Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An American in Toronto: Post-Mortem

Steve reporting on the Toronto International Film Festival

So I'm back in America now. (Truth be told, I've been back in America since last Saturday -- in fact, my last update was posted from my home computer... but now I'm spoiling the illusion). TIFF is but a sweet memory. Yet where have we been, really? Let's look back and see what good that Fest Pass really did.

Top 5 films: 1) Silent Light (Carlos Reygaydas)
2) My Kid Could Paint That (Amir Bar-Lev)
3) Stuck (Stuart Gordon)
4) My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin)
5) 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)

Worst film: Christian Frosch's dreadful, incoherent sci-fi slagpile Silent Resident.

<-- Best lead actor: Martin Freeman in Nightwatching. (Runner-up: Guillaume Depardieu in The Duchess of Langelais.)

Best lead actress: Inés Efron in XXY. (Runner-up: Anamaria Marinca in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.)

Best supporting actor: Vlad Ivanov in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. (Runner-up: François Berléand in A Girl Cut in Two.)

Best supporting actress: Ann Savage for My Winnipeg. (Runner-up: Laura Vasilu in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.)

Worst acting, any division: Jaime King trying to look distraught in They Wait. (Runner-up: The rich kid in the mummy outfit in Diary of the Dead.)

Best direction: Carlos Reygadas for Silent Light. (Runner-up: Hou Hsiao-Hsien for Flight of the Red Balloon.)

Best cinematography: Silent Light. (Runner-up: Eat, for This Is My Body.)

Number of films seen: 36

Number of films liked: 19

Number of films walked out on: 2 -- Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django (I fell asleep) and Ulrich Seidl's Import Export (the forty minutes I saw didn't convince me that it would be about anything other than how Austria and Eastern Europe are the most awful places in the world).

Number of films to which I had tickets but skipped seeing: 7 -- Lee Myeung-se's M (terrible buzz), Doug Pray's Surfwise (arrived late), Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (napped), Ben Hackworth's Corroboree (napped), Jacob Thuesen's Erik Nietzsche: The Early Years (packing), Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises (left a day early) and Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury's Inside (ditto).

Film I most regret missing: Until the last couple days of the fest, it was Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine, but after a late surge of great notices, it's now José Luis Guerín's In the City of Sylvia.

Film I least regret missing: Either Nothing Is Private or The Jane Austen Book Club, take your pick.

--> Number of times I told people that Silent Light was my favorite film of the festival: At least twice a day after Day 4.

Number of times that was greeted with, "What's that?": About half the time.

Number of trips to the liquor store: Just one, surprisingly.

Number of days I rejoiced in not driving my car: All nine, baby.

Number of nights in which I got over five hours sleep: Two. And one of them was the pre-fest night.

Number of cups of coffee drank: Somewhere between 25 and 30 (I lost count).

Number of beers consumed: 18

Number of beers consumed in completing this rundown: Only one, but it's a big one -- Avery The Beast Grand Cru Ale 2006. 14.6% ABV will get words a-flowin'.

And that should just about do it for me... thanks for reading, folks. And thanks again, Nathaniel, for letting me blather on as I have. It's been fun.



well at least you liked 1/2 the movies. ouch. not that that's not an easy trap at festivals --the catalogue make every movie sound intriguing.

just doin' their job

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Don't go by the catalogue, go by Mike D'Angelo!

Seriously though, I wish I could make it to TIFF this year, if only to see Silent Light (and I'm Not There and California Dreamin' and The Orphanage etc etc.)

Cinesnatch said...

Hah, hah! The new banner pictures are great. Is it National Vision Day by chance?

Boyd said...

What Vince said. Either that, or someone is trying to do everything he can to make himself feel better after getting some devastating news from his optometrist...

And Steve and Ali... thanks for your coverage!!

Brian Darr said...

Thanks for the great reporting, Steve! (and Ali too!) Now I must be patient: most of the undistributed films everyone's raving about probably won't make it to the San Francisco area until Spring, if then...


yes thanks again to ALI & STEVE. great to read about all of these movies. and I've even scheduled some of my NYFF stuff around it. although very sadly I have to miss silent light due to the day job.

