Just Full of TIFF-prises!

1378828137484I had no idea that TIFF was going to slap me in the face with so much goodness on Tuesday!

I started the day with a screening of  The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her, starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, directed by Ned Benson.

The film chronicles the trajectory of a couple’s fractured marriage (for reasons that make themselves known early on).

But what made the viewing experience different from other films in this genre – and at this festival, at least – was that it’s not actually one, but TWO films – each filmed from the man’s and woman’s perspective.

Also, the order of the films are interchangeable. When the film premiered on Monday, the film was shown first from the man’s perspective, then from the woman’s. At the showing I attended, they reversed the order – which, in my opinion, made perfect sense. But would I have formed the same observations, had they started with the man’s perspective? Who knows?

IMAG0368 At three hours long, it’s a production for which you need a bit of stamina, but I certainly thought it was well done, and if you paid attention, you’d pick up on the differences (subtle and otherwise) between each. The performances by Chastain and McAvoy were solid, and the supporting cast – which includes Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Isabelle Huppert, Jess Weixler and Ciarán Hinds – helped round out the production.

(I’d also be curious to see what my brother – a director of photography – would think of the cinematography and such. He went to see another film, Siddarth, and said while the story was amazing, he thought the cinematography was awful. *winces*)

Following the film(s), there was a Q & A with Benson, Chastain (who was also an executive producer on the movie), and co-stars Weixler and Hinds. The discussion was engaging and bit gushy, but it was great to be at a screening where some cast members were present (and I’m a bit of a Jessica Chastain fan, so I was doubly pleased.)

Got this ticket - for free!
Got this ticket – for free!

After a very late lunch, it was on to the next film, and the first attempted rush of the day. Renée and I wanted to see an Irish comedy called The Stag, starring Andrew Scott (known in the UK for his film, TV and theatre chops, but recently the most visible to people elsewhere as Moriarty from the first two series of BBC’s “Sherlock”).

The premise (basically self-described in the title): a bunch of men who decide to throw a stag for their (very metrosexual) friend who’s getting married, and hilarity ensues.

Given our previous (lack of) luck with Half of a Yellow Sun, I was determined to ensure we were as close to the front of the line as possible, so I parked my derrière in the rush line at 5:30 p.m., with Renée joining me a bit after 6 p.m.

While in line, we chatted with the lady in front of us who was also lined up for tickets. But the heat and humidity took a toll on her, and she left.

This must’ve been the day when TIFF fatigue began to set in. Several times while we were in line, people walked past, trying to unload tickets for various films. One man came by the rush line THREE times to offload his ticket for El Mudo. In a couple of instances, we witnessed people just GIVING away their tickets – they weren’t even asking for money anymore.

A few people in the line received tickets for their desired movies, or caught word they were selling them at the box office, so we moved even closer to the front.

We were just behind a group of several university students sitting at the front of line, waiting for tickets for the same movie, and we sort of made small talk with them.

We ended up getting into a conversation with one of the students – named Haley – who was hoping to score tickets for herself and her dad, who was stuck on the highway. She was a recent “Sherlock” convert, but also a fan of some of the other actors in the film, and this movie might be the only TIFF film she’d be able to see because of school.

While chatting, it occurred to me that, given my experience from just a few hours before, perhaps someone from the movie – maybe the director, at the least – would show up. I mean, Jessica Chastain and a couple of her cast-mates were at that previous screening. But who knew, right? Renée wasn’t completely sure of that.

But MAN, would we get more than we’d bargained for.

I didn’t see the shiny, black SUV pull up in front of the theatre. But when I turned around, I saw the passenger it dropped off.

Straight up: despite my age, deep down, I’m perpetually 16 years old. So when I laid eyes on Andrew Scott walking up the sidewalk, the decorum filter came off and I blurted, “LOOK! That’s Andrew Scott! HE’s HERE!”

IMAG0370(1)Well, if that didn’t cause about a dozen Sherlock fans (almost all of them women) to snap their heads in his direction and go scurrying toward him.

No doubt a bit jet-lagged and his hair reacting wildly to the Toronto humidity, he graciously started signing autographs and taking pictures with the small mob circling around him.

I wasn’t one of them. My sheepishness over the prospect of joining the crowd in this display of adoration, gave me quite some hesitation. I mean, I’m a grown-ass woman.

I just looked at Renée, and she said, “Go! GO! Get him to sign something!”

“I don’t have anything to SIGN.”

In the end, Renée had to literally give me a little push to go and get a picture.

IMAG0373Considering all the in-your-face attention he was getting, Scott was definitely taking the moment in stride. And when it was my turn, I very calmly welcomed him to Toronto, congratulated him, and said I really liked him as Moriarty.

(And NO, I did not ask him about the cliffhanger from Sherlock Series 2. Dude just got into town! Sheesh.)

So now you know the story behind THAT photo. Hoooooly shit-snacks!

And, in what seemed like another stroke of luck, we ended up with tickets that were reserved for people who didn’t show up, so we didn’t even have to use our vouchers. How do you like THEM apples?

The film itself was fun, and very cute. The theatre was packed, and people were in stitches pretty much the whole time we were there. I hope it gets some kind of distribution in North America!

After the screening, there was a very lively Q & A with director John Butler and IMAG0385the cast. I threw out an “icebreaker” question to actor Peter McDonald, whose answer warmed up the crowd and got the ball rolling.

But it was a very long but successful day at the movies, about which I can NEVER complain. Let me try not to cuss out this festival from here on in.

(**Note: Pictures taken are mine. Please don’t re-use without asking me first.**)

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