TIFF, like all great events, is many things to many people. Audience members can see so much in a day that, quite literally, it is fair to say that everyone can make their own festival.
Over the years, I’ve created multiple scenarios for a day at TIFF, ranging from being an armchair traveler, viewing the world through the prism of the festival’s cinema choices to a star gazer (where are you now, Anna Karina?) to a devourer of five docs in a day. Why not?
Today, for a change, let’s embrace chaos, or at least a day’s chronology.
In the morning and early afternoon, you can see a mixed bag of goodies, ranging from last night’s galas—looking slightly bedraggled the next day—to docs and dramas.
Interested in philosophy? You can see an incisive doc about contemporary philosophers called Examined Life at 10 am. Still a bit groggy? How about a great doc on guitarists Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge called It Might Get Loud? That should wake you up.
At 11 am, one of last night’s galas, the dysfunctional comedy-drama Rachel Getting Married is screening. The Jonathan Demme film, which stars Anne Hathaway, is getting a lot of buzz. Maybe it’s time to hightail it down and see it. Or you can wait an hour and view a different family drama, The Secret Life of Bees. Like Demme’s film, it features great performances—Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Dakota Fanning exude star power—and you won’t go wrong seeing it.
Or you can wait for both films to be released commercially.
How about checking out Youssou Ndour: I Sing What I Love? It won’t ever be screened in downtown cinemas and you’ll have a chance to experience a great singer whose performance on Saturday night at Yonge-Dundas Square is bound to be remembered fondly.
We’re in the middle of the afternoon now. You could catch a screening of a great film, the Israeli animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, about the traumatic invasion of Lebanon in the mid ‘80s—but it, too, will be released.
But, hey, there’s Krabat, a lovely magical tale for kids, made in Germany. The film has the darkness and fear and romance of an old Grimm fairy tale—and you’re unlikely to see it again.
In the early evening, you can enjoy the highly touted drama The Duchess starring Keira Knightley—and she’s here, to greet fans who go to see the film. But running against it is The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky’s tough new character study, which stars Mickey Rourke in a comeback role. Hmm…Keira? Mickey? How do you choose?
If you’re feeling brain-dead from all of the choices TIFF has on offer, the festival has cleverly scheduled two hoser comedies for the 8-9 pm slot. Cooper’s Camera purports to be a video recording of a very raunchy Christmas reunion in the suburbs. It features a multitude of dysfunctional body jokes—and a lot of drinking and talking about sex.
But why settle for the Canadian version when the American master of the dim-witted but oddly likeable comedy has a film on tap as well? Zack and Miri Make a Porno is the latest from Kevin Smith and it’s his typical mix of lowbrow but “knowing” humour. Starring Seth Rogen and featuring hockey references and lots of snow, it’s almost a Canadian flick.
Then again, maybe there’s another film you should see…