Friday, 16 September 2011

TIFF Day 8 - Thursday September 15, 2011

Day 8 was a bit of an odd day, and my first jaunt this year to both The Elgin & Jackman Hall and it reminds me that although I love the ease of doing a day at AMC or Scotiabank, there is something special about both of those spaces. The Elgin is so beautiful and huge and it's wonderful to be in such a big space and I love the calm that eases over the space of Jackman Hall. In terms of films I couldn't have picked 2 more polar opposite selections of the Big Hollywood Movie choice of Joel Schumacher's Trespass starring Nicolas Cage & Nicole Kidman and the Brazilian film Swirl / Girimunho which was beautifully paced narrative based on the stories and lives of the people who portrayed them in the film. The home invasion thriller and life embracing meditations literally couldn't be more different.

Rather watch than read? Check out my Day 8 Vlog!

Post-Trespass at the beautiful Eglin Theatre, with no Q&A few stayed until the end of the credits

Dir: Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Tigerland, Number 23)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Cam Gigandet, Nicole Kidman, Liana Liberato, Ben Mendelsohn, Dash Mihok, Jordana Spiro

Trespass was one of my experiments in the experiential aspect of the festival. I've never seen a Big Hollywood Movie at the festival before, as they inevitable will be released here in Toronto anyway, but I thought I would give it a shot so I can talk and walk the walk of the talk. The film is a home invasion thriller following a family including diamond-seller Dad (Nicolas Cage), designer/stay at home (wasn't quite sure on that...) Mom (Nicole Kidman) and lightly rebellious daughter (Liana Liberato) and of course some thugs who are in it for the money. It actually ended up being a little better than I expected with some interesting takes on the genre, some great lines and a gorgeous house that it's set in but given the calibre of the actors I would have loved to see more. Much more. Not just Nicolas Cage & Nicole Kidman but also Ben Mendelsohn and Cam Gigandet - I think they are all great actors and wish they had a little more to work with. Sadly my experiment rang true that I didn't need to see it at the festival, it's a glossy home invasion thriller with a good story, good moments, some great lines and it kept my attention. I don't normally like to play the game of 'it was good but, this was better', but there are some films of this ilk that have really stuck with me, in particular The Disappearance of Alice Creed which set the bar extremely high and not much will ever come close to it. I did enjoy seeing Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom), but it took me a while to place him given the American accent and I'm still trying to figure out where I know Dash Mihok from. In terms of being a thriller and regular film, it's one that I'd likely see eventually but it didn't feel like a festival film. If anyone from the film actually came to the screening, it might have made a different impression on me but it was just the audience who seem to enjoy it well enough but no uproarious moments that I've felt with other films this year.

Swirl / Girimunho
Dir: Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina
Cast: Maria Sebastiana Martins Álvaro, Maria da Conceição Gomes de Moura, Luciene Soares da Silva, Wanderson Soares da Silva

Swirl is a beautiful, meditative Brazilian film that follows the lives of few women in their daily life with it's ups and downs and reflective on not only their lives but their philosophies on life as well. It's a very interesting and unique depiction considering it's a narrative based on the actual lives of the people in it, but then re-created and acted by the people it's about. I loved that extra level of authenticity and it really brings true a sense of welcome and home life of the women who have an interesting take on life and in particular the lead who has a beautiful joie de vivre spirit on all things. It was really lovely to sit down and enjoy this quiet & calm contemplative piece in the middle of the festival frenzy, it was welcome change of pace and beautiful reflective and inspiring vision of life and living.

TIFF Programmer Diana Sanchez with Swirl directors Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina

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

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