Tuesday, 13 September 2011

TIFF Day 5 - Monday September 12, 2011

Day 5 was a quiet day ending up at just one film. I was initially going to to check out The Story of Film: An Odyssey the 15 hour epic doc which is playing for free at the festival in broken down chunks of 3 hour chunks on the weekday mornings and 2 long hauls on the final weekend, but I just couldn't do it. Not because I didn't want to see the film, I do but because it was free that means no advance tickets and you show up at the day and I had no idea how early to go. I heard some going as early as 2 1/2 hours and that's well... very early. So I copped out. And then I heard it wasn't sold out. Sigh. At least I know I'd always rather have tickets and take a chance at the door. That's how I roll! I also try and roll in a wildcard or two at the festival, and I did that on Day 5 with the 388 Arletta Avenue which fit nicely into my schedule (even though I ditched Story of Film... it still fit!) and was Canadian to boot, and I really enjoyed it. High creep factor, great tension and very engaging. It is playing as part of the Contemporary World Cinema program, which I find is often a great place to find awesome Canadian film. The screening was packed and had a great Q&A, and was one of the only ones I didn't take a video of, as after watching the film it felt too creepy! I do have the intro and will have it up over at the Movie Moxie Facebook Fanpage - I'm a bit behind on the vids as they take so long to upload but it will be worth the wait!

After the screening it was off to the pub for the annual film bloggers pub night and it was great to catch up with friends old & new on their festival experience. A huge highlight of the day was getting to sit down and chat with Melissa Silverstein of Woman and Hollywood and the Athena Film Festival. I've been reading her site for years and she's a continual inspiration. It was a total treat to meet her and chat all about film, the biz & the festival so far.

Rather watch than read? Check out my Day 5 Vlog!

388 Arletta Avenue
Dir: Randall Cole (Real Time)
Cast: Nick Stahl, Mia Kirshner, Devon Sawa

388 Arletta Avenue was one of my wild card screenings this year at the festival - it fit in my schedule, it's Canadian and that's good enough for me. It's a voyeuristic thriller that literally watches James (Nick Stahl) who honestly seems like a regular guy with a pretty regular life, but as the film goes on you start to wonder about him just as much as you wonder about who is watching him. I loved the wondering aspect of the film, which makes it a very engaging experience for the audience letting our eyes wander all over the screening looking for something to shed more light on him as well as the voyeur. The balance between the two was what really sold the film for me, who were we watching and who was doing the watching. And then as an audience, who are we? Could we be James? Are we the voyeur? Could we be both? Who are they, and how did they get to where they are? The film used the limitations of the fixed viewpoints of the voyeur extremely well, although it's technically a device it didn't feel like that at all. It takes a point of view that's literally one sided and makes it engaging and multidimensional, which is amazing. Although it has the visual style of a found footage film, it has the welcome opportunity to create it's own rhythm and provide an amazingly strong narrative with intriguing characters. I was initially hesitant of Nick Stahl in the lead, even though I've liked his work in the past I've never been wowed before but I was wowed here. He's perfect as James. Absolutely perfect. It's tense, it's unique and it's relatable in all kinds of scary ways. Big kudos to director Randall Cole for bringing a great story to life with fabulous grey characters and bonus points for creeping the audience out by putting us in hot seat.

388 Arletta Avenue director Randall Cole (right)

The Toronto International Film Festival 2011 runs from September 8 - 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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