15 September, 2015

The Toronto International Film Festival 2015: A Tale of Love and Darkness and Demolition

I went up to the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend and it was a great experience. I only saw two films because I was not there for a long period of time, but simply being there was exciting and made me want to live the festival experience more often. I might even look into volunteering at film festivals in the future.


The first film I saw was 'A Tale of Love and Darkness,' Natalie Portman’s directing debut. It played at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Sadly, it was not the first screening so Portman was not there. She had to fly out the previous night so there was no Q&A. According to IMDB, the film is “a drama based on the memoir of Amos Oz, a writer, journalist, and advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”


It was a good film. It was a bit heavy for 9:45am when I saw it though. It didn’t help that it was 9/11. Also, I thought there were too many fade-to-blacks to be truthful; it could have been edited better. They were distracting and eventually each one became very predictable.


Immediately after that, I went over to the Roy Thomson Hall to see Jean-Marc Vallée’s 'Demolition,' which I loved. Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is dealing with the grief of losing his wife in a car accident. One of the last things she says to him is that he doesn’t pay attention and so after her death, he starts noticing things that he never did before. He becomes obsessed with taking things apart to see how they work.


Jean-Marc Vallée (director), Heather Lind (actress, Julia), Judah Lewis (actor, Chris), and Bryan Sipe (writer) were there and there was a Q&A after. There was no Jake Gyllenhall or Naomi Watts, but it was awesome that both the director and writer were there, even though this was the third screening of the film. 'Demolition' opened the festival too, so it was one of the bigger films so I was surprised Vallée was there. But also super glad! He is most known for his directing of Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Wild (2014).


Even though 'Demolition' was dealing with grief and with every new scene, something else happened that made me gasp or want to cry, I also found myself laughing, which is something I love, even in dramas. IMDB labels this film as a comedy and drama, which is completely correct. I was laughing so hard at some parts and I just loved it. Jake Gyllenhaal was great; Judah Lewis was amazing; the story was fantastic and well written; and it was just extremely well done.


Later the same day, around 4:20pm, I got in the rush line for the premiere of Ridley Scott’s 'The Martian' because I was unable to get tickets. The premiere was at 9:30pm. It was raining. And it got very chilly. It was a long time to be sitting outside in the rain. And I still didn’t get in. The way a rush line works is that about ten minutes before the film begins, they let some people in to fill any remaining empty seats. I was probably about 20 people away from getting in, but people kept cutting in line and there was drama over that. And it was the premiere so the theater was probably almost full to begin with. Emotions were running high. I had tried not to get my hopes up too much. But by the time they came out and told us we couldn’t get in, it was 10:30pm and I had been there for six hours. So you could say I was a little upset.


I have a pretty good story though, and I did have a good experience overall at the festival. I wish I could have stayed for the entirety of the festival. Maybe I can do that next year.


Post by Katrina Faust

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