TIFF

Le Temps qui reste (2005)

I hadn’t planned to write about Le Temps qui reste, but then, while typing up notes this morning, I tripped over this line from E.L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel: “My sister and I can never inflict total damage — that is the saving grace. The right to offend irreparably is a blood right.”

Un Couple parfait (2005)

Look closely at the image above. It’s Un Couple parfait in miniature — a story told in body language.

And Then There Were None

A friend’s line last year was, “Thank God there are no more movies. I wish there were more movies.” That about sums it up, I’d say. A last batch of first impressions.

Movies, They’re Everywhere, Man. EVERYWHERE!

Last Thursday, Girish introduced me to a friend of his, a Toronto native who had just returned from Montreal, where he had seen 54 films at that festival. He had another 45 tickets in hand for TIFF. I don’t get it. I just left my 31st film (I think), and I’m exhausted. Completely.

Losing Touch with Reality

I haven’t decided if the quality of films is improving or if I’m simply developing calluses to sentimentality and failed ambitions, but I’ve seen several good films (though few great ones) since my last update — and not a dud in the lot.

The Very Best Intentions

After three days, 14 films, a brilliant Sufjan Stevens concert, several fantastic meals, and too little sleep, I’ve abandoned my ambitions of blogging a brief capsule review of everything I see. There’s too little time, and I don’t want my TIFF experience to be hampered by blog guilt. Instead, here are some brief comments — first impressions and unsupported opinions, mostly.

Blogging TIFF

I have tickets for 44 films this year, plus a ticket to Sufjan Stevens’ sold out concert at the St. Paul’s Centre. 44 tickets. It’s absurd. But with a 50-film festival pass, I decided to schedule as many as possible, knowing that I’ll end up skipping a handful along the way.

Christmas Morning

The plan is to spend the next few hours poring through the catalog, obsessing over the schedule, and checking titles off of my spreadsheet — yes, I created a spreadsheet — all in hopes of creating the most efficient and dud-free lineup of films possible. I then overnight my ticket requests back to Toronto and hope for the best.

Dreaming of Movies

I had my first TIFF-related dream last night. It was kind of like that dream where you show up for a final exam after skipping class all semester, except that, instead of sliding into a strange classroom, I was wandering around Toronto with no tickets because I’d forgotten to submit my out-of-town form. I woke up feeling anxious.

Feelin’ Tingly All Over

TIFF has released its new poster.

TIFF By the Numbers

Films, meals, friends, and so on.

Quick Update

The real highlight, though, has been discovering Toronto, which, especially this week, is possibly the most international city in North America. I’m introverted by nature but have really enjoyed striking up conversations with strangers in line and in the theaters. So many interesting lives intersecting here.

9 Songs (2004)

“It’s claustrophobia and agoraphobia in the same place, like two people in a bed.” Matt (Kieran O’Brien) delivers this line in voice-over after the fact — after his ex-girlfriend Lisa (Margot Stilley) has returned home to America and after he has returned to Antarctica, where he is researching glaciers.

Little Sky (2004)

Like a Frank Norris or Theodore Dreiser novel, Little Sky drives steadily toward its inevitable, and inevitably dark, conclusion.

Moolaade (2004)

Sembene introduced his film by reminding his mostly white, mostly Western audience that Africa — the entire continent, its nations, its governments, and its people — is experiencing a period of unprecedented transition. There was no moralizing or condemnation in his tone, not even a suggestion of the catastrophic crises and genocides that fill the back pages of our newspapers. Africa is in transition, he told us, and this film is about that transition.

Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004)

Angelopoulos introduced his latest with very few words. It is to be the first of three films about the life of a Greek woman who manages to survive the 20th century, and its concern is “the human condition.”

Schizo (2004)

Omarova’s debut takes its title from a nickname given to the main character. Schizo (Olzhas Nusuppaev) is 15 years old and a bit slow; his classmates abuse him and exploit his gullibility. He is soon hired by his mother’s thug boyfriend (Eduard Tabyschev) to recruit unemployed laborers for illegal boxing matches.

Tell Them Who You Are (2004)

Tell Them Who You Are has the best opening scene of any film I saw at this year’s festival. Haskell Wexler is standing in his camera equipment room, taking stock of his inventory for an upcoming sale.

Earth and Ashes (2004)

Days after his village is destroyed in a bombing raid, Dastaguir (Abdul Ghani) and his five-year-old grandson Yacine (Jawan Mard Homayoun) jump from the back of a pickup truck and take their seats at a desert crossroads, where they wait and wait for a ride to a nearby mine.

10e Chambre, instants d’audiences (2004)

During the screening of 10e Chambre, instants d’audiences, I was quite disappointed by the film, but even then I knew that my disappointment was with the audience rather than with the film itself.

3-Iron (2004)

Jae Hee plays Tae-suk, a young man who breaks into homes, prepares meals, bathes and naps, then repays the homeowner’s generosity by performing small acts of kindness: washing clothes, repairing broken electronics, and the like.

Childstar (2004)

I decided to see Childstar mostly for the opportunity to hear McKellar introduce it — I’ve been a big fan since first seeing him in Atom Egoyan’s Exotica — and his introduction set up the best laugh of the morning.

My Summer of Love

My Summer of Love received a lot of “buzz,” as they say, in Toronto, and I would guess that most of it was generated by Press’s performance, which is a lot of fun to watch.

Nobody Knows (2004)

After Life is one of my favorite films of the past five years, so for that reason alone, I was very much looking forward to Kore-eda’s latest, Nobody Knows, the story of four young siblings whose mother abandons them to find work in another city.

TIFF Film Schedule

I’ve put in my ticket requests for the Toronto Film Festival. By choosing to fly in on the 11th and out on the 18th, I’ll be missing two of my most highly anticipated films, Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, which will be introduced by Chantal Akerman and which I’ve always wanted to see on the big screen, and Godard’s latest, Notre Musique.

TIFF

I’ve purchased my airfare. Any advice for a first-time visitor to the Toronto International Film Festival?

More from Toronto

In his on-going reportage from the Toronto film festival, J. Robert Parks has posted a full-length review of Tsai’s Good Bye, Dragon Inn.