Tuesday September 9, 2014
This was a well planned day. I saw three movies quite early on in the day, which is really the way to do it. It left me with time to eat dinner and get down to the SXSW party early, which was my biggest goal of the day. Start partying early so that I could, in theory, also quit early. Of course, I did not quit early. But hey, you win some, you … drink a lot of gin and tonics.
First up was the charming story of a somewhat autistic math whiz, X + Y. The awkward teen dreams of competing in the math olympiad, but when his chance comes, he struggles more than he realized he would, with the fact of no longer being the only “weird one”, nor for that matter the only very, very smart one. There’s a touching side-story about his single mom and his math tutor, and on the whole this was one of the few uplifting films I saw at TIFF.
Next, the fairly heart-wrenching story of the early days of the FLQ, Corbo, a story about a young man in mid-60s Quebec who was so inspired by the liberation movement that he ended up getting involved in some bombings. These events would, a few years later, culminate in the October Crisis, but Corbo is just the tragic and powerful story of one young man and the fierceness with which youth embrace the causes they care about.
Third, I saw the Korean film Cart, which was a simple but affecting story of temporary contract workers in Seul fighting against unfair dismissals, and trying to unionize. The hardships the (mostly female) workers endured were difficult to watch, all the more so because the film was inspired by true events, and is a common sort of tale in South Korea, where 60% of the workforce are “temporary” workers and earn 50% of what their permanent counterparts can make.
In the evening, a lovely dinner with Fabrice du Welz, the director of one of Colin’s Vanguard picks, Alleluia. I cannot recommend this film enough. It’s probably one of the best films I’ve seen all year. This man deserves to be a much bigger name in international cinema, and hopefully after this spotlight in Cannes and TIFF, he will be. Alleluia is playing again on Saturday night. Go see it!
After dinner, I walked down to the SXSW party, which is the one social event at TIFF where I’m guaranteed to see the largest number of my American (and other international) friends. I prioritize it because it’s a perfect opportunity to catch up with folks I haven’t seen much of otherwise. Plus, it’s fun as hell. I managed to hang out with many of my beloveds, get some good movie recommendations, get a Twitter friend into the party on an unexpected plus one, and dance & sing along to several karaoke classics without ever getting up on stage myself. Oh, and drink like a dozen gin & tonics. Basically, a perfect night?