Friday, September 11, 2009

Toronto Film Frenzy. . .

The city is all abuzz; The Toronto International Film Festival started yesterday and people are having so much fun rushing around the city from film to film. Never mind the celebrity watching, just people watching is fascinating. TIFF always means long lineups but they are filled with real film buffs; half the fun is having spirited conversations with the people around you. I'm going to be cramming 17 films into eight days - it began wonderfully last night with Pedro Almodovar's new film Broken Embraces. Absolutely terrific - make sure you catch this when it opens in theatres. It's the story of a blind filmmaker named Harry Caine, his agent, her son, and Caine's lover played by the stunningly beautiful Penelope Cruz who has never looked (or acted) better. Some of the stunning images had me gasping at their beauty. As it's the story of a filmmaker there are lots of references to other directors - there's a bit of a Hitchcock feel to some scenes, and definitely more than a couple of nods to Louis Malle's films, in particular Elevator to the Gallows and Damage.

Unfortunately due to scheduling and availability of tickets, I'm not seeing any Canadian films. But I will be picking up a copy of the just published Toronto On Film by Geoff Pevere et al. It'll be freshing to read about movies where Toronto plays Toronto and not just as a stand-in for an American city. The University of Toronto Press also has a great new Canadian Cinema Series where each volume focuses on a specific film. Earlier in the year I was at the launch of Denys Arcand's Le Déclin de l'empire américain and Les Invasions barbares by André Loiselle that was accompanied by a screening of the first film, which I hadn't seen in ages. I've subsequently bought it and its sequel on DVD and I never get tired of watching this group of funny, selfish, egotistical and yet loving group of friends as they navigate the emotional and intellectual challenges of life. Makes a great double bill for the weekend - and no line-ups!
Tonight - Colin Firth and Dorian Gray.

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