Saturday, September 17, 2005

TIFF Entry #12: The Good, The Bad and The Ennui

As much as I would love to blame Margaret Cho for tonight’s abbreviated diary entry, I can’t. She had nothing to do with it. I’m just plain pooped. Earlier tonight I told my friend Heather that today’s entry would wind up being a haiku. (It’s not, but it’ll be close.)

Tomorrow is the final day of TIFF 2005, and I can’t say I feel anything, really. I’m not sure what it is, but a number of film fest pals and I have all said the same thing: something’s off this year. We can’t put our collective finger on what it is, but the festival feels different somehow. Less exciting. Fewer outstanding films on our rosters. Absent regulars. Dunno.

I think this year will be the very first year that I won’t immediately answer “AMAZING!!!” when people ask me how the festival was. I fear that my response will be along the lines of, “Meh.”


Movie #1! The White Masai (7/8), which tells the true story of a Swiss woman (the striking Nina Hoss) who married a Masai warrior (the superb Jacky Ido, who got a standing ovation after the film) and moved from Europe to his remote Kenyan village to live as a tribeswoman. To say that she experienced culture shock would be an understatement, and the duo’s attempts to bridge their differences prove frustrating and increasingly problematic.

Not quite as problematic as they were for the woman sitting in the seat next to me, though, who evidently thought we were looking through an enormous pane of glass and watching real events happen before our eyes. She was SO invested in this movie that she gasped, sighed, talked to the screen and had physical reactions to what she was watching. I thought she might actually run from the theater when we hit a scene involving (shudder) female circumcision.

Movie #2! Twelve and Holding (5/8), a drama following the lives of three 12-year-old friends: Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum), who’s infatuated with a tormented fireman; Leonard (Jesse Camacho), an overweight boy who launches a weight-loss regime; and Jacob (Conor Donovan), who’s coping with the accidental death of his twin brother. The movie was engaging and the performances from the young actors are all very strong.

Not quite as strong as the potential for in-theater anarchy during the screening, though. At one point, very very late in the film, the screen suddenly went black. We could still hear the audio, but no picture. Somewhere, a voice boomed, “BOOOOOOOO!” There was a small twittering of giggles. But then the same voice bellowed, “WAKE UP AND DO YOUR JOB, YOU WANKER!!!!” Evidently, that went too far. Numerous voices piped up – “Hey, that’s outta line!” “Take it easy!” “Relax!” Then the first voice yelled, “OH SURE, JUST BE GOOD LITTLE CANADIANS AND TAKE IT!!!!”

A small bit of advice: it’s probably best not to insult a theater full of Canadians in the dark, in Canada.

There was an immediate flurry of shouts and hollers and Mr. Big Voice didn’t say another word. It took all of about five minutes before the movie started up again.

Movie #3! Transamerica (6/8), which starts Felicity Huffman as a pre-op transsexual, who embarks on a cross-country road trip with her long-lost son (Kevin Zegers). Huffman is almost unrecognizable, yet totally recognizable at the same time. She looks and sounds like a man in a woman’s body, and her performance makes the film. I’m going to avoid saying any more because our webmistress Linda is planning on seeing this film in a few weeks and wants to remain unspoiled.

[Dear Lord, I’m watching the press conference for Pride & Prejudice and some Canadian reporter just told Keira Knightley that she has magnificent breasts. Yup, we Canucks ask all the good questions!]

Movie #4! Brothers of the Head, a mockumentary about a pair of conjoined twins (Luke & Harry Treadaway) who become rock stars. I was bored, the movie was late (a 9:20pm start time) and I could barely stay awake. So…walkout number three of the fest!

I have four films on the sked for tomorrow, and I’m hoping to make it through all of them. The weather is supposed to improve, but I suspect the festival will be going out like a lamb. With a limp. And bad hair.

Celebrity Sightings: Jacky Edo was in attendance at his screening; Felicity Huffman (Greg, she looked great!), William H. Macy, Kevin Zegers, Graham Greene and Shawn Ashmore at Transamerica; and director Jamie Babbit (what a trooper!) was loitering outside the Varsity, alone and wearing bright blue shoes, waiting for the final screening of her film, The Quiet.

Roger Ebert Sightings: Pffffffffft.

Line Buzz: A lone voice of dissent that the much-maligned Caché is actually very good.


Linda said...

I know it is not related to this particular post, but it is related to the fact that the fest IS almost over... and you BLEW IT, Vickie! You didn't attend Mavericks: Albert Maysles, celebrating the documentarian extraordinnaire!!! I TOLD YOU to go see him, Vickie! He would have been so cool! But maybe it is just me that has an affinity for nerdy documentary guys (like my filmmaker-crush on Ross McElwee). Bless Albert Maysles' heart for making Grey Gardens, that's all I can say.

Vickie said...

Yeah, um, tickets for each of the Mavericks sessions were, like, $35 (plus all the surcharges and fees) each. So no.

Now, if it had been, say, a session with Sandra Bullock or An Evening With Amanda Peet or another screening of Imagine Me & You, then maybe. ;-)

Vickie said...

Sorry, just re-checked the prices: the Mavericks sessions were $32 each (plus taxes, surcharges and fees).

Linda said...

Awww... crap.