I have a personal attachment to the Toronto Film festival because it was the first significant festival I ever attended, back in the days it was known as the “festival of festivals.”
This year, I saw thirty-two films (and roughly half of another). I certainly have regrets at some works I missed out on (some of those have already acquired distribution, and I’ll have plenty of chances to catch up).
At the festival I did some outside writing, most prominent some guest reviewing for my friend and colleague’s site, Emanuel Levy.
These are the films that registered most forcefully with me. Where available, I’ve listed the link to the review. Please come back, because I intend to write longer pieces on some of the other films, and offer a summation on Toronto, with some thoughts on forthcoming festivals in New York and Chicago.
Best of the festival: A+ titles
Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt)
Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raul Ruiz)
Strong runner-ups: A-/B+
Oki’s Movie (Hong Sang-soo)
Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowsky)
Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko)
The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat)
127 Hours (Danny Boyle)
Best of the rest: B/B-
Let Me In (Matt Reeves)
Deep in the Woods (Benoit Jacquot)
Amigo (John Sayles)
Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell)
Worth a checking out:
The Christening (Marcin Wronin)
Tabloid (Errol Morris)
The Big Picture (Eric Lartigau)
The Conspirator (Robert Redford)
Promises Written in Water (Vincent Gallo)
(I liked Ben Affleck’s The Town, quite a bit, but it’s already opened commercially and has certainly not suffered from a lack of attention.)
The big disappointments for me were, in order, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go and Dustin Lance Black’s What’s Wrong with Virginia.
Julian Schnabel's Miral was probably the most conflicted film; I was knocked out by the imagery, but the content is not sufficiently woven to sounds and pictures.