Friday, 11 September 2009

TIFF'09 Day 1 - Thursday September 10, 2009

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TIFF has landed! Day 1 has come and gone and we are still here to tell the tale. I actually find Day 1 often a little anticlimactic with few choices in the regular screenings, but tonight I lucked out as I went to see Nymph from directed Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Now, maybe I should have bit the midnight bullet and also gone to Jennifer's Body, but with the amount of tweets and twitpics I almost felt like I was there! Speaking of tweets, this year is twitter madness for the festival. Last year it was just a handful us tweeting about this and that but this year you could refresh the hashtag search constantly for more TIFFness!

To hear all about Day 1 check out my TIFF'09 Vlog for Day 1.

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Nymph director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang with TIFF programmer Raymond Phathanavirangoon

Nymph / Nang Mai
Dir: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Ploy, Last Life in the Universe, Total Bangkok, Luminous Sounds / Seang-Sawang)
Cast: Wanida Termthanaporn, Nopachai Jayanama, Chamanun Wanwinwasara, Phorntip Papanai
Thailand

The screening of Nymph tonight was introduced by directer Pen-Ek Ratanaruang who provided the following context for the audience: Almost every Thai person grows up hearing a legend/story that becomes a belief that the trees in the forest have female spirits living in them. So, when you go into the forest that you have to respect the trees and nature.

This is very important to know going into the film, and it lead me to ponder what kind of film Nymph is. Not that classification is ever a requirement, and it has elements that range from drama, horror, the supernatural and even occasional humour. But, it makes me think about what defines each those categories. The logical choice would be fantasy, but if the fantasy aspect is based on actual beliefs, is it really fantasy - or perhaps magical realism? The realism in the film is what brings out the creepy moments so clearly, the sense that something that is going on is not quite right and in transitions to not quite right so subtly it can be hard to pin point that line. It's that sneaky line you only know after it's been crossed. The film deals with crossing boundaries in various ways, and in how people deal with the consequences. The phenomenal acting holds these moments with distilled strength. Add to that a rich and textual soundscape and haunting forest locations and you are in for one visceral ride through the wilderness and beyond.

See selections from the Nymph Introduction and Q&A with director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

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1 down, 41 to go!

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 - 19, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

2 comments:

Suzie the Foodie said...

Interesting question! Yes, fantastic or magical realism? Hmmm....either way, this sounds like one I would like.

Happy TIFFing Shannon!

Jamie Ridler said...

Fascinating. It sounds like one I'd be curious about!

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