, Richards exhibits "a decidedly queer bent and act[s] as a counterpoint to the breakneck pace of the contemporary media culture from which his material is drawn." These two programmes will be an essential entry point for anyone unfamiliar with this singular artist. The first will be a set of seven of his films made since 2006, and the second is a programme curated by Richards, which will include videos by Hank Linhart, Stuart Marshall, Anne McGuire, among others. Don't miss the June 3 event in particular, as it will include a discussion between Steve Reinke and James Richards after the screening.


Worldwide Short Film Festival (June 5-10)
Chosen from over 4700 submissions, this year's CFC event showcases 244 films from 35 countries in what promises to be a banner year for the organization and this prestigious fest. Spotlighting work from promising young newcomers, emerging voices such as Anne Émond, Samanou Sahlstrøm, and Nash Edgerton as well as established masters like Errol Morris, every one of the dozen-plus programmes has something for everyone. This year's festival will take place at both the Isabel Bader Theatre and the revamped Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; festival passes are available for $125, with individual tickets going for $10 each, which can be purchased online.

DVD & Blu-Ray

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