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Most anticipated of ’07: 10-01

The “auteurist theory” is put into practice in our final TEN – and not surprisingly, 4 of the top 10 projects I’d wait in a line to see on opening day have no distributor in place for the U.S market. The ten filmmakers (make that 11 with the Coens) represent a global sampling of what one might consider challenging cinema. I hoped that you enjoyed this top 10, and same time next year we should have some talk backs/forums so you guys can tell me what was omitted. Bon cinema!

51*. The Devil and Daniel Webster – Alec Baldwin
50. The Meat TradeAntonia Bird
49. Mister LonelyHarmony Korine
48. La Vie en RoseOlivier Dahan
47. Across the UniverseJulie Taymor
46. Youth Without YouthFrancis Ford Coppola
45. MargaretKenneth Lonergan
44. The Inner Life of Martin FrostPaul Auster
43. Hallam FoeDavid Mackenzie
42. Death at a Funeral Frank Oz
41. An American CrimeTommy O’Haver
40. Smiley FaceGregg Araki
39. Spring Break in BosniaRichard Shepard
38. Stop-LossKimberly Peirce
37. JindabyneRay Lawrence
36. Black Snake MoanCraig Brewer
35. Reservation RoadTerry George
34. Red Road – Andrea Arnold

33. RenditionGavin Hood
32. The HostBong Joon-ho
31. Rolling Stones documentaryMartin Scorsese

30. Lust, CautionAng Lee
29. The Nanny DiariesShari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
28. Margo at the WeddingNoah Baumbach
27. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert FordAndrew Dominik
26. Things We Lost in the FireSusanne Bier
25. Charlie Wilson’s WarMike Nichols
24. The SavagesTamara Jenkins
23. Be Kind RewindMichel Gondry

22. The Kite RunnerMarc Forster
21. Savage GraceTom Kalin
20. Into the WildSean Penn
19. Lars And The Real GirlCraig Gillespie
18. The FallTarsem
17. The Darjeeling LimitedWes Anderson
16. Grind HouseQuentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez
15. MarriageIra Sachs
14. In BloomVadim Perelman
13. Snow AngelsDavid Gordon Green
12. SunshineDanny Boyle
11. Eastern PromisesDavid Cronenberg

10. Ballon Rouge
When: A France release is certain. We’ll be very lucky if it makes it here.
Who: Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien‘s first film in another language that is not his mother tongue.
What: This is a part of a series of films to celebrate the anniversary of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Other contributing directors are Olivier Assayas, Raoul Ruiz and Jim Jarmusch. Formerly titled “Orsay”, this is about a little boy and his baby-sitter, a Chinese student, inhabit the same imaginary world and through their adventures they are followed by a strange red balloon. The boy’s mother is played by Juliette Binoche.
Why: Not enough people know who Hou Hsiao-Hsien is. What a shame.

