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Human Flow

The most monumental cinematic middle finger aimed at the Trump administration to date.

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Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

A timely affirmation of feminine power—of the ways in which female wisdom and strength can charge hearts and minds, influence culture and inspire others to…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Loves of the living dead

• Toronto Entry #4There is a Truffaut film, rarely seen, named "The Green Room," based on the Henry James short story "The Altar of the Dead." That was about a man whose constant companions were the friends he had lost. He was faithful to their shrines in his memory. The term for his obsession is thanatopsis, a meditation upon death. Truffaut himself plays the hero of his film, and maintains a little chapel to the memory of his late wife and other loved ones. Nathalie Baye plays a woman he meets who shares his devotion, and it seems possible they may find happiness together, but she cannot reach him because his mind seems to reside in the next world.

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9/11 dwarfed the films about it

As I sat in a Toronto hotel room and watched those first images of 9/11 playing over and over again, there was an eerie mixture of fact and fiction. Television showed panic in the streets, as people ran screaming toward the cameras. Behind them, the unthinkable: the vast towers crumbling in fire and smoke, and clouds of debris filling the canyons of the streets.

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The world according to Saint Tilda

• Toronto Entry #3

If more people were like Tilda Swinton, what a better world this would be. She looks people straight in the eye. She levels. She notices and cares about them--not just the big shots, but everyone. She still corresponds with Hilde Back, the 83-year-old Swedish woman who was the heroine of the great documentary "A Small Act" at Ebertfest 2011. She personally helps haul a trailer across the north of Scotland so that movies can be exhibited in towns without cinemas. She is formidably intelligent and forthright. She has a good heart. She freshens my faith in the cinema.

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"The Artist" and the new Herzog

• Toronto Entry #2I have not quite become jaded. Sometimes I fear that I am so familiar with movie formulas that some films don't have a fair chance. Then I go to see Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist" and it tells a story that would have been familiar in the late 1920s, when it is set, and I begin by admiring its technique and am surprised to find, half way through, that I actually care how it turns out.

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"Melancholia" descends on Toronto

• Toronto Journal #1More than in previous years, I'm noticing the laptops in the audiences here at the Toronto Film Festival. Some of the bloggers seem to be beginning their reviews as the end credits still play. Then you see them outside, sitting on a corridor floor, their computers tethered to an electric umbilical, as they type urgently. Of course many of them share their opinions in quick conversational bursts, and a consensus develops. Most films good enough for an important festival, I think, require a little more marinating.

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A fall from grace

I should have left the bloody book on the floor. It was past midnight, and I had finished a little light bedtime reading: A thriller by Barbara Vine, a chapter a night. I replaced the bookmark and reached over to put the book on the bedside table. It fell to the floor. That was no big deal.

But no. I was compelled to lean over to pick it up. I am not very nimble these days. I stretched down. I was maybe two inches away. I shifted, and made a real reach. I crashed onto the

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"Ebert Presents:" An update

A message from Chaz and Roger: Thank you for your positive feedback on our Classics From The Vault segments on "Ebert Presents." We are happy to provide these vintage shows augmented with discussions from Christy and Ignatiy, instead of running reruns of our First Season shows, or instead of going off the air for the summer season.

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No animals were Uncanny Valleyed in the making of this movie

A reader named Zig writes me from Cliffside Park, New Jersey: "What is your opinion of Amy Kaufman's LA Times piece about animal use in films, the subject in general, and whether digital technology, like in 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' can currently capture the natural personalities of individual animals, or will we have to wait for technology to advance just a little further?"

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My new job. In his own words.

My new voice belongs to Edward Herrmann. He has allowed me to use it for 448 pages. The actor has recorded the audiobook version of my memoir, Life Itself, and my author's copies arrived a few days ago.

Listening to it, I discovered for the first time a benefit from losing my own speaking voice: If I could still speak, I suppose I would probably have recorded it myself, and I wouldn't have been able to do that anywhere as near as well as Herrmann does.

My editor, Mitch Hoffman, suggested a few readers he was confident would do a good job. Herrmann's name leaped up from his email.

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I was born inside the movie of my life

The opening pages of my memoir, to be published September 13, 2011:I was born inside the movie of my life. The visuals were before me, the audio surrounded me, the plot unfolded inevitably but not necessarily. I don't remember how I got into the movie, but it continues to entertain me. At first the frames flicker without connection, as they do in Bergman's Persona after the film breaks and begins again. I am flat on my stomach on the front sidewalk, my eyes an inch from a procession of ants. What these are I do not know. It is the only sidewalk in my life, in front of the only house. I have seen grasshoppers and ladybugs. My uncle Bob extends the business end of a fly swatter toward me, and I grasp it and try to walk toward him.

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