Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Anton Sirius owns the Toronto Film Festival.
No, seriously. He does. Go back through our archives. Search for "Toronto." See what you come up with.
It's his. He's been covering it for us now for 43 consecutive years, and no one does it better. Now he's turned in his preview of the festival for us, and I can't wait to start getting updates as he descends into the madness of the thing. Sounds like he's nursing a bruised heart, too, so I hope this trip turns out to be exactly the tonic he needs...
Mags has a limo waiting for me when I get off the plane. A limo with a bar.
She must have heard.
I slouch down in the back seat and close my eyes, not paying attention to where I’m being taken. Toronto always beckons me this time of year- I’ve been a festival regular since 1992, and an irregular before that- but now I’m finding it difficult to get excited about a manic fortnight of parties and films and the glitterati and parties and new discoveries and parties. Instead I think about the ocean I just crossed, its bulk and heft, and the uncharted depths which are still as nothing when compared to the human heart.
Oh Christ, here I go again.
Somewhere on the 401 I make myself a T & T and pull out the fest bible Magdalena has left in the car for me. If I’m just going to sit here and be maudlin I might as well get some work done.
This is a quick overview of the films playing at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival. I’m sure I missed a few, but that just means more surprises around the corner. Once I get settled I’ll wrap up a stargawking piece as well, although I can tell you that last time I spoke with The Mick (Jagger, not Foley, you philistines), he was coming. Woo hoo! No party is complete without a Rolling Stone.
If there’s a running theme this year, it’s that the Japanese Next Wave proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are all crazy.
Thursday the 6th
The half-day warmup exercises features a couple of interesting films, although the Opening Gala, Last Wedding, looks decidedly, well, Canadian. Peter Watkins’ La Commune (Paris 1871) should get the fest rolling nicely, and Wang Chao, a former AD to Chen Kaige, brings his first feature, the Orphan of Anyang.
Friday the 7th
Start the day off right with a Dialogues presentation of Bunuel’s Exterminating Angel; Scott Hicks directs Sir Tony Hopkins in a Stephen King story, Hearts of Atlantis; All About Lily Chou-Chou, the latest from the sublime Shunji Iwai (Swallowtail Butterfly) gets a showing; Matt and Trey produce a doc, How’s Your News?; that noise you hear will be the fourth Seal of the Apocalypse shattering when an Antone Fuqua film screens, the Gala showing of Training Day; Clockwatchers director Jill Sprecher returns with Thirteen Conversations About One Things, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jon Turturro; Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles butt heads in the Business of Strangers; and Midnight Madness kicks off with a little film you may have heard something about- Versus.
Saturday the 8th
Italian legend Ermanno Olmi does a bio on Giovanni de’ Medici, the Profession of Arms; the grandfather of the bumbling investigative reporter schtick, Michael Rubbo, takes up the Marlowe side of the Shakespeare debate in Much Ado About Something; another Dialogues special, Kubrick’s the Killing; Japanese legend Shohei Imamura’s latest, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge; British legend Ken Loach’s latest, the Navigators; a surreal serial that I hope is half as funny as it sounds like it could be, Luis Bunuel and King Solomon’s Table (Garcia Lorca and Salvador Dali are Bunuel’s sidekicks!); another oddity, a Dogme95 romantic comedy, Italian for Beginners; Steve Martin stars in Novocaine; Kiyoshi Kurosawa springs his latest, Pulse (his take on, of all things, teen horror films) on the unwary; Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin and Ed Harris go all Catch-22 in Buffalo Soldiers; another song title gets re-used, and a hitman suffers an existential crisis, in Mr. In-Between; the French remake Absolutely Fabulous as a feature, called imaginatively enough Absolument Fabuleux; Christina Ricci gets happy in Prozac Nation; David Lynch gets, well, Lynchian with Mulholland Drive; the first of two from Richard Linklater, Tape; a doc a guy with a beard who knew a dead guy with a bigger beard, Grateful Dawg; Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Gabbeh) brings his latest, the Sun Behind the Moon; French legend-in-her-own-mind Catherine Breillat’s latest, A Ma Souer!, is- guess what?- about a teenage girl’s sexual awakening; and at Midnight Johnnie To directs Andy Lau in another twist on HK formulas, Full Time Killer.
Sunday the 9th
Linklater hosts his Dialogues segment, which is of all things Two-Lane Blacktop; Peter Lynch finds another worthy/crazy subject in Cyberman; Shunji Iawi’s influence extends as far as South Korea, apparently, in The Butterfly; Amon Gitai does Arthur Miller (!) in Eden; a cast of British heavyweights including Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone tell the story of the Davies’ brothers (OK, not really, I’m just playing up the song title thing again) in You Really Got Me; William Hurt and Canadian comedy icons Andy Jones and Greg Malone see some Rare Birds; more Arthur Miller, this time directed by an American and starring Bill Macy and Laura Dern, Focus; the Planet Africa program kicks it old-school with a Senegalese take on Karmen; James Ellroy’s Feast of Death (‘nuff said); Guillermo del Toro brings the Devil’s Backbone; John Dahl does Duel in Joy Ride; Claire Denis has Trouble Every Day; and Midnight Madness presents the doc that wowed ‘em at Sundance this year, Dogtown and Z-Boys.
