Thursday, September 16, 2010

Festivus for the Restivus

Once a year, Toronto springs to life for the fall film festival called TIFF.

This year, it falls between Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur, an unfortunate bit of timing, considering many of the participants on both sides of the screen are 'chosen people'. This puts a lot of pressure on serious attendees who have a lot of cookin' and prayin' to do on choice screening days, but as a casual participant, I have been able to sandwich in more than enough movies to satisfy my appetite for standing in long lineups for hours and chatting with total strangers as if we've known each other forever, comparing notes on obscure foreign films that will never be released in the Cineplex.

I will review a couple of films in future posts, but for now, as I take a well-deserved break for a couple of days, I will make a few observations about the Festival itself.

You either get it or you don't. Or, like me, you sort of get it but then you sort of don't get it at all.

If you are the kind of person who would wake up at dawn and stand in a line at 7 am. for a couple of hours in hopes of getting the last ticket to the new Mike Leigh movie, then you amaze me.

If you can't wait to utter a growly 'arrrgh' as soon as the anti-pirating slide appears on the screen, you are obviously, a regular.

If you have driven up from Toledo for the past 8 years, toting your bicycles on your car roof so you can dart quickly between the Scotiabank Megaplex on Richmond St. and the Isabel Bader Theatre across from the ROM, to get a good spot in line for the next film, you've earned your tee shirt that says "I like to sit in the dark with strangers".

If you like to see five or six movies a day for ten days and don't care if you remember anything about them, enjoy hanging around Yorkville hoping to see movie stars and like living on popcorn and Lindt chocolates (the only food allowed in theatres), you are not alone. You are in good company.

I may join you, once in a while, in that long lineup, to converse for a few hours, take turns going on coffee runs and let in our friends, but just our best friends, while we wait for the chance to see a shiny new movie and maybe, if we're really lucky, have the time to stay for Q and A with the creators before we dash out, unceremoniously, to the next one.

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