TIFF 2011 Thread

I just got back from my extended weekend at TIFF (Toronto International Film Fest, for the acronymly challenged). Has anyone else done TIFF this year (or years past?) Want to share notes? Any questions about the experience (or at least My experience)

My executive summary: 6th year attending, 18 movies in 3.5 days. Phew! Mostly foreign, small films, no Galas or no red carpets. Lots of Q&As with directors though.

I will follow up with some movie summaries/thoughts … interested in other folks experiences at TIFF. I definitely enjoy the whirlwind of moviedom. I am also interested in others experiences at other movie festivals. So post away.

Oh yeah, just be careful of spoilers. I reserve the right to want to see anything you liked, and to probably want to see anyway anything you didn’t like. Anything you hated will automatically be put on my MUST SEE! list.

I’m very interested in your Q&A stories. And please list the films you saw.

I’ve been following TIFF talk on Twitter. I don’t generally click through and read more in-depth articles because all I’m really interested in are movie titles and a general gist. I’m weird that way, I have a fear of being spoiled. I already know way too much about Shame. The general positive buzz had me excited. But then, hearing a synopsis took it from “OMG GOTTA SEE IT!” to “Oh god, I really do not want to see it but I guess I will anyway, just for Michael Shannon in case he gets nominated for an Oscar.”

Sorry, but sex addicts strike me as ridiculous, silly, boring & pathetic, and yet Shame is not a comedy, I hear. I’d have to see it anyway because I will see anything that Carey Mulligan does.

Yes, I will be careful with spoilers … but thanks for the reminder!

Actually Shame was the last film I saw (before running out on the Q&A to catch the last train home (to Ottawa)) … but I talked to my friend who was staying an extra day about the Q&A … sounds like it was interesting. I know it is getting lots of buzz, but I found it a bit too gratuitous. Interesting, but definitely not a movie to recommend to your mother! I will leave more till later.

I should note that I am just a member of the movie-going public, not connected with the film industry in any way (other than supporting it with my hard earned money fairly regularly).

Anyway, my movie list:
Saturday Sept 10
9:45 Oslo, August 31st
12:15 The Raid
3:15 The Hunter
6:30 Where Do We Go Now?
9:15 Low Life

Sunday Sept 11
Every screening was preceeded by a short film talking about memories of 9/11 from those at TIFF that day and how it was handled. Touching upon first viewing, (person beside me wept openly at the noon hour screening) less so by the 5th viewing.
10:15 The Stones
1:00 Future Lasts Forever
3:00 Martha Marcy May Marlene
9:15 Headhunters
11:59 Livid

Monday Sept 12
11:00 Rampart
2:30 388 Arletta Avenue
4:30 Anonymous
8:30 Lena
11:59 The Incident

Tuesday Sept 13
9:00 The Loneliest Planet
12:30 I am a Good Person, I am a Bad Person
3:15 Shame

More to follow … I need to do the work they pay me to do right now.

Strangely enough I am kinda tired tonight … so I am just going to tackle the first day.

Format will be Title, Country, Director followed by a quick high level summary, non spoiler interesting tid bits, I will only include spoilers (appropriately boxed) if I really feel they are too good not to share.

Oslo, August 31st
Norway - Joachim Trier

Up bright and early Saturday and off to this Norwegian film. It was the story of a recovering drug addict, during his first day out from a residential drug rehab program. He comes to Oslo primarily for a job interview and while there reconnects with family and friends.

The movie was a good start to the festival. Oslo was a character in the film. It was filmed in the neighbourhood where the director grew up and was very lovingly portrayed. The film captured both the mood and perspective of the addict struggling to stay clean, as well as his long suffering friends and family.

Q&A also told us that the main actor (who was fabulous) is actually a doctor and will likely not be continuing his acting career. Which is a loss for film because he was great.

Definitely recommended

The Raid
Indonesian - Gareth Evans

This was the opening film of the “Midnight Madness” series. This is the showcase for “genre” films. ie Horror, martial arts, cult type movies. It screens every night at midnight in a university theatre and always draws a very young and enthusiastic crowd. Highly recommend that anyone attending TIFF checks out at least one midnight madness just for the atmosphere.

