TIFF 10: Catching up

by W. Andrew Powell

A scene from 22nd of May

A scene from 22nd of May

As you can likely tell by my absence, the Toronto International Film Festival has eaten me alive. We’re now on day 6 of TIFF and I’ve barely had time to write anything, aside from in my notepad (provided oh-so-kindly by the folks at Fox) during screenings.

I’ve been on red carpets every day, shot a few thousand photos, caught some press conferences, and watched movies. While I’d like to recount every detail now, I’m running out for more screenings right now, but I can give you a few tidbits.

Yesterday was the press conference for director Rodrigo Cortés’ Buried, with Ryan Reynolds. The trio, which included the writer, Chris Sparling, chatted about how the film came about and what it took to film an entire movie within a box. In particular Cortés said the film’s success depended on having a strong script and he thought Sparling had come through brilliantly, to paraphrase him.

I was also on the red carpet for director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, where Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel, and Ksenia Solo greeted fans and posed for photographers. It was a great carpet, actually, since Portman went out of her way to say hi to fans, and my only complaint was that Mila Kunis didn’t show up. However Jenna Dewan and the very lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui did make an appearance, so I can’t complain.

Otherwise, I screened Stake Land (more on that later), and one of my highlights of TIFF 10 so far, Koen Mortier’s 22nd of May (22 mei).

This is a vivid, raw film set within a dream-like world after someone sets off a bomb in a shopping centre. The film follows a security guard named Sam, played by Sam Louwyck, who recounts the horrific events in the mall with each victim he encountered, dealing with his own guilt, and answering their probing questions. Each time, we get a different view on the disaster, and delve a little deeper into the real story behind the events.

It’s a powerful, brilliant film that’s a true work of genius filmmaking. Emotional, tense, and magnificently shot with a soundtrack that supports the story at every turn. It’s well worth seeing when you get a chance.

Well, back to the festival. Not many days left now. More posts soon on my exploits, and stay tuned for lots more photos.

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