It’s Day 371 of TIFF – haha!
Actually, things have slowed down a tad, meaning there is room to breathe a little in between screenings and there are not as many interviews to run back and forth to in a short amount of time – and thankfully so, less of the dishevelled look that comes from said running. It also means there is a bit more time to digest the subjects presented on screen.
It’s just as well, because I’ve seen two of my best films at TIFF so far – one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist blew me away. It’s based on the book by British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, and the film made me want to go read the story, which I know comes with high praise. Nair’s treatment of the complex issues in a post-9/11 world is admirable – as far as possible, she handles them with balance and depth. The cinematography and music, especially the closing credits track from Peter Gabriel, serve to underscore the extreme emotions these issues stir.
Wednesday morning brought with it the chance to catch up and see another film set within a Middle Eastern milieu, Argo – Ben Affleck’s film, which premiered earlier in the fest. The Oscar winner directed the movie, in which he also stars, about the audacious plan to free Americans in the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Iran. It’s an excellent example of true filmmaking – a movie in which you know the outcome but are driven to keep digging your fingers deeper and deeper into the seat with anticipation. So much so, you even begin to doubt the outcome of the history.
I also caught the film Inescapable, which is set in Syria but was filmed in South Africa. Johannesburg makes for a convincing Damascus in the thriller/drama of a man looking for his daughter who goes missing in Syria. It’s the film Joshua Jackson told me at Sundance that he’d be going to SA to make and here it is premiering at another film fest. It also stars Marisa Tomei and Alexander Siddig. Unfortunately it’s nowhere near as rewarding as the previous two films mentioned above.
As for the more social side of the film festival, I haven’t been doing many parties or events like that as a result of my training for the NYC Marathon, but I’ve still been able to experience a bit of the Toronto nightlife. Suffice to say, the city has just as much of a sense of humour when the sun goes down as it has during the day.