Cinematical goes to Cannes, so when it comes time for the fall festivals, we mostly ignore the movies we've already covered there. But since I didn't go to Cannes, the many holdovers from that festival are new to me, and a big part of the fun. (Less fun: complaining about being conflicted out of a movie only to be met with "oh, I saw that at Cannes." Thanks, jackass.)
One such holdover is the Dardenne brothers' very good Lorna's Silence, an(other) study of guilt and self-deception. The Dardennes' approach can be charitably termed "narrative economy," or less charitably "a pathological refusal to let important events happen on screen." For that reason, Lorna's Silence plays like a mystery, except that the mystery is what the hell is going on, with the filmmakers dropping tidbits of information at their leisure. It's an unusual way of generating suspense – a bit tyrannical, but also a recognition that real life generally does not contain expository dialogue. Though the film contains plenty of conventional what-happens-next suspense as well, its nature makes virtually any plot description a spoiler. If you like the Dardennes, or are just interested in the current art film vanguard, don't read much about Lorna's Silence but just go see it. Sony Pictures Classics will release it in North America.
I also checked out Il Divo, winner of the Jury Prize prize at this year's Cannes, and a film we actually didn't cover back in May. I'd like to give you my educated opinion, but unfortunately it wound up being the film during which I hit what festivalgoers know as "the Wall." Everyone who sees several movies a day at a festival hits the Wall, and those with writing obligations hit it particularly hard. Your vision starts to blur, your head starts bobbing up and down, and your hotel bed starts swimming in front of your eyes. At Telluride, which lasts four days, I usually hit it once; at SxSW, where I stay for five or six, sometimes twice. I'm three days into Toronto, and so far Il Divo has been the only victim (though I fear what will happen during the four-and-a-half hour Che on Monday).
The movie is a heavily stylized portrait of Giulio Andreotti, an all-powerful Italian Premier during the 80s and 90s who was recently prosecuted for his alleged extensive mob dealings. From the time I could actually focus, I gathered that the movie was flashy, complicated, and annoyingly equivocal about what it thinks of its protagonist. More than that, I can't really say.