As eagerly as they seek to discover the 20 new titles that may comprise the creme of this year’s crop, Telluride loyalists cherish the “rediscovery” aspect provided in the guest-curated sidebars.
Recent guest directors have included Stephen Sondheim, Buck Henry and Don DeLillo; this year, the honor goes to filmmaker, professor and former Jean-Luc Godard collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin.
A celebration of the work of Jean Gremillon is at the heart of the French-themed program Gorin has planned: the silent “Maldone” (1928) plus two films Gorin considers Gremillon’s “masterworks” — “Remorques” (1941) and “Summer Light” (1943). Also to be shown is a 70mm print of Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” (1967) and a film that Gorin calls “the documentary to end all documentaries,” Kazuo Hara’s “The Emporer’s Naked Army Marches On” (1987).
“These films are exactly the opposite of what cinema is doing today,” Gorin says. “They let the world enter, they are exciting in terms of composition, they are not slavishly interested in content. It’s an occasion to entertain a certain dialog which is relevant to the way I make and teach film.”
Curiously, Gorin will show none of the films he made on his own or with Godard, though he says of the maverick French filmmaker: “His taste is in the program. He admires greatly Gremillon and Tati.”
Gorin has taught at UC San Diego for more than 30 years. “It’s an interesting place to be because no one in his right mind would be here,” he says of the city’s striking contrast between rich and poor, its proximity to the Mexican border and the massive naval station.
Still, he escapes often. “In my senatorial years, I’m frequently asked to be on festival juries,” he says with a laugh.