Now that is one heck of a crowd (Intro for the Midnight Madness screening of SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO)
What a day! I was beginning to get a little festivaled-out but today I was completely back in the swing of thing trotting from film to film. I had some vegetables too, so that helped I'm sure - gotta have vitamins! I've also been popcorn-free so far and for Day 6 I'm impressed with myself. I will break eventually, but not yet. Not yet.
Reason to see: I'm not usually first in queue for animated flick but this looks gorgeous and I find the premise of a futuristic yet self-isolated country fascinating.
Reaction: I quite enjoyed this film even thought it took me a while to sort out the story (that is on par for animated films as they currently occupy a small percentage of what I see). It was sad to hear that the director was hoping to attend but couldn't make it, that would have been quite an interesting Q&A I'm sure. The animation felt like a combination of highly stylized landscapes and action-like creatures and technology. A stand out for me was the interplay of the sound and the action sequences - truly superb, and was a joy to see it at Scotiabank where they have a great sound system. I'd love to see it again, and will keep an eye open for this director im the future.
Shake Hands with the Devil
Dir: Roger Spottiswoode
Reason to see: I saw a preview in regular theatre and was compelled, and that is hard to say because I usually avoid any films about war. Starring Roy Dupuis as General Dallaire, I couldn’t pass this one by.
Reaction: Director Roger Spottiswoode introduced this film with the information that upon discussion with Dallaire about making this film that Dallaire requested three things: 1) To tell the truth 2) To make a film about Rwanda and the genocide 3) to not make a hero out of him. He said he succeeded with this first two, but could not do so with the third and I don't see how anyone could disagree with him. It's a very important issue for which we should not forget and continue to be proactive to see that it does not reoccur. This film is not for the faint of heard, and although it depicts the atrocities in a very tactful way, it still is really hard to see them.
Bernard Émond, director of Contre toute espérance
Contre toute espérance
dir: Bernard Émond
Reason to see: It’s Canadian and I loved Émond’s La Neuvaine from 2005.
Reaction: Absolutely wonderful film. This is the second in a trilogy about Faith, Hope and Charity. La Neuvaine was for Faith, and Contre toute espérance is for Hope. A tale of a normal couple faced with trying times portrayed with elegance by actors Guy Jodoin and Guylaine Tremblay. A lovely paced journey that I would happily go on again. I can't wait to see the third instalment of this gracious trilogy. Bernard Émond was absolutely lovely during the Q&A and it was a treat to hear him talk about the film and the process, as well as have him say French phrases out to the audience and quickly received a response of the English equivent. The audience loved him, and his film it was a beautiful screening.
Dir: Gus Van Sant
Reason to see: This one is a bit of a risk for me. Gerry is one of my favourite films, however I was not impressed at all with Elephant. I am curious to see this one but am taking it with a grain of salt. Also, considering it was a Cannes award winner I was not holding my breath that I’ll get in.
Reaction: This film felt a lot more like Elephant that Gerry to me so unfortunately I was dissappointed. I did like the textural feel of the film and the music but not the plot and/or message. It is also the only film so far that had images that I wish I had never seen. The crowd responded very well and I am sure it will received high acclaim for artistic vision and edgy position but it did not sit well with me.
SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO
Dir: Takashi Miike
Reason to see: Whoops, I thought this was by Takeshi Kitano. Anyhow it looks completely compelling a Midnight Madness film that is a western gets a ‘go’ for me.
Reaction: What a thrill! This is the first Midnight Madness film that I've actually attended the midnight screening and I tell you there is nothing like the energy in the room at such an event. The crowd went completely mad when Colin Geddes announced that that actors Yusuke Iseya and Yoshino Kimura were in attendance. The film itself was a lot of fun. I always find it wild to watch a film in English with English subtitles. The story was wild, the acting was great and the costuming was beyond brilliant. If you are a fan of westerns, martial arts and/or horror films this is should go on your 'too see' list. Fair warning for violence (as to be expected), including some gender specific violence.
Pictured above(L->R): Yusuke Iseya, Colin Geddes, Yoshino Kimura
Highlight of the day: Nothing can compare to the midnight madness screening. 2 year I've had tickets to an actual midnight screening and copped out. This year I decided to go with someone (Thanks Danette!), and we had an amazing time. There is nothing like an enthusiastic crowd to make for a memorable and enjoyable movie going festival.