Thursday, September 06, 2007

Day One (but technically Zero for me)

Caffeinated products today: 1

Greetings, readers of The Film Experience! My name is Ali, and you might remember me chiming in from time to time in the comments sections of Nathaniel's blog posts (I am a longtime reader and fan.) I first stumbled upon his early Film Bitch Weekly column during the summer of 2002, and have been addicted ever since. Inspired, I eventually started up my own blog in November of 2005, just in time for the awards season of that year. Although I'm not as proactive about regularly updating as I once was, there is definitely one movie-related event each year that I go full-out for in terms of commentary and coverage (yes, even more than the Oscars) - The Toronto International Film Festival. This will be my (*counts on fingers*) seventh year in attendance, and I can't think of a better way to end the summer... it certainly makes the transition back to university life a lot less painful, personally. Indeed, I'll often be ducking out of class early to make it to my films in time!

So, I'd like to thank Nathaniel for giving me a shot at covering the festival this year, along with Steve (see his first post here.) I hope you find our reviews and personal thoughts enjoyable to read, even if they are of the "Omigoditwasamazing!!! ... but I'm too tired to write about it, so later..." kind ;) I'll try to chime in as often as possible, although I usually do massive updates at the end of the day. I usually have a mix between full-length reviews, capsules and overall musings on the festival as it proceeds onwards. Perhaps we can convince you all to take a trip to Toronto one year if you haven't already; it definitely has to be experienced firsthand, at least once.

Even though the festival commences this evening, I will not be taking in any screenings until starting tomorrow morning. You can find my personal schedule here, although that doesn't take into account possible last-minute changes or extra films (should I get lucky in a rush lineup.)

As for pre-festival comments, there isn't much to report about actually. A lot of the "big" films showing here have already screened in Venice (Atonement, Lust, Caution, Jesse James, Michael Clayton, In the Valley of Elah, Sleuth, Cassandra's Dream, Redacted, etc), so you've already heard about those. We didn't get The Darjeeling Limited, but that's about it in terms of glaring omissions (I don't think Toronto got The Life Aquatic either, so no big surprise.) Some Cannes titles are also making an appearance here - Palme D'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Director prize for Julian Schnabel) and the Coen Bros.' No Country for Old Men.

Buzzed-about films showing for the first time ever? Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth: The Golden Age is having its world premiere here (the festival directors are obviously thrilled to have scored this baby), as is Gavin Hood's thriller Rendition. Werner Herzog is unveiling his latest documentary, while David Cronenberg follows up A History of Violence with the tantalizing Eastern Promises. There is a lot of talk surrounding Alan Ball's directorial (feature) debut, Nothing is Private, which has somehow managed to score a whopping four screenings (!!!) during the festival. That's a little shocking, since the rule of thumb is two per film, three under extraordinary circumstances... the demand from both the public and press must be staggering. That, or the film's producers must have been very demanding on the programmers. Lars and the Real Girl is also making an appearance here, and I've heard that title come up several times when people in lineups talked about their most anticipated picks.

Okay, I should probably save some of this for later posts.

Pre-festival thoughts:
Most excited for: I'm Not There (duh!) In second place, Margot at the Wedding.
Most apprehensive about: tie between Reservation Road (awful, awful trailer) and Jason Reitman's Juno (shifty premise despite good cast.)
Most excited to potentially see in person: tie between Mark Ruffalo and Tilda Swinton.
Interested about the response to: Julie Taymor's Across the Universe (which cut will screen?)


Nick M. said...

Caffeine products needed to make me really anticipate your coverage: 0

Steve C. said...

Nice pick list there, man. And interestingly enough, there is currently zero (0) overlap between our schedules. I'm going to try and rush screenings of You, the Living, California Dreamin' and 4 Months... when the time comes, but it looks like we'll be running on separate tracks for the most part. Which, presumably, makes for more thorough coverage... :-)


if you see tilda in person you are required to talk about her outfit.

it's, like, the rule.

last time i saw her her casual hanging out with friends look was still pretty avant garde

Anonymous said...

Try to see "Nocturna", the best Spanish animated movie in decades! I´m curious about the foreign reception.

I´ll read the posts with interest. Enjoy the festival!

Anonymous said...

Taymor's Across The Universe cut is screening.

That is why Sony isn't promoting it worth a crap...because they are pouting.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Bless your Haynes-loving, Tilda-seeking heart for being our brave reporter in the trenches. I'll hang on your every report, Ali!

Glenn Dunks said...

Can't wait for your stuff Ali. I've mentioned my interest in your opinion of The Man From London most of all because it's really really bad, as well as Nothing is Private.

And, look, Herzog has made a documentary about Antarctica. Wow... I haven't seen any of them lately.

Yaseen Ali said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, all! I didn't get a chance to respond earlier...