Anyway, back to this film. I saw it on its second showing (not midnight). The premise is a SWAT team is sent into a building owned by an evil drug lord to bring him down. Highly choreographed, highly bloody martial arts follows.

I am not a huge fan of martial arts films … but this was a bloody, fun film. Great tension, inventive fight sequences and even a subplot to give things a bit of depth.

At the Q & A we learned about how a welsh film director came to make an Indonesian film (his wife is Indonesian and they live in Indonesia) The lead actor is also the head fight choreographer and he was at the Q & A … he obliged us with a demonstration of some impromptu martial arts moves. Great fun! Apparently the fights were worked on for months prior to filming. This was not strobe light massive edit fight scenes, but full on choreographed fight scenes. Even the 8 minute long sequence kept you on the edge of your seat.

Recommended for those who love a good bloody fight.

More to follow if folks are interested.

Others please contribute.

Were you able to see the Q&A with Tilda Swinton?

Nope, as I said, I mostly choose movies that don’t get wide (any?) release. So lots of obscure foreign films. And when you do go see an A-list movies after the gala (ie at the second screening), there is rarely a Q&A. When you see a well known film on my list, odds are good that it just happened to fit my schedule or that I have been following that director for a while.

Most famous Q&A actor this year was Willem Dafoe in The Hunter. He was very gracious and an interesting guy. Wouldn’t have minded having a beer with him (or going backwoods camping for that matter).

But on the other hand I have seen some fabulous movies that never secured a north american distributor. Case in point: most visually stunning and compelling film from 2009 (for me) was Kelin … from Kazakhstan and it never got an international distributor. Even though it was the KZ nominee for Oscar Foreign Language film, it was only seen at festivals and by acadamy voters. What a shame.

Thank you for your posts. I’m definitely interested. Some of these I’d heard of in my Twitter buzz, some are new to me. The biggest buzz I’ve read came from The Raid, Rampart and Anonymous.

Martha Marcy May Marlene isn’t getting much Toronto buzz but ONLY because it already screened at other festivals and everyone’s already raved about it, so I guess they felt they didn’t need to see it again or had already said what they had to say in the past few weeks. I haven’t heard one person say anything negative about it. I saw it a couple of weeks ago myself and thought it was so good. Bleak and somber, it really conveys the feeling of disorientation and paranoia that someone escaping out of a cult must feel. There was a Q&A after the screening and I got to meet the director (Sean Durkin) and lead actress Elizabeth Olsen, who is going to be a major star after a few years of giving us gem-quality performances in small movies like this. I hope it does well because there aren’t any movies about this topic, not that I know about. I think it’s a topic that needs exploring.

I have a question that’s embarrassing to ask because I feel I missed something very important. Martha is her real name. Marcy May is the name that the cult leader (a terrific John Hawkes) gives her. Like most cults they want to strip you of your identity, keep you from your family and friends, and make you dependent on the cult. It was a very authentic touch. What I missed is, where’s the name Marlene come in?

First, thanks for your interest! Means a lot coming from you.

In the Q&A for MMMM the director was asked that question in almost the same way and we were given a very non-satisfactory hand waving answer. He sort of said that it was the working title but his evasiveness left me wondering if perhaps of the many case studies that he looked at in developing the script there was a very special one who had the name of Marlene.

Oh, thank you! I didn’t miss anything in the movie then. No one asked him that at the Q&A I attended. I was sitting front row center, I had my hand raised but the moderator didn’t call on me.

I’m sure I’ll never be able to attend a festival like that, but it would be a dream to go to Cannes and Toronto. I also have a very soft spot for Telluride. Besides being fun to say (Telluride! Telluride! Telluride) it seems like a really cool festival. Venice & London would be up there too. Like you I’m just a civilian. I’m not and never will be part of the film (making or writing) community, so I’ll never get to go. Sigh.

The only festivals I have been to are the Chicago International Film Festival (twice) and the European Union Film Festival (once, this past March). I saw 10 movies last year at the CIFF and I’ve seen first-hand how movies can sometimes play festivals and never be released in theaters, or be released a loooong time after playing festivals. One of my favorite films from last year’s CIFF was called Nannerl, Mozart’s Sister. I liked it so much I went to both of the screenings. I’m glad I did because the director and his daughter (who is in the film, as is his other daughter who plays Nannerl) were there. Neither of them spoke a word of English and the translator was lazy but it was still fun to meet them. Just this past week I went to the Music Box to see, yep, Mozart’s Sister (they decided to drop the Nannerl from the title), opening almost a year after playing the festival.

