Rightwing Film Geek

My Toronto schedule

If it’s Labor Day weekend, this must be Canada. But first let me rant.

I went this year with the online ticket ordering, and I doubt I’ll do it again if I come back (which is by no means a certainty) because of an idiotic cockup in how it handles second choices. They apparently just assign them by priority without regard for time, which resulted in my getting more than one ticket for several time slots in the first few days. In addition, there’s several films I want to see but didn’t even try for — Refn’s DRIVE, Ramsey’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and Almodovar’s THE SKIN I LIVE IN — because there was only one true public screening thanks to the festival’s loading up on $40-a-ticket “Premium Screenings” that my $700-upfront-for-50-films pass can’t even be used for at all. Do Canadians really call America “the land of bilk and money”? If so, here’s a good ol’ American Bronx cheer at’cha 8-d…… Another discouraging two-year trend has been the increasing dearth of weekday daytime screenings (and near-absence of morning ones) in favor of more at night and on weekends. I realize these times were “somewhat” less attended than others, but in 10 years and more than 400 films at Toronto, regardless of the time of day, I have never seen the kind of three-folks-per-row theaters that commercial multiplexes would still consider good business four days a week, minimum. And probably a majority of the films, even during work hours, have been packed.

Yeah, yeah … first-world problems, I know. And if I ever bitch about the Wi-Fi like Jeffrey Wells, just go ahead and shoot me. But I’ve always told non-cinephile friends that I go to Toronto every year because is the best film-festival in the world for ordinary folks, i.e., people without press badges or jobs in the industry. Obviously there’s the red-carpet juried affairs in Cannes and Venice, but those fests are not open to the general public, at least as far as actually seeing the films is concerned (as red-carpet props, we serfs are fine, apparently). That had never been the case with Toronto, which was round-the-clock awesomeness (plus a Godard show or two #ducks) open to everybody. When presenting ANOTHER YEAR in 2009, Mike Leigh said he loves to bring his films there because “it’s a people’s festival.” Every year for the last several, it has become increasingly less so.

OK … rant over. Here is my schedule, which is more in flux than usual thanks to the scheduling woes. Here’s the weird coding: a film title underlined means I’m gonna try to exchange or buy a ticket at the box office; a film title in italics means I plan to get into the rush line for last-minute tickets just before the screening; two consecutive films marked with an asterisk means I have tickets for both but they effectively play at the same time. In the last case, I now plan to see the first-named time but that may change depending on buzz. Strange that the only day I know I’m gonna see six films is the usually light first day (thanks to a 4 1/2-hour German project that consists of three narratively interlocking 90-minute films by different directors). Wait … three films for the price of one? Maybe TIFF isn’t so bad after all.

Thu, 8 Sept
noon DREILEBEN Jackman Hall
— “Beats Being Dead” (Christian Petzold, Germany)
— “Don’t Follow Me Around” (Dominik Graf, Germany)
— “One Minute of Darkness” (Christoph Hochhäusler, Germany)
600pm INTO THE ABYSS (Werner Herzog, USA) Ryerson Theatre
945pm THIS IS NOT A FILM (Jafar Panahi, Iran) Lightbox 3
midnight THE RAID (Gareth Evans, Indonesia) Ryerson Theatre

Fri, 9 Sept
200pm PLAY (Ruben Ostlund, Sweden) AMC 4
530pm BEAUTY (Oliver Hermanus, South Africa) AMC 2
530pm KEYHOLE (Guy Maddin, Canada) Lightbox 1
* 815pm GOOD BYE (Mohammed Rasoulof, Iran) AMC 6
* 930pm CHICKEN WITH PLUMS (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Perronaud, France) Isabel Bader Theatre
midnight GOD BLESS AMERICA (Bobcat Goldthwait, USA) Ryerson Theatre

Sat, 10 Sept
1000am THE ARTIST (Michel Hazanavicius, France) Lightbox 2
100pm A MONSTER IN PARIS (Bibo Bergeron, France) Lightbox 2
300pm GOON (Michael Dowse, Canada) Ryerson Theatre
400pm A SEPARATION (Asghar Farhadi, Iran) Lightbox 3
* 645pm AZHAGARSAMY’S HORSE (Suseendran, India) AMC 3
* 615pm MONSTERS CLUB (Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan) AMC 2
915pm BUNOHAN (Dain Said, Malaysia) AMC 2

Sun, 11 Sept
1230pm THE DESCENDANTS (Alexander Payne, USA) Winter Garden Theatre
300pm MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin, USA) Ryerson Theatre
600pm IN DARKNESS (Agnieska Holland, Poland) Elgin Theatre
915pm MISS BALA (Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico) Scotiabank 4
midnight LIVID (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, France) Ryerson Theatre

Mon, 12 Sept
1100am RAMPART (Oren Moverman, USA) Elgin Theatre
200pm TWIXT (Francis Coppola, USA) Scotiabank 13 2
515pm FOOTNOTE (Joseph Cedar, Israel) Lightbox 2
930pm AMONG US (Marco Van Geffen, Holland) AMC 5

Tue, 13 Sept
900am THE LONELIEST PLANET (Julia Loktev, USA) Lightbox 1
1215pm YOUR SISTER’S SISTER (Lynn Shelton, USA) Lightbox 1
315pm SHAME (Steve McQueen, Britain) Lightbox 1
615pm ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey) Lightbox 1
915pm A BETTER LIFE (Cedric Kahn, France) Lightbox 1

