About 650 people poured out of a theater into a stand of birch trees under a star-filled sky, then started talking, texting and tweeting about "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." The genre-defying film, which stars Michael Keaton as a Hollywood has-been trying to reinvent himself, skewers the commodification of celebrity and the kind of contemporary life in which every feeling is mediated through a hashtag — in other words, precisely what was unfolding this night in the Rockies.
"Birdman's" auspicious North American debut on Saturday was a highlight of the paradoxical Telluride Film Festival, the site of several media moments and a fair amount of Oscar prognosticating over the
A low-key gathering in which a mountain-chic brunch with chairs made of hay bales replaced the step-and-repeat of the red carpet, Telluride still managed a mention on the gossip website Just Jared. ("
Huntsinger characterized the 41st annual Telluride lineup as "quieter" than that of last year, when eventual Oscar winners
Reese Witherspoon hiked and Instagrammed from Telluride's trails the morning before unveiling her risk-taking performance as Cheryl Strayed in "Wild," Jean-Marc Vallée's adaptation of Strayed's bestselling memoir about self-discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Tommy Lee Jones, whose beard and dubious squint could get him mistaken for a local throwback in this former mining town, held forth on the subject of the "so-called western" at a showing of the frontier drama he wrote, directed and stars in with Hilary Swank, "The Homesman," which screened as part of a tribute to the actress.
And after a screening of "Foxcatcher," in which
The attention flooded the mountain town even though the
Some of the most talked about films at Telluride, however, will benefit from moving on to Toronto's larger stage. Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," about the dysfunctional relationship between a single mother and her teenage tyrant, inspired countless gondola debates for its intensity, while Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes," which stars
As an antidote to some of the festival's darker films, audiences sought out "Wild Tales," an Argentine black comedy comprising six short films on the subject of vengeance, and "Seymour: An Introduction,"
And they took in the program's older films, including an
With its uncomfortably high altitude (some hotels even provide oxygen canisters to their guests), remote location and a secret program that filmmaker
As ever, that seemed to be the case this year.
"I'm a film festival virgin," Stewart told the fourth sellout audience for "Rosewater." "I couldn't have lost my virginity to a kinder, more compassionate group."