The European Union Film Festival was great fun. It’s a month-long festival that plays at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago. It’s been going on for years but I never paid attention until I actually became a member of the GSFC, and then all movies were $5, so I had a ball seeing as many as I could. I saw 52 movies at the Fest, plus 12 regular non-EUFF movies scattered at other places, which of course means I saw 64 movies in the theater during that insane month of March. I loved it!

Some of those EUFF movies opened, such as The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, which opened a few weeks ago, Jane Eyre and Queen To Play which opened a couple of months ago, but most of the others I know will never open, and I feel so happy I had the chance to see them. Some of my favorites were Happy Family from Italy, La Pivellina from Austria, Korkoro from France, and Zaches from Bulgaria.

Actually, if you’re interested, here’s my full March lineup from my Twitter feed, where I keep track of every movie I see. I’ll put it in spoiler tags because it’s long. If you read it, scroll down to the bottom and read from bottom to top to get the in-order sequence. European Union Film Festival movies are specifically marked “EUFF.”

[spoiler]happyrhodesfan
So ends EUFF 2011. Saw 52 EUFF films + 12 non-EUFF films, for an insane 64 movies seen in March. People edge away from me when I tell them.
31 Mar

happyrhodesfan
110) The Trip (UK-EUFF) Coogan/Brydon, Kings of quips/impressions, take road trip to Lake District. Highly enjoyable! They sing Kate Bush!!
31 Mar

happyrhodesfan
109) Of Gods And Men @ Evanston Century. I’m an atheist and still thought this film about stubborn monks was very moving. No Oscar nom, why?
31 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Closing night film of European Union Film Fest is M Winterbottom’s The Trip w Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon. Loved Tristram Shandy, can’t wait!
31 Mar

happyrhodesfan
108) Happy Family (Italy-EUFF) OH! I loved this movie so much I want to hug everyone who had anything to do with it! Gaffers! Grips! HUG!
30 Mar

happyrhodesfan
107) Student Services (France-EUFF) Good movie/acting about a Uni student who turns to prostitution to pay bills. Should be legalized IMO.
30 Mar

happyrhodesfan
106) Vespa (Hungary-EUFF) Good coming-of-age film about a kid who wins a scooter but has a hell of a time claiming the prize. Fun music!
29 Mar

happyrhodesfan
105) The Woman With The Five Elephants (Germany-EUFF) Good doc about a v interesting woman, but I zoned. Not the movie’s fault, too tired.
29 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@sam_clements 9am wouldn’t be too early if you’d stayed up all night and were starting to hallucinate from exhaustion. I loved Kaboom! Juno!
29 Mar

happyrhodesfan
104) With Heart and Soul (Greece-EUFF) Two brothers on opposite sides of the Greek Civil War. I thought it was powerful. Loved the music too
29 Mar

happyrhodesfan
103) Nothing Personal (Ireland-EUFF) Rude bitch gets taken in by Stephen Rea. I liked it, especially for Rea and the stunning scenery.
29 Mar

happyrhodesfan
102) The Happiest Girl In The World (Romania-EUFF) The title’s ironic because she’s a sulky, sullen dim teenager you just want to slap.
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
101) Foxes (Slovakia-EUFF) Hate hate HATED every single one of the characters and wanted them all to die a slow death by diseased leeches.
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
100) Lila Lila (Germany-EUFF) Would the shallow bitch have liked him if he were just a waiter? Who gives a fuck? Brühl’s a cutie though.
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
99) 9:06 (Slovenia-EUFF) Wish it’d been #96. Hypnotic story of a troubled detective who becomes obsessed with a suicide he’s investigating.
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
98) Bride Flight (Netherlands-EUFF) Enjoyable soap opera “the lives of three women and one man are fatefully intertwined over five decades”
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
97) The Sleeping Beauty (France-EUFF) My first Catherine Breillat, must see more. Loved it, she hit my soft spot for fairy tales for adults.
27 Mar

