Friday, September 10, 2004

thurday evening

So today the festival begins and we head off into the usual groove that we'll generally follow for the rest of the week:

We wake up sometime around a quarter of seven and do the normal morning ablutions, then we take the subway up to Bloor street where we head to one of the local cafes (either Starbucks, Timothy's or some other trendoid place) before heading over to the Variety multiplex in where one takes one's seat for the first screening of the day, which is about 8:30 AM, which is usually too early to go to the movies but this is special.

Today, we begin with James Toback's When Will I Be Loved?:

So what are we to make of this female revenge fantasy? When we first meet Vera (Neve Campbell), she’s doing a walking job interview with a weird professor of African studies(James Toback), while her boyfriend Ford (Frederick Weller) is lying his way through a whole bunch of silly situations. Ford, it seems is a two-bit hustler with delusions of grandeur.

These delusions are fed by the fact that we see him doing three models at once in the middle of central park, and the fact that when he accosts the zillionaire Italian Count Tommasso Lupo(Dominc Chianese), the Count responds positively. What is going on?

What’s going on is that the Count has fallen in lust with Vera and Ford has decided to pimp her our for a hundred thousand dollars. Will Vera do it?
Do we care?

The answer is ambiguous. We don’t like any of these characters. They’re mean and unappealing. On the other hand, Toback’s writing is very funny and the dialogue is something that’ll keep you in your seat. In fact it’s rather fun to watch.

We then head off to pick up the morning's mail, which contains the same stuff as yesterday's mail. Which is very strange indeed....I picked it up yesterday! Then I discover that I missed the next film, so I wander into the nearest screening room and find a thing called "Tarnation" which is the cheapest film ever to raise it's head here in Toronto. It's a cinematic autobiography of Jonathan Caoette a minor actor who's never hit it big. He used a mac and various generations of video. It's actually quite interesting and trippy in we do lunch, which means one of Toronto's famous hot dogs before going to our next selection: a thing called Whiskey Romeo Zulu....

Around five or six years ago, a Argentine airliner crashed, killing quite a few people. It seems that for a number of years a pilot named Enrique Piñero had been trying to call attention to the problems the airline in question was having and, like most whistleblowers, was first grounded and then forced to resign.

His revenge was twofold: First he gave all the information he had to the authorities. Then, he became a movie star, and after a number of years was famous enough to get his side of the story made into a movie written, directed and starring himself, a pretty nifty trick if you think about it.

What’s even niftier is that Piñero has made a truly great film, He’s a fine actor, the directing is even better and the writing is clear, crisp and direct. The other actors, as the prosecuter and as the childhood friend who becomes his confidant and then turns on him, are even better.

Now that he has this whole thing out of his system, maybe he can now go on and become the auteur he has the talent to become.

Next is a gem called Private:"

Now one can’t really trust what the Europeans have to say on the subject of the Middle East Crisis, they’ve long ago given their support to the Palestinians in their effort to drive the Jews into the sea. But sometimes we have an interesting take on the subject.

Fighting terrorism near it’s border with the territories, a small contingent of Israeli soldiers is assigned to take over a strategically placed house, and orders the family out. The problem is that said family won’t leave, and this leads to a standoff of sorts, with the Israelis taking the second floor and the Palestinians keeping the first. It’s sympathetic to the Palestinians, of course, the family is the focus of the film, but we get to see the Israelis too and they’re also shown in a somewhat sympathetic light as one of the daughters of the family hides in the closet and observes them in their day to day activities.

It was surprisingly even-handed. It’s clear that writer/director Savario Constanzo gave this lots of thought and is even slightly pro-Israeli. (otherwise it wouldn't have played there and have some of the Jewish state's hearthrobs as the soldiers).

As to the parties, they start tomarrow....

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