As the festival begins to wind down, an important Canadian documentary and an LBJ biopic screen.
The festival is in the final stretch. Programming is a little lighter today than most days (with only a few public screenings scheduled for the Scotiabank Theatre) as TIFF gears up for a busy weekend including repeats of some of the most talked-about films and the awards ceremony.
What Were People Talking About Yesterday?
The Toronto Star asks the question we didn’t know we had on our minds: which festival had the better-dressed stars, TIFF or Venice? (spoiler: it’s a tie!)
As predicted, Film Twitter™ has started to break into hyperbolic camps in the wake of the La La Land juggernaut toward #OscarGold. Some are thrilled about how much they loved it and are trying to outdo each other in terms of wild praise, whereas some contrarian voices forcefully argue other films playing at the festival are in fact far superior.
It’s also worth mentioning that an amazing new Film Twitter™ parody account has emerged during the last few days, @ArthouseTrump, which manages to combine the bluster of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed with the pretension of hardcore cinema snobbery, taking several shots at TIFF along the way (he even took a shot at the broken escalators at Scotiabank, the programming at Wavelengths, and dissed the TIFF premiere of Jim Jarmusch’s new film Paterson).
What’s Going On At TIFF Today?
The new documentary by the great Alanis Obomsawin, We Can’t Make The Same Mistake Twice, has its final TIFF screening tonight at 5:45 p.m. at Scotiabank Theatre. It focuses on Cindy Blackstock, president of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, who filed a human rights complaint alleging the federal government’s inadequate funding of social services for Canada’s Indigenous children constitutes state discrimination. The government tried unsuccessfully to have the case thrown out of the courts and threw up all kinds of stalling tactics, legal roadblocks, and even intimidation over many years of obstinacy and disrespect, but Blackstock was no pushover. Obomsawin’s nearly three-hour documentary lays out the upsetting, angering details of their years-long fight for justice. Interestingly Bell Lightbox’s director of programming, Jesse Wente, called out film critics on Twitter this morning: despite great attendance and a powerful response from audiences at the film’s public screenings, Wente revealed only 20 critics attended the film’s press screening last week. This is likely the most important Canadian film of the year from a truly great filmmaker, and hopefully TIFF is merely the first of many opportunities to see this work.
The late gala tonight at Roy Thomson Hall is the world premiere of Rob Reiner’s LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson. The drama is about Lyndon B. Johnson and focuses mostly on his time as Kennedy’s vice-president, with some attention paid to the tumultuous era in American life Johnson wound up presiding over after Kennedy’s assassination. The Bucket List notwithstanding, it’s been a while since Reiner directed a studio release that was a big hit, and the early word on this new film is that it’s a conventional biopic with a good performance by Harrelson (aided by some obvious latex and dental prosthetics). But Reiner is clearly swinging for the fences here, with obvious parallels between this story and this fall’s presidential election. And Woody has made no secret of his love for Toronto, so this one might be reasonably entertaining to attend. Showtime is 9:30 p.m.