happyrhodesfan
96) La Pivellina (Austria-EUFF) An absolute delight, one of my favorites! Circus performers find/care for abandoned 2yr old adorable charmer
27 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

happyrhodesfan
Last weekend for European Union Film Festival. I have 4 movies to see today and 3 tomorrow, wheee!
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@
@matociquala You have a great group of friends then! I’ve always wished she weren’t so obscure in general, I’ve been a fan for 23 years.
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@matociquala Right, Chazz, but Daphne would like her too based on her playlist. It’s very cool. How’d you discover Happy, she’s so obscure.
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@matociquala You have such great taste in music, thanks for including Happy in a Shadow Unit playlist.
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Week 3 of European Union Film Festival down, 1 to go. Saw 15 films (37 total EUFF), 14 to go. Working full-time too, it’s starting to wear.
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
95) Dust (Luxembourg-EUFF) Quiet Post-Apocalyptic world w no bodies/abandoned cars/roaming cannibals. STUNNING scenery! Siblings +1=Dilemma
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
94) The Strange Case of Angelica (Portugal-EUFF) An interesting story that I unfortunately zoned out on. Damn. Not getting enough sleep.
26 Mar

happyrhodesfan
So very wonderful. One of many fantastic things, actors were all Bulgarian but they seemed totally familiar, like old friends. Great faces.
25 Mar

happyrhodesfan
I’m not counting it, but I saw 3/4 of Zaches again too. Technical troubles meant it started late, so I went in after The Border (they knew!)
25 Mar

happyrhodesfan
93) The Border (Slovakia-EUFF) Absurd '46 political decision-idyllic rural village split down middle between two nations. Interesting/moving
25 Mar

happyrhodesfan
92) My Brothers (Ireland-EUFF) Lovely, funny, sad film. 3 brothers take a road trip to replace a broken watch beloved by their dying father.
25 Mar

happyrhodesfan
http://j.mp/goVFKf @ebertchicago review of Even The Rain.
25 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@VitagraphFilms Yep, lesson there is, besides don’t be an asshole, to never assume anyone within earshot can’t understand another language
24 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@Mruff221 Even The Rain is in some theaters now, it could use the support if it’s playing where you are. I know you’d love it. Very timely.
24 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@Mruff221 Have you seen Even The Rain w/ Gael Garcia Bernal? Film crew in middle of water right war in Bolivia. Important and worth seeing.
24 Mar

happyrhodesfan
91) The Invisible Frame (Germany-EUFF) Movella,Tilda Swinton biking where the Berlin Wall used to be. Sequel to 1988’s Cycling The Frame.
23 Mar

happyrhodesfan
90) Rabbit à la Berlin (Poland-EUFF) Movella about rabbits that lived between two Berlin Walls, told as a fable. Funny yet sobering.
23 Mar

happyrhodesfan
89) Applause (Denmark-EUFF) Oblivious actress doesn’t deserve kind long-suffering ex-husband/great kids. Why no Paprika Steen Oscar nom?
23 Mar

happyrhodesfan
88) Paul @ City North 14. So fun! Crushing on @simonpegg and @nickjfrost A blast to play Spot The Reference, esp loved Groundhog Day ref.
23 Mar

happyrhodesfan
87) Badlands @ Siskel. I’d seen it several times, but never on the BIG screen. What a great film. My God I love Terrence Malick!
23 Mar

happyrhodesfan
86) Le Quattro Volte (Italy-EUFF) Very odd film, no dialogue, life in an Italian village in 4 segments, beautiful scenery. I liked it.
21 Mar

happyrhodesfan
85) Special Treatment (Luxembourg-EUFF) Isabelle Huppert as a high-priced prostitute who wants to get out of business. Good, unpredictable.
21 Mar

