TIFF 2014: Day Five

Our postcard dispatches form the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for Monday, September 8.

By Diane Carol Harder

Stamp image Priority


Dear TIFF,

I love you for showcasing films like this.

Sometimes I get jealous because Xavier Dolan is only 25, and already has 5 feature films to his name (all of which have been at TIFF). It makes me question what I've been doing with my life so far, but at the same time, he also makes me incredibly proud to be Canadian.

Dolan is brilliant because he does not try to imitate Hollywood, or try to tell traditional 3-act stories. Instead, he creates worlds that are slightly different than our own, then sets very real, three-dimensional characters within them to see what will happen.

I can hardly wait to see what kind of work he'll be doing in ten years' time.

Diane Carol Harder

Stamp image Air
StarStarStarStarEmpty Star


Dear TIFF,

Some films feel important from the very first frame. Foxcatcher, with its dreamy slow motion historical footage, and sparse soundtrack, is one of them.

After winning best director at the Cannes Film Festival, Bennett Miller's new film was an obvious choice for this year's line-up. It doesn't hurt that it packs some diverse star power with Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carrell. The story of Olympic gold medal wrestler Mark Schultz's relationship with billionaire John du Pont gets a treatment closer to Capote than _Moneyball _(Miller's two other directorial efforts, also based on true stories). The film is less interested in giving us information than atmosphere, with cold colours and restrained dialogue.The only real flourish is Carrell's elongated nose, but even that quickly feels of service to the bigger story.

It's an accomplished film that's worthy of the hype, but the buzz is more about meeting (fairly high) expectations than delivering a real showstopper.



Stamp image Standard
StarStarHalf StarEmpty StarEmpty Star

An Eye for Beauty

Dear TIFF,

It's a bad sign when Canadian icon Denys Arcand has a new film at your festival and it's a) not being talked about, and b) playing here after already having a theatrical run in Quebec. Considering this is only his second film since the Oscar-winning The Barbarian Invasions, it seems crazy that Arcand has been relegated to an afterthought on the festival circuit.

I have an idea why.

An Eye For Beauty covers many of the same themes that Arcand explored so well in The Decline of the American Empire - young intellectuals sitting around tables and freely discussing their outlook on art and debauchery - only this time, he's a generation removed from his subjects. It's missing real insight on what young professionals experience today, and displays none of the energy or pathos from his earlier work. The film largely comes across as a loveless and detached effort, and apart from the stilted English-speaking scenes, where the actors struggle to find a natural rhythm, it's not without some merit. But it's a film that fits in the lower half of Arcand's work, and one that reveals he may be less a great filmmaker than a filmmaker who has made a few great films. Though that's the case for many auteurs – especially in Canada.



comments powered by Disqus
(% endraw %}