9. No Country for Old Men
When: Paramount Vantage – Cannes preem likely followed by June 7th release.
Who: Return to form for Joel (see pic) and Ethan.
What: Based on the Cormac McCarthy’s novel “Old Men,” this noir thriller set in West Texas, tells the blood-soaked tale of a man on the run with a suitcase full of money being pursued by a number of individuals.
Why: Film noir elements and greed spells Blood Simple and Fargo.
8. Control
When: Surely a Cannes presentation followed by a small indie unit pick-up for the U.S.
Who: Famed music video filmmaker and photographer Anton Corbijn’s feature film debut.
What: Based on (the widow of Ian Curtis) Deborah Curtis’ Touching From a Distance, this is a biopic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. Matt Greenhalgh adapted the screenplay, which covers the last years in Curtis’ life, leading up to his suicide on the eve of what was to have been Joy Division’s first US tour in 1980.
Why: Corbijn is extremely close to the subject matter – a highly personal film.
7. My Blueberry Nights
When: The Weinstein Company – Cannes premiere followed by a late 07 release?
Who: Wong Kar-wai’s first English language film.
What: Based on a short film that Wong shot in Hong Kong, this sees a shopkeeper fall for a mysterious female client who eats blueberry pies. Jones stars as a young woman who travels across America to find the true meaning of love, encountering offbeat characters along the way.
Why: Singer Norah Jones is supported by one hell of a talented cast.
6. Funny Games
When: Warner Independent Pictures – Showcased as a Cannes, Venice or Toronto premiere – followed by a November-like date.
Who: Michael Haneke makes remake of his own film.
What: The film is about a middle-class family on holiday who are terrorized by two young men.
Why: Cache was the best film of 2005. Expect power performance from Naomi Watts. Hamptons will never be the same.
5. Silk
When: Picturehouse Films Cannes, Venice or Toronto fest premiere plus a late calendar date.
Who: A rare, sprawling François Girard outing.
What: Based on the Alessandro Baricco’s novel, this is the story of a married silkworm smuggler, Herve Joncour, in 19th Century France who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo. While there he spots a beautiful European woman, the concubine of a local baron, with whom he becomes obsessed. Without speaking the same language, they communicate through letters until war intervenes. Their unrequited love persists however, and Herve’s wife Helene begins to suspect.
Why: Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and The Red Violin rank high on my list of favs. Keira Knightley, Alfred Molina, Michael Pitt and Koji Yakusho stars.
4. There Will Be Blood
When: Miramax Films/Paramount Vantage will preem this most likely at Cannes and push for an Oscar nom friendly date.
Who: After stint with Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson will deliver.
What: This is based on the 1927 Upton Sinclair novel OIL. The book sees bribery of public officials, class warfare, and international rivalry over oil production. Sinclair’s story of a genial independent oil developer and his son, whose sympathy with the oilfield workers and socialist organizers fuels a running debate with his father. Senators, small investors, oil magnates, a Hollywood film star, and a crusading evangelist are the people that populate the pages of the novel.
Why: 20 bucks says Daniel Day-Lewis gets an Oscar nom.
3. Chaotic Ana (Caótica Ana)
When: Should get picked up by a subtitle-friendly unit such as SPC of IFC after a Cannes festival date. Released in May in Spain.
Who: Julio Medem of Sex and Lucia fame.
What: Original screenplay tells the story of Ana, a young girl who used to live on Ibiza with her hippy father but who moves to an artists’ hide-out in Madrid because she is an aspiring painter. It sees her fleeing her own fate after a hypnosis session allows her to glimpse parallel experiences she believes are past lives. The filmmaker describes the narrative as “the story-journey of Ana during four years of her life, from 18 to 22.
Why: Medem is one of Europe’s underrated filmic geniuses. Charlotte Rampling stars.
2. Zodiac
When: Paramount Pictures – March 2nd – bizarre shift in dates means that perhaps this is not your traditional studio film.
Who: Fight Club’s David Fincher.
What: Adapted by screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt from Robert Graysmith’s 1986 “Zodiac” and the sequel, “Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of American’s Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed. Graysmith’s books trace the mystery of “Zodiac,” a serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco area from 1966 to 1978. The killer committed at least 37 murders and documented his exploits in taunting letters sent to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Why: Solid cast. Solid filmmaker. Chilling storyline.

And the top pick for 2007 is……

1. I’m not There
When: Killer Films will find highest bidder most likely after first Cannes screening. Update this now belongs to the Weinstein co. and a end of year release is in the projects.
Who: Master craftsman Todd Haynes’s most ambitious project.
What: This is a film about the life of Bob Dylan. Each story expresses an aspect of Dylan’s mercurial personality and each story is to be filmed differently, in a style appropriate to its theme: Woody (Franklin) – an 11-year-old black boy, always on the run; Robbie – a womanising performer (Ledger), always on the road; Jude (Blanchett) – the young androgynous rock star; John/Jack (Bale) – a folk idol who reinvents himself as an evangelist; Billy (Gere) – the famous outlaw, miraculously alive but growing old.
Why: Visual and aural treat is based on particularly original concept.
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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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