TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
WATCHING THE HORROR IN THE PRESS OFFICE
What can be said that won't be said over
and over for years to come? This day will forever be marked by one of the most
tragic moments in the history of North America. The news of Trade Center attack
hit me this morning when I was doing some pre-screening prep. I had seen a
documentary on the 1993 incident that specifically talked about the fact that
the towers could withstand an airplane crash. I started my screening as a
fellow viewer heard over the radio that the first tower had collapsed. It was
somewhat disconcerting that the film discussed the fact that airports no longer
have lockers because of fears regarding bombings.
After the screening, I
headed over to a friend's suite in the Park Hyatt - there I saw that the second
tower had just crumbled, and found out details about the pentagon also getting
The film festival is a week of escape, of losing yourself in a
fiction. The problem with our televisual introduction to these tragic images is
that they seem to be merely adequate effects - blurry thanks to long lenses,
without the visceral rumble we usually associate with such images. It was
Independence Day without the aliens as the smoke followed people running away
from collapsing buildings. It was a Tom Clancy thriller, as the continent's
airports are shut, and the full effect of a massively organized attack that
could accomplish four (at least) simultaneous hijaakings.
is populated by a huge number of Manhattenites. It relies upon the
air-transport system to get people in and out. The effect was mostly shock,
dismay, the usual reaction to something of this magnitude.
originally kept going - I decided to check out a film (not like I could help
anyone in New York directly). I personally am of the opinion that in the case
of a terror act, the best thing to do is to keep life as normal as possible.
Terror wins if you give into it. Easy to say, of course, in a city reasonably
far away from the violence. However, hospitals were on alert here, and the last
I heard some burn victims are being flown to local clinics.
PIERS SPEAKS TO ALL FESTIVAL GOERS
Following my second screening of the day,
and my second Canadian film, we were informed that there would be a hold on all
festival activity while organizers weighed the options of what to do. There is
a TV in the press office, and that became a second home to many, as we watched
coverage come in. I stayed until 4:30, when Festival head Piers Handling
announced that the fest would take the day off, but start up again tomorrow
Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I hope the fest goes
on, I hope life will continue and films will be enjoyed. I also hope that you
spend a bit of time thinking about the people killed, about those that worked
their asses off to help, many of whom have obviously perished.
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
directs a mostly American cast in a staunch Toronto film. Juliette Lewis plays
a Montreal biker-chick forced out of her home, fleeing to Toronto to a man she
loves. The love story is wrapped within a heist structure, with cops and
robbers exchanging screen time as Juliette inadvertently gets caught up in the
McDonald makes much use of split-screens, an allusion perhaps to
his mentor Norman Jewison's early films.
Gina Gershon is fun to watch,
and Mickey Rourke has an effectively charming cameo as a low-life. The usual
suspects of Canadian talent, led by Callum Keith Renny, round out the rest of
Not earth shattering, it's not even as edgy or quirky as his
earlier films. This is clearly Bruce McDonald at his big screen, big budget
best, and though it's far from a perfect film, it just might make at least some
of the $10 million back. As long, that is, that the Americans don't frown when
confronted with explicit mention of Spadina, College, and Yonge Streets.
Directed by: William Phillips
A concept film
that actually works quite well. An affluent man walking through a park in
Toronto is mugged. He fights back, but is then chased by a group of young
punks. Climbing a tee for safety, he is then held under siege, as the punks
wait for him to descend for retribution. What follows is some interesting
dialogue, as the characters' motivations are uncovered, and details about their
personalities are revealed.
It's the type of film that would work well
as a play - chatty, psychological, character driven, set in essentially one
location. However, what's interesting about this movie is that it really
benefits from the outdoor location. It's intimate like a play without being
claustrophobic - the outdoor setting avoids a sense of forced confinement,
while the punk kids provide a sense of being closed-in. It's an interesting
stylistic paradox, and it makes for an enjoyable film.