September is once more synonymous with four words: Toronto International Film Festival. Fellow Spree’er Christopher Schobert and I will again travel north for a weekend of what could be the top candidates for Oscar gold come next winter. Of course, they could also be films that may hit theater screens within the next two to three years depending on distribution deals. It’s another jam-packed schedule of sixteen films in less than four days. Daunting for sure, but a challenge we rise toward with excitement.
Sadly, the most coveted title of the festival for us, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, makes its US premiere the day after we’ll have already returned home. But that disappointment won’t damper a roster of legends, up-and-comers and stalwart artists, foreign and domestic. If you can tell people you saw the newest work from maestro Jean-Luc Godard in the same thirty-hour period as watching Oscar-nominated actor/retired (or is he?) rapper Joaquin Phoenix alongside onscreen defecation, you know the trip was worth it … right?
We may not have a chance to experience a film in the newly constructed Bell Lightbox, opening September 12th and TIFF’s home for the foreseeable future, but we’ll have our share of gorgeous Toronto cinemas. Old favorites, like the Ryerson and the Elgin (along with its upstairs neighbor, the Winter Garden Theatre), sit beside venues such as the Dundas AMC and the Cineplex Odeon Varsity Cinema, a structure seen from the QEW on every trip in, but one that has eluded us the past three years. With so many films in such little time between those four, the subway may get some use as a ferry to and fro—a welcome break to hydrate and ready ourselves for the next long Toronto walk (or run, if need be).
There may only be two galas on our docket—Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story Saturday evening and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours Sunday —and we may have been shut out of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first feature without long-time writer Guillermo Arriaga, Biutiful, but with a few debuts and rumored appearances from the likes of Andrew Lau, Danny Boyle, Emilio Estevez, Guy Moshe, John Curran, Mark Romanek, Mike Mills, Tony Goldwyn, Clive Owen, Edward Norton, James Franco, Martin Sheen, Milla Jovovich, and Robert De Niro, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood won’t be far away.
(Schedule subject to change)
Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme [Film Socialism]
Andrew Lau’s Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen]