Saturday, September 13, 2008

you saw it here first!

Slumdog Millionaire was just announced as the People's Choice Award winner.

people's choice award prediction

More movie reviews coming, but in the meantime, I thought I would post a prediction in advance of TIFF's announcement later today of the People's Choice Award. From all the buzz of the week, even in the press room, it seems destined to be Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire! This rags-to-riches story (which I did not see) seems to have tapped critics and public alike. Let's see if I'm right!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

kanchivaram; easy virtue; gigantic

I took two days away from the festival to do laundry, start classes and see hana my puppy, but now I am back in swing. Once again, the day was led by a strong film - I started with Priyadarshan's Kanchivaram, about a silk weaver who promises his newborn daughter that she will wear silk on her wedding day. The working conditions among South India's weavers in the 1940s is such that no weaver can ever afford to actually weave silk for themselves. The high religious value of the culture to be married and to die in silk prompts the weavers to resent their fate. Tamil film star Prakah Raj looks a bit too flush, too full on the bones and healthy to be convincing physically for his role as the region's most prize weaver who steals silk to fulfill his promise to his daughter. However, his performance is delightful and moving, weaving past and present together (the movie is told largely through flashbacks) with stark contrasts in temperament and mood. This film is gorgeously shot; one of those wonderful festival experiences where you leave the cinema feeling as if you have tasted the food and can still feel the rain on your skin. Subtitled "a communist confession", the film also portrays the post-Gandhi rise of communism in South Asia as the weavers come together to improve their lot and Vengadam takes on their charge.

The only thing that is easy about watching Stephan Elliott's Easy Virtue, is gazing on the beauty of the cast. Jessica Biel, Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth glide through this very breezy adaptation of the Noel Coward play and give it their best, but even they cannot save this frothy piece from looking and feeling like an art nouveau tour of English aristocracy. I am a huge fan of Scott Thomas, and its worth saying that even playing a thankless role, she can be electrifying. No one, and I say this categorically, can say as much as she does with an eyebrow! As the profoundly bitchy matriarch of a well-heeled family coping with the marriage of its prodigal son to an American "with a past", she manages to smile through all of her barbs in a way that conveys an inner pain and underlying loss, even while she is wholly unlikeable. That's just the quality of the person playing the role. Colin Firth, as the jaded father, has his usual moments of depth but he is not given much to work with here. The story really belongs to Biel, as the American newlywed caught in a vipers' den, trying to survive. It is hard to bring such superficial material to the screen - Coward is meant to be done without any real looking beneath the surface. An Oscar Wilde comedy can support that, but not a Coward one. Like Faubourg 36, the other film I saw set in the same era and with high production values, the director gets in the way of the material by being too much in love with what they are doing. The result is gag after gag, one-liner after one-liner that fizzles immediately after its sting more often than nought, because the camera is in the wrong place.

The similarity in directing styles was not the only noticeable comparison for me about Easy Virtue and Faubourg 36. Both films were screened at the Elgin. Today again, the theatre was empty and the audiences less enthusiastic. It became clear to me that not only is this theatre now the purvue of the donors; they are also being fed some of the pablum of this festival: easy to digest and without much depth. Is the festival not only ripping off its passholders - but also spoon-feeding its donors only movies it thinks they will enjoy? End of mini-rant 2!

Small, but memorable star turns have been one of the hallmarks of my festival so far. I mentioned Catherine Keener in Genova, and there are two that made me smile in Matt Aselton's Gigantic: Ed Asner and Jane Alexander. I guess it dates me to say "I remember when..." about these actors but great to know that they are still as strong as ever. I have always loved Jane Alexander - since first seeing her wonderful supporting performance in All the President's Men. I was working as an usher in Famous Players Theatres in those teenaged days, and saw that movie many many many times. I always made sure I was in the house for the scene in which her bookkeeper character reveals some of the first top secrets of Watergate to an anxious Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. In Gigantic, Asner and Alexander are perfectly cast as the parents of our hero Brian, played by Paul Dano. Dano is one of those actors, like Michael Cera, who has enjoyed sudden focussed interest because of recent work in large films: in this case Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. He is a very compelling actor through very minimalist, naturalist style. He is joined here by broader comedy actress Zooey Deschanel as the unfulfilled daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur (played with glee by John Goodman) who comes to pick up a bed her father has bought. Like, Lovely, Still, I didn't have much expectation going into this, but also like that film, was surprised. The screenplay is too arch, too highly stylized, with everyone sounding the same and swearing exactly the same way and reaching too hard in places to be offbeat and quirky. Yet somehow, largely through the engaging performances of our leads and supporting cast, and assured direction, the film is unexpectedly moving. Brian's lifelong dream to adopt a baby from China starts out as a gag and becomes a way to finding the heart of the film.

