The Toronto International Film Festival, that rowdy kid born in the days of disco, has grown into a semi-smug yuppie with a briefcase in one hand and a cell-phone glued to its ear, even during screenings. This year there are some special goodies that celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary. There’s a Stephen Frears tribute/retrospective with a program that includes The Hit, The Grifters, My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy And Rosie Get Laid and Dangerous Liaisons, all but the last of which had Canadian premieres at the festival. To catch the big-name Canadians, take a peak at the Beckett On Film series — Atom Egoyan did Krapp’s Last Tape and Patricia Rozema directed Happy Days. Remember, you don’t get time spent watching bad films back at the end of your life, so if you don’t like something, walk out. Don’t avoid rush ticket sales — last year the entire rush ticket line got into American Beauty. And get to screenings early. The summer movie scene has been such a horror that people are hungry for new movies, even documentaries shot on rather raw-looking video. Here’s how we saw what’s on at the festival. Happy viewing.
Thursday, September 7th
GALA D: Denys Arcand w/ Jessica Paré, Dan Aykroyd, Robert Lepage. Canada. 102 mins.
Thursday, September 7, 7:15 pm UPTOWN 1; Thursday, September 7, 8:00 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Rating: NNN
There’s a proportion problem in Arcand’s first film in far too long. Stardom’s true subject is the dangerous acceleration of the culture. But it looks as if it’s about the fashion industry and its impact on the media. For one of Canada’s most renowned filmmakers to turn his satiric eye on something as inconsequential as the media buzz around fashion is like using artillery to swat gnats. Noisy VJs, airhead talk-show hosts, predatory photographers and indifferent documentarians are all in pursuit of poor Tina (Jessica Paré), a top model who wants to be left alone. Nude photos of a model on the Internet? Apparently, the filmmakers have low standards for scandal. JH
CWC D: Amos Gitaï w/ Liron Levo, Tomer Ruso, Uri Ran Klauzner. Israel. 118 mins.
Thursday, September 7, 9:00 pm VARSITY 8; Saturday, September 16, 9:00 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Rating: NNN
Gitaï made a festival splash last year with the extraordinary Kadosh, but Kippur comes down a notch or two, being remarkably low on character and dialogue. It’s an autobiographical look at the Yom Kippur war and follows a medical rescue unit around the devastated landscapes of the Golan Heights. It’s visually striking — Gitaï made a documentary on this subject a couple of years ago, so he knows the landscape — but I wish the dialogue made more of an impression than the whup-whup-whup of the chopper blades. And it could easily lose half an hour. JH