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Toronto Film Festival: Day 2

Mon, Sep 10, 2007

Sometimes your festival schedule just doesn't work out. If you are determined to see film “A” at a certain time, it might have a ripple effect both before and after the screening that keeps you from seeing other films in which you might be interested. After seeing five films on Thursday, I saw only three on Friday. But what I lacked in quantity I made up for in quality. – Dave Filipi

No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros, USA)
I usually don't see films I know will be opening widely in Columbus, but I couldn't resist seeing this one, with the rave reviews it has been receiving. I'm not sure I have much to add to the accolades the film has already garnered, but Javier Bardem is quite possibly the best heavy in a film in the past ten years and brings to mind Jack Palance in Shane. The story? A man stumbles on a drug deal gone bad, finds a suitcase stuffed with cash, and spends the rest of the film in a battle of wits with the killing machine on his trail. I would be shocked if Bardem isn't one of the nominees for best supporting actor at next year's Oscars. Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson also appear, and it's based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (with a Coen bros. twist). (Celebrity sighting: Michael Moore was escorted/inserted in line right in front of me as the line for the screening was about as long as they get. He was very nice and almost apologetic for the VIP treatment and chatted with all around him.)

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Christian Mungiu, Romania)
The title refers to the length of the pregnancy of the main character in 4 Months as she seeks an illegal abortion in late-1980s Romania (when, if I'm not mistaken, both birth control and abortions were illegal). The young college student enlists her roommate to help her find an illegal abortionist to help her end her pregnancy. The film is nothing short of devastating as it illustrates the horrible choices a woman is faced with when she has no options. Although it is an obvious critique of those in power at the time, the film is hardly unabashedly “pro-choice,” and Mungiu quite explicitly displays the result of a terminated pregnancy. The film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, Canada)
The official “world premiere” of Maddin's interpretive doc on his home city featured the famed director serving as on-stage narrator for the film. The film tells not only Guy's version of the history of the city but also of his own history and the story of his family as it relates to Winnipeg. I've been looking forward to this film for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed. If you've seen all of Guy's films and heard him talk at one of his visits to the Wex, you probably have formed a pretty accurate picture of the finished film (and I don't mean that in a bad way). Like most of Guy's films, My Winnipeg is an engrossing intersection of memory, loss, and nostalgia, and both his affection and profound frustration with his home city are evident throughout. The film also features some of the most striking images of Guy's career, especially the surreal horse head ice jam sequence (you'll have to see it to believe it). (Celebrity sighting: Harvey Weinstein. Yes, sorry, that's the best I can do.) The film was followed by a fun after-party at a not-very-nearby bar that included Guy and fellow Canadian hot shots Don McKellar and Louis Negin. It's always nice to see so many people so happy for Guy. Free drinks are always nice too after a long day of film watching.

It's 1:44 AM and I have a 9 AM screening. Coffee can only do so much. That's all for now.

PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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