Monday, September 08, 2008

unmistaken child; lovely, still

It feels like a wonderful expression of the cultural mix of our world that an Israeli filmmaker has made a movie about Tibetan monks searching for a reincarnated master. Unmistaken Child, is a beautiful essay in the complexities of buddhist tradition, without having to get out a dictionary of world religions. Lama Konchog, a venerated lama has died and Tenzin Zopa, his disciple of 21 years, is grief-stricken. Finding a footprint in the ashes of the great master's funeral pyre, along with several pearls, the lamas and rinpoches of Zopa's monastery believe the master to be intending reincarnation. The disciple is put in charge of the search, one he doesn't feel worthy of. Thus begins this wonderful film. As Zopa travels through the communities of his home Tsum Valley, he carries the rosaries of the late master and asks each baby he encounters, "do you recognize this?" Just as we are wondering how such a divination could ever occur in a child just one year old, the magic begins. A fascinating aspect of this film is also its depiction of what happens to a child, once they have been recognized as a 'Rinpoche' (reincarnated master). Shot over four years, we watch this child grow slowly and gain a greater confidence in the knowledge of who he is. But I was most moved of all by the beautiful attention and caring patience of Tenzin Zopa himself, who lavishes the love of a disciple who sees clearly his deceased master in the eyes of the child. One such moment comes when he sits the child on his knee at the mountain retreat where he himself first met Konchog, and tells the boy all about their first encounter, when he himself was a boy. Rain on the windows of the residence of the Dalai Lama, the lush foliage of the valley, the beautiful smile of the disciple are images that won't leave me soon.

I went into Nik Fackler's Lovely, Still with very little expectation and was pleasantly surprised. Featuring Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, it tells the story of a man and woman who meet up late in life and fall very quickly in love, only to leave us, and each other, with the feeling they have done all this before. There have been a number of movies lately, and fine ones too, that have attempted to deal with Alzheimer's Disease: Sarah Polley's Away From Her comes quickly to mind. In Lovely, Still, the drama takes on the disease completely within the world of the one living it - so that all of the surprises of understanding come for us at the same time as for our hero. It is a wise choice, and allows us to feel the highs that the Landau character experiences in being in love, without sensing something amiss. When he starts to become paranoid about her absence, reality slowly shifts in for us. It is material which could have been trite or overbearing, but Fackler handles it with sensitivity and great confidence for a first feature.
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Saturday, September 06, 2008

linha de passe; genova; faubourg 36; wavelengths 2

Once again, the best film of the day was the first one. Is this a reflection of my energy level? or just the luck of the draw? Could be both - but so it was.

One of the best shorts in the French omnibus Paris Je T'Aime was a quiet film by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas about a new mother who must go to work across the city and leave the child in the precarious care of others. In even the few minutes of that piece, I was impressed by how well they conveyed the anxiety of the mother, even while she also accepted her powerless situation. This year, motherhood is again one of the themes Salles and Thomas are bringing us, this time in a full feature, Linha de Passe, set in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Four boys live with their mother in a poverty-stricken tenement where the sofa is one of the most fought over areas of personal space. Each young man or boy dreams of a life beyond their means, but a life that feels tantalizingly accessible. The mother, who is pregnant again, is both patient and at the end of her rope. Salles and Thomas allow the naturalism of character interaction and response to play out in normal rhythms so that scenes occasionally have an improvisational feeling and yet the whole things is tight: the boys' storylines are woven seamlessly so that we are never away from any one too long. As the stakes increase, so does the disappointment in life. One thing I really enjoyed in this film was the nine year old's obssession with driving a bus. He befriends drivers, studies their actions meticulously, and even gets a driver to train him a little. Throughout all, the mother tries to validate and affirm each child in her own way, while knowing that their lives are spinning out of control. A beautifully controlled and crafted film from this thoughtful and gifted filmmaking team.

