Friday, September 07, 2007

TIFF #3 (Vickie's diary): What time is it?

Dear lord. It’s 1:34am, I have The Skulls on in the background and I am only just now starting this blog entry. It’s been a very long day...most of which was not spent TIFFing.

I met up with Eric and Dan for dinner before a walking tour north through the city from Commerce Court through the Eaton Centre and along Bay St. to the Varsity. The sidewalks were filled with lanyard-wearing, pass-sporting, tote-bag-carrying festival attendees and I kept pointing out the TIFF tote bags that, for some reason, aren’t part of the out-of-towner packages. You’d think for that extra $150, the fest would spring for a plastic sack and a Starbucks gift card, but no.

The Varsity was teeming with people, and I parted ways with Eric and Dan to head to my first screening of the festival and my only screening of the day. It was a two-fer of documentaries both dealing with democracy: Dinner With the President: A Nation’s Journey (5/8) and Please Vote For Me (7/8).

Dinner was a profile of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, who discusses his hopes for democracy, juxtaposed with interviews with Pakistani citizens from a wide array of backgrounds. It was a thoughtful and thought-provoking film but, I have to be honest, it wasn’t my thing. I’m not a fan of political documentaries, mainly because I find the subject matter often dry, so I found myself zoning out and counting the minutes until the film I actually came to see.

Please Vote For Me is a charming, funny and occasionally alarming look at a trio of third graders – a pudgy rabble rouser, a militaristic veteran monitor and a sweet girl who almost made me cry – at an elementary school in China, who are all vying for the position of class monitor...a position normally appointed by teachers but which, for the first time, will be decided by a student vote. Watching the drama amongst the kids, and the “stage mother” antics of some of their parents was fascinating, as the “politics” in the classroom so closely resembled what goes on amongst adults campaigning for positions of power. Seeing everyone take the whole thing as seriously as they do (at one point, the ENTIRE CLASS starts weeping!) was equally entertaining.

As the night wound to a very late close (the screening didn’t end until just after 11pm), I realized it would be super-excellent if the fest organizers mandated that NO ONE be admitted to screenings after the first five minutes. For at least the first 20 minutes of tonight’s first film, person after person after person after person wandered in, poked around for seats, was assisted by ushers and generally disrupted the proceedings. Just as frustrating was the huge gaggle of people who stood up and left (?!) at the end of the first film...DURING the introductions for the second film. I thought that was kind of rude.

Celebrity Sightings: None, but plenty of people who wanted other people to think they were celebrities.

Roger Ebert Sightings: None, but he’s apparently attending this year.

Random Factoid of the Day: Sprinting along St. Clair Avenue in flip flops in humid weather is a recipe for a blister.

Weather For Tomorrow: Partly cloudy and HOT. 32ºC with a humidex of 39ºC. *pant*

Line Buzz: None yet.


Paul said...

Actually, I'm an in towner and I didn't get a bag... nor a highlighter... I had to "ask for a supervisor" before the handed over two separate highlighters to satiate me (although I did want to speak to a supervisor). Apparently you only get a bag now if you come in the morning, despite having ordered a programme way in advance, in which case they should've gotten enough for everyone.

Sidenote: I have to change a movie ticket (circumstances beyond my control have come up), is it too late to do this?

Matt said...

Unfortunately, the extent to which people get irate when refused entry is not proportional to how entitled they are to go in. I've seen someone turned away after the film was cut off (15 minutes in) and she got very upset, accused the staff member of going on a power trip, and took her name to make a formal complaint.

I'm not saying a "five minutes' grace, zero tolerance after" policy is a bad idea, especially if it was heavily advertised. We'd just need to have the staff spend August in self-defence courses...

Vickie said...

Paul, you can swap out tickets up to the day of the screening. I've done this often -- changed my mind about a movie and gone to the box office to change that ticket for something else.

Matt, I would fully support a "Volunteer Self-Defense Tax" added onto my order if it meant that people would be kept out once a film's opening credits are done. ;-)

Linda said...

I will not comment at all about the people showing up late and grabbing seats, lest I get slapped (see my SIFF post), but I will say 10 or 15 minutes is way over the line. I mean, why bother?

And yes, I think it is rude to skip out on part of a multi-screening, whether they are shorts, or two shorter features. C'mon... will it kill you to respect the filmmakers that bothered showing up to present their movie?

(If a movie is stinky, however, by all means flee the theater! But that is a whole 'nother topic...)

(Oh, and speaking of stinky, it sounds like it is going to freakin' HOT there! Does BO end up permeating the theaters and crowds when it gets hot and sticky like that?)

Vickie said...

B.O. has definitely been around. Thankfully, not on Eric, Dan or me.

And the people coming late to the screening last night were, in essence, about 35 minutes late. The movie was scheduled to start at 8:45pm, but didn't start rolling until 9pm, and these folks walked in at 9:20pm (when the movie would theoretically have been running for more than a half an hour already).

Paul said...

Thanks for the info! This makes my life uber easier... now here's hoping after Mad Detective was announced as a "surprise entry" at Venice that tickets are still available!

Unless someone REALLY wants to see the second showing of Jesse James and has a ticket to Mad Detective on Thursday night they'd be willing to swap for...? I'll be making the change at the box office Saturday, bright and early.

Paul said...

Sorry, yeah, on sum newspaper, the cover story of one section was Ebert attending, and a big half page picture of him giving the thumbs up.

Lou said...

Nothing like starting off the festival with an interview with a dictator. To honor you and this time of year, I am carrying my books in my official TIFF bag. :D Eat smart!