What I Saw At The Toronto International Film Festival – The Awl

byMichelle?

Dean

1。

AttheTorontoInternationalFilmFestivaltheothernight,thewomandirectlyinfrontofmeintherushlinesaidshewasanaspiringfilmmaker。

Shewaswearingastripedbuttonupshirt,pleatedkhakis,andabluenylonshell。

Shecarriedathermos。

IfIhadtoguessherage,Iwouldprobablyendupsomewherearound65。

Shewantedafreeticket,shetoldthevolunteerwrangler。

Toanything。

Thewrangler,whowasatthelowerendofmiddle-ageandclearlyrelishedtheauthorityshe’dbeentemporarilygranted,fiddledconstantlywithherheadsettosignalherimportanceasshelistenedto?

this。

“Youhavetopayforrushtickets,”shesaid,allbusiness。

“Theyaren’t?

free。



“Iknow,”saidtheaspiringfilmmaker。

“Butpeoplecometotherushlinetoselltheirtickets,sometimes,don’t?

they?



“Yes,”repliedthewrangler。

“Butma’am,peoplegenerallywantmoneyforthem。

Usuallytheydon’tgivethem?

away。



“Still,”saidtheaspiringfilmmaker,adoptingatoneIcanonlydescribeasaunt-like,“Sometimestheydo!

I’vegottenonebeforethisway。

Pleaseletme?

wait。



Whenthewranglerstilllookeddubious,thefilmmakeradded,“Please。

Ineedtoseesomemovies。

Iwanttomakethem,butIcan’taffordtoseethem。

Ihaven’tevenmoneyenoughfora?

camera。



AboutahalfhourlatersomeonecamebywithticketstoamoviecalledPreciousLife。

Noonewaswaitingforthatmovie,andsotheaspiringfilmmakergotherfreeticket,andoffshe?

went。

I’vebeenwonderingeversincewhatkindofmoviesshewantsto?

make。

2。

It’sastrangethinghowhabitsgetstarted。

I’veonlybeengoingtofilmfestivalsofanykindsince2005。

MyfirstscreeningwasatLincolnCenter,anditwasofalittlefilmcalledGoodnightandGoodLuck,directedbyaguynamedGeorgeClooney。

ItgoestoshowyoujustwhatkindofinnocentIwasthatIshowedupinwhatafriendcallsmysummer“uniform”:jeanskirt,blackt-shirt,blackflip-flops,acanvasblackmessengerbag。

Onemergingfromthesubway,Idiscoveredtomyhorrorthatyouhadtowalktheredcarpettogetin。

AndIdidit-thephotographersignoredmeandthefewotherpeonswhoalsocouldn’tfindthealternateentrance-andtookmyseatthreerowsinfrontofDonnaKaranandabouttwelveinfrontofTeriHatcher(thenattheheightofher“DesperateHousewives”-relatedfame,soforgivemeforrecognizingher)andthought:“OhGod,Iamneverdoingthisagain。

”ButthenClooneyhimselfcameout,drippingcharminawayI’dneverseenanyonedobeforeor?

since。

SincethenI’destimateI’vegonetoaboutfiftyscreeningsatvariousfestivals。

SinceMonday,I’vebeentofouratthisyear’siterationoftheTorontofestival:DannyBoyle’s127Hours,ErrolMorris’Tabloid,JohnCameronMitchell’sRabbitHoleandWernerHerzog’sCaveofForgottenDreams。

Thatlist,althoughitmostlydescribesthosemoviesIwasabletogetticketstoasopposedtoalltheonesI’dhavelikedtosee-suggeststhatmyfilm-nerdstreetcredisveryquestionable。

Itendtolikemid-list,largelyAmerican,orAmerican-directed,work。

Myaesthetic,Isupposesomeonemightsay,isn’toverlysophisticated,moredirectedatheartthan?

head。

3。

Iamnotasqueamishperson,butforthelastthirtyminutesof127HoursIkepthavingtoclosemyeyesbecauseadullknifesawingthroughfleshapparentlytestsmylimits。

Theperformanceanchoringthefilmissurprisinglygood,largelybecausethescriptgivesJamesFrancosomanythingstodophysicallythathehaslittletimetogetfidgety。

TherestIamnotcrazyabout,prettythoughitis,mostlybecauseBoyle’saestheticoccasionallyerrsonthesideofMTVliteralness,whichisbasicallywhathappensthroughout127Hours。

Shotsofgirlsturningtheirheads,flashingwhiteteethshinyhair,andwide-openeyes,mascararunningdowntheirfaces:theseareBoyle’sshorthandsfordeep?

love。

DuringtheQ,Boylewasaskedabouttheeditingofthefilm,whichisindeedstunningwork,asthemovieprobablythemostmasterfullyputtogetherofanyIsawthisweek。

“IliketosayIamveryTigger-like,”heanswers。

“Andeditors,they’remore…Eeyore-like。

”Ilaughedlikesomeonewhoknewwhathemeant。

Maybeeditorsareallthesame,nomatterthe?