A big yellow circle went around the words "Colin Firth" in the write-up for Genova. An actor I love, here he plays a widower, with two daughters, who decides to take a year in Italy to help the family recover from their recent loss. The film is directed by Michael Winterbottom, the venerated British director of last year's A Mighty Heart. This is one of those filmmaking careers I have followed right from the very beginning, when Winterbottom premiered his film Family at TIFF in 94. I remember sitting in the Uptown2 cinema in those days (when the Uptown was still with us) and marvelling at how carefully and honestly he observed the emotional nuances of relationships. Genova is another example of this strength. Perla Haney-Jardine plays the youngest girl, Mary, whose role in her mother's death leads her through a journey of profound guilt and agonizing loss. Since we watched the opening sequence (which is heartstoppingly long when we all "feel" what is coming), the audience knows the truth. However, these possibilities are never discussed aloud - if the father knows the details, he doesn't need or want to dwell on them. Then Mary's mother begins to appear to her in different ways and places and the girl slowly succumbs to the pull of her own healing imagination. Where it leads her is often dangerous, just as the reckless partying of her older sister in a new European city is dangerous too. There is a sense of both girls living out their grief recklessly: disconnected from themselves, they are slowly disconnecting from real life as well. Firth is lovely as the always caring father. I was particularly moved by a moment in which after Mary has disappeared, he remains calm, saying, "she's a sensible girl, she'll come back" over and over, and then very suddenly falling into sheer panic. It is so real - and gut-wrenching. There is also a beautiful supporting performance in this film: Catherine Keener plays a former love interest of Firth now living in Genova, who clearly still carries a torch for him as she tries to help his family adjust. There is a small scene where her good intentions lead Firth to be upset with her. Winterbottom knows to stay with her as she walks away, where even from behind, we see her pain. A reminder that a person does not have to be dead, for a loss to feel equally keen.

Every now and then the program write-up for a film falls very short of what we actually see. It is not just a matter of personal taste, it is actual misinformation. Such is sadly the case with Christophe Barratier's Faubourg 36, described as, "a delightful musical comedy ... which features a charming ensemble cast, exemplary production values and some spectacular musical numbers." Well, I'm here to tell you that I stayed in this film more than an hour waiting for one of those spectacular musical numbers before finally giving up. The film does boast the gorgeous 1930s sets and costumes. However, it soon gets mired in silly story elements. Eventually, the one-dimensional characters and absence of any musical numbers take their toll. There is some wonderful camera movement and sweeping orchestration - but always culminating in a plot twist, rather than a song or something genuine about character. A disappointing turn from the director of the wonderful Les Choristes. (By the way, this was one of those times where a programmer should have been a key indicator for me.)

I am going to pause here. Because while I was at the Elgin, the realities of the new Festival politics hit home to me. This was a public screening, one that ought to have drawn a full house crowd. Cameron Bailey's extended introductions ran the usual gamut of corporate donors but then riffed at length about Bell Lightbox, which he said will be "up and running soon". Anyone who has walked by King and John knows that there is nothing 'soon' about that project. Construction has barely come above the ground level. His extended explanation of the financing of the building was completely unnecessary, unless one remembers that the audience here are themselves corporate donors. The empty seats told the story of the true cost of Bell Lightbox: that in order to woo corporate donors, the festival has put this cinema's programming off-limits to passholders. The Special Presentations program is one of the strongest of the whole festival - so limiting its exposure is a truly shocking move, as the audiences in that theatre are what have built the reputation of Toronto as a great place to premiere movies. The audiences are the foundation of this festival and TIFFG must never lose sight of that. No amount of donation in the world is worth the loss of their good will. End of rant!

I ended the day with the second program of Wavelengths shorts focussing on the theme of "Lost and Found". Filmmaker David Gatten was on hand to talk (fascinatingly) about his short How to Conduct a Love Affair. A stand-alone piece participating also in a much larger series he is working on, it riffs an imaginative response to a collection of books in a private 18th century library that first found its way to Thomas Jefferson and then became the basis of the Library of Congress, thus establishing how European literature influenced North America. An example of how well-curated this programme is, Gatten's film was matched elsewhere in the group by Jonathan Latham's Encyclopedia Brittanica, which takes us rapidly through more than 1000 pages of a particular volume. In between these shorts were serene and beautiful meditations on written word, both textually and conceptually and emblematic image. I was particularly struck by the deeper hues and simple textures of Abraham Ravett's Tziporah.
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reviews: waltz with bashir; nick and norah's infinite playlist; heaven on earth; plus tard tu comprendras; wavelengths1

