Reel Deal Goes to the Toronto Film Festival – Day 4 and beyond

September 10, 2012 No Comments

Life without a movie queue to stand in seems strangely incomplete.  Wait, was that Ben Affleck? Colin Farrell? Flashback moment. Alas, no.

As the Toronto Film Festival continues for another week without me, I am left to reflect on the films that I was fortunate enough to screen and mark the ones “must see” that I didn’t.  Are there bad films here?  Yes indeed, but the audiences here have the knack of appreciating the effort and the vulnerability required to put work on the big screen.  No one boos.  No one leaves early and everyone applauds the many volunteers at each screening.  And let’s face it, there’s NOTHING like a star-studded red carpet prior to a film, except a compelling director Q and A when the movie is over.

Although I didn’t actually take the photo posted here (it’s the premiere of Jacque Audiard’s gritty but stylized film “Rust and Bone” starring Marion Cotillard), I was there for the screening.  It’s an interesting film that was big at Cannes and should receive some distribution in our area–I thought the ending was too “wrapped in a red bow-ish,” but it does generate discussion.)  I was also disappointed in Michael Winterbottom’s new film “Everyday”, the story of a woman who keeps her family together while her husband is in prison for five years.  The film was actually shot over a five year period, so the children in the family grow up for real. Although  the story itself fell flat for me, it was fascinating to hear the director and cast talk about the making of their film.

Keep an eye open for Dibakar Banerjee’s  film from India titled “Shanghai.”  It’s an innovative attempt to move beyond the Bollywood genre without sacrificing the unique stamp of a film from India.  Michel Gondry’s “The We and the I” is a compelling ride–on a city bus actually–loaded with inner city high school students on the last day of school.  The director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep” has maintained his ability to weave drama, music and creativity.  Nina Davenport’s “First Comes Love” is an intimate look at one 40-something professional woman’s quest to have a baby.  The film feels a lot like Lena Dunham’s “Girls” flash forwarded.

The last movie I saw before heading out of Toronto was Olivier Assayas’s somewhat autobiographical “Something in the Air” which takes us back to Paris post May, 1968 (in fact the French  title is actually “Apres Mai”/”After May” (guess the studio doesn’t think we know enough of European history to get it).  This film is a strolling  journey through tempestuous times.  Kind of a self-indulgent look back at self-indulgent teens, lost in their own self-discovery.

I strongly recommend visiting the TIFF website, which includes a detailed schedule of all the films screening at the festival, with drop down descriptions of each film.  Sheer pleasure to review.

Keep an eye on the site for details of NEXT YEAR.  Also, consider the Detroit Film Theatre’s trip to TIFF with Elliot Wilhelm, DFT curator.  What an experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  See you at the movies!  Jolyn Wagner

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