It takes physical stamina and a particular kind of mathematical skill to work out a schedule for TIFF, and then try make it happen, dashing about the streets of Toronto to fit in press conferences, interviews, screenings and bites of food – grabbed on the run, usually with a cup of coffee in tow. It’s the wonderful world of film festivals, where you don’t always have the time to process everything you see and do, which is why it’s so great to be able to relive some of the experience through looking at pics taken and listening back to recorded audio.
There isn’t always time to digest the subject matter of a film. Saturday started with an early morning screening of The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman that is still sitting inside my mind as I try to make sense of what I was left feeling afterwards. It’s beautifully shot and beautifully acted, although I still can’t quite get my head around the sum of its parts.
Cloud Atlas, similarly, was too much for me to take in, after having just been immersed in the tragedy of the Thailand tsunami in The Impossible. Think I’ll give it another watch back in New York as I really enjoy the work of the all-star cast – Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon. They gave a fun press conference on Sunday, filled with typical Tom Hanks humour that made me like the man even more. Particularly lovely was the whole cast and room full of journalists singing Happy Birthday to Hugh Grant, to which the actor responded that was the first nice thing the press has done for him. Ouch.
Saturday night ended with End of Watch – a new take on the buddy cop genre, in which Jake Gyllenhaal plays an officer with an interest in filmmaking who records his policing with partner Michael Pena on the streets of South LA. It was the film’s premiere so the cast and crew were in attendance, meaning I sat a few rows away from Mr Gyllenhaal, but unfortunately could not see his face for his reaction to the audience’s reaction. Purely for research purposes, of course.
Also at some point during the day, I sat down with Looper‘s director Rian Johnson (and told him that the spelling of his name makes me want to pronounce it in Afrikaans and not “Ryan” as is correct!), Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. It was really great to chat about movies and the performances of an actor and the emotions at the heart of science-fiction films. It’s the kind of stuff I really love about doing this job – exploring the minds of talented artists.
At the end of the incredibly long day, I got into what must be Toronto’s most fun ride – the Cosmic Cab, driven by an oh-so-friendly man named Akber. The Bollywood tunes, toy guitars and pretty fairy-lights inside sent me up to my room with a smile as I went off to finish the last of the day’s work.