When the international press heads home, Film Twitter™ comes out to play.
The Festival is now past the halfway point. Most of the highest-profile premieres have come and gone, and much of the international press is on their way home. This is when TIFF really starts feeling like a local affair, with the word of mouth on several key titles leading to a lot of excitement for the repeat screenings ahead. There are some big screenings happening tonight, especially as it pertains to the Film Twitter™ community who are very excited about one film in particular.
What Were People Talking About Yesterday?
I don't think you can love #LaLaLand more than I love this movie. I want to watch it again & again & then marry it & live happily ever after
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) September 13, 2016
The 2016 Oscar race, which TIFF helps to define every year, is starting to take shape. Last night’s premiere of La La Land was very well received, immediately vaulting it to frontrunner status for the festival’s People’s Choice Award, often (but not always) an indicator of #OscarGold. La La Land has many things going for it in terms of being a likely Best Picture winner, based on recent history: it’s a love letter to the Hollywood dream factory (The Artist, Argo), it’s a musical (Chicago), and it’s been made with visual panache and innovative technological virtuosity (Birdman).
The film has gone down very well with Film Twitter™ although they will likely divide into two factions as we march toward the end-of-year awards: #TeamPopcorn, who are dazzled by its romantic style and will see it twice during the festival (and three more times when it gets released this fall), and the #FilmSnob camp, who will sigh wearily and say, “It’s okay I guess, if you’ve never watched an actual MGM musical before, and besides, I hated Whiplash.”
People were wowed by the premiere of local director Hugh Gibson‘s documentary The Stairs last night. No, it’s not a film about the broken escalators at the Scotiabank Theatre but a years-in-the-making chronicle of the lives of social workers and their clients at the Regent Park Community Health Centre, in a community plagued by drug addiction, poverty, and displacement. You will no doubt be hearing more about this one in the months ahead.
What’s Going On Today at TIFF?
This is a day the Canadian chapter of Film Twitter™ has been waiting for: the premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s family drama Manchester By The Sea, which is by all accounts a tremendously affecting film from the playwright and acclaimed director of You Can Count On Me. Lonergan’s second feature, Margaret, was shot in 2005 but only released in 2011 after a protracted legal battle with producers and the studio over the director’s preferred three-hour cut (the studio eventually released a much shorter studio cut and quietly dumped the film in a limited release in New York and LA). Many prominent film critics and film bloggers, who considered Margaret a masterpiece and the handling of the release a travesty, banded together to launch petitions to urge the studio to make the film more available to film critics to boost its profile for end-of-year awards. Thus #TeamMargaret was born, a key movement in the history of Film Twitter™, a hashtag used to distinguish acolytes of the film against those critics who felt the film was too messy a project to fully get behind (the film made many “Best of 2011” lists but received no Oscar nominations, setting off more Film Twitter™ outrage). This doesn’t appear to be a fate that will befall Manchester By The Sea, which has extremely strong word of mouth and support from the studio, and will likely deliver some form of redemption for Longeran in this year’s Oscar race. The film screens tonight at 6 p.m. at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Also tonight at Bell Lightbox, the world premiere of the latest by another Film Twitter™ icon, Korean master Hong Sang-soo, Yourself and Yours. Though not everyone in the arthouse division of Film Twitter™ is a fan (the common complaint about Hong is that his films are always the same), his low-budget, keenly observed portraits of everyday life and relationships have made Hong a fixture on the international festival circuit and earned him a very devoted following. This film is playing in the big house (Cinema 1) of Bell Lightbox, to give you an idea of the appeal of Hong’s work for festivalgoers, and this is the kind of movie you should be seeing at a film festival. Showtime is 9 p.m.