Today, as per custom, is Post-Festival Depression Day. After 38 films—25 features and 13 shorts—in about a week, it feels unnatural to have all kinds of time on my hands today. As for the festival, even if the peaks from last year’s TIFF (like Still Life/Dong and Syndromes and a Century) perhaps stood a bit taller than this year’s best films, the average film quality level seemed unusually good this year.
So, in summary...
A few personal favorites: Dans la ville de Sylvia (José Luis Guerin); Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong); Voyage of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-hsien); Useless (Jia Zhang-ke); The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Eric Rohmer); and Paranoid Park (Gus van Sant).
I also really liked: The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat); Four Women (Adoor Gopalakrishnan); My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin); Avant que j’oublie (Jacques Nolot); Fengming, A Chinese Memoir (Wang Bing); At Sea (Peter Hutton); Profit motive and the whispering wind (John Gianvito); and Don’t Touch the Axe (Jacques Rivette).
Two fiercely funny films: My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin); and A Girl Cut in Two (Claude Chabrol).
Great erotic cinema to (ever so gently) knock your socks off: the final reel of the Rohmer film.
While I liked many things about them, others seemed to appreciate these films more than I did: The Mourning Forest (Naomi Kawase); The Man from London (Bela Tarr); Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov); and One Hundred Nails (Ermanno Olmi).
Didn’t work for me at all: Redacted (Brian de Palma); and Christopher Columbus the Enigma (Manoel de Oliveira).
Wish I’d been able to squeeze them into my schedule: Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas); 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Christian Mungiu); The Banishment (Andrey Zvyagintsev); I’m Not There (Todd Haynes); Slingshot (Brillante Mendoza); and Happiness (Hur Jin-ho).
Socially, this was an active festival. I met up with several compadres from TIFFs of old: Darren Hughes, Doug Cummings, Michael Smith, Jim Emerson, J. Robert Parks, Michael Guillen, and my long-time Toronto cinephile pals Andrew P. and Moen M. And I’m really glad I got a chance to see and spend a little time with: Andrew Tracy and Adam Nayman of Cinema Scope; Dan Sallitt; Kevin Lee and Cindi; Andy Horbal and Walter “Quiet Bubble” (both all too briefly); Steve Carlson; Jesse Ataide; and Paul C.
Coming up, if I can get my act together: some actual write-ups (gasp) on the movies themselves!