Waltz wtih Bashir is my first extraordinary film of the festival. Director Ari Folman explores the unreliability and explosiveness of memory - in this case, of being an Israeli soldier in the war with Lebanon in the early 1980s. Painkstaking animation, drawn largely from captured video and then adapted into drawings, helps to both detach us from too-familiar images, and also bring us into the horror in new ways. The film is similar to last year's Persepolis (Satrapi) by investing depth of emotion through the selective use of graphic detail and colour. But Waltz with Bashir is a documentary as much as it is a memoir. Its blacks, yellows, greys and steel blues convey the horror of how memory works, revealing only fragments at a time because the rest is too hard to bear. I was planning to warn of spoilers and tell you about its incredible ending, because to me the ending was what put it into the extraordinary category. However, I have decided to leave that discussion til after the festival. In the meantime, knock over all the obstacles in your way to see this haunting film.

Having hit a high water mark, it was perhaps bad timing to then try to take in Peter Sollett's candy cane of a film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. There is so much going for the truly lovely Michael Cerra, who will be a wonderful actor to watch as he moves through his career of hopefully better choices of movies. Everything going for this film (which is not much) owes itself to his performance. His sincrity, humour, quiet intelligence and warmth are part of what allowed Juno to be the hit it was this time last year. However, Nick and Norah is no Juno. It is all about the writing folks, and the writing here is dreadful - a narrative spitfire of one-liners, most of which don't work. Kat Dennings is not convincing as the girl no one notices who loves our hero. She is also not a match as an actor for Cerra, who requires someone equal in sincerity and capacity to read more than one emotion at a time. I got tired of her eye-rolling acting and left. The only thing "infinite" about this film is its underestimation of its audience.

Those of you who tuned into CBC radio Metro Morning yesterday (I will post our conversation soon) would have heard fellow blogger Ali Ladhani (The Original Concept) and myself talk about how excited we were to be seeing Deepa Mehta's Heaven on Earth. I then did see it later the same day and after the Nick and Norah nightmare. Unfortunately, it too disaappointed me, though the loss is greater for me here. Mehta's craft as a storyteller and a weaver of emotional lines is hard to match in this country - and I have deeply admired her films to date. Heaven on Earth takes her into slightly new territory - that of magic realism. Bollywood megastar Preity Zinta plays Chand, a woman who comes to Canada from India to marry and is slowly oppressed by the family she has joined, to the point of great emotional and physical violence. As her state of mind deteriorates, the film moves into a series of episodes and sequences that are hard to call as being true or not true, an invention of her resourceful imagination struggling to be free, or the greater reality, under the surface of things, we're not sure which. This will be a matter of taste, but I myself feel manipulated by films that do this. (For instance, I disliked intensely A Beautiful Mind and I even found Schindler's List too manipulative. So bear that in mind!) For me when a film moves like this, I lose my grounding but not in a way that reflects the character's experience - which might be useful. I lose my grounding in the sense of feeling guided by the filmmaker of being on a journey that the filmmaker knows I will understand. The film is powerful in its message and its ability to convey the claustrophobia of people living truly on top of each other, of its cycles of domestic oppression and violence. And it has great performances. But to my mind it sacrificed its power by being too enmeshed in its magical elements.

A ridiculous (on my part) error of which theatre to be in (!), caused me to miss the first half hour of Amos Gitai's Plus Tard, tu comprendras, which was a heavy hitter for me. I had to negotiate my entrance (!!) at the half hour mark, but I'm glad they relented and let me in. To me, this film feels like a great departure for Gitai - certainly from his highly stylized and experimental Desengagement of last year. Featuring the still-luminous Jeanne Moreau, it tells the story of one man trying to uncover the story of his mother's Jewish heritage and her holocaust experiences, while the mother refuses to have the conversations. Gitai is remarkably subtle here, wonderfully using only one shot to convey an entire scene. What I love about Gitai is his constant experimentation with the language of cinema. This device here works breathtakingly: my favourite was a continued close-up on the man's wife as she listens to his despair and then tries to coach him to "let go" of his quest for understanding. I am going to see the first half hour of this film later today and will write more then, but I am very moved by it and as time passes, this film is rising steadily in my regard.

