Lucy Gray's Telluride

Lucy Gray's September 12, 2007 editor’s note: Storied photographer Lucy Gray, the creator of many works, including the "Big Tildas" who graced City Hall’s exterior during the 49th San Francisco International, has branched out into vodcasting with "Lucy Talks Movies" at, where an interview with Ken Burns is currently featured. (Burns’ latest, "The War," plays the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio Sept. 14-17.) She interviewed Burns on the street at the Telluride Film Festival, and has offered a few more thoughts and photos from that festival for the readers of

Lucy Gray’s report from the 35th Telluride Film Festival

The big news this year was that Gary Meyer did a fabulous job taking over as Tom Luddy’s partner in running the festival. The experience of being there was peppered with people like Mark Stock who painted this year’s noirish poster and could be seen at various parties over the weekend doing magic tricks at which he also excels.

It was a shame to only see a 20-minute teaser of Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, "There Will be Blood," starring Daniel Day-Lewis, but this was almost made up for by the fact of the two huge talents in person and the hope of their collaboration the fruition of which will appear this fall nationwide.

The triumph of the festival was the inclusion of films by and about women. There were back-to-back screenings of a couple of girls filmed in real life Berlin of 1929 in "People on Sunday," whose silence was delightfully pierced by a live orchestra, and "Juno," which is every bit 2007 about a wise cracking 16-year-old who deals with a pregnancy in an admirably level head. Nicole Kidman is sublime as the insidiously dark talented sister to the saner, wiser Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Margot at the Wedding" — Leigh and her husband, Noah Baumbach, who directed this one after "The Squid and the Whale," were sweetly low key around town.

I really hope "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" rises above its enigmatic title. The writer-director, Cristian Mungiu told a full theater at the Sheridan Opera House that he wanted to depict life in Romania under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The story is about a young woman whose friend has an abortion. The suspense in this film pushes new boundaries that comes in part from our own ideas about movie conventions, none of which it stoops to. A knife taken from a suitcase early on could be a cue that there will be a killing, but there never is one. The key to this experience is to know that what we don’t see is at least as suspenseful and painful as what we do. Two more back-to-backers were tales of one woman’s life from childhood to middle age — there was the journey from Bangladesh to London’s "Brick Lane" (2007), and in "Bhumika" of 1977, the journey remains in India. Both films are affecting, realistic, and fresh.

Finally, the way talent circulates at Telluride, Englishman Mark Kidel showed his documentary about American Peter Sellers, who interviewed the Indian director Shyam Benegal, who received a well deserved tribute. There were a little more than 35 films to see in three days, and I can only look forward to many films I missed that I heard were fantastic — Julian Schnabel’s "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," and Sean Penn’s "Into the Wild" for two.