medium。

4。

AttheRabbitHolescreeningIgotmyonlyrealcelebritysighting。

(UnlessyoucountabriefglimpseofDonMcKellar,whichmostnon-Canadianswouldn’t。

)NicoleKidmanandAaronEckhartshowedupfortheQA。

ThemurmursinthepresssuggestKidmanwillbeupforanOscarforherperformanceinthisfilm。

Ithinkthispredictionisprobablyapt;RabbitHoleisthekindofmovietheAcademyloves,anelegyforamarriageintroubleafterthedeathofthecouple’sfour-year-old。

It’sadaptedfromthestageplaybytheplaywrightDavidLindsay-Abaire。

It’sadeeplyfeltmovie,whichshouldsurprisenoonewho,likeme,lovesMitchell’sotherwork(HedwigandtheAngryInch,Shortbus)。

It’salsomissingalittlesomethingIcan’tquitedescribe,andhasaclinicalsafenessthatisalsoreflectedinKidman’sownperformance。

Ihavetheoriesbutfewfactsaboutthereasonforthat,soI’llbedelicate:let’sjustsayshejustdoesn’tgetaroundtousingthefullrangeofexpressionshecould?

have。

SomeoneintheaudiencedoesthatthingIhatethatpeopledoatQAs;usesthequestionasanopportunitytotalktothequestionratherthanaskadamnquestion。

“IthinkthisisTHEMOVIE,”saysthequestioner,anelderlymanIcan’tactuallylocateinthecrowd。

“Ithinkitwillwinthe?

Oscar。



Lindsay-Abairegrabsthemicrophone。

“Thanks,Dad。

”Thecrowdlaughsuproariously。

Mitchelltookbackthefloor。

“Pleasedon’tjinxus…Dad。

”Thecrowdlaughsagain,righton?

cue。

5。

HerzoghadalreadyleftthefestivalforhomebythetimeIsawCaveofForgottenDreams。

Itwasprobablyforthe?

best。

“Thismovieisnotjustamovie,”saidtheprogrammer,introducingit,“itisanartevent。

”Tooright,Ithink,intheend。

ThoughIsupposeminewon’tbethedominantopinion,Ithinkthefilmistoospare,reliestoomuchonprettyphotographyoftheancientbutonlyrecentlydiscoveredChauvetcavepaintingsinFrance。

Iamashamedtoconfessthatstaringatthesepaintingsfortwohoursdoesnot,withoutmore,domuchfor?

me。

Thereissomenarration,butitisbroadandbland,askingbigquestionslike,“Whatisthehumansoul?

”withoutthefaintestinterestinventuringanswers。

Anditonlyoffersonlyafewofthekindofdetailsthatendupfollowingyouallthewayhome。

Myfavoriteofthese:theyfound,inthecave,anancientfootprintlefttherebyaneight-year-oldboy,andrightnexttoit,thecompanionabletracksofawolf。

Noone,apparently,hasbeenabletofigureoutiftheywereleftthereatthesame?

time。

6。

AttheendofTabloid,ErrolMorriscomesupfrontforaQA。

Thedocumentaryitselfiswonderful,acrowd-pleaseraboutawomannamedJoyceMcKinney。

McKinneyoncemadeanameforherselfinthetabloidsbyallegedlykidnappingherMormonex-boyfriendwhilehewastravelingintheUKandchaininghimtoabed,asthetabloidsdelightfullydescribed,“spread-eagled。

”Thiswasall,inherview,awell-intentionedefforttorescuehimfromthechurch。

Themovieallowshertodescribethisforherself,andshedoesabang-upjob,Ihavetosay。

(There’salsoatwistattheendI’llresistspoiling。

)

“Thismovie,”Morrissaysinhisprefatoryremarks,“hasprobablyconvincedme,onceandforall,thatloveonlyrequirestheparticipationofone?

person。



7。

Potentiallyrelated:Igenerallygotofilmfestivalsalone。

WhileI’malwayshappytotakepeoplewithme,Idon’tconditionmyattendanceontheirs。

ItoftensurprisesotherswhenItellthemthat。

IguessI’dratherseethemoviealonethannotseeitatall。

Alotofpeopleseethesethingsassocialtime,Iguess,butIdon’tgetit。

I’mtheretowatchamovie,Idon’tneedtochat。

Andasforpeoplepityingmeforbeingtherealone,well,IlongagoabandonedtheideathatIwouldalwaysbeabletomaintainmydignityinthefaceofmyobsessions。

Thisalsoseemstrueofmyfellowfilmgoersatthesescreenings,fewofwhomarefilmstudents,asfarasIcantell。

Mostaremiddle-agedyuppies。

Ittakesmoneytohaveahobbylikethis。

Theair,though,isnotasself-congratulatoryasyou’dthatmightimply。

Itrynottoover-rationalizetomyself,butIoftenwonderiftheenjoymentIderivefromattendingfilmfestivalsisn’takindofcontacthighfromfeeling,howeverbrieflyandperipherally,likeI’vebecomepartoftheproductionprocessbyseeingitbeforeother?

people。

Isuspectthisisnotahealthyfeeling。

ButI’malmostcertainlygoingbacknext?

year。

MichelleDeanhaswrittenforBitchandTheAmericanProspect。

SheblogsatThePursuitofHarpyness。

PhotobyJoshJensen,from?