My aim was to see Belle, because (in my mind) you can’t go to a film festival and NOT see at least ONE period drama. But it was an industry screening, so no dice.
Instead, I took a chance on How I Live Now, starring Saoirse Ronan, and directed by Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland). The movie’s adapted from the novel by award-winning author Meg Rosoff. Set in the near-future, it’s the story of Daisy, an American teenager sent to live with her distant English relatives amidst the start of a war.
I must say that I found the film slightly terrifying, and touching*, but well done.
And continuing the rally of good luck I’ve been having at Q&As, co-stars Ronan and George MacKay (who plays Daisy’s relative/love interest Edmund) were around after the film to field questions. This was also the first screening where we got to interact with young actors who are having such solid careers so early on.
An audience member asked them what would be the one message they’d want audiences to take away from watching How I Live Now, and both, while admitting it sounded cheesy, said the power of love. And that’s not a bad thing.
I exited the theatre … into rain. Weather forecasts had been predicting thunderstorms, which would’ve put a damper on Renée’s and my efforts to try and use up these vouchers. We touched base and bandied back and forth as to whether we should try for another movie, or stay home.
By 6:30 p.m., the heavens hadn’t yet opened, so we thought we’d try for a screening of Gravity.
But our rush line experience took an entirely different turn. While waiting in line half a block down and around the corner from our previous position on Tuesday night, we got to chatting with an older guy who’d been to all sorts of movies. This evening, he was rushing for the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, by director Frank Pavich. And the more he spoke about it, and his knowledge of the Dune franchise (movies and TV series), the more it caught our interest.
Why on earth were we waiting to see a movie that’d be coming out in mere weeks when we could take a random chance on something that just might surprise us?
Renée inquired with one of the clipboard-holding volunteers around the corner and found out the box office was still selling tickets.
Full disclosure: I remember hearing about Dune growing up, but I never saw the movie, nor have I seen any of Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s films.
(From what I understand, El Topo is what he’s most known for, but I could be wrong – feel free to correct me!).
But it didn’t matter. This guy’s IDEAS. HOLY COW. And without giving too much more away, it actually provides a few “did you know?” moments that are quite interesting, especially if you consider yourself a sci-fi aficianado.
Director Frank Pavich** was there and did a Q & A with some people following the screening, so that was cool. At the beginning of the session, he gave a shout-out to one audience member who had travelled 22 hours BY BUS to Toronto, to see the film. Makes those hours in the rush line pale a little in comparison, hey?
So, another successful day, and one where I think I got a bit of the essence of what TIFF is actually about. But it was my last day free from work. And it the festival was entering the home stretch, so things started to get tricky.
But if I could get through work, then screenings in the evening without falling asleep, that would be a success.
*Mini-spoiler: Put me in any movie where there’s a family being forcibly separated, and I am guaranteed to sniffle, at MINIMUM.
**A million apologies to Frank Pavich – I tweeted a picture of him at the Q & A and mangled his name while captioning it. I didn’t find out till someone else alerted me by tweet the following morning. He was actually good-natured about it, thank goodness.