Toronto Film Festival

Art & Culture

People talk about Berlin, Cannes, Venice and other such legendary European names as the key film festivals to go to or be seen at. But in fact the world’s premiere film festival takes place in Toronto in just over a months time. I shall be there.

The great thing about Toronto is that it’s about the films. Stars turn up, and photographers take pictures, but only as a sideshow. Equally, the programme is not clogged up with arty films about goats with emotionally complex bowel problems, or seventeen minute takes of an empty road. TIFF (as it is known) shows films that you and I want to see. Not blockbusters, not arthouse pretenstion, just high quality commercial films. last year I saw The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, Black Swan (others liked it even if I didn’t), and some lesser known gens like Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, Beginners (released last week), Another Year, Made In Dagenham and on and on.

These films are shown in a 15 screen multiplex in downtown Toronto, where we press-accredited fans turn up at 9 in the morning, having worked out what order we’re going to try and see the films in, and then start queuing in whichever line we need to wait in. The screens can seat up to 500 (The King’s Speech was full and that was months before any word of its quality had reached the wider world), and if a film is popular, you want to make sure you get there early. When it’s over, you’re off to the next queue, and so it goes till late at night, and over the whole 10 days of its duration.

I realise that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, watching 40 films back to back, but for me, when the quality is as good as it was (and will be), then it’s something to look forward to. Coriolanus (directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes), Shame (with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan) and The Ides Of March (with George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman) are just three of the titles to look forward to. Assuming that you won’t be able to make it there, I shall reporting on a daily basis to keep you up to speed with what you will see on your local cinema screen in the months to come.

Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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