Aside from the glitz and parties and nonstop illusions, sometimes a film festival, and a film, can, in some small way, change the world. The independent distributor Palisades Tartan picked up the latest work by the incarcerated and banned Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi. Back in December the Islamic Republic sentenced Panahi to six years in prison and banned him from making films for 20 years for the obscure crime of “assembly and
colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s
national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
It’s not just Kevin we need to talk about. There are a lot
of bad boys here at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Like Brandon (Michael
Fassbender), a 30ish Wall Street in “Shame,”
Steve McQueen’s bleak “Last Tango” for the internet porn age. Unlike Kevin, he
doesn’t kill anyone. No, that would be more the style of his 80s predecessor Patrick
Bateman in Mary Harron’s 2000 adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis’s “American
(Fassbender at times bears a resemblance to Bale in that movie).
As a female writer struggling with domestic woes, Margot in
Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" had it pretty easy. Consider Eva, played by
Tilda Swinton, in another film by a non-American, female filmmaker, Scottish
director Lynne Ramsay's adaptation of the Lionel Shriver novel "We Need to Talk
Women get a fair shake on screen from the
American directors Alexander Payne, in "The Descendants," and Whit Stillman,
in "Damsels in Distress." But to get a fair shake behind the camera it looks
like women need to go to some other country. Like Canada.
Sarah Polley, for example, the Canadian actress and
director, is one of several non-American women who have outstanding films in
Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh about the diminished role of women in the studio films at this year's Toronto Film Festival. True, there aren't any Hollywood films by female directors this year. The Kathryn Bigelow effect apparently hasn't kicked in yet. And women in significant roles are pretty rare, too.
Like I said the other day, the innerworkings of the things that rule our lives are a dominant theme in the films at the Toronto Film Festival.
Not just the obvious powers that be like politics, as in "The Ides of March," or baseball, as in "Moneyball." But other endeavors whose impact is more subtle. Like the arts.
It doesn't take long at the Toronto International Film Festival, the biggest in the world in many ways and the one where the studios and independents showcase their Fall releases and put them through an Oscar trial run, to learn how the world works.To figure out how the ticketing system here works is another matter. Be that as it may, many of the films seem to have as their theme the inside story on how the really important things operate behind the scenes.