Wed, 14 Sept
915am DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Whit Stillman, USA) Scotiabank 4
1215pm THE MOTH DIARIES (Mary Harron, Canada) Scotiabank 4
300pm ALPS (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece) Lightbox 2
730pm MICHAEL (Markus Schleinzer, Austria) Lightbox 2
930pm SLEEPING BEAUTY (Julia Leigh, Australia) Lightbox 1

Thu, 15 Sept
945am INVASION (Hugo Santiago, Argentina, 1969) Lightbox 2
230pm TRESPASS (Joel Schumacher, USA) Elgin Theatre
545pm THE LAST CRISTEROS (Matias Meyer, Mexico) AMC 3
745pm THE KID WITH A BIKE (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium) Isabel Bader Theatre

Fri, 16 Sept
930am OUTSIDE SATAN (Bruno Dumont, France) Lightbox 2
1145am HABEMUS PAPAM (Nani Moretti, Italy) Scotiabank 3
215pm LAS ACACIAS (Pablo Giorgelli, Argentina) AMC 2
600pm TYRANNOSAUR (Paddy Considine, Britain) Elgin Theatre
830pm THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP (Rebecca Daly, Ireland) Jackman Hall
midnight SMUGGLER (Katsuhito Ishii, Japan) Ryerson Theatre

Sat, 17 Sept
930am CORIOLANUS (Ralph Fiennes, Britain) Scotiabank 3
245pm MELANCHOLIA (Lars Von Trier, Denmark) Ryerson Theatre
615pm THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Terence Davies, Britain) Lightbox 1
900pm KILLER JOE (William Friedkin, USA) Elgin Theatre

Sun, 18 Sept
1230pm THE TURIN HORSE (Bela Tarr, Hungary) Lightbox 3
315pm THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD (Joshua Marston, USA/Albania) Lightbox 2
600pm GOODBYE FIRST LOVE (Mia Hansen-Love, France) Scotiabank 1
915pm THE LAST GLADIATORS (Alex Gibney, USA) Scotiabank 4

September 1, 2011 - Posted by | TIFF 2011

6 Comments »

  1. Re: “the land of bilk and money”. For what it’s worth, I don’t recall ever hearing that term before now, and the first page of Google results turns up mostly American sites — including this one! Within the other sites, the term might be applied to the United States, but it is also applied to Israel, Italy, Enron and the world in general. The one Canadian who uses the term does so in reference to a city in Ontario. Perhaps the Canadians-commenting-on-America references are buried further down in the Google results. :)

    Comment by Peter T Chattaway | September 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Peter:

      I’m 80% sure I first heard it from two Canadian grad-school colleagues 20 years ago — one an Ontario woman who was doing her dissertation on George Grant, the other a Maritimes man sympathetic to Grant-style Red Toryism. (Both were religiously devout in “conservative” traditions as we SoCons had our own circle, different from the radicals in the polisci/philosophy/theology departments.)

      If you google the phrase, Canada and US — that yields about 5 pages of links, and while this page is on the first, I know I didn’t make it up.

      But regardless of the widespreadness of the phrase in Canadian vernacular, the point I was making would stand. Do you really deny, Peter, that Canada’s national muthos includes an implicitly self-congratulatory image of the US as the land of vulgar ruthless capitalism where dog eats dog, they swagger off to war and people can’t even get health-care for all their gunshot wounds? I’ll never forget the two women at the Elgin the first year I was there (a symphonic presentation of NOSFERATU) who said there were places in the US (the Red States, though that term wasn’t really widespread then) where they would be afraid to go.

      Comment by vjmorton | September 2, 2011 | Reply

  2. As a first time TIFF attendee-to-be, what strikes me is how needlessly complicated much of the process can be. For instance, a local colleague was going to send in her order with mine so we could split the outrageous shipping cost. She’d even been told by the festival box office that this could be done. What we didn’t realize until I got the package was that we needed to make this arrangement in advance with them rather than just placing all the orders in one envelope.

    I find the premium screenings to be distasteful–what, tix weren’t already expensive enough?–but compounding the irritation is that as a 30-ticket package purchaser (or like yourself at 50 tickets) I can’t use any for them. If the fest insisted that a premium screening “costs” two package tickets, that strikes me as a compromise I could grudgingly accept.

    The lack of morning screenings on weekdays completely baffles me. If the Cleveland International Film Festival can pack them in for virtually the same number of weekday morning screenings, surely the larger TIFF wouldn’t have any trouble finding good-sized audiences.

    I’m sure I’ll have a good time, and my schedule isn’t as much of a disaster as I initially thought with a poor lottery draw. Still, I can’t help but think there’s a better way of doing this, especially when it is costs a considerable amount.

    Comment by Mark Pfeiffer | September 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. We should get drinks before THE SMUGGLER. It seems like the sort of film that will go well with having a few pints beforehand.

    Comment by Russell Lucas | September 7, 2011 | Reply

  4. Drop the THE. And not the band.

    Comment by Russell Lucas | September 7, 2011 | Reply

  5. Just curious: Are you ever going to write up reviews for any of the films you saw at TIFF, or are you, like, done with reviews now?

    Comment by StephenM | September 22, 2011 | Reply


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