Every year, I make ambitious plans. I’m going to see 46 films! 50 films! All of the films! I’m going to see all of the films and go to all the midnights and attend at least three great parties! I am going to split myself into ten people and attend every screening in every timeslot! I am going to become a black hole and absorb all of TIFF into my dark vortex!
This year, I’m chilling the fuck out.
My energy levels aren’t at maximum this year, plus I’ve got pressing Birdland deadlines and other work to worry about while the festival is going on. I am taking it easy. I made a very ambitious nearly-50-movies schedule for myself, as usual, but in the back of my mind I kept reminding myself that I was only actually going to manage 25% of it, and that’s totally fine.
On Day 1 the ambitious schedule included four films. The reality is that I saw one and a half, and I feel excellent about it. We had a pre-TIFF party the previous night and I needed to catch up on some sleep, so I skipped my morning film. Then I realized that there was an urgent Birdland task that I couldn’t neglect until post-TIFF and which I would be better off getting out of the way immediately, so I spent my afternoon at the office compiling paperwork for our accountant. Being responsible feels great.
In the afternoon I saw Victoria, a German film by Sebastian Schipper which won the Silver Bear in Berlin this year. It is a stunning piece of filmmaking wizardry – a 2+ hour action-packed heist film that was all shot in a single take. If they’re telling the truth about that single take, then it’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment not only on a technical (and coordination / choreography) level, but also in terms of the performances. The actors had to go through a pretty broad spectrum of emotional highs and lows – apparently with absolutely no breaks or time to prepare. Kudos to everyone. It was really compelling and it took me about half an hour to calm down from the adrenaline rush of the final act.
At midnight I went to the screening of Green Room, in part because I wanted to see The Chickening on the big screen and in part because I wanted to see a bit of the audience’s reactions to Green Room, which I saw earlier this spring and absolutely loved. I stayed until the craziness and violence began, then snuck off to bed for some much needed rest. I wish I could have stayed for the Q&A (Patrick Stewart! Eeeeee!) but sometimes you have to prioritize your health and sanity over movies. Crazy, I know.
I think this new “take it easy” approach to TIFF might be the best decision I ever made. Unfortunately, it will make my festival diaries super boring. I apologize in advance.