So the first question you may have for is in our coverage of the first day of the festival is “What’s the gossip from the opening night party?” And we have to be honest, it’s not really like we know if there even was any. But still, in the style of a gossip column, kinda:
Lance Bass was there with “Raikkonen“, his boyfriend. But we didn’t see them, or know who is boyfriend is (The Amazing Race, or something?) so that’s just based on what a lot of other people said. We did say hello to Reg Harkema, but we didn’t introduce ourselves. At that point we learned the terrible reality of being a critic; even if you don’t think a director is a bad person (in fact, Reg seems very nice) if you cuss their films you can’t really be their friend. Oh well. We’re sure we’ll like his next film way better. We did also bump into Mazdak Taebi (director of Mercy), Stephanie Hayes (star of Acts of Imagination) and the director of The Eyes of Edward James, Rodrigo Gudiño. I guess we could gossip about those people but they were all very nice so it would seem unfair. The star of The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, Pakak Innukshuk was milling around, he’s got a lovely smile. Caribou was being served upstairs in the VIP area, but in general the food didn’t really fit the snowy theme. And in the courtyard the tables were made of ice, which, as they slowly melted over the night, was actually slightly dangerous, as the cotton wool “snow” that surrounded them got slushy. At least one of the tables just collapsed completely, taking some drinks with it. And one final thing; unless Torontoist is wrong, isn’t it illegal to smoke outside at public gatherings now? Because basically everyone was doing it and man! Torontoist hates cigarette smoke. It’s really irritating.
We didn’t just party yesterday, we also checked out some films. Here’s our (very short) take on each.
The Jade Warrior – Bewilderingly confusing to begin with, this strange intertwining of Finnish and Chinese mythologies isn’t entirely successful; the fight scenes are just slightly too ridiculous, even if slow motion is used to great effect. The film is often captivatingly beautiful but it doesn’t really all come together in the end, leaving the viewer slightly unsatisfied. 3/5
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen – Not the kind of opening Gala that is appreciated by everyone, this was still an excellent choice. A perhaps slow but intimate look at how western explorers change the life of an Inuit Shaman and his family, this is a gorgeous film with a very moving conclusion. 4.5/5
The Bothersome Man – Andreas Ramsfjell ( Trond Fausa Aurvåg) perhaps commits suicide (perhaps it’s a flash-forward) and finds himself in a strange Norwegian town where there is no death and everything’s “nice”. Sex is “nice”; shopping is “nice”; work is “nice”, but nothing is ever great. A biting satire of contemporary Norway, it’s fun, but unfortunately having set this up, screenwriter Per Schreiner clearly doesn’t know where to take it, with an entirely flat ending. 2.5/5