Monday, 21 September 2009

TIFF'09 Day 10 - Saturday September 19, 2009

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Day 10. We are all tired. Including tape & posters.

It was a film-packed day with 6 on deck in total over 4 venues. It was great that there were even 2 filmmakers in attendance, rare in this stage of the game. It ended up being a day of great film overall but one film really stood, and I saw it just on chance, and that is The Disappearance of Alice Creed - phenomenal work. If that wasn't enough both the Midnight Madness films I saw had highly entertaining introductions from the with wacky bizarre film Symbol being introduced by Colin Geddes, Midnight Madness programmer in polka dot pyjama's and then the night ended with Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning which had a video introduction by Mr. Tony Jaa himself! Wow!

To see and hear all about Day 10 check out my TIFF'09 Vlog for Day 10.

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The Unloved
Dir: Samantha Morton
Cast: Molly Windsor, Lauren Socha, Robert Carlyle, Susan Lynch
UK

Gripping drama centred on Lucy played by Molly Windsor as a young girl who enters the social services system in the UK. It's an amazing portrait and Molly Windsor give a striking performance of the 12 year old Lucy who does her best to keep going though the changing world and shifting situations around her. It really drives home the message of how important love and stability are, how much the people around you when you are growing up have such and influence to what you are exposed to. The tone of the film haunts with loneliness just as the main character herself is so isolated even when surrounded by other people. The message comes across loud and clear on this important issue.

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TIFF Midnight Madness Programmer Colin Geddes entertains and prepares the crowd for the bizarre experience of Symbol by embodying the two main characters at the same time!

Symbol / Shinboru
Dir: Hitoshi Matsumoto (DAINIPPONJIN)
Cast: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Japan

Nothing can prepare you for the experience of Symbol, not even the wackiness of Hitoshi Matsumoto's previous film DAINIPPONJIN which was another crazy experience but Symbol goes way into the deep beyond. Easily the strangest film at this years festival, it was also one of the funniest deeply delving into the absurd. I'm not usually one to draw comparisons to other films but Symbol is what would happen if you took Cube and made it into a1 person game show. Creepy and hilarious, it's quite the unique film going experience. It's also rather... male oriented.

See selections from Symbol Introduction by Colin Geddes

Sawasdee Bangkok
Sightseeing - Dir: Wisit Sasanatieng (Tears of the Black Tiger)
Bangkok Blues - Dir: Aditya Assarat (Wonderful Town)
Pi Makham - Dir: Kongdej Jaturanrasamee (Midnight, My Love)
Silence - Dir: Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Nymph, Ploy, Total Bangkok, Luminous Sounds / Seang-Sawang)
Cast: Tanthai Prasertkul, Bongkot Kongmalai, Ananda Everingham, Louis Scott, Namo Thongkamnerd, Kalorin Neemayothin, Noppachai Chainam, Ploy Horwant
Thailand

Four unique portraits of Bangkok are shown through stories of love, loss and friendship. I was surprized that each of the films has a strong underlying tone of sadness and often a feeling of something being out of reach or unachievable. There were moments of hope, especially in Silence whereas Bangkok Blues ironically had some lovely comedic moments.

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The Waiting City director Claire McCarthy, cinematographer Denson Baker and co-producer Jamie Hilton

The Waiting City
Dir: Claire McCarthy (Cross Life)
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Joel Edgerton, Samrat Chakrabarti, Isabel Lucas, Tillotama Shome
Australia

Compelling drama centred on a couple who land in India on a long awaited journey to pick up their adoptive daughter. This film is a fantastic portrayal of complexities of relationships, marriage and parenthood. Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton give enlightening performances as the couple going through heart wrenching challenges. It was great to see a film that had such a realistic and very complex couple, I was so impressed by how real they felt. The story is heartfelt and explores many facets of life from love to religion all along with motherhood and parenthood with a genuine spirit and welcoming openness. A rare find.

See selections from The Waiting City Q&A with Claire McCarthy, Denson Baker and Jamie Hilton

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The Disappearance of Alice Creed director J Blakeson (right)

The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Writer/Dir: J Blakeson
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan
UK

The best way to describe The Disappearance of Alice Creed is to say that is it unfreakingbelievable. I was hesitant to see it knowing that it was about an abduction, and ended up picking it purely because I know if I was already at the Ryerson it would guarantee that I would stay through and see Ong Bak 2, and if I saw anything else at that time I might cut out early on Day 10 and get sleep. So, it was on and I took the plunge and I had no idea I would end up at one of the best films of the entire festival. The story is brilliant, the script is air tight and the tension created is insane. Add to that an extremely talented cast and you get a perfect result. Martin Compston is a force to be reckoned with, his performance as Danny is one of the best I've ever seen, not just at the festival this year but out of all the 2,400+ films seen ever. It's best to go into this one blind considering the plot heavy nature of the film so I'm not going to reveal anything other than to say it's the definition of a must see film.

See selections from The Disappearance of Alice Creed Introduction and Q&A with director J Blakeson

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Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
Dir: Panna Rittikrai (Born to Fight) & Tony Jaa
Cast: Tony Jaa, Primrata Dej-Udom, Sorapong Chatree, Saranyu Wongkrajang, Nirut Sirijanya, Natdanai Kongthong
Thailand

The Ryerson theatre was *the* place to be on closing night for the last film of the year: Ong Bak 2: The Beginning. Easily the most rambunctious and interactive audience which is the perfect setting for a martial arts film and they ate it up and liked it. The action sequences are fantastic bringing elbows and knees to new heights, literally. The story was a little hard to follow, and sometimes undertold and other times overtold. There is only a trace of connection to the original Ong Bak, but none of that really matters. What we were there to see was kick ass martial arts, and we did. Seeing it at Midnight Madness was so much fun, cheering and applauding at all the awesome kicks, hits and bizarre combinations. It was the perfect way to end the festival.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning Introduction and Midnight Madness Closing Night with Colin Geddes

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Nothing says it's late like seeing the Yonge buses

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

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