Anonymous said...

You regret missing In the City of Sylvia??? Are you sure??? I saw tons of movies where - apparently - "nothing happens", but in this one REALLY nothing happened. At the end of the press screening in Venice it was saluted by some very shy applause and a lot of loud booing..

Eddney Todd said...

I'm glad you like Silent Light. Again (cf. comment in last post) you're lucky! The film opens in october in Mexico City!!! I have to wait one more month and I'm impatient!!!!!!!!

Boyd said...

Oy, Marco, dati una calmata!!

You must have been in a different press screening than I was... I was in the early screening in Sala Perla and there was no booing at the end of En la ciudad de Sylvia, which I quite liked I must say (full review and interview coming soon).

It is one of those typical festival films that you actually shouldn't see at a festival because an overloaded film schedule makes you automatically ask for almost instant gratification film-wise (what with 30+ films that also seem interesting playing just next door).

Guerin's film, with its first and only conversation happening some 40 minutes into the film, does a lot of things, but instant gratification is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for Nightwatching for SO long...glad it turned out well.

Anonymous said...

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN? Bad/good? Any word?

Anonymous said...

ok Boyd, I must admit it:
I didn't see En la ciudad de Sylvia in Sala Perla but at Pala Lido, AND it was my 32nd movie seen in Venice this year (that said, yes, it was booed at that screening), so chances are I was not in the best mood for such a kind of film.

But, tired or not, Guerin's latest simply didn't do anything for me; I was far from booing it myself, (this year I came close to doing it just for Vincenzo Marra's L'ora di punta), but it simply surprised me to read Steve "regretting missing it".

PS: Sorry I had not the chance to meet you, I'm he "other half" behind the Queer Lion, but the day you met and interviewed Daniel I was wandering through La Biennale's offices to deliver the jury's verdict and try to defend their statement :)

Anonymous said...

You drank an entire 22 of the Beast by yourself and stayed upright? Impressive.

Try anything good in Toronto?

Boyd said...

Marco B:

L'anno prossimo, alora?!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you liked silent light. This is one of the biggest contenders to get submitted for oscar consideration (foreign). Do you think it stands a chance to get one of the final five spots?

Steve C. said...

Marco: I had at least three people tell me that Sylvia was their favorite film of the festival. And one other guy had it ranked second, just below No Country for Old Men. So I think there's a good chance I'll find it at least somewhat worthwhile.

I also had something like five people tell me -- in one day -- that The Banishment was way better than the Cannes crowd let on. I'm sorry I missed that one as well.

Marsall: You'll be happy to know that, among the circle of cinephiles with which I was running, No Country was the overwhelming favorite of a majority of them. For a while, there was the No Country camp and the Silent Light camp, then Sylvia came along. But the point is, I don't think I heard a single negative thing about the new Coen flick.

anon@11:38: I'd like to see the Reygadas get some Oscar love, but I fear that it's a bit too esoteric for Academy consumption. But maybe I'm wrong.

Mr. Retard: I probably could wipe out a 22 oz. of The Beast -- it'd be akin to drinking a bottle of wine, really -- but naw, it was just a 12-ouncer. Certainly did me up nice, at any rate. Can't say I encountered anything terrific in Canada (save for the bottle of Maudite I had one night, which I've tried several times before), but there are some very good everyday quaffs. I was generally impressed with Sleeman's.

However, the new Stone Vertical is their best since '03. Also, on my honeymoon (yes, my honeymoon!) I got to tour the Ommegang brewery, which was as awesome as I'd expected it to be. Especially since, for the first time since maybe ever, they have a delicious, limited brewery-only release in the Ommegeddon. I think I married the right woman... :-)


i cannot drink beer (tastes nasty to me --i'm all about the girly drinks) so i'm beyond amused that there's a beer thread going on on my very own blog

Anonymous said...

Steve: I'll be happy to give En la ciudad de Sylvia a second chance (even though I doubt it will ever be released commercially in Italy)

Boyd: il prossimo anno, sicuramente! (o magari prima, in qualche altro festival)