“If there is anything the Festival of Festivals should avoid becoming, it is the Cannes Film Festival.” Jay Scott, film critic, The Globe and Mail, 1981
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), now in its 37th year, is one of the world’s great film festivals without question. Second only to the Cannes Film Festival in terms of audience/press attendance, prestige and number of films screened; yet, since it opened its impressive five-story digs – known by its corporate name, the Bell Lightbox – in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district in 2010, many questions remain unanswered. The big one being: how do you fill the 1,400 seats in the five state-of-the-art cinemas beyond the festival’s 11-day run during the first two weeks of September?
I arrived in Glasgow early on the evening of February 3rd via Scotrail by way of Edinburgh. Typically, passengers looking to travel to Glasgow from London would board a train at Euston station for a direct route to the city, but an early morning freight train derailment led to the rerouting of all northward traffic to nearby King’s Cross, thankfully just one stop over from Euston on the tube. Selecting this route takes travelers along the eastern coast of the United Kingdom – a slice of the island not often written about due to its farness from more attractive tourist spots like Brighton, Wales, Northern Ireland and the islands of western Scotland. Sadly, as I gave in to the overpowering urge to nap shortly after having lunch onboard the train, I also have not much to report about those sodden seaside villages.
Bruce McDonald returns with Hard Core Logo, his hilarious and deftly written 1996 punk rock mockumentary (named the second best Canadian film in the past 15 years by Playback) and its anticipated sequel Hard Core Logo II.
Essential viewing to end the summer on a high note is the 35th annual Montréal World Film Festival that takes place August 18 to August 25.
On the roster are 383 films, including 107 world premieres and 51 North American firsts, with this 2011 vintage coming from 70 different countries.
With Spanish director Vicente Aranda presiding over the jury, the festival will open with André Forcier’s film Coteau rouge. Eran Riklis, who was much admired in La fiancée syrienne, returns in Playoff as does Emmanuel Mouret in L’art d’aimer. Another Québécois film in the competition is Demian Fuica’s La Run.