TIFF 2005 line-up

So the Toronto International Film Festival announced its line-up of films today, and those of us who will be attending can hardly contain our excitement. Of course, Girish and I have already started complaining that the new films by, say, Denis, Bujalski, Aoyama, Tian, Allen, and Hong weren’t included. (Time to order that Korean Tale of Cinema DVD!) But for every “missing film,” there are innumerable titles with great potential, from the obvious (L’Enfant, CachÈ, Three Times) to the perhaps not-so-obvious (My Dad is 100 Years Old, Les Amants RÈguliers, Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine). The next week before the schedule is announced will offer a chance to explore the line-up and decide which films we should try to crowd into our visit.

Since I’ve been viewing a lot of documentaries recently, I thought I’d start with that selection. Here are some that look particularly intriguing:

Philip Groening’s Into Great Silence
ïA film about life in the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps. The filmmaker: “The film will be a very strict, next to silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material.”

Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight (to be released in 2006 by Sony Classics)
ï”The new film by Eugene Jarecki, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a ‘who’s who’ of military and beltway insiders. Featuring John McCain, Gore Vidal, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Perle and others, the film launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire. Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower’s legendary farewell speech (in which he coined the phrase ‘military industrial complex’), filmmaker Jarecki (The Trials of Henry Kissinger) surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century’s military adventures, asking how–and telling why–a nation of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on a state of constant war.”

Kristian Petri’s The Well
ï”A fascinating examination of Orson Wellesí lifelong relationship with Spain. Director Petri leaves no stone unturned as he visits the locations that were the backdrop to highpoints of this maverick filmmakerís career, deftly delineating another side of the life of one of cinemaís most hypnotically attractive figures.”

“Rare footage of Orson Welles visiting bullfights and holding forth in general represent good reasons for dipping into The Well, helmer Kristian Petri’s retracing of Welles’ footsteps in Spain. Less a conventional documentary than an essay with clips, structurally similar to but not as transcendent as Chris Marker’s The Last Bolshevik, Petri’s picture has Wellesian intellectual breadth about it…” —Variety

There are over a hundred feature films (a third of the festival’s line-up) that are world premieres, so any other suggestions, be they documentary or fiction, would be greatly appreciated…