Day One at TIFF has been completed. It started with a bang … as in a rogue Customs agent yelling for us to stop at a cone wall before the actual stop followed by a seemingly exciting wrestling to the ground of two criminals at Dundas Square. We couldn’t stop to see the action completely because we had movies to see.
Our first screening was cinema maestro Jean-Luc Godard‘s newest work Film socialisme [Film Socialism]. A complete head-scratcher consisting of unsubtitled French for 100 minutes, overlapping a random sequence of vignettes featuring characters with cameras, tourists, Russian sympathetics (a kid was wearing an old USSR tee), and what could have been either a llama or alpaca at a gas station in Barcelona. The jarring edits of sound and sights made quite a few people walk out, but we stood firm. Myself giving it about a 4/10 and Chris a unique ?/10.
Film number two was definitely more accessible in the form of a kung-fu, superhero romp post-WWI in an Atlantic City-type Shanghai, called Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen]. The overdubbing was horrid—but we think it was intentional due to director Andrew Lau‘s introduction speaking of his ‘super idol’ Bruce Lee‘s anniversary of passing—and the action was hyper-stylized and a lot of fun. Probably will end up being tough to check out in the states, especially in theaters, so the journey was worth it. Both of us giving it a 6/10 for its trouble.
Tomorrow sees a nice line-up beginning with Mark Romanek‘s adaptation of the New York Times’s choice for best book of the decade Never Let Me Go. And of course there’s a little crazed Joaquin Phoenix to finish the night in I’m Still Here. Time for some sleep.
sidenote:You know “The Big Bang Theory” has hit the big time when a Festival volunteer stops his canned announcements to point out my ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock’ shirt by saying “awesome tee … I have one.”
 TIFF’s co-director Cameron Bailey and director Andrew Lau.