TIFF 2007: In a Nutshell

I was tired when I arrived in Toronto this year and never quite recovered. Which isn’t to say that I was disappointed by the festival. In fact, the average film quality this year was better than any of the past fests I’ve attended. But the pangs of home-sickness and the bouts with movie fatigue kicked in a few days earlier than I would have liked, and by Saturday night I was ready to get on a plane.

I intend to post capsule reviews of every film I saw, but it’ll probably take another week before I get through them all. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of the festival.

Masterpieces
This will likely end up on my short list of favorite films of the decade:

  • Dans la ville de Sylvie (Jose Luis Guerin)

Stand Outs
All will be on my Top 20 of 2007 (by order of preference):

  • Secret Sunshine (Chang-dong Lee)
  • Le Voyage du ballon rouge (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
  • Une vieille maitresse (Catherine Breillat)
  • Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon (Eric Rohmer)
  • Fengming, a Chinese Memoir (Wang Bing)
  • At Sea (Peter Hutton)
  • Useless (Jia Zhang-ke)
  • Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant)
  • Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)
  • The Man from London (Bela Tarr)
  • Schindler’s Houses (Heinz Emigholz)
  • My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin)
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito)

Stand Out Older Film
From the Canadian Open Vault

  • Les Bons Debarras (Francis Mankiewicz)

Strong Recommendations
If TIFF weren’t so strong, these could all be Stand Outs (by order of preference):

  • Help Me Eros (Lee Kang-sheng)
  • Naissance des pieuvres (Celine Sciamma)
  • Avant que j’oublie (Jacques Nolot)
  • Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)

Solid Films
I enjoyed each of these for a variety of reasons and would recommend them all (by order of preference):

  • In Memory of Myself (Saverio Costanzo)
  • La fille coupee en deux (Claude Chabrol)
  • Mourning Forest (Naomi Kawase)
  • Contre tout esperance (Bernard Emond)
  • Encarnacion (Anahi Berneri)
  • One Hundred Nails (Ermanno Olmi)
  • Wolfsbergen (Nanouk Leopold)
  • Ne touchez pas la hache (Jacques Rivette)
  • Mutum (Sandra Kogut)
  • XXY (Lucia Puenzo)
  • No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)

Frustrations and Disappointments
Three this year (by order of preference):

  • Redacted (Brian De Palma)
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur)
  • L’amour cache (Alessandro Capone)

Wavelengths
Among my favorite shorts from the Wavelengths programs were films by: Ute Aurand and Maria Lang, Hannes Schupbach, Bruce McClure, Pip Chodorov, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Daichi Saito. I also still like the Ken Jacobs and Charlotte Pryce films that I mentioned back in May.

Walk Outs
None, but only because I was sitting in the center of the aisle and only a few feet away from the director of L’Amour cache and didn’t want to make a scene.

Skips and Reschedules
I skipped three films this year: La citadelle assiegee, because I decided to join Girish for dinner; Margot at the Wedding, because the buzz was lukewarm and I wanted to spend the afternoon writing; and Import Export, because it was a late night screening and I was exhausted. I wish I could have seen the Seidl film because everyone said it was great. Due to some schedule shuffling on the last two days, I also missed Dans la vie, Munyurangabo, L’Acadie, L’Acadie?!?, Ploy, and Sad Vacation.