It’s official. Late last night I received a confirmation email from the Toronto International Film Festival box office, notifying me that I would be seeing all thirty of my first choice films. Given that so many of my friends are still awaiting similar confirmation, mine appears to have been one of the first orders processed — just lucky in the lottery draw this year, I guess.
After Girish’s avant-garde blog-a-thon last month, I decided to make a-g films a much higher priority at TIFF this year, so nearly half of my picks are from the Wavelengths and Visions programmes. This means that I won’t be seeing many of the most talked about films — not until they arrive in Knoxville, at least. No Pan’s Labyrinth or Shortbus or Rescue Dawn or Lights in the Dusk or The Host. Or, more in the mainstream, no Babel or The Fountain or Breaking and Entering or All the King’s Men. I’m eager to see all of those films, but I’m willing to wait.
Instead, I’m going to use TIFF to bury myself under experimental and formally-inventive films. One nice side effect of this plan is that I’ve managed to avoid scheduling a single film in the massive and incredibly uncomfortable Ryerson Theatre. I’ve heard reports, though, that the Al Green theatre, where I will be seeing a lot of films and which is a new addition to the fest this year, is just as hard on the legs and back.
Here’s my complete schedule. Titles noted by asterisks (**) are films that I might see, depending upon word-of-mouth, ticket availability, and, as the festival progresses, my physical and psychological stamina. Like last year, I plan to post daily capsule reviews of everything I see, with the goal of writing longer responses to select films after I return home.
- Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
- 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu)
- Hamaca Paraguaya (Paz Encina)
- These Girls (Tahani Rached)
- Wavelengths 1 (with films by Rose Lowder, Akram Zaatari, and Xavier Lukomski)
- Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer)
- Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako)
- Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal)
- Wavelengths 2 (with films by Kyle Canterbury, Cynthia Madansky, Christina Battle, Christop Girardet and Matthias Muller, Peter Tscherkassky, Jay Rosenblatt, Chris Kennedy and Anna van der Meulen, Abbas Kiarostami, and Yuiko Matsuyama)
- Wavelengths 3 (with films by Lawrence Jordan, Rebecca Meyers, Oliver Husain, Josef Dabernig, Christoph Brunner, Takashi Ishida)
- Summercamp! (Sarah Price and Bradley Beesley)
- ** 7 Ans
- ** Blessed are the Dreams of Men, NYC Weights and Measures, and Building a Broken Mousetrap (all by Jem Cohen)
- Wavelengths 4 (Schuss! by Nicolas Rey)
- Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo)
- The Beales of Grey Gardens (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Ian Markiewicz) Part of the Dialogues Programme, the film will be introduced by and feature a conversation with Albert Maysles.
- Gambling, Gods, and LSD (Peter Mettler)
- Wavelengths 5 (with films by Chris Curreri, Mika Taanila, Jim Jennings, Olivo Barbieri, Nathaniel Dorsky)
- Summer ’04 (Stefan Krohmer)
- Offside (Jafar Panahi)
- Coeurs (Alain Resnais)
- ** Prague (Ole Christian Madsen)
- I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang)
- Belle toujours (Manoel de Oliveira) and Fantasma (Lisandro Alonso)
- Day Night Day Night (Julia Loktev)
- Drama/Mex (Gerardo Naranjo)
- ** Quelques jours en Septembre (Santiago Amigorena)
- Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa)
- Red Road (Andrea Arnold)
- In Between Days (So Yong Kim)
- Grbavica (Jasmila Zbanic)
- Zidane: Un Portrait du XXIe Siècle (Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno)
- HANA (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
- ** Suely in the Sky (Karim Ainouz)