Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Took a few photographs at this year's Toronto International Film Fest, mostly of directors at the Q&As, but I'm no stargazer, so for the most part these were snapped from right where I sat, in one or two attempts, in darkened theaters. What you see is what you get. Or what I got. Or something.

Above, Soi Cheang discusses his brilliant new Hong Kong thriller ACCIDENT. He spoke in Cantonese but rarely needed the questions translated, and yakked with a few locals in the lobby for several minutes afterward. ACCIDENT is produced by Johnnie To, and it's actually superior to VENGEANCE, To's own entry in the festival. Cheang is flanked by an unidentified translator.

John Hillcoat (second from left) fields questions about his bleak end-of-the-world drama THE ROAD, possibly nervous that Bob Weinstein was sitting in the audience shooting uncomfortable stares at him. To the right of him are Kodi Smit-McPhee and Viggo Mortensen (turns out he's quite the long-winded one). Robert Duvall appeared at the outset, but couldn't stick around.

Michael Moore sits with Fest programmer Thom Powers (I think!) for a very engaging Q&A session for his new documentary CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY at the prestigious Elgin Theatre. Also in attendance were Moore's father, several striking miner's from Northern Ontario, and a coterie of hired "protesters" who marched down Yonge Street decrying the evils of Wall Street. Moore's new doc digs up the deep-seated and tangled roots of the current economic crisis in America (and by extension the world), with his typically leftist sense of humour. The film also showcases recently-unearthed footage of Roosevelt giving a speech that, had he lived to implement the plans he puts forth in it, might have altered the course of American history away from the current disaster.

Johnnie To joins fest programmer Colin Geddes and a translator on stage at the Ryerson to perform a little autopsy on VENGEANCE, his slick thriller starring French pop king Johnny Halliday, who also appeared at the beginning of the film, but couldn't stick around. An expectedly sumptuous visual experience even if it isn't top-tier To, with lots of little touches (beyond the casting of Hallyday) that will remind you of French cinema of the 60s and 70s, as well as an epic gun battle on a field full of cubes of discarded newspaper and cardboard that serves as To's homage to Akira Kurosawa.

Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza take the stage with Colin Geddes after scaring the shit out of the Midnight Madness with their pumped-up sequel [REC]2. They don't build up to the good stuff in this. They don't have to because the first film was the backstory. This starts with the good stuff and never slows down.

1 comment:

dleedlee said...

Great pics! Thanks for sharing them and your thoughts on the films.