Monday the 10th
Dialogues features Bergman’s Wild Strawberries; Michael Haneke’s Cannes triumph, la Pianiste, reaches these shores; underrated character actor Arliss Howard makes his feature debut with Big Bad Love; Canadian legend Bruce McDonald unveils Picture Claire; Mamet gets macho with Heist; Richard Harris plays a modernized crime lord Lear in My Kingdom; Wes Bentley and friends reveal themselves before a camera- or do they?- in Carving Out Our Names; A Dry White Season director Euzhan Palcy examines the aftermath of Attica in the Killing Yard; Jeunet’s le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain will at last get to enchant me; Hughes and Hughes and Depp- From Hell; Vincent Cassel proves again why Hollywood needs him badly in Read My Lips; and Midnight Madness has a double feature of Clip Cult (Vol 1) with the ususal suspects Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham etc., and Sogo Ishii’s ‘noise punk operetta’, Electric Dragon 80,000V.
Tuesday the 11th
Another strange Dialogues, this one courtesy Bruce McDonald- Rollerball; Cannes’ Inuit find, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) comes home; a doc on Christian haunted houses, Hell House; Nelly makes his acting debut; joining Kool Moe Dee and others on-screen in Snipes; Catherine Keener re-teams with the director who helped put her on the map in Lovely & Amazing; Mike Figgis takes digital even further in Hotel; Tim Blake Nelson follows up O with the Grey Zone; Hou Hsao-hsien does the Millenium Mambo; second of two from Linklater, Waking Life; and another Midnight Madness extravaganza, le Pacte des Loups, aka Brotherhood of the Wolf.
Wednesday the 12th
Mira Sorvino returns to her roots in the pre-Shakespearean the Triumph of Love; the WWII tragedy of the Struma gets the doc treatment; Thailand’s erotic masterpiece, Jan Dara, finally comes to the big screen; Benjamin Bratt tries to get over La Julia by proving he can act in Pinero; Charlotte Rampling and hubby Yvan Attal play an actress named Charlotte and her hubby (hmmm…) in Ma Femme Est une Actrice; Christian Slater tries to avoid being the next Robert Downey Jr. along with RD’s Ally co-star, Portia di Rossi, in Who Is Cletis Tout?; Third Rock’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt tries to prove HE can act, with an assist from Don Cheadle, in Manic; and at Midnight Bill Plympton’s latest short, Eat, precedes the very strange American Astronaut.
Thursday the 13th
I can’t help mention it, they’re so damn ADORABLE- John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale play boy meets girl in the Gala of Serendipity; my annual Philippine fix will likely be sated by Deathrow; Mick Jagger pimps out Andy Garcia in George Hickenlooper’s the Man from Elysian Fields; Frank Whaley goes mental on stage in the Jimmy Show; Istvan Szabo pits Harvey Keitel against Stellan Skarsgard in Taking Sides; and Midnight Madness goes thai with Bang Rajan – the Legend of the Village Warriors.
Friday the 14th
Sigh. Zhang Ziyi in Musa- the Warrior; danny Boyle tries to salvage his career by getting all indie with the double bill of Strumpet and Vacuuming Completely Nude in paradise; Peter Fonda salvages his 1971 the Hired Hand, newly fixed up; Mick Jagger produces, Tom Stoppard writes and Michael Apted directs a film about sex and Bletchley Park, Enigma; the Toronto Symphony Orchastra, who last year provided accompaniment to Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky, this year give a live performance of the original score of the one and only Nosferatu; newly single Nicki Kidman plays a chain smoking Russian mail order bride in Birthday Girl; Lynne Stopkewich goes behind the scenes at the Lilith Fair for Lilith on Top; Desolation Angels director Tim McCann returns with Revolution #9; and Takashi Miike returns to Midnight Madness with Ichi the Killer, a film being described as the most violent ever made. Wheeee!
Saturday the 15th
The end begins with an animated take on Dickens’ Christmas Carol; the Galas close up shop with the Aussie Hitchcockian thriller Lantana; and the fest closes with a Midnight showing of the EC comic-esque the Bunker.
E-mail me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or my regular addy if you’ve got it.
Yeah, I have a question. Are you touched, Anton? Are you daft? How are you going to get even 1/3 of that stuff viewed? Never mind the fact I'm green with envy.
Before I go, I wanted to share some photos George Hickenlooper sent over to AICN this weekend. As Anton mentioned, Mick Jagger is going to be in Toronto to promote THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, the film he stars in for Hickenlooper. If you don't know what films Hickenlooper has made before, I'll give you a hint: think REDUX, then think documentary. Then go look him up on the IMDb so you can track down one of the most interesting Sean Astin performances so far. In the meantime, enjoy these photos, and if anyone gets a chance to see ELYSIAN FIELDS at the fest, write and tell us how it is.