Of all the new Toronto Film Festival films announced today, the most intriguing (for me) is Alan Ball‘s Nothing is Private, a Scott Rudin production that has no distributor as of this writing. I read the script last April and called it “a very solid and sharply observed thing, and sexually audacious as the dickens.”
Actually I was only describing the first 55 pages, which was all I’d read at that point. But I finished it the next day, and if anything my admiration gained. It may not be a monumental film (whatever that means), but it had, on paper, a feeling of discipline, completeness and clarity of character.
Based on Alicia Erian‘s “Towelhead” and costarring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Peter Macdissi, Toni Collette and Eugene Jones, it’s about a 13 year-old half-Arab, half-Irish girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil, said to be exceptional in the part) getting sexually involved with two older guys while living with her strict Lebanese father in Houston in the early ’90s.
The other films locked into Toronto are Julian Schanbel‘s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (beautifully made with rivers of feeling, but also a film that makes you wish it would end sooner); Tony Gilroy‘s Michael Clayton (George Clooney in the lead role), Gavin Hood‘s Rendition (Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep); Neil Jordan‘s The Brave One (Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard); Terry George‘s Reservation Road (Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly), and Peter Greenaway‘s Nightwatching.