Lessons in “taking it easy at TIFF”:
- Even if you sneak out of a Midnight Madness screening halfway through and make it to bed by 1:30am, you will still be tired in the morning. Skip your morning. It’s fine. What were you gonna do anyway, watch The Martian? That’s probably going to be out in theatres five minutes from now. You’re not some Matt Damon completist who needs to see it before everyone else. Oh wait, you weren’t going to see The Martian, you were going to see the new Kore-eda? Okay, that’s a bit better, but still, he’s kind of an internationally recognized master. This isn’t your only chance to see it. Sleeeeep.
- Don’t skip your 1pm lunch date. That would be rude, and besides, after all that sleep, you’re going to be hungry. Order something hearty and catch up with a friend from across the world.
- It’s late afternoon by now. Why not go see a movie? Kick up your feet in that IMAX theatre and enjoy a “New England folktale”. Then go back to the hotel and take some time to contemplate what the film is saying while you lie in bed. You need a break before dinner.
- Go to dinner. Enjoy the company of some Midnight Madness and Vanguard directors and enjoy a really great meal. Don’t forget to pack an umbrella.
- Go back to the hotel and starfish on the bed for about 12 hours. You’ve earned it!
I genuinely don’t know what I thought about The Witch just yet. As I said on Facebook and Twitter, the film really wasn’t what I was expecting … but if you asked me what I was expecting, I’d have to say that I genuinely don’t know. I had a conversation with a friend who I saw the film with, who pointed out something I hadn’t really noticed or realized – and that is the fact that the film presents, but does not comment on, the based-on-historical-records events it is depicting. It’s an interesting point because it hadn’t really occurred to me to think about the filmmaker’s point of view. I was too busy trying to figure out my own. I’m not sure where I stand on it yet but I might write a future, spoiler-filled post about it.
Another film that premiered on Friday is Marcin Wrona’s Demon, a totally gorgeous film about a possession that takes place in the middle of a big, boozy country wedding. This film was such a breath of fresh air, and the lead actor (Itay Tiran) is just brilliant. I didn’t see it at the premiere (I saw it when Colin threw it on after a day of disappointing screeners, and it knocked us both off our feet), but I wanted to give it a little bloggy promo, because it’s great, and deserves to be seen on the big screen. This is one of those festival titles that you legitimately might not get to see again (at least in a theatre), but it is very worth your while. Trust!
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.