happyrhodesfan
84) Tambien la Iluvia (Even The Rain) @ Logan. V powerful. Crew filming movie about Columbus find themselves in middle of water rights war.
21 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@DocCritic I really love fantasy/fairy tales aimed at adults. Brazil/The Fall/Babe Pig In City/Micmacs/Princess Bride, I’m a sucker for 'em
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@DocCritic I did like Nenette, though it’ll haunt me. Just posted my Zaches tweet. I thought it was beyond wonderful. Absolutely delightful.
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
83) Zaches (Bulgaria-EUFF) Love Love LOVED it! Fairy tale for adults, a rare breed. Sumptuous, gorgeous, funny, thought-provoking, a treat!
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
82) The First Beautiful Thing (Italy-EUFF) Wonderful! Uptight asshole doesn’t deserve his amazing mother, she’s a joy to watch/spend time w
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
81 1/2) Night Falls On The Menagerie (Fr short-EUFF) Zoo scenes/sounds after the gates are locked for the night. Who are the real animals?
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
81) Nenette (France-EUFF) Crushingly sad doc about orangutangs in captivity, focusing on 40-yr old Nenette, who looks bored out of her mind.
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@ProgSam6 Have you seen/heard this one? Happy Rhodes live - "Soon" (Yes cover) - YouTube We were at that show, my husband shot the video/put it on YT. It was magical!
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
80) Protektor (CZRep-EUFF) Late 30’s/early 40’s Prague, rising starlet’s career is derailed b/c she’s Jewish. Jana Plodkova, so beautiful.
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
79) Queen To Play (France-EUFF) Delightful, Maid gets obsessed with Chess. I know nothing about chess & enjoyed it. God, Corsican scenery!!!
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
78) The Temptation of St. Tony (Estonia-EUFF) No idea what it was about. Ounpuu must be the David Lynch of Estonia (meant that in good way)
20 Mar

happyrhodesfan
77) Letters To Father Jacob (Finland-EUFF) Woman pardoned leaves prison to help blind/old Fr Jacob read/respond to prayer requests. Good.
19 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Week 2 of European Union Film Festival down, 2 wks to go. Saw 8 films this week, 22 total so far. 29 more films to go! 15 this wk & 14 next.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Rushed back over to RE21 to see Adjustment Bureau but my frequent cust pass had expired. Never had AMC refuse expired pass before. Argh
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
76) Gold Dust (Greece-EUFF) Famdram set in modern Athens. Funny when I see Exit Through Gift Shop graffiti is art. Here it’s depressing.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
75) The Last Circus (Spain-EUFF) Never in my life have I seen a movie start with such compelling promise and go oh so horribly wrong.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
74) Rango @ River East 21 I knew I’d love it, and I did. Fun and sly, missed lots of jokes from laughing too hard. Have to see it again.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
I’m so far behind on multiplex movies, all my $$ going to EUFF. Got off work early so I’ll catch up with 2 today to bookend EUFF films.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
73) Farewell (Lithuania-EUFF) Loved. Dying sailor Audrius revisits family/friends/lovers for final gbyes. Crushing now on Dainius Kazlauskas
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
72) Purple Sea (Italy-EUFF) Angela must pretend to be “Angelo” to marry her childhood sweetheart in 19th century Sicily. Beautiful and sad.
18 Mar

happyrhodesfan
71) To Die Like A Man (Portugal-EUFF) Dying transsexual diva takes care of everyone but herself. Sad, moving. Baby Dee scene was haunting.
16 Mar

happyrhodesfan
70) Two In The Wave (France-EUFF) Exhilarating doc focusing on Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and the history of that era. Loved it!
16 Mar

happyrhodesfan
69) Cold Weather @ Music Box. Mystery’s a red herring, it’s the relationships, esp bro/sis that make the movie. Great locations & music!
14 Mar

happyrhodesfan
68) Aurora (Romania-EUFF) A few loooong days in the mind-numbingly, excruciatingly boring and mundane life of a future spree-killer. Weird.
13 Mar

happyrhodesfan
67) Cracks (Ireland-EUFF) Gorgeous, well done! Jordan Scott one to watch. Lord of the Flies boys pussies compared to British schoolgirls.
13 Mar

happyrhodesfan
@ProgSam6 She’s on her farm taking care of stray cats and hand-building Dangerous Music boxes. Follow @happyrhodesnews for future news
13 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Week 1 of European Union Film Festival down, 3 more to go. Saw 14 films, 37 more to go. Sadly will miss 10, can’t be helped. Scheduling.
12 Mar

