Wednesday, September 06, 2006

TIFF 2006 #2: Nightmares in the TIFFverse

Today I encountered one of my TIFF nightmares live and in person.

Anyone who’s read my diaries in either of the past two years knows how I feel about frequent TIFF press-conference moderator Henri Béhar. You know that I find him beeeeYOND creepy, extremely pompous and more than a little obnoxious. (He’s probably more obnoxious than yesterday’s Obnoxious Man when you factor in consistent obnoxiousness spread out over time.) He wields his moderation powers with little flair but plenty of haughtiness, and he often seems like he wants the press corps to bow at his feet (which many do). At the same time, he’s quite the sycophant when given the right celebrity panel member.


Today, at the Varsity Cinema, I saw him. In the flesh. Out in the open. Out in the daytime. LIVE. And, for a moment before I recognized him, I thought, “That little old woman has a rather unique sense of style.”

Then it hit me. OMG. That’s Henri Béhar! AND HE HAS A PAGEBOY HAIRCUT!

Words cannot accurately convey what a sight he was to behold, so you may behold him yourself – FINALLY! after two years of image searches!


You’ll note the hair, and his uncanny resemblance to someone’s grandmother.

I did not approach him. I did not make direct eye contact. I feared that I might turn into a pillar of salt or, worse, that he’d somehow know that I write snarky things about him every September and kill me with the sheer force of his self-importance. I ran away.

In other news, I neglected to mention yesterday that, for the first time ever, I have been invited to the CHUM/City Star! Schmooze Party. For the non-Toronto readers, this is an annual TIFF shindig that’s grown in scope in recent years. It’s a big, fat party held at the CHUM/City HQ, a great old building that houses MuchMusic, Bravo!, Space and other specialty networks. The party is televised, live, on the first Friday night of each festival. And, this year, I’ll be lost somewhere in that sea of industry types, hangers-on, poseurs and assorted Canadian talent.

Aside from my inherent anxiety about going solo (ticket admits one only, alas) to an event of this size, and my fear that it’s going to be like a giant school dance where I wind up weeping alone in a corner while all the cool kids live it up, I’m greatly afeared that it will turn out to be a big waste of time and energy. Past experience tells me it’s a distinct possibility.

For years, the annual TIFF BBQ at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre was THE party to attend. Celebs crowded the property, security was insanely tight and you actually had to be bused in from the city. So, many of us TIFF regulars would sigh and wonder how or when we might be able to participate in its picnic-like magnificence. It was like a movie-fan’s utopia, where you could chat nonchalantly with Whoopi Goldberg or Sharon Stone or various members of the Sutherland clan while you ate your gourmet hamburger or corn-on-the-cob.

Then, one year, I won tickets to the BBQ. This was IT! I’d finally managed access to the inner fest circle! Oh, what a time I would have!

Sadly, the whole thing was hugely underwhelming. There was nary a celeb to be seen, the place was jam-packed with people, long lines abounded at every cramped food station, it was hot and humid, and I felt like I was wearing a big sign that read “INTERLOPER,” given the decidedly chilly reception I received from most people I met. Not only that, but attending the BBQ meant I had to skip three movies that day, so lost out on the tickets I’d paid for AND had a crappy time to boot.

Given that, I’m wary of the Schmooze. I’ve been promised a good time by my publicist pals, so I’m hoping it delivers. If nothing else, it’s spurred me to get a much-needed haircut. So, you know, that’s cool.

I realized I also neglected to list some of the films I have on deck, which range from the highly anticipated to the “yeah, I just picked this just because it fit.” Among the ones I’m excited about: Volver, Griffin & Phoenix (because I ♥ Amanda Peet!), Severance, Summer ’04, Fido, This is England, Starter For Ten, Blindsight and the Dixie Chicks documentary. I couldn’t snag tickets to a number of films I wanted to see, like Little Children or the now must-have film, D.O.A.P. Among my “fit” movies, which I’m not terribly excited about but which I hope prove to be delightful surprises, are The Dog Problem**, Falling and 2:37.

Though, I know that by time the festival winds down, all the films will melt into a blur anyway, so there you go.

** The Dog Problem is the new film directed by Scott Caan. If you recall, back on day eight of TIFF 2003, I went to see his first film, Dallas 362, which was meh…but the post-film Q&A was fantastic and redeemed the whole evening. So, even if this one blows, perhaps Caan will attend and entertain the audience after the closing credits.


ThisWatch said...

Yep, that's an embarrassing do.

Vickie said...

What the photo does not convey is his ALLEGEDLY (thank you, Kathy Griffin!) heavily nipped-and-tucked face, which looks like it's seen more than a few Botox needles. I can't say for certain whether work has been done, but has a distinct wax-figure look about him.

He's also rather petite, which makes him kind of evil-troll-like. And we all know how I feel about trolls. *shudder*

kyle said...

I wouldn't get too excited about the schmooze. My sister-in-law has been to several over the past few years and there are several tiers of guest. Anyone approaching an A-list celebrity is well-protected from the great unwashed in the lesser tiers. Still, I'm sure you'll have some free booze and all the cameras and carpets should be a surrealish experience. do have fun!!

Vickie said...

You know, kyle, that's kind of exactly what I was expecting, so thanks for the heads-up!

I wonder what tier I'm on? I'd guess near the bottom...perhaps one tier up from the gate-crashers. ;-)

Linda said...

In an offline discussion, I told Vickie how Henri was looking strikingly like Georgia O'Keeffe suddenly, whereas Vickie pointed out his uncanny resemblance to any number of old woman characters in Miyazaki's films (like Howl's Moving Castle). :)

Vickie said...

OMG!!! YES!!! That's the one!!!!