Well I set out to see 4 films today…and I only saw 3.5. One film had been rescheduled, and I had the incorrect time written on my itinerary for the day. That said, I don’t like to comment on films which I didn’t screen in their entirety, so I’ll only mention the 3 films I did see. However, I did manage to sit in & participate in a few sessions this afternoon – and they were very insightful.
First off this morning, I went and saw POTICHE – the new film from Francois Ozon…one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. I was first introduced to Ozon by my friend and mentor Chuck Derry. He showed me a short film called X2000 just before I scurried off to Toronto for the first time back in 2002. At that festival, I saw 8 WOMEN…and my life was changed. (I proceeded to screen dozens of films starring all of the 8 women from the film over the course of the next few months.) But let’s get back to POTICHE. Set in the 1970’s, this period piece is a comedy that’s saturated with important details (it’s like NORMA RAE meets 9 TO 5…with a dash of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER). It references other films (Catherine Deneuve plays a woman whose father founded an umbrella factory) and has hysterical, dated music cues. All-in-all, I felt like most of the audience wasn’t “getting” the film…but there were a handful of us who simply adored it. This has been my favorite comedy of the festival!
I then attended the latter part of a discussion among three screenwriters which was very well attended. The screenwriter/filmmakers were John Sayles, Dustin Lance Black and Massy Tadjedin (moderated by Franklin Leonard). It was quite insightful to hear the three talk about their craft.
After that, I went to IndieWire’s daily broadcast during the fest. In addition to a group of folks talking about the fest and making predictions to this year’s awards’ race, they had two special guests – Derek Cianfrance & Xavier Dolan. Though I haven’t seen BLUE VALENTINE (the film Cianfance was talking about), I had of course seen HEARTBEATS – so I was able to participate in the Q&A.
Lastly (in regards to sessions), I attended the first hour of a moderated talk with Christine Vachon – a true trailblazer for indie cinema in the past 18+ years. She’s funny, smart and kick-ass!
Next up, I went to see Dustin Lance Black’s feature – WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA. (Black is the Academy Award winning screenwriter for MILK.) This film, starring Jennifer Connelly & Ed Harris, has had a mixed response. The performances are great, the set design is fabulous, and story is intriguing. The movie is about a woman who at first seems a bit “off balance”…and eventually we realize she’s mentally unstable. That said, as much as I truly cared about the lead character, I never really got into the film. (I will revisit this film down the road…as I was quite tired upon arrival to the theatre and I feel as though I may have missed some details.)
Lastly tonight, I saw a film from Iceland called MAMA GOGO (dir. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson). This film is somewhat autobiographical in regards to the director. It’s about a filmmaker and his strong relationship with his mother…as they both start to realize that something is wrong. That something is Alzheimer’s. Though some scenes were a bit “off,” others were gorgeous and spot-on. The lead actress is remarkable!!
OK. It’s 2:00. Time for bed.
One more full day tomorrow. I can’t believe my time is winding down so quickly.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I had Dustin Lance Black sign a DVD copy of MILK. We will be using this as a prize during the LGBT Film Fest!