It's been nearly a month since the Toronto Film Festival ended, and if you've found yourself missing the feeling of tromping into a theatre without the slightest idea of what you're about to see - wait, that's how I experience TIFF. You guys probably do more research beforehand.
Anyway, the fall festivals are upon us, so let's get into them.
Planet in Focus got rolling earlier in the week with the very good documentary Lost Rivers, and continues through Sunday at the Lightbox. The festival has named Toronto documentarian Jennifer Baichwal this year's Eco Hero; in celebration, her excellent Manufactured Landscapes screens at 5:15 pm this afternoon - in the Lightbox 1, where it'll look spectacular - followed by An Evening With Jennifer Baichwal at 7:15 pm.
Baichwal will be joined by her Manufactured Landscapes collaborators Nicholas De Pencier and Edward Burtynsky for a conversation moderated by Cinema Scope's Adam Nayman. (Best of all, admission to the Manufactured Landscapes screenings is just $5, and the subsequent on-stage event is pay what you can.)
And if you're looking for that specific TIFF-style hit of meaningful subject and celebrity host, check out Trashed, screening Saturday night at 7 pm. Candida Brady's documentary follows Jeremy Irons around the world as the Oscar-winning star of Dead Ringers and Die Hard With A Vengeance measures the toll of waste, both manufactured and organic, and how people are working to reduce their garbage output, or eliminate it outright. It's the sort of movie that leaves you feeling hopeful about the future, even though you know you probably shouldn't be.
BRAFFTV - the sixth annual Brazilian Film And Television Festival - takes over several screens at the Carlton Cinemas today through Sunday, having launched last night at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. (Here's the complete program guide as a downloadable PDF.)
Dirty Hearts, screening Saturday at 7 pm. has an almost irresistible hook: after the end of the Second World War, something like 80% of Brazil's Japanese immigrants refused to believe Japan had lost, discounting the news as an American propaganda campaign. Vicente Amorim's drama recounts the convulsions within the community as the relative few who accept the truth are painted as traitors and marked for assassination. (Smartly structured and effectively tense, the movie also marks a recovery for Amorim after his atrocious Viggo Mortensen drama Good.)
There's also EstDocs 12, an Estonia documentary series screening at various venues in town through Monday. (Here's their downloadable PDF schedule.) I wasn't able to get a look at any of their offerings, but The Colours Of The Islands, screening Sunday at 6 pm at Innis Town Hall, seems like an interesting documentary, following three musicians from island cultures across the globe - including Villu Veski, of Estonia's Muhu Island.
And if you'd prefer to watch someone talk about movies, rather than watching a whole one, please consider signing up for Shlomo Schwartzberg's Intelligent Art And Meticulous Craft: The Social Cinema Of Sidney Lumet, an eight-part lecture series starting this Monday at the Miles Nadal JCC. Every week, Shlomo (whom I've known for a good 20 years) will examine Lumet's work through a specific lens, including his theatrical adaptations (October 22), his fascination with police procedurals (November 12), his Judaism (November 19) and his use of New York (November 26). I'm particularly intrigued by that last one, because Shlomo has made a point of including Lumet's nightmare adaptation of The Wiz; most critics pretend it doesn't exist.
Lectures start at 7 pm; single tickets are $12 ($6 for students and Toronto Jewish Film Society members); a series pass is $90. Try it, you'll like it.