2001 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
September 15


A make-up day for the 11th, very good call on the part of the organizers.

This festival has disipated rather than ended. People started to leave as soon as they could, with flights starting a couple days ago again. Without the parties, people stopped checking their mailboxes at the press office. Gone is a sense of closure, and instead I am surrounded by the few faces that I tend to see at the smaller, non-event screenings. The glamour has faded early this year, and the film geeks stay to soak up the stories.

I ended the fest on a good note, watching three fun films that are unlikely to see wide release in multiplexland.

Given the events of the last week, it's been a remarkably well run fest. Kudos primarily to the organizers, but, above all, to the long-suffering volunteers. They are the heart of this fest, and without them its clear that nothing would work at all.

See you next year!




Much Ado About Something
Directed by: Michael Rubbo


This documentary traces with a giddy temperament the search for the "real" Shakespeare. It is a good doc for several reasons - it presents its information in an interesting way, it asks many questions, and, though it may not provide explicit answers, it opens up new areas of inquiry. Very informative, it even has me questioning whether the man we consider the Bard, the ontological foundation of English literature, could in fact be simply an illiterate businessman from Stratford shilling for Marlowe or some such character. Very fun to watch.

Grade: A-/B+



My Kingdom
Directed by: Don Boyd

A fun retelling of the Lear story, taking great liberties with the play's text that makes for a certain amount of suspense even for those intimately familiar with the original. Richard Harris is Sandeman, the leader of a Liverpudlian crime family, a patriarch who has, of course, three daughters. His fav, the youngest, rebels against his life as she tries to distance herself (the film actually made me realize the Lear-ish elements in the Godfather - "they just keep pulling me back in!!")

After his wife is murdered, Sandeman puts his trust into his daughters. The castles of the the play he gets bounced between are replaced with condos and massage parlours, creating interesting new tensions within the narrative. In a stroke of genius, the film uses Sandeman's grandson as his fool-like companion, providing both comic relief and philosophical prose.

While feeling somewhat long, the film nonetheless is a very interesting and compelling retooling of a classic.

Grade: A-/B+



Nine Queens
Directed by: Fabian Bielinsky

An Argentinian, Mamet-like confidence-game movie. The two leads meet when a making-change scam fails at a gas stations. Lies within lies keep the story going fresh, and until the ending you don't know just who is screwing whom out of their share of the money. A fun, engaging film to close out the festival for me.

Grade: B