Tuesday, 23 September 2008

TIFF'08 Day 10 - Saturday September 13, 2008

Last film of TIFF at the AMC. I wonder if I'll miss it? One great thing about the AMC is that I found regardless of the theatre size or layout I could always find a good seat right before the show - a very important thing! I didn't spend a lot of time in lines this year, opting for either relaxing until the house was open or dashing in from another screening. Day 10 was a pretty awesome day filled with 5 enjoyable films. Only 2 of the filmmakers were in attendance, which isn't bad for the last day of the festival and they were both great Q&A's. Want to hear all about Day 10? Check out my Day 10 Vlog!

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World
Dir: Weijun Chen
UK/The Netherlands/Denmark

Reason to See: Sounded like an interesting documentary!

What an astonishing feat to run a restaurant that seats 5,000 diners, has 1000 employees including 300 chefs. The film shows many events that the restaurent hosts as well as focusing on the owner and various members of the staff whom come from different backgrounds and social levels. That is one of the strong themes to the film: success, wealth and social status. The importance on achieving these things is felt very strongly throughout the film. There were lots of interesting stories and great moments, but I think it would have benefitted to have a stronger over arching story told to hold it all together. Also, there were some queasy reactions from audience members regarding food preparation so keep that in mind if you are going to check it out.

The one and only one screening I went to at the Cumberland for TIFF'08 was on Day 10, the venue was barely used for public screenings.

Chocolate director Prachya Pinkaew (centre)

Dir: Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, The Protector/ Tom yum goong)
Cast: Jija Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabanjong, Ammara Siripong

Reason to See: Martial arts action flick with a female protagonist from the director of Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior? That's essential viewing folks!

Chocolate was one of the highest anticpated films to see this year. I wave very close to going to the Midnight screening of the film but knowing it was the closing night of the festival I had a feeling I might not make it. Turns out the afternoon screening felt just as crazy as a midnight one with what felt like every seat in the house taken (I was in the front row, centre and the entire row was full) and cheers, hollars and applause throughout the film during the action sequences. I knew it would be high flying, kneecap smashing fun and it sure did deliver. It was fantastic to see a woman kick some major butt in an action film and I was very impressed by Jija Yanin performance.

My only concern was I really hope no one got hurt during the filming, but the trailer (shows the basic premise and lots of the action shots) does indicate no stunt double and real injuries.

Highlights from the Introduction and Q&A with director Prachya Pinkaew:
-They found Jija Yanin as a Tae Kwan Do instructor, she trained for 3 years for this film and is 23 years old.
-Director Prachya Pinkaew is producing Ong Bak 2 which Tony Jaa is directing and starring in.
-See Video selections from the Chocolate Intro and Q&A here

Eden Log director Franck Vestiel

Eden Log
Dir: Franck Vestiel
Cast: Clovis Cornillac

Reason to See: I'll go to any SciFi at TIFF. I specifically saved this for the last day so I would have it to look forward to (along with Chocolate)

I love the look and feel of Eden Log, a film where the view spends a lot of time in the dark - visually and storywise. When the light does shine we are treated to a world of blue, black, white and silver which is beautiful. The film is highly drentched in the world of science fiction but we are let into this world very slowly and often left to fill in the blanks ourselves, which I loved. Visually stunning with strong performance this was one of my favourties of the festival.

Highlights from Intro and Q&A with director Franck Vestiel:
-selections of the film were shot in a quarry
-at times there was a huge temperature difference between the actor and the outside temperature
-at one point it was thought to do the film with no dialogue
-there were mixed feelings from the audience, some felt it was too video game like (I disagree)
-the film was concurrently shot in French and English (festival showed French version)
-it has been picked up for US distribution by Magnet
-see the Introduction to the Eden Log screening here

The Secret of Moonacre
Dir: Gabor Csupo
Cast: Dakota Blue Richards, Ioan Gruffudd, Natascha McElhone, Juliet Stevenson, Tim Curry

Reason to See: This falls under my 'try something new this year' category. Going to a family film was definitely a new festival experience!

Well, this certainly was trying something new for me as I don't normally go to family/kids films and it was one of the few audiences where I didn't feel amongs my peers. But I became charmed over by them and by the film. It's was exciting to see a fantasy based film with a young female protagonist (Dakota Blue Richards from The Golden Compass) in this tale or adventure and magic. It is a film that I would have loved to see as a child but even as an adult it brought a smile to my face.

See also: The Secret of Moonacre DVD Review

All Around Us
Dir: Ryosuke Hashiguchi
Cast: Tae Kimura, Lily Franky, Mitsuko Baisyo, Susumu Terajima, Akira Emoto

Reason to See: This was the only thing in the timeslot that interested me and I needed to get one more film in. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get through it as it was a late screening on the final night.

This year at TIFF was a year of seeing Japanese family dramas and All Around Us is one of the five that I saw and it was beautiful. I was most than slightly hesistant to see a 2 1/2 hr film up til just about midnight on the final day but I'm so glad that I did. Their is a beautiful sense of personal intimacy shown in this film that follows a couple throughout many years of thier lives. They don't always seem to like each other a lot, but they sure do know each other. It feels like it should be bittersweet, but it is much sweeter than than. It was the perfect film to close the festival with, I'm sure glad I saw it.

One of the odder product placements, the TIFF popcorn and water for sale... on wheels!

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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