Monday, 8 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 4 a.k.a It's a Good Day

I'm not a mid-night blogger, which is why this post is going up Monday morning instead of Sunday night. After wrapping my 5-film day close to the Midnight Madness hour, I realized that my hand-eye co-ordination wasn't going to be at it's best.

My Sunday screenings started at 10:00 am with UNMISTAKEN CHILD. (Yes, those of you who know me, I was out of bed and at the Varsity by 10:00 am on a SUNDAY--I have witnesses!) It's scenes such as the one above that motivated me to get out of bed. I love looking at the landscape of Tibet, and knew that even if the documentary about a monk trying to find his reincarnated master wasn't great, then I would have some visual reward for putting this film on my list. The documentary unfolded as expected with the search, and I loved the landscape but was very conscious of the camera placement, the long shots making me wonder who was filming rather than thinking solely about the story. As the film progressed I found myself getting more involved in the physical and mental journey of monk Tenzin Zopa, a young man adrift since the loss of his master. His journey is extraordinary. Tenzin Zopa has to quickly move from a world where his every step was planned by his master, to a world where he has been given the responsibilitiy of finding the unmistaken reincarnation of his master. The child that Tenzin Zopa eventually finds, befriends and cherishes is another captivating element of the film. Whether this is Lama Konchog or just a gifted, spirited child, the relationship that develops between Tenzin Zopa and the child is both tender and wonderful to watch. A very satisfying film.

Monday September 08 06:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Thursday September 11 05:45PM AMC 5
Friday September 12 12:45PM VARSITY 2
Apron Strings, a tale of two sisters and the browning of a New Zealand neighbourhood.

I have never seen a film about South Asians living in New Zealand, and found this aspect of the film refreshing. The accents intrigued my ear, and the food made my lunch of raspberries and an apple even more bland. Besides the two fueding sisters, and the young man who wants to find his Indian roots, I enjoyed entering the home of a white New Zealander whose unhappy home life feeds her anger and resentment of the growing immigrant community around her. The contrast and similarities between the families adds interest to the film as do the warm and cool tones of Rewa Harre's cinematography. This is a feel good movie with a dose of reality that keeps it from falling into the "fluff" category.

Monday September 08 03:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2
Friday September 12 03:45PM VARSITY 2


I slipped out of one movie that wasn't going anywhere and into Happy Go Lucky. I had no idea what the film was about, so when the movie opens with Sally Hawkins (Poppy) riding a bike and smiling, I'm expecting a bus to come along and smack the smile off her face. Even after her bike is stolen and she continues to smile, I'm expecting the other shoe to drop. No one, let alone a character in a Mike Leigh film, can remain happy for long can they? Well, Poppy can. Happy Go Lucky was a shock to my system in that I had to finally accept that Poppy was a truly happy person. I went from expecting something bad to happen to her, to not wanting anything bad to happen to her. As the film progressed and I accepted Poppy's nature, I wanted to put a protective bubble around her for the purely selfish reason that she made me feel good. Poppy is not unaware of reality and though her happiness may seem child-like, Poppy is not childish. She is aware of social problems and deals with them in a mature way, but she appreciates what she has in life and shows it. How many of us do that? Being cynical and declaring the death of irony is so trendy these days.

Happy Go Lucky has a talented supporting cast in Alexis Zegerman (Poppy best friend and flat-mate) and Eddie Marsan (the driving instructor--En Ra Ha!). There is also a flamenco teacher that you will never forget.

Monday September 08 07:00PM ISABEL BADER THEATRE
Wednesday September 10 09:00AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2


Monday September 08 09:15PM AMC 4
Thursday September 11 07:45PM VARSITY 3
TIFF Programmer, Jane Schoettle sums it up better than I could state, so check out what she has to say about the film. All I have to add to Jane's word is that I enjoyed the African, American, and Latina flavour of Winston-Salem North Carolina.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO written and directed by Kevin Smith.
If you know who Kevin Smith is you saw it with me last night at the packed to the rafters Ryerson Theatre. If you don't know who Kevin Smith is and title offends you, DON'T GO. REALLY. I MEAN IT. For those who missed it last night you have another chance:
Tuesday September 09 03:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)

Don't forget to check out TIFF's Best Betsand Festival Live for up-to-date ticket info and festival news. As for me I'll be seeing RAIN tonight.

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