happyrhodesfan
66) Illegal (Belgium-EUFF) Sad, America isn’t the only country that treats illegal immigrants like shit. Powerful and moving. Anne Coesens!
12 Mar

happyrhodesfan
65) Change Nothing (Portugal-EUFF) Oh if Costa could have documented HR making her brilliant album Many Worlds Are Born Tonight. Mesmerizing
11 Mar

happyrhodesfan
64) Hello, How Are You? (Romania-EUFF) Often funny but bittersweet, a couple who’ve drifted apart “meet” anew in an Internet chat room.
11 Mar

happyrhodesfan
63) Behind Blue Skies (Sweden-EUFF) Very good coming-of-age tale of a decent boy who gets involved with the wrong people. I liked it a lot.
11 Mar

happyrhodesfan
62) Amer (Belgium-EUFF) Throwback to '70’s Italian horror films, visually stunning, weird as hell, too tired to appreciate fully, too bad
9 Mar

happyrhodesfan
61) The Army Of Crime (France-EUFF) Fr resistance fighters led by Armenian poet Missak Manouchian, amazing story, well-told and intense.
9 Mar

happyrhodesfan
60) Win Win @ RE21 (free via Cinema Chicago) New from dir of Station Agent & Visitor. I liked it, more family drama than wrestling movie.
8 Mar

happyrhodesfan
59) Battleship Potemkin @ Music Box (1925-Eisenstein) First time, couldn’t miss on BIG screen, influential, but also good movie, exciting!
7 Mar

happyrhodesfan
58) Jane Eyre (UK-EUFF) Gorgeous adaptation, very faithful, no “updates” to appeal to the younger set, but I hope it does. Met Mia & Cary!
6 Mar

happyrhodesfan
57) Rehearsal For A Sicilian Tragedy (Italy-EUFF) John Turturro explores his Sicilian roots in prep for a film about a puppeteer, very good
6 Mar

happyrhodesfan
56) The Portugese Nun (Portugal-EUFF) Stylized acting drove me crazy, but I loved the ending, Lisbon setting and, oh god, the Fado music!
6 Mar

happyrhodesfan
55) The King Of Escape (France-EUFF) Not sure about this one. Quirky on-the-lam movie w 40ish gay guy and 16-yr old girl. Lots of sex anyway
6 Mar

happyrhodesfan
54) Habermann (CZRep-EUFF) Well-made/acted WWII film with unusual POV-minority Germans citizens in occupied CZ, some sympathetic, some not.
5 Mar

happyrhodesfan
53) Disco and Atomic War (Estonia-EUFF) Entertaining doc. Estonians discover Finnish TV. Who knew Dallas and Emanuelle helped win Cold War?
5 Mar

happyrhodesfan
52) Korkoro (France-EUFF @Siskel) 1st of 4 today, great start. Will be one of my favorites of the fest and year. Tears, smiles, music, wow
5 Mar

happyrhodesfan
51) Bibliotheque Pascal (Hungary-EUFF @ Siskel) - Sex slavery victim spins wild yarn to social worker to regain custody of daughter.
4 Mar

happyrhodesfan
Opening night of the European Union Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Already have 18 tickets with many more to buy.
4 Mar[/spoiler]

That was fun reading again. It brought back a lot of interesting movie memories. I really should take my full movie Twitter feed and transfer them somewhere else. I’m up to 284 movies in the theater so far this year. That number is so going to rise with all the movies coming out of Toronto! I just can’t see everything though. No matter how big the number is, there are so many I miss, which is why I appreciate your breaking down the movies you saw and giving me a heads up. Believe me, it’s VERY much appreciated. I’d hate to miss something I really need to see.

Um…I saw Johnny Rotten signing autographs on the street. Does that count as TIFF experience?

(I don’t like crowded theatres or waiting in line, so TIFF obviously isn’t for me.)

Absolutely! How does the average non-movie going Torontonian feel about the chaos that descends on the downtown every September?

I bow down in awe! People think I am crazy to see 18 movies in 3.5 days (and if I had the vacation time it would probably be 50 movies in 11 days … the true movie goer’s TIFF ticket package) but that is really my annual bing otherwise it is only usually about 1 a week. Although we also have an EU film fest here in Ottawa, so I always see a few more when it is on … but not like TIFF. It is a really small festival, with each film only screening once and usually only one film per country. But still fun, since we are the capital and the embassies help bring in movies that otherwise might not make it here.

