Telluride 2021: Coming Down From The Mountain

Image for this story

Brian Formo ends his time at Telluride with a royal, a card counter, a lost daughter, some dog power, and his favorite film of the fest. 

“I’ve been in the media side of the industry for a decade now, and Telluride is the only fest that doesn’t make me grapple with imposter syndrome. You’re in this tiny, beautiful town and every person—from an Oscar winner, to the best critic writing today, to talented people working for Kodak or Criterion, to college kids visiting from Texas—is approachable, ready to talk about films they love because, unlike other festivals in big cities, we know we’re all there for the same magical thing.” 

In his final diary from atop the mountain at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, Letterboxd’s Festiville correspondent Brian takes the time to reflect on why this festival stands out as a particularly special one amongst all the rest. After his first dispatch from the fest took on buzzy titles including King Richard, Cyrano, and C’mon C’mon, Brian’s latest hits on more of the most anticipated films of the fall season. 

Along with tracking Letterboxd member reactions to films like Spencer (“HOLY SHIT IT’S SO GOOD”) and The Power of the Dog (“I don’t know that I’ve ever been so engaged in a film ever”), Brian got personal when speaking about his favorite film of this year’s Telluride, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire follow-up, Petite Maman. In her new film, he says, “Sciamma explores grief, acceptance, saying goodbye, and saying ‘I love you’ in multiple timelines of the heart”. 

Read more from Brian’s concluding Telluride diary, including word on the one film at this year’s most quaint festival that managed to earn numerous walkouts from a disapproving audience.