Thursday, September 23, 2010

My TIFF Weekend

The Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, and I'd meant to post this a week ago, but better late than never! I made it to TIFF again this year and had a great time, though it was brief. I am looking forward to the year when I can completely ignore family and work and do nothing but watch movies for an entire week.

Todd offered to take care of the kids and the household chores (which were substantial, after the first-week-of-school chaos), so that I could go into Toronto on my own the first Saturday of the festival. I saw Never Let Me Go, based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, and wrote more about it here on my book blog. A highlight was the post-performance Q&A session, which included the famous people shown in the fuzzy photo above: actor Carey Mulligan, director Mark Romanek, actor Andrew Garfield, screenwriter Alex Garland (author of The Beach) and the man himself ... Kazuo Ishiguro!

The next morning, I caught a showing of Inside America, a gritty and disturbing film about high-school students caught in a cycle of poverty and violence in a Texan town near the Mexico-US border. Directed and written by Barbara Eder, this film was based on her own experiences as an exchange student.

Though I was thoroughly depressed after seeing this grim movie, my mood lightened when I met Todd (who came into Toronto to join me for the day), my cousin Barnaby, and his wife Krista for lunch on the patio of Hemingway's. Then, the four of us headed over to the Varsity theatre for Life, Above All. This film, based on Allan Stratton's novel, Chandra's Secret, is about a 12-year-old South African girl's struggle to take care of her younger siblings and cope with the stigma of her mother's AIDS-related illness. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which featured good acting and a terrific story and was as heart-warming as it could be, given the bleak premise.

All in all, it was a great TIFF 2010 experience, though not nearly as extensive as I would have liked. As I did last year, I opted to pass on the lottery to book tickets and wait for the single-ticket sales. This involved a futile two-hour attempt before work to book my order on-line. When I went onto the Web site again at lunch-time, I was able to get my tickets, but some shows were already sold out, and the three films that I saw did sell out shortly afterward. Maybe next year, I'll do some advance planning!

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