As readers of this blog know, I am a huge fan of the Wavelengths program. Last night's opening night films by giants Nataniel Dorsky and Jean-Marie Straub (two separate films) set the standards for this finely-curated programme of the festival. I found Dorsky's question and answer period afterward filled with subtle putdowns and defensiveness which completely belied the beauty of his gorgeous images, pacing and quiet spirituality. His films, Sarabande (pictured) and Winter, were hypnotic with pulsed light and effusions of colour. Beautifully programmed by contrast with Straub's Le Genou d'Artimide, the rigid and even classical structures and rhythms of this film stood out even more. Working with/against great music by Pavese and Mahler, it had much spoken text, subtitled here in two languages, that showed two static characters engaging in profoundly unsolvable ideas of mortality. I found the quiet, dark moments of the music, good conrast and also welcome relief from my by-then aching head! Tonight's Wavelengths programme is one of my top seeds of the festival - so stay tuned for more.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

first reviews!: l'heure d'ete; two-legged horse; short cuts canada2; from mother to daughter

Yes, you can see from that blogline that the plans changed! Getting into Toronto later than I expected, and needing to pursue an important personal meeting, I had to forgo Passchandaele - to my sadness!

However, this meant I began the day with Olivier Assayas' lyrical L'Heure d'Ete which I have said was a top pick. It took me a moment to recognize Jeremie Renier from the Dardenne Brothers L'Enfant which I saw at this festival a few years ago. In that film, he played a thief who trades in his newborn son behind his mother's back, to get much-needed cash and then spends the rest of the movie trying to get the boy back. In this movie, he is a complete contrast as a well-groomed businessman living in China, home to deal with his aging mother's estate. Charles Berling plays the oldest son, and only family member still attached to all his mother's life represents. And Juliette Binoche appears as Adrienne, the disaffected designer living in New York and Japan.

The Japan and China aspects of this screenplay are no mistake. Increasingly French film is taking on notably Asian accents as well-known filmmakers cross oceans to trade skills and work with each other. In Paris Je T'Aime, Binoche appeared in Nobu Suwa's segment. And last year, she was featured in Voyage du Ballon Rouge, the homage to the French classic The Red Balloon by none other than Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Now we have a French filmmaker, Olivier Assayas making a film with all French actors but in a decidedly Asian style, with extended takes, naturalistic overlapping dialogue and a focus on character dynamics rather than narrative. From the opening extended sequence of children playing in the height of summer bliss, crashing through trees and fields to arrive at the sweeping lawn of a summer house, to the final moments at the same house, now quite transformed, the film uses silences and the gathering light of dusk to resonate the far-reaching impact of small, seemingly not so insignificant (and yet profound) family decisions. What I particularly admired about it was that everyone got along, even while causing deep divisions and rifts. Tension in drama does not have to be about argument! It is about the desire to avoid argument, even while there is deep emotion, and even as honesty and open talk are engaged. This is French fusion in fine form.

It's becoming increasingly impossible to talk about the Makhmalbaf family of filmmakers without reaching for the superlative thesaurus. Last year, its most junior member Hana Makhmalbaf gave us the astonishingly assured Buddha Collapsed out of Shame. This year, older sister Samira is in the spotlight with Two-Legged Horse. The cinema of Iran enjoys the unique reality of being completely uninfluenced by North American movies. How is this possible? Because of cultural sanctions, which also prohibit the portrayal of any adult situations of either sexuality or political expression. As a result, this nation's movies are often about children, who provide a safe way of critiquing society. In Two-Legged Horse, Samira Makhmalbaf has said in an interview on the family website that she is exploring ideas of relations among political powers and also among people. In her movie, a boy with no legs is carried through his life by a mentally and physically challenged older boy. Both are more or less orphaned, though the boy with no legs is rich, and his father has enough money to leave him for months in the care of others. The older boy is hired to be his "horse", to carry him everywhere. Samira's greatest gift his her subtle capacity to build a sense of tolerance within us: just as we have gotten used to one form of degradation, another starts.
As the two boys are left to fend largely on their own, the older boy's role as the 'horse' starts to become a surreal game in which they both engage the horror of its oppression with seemingly equal interest and need. The excesses of it are such that by the film's end the boy has almost literally been transformed into a horse. The nuances of their growing co-dependency, both necessary and chosen, are contrasted by the almost gothic emotion of the older boy, whose inability to speak well reduces him to animal noises most of the time. Samira Makhmalbaf is an amazing director of men and boys (in all her films) and here it pays off in spades.
As the community of village boys set on confronting our heros gathers around them in a hopeless cockfight-style battle, they rub their hands "like swords" in relish of what is coming. It is almost like orchestrated music, its rhythm and vocal language (without words) incredibly rich. Another classic from the woman who brought us The Apple, Blackboards and At Five in the Afternoon.

