In one of our reports from the 2009 Vancouver International Film Festival, I expressed my enthusiasm for Elia Suleiman’s third feature, The Time that Remains. Yesterday Aaron Cutler posted an excellent interview with Suleiman on the Bomblog site (recorded November 2). It’s an unusual interview in that it spends quite a lot of time on the form and style of the film. The posting follows the limited release of the film on January 9 by the Independent Film Channel. Very limited, since it’s so far only on one screen. If it plays anywhere near you, I’d suggest seeing it on the big screen. I saw it twice at Vancouver, on the assumption that I’m unlikely to see it again in a 35mm print. This is one of those cases where seeing the film for the first time on video would be inadequate.
I often think back to that year’s festival when I see reviewers kvetching that there aren’t any great films any more. The blog linked above also covers Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman and Samuel Maoz’s Lebanon. There are definitely worthwhile films made every year, but you have to attend film festivals to see many of them. Most year-end 10-best lists don’t include many foreign films like these (or else they include almost nothing but foreign films). I like the way Roger Ebert makes separate top-10 lists for mainstream films, foreign films, animated films, and documentaries. Not only does he avoid comparing apples and oranges, but he promotes four times as many films, some of which most readers would never hear about otherwise.