I submitted picks today for my 30 films at the Toronto Filmfest. My envelope went into box number 42. Once all the picks had been submitted, they had 78 boxes and then randomly selected a number between 1 and 78 to decide at which box to begin processing submissions (after which they proceed upward to number 78 and then circle back to number 1 and back up again until all boxes have been processed). Of course, the sooner your form gets processed, the better chance you have of getting all your first choice picks. So I wanted them to choose #42.
They chose #9.
Well, not too bad I suppose. I'll likely get shut out of a couple of first choice picks, but I'm pretty happy even with most of my second choices so I think I'm in good shape. Also, I don't pick a lot of big name films, so the likelihood of my choices getting sold out is less than, say, "Burn After Reading".
Here's what I picked (second choices are in italics):
Thursday Sept. 4th
- Soul Power (Jeffrey Levy-Hinte) 6:30PM - Three and a half decades after the Zaire '74 concert (bringing the best of American R&B together with the top names in African music in conjunction with the Ali/Foreman "Rumble In The Jungle" boxing match), the unseen footage has been put together into a document of the music and civil rights issues of that time. Just seeing mid-70s James Brown and The JBs will be worth it alone. (Zift - 6:00PM)
- O'Horten (Bent Hamer) 8:45PM - I've been in a Scandinavian mood of late...Hamer's last feature was the oddly entertaining "Kitchen Stories", so I thought this might have merit. I've heard praise and pans so far. (Ocean Flame - 8:30PM)
Friday Sept. 5th
- C'est Pas Moi, Je Le Jure! (Philippe Falardeau) 4:30PM - I'm due to delve further into some recent Quebecois cinema, so why not start here? A 10-year old boy grows up in 1968 Quebec with self-destructive behaviour and squabbling parents. (Three Wise Men - 5:30PM)
- The Paranoids (Gabriel Medina) 8:00PM - Argentinian comedy about a narcoleptic children's entertainer with a fear of STDs. His misunderstood behaviour inspires a character on a hit TV show produced by his long time friend. (Vinyan - 9:00PM)
Saturday Sept. 6th
- Tony Manero (Pablo Larraín) 9:15AM - What does the main character from Saturday Night Fever have to do with Chile's dictator Augusto Pinochet? I figure I gotta find out. (The Sky Crawlers - 9:00AM)
- Detroit Metal City (Toshio Lee) 12:00PM - A little Midnight Madness at noon. A young singer of a makeup covered controversial metal band who only wants to sing sugar-coated pop songs tries to conceal his identity from the girl he has a crush on. There's no way that this can be bad. (The Biggest Chinese Restaurant In The World - 12:00PM)
- Flame & Citron (Ole Christian Madsen) 6:00PM - Danish resistance fighters against the Nazis, the titular characters were apparently a little more complex than just your run of the mill national heroes. The film is already a huge smash in Denmark. (Every Little Step - 4:30PM)
- Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda) 9:30PM - I loved both "After Life" and "Nobody Knows". I need no further discussion. (Religulous - 9:00PM)
Sunday Sept. 7th
- Faubourg 36 (Christophe Barratier) 9:00AM - Modern musical comedies are few and far between, so grab 'em while you can! (Horn Of Plenty - 9:30AM)
- Kisses (Lance Daly) 12:30PM - Two young children run away from home and land in the streets of Dublin to experience a wide range of humanity. (Food Inc. - 1:00PM)
- Real Shaolin (Alexander Sebastien Lee) 3:45PM - A documentary that goes behind the scenes of the Shaolin Temple as it follows two Western and two Chinese students. (Afterwards - 3:15PM)
- White Night Wedding (Baltasar Kormakur) 6:15PM - I wanna go to an Icelandic wedding. (Real Time - 6:30PM)
- Country Wedding (Valdis Oskarsdottir) 10:00PM - No seriously, I really would love to attend an Icelandic wedding. (Gomorrah - 9:00PM)
Monday Sept. 8th
- Cold Lunch (Eva Sorhaug) 9:30AM - Despicable characters doing darkly comic things can be a difficult balancing act, so who better than a first time director to attempt it? (Hunger - 9:00AM)
- New York, I Love You (13 directors) 12:00PM - An omnibus film along the lines of "Paris, Je T'Aime" containing 13 short stories set in New York City by a variety of directors from around the world. (Disgrace - 12:15PM)
- Fear Me Not (Kristian Levring) 3:45PM - Michael volunteers to be part of a medical testing group of new anti-depressant drugs since he believes he isn't as happy as he should be. Strangely enough, there are side effects. (Ashes Of Time Redux - 3:00PM)
Tuesday Sept. 9th
- Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) 5:30PM - Kiyoshi Kurosawa's new film. That's all I need to know. (Maman Est Chez Le Coiffeur - 6:00PM)
- Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson) 9:00PM - Likely a wide release candidate, but I'm really eager to see how Johnson follows up his terrific debut "Brick". The trailer has more than a touch of Wes Anderson (which is fine), but I hope his own style comes through. (A Film With Me In It - 8:30PM)
Thursday Sept. 11
- Sauna (Antti-Jussi Annila) 9:15AM - Finnish brothers marking out the new border between Finland and Russia in 1595 come across a vengeful demon housed in a sauna.(Hooked - 9:45AM)
- Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman) 12:15PM - Another film that will likely find a theatrical release in Toronto later this year, but I'm dying of curiosity. Especially after some very confused reviews from its premiere at Cannes. (Winds Of September - 12:30PM)
- Toronto Stories (4 directors) 3:30PM - Omnibus film alert - only 4 stories this time, but I want to see how my city comes across. (The Burrowers - 3:30PM)
- Plages D'Agnes (Agnes Varda) 6:15PM - Agnes Varda looks back at her life and career in her own way - so it'll have to be interesting. (24 City - 6:15PM)
- Daytime Drinking (Noh Young-seok) 9:15PM - Korean mumblecore is one description I've read and now I'm oddly curious... (Me And Orson Welles - 9:00PM)
Friday Sept. 12th
- Cooper's Camera (Warren Sonoda) 6:00PM - I hadn't even realized that Daily Show correspondents Samantha Bee and Jason Jones (real life husband and wife) were two of the stars of this Christmas time comedic examination of a family's issues. Now that I know they are, it's just increased my desire to see it. Here's a recent article in Toronto's weekly Now magazine about the film and its stars. It's accompanied by a very favourable review. (Not Quite Hollywood - 6:15PM)
- Better Things (Duane Hopkins) 8:45PM - Though the themes of the movie may well be interesting (addiction, escape, etc.), it appears that director Hopkins is using that as a base for his shot compositions, "aesthetic choices" (as per the TIFF description of the film) and interesting narrative strategies. It all sounds intriguing. (Deadgirl - 9:00PM)
Saturday Sept. 13th
- Achilles and the Tortoise (Takeshi Kitano) 9:00AM - I didn't think I'd get a chance to see Kitano's third film in his deconstruction trilogy so quickly following last year's "Glory To The Filmmaker". Yay! (Tears For Sale - 10:30AM)
- Chocolate (Prachya Pinkaew) 12:45PM - Action first, story second. Acting and script? Afterthoughts. Occasionally all of that is perfectly fine. (Sexykiller - 1:30PM)
- Salamandra (Pablo Aguero) 3:15PM - The image above was pretty much enough to sell me. (Eden Log - 3:45PM)
- Inju, La Bete Dans L'Ombre (Barbet Schroeder) 6:45PM - Based on a story by Edogawa Rampo - usually described as Japan's Edgar Allen Poe. (Plastic City - 7:00PM)
- All Around Us (Ryosuke Hashiguchi) 9:30PM - A two and a half hour quiet observation of the human psyche. How better to wrap up 10 days of film from around the world? (None)
I hope you receive your email on confirmation soon. We have a lot of the same picks, I'm sure I'll see you around the festival!
Good luck in the lottery, Bob. If you get your first picks, we'll have four screenings together: Tony Manero, The Beaches of Agnes, Better Things, and Salamandra. Hopefully we can grab some dinner or a drink at some point.
29 out of 30 picks...Pretty happy with that. "O'Horten" was the only one they dropped on me, so I'm getting "Ocean Flame" in its place.
I'll be checking both your schedules again...I'm definitely up for meeting for a couple of dinners/snacks between films and see how the fest is progressing.
I think we're only at one screening together, The Brothers Bloom on Tuesday. I'm seeing Detroit Metal City, but at a different time. I'm surprised you didn't pick Tears for Sale, which was featured over at Twitch when it was still called Charleston and Vendetta. It's the Serbian fantasy film that looks like something Jeunet and Caro would have done.
James, we'll see each other Monday evening, so we can sync up for Tuesday's Brothers Bloom screening. I'll review your list and see if there are other times we could meet (we gotta eat!).
Tears For Sale was a Second Choice, but I wasn't quite sure about it - I also read a rather scathing review. I'm still curious about it, but it just didn't quite make it over the hurdle at the time. I admit that most of my picks end up being gut feel choices of the moment...We'll see if that comes back to haunt me.
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