Once again, my wordly belongings wrapped in a red and white spotted kerchief and hoisted over the shoulder on a stout staff, I head to the bright lights of the fair city of Tronno (that’s Toronto to those of us on this side of the pond). It is festival time again, and I embark on a major shopping trip, seeking out the choices cuts of fresh cinema with which to grace you over the next 6 months.
I am presented with a list of 350 new titles to view in 10 days. If I manage just 10% in that time, I figure I shall have done quite well.
Top of the list must be Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix engage in a curious and tenacious cult. Oscars are intimated. Deepa Mehta, who made the extraordinary Fire/Earth/Water trilogy, has adapted Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. This is a must see, along with Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Tom Tykwer has directed an adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (how?!), and Buffy creator Joss Whedon has realised his version of Much Ado About Nothing.
On 11th September 2001, I floated out of a screening of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding to discover that the world had changed forever. Her new film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is high on the list of films that must be seen, as is Terence Malick’s To The Wonder. I will pay attention to new films by Chen Kaige, Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Redford Neil Jordan, Sally Potter and Costa Gavras.
I hear very good things about Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires, a tale of three young and rebellious Aboriginal women who form a vocal group and find themselves entertaining the troops in Vietnam in the 1960’s, their manager played by Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd.
There is also a very strong French contingent. There are new titles from Francois Ozon, Patrice Leconte, Yvan Atal and the latest by Claude Miller, Therese Desqueroux (another literary adaptation) starring Audrey Tautou.
Toronto International Film Festival is a sublime event, efficiently run but with an enviably laid back attitude. I aspire to just such a management style because it makes everyone feel good, safe and cared for. For me, the main challenge is making the right choices and not getting too distraught about not being able to be in three places at one time or having to sleep occasionally.
I shall report my findings to you and tweet regularly about everything I see on @warwickartsfilm