By Marc Glassman
One of the most exciting and worthwhile series at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) is Dialogues. In it, famous figures introduce films that have had a major impact on their lives. After the films are screened, these acclaimed presenters often stay for a lively question and answer session with the audience.
This year, TIFF’s presenters include:
Actor Max von Sydow and TIFF CEO Piers Handling who will discuss The Virgin Spring, the Oscar winning film by Ingmar Bergman. As a young man, von Sydow starred in this stark and brilliant tale of rape and revenge. He and Handling will talk about the artistic impact of the film on world cinema and the legacy of Swedish master Bergman, who recently passed away.
Director and critic Peter Bogdanovich shows one of legendary director John Ford’s first films Bucking Broadway. Bogdanovich, the director of The Last Picture Show and Mask, made a heartfelt doc on Ford early in his career and has many anecdotes about the filmmaker who made Grapes of Wrath, Fort Apache, The Searchers, How Green Was My Valley and so many other Hollywood masterpieces.
Ken Loach, the Cannes award-winning British realist, who will talk about the funny, dark Jiri Menzel masterpiece Closely Watched Trains. Set in World War 2, the film recounts the adventures of a callow youth dealing with life in the midst of great tragedy.
Architect Bruce Kuwabara, who is creating TIFF’s Bell Lightbox Festival Centre, will present La Jetée by Chris Marker. A visionary look at a city, Paris, rendered in still photos, Marker’s film inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys and is the famed director’s sole fictional work.
Ellen Burstyn, the gifted and beloved actress, presents Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the feminist classic directed by Martin Scorsese, for which she received an Academy Award.
American documentarian Arthur Dong shows and discusses Flower Drum Song, one of the rare Hollywood films of the Golden Era to treat Asians in a positive manner. The musical, starring Nancy Kwan, is a stylish and fascinating work.
Lord Richard Attenborough presents Oh! What a Lovely War, his acclaimed first feature as a director. Showing World War 1 as a black comic Music Hall revue, the film stars John Mills, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier and a host of other brilliant British stars.
American director Sidney Lumet, well known for such films as Serpico, The Group, Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men, all of which dealt with societal concerns presents a film that formed his sensibility, William Wyler’s The Best Years of our Lives, the film that best encapsulated the Second World War experience for returning US soldiers.