I have a friend in the industry who has been to most of the major festivals and he thinks that for the average movie goer … TIFF is the best. It is very egalitarian, and although there is tons of stuff that is industry only, it is very audience oriented. So if you can swing it, you should try to get here one year. It’s not that far from Chicago really.

Sorry … I got distracted with trying to convince my cold to not turn into bronchitis … not sure if I won the argument yet or not. It’s an ongoing debate.

Anyway … they just announced the TIFF winners:

■Cadillac People’s Choice Award: Where do We Go Now?
■Cadillac People’s Choice Award Runner-Ups: A Separation and Starbuck
■Cadillac People’s Choice Award Documentary: The Island President
■Cadillac People’s Choice Award Documentary Runner-Ups: First Position and Pearl Jam Twenty
■Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: The Raid
■Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award Runner-Ups: You’re Next and God Bless America
■Skyy Vodka Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: Edwin Boyd
■City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: Monsieur Lazhar
■Best Canadian Short Film: Doubles With Slight Pepper.
■FIPRESCI Prize for Discovery: Avalon
■FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: The First Man

So since I actually voted for the winner of the People’s Choice award I figured I should give my thoughts.

Where Do We Go Now?
France/Lebanon/Italy/Egypt - Nadine Labaki
This was a really sweet touching story of an isolated village at the start of the sectarian civil war in 70’s Lebanon. The women of the village see the outside infuences of hatred being echoed by their men, and they do everything in their power to maintain peace in their small community. They don’t wish to bury anymore sons and husbands. This tale is alternatively has the audience laughing rauchously and weeping openly. The pain and sorrow of the civil war is evident, but humour allows the tale to be uplifting.

I really enjoyed this film Interestingly enough my friend was less impressed I do not know if that was a male/female thing or not. Definitely this was not a terribly flattering picture of hot-headed men. Anyway, I am somewhat surprised that this movie won the People’s choice award It was a lovely feel good movie, but did not seem to be as “important” a movie as is usually chosen.

Before the screening, the writer and director introduced the film and also announced that it had just been chosen as Lebanon’s nominee for best Foreign Language Oscar. Their joy and surprise at this was really touching. I think is safe to bet that with the TIFF People’s Choice award, that it will be on the short list at least.

In terms of Q&A … it was filmed in 3 villages in the area of Lebanon from the part of Lebanon where the two grew up. The reason for 3 villages, was the difficulty to find areas that were still “old” looking, as much development has gone on since the 70s. The cast and crew were a mixture of Christians and Muslims … in fact the Imam was played by a Christian and the Priest was played by a Muslim These were very intentional choices. A lovely film … a pleasant surprise that it won.

Had a pretty crazy week work this week so i could only knock out nine.

God Bless America - in terms of actual plot it could stand to be a little tighter but it was a beautiful rant set to video about how popular is killing america. It’s directed by Bob Goldthwait, who gave a very funny q and a.

Into the Abyss - doc by Herzog re: violent crime and the after affects. Quite good.

Comic con: Episode 4 - doc by Spurlock. If you’re a nerd, it’d great. I liked it.

The Descendants by Alexander Payne. Great movie, good performance by Clooney. Also funny.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - discussed. Enjoyed it.

The Oranges - fairly run of the mill comedy about divorce and life in the burbs. I didn’t much care for it.

Jeff, who lives at home - The Duplass brothers. Sirus follow up and quite a worthy one. I thought Jason Segal and Ed Helms were both great. Segal seemed a little more at home. Easily Segal’s best performance and I hope it’s recognized in some way.

Melancholia - von Trier - love the mood von trier creates. His use of music is terrific as is his use of sound. Also a stunning movie visually. Kirstin Dunst was also great. Won’t convert you into a lars von trier fan but is a little more accessable than antichrist.

Like Crazy - really enjoyed this one and they really sold me with the ending. The two leads had great chemistry and the the secondary characters were all well done.

Overall I had pretty good luck with the festival and went 9/10 with movies I enjoyed. Would’ve loved to see the new McQueen movie and A Dangerous Method. My brother said Goon was pretty funny as well.