After this feast, I took a break and returned too late to gain admittance to 33 Scenes from Life, much to my dismay. So instead, I wandered into a Short Cuts Canada Programme (2) that was in progress. What a great result! These thoughtful pieces were all engaging human relationships and memory in unusual ways. Philip Barker's Night Vision, featuring Severn Thompson (whom I have been seeing this summer in Stratford Festival productions) works in a palette of gorgeous greys and blues to convey a confusion of dreamed-of 'storytelling'. The always strong Helen Lee went on location to Seoul, Korea to shoot Hers At Last, a portrayal of parallel stories of two women locked by loneliness: one to an art world she cannot belong to, and another to a marriage in which she never sees her husband. This woman's long distance calls home to her native Mongolia and private prayer ritual are all she have to connect her to her truer sense of self. Rosa Rosa, by Félix Dufour-Laperrière, used thinly transparent layers of hand-drawn animation to engage a generic story of a family coping with war. And Constant Mentzas Gilles looks at the agonizing decision of an aging woman in caring for her mentally challenged son. Strong work in an art form that is truly all its own.

Standing in line for my next film, I met Helen Zuckerman, who runs the Jewish Film Festival which occurs every year in May. She urged me to be sure to see Ari Folman'sWaltz with Bashir, which was indeed my late in the day scheduled heavy-hitter. Since I had time first, I decided to check out Andrea Zembelli's From Mother to Daughter. A documentary commenting on another documentary, it takes a look at the women profiled in Giuseppe DeSantis' Bitter Rice, made during the 1940s, which profiles the women who worked in the rice paddies of Italy - yes, you read that right, Italy. Rice vermacelli...anyone? Zembelli's film picks up the same women in 2007, as the chorus they have formed and sung in through the years, made up of songs sung in the rice paddies, immerses itself in a contemporary folk youth concert in Rome, mixing it up with young hip talents. I had to leave it early, but all signs pointed to a delightful film and a good note to end the day on. I will be sure to catch Waltz with Bashir later in the week!
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here we go!

The night before the film festival, and at 2:00 a.m. I'm still not ready! Swilling my tenth coffee of the day, I slim down my final choices for tomorrow's first day of the film festival. I have always believed that the first day sets the tone for the whole week. In 2002, my first two films were two of the best films I've seen in the last ten years, Tom Tykwer's Heaven, and Robert Guediguian's Marie-jo et ses deux amours. Still, tomorrow includes some of my top seeds for the whole festival, so that bodes well. Up first will be Paul Gross' Passchendaele, which also serves as the opening night film (though I will see it earlier in the day). I will also see L'Heure d'Ete and Samira Makhmalbaf's Two-Legged Horse. Rounding out Thursday will be Szumowska's 33 Scenes from Life and Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir. (These last four can be found below in brief summaries and links.)

Yesterday, after writing two entrance language exams for my new degree, I crossed the street from St. Michael's college to the Sutton Place to pick up my industry package. Strange to go from translating Genesis to reading Playback in the space of mere minutes. While shuffling forward in a line that snaked out the door even in the first hour of pick-ups, I studied the foreign sales posters all over the walls. One for the films of Israel particularly caught my eye, as that country has an incredibly strong presence at this year's festival. Ahead of me, people cheerfully greeted each other and seemed excited. It is always this way on the Tuesday prior to the festival. By tomorrow and Friday, the stragglers from Venice have begun to trickle in and everything turns a bit more blase!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

metro morning

Wednesday before opening day is always a bit crazy for me --- as I prepare my life for complete absence from it for ten days! I live out of town so it takes some arranging, especially for hana, my puppy (and blog namesake) to be cared for. This is just a quick post to let Toronto readers know that I will be on CBC radio's Metro Morning on Friday morning, with fellow TIFF blogger The Original Concept. We are not exactly sure when, but some time between 6 and 8 a.m. Those of you who are up - tune in!
More later today on other festival plans!